Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

How to find the best holiday shopping deals

Poshmark app

Poshmark app

Do you have a long list of people you need to buy Christmas gifts for but are short on cash? Or maybe you want to get your friends and family something different this year. Or maybe you just love good holiday shopping deals (I fall in to all three of these categories!).

Then consider some of these handy websites that will help you save money and find interesting gifts.

If you’re mainly looking to save some dough, then Slickdeals and Fatwallet are two good places to start. These sites aggregate discounts and sales from all over the Internet and even feature forums where you can discuss said deals with fellow shoppers.

If you’re looking for a good deal (sometimes a very good deal) on local (most of these sites offer deals in several cities) events, dining, services and stores, then LivingSocial, Groupon, Lifebooker, Goldstar and Gilt City are great bets. Goldstar specializes in events and entertainment, such as deeply discounted tickets to concerts and musicals. But the others include discounted prices on everything from flying trapeze lessons and clay pigeon shooting to yoga classes and jewelry. There are even travel deals, with discounted hotel stays!

If you’re looking for a less expensive way to buy stuff, then shopping via the Poshmark app might just be for you. It’s basically a place to resell and buy items from individuals, but that often means getting a great deal (you can negotiate!) on gently used or never-used (look for the NWT “new with tags” or NWOT “new without tags” designations) goods. The app is meant for the buying and selling of clothing and accessories, but you’ll find other things such as cosmetics, home goods and electronics on there, too. There are even sellers trying to offload authentic luxury items — think Chanel sunglasses or Louis Vuitton handbags. I’ve had some success selling on the app and have purchased some nice pieces, including a practically new Cynthia Rowley jacket for $25.

If the idea of purchasing something from someone you’ve never met freaks you out a little, there are always the limited-time flash sale sites Gilt, Ideeli, OpenSky, Zulily, Hautelook and Rue La La. Many of these sites offer high-end clothing, accessories, shoes, and even home and food items, at a discount but only for a limited time. Zulily is specifically geared toward mothers, mothers-to-be and families, and OpenSky sells all kinds of things via curated “shops,” with recommendations from big names, such as chefs Tom Colicchio and José Andrés, tennis star Serena Williams, and actress Jennie Garth.

Do you have more recommendations for frugal shopping? Share your thoughts; I’d love to hear them!

11

12 2013

Standout sips and bites from The Churchill, plus holiday meals

10 Hour Beef Short Rib

10 Hour Beef Short Rib

The Churchill, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, has become a staple of West Third Street eating. And with Chef Bruce Kalman and mixologist Mia Sarazen now on board, both of whom launched new menus in the last few months, The Churchill is poised to make a lasting impression.

Kalman (The Misfit, Urbano Pizza Bar) is passionate about his food. On a recent visit, he insisted we try the 10 Hour Beef Short Rib (pictured above), which we were initially going to pass on as short rib has become ubiquitous on L.A. menus, but I’m glad we listened to the chef. This is a must-get dish. It’s super tender, and the braised carrots and apple lend just the right amount of sweetness.

Over at the bar, Sarazen (Harvard & Stone, Black Market, The Tasting Kitchen) has created a cocktail menu that showcases classics as well as twists. My personal favorite is the Thirsty in LA, named after blogger (and friend) Daniel Djang’s blog. It’s a well-balanced mix of Correlejo reposado tequila, Aperol and Amaro Ciociaro with a mezcal rinse. This isn’t a drink I would have normally ordered for myself, but turns out it’s now one of my new go-to drinks. It’s serious without being too serious. I could drink these all day (but I won’t)!

Thirsty in LA

Thirsty in LA

In addition to these standouts, The Churchill is offering special Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners for the holidays.

On Christmas Day, Kalman (The Misfit, Urbano Pizza Bar) will offer a three-course menu for $35 per person that includes choices of carrot, apple and ginger soup; glazed ham with figs and basil; cauliflower mashed potatoes; and Fuyu persimmon cake.

For New Year’s Eve, get a prix fixe dinner for $55 per person that includes a champagne toast, amuse bouche and three-course meal with choices including black truffle risotto and lobster thermidor. Starting at 10 p.m., The Churchill will hold a party featuring an open bar, snack buffet and champagne toast. (Regular tickets $95 for first 100 sold; $115 after that. $150 at the door. VIP packages available for groups; contact erika@the-churchill.com or call (323) 655-8384.)

Note: This meal was hosted.

Further reading:

The Churchill Ups The Game: New Cocktails By Mia Sarazen And Menu By Bruce Kalman by Gourmet Pigs

The Churchill’s New Cocktail Menu: Choose Your Own Drink Adventure by Caroline on Crack

Chef Bruce Kalman Takes Breakfast at The Churchill to New Heights by estarLA

10

12 2012

Last-minute holiday shopping guide for LA foodies

Valerie Confections SUPER CHOC-O-FOOD

Valerie Confections SUPER CHOC-O-FOOD

Still scrambling for holiday gifts? If you’re shopping for people who like food, or should like good food, then look no further than these L.A. options:

Valerie Confections: While Valerie Gordon is know for her toffees and cute-as-a-button petit fours, an interesting gift would be the SUPER CHOCO-O-FOOD, a huge block of milk chocolate with a hint of caramel loaded with dried pears, apricots, golden raisins, macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanuts. The packaging comes from Commune Design, and each color (pink, violet, aqua) corresponds to part of a triptych image found under the label. Valerie now also has teas blended by the American Tea Room just for the shop, including the Black & Blue, which was inspired by her Black & Blue jam and contains black tea from Nilgiri, blackberries, black currants, blueberries and blackberry leaves.

Kiss My Bundt Baking Academy: Chef Chrysta Wilson of Kiss My Bundt, formerly on West Third Street, is now teaching baking classes at Surfas in Culver City. The first class will be on January 15 and will focus on baking with winter citrus. And if you purchase a spot in this class before December 24, you’ll get 20 percent off. If you’ve ever had Wilson’s bundt cakes, you know they’re a treat.

Monsieur Marcel at the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax: This gourmet foods store has all kinds of delicious treats, including European chocolates, fancy vinegars and oils, flavored salts, cheeses, wine and all kinds of fun stuff. This place will have lots of variety, so you’re sure to find something for the gourmand on your lift.

20

12 2011

Be Christmas-y: Visit the gingerbread house at Fairmont San Francisco

Gingerbread house at Fairmont San Francisco

Gingerbread house at Fairmont San Francisco

Looking for some holiday cheer? The historic Fairmont San Francisco hotel once again has its larger-than-life gingerbread house on display in its lobby. If you’re in SF sometime before Jan. 1, then this is a must-see. Just try not to eat the house, mmmkay?

13

12 2011

‘Tis the season: Christmas dinner roundup

Georgio's Cucina. From Gilt City.

Georgio’s Cucina: From New York chef Gary Robins and Chris Heyman, restaurateur behind Table 8 and 8 oz. Burger Bar, comes a Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner at this new Studio City restaurant. The 7-course prix fixe ($65 per person, with a $45 wine pairing supplement; $15 children’s menu also available) will feature oysters on the half shell with prosecco gelée and black caviar, giant shrimp, big eye tuna, clams with pancetta, lobster risotto, roasted branzino and a selection of desserts.

Eva Restaurant: For a family-style dinner, hit up Eva’s prix fixe ($39 per person) on Christmas Eve to enjoy a prime rib roast, roasted organic chicken, creamed spinach, butterscotch pudding and more. Given the high quality of the food here, this meal looks like one of the best deals out there!

Gladstones Malibu: Looking for somewhere to nosh during the day? This SBE takeover is offering a Christmas Eve Dungeness crab feast ($70 per person; $30 for children 12 and younger) from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You’ll also get Caesar salad, boiled new potatoes, steamed corn, asparagus and eggnog golden raisin brioche bread pudding. There’s fun for the whole family, too — new hopscotch courses and a sandbox, as well as a coloring contest for a chance to win special holiday treats.

Whist at Viceroy Hotel: Can’t decide which day to eat out? No worries because Whist is offering its Christmas menu ($75 per person) on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You’ll start out with a smoked sturgeon salad with the option to add on foie gras torchon or raw oysters, and for the main course, choose two whole roasted meats, including a pork rack, organic turkey, prime rib and wild European turbot. There will be all kinds of sides, too, including black truffle, chestnut and pancetta risotto, and ricotta and spinach lasagna, in addition to a variety of desserts — even roasted chestnuts in a brown paper bag to go.

Oliverio at Avalon Hotel: Chef Mirko Paderno (a bit of a character, if you’ve ever met him) will be serving up some of his family’s Italian traditions on Christmas Day this year ($48 per person). These include marinated salmon in pink peppercorns with a citrus salad, a cauliflower soufflé topped with parmesan sauce, tonnarelli pasta made with crabmeat broth, and veal cheese and truffle fondue ravioli. Choose from either the roasted Mediterranean sea bass (AKA branzino) with cabbage and porcini mushrooms or the baked chicken served with artichoke and potato. Enjoy a cranberry parfait drizzled with dark chocolate sauce for dessert.

21

12 2010

Christmas dinners in L.A. and O.C.

Steak at Morels

Steak at Morels

What, you still don’t know what you’re going to eat for Christmas? Well, don’t worry — check out some of these Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals in Los Angeles and Orange County. (Note: I have not checked if these places still have available reservations, but I’m sure there will be last-minute cancellations in any case.)

Los Angeles

Christmas Eve

Marino Ristorante: This Hollywood eatery is offering a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner, a common custom in southern Italy. This 10-course feast will be offered during both lunch and dinner. The menu features traditional dishes such as Insalata di Rinforzo, a pickled cauliflower and vegetable salad that is typically eaten on Christmas Eve; Baccala Fritto and Baccala in Umido, two preparations of salt cod; and Italian dessert Souffle di Panettone.

Price: $59 per person
Address: 6001 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Reservations: (323) 466-8812 or online

Patina: This downtown mainstay will be offering a special four-course prix fixe menu featuring Maine lobster salad, a fall glazed-vegetable mosaic, foie gras ravioli, and a choice of Pennsylvania roasted duck in huckleberry jus or Colorado rack of lamb with baby artichokes. Dessert options are a chestnut Mont Blanc with French meringue or macerated raspberries with chocolate gratin and milk emulsion. Menu here.

Price: $95 per person; $25 for additional artisanal cheeses; a la carte menu also available
Address: 141 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Reservations: (213) 972-3331

More Patina Group restaurants, including Café Pinot, Pinot Bistro, Zucca Ristorante, Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse and Kendall’s, will be having special dinners for Christmas Eve, too.

Christmas Day

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro: This fancy-but-not restaurant at The Grove is offering two different meals, one at the more casual bistro with a seasonal soup or salad, choice of Chilean sea bass or filet mignon, and choice of a flourless chocolate cake or black & white chocolate mousse. The other meal will be served in the upstairs steakhouse with choice of lobster bisque or spiced butternut squash soup, choice of seared jumbo scallops or a beet and goat cheese napoleon, main courses of filet mignon and Maine lobster tail or roasted duck, and dessert of either molten chocolate cake or Mont Blanc sundaes.

Price: $35 in the bistro; $65 in the steakhouse
Address: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Reservations: (323) 965-9595

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23

12 2009

Holiday shopping/gift guide

Still working on that list of Christmas/Hanukkah gifts? Here’s a hodge podge of shopping and gift options for you to consider:

Gap slipper booties

Gap slipper booties

The Grove: I did some of my holiday shopping at The Grove earlier this week, and I saw some decent stuff at the Gap for decent prices. All necklaces were $10 and all bracelets were $4. Scarves with large flowers on them, which apparently aren’t offered on Gap’s Web site, in purple, turquoise and green were $10 (other colors were more expensive). And slipper booties, originally $29.50, were $19.99. J.Crew and Banana Republic didn’t seem to have a lot of sales going on, though there were some jewelry sales at J.Crew, and the sale rack in the back of Banana Republic was pretty full.

Royal/T: This art space and cosplay cafe that is currently hosting the latest incarnation of LudoBites also has a Winter Wonderland pop-up shop just for the holidays. The space has Christmas trees decorated with items from tokidoki, Hello Kitty, The Valley of the Dolls, Be@rbrick, and Momiji that shoppers can pick off and buy. The Hello Kitty one is really cute, I must say. There are other gift ideas in the space, too, including under the Christmas trees, which you can use to create your own customizable holiday gift boxes ranging in price from $50 to $200. And with any $20 purchase, you’ll get a hand-painted gift box for free (you can also purchase one for $5).

Maven Collective: For those of you south of the Orange Curtain, Maven Collective, a company that holds sample and pop-up sales in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and New York City, is holding just such a sale in Costa Mesa at The Boathouse (1638 Pomona Ave.) this Saturday, Dec. 19, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 20, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Expect to see clothing from Mike & Chris and B.B. Dakota, shoes from Balenciaga and Lanvin, shoes and bags from Jil Sander, and much more for up to 80 percent off retail prices. Cash and credit accepted.

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17

12 2009