Need Advice on places to eat/drink and things to do in the city? Hit us up at finerthingslosangeles@gmail.com - we'd love to help out!

Monday, March 15, 2010

WE HAVE MOVED!

Hi All -

We have been movin on up (toooo the eastside!) and now have our page on WordPress. If you want to continue to follow us to learn about new discounts and locations for your drunken fattening escapades use the below website address:

www.finerthingsla.com

OR

http://finerthingsla.wordpress.com

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Hour Pre-Game

So, say you're heading downtown to see the PAC-10 Tourney tonight and you want to go out to eat before the game - but you just don't want to spend a fortune. In the past your options within walking distance of Staples were pretty limited and pretty expensive (The Palm, Engine Co 28, etc...)

But thanks to the wonderfulness that is LA Live you've now got more options to stuff your face and damage your liver before the game.


Granted, most of these places are pretty pricey during normal L.A. dinner time (7/8pm), BUT you and your amigos have gotta eat early anyway (since the game starts at 8pm) so YOU, my friend, can take advantage of Happy Hour pricing. And, as we know with LALive/Staples, saving every penny counts when you know you're in it for $20 parking and a $10 beer inside the arena.

Below is a list of Happy Hours at LALive - so you can get nicely full and toasted before you head over to Staples. The pre-game drinking will definitely make you a better fan, and if you're a Trojan - the drinking will make you a better heckler for those damned Bruins... 


THE FARM (M-F, 4 - 7pm)
Daily Drink Specials During Happy Hour
* M:$5 Martinis
* T:$4 Specialty Cocktails
* W:$3 House Wine
* TH: $2 Well Drinks
* F: $1 PBR

ROCK'N FISH (M-F, 3 – 6pm & 9pm - Close)
* $5 Cocktails
* $5 Wines
* $2-OFF Draughts
* $5-OFF  Select menu of Appetizers

YARDHOUSE (M-F, 3 - 6pm / Sun - Wed, 10pm - Close)
*  $3.50 Domestic Pints, $4.00 Craft/Import Pints, $4.50 Goblets
* $4.25 Well Drinks
* $5.75 House Martinis
* $2.00-off Wine by the Glass
* Select half-priced appetizers and pizzas
* $6.50 Sliders

ESPN ZONE (M-F, 4 - 7pm)
* Free Appetizers with Full-Priced Beverage Purchase (At select bars within ESPNZone)
* 1/2 Priced Appetizers (at all other bars within ESPNZone)

FLEMMING'S (M-Sun, 4 - 6pm)
“5-6-7” Bar Menu
* $6 Premium Cocktails (Five Options to Chose From)
* $6 $6 Appetizers 
* $6 Premium Bacon Burger
* $3 Stella Artois Lager

ROSA MEXICANO (M-F, 5 - 6:30pm)
* $5 Beers
* $5 Margaritas
* 1/2 Off Select Appetizers

KATSUYA (M-F, 4 - 5pm)
Special Happy Hour Menu at Bar Only
* $7 Cocktails
* $5 Hot Sake Carafe
* $5 Well Drinks
* $5 Rolls, Sushi, Rock Shrimp Tempura, and Crispy Rice

TRADER VIC'S (M-F, 3 - 6pm)
* $3-Off over 70 world famous cocktails
* $4 Beers
* $5 Ocean Vodka, Bacardi Rum
* $5 Select wines
* $5 Food Items

* NO HAPPY HOUR – LAME!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

High End Happy Hour

If you feel like swanking it up this week, check out the happy hour specials at Nobu on La Cienega.  Nobu's miso cod is probably one of my favorite dishes and to be able to get it at a discount makes it that much better. AND, the Nobu happy hour is offered from 6p-9p so no driving like a maniac in LA traffic just to make it there in time!

Here are the details - $6 wine, $7 mixed drinks and $10 speciality cocktails.  Plus a fairly decent sized list of cold and hot plates for anywhere between $7 and $12.  My picks (besides the miso cod of course): rock shrimp tempura, waygu tacos, and yellowfin tuna tataki.  A good place to head with a small group and share an assortment of plates.



The happy hour is only in the bar/lounge area up front but there are a good number of little lounge tables and I have never seen this happy hour super packes so seating shouldn't be a problem.  It is definitely not the cheapest happy hour around but for great quality food and swanky decor, it is a pretty good deal.

Also a great place to star watch if you are as celeb-obsessed as I am, I think I have seen a celebrity everytime I have been to this place.

Nobu. 930 N La Cienega. www.noburestaurants.com/losangeles

Monday, March 8, 2010

Come Join Us!

Always wanted to meet V&K but can never seem to track down where we’ll be on any given night? (We like to stay mysterious like that…)

Or maybe you already know us, and thus know we are incredibly fun to drink with and that any night out with us is bound to be an adventure…

Either way: come drink with us tomorrow, we’ll be at EAST in Hollywood for their big ‘ol Socialite Happy Hour party!


We went here once before for a girl’s night/dinner, and while the normal menu wasn’t terribly overpriced, we are 10x as excited to return now that we know about their happy hour specials.

Here’s the details: 

EAST’s 5-6-7-8 HAPPY HOUR
(eerily similar name to the Street happy hour…)
$5 Valet Parking
$6 Specialty Drinks
$7 Menu Items
Nightly, 5pm – 8pm

Gotta love that Happy Hour lasts ‘til 8pm. Late happy hours mean we don’t have to leave early from work (thus making less money) just so we can save money on our drinking and eating habits.

