Monday, December 12, 2016

Where to Be Merry: sweetgreen's Grand Opening Party @ PLATFORM Culver City

The Merriment: A celebration of sweetgreen's arrival to PLATFORM, a vibrant outdoor complex that comprises almost 30 permanent and temporary retail stores, eateries and other places of interests

The Location: Culver City

The Vibes: Outdoors, upscale, artistic

Good for: Families, Couples, Alone, Groups (large and small)

When-To-Go: Daily

The $$ Factor: Prices vary

The 4-1-1: The complex now sits on space that was once a car dealership

Parking Situation: Paid parking garage directly across the street

I’ll Be Back…: For all of the dining options and gorgeous landscaping!

Last week, I was invited to and attended a super fun function — the sweet green Culver City Grand Opening.

This health conscious eatery opened a new test kitchen, and to honor the occasion, threw a high-energy winter soiree. Underneath a canopy of trees on the outdoor patio, a DJ spun hip-hop classics, an open bar decked out complimentary beers and wines, and of course, tasty bite-sized samples of sweetgreen specialty dishes, like the citrus ahi tuna crudo pictured below, made their way around to hundreds of guests throughout the night.

But not only was this an evening to showcase sweetgreen; it was also a night to experience PLATFORM — a high-end, open-air retail space right off Washington Blvd. in Culver City that officially opened in Spring 2016.  Here's a look at some of the shops, eateries and brands that call it home and how they also celebrated sweetgreen's new launch that night:

Van Leeuwen dished out gourmet artisan ice cream with fancy toppings like cacao nibs, crunchy walnuts and colorful sprinkles. Aside from out-of-the-ordinary flavors like Sicilian pistachio and early grey tea, they also serve vegan ice cream that’s pretty tasty, too.

The Shop, which is a joint venture between designer Tom Dixon and Curve fashion specialty boutique owner Nevena Borissova, hosted a pop-up beauty bar in its breathtaking modern-meets-chic space. Underneath the glow of regal lighting fixtures and inches away from some of the most sophisticated pieces of clothing I’ve seen, ladies got glammed up with manicures, mini-makeovers and hair styling.

LOQUI stayed open, offering Mexican street food favorites, such as tacos, quesadillas and amazing creamy guacamole topped with cojita cheese, pictured below.

Aesop welcomed visitors into its store with a decadent wine and cheese spread and talked skin, hair and body regimens. They also provided complimentary take-home samples.

The star of the night sweetgreen also opened its doors, providing a sneak look at its sleek interior and giving guests a chance to purchase some of its infamous warm bowls, salads and specialty dishes, like the curry cauliflower bowl. 

Other places of interest at PLATFORM include the SoulCycle headquarters and studio, the first North American flagship for the iconic optical brand Linda Farrow and a dozen other retail stores, restaurants and places of interest that in total form almost 30 permanent and temporary spaces. The only thing missing in my personal opinion (in case should anyone care), is a cute little bar to grab wine or other libations. 

This was my first time checking out sweetgreen and PLATFORM, but it definitely won’t be the last.

See you there soon!

For more information: 

Monday, December 5, 2016

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Singer & Songwriter CymcoLé

I absolutely love discovering amazing new artists and this past Sunday, I had the pleasure to meet one talented lady in particular who you should definitely keep on your radar, CymcoLé.

Pronounced sem-cole-LAY, this 19-year-old singer and songwriter is making waves with a strong, clear voice and a smooth, silky sound that’s reminiscent of New Age R&B — think Drake, The Weeknd, Sevyn Streeter. Recently, she’s been the opening act on Marc E. Bassy’s Groovy People Tour, a three-week, 18-stop national trek that wraps with its last two shows in Cali later this week.

With a brief break from being on the road, CymcoLé and her team hosted The Shdws Brunch at Spear Steak and Seafood in downtown L.A. over the weekend to celebrate the upcoming release of her Shdws EP. A group of us, including peeps from The Jasmine Brand, Universal Pictures and Live Nation, packed into a private room to having inspiring conversations with one another, chow down on some spectacular breakfast goodies (including Ricotta-stuffed French Toast and Blueberry Pancakes!), and of course, to hear more from CymcoLé herself.

Dressed unassumingly in a black-and-white Aaliyah shirt, ripped jeans and a black choker and a gold chain, she was like an open book, sharing everything from how she co-wrote all of EP’s songs to how she’s been able to truly find herself onstage during the tour. 

One detail in particular that stood out was how close she was to her family. She jokingly coined her father — who just happens to be former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin — as a “dad-ager” and her sister is also her make-up stylist and creative director. And, it looks like she might not be the only musical one in her fam; she mentioned that her brother Shane Larkin who plays pro ball overseas may also be looking to get into the music industry, some time down the road, too.

But hands down, the best part of the day was getting a chance to hear six out of the eight songs off her upcoming EP. “Fix It” was my fave, featuring a catchy, subtly sexy Caribbean vibe. “Gun Play” was a close runner-up, boasting a swagged out, R&B feel. We saw two music videos with two very different vibes as well. The video for “Bombs Away,” which has already been released, shows CymcoLé fiercely dancing in an industrial warehouse while “Shdws” is a somberly sweet ballad set to beautiful black-and-white nature scenes.

The day concluded with a glimpse at her Tour Diary video, a surprise champagne toast and everyone receiving gift backs with some Shdws swag.

CymcoLé’s Shdws EP will drop in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, you can check out a few of her songs on SoundCloud.

Here are a few more links where you can find more info on her as well!

First photo credit: