Kika Bites

Fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, and ride upon a streak of lightning.
Test cookies from the kitchen of Short Cake (Taken with instagram)

Test cookies from the kitchen of Short Cake (Taken with instagram)

lunch, with a side of supplements (Taken with instagram)

lunch, with a side of supplements (Taken with instagram)

Get Stranded at Desert Nights

Despite it being another warm winter night, we spent last Wednesday inside the Cactus Lounge at The Standard, Hollywood for a curated evening featuring some of L.A.’s best emerging artists. This free Wednesday night series has taken a refreshing approach as local artists showcase their music in live, acoustic sets.

The vibe was warm and intimate, with a jam-in-a-musician’s-living-room vibe, topped off with the ability to order food from The Standard’s 24/7 Restaurant as you sat and listened. And it’s no surprise that with past participants like Mia Doi Todd, Neal Casal and Daniel Brummel, a healthy group of music fans showed up to sip cocktails and chow down on Southern comfort food as they watched the super-intimate concert.

First up was Lemon Sun, who are a versatile local pop group with a sound that bundles all of your favorite aspects of the ’60s without having that forced retro feel. They were then followed by the ever-handsome Henry Wolfe, an L.A.-based singer/songwriter who performed twangy, funky and soulful songs, and rounding out the night was The Sweet Hurt. Headed by Wendy Wang and featuring one of our favorite artists, Priscilla Ahn, on back-up vocals, The Sweet Hurt’s sound is ridiculously pleasant, charismatic and completely refreshing.

The next trio of performances is tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 26) from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and features The Chances, headed by Michael Runion, who plays a mellow grungy indie pop reminiscent of Nirvana meets The Beatles; Alex Greenwald, who’s best known as the lead singer of Phantom Planet; and Jack Diamond who’ll come packing a trunk load of songs influences by ’50s and ’60s rock, pop and soul. 

Order a cocktail, some bites, sit back and enjoy local music at the next Desert Nights – definitely not a bad way to spend a night on The Sunset Strip.

Francis and the Lights Kick Off The Strip’s Best Nighttime Pool Party

The Skybar pool deck may seem like an unlikely music venue for most, but a crowd of well-mannered, indie music devotees were packed poolside on Jan. 14 to enjoy a great night of music with New York-based ’80s throwback band Francis And The Lights as part of Mondrian Sessions live music series.

Francis And The Lights, who recently toured with pals MGMT, jump-started the 2011 series appropriately with songs like “In a Limousine” and “Get in the Car.” The crowd was into it – swaying along to every note. Mojitos, an unseasonably hot winter night and sweeping views of the city added to the swanky late night pool party scene.

The series continues Friday, Feb. 11 when L.A. natives Fool’s Gold perform, weaving together Western pop aesthetics with African rhymes and melodies. That performance is then followed by Ted Leo, Dum Dum Girls, Lykke Li and more!

Check our the Mondrian’s Facebook page for more info: http://on.fb.me/e0mlvn

Mondrian Sessions is a partnership between the hotel and IAMSOUND records to provide free, live performances from some of the indie scene’s hottest acts. RSVP is required to attend, so be sure to send in your name – like right now – so you’ll be able to sip and dance the night away (RSVP to mondrianLAsessions@morganshotelgroup.com). Are you ballin’? Call for table reservations, 323.848.6027. All Mondrian Sessions are for those 21 years of age or older (sorry kiddies).

Night + Market Lets You Discover Thailand, Without the Checked Baggage Fee

Last Thursday, Dec. 2, Night + Market debuted on The Sunset Strip to a packed, and very vibrant, crowd. The newly opened Thai street food restaurant from owner and chef Kris Yenbamroong is the sister to an already standing Talesai, which opened in 1982 by his parents. Yenbamroong took the helm of the Sunset Strip staple a few years ago, and when the space next door to Talesai became available, he knew it would be the ideal location for a new venture.

Night + Market is a late night communal dining spot boasting tapas style plates based on Thai street food items. The menu features favorites like crispy catfish, pork stew and fried chicken wings, all accompanied by a selection of beers from Southeast Asia and wine that can be ordered in “taste” size as well as by the glass or bottle.

The décor is very minimal, with white walls and large communal wooden tables in the center and several smaller tables along the edges nestled to large windows overlooking The Sunset Strip. The space also features a projector displaying old subtitled Thai movies against one wall, and the opposite wall is currently home to some of Yenbamroong’s own photography, although we’ve been told that the art will rotate regularly. Also regularly changing will be the menu, but it will always have between 10 and 15 items.

"For me, it’s not enough that Night + Market serve the best Thai street food around – that has to be a given,” noted Yenbamroong. “I want people to show up as much for the music on the stereo, the curated art exhibitions, the girl punk bands that will be playing in the back room, and at the core – the fact that they might meet their future husband or wife eating at one of the communal tables."

Currently, Night + Market is open Thursday through Sunday, from 6 p.m. – midnight, and is exploring the possibilities of expanding to additional days and hours to accommodate stragglers from the various venues on the block.

Yenbamroong hopes to open a back patio for dining at Night + Market and is planning to use the patio to grow their own herbs for the restaurant, ala the recently opened Eveleigh restaurant located down the boulevard.

For Night + Market’s current menu, please visit Nightmarket.Blogspot.com. And for regular updates on Night + Market, you can “like” them on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter @NtMRKT. Night + Market is located at 9041 Sunset Boulevard.

Add Prix Fixe to Your Vocabulary: dineLA Restaurant Week is Here

Get your appetites ready – it’s time for DineLA Restaurant Week! The sixth season runs Jan. 23-28 and Jan. 30-Feb. 4, with specially-priced three-course prix fixe lunches and dinners at restaurants throughout West Hollywood and Los Angeles County. This year more than 300 restaurants across the city have chosen to partake, which has landed this newest installment the distinction of being the largest restaurant week in the country, yowza!

Before we get to the good stuff, and as a reminder for most, here’s how it all works:

Almost exactly as the last go-around, restaurants around town will offer special prix fixe lunch and dinner sets. Lunch menus are priced at $16, $22 or $28, while dinner costs $26, $34 or $44. Of course, the pricier the meal option, the more likely you’ll land some foie gras, shaved truffle or some other fancy-shmancy ingredient situation.

So now it’s time to get out and try some restaurants that have been on your to dine list. However, rather than make you sift through each and every participating restaurant, we combed through some of our favorite establishments (guess which iconic boulevard they happen to be located on) to provide you with some exclusive content to peruse.

If you haven’t yet found your way to RH at the Andaz, BLT Steak, BOA or Katana… or simply want to savor cooking from first-time participants like NIGHT + MARKET, you’ll find direct routes to what they’re cooking and how to make reservations, hopefully helping you get the leap on your post-holiday food over-saturation.

Check out our guide to The Sunset Strip’s list of restaurant week’s menus below!

DineLA Restaurant Week

Jan. 23-28 & Jan. 30-Feb. 4
All prices exclude alcohol, tax and gratuity. 
L = Lunch / D = Dinner

Asia De Cuba: (L,D)
BLT Steak: (D)
BOA Steakhouse: (L)
Boxwood Café: (L)
Gordon Ramsey at The London West Hollywood: (D)
Katana: (D)
Ketchup: (D)
Night + Market: (D)
Nonna of Italy: (L, D)
RH: (L, D)
Saddle Ranch: (L, D)
Olive Kitchen: (L, D)

Tweeps Brave the Rain for Festive Tweetcrawl IV

Despite the weather outside being quite frightful, TweetCrawl VI took over The Sunset Strip on Saturday, Dec. 18. Tweeps, dawned with their tackiest Holiday sweaters, started the evening’s events at XIV, with half-priced cocktails and a wonderful array of giveaways (including having one of those cocktails named after you)! They then hoofed their way up The Strip to the next stops, including The Den of Hollywood, The Standard, RH Bar at the Andaz hotel and culminating at The Comedy Store, tweeting with delight along the way.

The Cat Club, Viper Room and Key Club hosted after parties, where free entrance and libations awaited the late night celebrations.

A big thank you to all of the participating businesses, as well as the die-hard Twitter-verse who braved rainpocalypse 2010 to attend The Strip’s holiday party.

Holiday Shopping Mall-Ternatives at Nicole Miller and Dan Deutch Optical

We attended events at two high-profile Sunset Strip boutiques this month that proved you can find holiday gifts without the shopping drama. 