If you do decide to join us in tomorrow night’s debauchery here’s a little tip: check out www.socialbuy.com/losangeles for a special discount coupon on drinks at EAST. Just $7 will get you $15 dollas worth of drinks tomorrow night. 

If you can’t make it tomorrow, don’t worry, you can still use the discount coupon all the way up to Mar. 10th 2011. But we gotta warn you - it won’t be as fun without us…

To all creepsters and stalkers: please disregard this invitation. We don’t want to  meet you. Please stay away. We tend to travel with a large entourage of really strong dudes who will beat you up at our beck and call... well maybe they arn't really strong.. but they are definitely dudes... we think...

I'll Have One of Everything!


Tapas are one of the best food concepts in the world. 

Tons of little plates of food, enabling one to sample a breadth of options from the chef – genius.
The Spaniards sure are smart (dude, they get to take siestas every day!)

  
When we feel like enjoying this smorgasbord of eats we like to hit up Tasca on 3rd street. Yes, this place isn’t cheap, however there’s a pricing loophole that we like to take advantage of and it's called Happy Hour (duh.)

Tapas at Tasca are usually around $6 - $16 per plate (with full sized entrees available for around $25/ea), but during Happy Hour there is a special menu of dishes and drinks from $2.50 - $5.00/ea (including $3 Sangria – Yum!)

Best part of all this: Tasca serves their Happy Hour menu ALL NIGHT on Mondays.... I.E. Tonight... I.E. Call right now and make a reservation so you can enjoy this delicious, and discounted, food with some delicious, and discounted, wine or sangria.

Quick note: some friends went here on a rainy night last month and apparently Happy Hour is only available at the bar and on the patio – but if its raining, Happy Hour is JUST at the bar. Our recommendation: wait ‘til the weather is nice (like today) so you can ensure yourself a Happy Hour seat.

8108 W. 3rd Street
323.951.9890

Happy Hour: 
Monday: 5:30pm - 10:30pm
Tuesday - Friday 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Parking: Valet or 3rd Street Meters



Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

BoHo BoHo a pirate's life for me....

I don't know, I thought that subtitle makes sense? And I have been yearning to go to Disneyland lately... did you know Captian EO is back? ANYWAYS, Friday again, time for another bottomless mimosa spot!

To be honest, I really thought I would run out of mimosa picks sometime around... now, but luckily some new places are popping up on the radar.  This week's bottomless pick: BoHo.



BoHo is located in Hollywood next to the Arclight so it is the perfect place to start a lazy Sunday and then head over to catch a movie in the Dome. But don't get too drunk or you will fall asleep - especially if you go see the never-ending Shutter Island - and your $16 movie ticket will be a waste. 

BoHo is a fairly new gastropub, and on Sundays from 11:30a-3p, they have bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, screwdrivers and raspberry sunrises (not sure what this is but sounds delicious) all for $14 with the purchase of an entree.

The brunch menu is pretty standard: I would go for the huevos rancheros. Plus they also have their pizzas available during brunch-time (Kalbi pizza with korean bbq ribs? Not sure if I can stomach that on a Sunday morning but sounds tasty).

BoHo. 6372 W Sunset Blvd. (323) 465-8500. http://www.bohorestaurant.com/

More Oscar Parties for Common-Folk

Want more Oscar Viewing Party options? Well here are a few more options around town for this Sunday’s award ceremony: 


*Katsuya (Brentwood, LA Live, Hollywood, Glendale): 10% off on to-go and catering orders

*Oak Fire Pizza (WeHo, 4pm – Close): Viewing Party + Drink Specials + Food Specials + Contests + Prizes
 *Hotel Casa Del Mar (Santa Monica, 4pm): Viewing Party + Oscar Themed Cocktails + Contests + Prizes

*Rush Street (Culver City, 4pm): Viewing Party + Movie Themed Karaoke Part 
 *Pourtal Wine Bar (SaMo): Viewing Party + 3-Course Oscar Themed Tasting Menu
 *Ketchup (WeHo): 1/2 off dinner bill + 1/2 off Glasses of Champagne
 *Taix (Echo Park): Viewing Party + Drink Specials + Food Specials
 

 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

ONE DOLLAR WINE!!!

Never before have we seen such a generous Happy Hour offer on wine as this one. We feel spoiled by the opportunity to purchase $4.50 wine at Oak Fire, and gleeful when we learned of $4 wine at The Upper West, but nothing tops this one:



Starting tonight, Fraiche in Santa Monica introduces their Lounge Series. For one short hour, from 6:30pm-7:30pm, Fraiche will ‘pump up the vibe’ (my phrase, not theirs) with a live DJ while offering $1 drafts and $1 glasses of Red or White Bordeaux. Yes, ONE DOLLAR.

Holy crap I just fainted.

On top of their Lounge Series, Fraiche also offers a ‘Gourmet Hour’ from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. The Gourmet Hour menu includes tastey food items (like $5 Meatball Sliders, $4 Arancini),  as well as $4 Cocktails, $4 Wine, and $3 Beers.

So basically you should show up at 5:30pm to drink and eat for cheap-ish, and then continue to drink for NEXT TO FREE from 6:30-7:30pm while you listen to some ‘hot beats’ (again my phrase, not theirs.)

Pretty sure you could leave spending less than $20 and still consume TONS of wine.

Fraiche - Santa Monica
312 Wilshire Blvd
310.451.7482
Gourmet Hour (Mon-Sun): 5:30pm-6:30pm
Lounge Series: 6:30pm-7:30pm

Note: Gourmet Hour also available, Mon- Sun, at Fraiche Culver City



Drinking with Oscar

We basically create a drinking game for every television show. Always Sunny makes it far too easy, 90210 is an old classic, and this Sunday we will be playing ‘Drinking with Oscar.’ 


Drinking with Oscar is a two part drinking game.

Part I: Pick the Winner
Each participant selects who they believe will win for each category (less popular categories like audio/costume/documentary INCLUDED). If you guess wrong – you drink.

Part II: Pick an Actor
Each participant selects one nominated actor. Each time that actor is shown on screen during the Oscars – you drink.

Bonus Actor: each participant selects a second actor – this one must be an actor who is NOT NOMINATED, but who is typically an Oscar staple (Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Dame Judy, Etc…) Drink every time that actor is on screen (if you do pick Jack you’re in trouble…)

I’m sure you can guess how the night turns out after this game… hardly Sunday/Monday morning friendly.

But if you want to drink in a more civilized/less-fratty environment check out the Oscar party at East/West happening this Sunday. The party benefits Haiti Relief Efforts and OTF and includes drink specials, D-Level celeb appearances, and a raffle. Buy tickets online in advance to ensure entrance + a swag bag!

801 Larrabee Street
West Hollywood, CA
Sunday, March 7th, 3pm – 9pm
For $10 Pre-Sale Tix: http://tinyurl.com/otf-10

Parking Note: Check out this link for street closures before you head out so you have the best route and parking plan  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hump Day Steak Special!

BLT Birthday Event


Love steak and looking for something to do tonight? Head to BLT on Sunset (how very swank of you), to join in their birthday celebration!

Tonight, in honor of the birthday/anniversary of the original BLT in NY, the steakhouse has amazing deals on drinks, sides, dessert, and most importantly on their steaks.  Cocktails/sides/dessert are all $3.03 and steaks/entrees are $33.03.  Now that if that isn't a finer thing deal then I don't know what is.

According to the restaurant reservations are HIGHLY recommended so make your call now.

And if you can't make it tonight, BLT also has a great happy hour nightly from 5-7pm featuring $5 cocktails, appetizers, beer and wine.

BLT Steak. 8720 Sunset Boulevard. (310) 360-1950. http://www.bltsteak.com/

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our Addiction: Burgers & Beers


It’s sad when you live in a city where $20 for a burger and a beer is a deal. But, alas, in LA everything is expensive and the $20 seems well worth it for the deliciousness of red meat + suds.

When we're craving this ultimate combo we head to our favorite neighborhood burger + beer joint: The Golden State. 

(Photo from LA Weekly)

The Golden State burger (which Jonathan Gold from LA Weekly deems one of the best in LA) is absolutely delicious. The burger comes with your choice of side (the sweet potato fries with curry ketchup are a must), and to compliment your burger Golden State has a great menu of beers from Cali. If you’re feelin' a jones for something sweet you can add a scoop of gelato to your beer for a strange, but tastey, combo called the beer float. Note: Golden State is itty bitty in size and doesn't have reserved tables (its a seat yourself type spot) so don't show up with a giant party.

Golden State Burger: $10 + Tastey Beer: $5-$7 = Under $20 = Score.

But if you live Downtown there’s an even cheaper burger+beer spot. This place not only serves you a burger+beer for under $20, but goes even further to offer a burger + PITCHER OF BEER for under $10. 

The spot? Carl’s Jr. 


Carl’s has sneakily operated three select locations in Downtown LA that serve beer for years now. For just $6.50 Carl's will serve you a pitcher of Bud Light along with your $2.50 Hot Carl Big Carl Burger. 

Granted the burger is not nearly as good as the one at Golden State, but hey – it’s a cheap fix for a constant craving (what? You don’t crave burgers and beers every day?.... Well we do.)

Either way you now have burger+beer options under $20 bucks in LA. We'll probably stick with Golden State for dinner, but Carl's+Beer might be the perfect fourth meal after a night out in Downtown.
 
426 N. Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Open:  Tue. - Sun. (12pm - 10pm)

Carl's Jrs that serve beer (Downtown Only):
* Macy's Plaza on 7th & Flower
* California Mart at Main & Olympic
* Citigroup Plaza at 5th & Flower


Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Dollar Dogs!

It's Monday again, back to the grind, but it's ok because at least there are great deals to score some cheap eats around town.  Tonight's deal to check out is at The Stand.



The Stand has a few locations around town - Westwood, Century City, Encino and Woodland Hills.  Every Monday from 5pm-closing, The Stand has dollar hot dogs (yes, $1!!).  The basic dogs are $1 and loaded up dogs are still a steal at $2.50. I think that is even less than those bacon wrapped street dogs that you shove in your face at 3am on Hollywood Blvd.

The only catch is you must sign up to become a card member on their website to take advantage of the deal. It's super easy to do and you become a member instantly. It is a loyalty program and doesn't require any payment (think of it like a Ralphs club card).  In addition to the Monday night deals, being a cardmember also gets you beer and wine specials and members only coupons delivered to your inbox.

Don't let the name fool you either, the locations are not actual hot dogs stands, they do have plenty of seating.


For locations and more info: http://www.thestandlink.com/

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

Has this been the longest week ever or what?? TGIF!! Time for bottomless mimosa pick of the week!  This week is another westside spot (I know, I know...), World Cafe.

World Cafe in Santa Monica has bottomless mimosa brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30a-3:30p.  With the purchase of an entree you can add on bottomless bubbly for just $8!



And their brunch menu is super affordable, pancake plate or build your own omelet for $8 and the breakfast burrito sounds amazing at $13.  Along with breakfast picks they also have a full lunch menu available during brunch (salads, burgers, sandwhiches, pasta, pizza, meats and fish), there is something for everyone. 

World Cafe is located right in the middle of Main St, so it is a great place to start for brunch and then embark on a pub crawl to nearby bars or partake in some boozy shopping.

World Cafe. 2820 Main Street. (310) 392-1661. http://www.worldcafela.com/

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Prix Fixe Fix!

Here at Finer Things LA, we have a fondness for all things prix fixe and all things wine, so when today's Blackboard Eats deal landed in our inboxes, we were pretty much in heaven. Not to mention the blurb on the deal included a shout out to my favorite white wine ever - viognier.



Today's deal will get you a 3-course dinner at Mercantile on Sunset, a low key wine bar-slash-grocery-slash bakery-slash-eatery.  The fixed menu includes and endive and watercress salad, your choice of main entree (sausage, ricotta gnudi or trout rillettes) and a scoop of home-made ice cream (yum!). All this for $20!

If you haven't used Blackboard Eats before, sign up NOW, and then click to get in on the deal. You will receive a passcode for the deal that is good to use at the restaurant for a month.

Blackboard Eats: www.blackboardeats.com
Mercantile. 6600 W Sunset Blvd. (323) 962-8202. www.themercantilela.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Classy Cocktails

The Varnish 1 Yr Anniversary

There seems to be a lot of buzz in the last year around mixologists – fancy pants bartenders who make amazing cocktails. Mixologists aren’t serving up your standard vodka sodas and jack and cokes, they take bartending to a whole new level and have perfected the art of the cocktail, layering many ingredients and flavors.



There are many spots around town to try some of these cocktail creations including the Roger Room, Seven Grand, the Tar Pit and The Association to name a few. And tonight, one of the best, the Varnish, celebrates it’s one year anniversary.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of overpriced cocktails that have flowers and weird ingredients floating around in them, but the Varnish is worth checking out. Especially tonight, since they will have free Beefeater punch and baked goodies from newly opened Babycakes.

The party starts at 7pm tonight and they will have live jazz music as well. So if you find yourself downtown or looking for something to do tonight, head over!

The Varnish. (located behind Cole’s).118 E 6th St. (213) 622-9999. http://www.thevarnishbar.com/

Cork Me!



"You haven't drunk too much wine if you can still lie on the floor without holding on."
~ Dean Martin

As you know, we love wine. With brunch, lunch or dinner, or even on its own as a pre-party beverage before a night out... Anytime there's wine - we're in. 



But if you're out to dinner and you want to drink wine like Dean Martin - you'll need a Dean Martin sized bank account too. 

So then begins the fun game we all play of 'which bottle do I order that doesn't make me look like a total cheap ass, but also doesn't cost me a fortune?' 

My dad taught me you always pick the second least expensive bottle on the menu, and then pretend you've had it before. This makes it seem as though my 'inexpensive' wine selection  ($50 for what would have been $15 at Ralphs) is based on my discerning and experienced taste, and not my 'just outta college' budget. 

OKAY, so yes, we graduated three/four years ago. Quit rubbing it in and let me finish my story!!

Anyway... There are two alternate solutions to the wine-bottle game: 
1. Drink at home before dinner (and risk not remembering the meal)
2. Find a place with free or cheap corkage so you can bring your own cheapy bottle and drink for less

Option 2 is always the best solution. 

And now I present to you: FinerThingsLA's favorite free corkage spots around town: 

* Nook - 11628 Santa Monica Blvd #8, West LA
Free corkage on Mondays and Tuesdays only. Favorite items on the menu: Flat Iron Steak and the Burger (friends claim it rivals the F.O. Burger)  

* Colori Kitchen - 429 W. 8th St., Downtown
Family owned and run Italian spot, free corkage every day of the week. This place looks like a total hole-in-the-wall but it's actually the perfect date spot and you really can't go wrong with their homemade pasta. (Thanks for the tip Mr. Lobanov!)


Not free but cheap: 

* Allora Cucina Italiana - 8432 W. 3rd St, Mid-City-West
This place USED to have free corkage, but since they obtained their liquor license they started charging an $8 corkage fee. Not as good as gratis - but still relatively reasonable! While you're there drinking your weight in wine: try the mushroom ravioli, its tastey!



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Slow Loves Hot Dogs



A couple things about my drunken alter ego
1.    When I drink – my nickname is Slow.
2.    When I drink – I always want hot dogs.

Slow comes from the fact that after a few beverages I am terribly un-photogenic and have a difficult time getting thoughts out. Hot dogs – well they are just delicious. Seems though that every time I drink (or when I'm sober... which is occasionally the case) I can never find a good hot dog near by. Yes there are options but I’m just not willing to wait in line at Pinks, and the street dogs and Carney’s dogs result in a worse hangover than booze.

I mused for months over the idea of starting my own fancy little hot dog shop with locations in the South Bay, Santa Monica, and WeHo and calling it Slow Dogs. Since I’m from Seattle the specialty of Slow Dogs would be a delicious Seattle Dog (dog/bun/cream cheese/onions/ketchup). We’d have other gourmet and low cal options as well so everyone would want to eat there. Everyone. 



Now, if I lived in Pasadena I wouldn’t have to muse about owning a hot dog cafĂ© – I could just go to The Slaw Dogs.

Slaw Dogs recently opened up on N. Lake Ave in Pasadena and serves 10 different delicious dog combinations and a great selection of sides. Don’t want to be stuck with their specialties? Don’t worry – there's a huge ass menu of 11 different dogs (beef dog, turkey dog, chicken dog, etc...) and over 45 topping options so you can design your own dog as well.

Unfortunately for me/Slow - I don’t see cream cheese on the menu. But goat cheese + tomatoes sounds like a delicious alternative! And, who knows, maybe they will read this amazingly written post and decide to add the Seattle Dog as a specialty item (Note to Slaw Dogs: you can rename this specialty dog the ‘Finer Things Dog’. Thank you.)

Happy Eating!

The Slaw Dogs
720 N Lake Ave, #8
Pasadena, CA 91104
Sun-Wed. 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat. 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Surviving Saturday & Sunday Mornings



Lines at breakfast spots in LA on the weekends are nuts - especially around noon when all the drunks wake up in desperate need of greasy breakfast food to nurse their hangovers. It’s because of these lines that I rarely go to Toast anymore - its just not worth a 30+ minute wait when you’ve got the shakes and need coffee STAT. 


One of my favorite spots in the city for lunch has always been Cuvee on Robertson. I used to live nearby and the walk always helped revive me from the night before.  It’s also never super busy, they serve my favorite iced tea in town (plus a free refill!), and they have a pretty little outdoor patio. It's an ‘order at the counter and choose your own table’ sort of spot so it's less formal than a normal restaurant (which I like). However, their breakfast hours were terrible (i.e. service stopped around noon) and I can’t think of a single weekend when I woke up in time to try their breakfast menu.

Me and the man went back to Cuvee on Saturday for the first time since we moved from the Robertson/Doheny part of town and we were  pleasantly surprised to find that, not only have they updated their menu with some new great items, but they also now offer breakfast ALL day on the weekends. Yipee!

The breakfast items were great (I had the Huevos Rancheros - yum!) but it was the man's order, which came from the lunch menu, that I loved the most: the Mozzarella, Pesto, Tomato, and Prosciutto Sandwich on Sourdough. It is amazing. I think its the  balsamic vinegar that really makes this sandwich perfect but really everything about it I love. We both loved it so much we returned Sunday with friends to order it again! (I would have taken a picture to show you but we ate them too quickly... both days.)

This sandwich is also just the right amount of greasy to make you feel 100% after lunch and ready to start drinking again! 

(Can’t wait until you get home to tap the keg? Cuvee also sells a great selection of wines that you can purchase and drink right there at your table.) 

Cuvee
145 S. Robertson Blvd. 
(W. 3rd & S. Robertson Blvd.)
(310) 271-4333

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

This week's mimosa pick is a shout out to all those on the Westside - who we frequently tend to neglect since we both live in West Hollywood and the thought of driving west of Doheny makes us nervous.

But we just might have to head out there for this brunch this weekend because it features the cheapest bottomless mimosas yet!  The spot? - Overland Cafe.



Overland Cafe has bottomless champagne for $4.99 (not a typo...literally 4.99), with the purchase of any breakfast entree.  Their brunch menu features breakfast food with a twist - shrimp/scallion/guac omelet, krabbycakes benedict - and sounds delicious.  With my huge sweet tooth, I think I'll go for the chocolate chip pancakes, yum!

Brunch at the Overland Cafe is every Saturday and Sunday from 8am-2pm.  From the reviews on Yelp seems like the wait is usually around 40 min and the place does get crowded so I would suggest showing up early to get your name in.  But in my book, a 40 min wait is definitely worth it for $5 mimosas.

Since we are celebrating a bday out west Saturday night (Happy Bday Drew!), I can't think of a better way to keep the party going on Sunday (hint hint to our friends). See you there!

Overland Cafe. 3601 Overland Ave. (310) 559.9999.

We Put the 'ASS' in Class


I love the combination of fine cheese and champagne. Something about spending time with a friend, enjoying a great cheese plate with a glass of Veuve Cliquot, makes me so infinitely happy.
 

Unfortunately this love of mine is rather expensive. I've tried to imitate it at home and, though the Champange is far less expensive this way, you lose the economies of scale on the cheese that the restaurant can offer. You also lose the ambiance and the people watching. It's just not as special when you're enjoying a brick of cheese while watching Horatio take on and off his sunglasses on CSI Miami. 

However, during an amazing walk through WeHo on Sunday afternoon I found the perfect solution to this expensive habit of mine: Froma

Froma is a tiny gourmet market on Melrose. They sell all sorts of tapenades, olive oils, wines, etc...  They also have a handful of bar seats (maybe seven total) for you to sit at and enjoy their menu of salads, sandwiches, and delicious gourmet bites.

I've been to here once before for lunch and it was delicious, though I'd say a little pricey for a salad. But I've been enticed to return as they are now offering a key element of the FinerThingsLA bible: Happy Hour. 

During typical hours of happiness (4-7pm) Froma has a small menu of gourmet bites. Items include parmesan & herb-dusted fries ($3), 2oz Kobe beef burger sliders with mixed greens ($4), and the La Burrata: a gourmet plate that includes burrata cheese, pesto, tapenade, and toast ($6). They also have a menu of fine wines ($5 Glass), Proseco ($5 Glass), and Yanjing Beer ($4 Glass). Yum Yum Yum.

La Burrata + Proseco ($11 total) is definitely a worthy replacement for my typically expensive cheese plate + Veuve.

So suck it up for an evening, put away the flask, and enjoy a gourmet Happy Hour for once. It won't break the bank and you'll feel so much classier (even if you do end up down the street at the Snake Pit at the end of the night).  While you're there please don't drink too much and make a bad name for FinerThingsLA - that is not a CLASSY thing to do and, as you know, we here at FinerThingsLA are all about class.

Froma on Melrose
7960 Melrose Av. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Open Monday-Saturday 9AM to 9PM / Sundays 10AM to 7PM
Happy Hour: 4pm - 7pm Daily

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Where everybody knows your name"


Our group of friends has always wanted a place like MacLaren’s on How I Met Your Mother (or as we more familiarly call it – Himym). For those who are old as dirt and don’t get the Himym reference – think Cheers. 



In a perfect world we’d all live in the same building and all meet downstairs at the local bar, nightly. But alas we are spread across the city and all have different spots we like to haunt – most of which are close to our own apartments so we don’t have to worry about DUIs.

But when we all do meet up on weeknights for a drink – we almost always go to Oak Fire Pizza.

We each have our own reasons for loving the place: V and I love their happy hour (50% off pizzas, apps, beers, wines, mixed drinks) and consider it one of the best deals in town. Our buddy Drew (who’s birthday is today!) loves it because one of the hostesses mercilessly flirts with him. My guy Mike likes it because there are lots of flat screens and they are always tuned into sports. For those of us who live in WeHo - we love it because can walk/stumble home after dinner.

Long story short – it’s our meeting place.

So if you’re looking for a great happy hour spot after work come join us at Oak Fire. We’ll even be there tonight for Drew’s Bday – just look for the rowdy group that’s disproportionately male.

Cheers!

Oak Fire Pizza (Formerly Stone Fire Pizza)
829 North La Cienega Boulevard
Happy Hour: 4pm - 7pm
Recommended Pizzas: Four Seasons, No-Name, Perfect Pie, Chicken Pesto

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Tip for Date Night


Your classic date night: dinner and a movie. What was once a reasonably priced endeavor has quickly turned into quite the expensive night out in LA.
 - Two tickets to an evening newly released movie at an LA theater? $27.
 - Dinner for two at Morels French Steak House? $80 (drinks not included)
 - Parking? $2.

So now you’ve spent $109 bucks and what did you get: a  booze-less dinner at a restaurant that almost constantly has a B health rating, followed by two hours of not-talking, ending with a kiss on the cheek as you drop your date off at home.

Yippee….


Well the Grove has a promotion to make this standard date night slightly more palatable: for just $30 per person you’ll get free valet parking, two movie tickets, and 3-course dinner for two at a participating Grove restaurant (hopefully not Morels… seriously… B Rating…Gross.)

So with all your saved money you can take your date to the bar in the Farmers Market (or El Carmen down the street) and buy some drinks. You’ll STILL be saving money even after ordering drinks (unless you drink like our friends, then it might be more, a lot more…) and the booze will definitely help your chances at the end of the night! 

Date Night @ The Grove
$30 Per Person
Available Monday - Thursday Nights

Participating Restaurants and Menus
 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

VandK’s Sausage-Fest Adventure at Big Wangs


Somehow, and I still don’t know how, we got conned into going to the new BigWangs downtown on Saturday night. While others were enjoying the delicious foods (and long lines) of LAFoodFest, we were enjoying beer and mediocre bar food with our usual crowd. This 'usual crowd' tends to consist of V, about 12 dudes, and me… i.e. a sausage fest.

The beers were good (and in some cases gigantic). The chicken-wrap-thing I ordered was a 4/10. The sampler platter was typical bar food so I’ll give it a 7/10. The wings, however, were a big hit with the guys (see a trend here with these guys?) The Rochester sauce, and the fact that the wings were actually boneless (and thus less wings than they were balls of chicken meat), was a crowd pleaser that night. 

Note: Keeping our guys happy is important, as it means we have leverage the next time we want to try out a ‘less than manly’ new establishment in the future.

However I wasn’t totally sold on Big Wangs until I ventured into the bathroom. There upon the wall, framed above the sink, was a sign showing the happy hour specials… And they are great:  


Oh how easily we are swayed by Happy Hour deals….

Plus, because of the crowd we roll with, I’m pretty sure we will have no choice but to return here in the future. At least now we’ll know what times to go so we can save some moolah!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fat Tuesday = Sick Day Wednesday

Mardi Gras celebrations tend to involve some of our favorite things – drinks, food, and live music (… and boobs and beads but those fall a little lower on the ‘favorites’ list.)


We’re not sure which festive events we will be attending – but there are a few good options across the city:

Liquid Kitty, WestLA (5pm – 2am)
·      No Cover,
·      Live Cajun/Zydeco band (“The Damn Well Please Organ Trio”)
·      Grilled Cheese truck out front at 10:30pm
·      Drink Specials: $3 Abita Beer, $6 Hurricanes, $6 Sazerac Martinis, $2 PBR, $3 Low Lifes (Pabst & a Shot)

Rush Street, Culver City (7pm – Close)
·      Specialty Drinks: Mint Juleps, Hurricanes, Alabama Slammers
·      Free Party Favors
·      Masked Bead Girls

Westwood Brewing Co, Westwood (Beginning @ 6pm)
·      Free Beads
·      Gumbo Special: $7/bowl
·      Zydeco Music, 6pm – 8pm
·      8pm: New Orleans Themed Trivia Night!

South, Santa Monica (4pm – Close)
·      $4 Beer Specials
·      Beads, Masks

J Lounge, Downtown (5pm – 8pm)
·      “Fat Happy Hour” Drink Specials
·      Creole Menu Items by Chef Oz
·      Live Entertainment


For those just looking for a good Cajun meal: 

Dominick's, West Hollywood
Mardi Gras Themed Menu included $5 Gumbo, $6 Jambalaya, $8 Eggplant pirogues with shrimp sauce

The Gumbo Pot, Mid City
This spot serves their delicious Cajun food year-round at the Grove Farmer's market. However, for Mardi Gras the Farmer's Market transforms into a Mardi-Gras party with live music and Gumbo Pot has King Cakes available for purchase for the holiday.


Maybe plan to call in for a ‘personal day’ at work on Wednesday? You’ll need it after you take down all those southern-style drinks!

Get Drunk Like Gee-Dub

 

Back in the day when Washington was elected, the campaign trail was all about providing tons of Hard-A to the public. Citizens would wander through the town square, from campaign table to campaign table, getting their fill of whiskey from each candidate. The larger the quantity, and the higher the quality, of booze you provided: the more people liked you. By the time the drinker was ready to vote they were thoroughly trashed, and because drunks are easier to convince into voting for you, you were basically ensured a vote if they finished their binge drinking at your campaign table (ingenious!)

In honor of this old-as-time tradition of providing booze to gain a following - CommeCa is offering drink specials today at a special price. For President's Day only, a select menu of cocktails will be available for just $4.40 (since we're at Presidente numero 44.) 

Here's the menu: 
  1. Frost/Nixon: "Last Word" - gin, lime juice, Green Charteuse, maraschino 
  2. Kennedy: "Cuba Libre" - cola, lime, white rum
  3. FDR: "Dark and Stormy" - black rum, lime juice, ginger syrup, splash of soda
  4.  Washington: "Penicillin" - Scotch, ginger, lemon, honey

    While you're there try the French Onion soup - it's delicious!

    CommeCA
    8479 Melrose Avenue
    11:30am - 3pm, 5:30pm - 11pm

    Happy President's Day Everyone!!!



    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

    Well, well, here we are again....Friday. This Friday is especially great because for most of us, it's the start of a 3-day weekend, which means there is no excuse not to get wasted on bottomless mimosas on Sunday.

    This week's pick: Citizen Smith in Hollywood. On Sundays, Citizen Smith has an organic (something healthy to offset the copious amounts of booze you will intake) farmer's market brunch, with bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and bellinis (yum!) for an additional $10.



    Their brunch menu is the standard fare: eggs benedict, three cheese omelet, molten waffle with strawberries.  But who really cares about the food, this is about the bubbly and we all know that.

    So......check it out this weekend or head to any of our other bottomless picks and enjoy the long weekend! And also good to know, Citizen Smith has other great specials during the week including half off food on Mondays and half off wine on Tuesdays.


    Citizen Smith. 1600 N Cahuenga Blvd. (323) 461.5001

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    SAVE MONEY MONEY SAVE MONEY MONEY


    Getting fat and drunk are great fun. But getting fat and drunk on the cheap - well that's just fantastic. Thanks to 'deal-a-day' websites we can do just that.

    Here's a few of today's deals to keep you tipsy, chubby, and happy all day long:

    GROUPON – LOS ANGELES
    $10 for $25 worth of locally grown cuisine at Food Fair by Diego
    7825 Beverly Blvd. / Los Angeles, California 90036
    Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    BLACKBOARD EATS – LA
    30% off Lunch at Lotteria Grill – Hollywood 
    No Purchase necessary - just sign up and download the password to start saving! 
    Discount valid until March 13th.

    WIRED FOR WINE
    Premius Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2006
    Wine Enthusiast:  Designated this wine as a "Best Buy".
    Sale Price:  $9.97 - 41% off (Reg. Price:  $16.99)
    Free Shipping on 6 or more

    SOCIAL BUY
    $25 for $50 worth of Gifts and Baskets at Bountiful Baskets by Jean.
    I.E. Cookies, candies, drinks, and treats for a friend or to spoil yourself
    Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    GILT
    Beautifully packaged gift sets and boxes of chocolates 30-35% off – while supplies last!
    Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    Food Truck Lot Launches Today!

    If you are in Downtown for lunch or dinner today check out the new food truck lot that opens today.  The lot opens near Little Tokyo off Alameda and Traction, and starting today will feature a handful of trucks daily for lunch and dinner. 