We visited Nicole Miller Boutique in Sunset Plaza on Dec. 15 for an event that allowed guests to shop while supporting philanthropy all at once. The Nicole Miller Indego Africa opening reception included complimentary wine from Naked Grape, hors d’oeuvres from Sunset Strip staple Cravings and a live band that set the mood for an already festive and lively evening, but the real star of the show was the collection of special hand-woven bracelets created as part of Nicole Miller’s partnership with Indego Africa, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Rwandan women achieve literacy and business skills.

In addition to the bracelets, other items such as hand-woven baskets and wine coasters were on display and are available for purchase. Prices start at $15 for a set of four wine coasters, $20 for a set of three of the specialty bracelets and $45 for a hand-crafted yoga bag. A portion of the proceeds benefits Indego Africa.

A day after the Nicole Miller Indego Africa reception, we headed over to 41-year-old L.A. eyewear boutique Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook for a La Loop trunk show. La Loop makes eyewear necklaces that let you to carry your glasses and sunglasses around your neck in very fashion-forward ways. We met with La Loop designer Elizabeth Faraut, who was on-hand to showcase her entire collection – consisting of a variety of styles, available in a range of prices from $22 to $500.

Faraut’s newest collection is inspired by Grace Kelly, broaches and the 1950s. In one example, a sterling silver gardenia detail is positioned on the side of the necklace in much the same way as a broach would be placed on a jacket. Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook on Sunset Boulevard regularly stocks La Loop.

Additionally, Dan Deutsch has several sale sections for women and men, priced in the range of $120 - $225 (see the above pictures for the various styles currently offered).

For more inforamtion about the boutiques, follow them on Twitter: @nicolemillernyc @dandeutschoo or fan at www.Facebook.com/NicoleMiller andwww.Facebook.com/DanDeutschOO.

The London West Hollywood Brings Year-Round Cheer to the Strip

We recently stopped by The London Bar to partake in their “London After Five” happy hour, which takes place every Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. You can enjoy a menu of $5 cocktails and appetizers, which rotates monthly. The current cocktails include holiday-inspired libations with tastes for the sweet tooth, such as a pecan pie martini (Absolut Vodka Vanilla, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, crushed toasted pecan), eggnog Alexander (eggnog, Xanté cognac) and a BBC (Captain Morgan rum, basil, raspberries and a splash of champagne). 

Small bar bites are also offered at $5 each, including mini turkey sliders with a cranberry relish, skewered chicken with chestnuts and a peanut sauce, and our personal favorites, curried vegetable turnovers. You can also take advantage of the $5 valet parking Monday through Friday, but we highly suggest stopping by on either Tuesday, Thursday or Friday nights when you can also enjoy live jazz performances from 6-9 p.m.

If the bar scene isn’t for you, and you want to get outside and take a gander at the city lights with that special someone, cozy up by the rooftop fire pit for stunning views of the Los Angeles skyline while enjoying a special menu of desserts and hot beverages. The fireside bites menu includes pumpkin soufflé with gingerbread, marshmallow and chocolate truffles with graham cracker sauce, peanut brittle cookies and baked brie cheese for two. Sure to warm any Scrooge, the rooftop cocktails include spiked fall cider, choco-mint toddy (Kahlua Mocha, Bailey’s chocolate mint, whipped cream and semi sweet chocolate shavings), and hot buttered apple cider.

And if that isn’t enough, The London is also offering up “12 Days of Desserts,” a holiday-inspired dessert menu showcasing a new dessert each day leading up to Christmas. This year, the daily dessert represents a specific country’s holiday favorite, like lizner torte with hazelnut and raspberry jam (Austria) and layered almond cake with honey (Russia).

Grab your passport and indulge in this week’s “12 Days” desserts, offered at $14 each:
Dec. 20: Sweet tamales with mangoes and dulce de leche (Mexico).
Dec. 21: Rice pudding with currants, raisins and cinnamon (Denmark).
Dec. 22: Candy cane soufflé with peppermint and chocolate ice cream (Switzerland).
Dec. 23: Baked meringue snowman (Belgium).
Dec. 24: Apple pie with caramelized apples and vanilla bean ice cream (United States).
Dec. 25: Stollen with rum, raisin and dried fruits (Germany).

For more information about The London West Hollywood’s drink specials and events, visitwww.facebook.com/thelondonwesthollywood or follow them @thelondonweho.