    Lunch trucks start at 11am and dinner trucks will roll in around 5pm. The schedule of trucks is still a little TBD but so far here is what is confirmed for the next couple of days:

    Thursday (today):
    -11am: Barbie Qs, Dosa Truck, Kabob n Roll, Komodo Food, Fishlips Sushi

    Friday:
    -11am: Komodo, Slice Truck, Sweets Truck, Vesuvio
    -5pm: Flying Pig, Fressers, Tasty Meat, Grilled Cheese Truck

    Saturday:
    -5pm: Barbie Qs, FrySmith

    If you are heading downtown for ArtWalk today/tonight, it is worth checking out. And if you can't make it, don't forget this Saturday is the 1st Annual Street Food Fest, also in downtown. (For more info on Street Food Fest read our earlier post or check out http://www.lastreetfoodfest.com/).  And if you planning on heading to downtown anytime soon you can always find out where popular food trucks are stationed or are planning to be by checking out http://roaminghunger.com/la.

    Traction Food Truck Lot. 216 S Alameda St Los Angeles, CA.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Seriously Good Cheap Eats.

    ...like seriously.


    If you are looking for quality Mexican food on the cheap, you must go to El Carmen in West Hollywood. El Carmen has long been a favorite of ours and everything on the menu is $10 and under. Including drinks! In fact, the only item that actually makes it up to a $10 price point are their margaritas.


    AND they have a daily happy hour, which makes this place even more affordable if that is even possible. Food and drink specials that bring you down to the under $5 range – can’t beat that. Their happy hour includes $4 margaritas, $3 Tecate, and snacks like quesadillas and ceviche for $4.

    El Carmen specializes in different types of tequila that you can taste in one of their tequila flights (which start at 4 tastes, these flights will however put you above the $10 range).  They also have some not-so-standard margarita flavors like ginger cilantro and a spicy margarita made with jalapenos (kinda scared of that one).

    The decor here is not to miss either- think Nacho Libre - but in a cool way, not in a Jack Black kind of way (nothing against the guy, I happen to love School of Rock) - with Mexican wrestling paraphernalia adorning the walls.

    All in all, it is a great place to head to that won't break the bank but will get you blackout.  Just a warning, the place is tiny so don't show up in a large group and try and get their early - especially if you are looking to catch the happy hour.

    El Carmen. 8138 West 3rd Street.(323) 852.1552

    Life is too Short to Drink Bad Wine

    If you’re looking to beef up your wine shelf with some good quality wines, but not spend a fortune, you’re in luck.

    RueLaLa is having a sale today (closes at 10am tomorrow morning PST) on a selection of DeLille wines. These Washington wines come in sets of three (three Chaleur Estate Blancs, three Sryahs, or a mix) and are around 40% - 50% off.

    If you’re like me you save the ‘nice’ wines for 'nice' occasions (i.e. they sit on your shelf forever to show off what great taste in wine you have.) Unless of course your significant other comes back from the bars late with his friends and ‘accidentally’ opens up a $30 bottle of wine when their taste buds are already so obliterated from Bud Light that they could be drinking Franz and think its good. But either way it feels good to have some good stuff on the shelf.

    However, if you’re the type of person who is fine with a $4.99 vat of Livy, and just looking to get trashed: maybe buy the set as a gift for a friend or newly married couple? You’ll make your friends question their original judgment of your drinking habits and think you a more refined person (ha you tricked them!)

    (Membership only website, if you’re not already a member sign up here)

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Burger Bargain

    I feel like I am on a constant search to find the best burger in LA, but there are so many options that so far we are at a probably 10 way tie. Sometimes I crave a Father’s Office burger and sometimes I dream of the shoestring fries that accompany my Rush Street burger. And almost always at 3am on a weekend, I want my In-N-Out burger with animal style fries (I know…it’s fast food…and a chain…but you can’t beat In-N-Out).

    One place I have yet to try but have heard great things about is the burger at The Counter. And on Tuesdays (today!), they have a great burger special that almost makes me want to leave the house in this rainstorm and head there tonight.



    Every Tuesday starting at 4pm, at the Santa Monica and Marina del Rey locations, The Counter has a $12 special where you can get 4 mini burgers and 4 beer pairings. These are not your regular mini burgers either, you can choose from a beef, turkey, chicken or veggie patty and they have a large variety of cheese, toppings, and sauces (including grilled pineapples, caramelized onion marmalade, roasted garlic aioli…yum!)

    So if you are in the mood for some burgers and beer get there tonight, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

    The Counter. http://www.thecounterburger.com/

    LaDiDaDi We Likes to Party

     This Thursday, February 11th, the W Hotel LA (Westwood) is hosting a party with Virgin America.



    Party starts at 7:00pm and there will be free ‘botanical beverages’ from Pinky Vodka served until 8:00pm. I’m sure there will be a nice long line at the bar to get the free drinks (either that or the server's trays will empty quickly) so practice your skills at ‘ordering drinks for friends’ and double/triple/quadruple fisting-it once you’ve gotten your drink order.  

    There will also be some gratis bites of food making their way around the room. 
    (Since many times these events happen when I’d normally be eating dinner, and thus starving, I’m a pro at staking out the kitchen exit from which all the servers originate to snatch up snacks first.)

    And if you’re feeling lucky – enter their drawing to win airfare and accommodations for two (compliments of Virgin and W).

    See you there!

    Whiskey Blue @ W Hotel Westwood
    930 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles
    RSVP: rsvpwlaevents@whotels.com