Daniel Merriam and his six siblings grew up in Naples, Maine, a rural town in the southwestern part of the state. The Merriam home was filled with a variety of musical instruments and Daniel’s mother was fond of throwing open the windows while she sang, thereby serenading the neighborhood. He deeply admired his father, Fremont, a structural engineer, noting he was “so methodical and efficient.” “My father always enjoyed showing me and my siblings very strange and unique things he had discovered.” Some of these things would end up in the basement of their summer cottage on Mousam Lake. “Our cellar was filled with aquariums filled with pollywogs, sea monkeys and turtles collected from a nearby cranberry bog.” It was about this time that Daniel discovered the joy of art for himself, spending blissful hours alone in his room, until “I had soon drawn enough fanciful images to wallpaper my entire room.”
While we know it is up to us to maintain old holiday traditions…or create new ones…the fact is that most of us are busy people who can barely wrap our heads around preparing our workday lunches much less something more festive and special. Thankfully, restaurants in our hometowns are set up to help us fill in the blanks of holiday feasting. Whether we’re looking to do a full-on catered party at home or the office, scouting out a few solid foundation dishes for our potluck, need to come up with something special to bring a host or hostess who has invited us somewhere, or grab something special and seasonal after a shopping trip or a ride through the L.A. Zoo’s annual light spectacular.
There’s always much to be said about a good old-fashioned sit-down holiday dinner with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie presented on huge plates and platters. However, there’s also a definite seasonal spirit within a well-planned pot-luck dinner. Everybody gets to try a little of this and a little of that. Each food item stirs conversation. And pretty much everything that comes through the door doesn’t quite fit a culinary genre associated with December.
In a sea of hipster hamburger hangouts dotting LA metro, Highland Park's Fusion Burgers stands out because of its simplicity in both its décor and menu. Under the loving guidance of its founders, the Muñoz family, Fusion Burgers is, by design, an honest-to-goodness burger spot with “honest” and “goodness” having real meaning in the way they do things.
We arrived at 11am on a weekday to find the place was packed. And there were more customers peacefully waiting for their turn at a seat inside, or outside on one of the two tranquil porches. The only “noise” came from people quietly conversing at their respective tables, and the sounds of the espresso machines doing their work. It all blissfully matched the vibe of this laid back Los Feliz neighborhood.
If you live in or around Old Pasadena, many of your distant friends or relatives may be jealous of your living so close to All India Cafe. Having just returned from India myself, I can gladly say the food they provide holds up to their “all India” promise.
We began with some of their most popular appetizers, the Sev Puri. This is definitely a must try! Complete with onions, potatoes and assorted chutneys atop crisp, homemade wafers adorned with chickpea crisp noodles and garnished with cilantro, the Sev Puri will start your meal humming on the right track. It’s cool, refreshing, and bite-sized! It is truly a perfect appetizer. We also indulged in their Samosas, commonly revered as the most popular snack throughout India, and for good reason. They are vegetarian turnovers stuffed with potatoes, peas, spices and herbs, and are served with delicious tamarind chutney. A perfectly crisped exterior surrounding a perfectly warm, comfort food-like interior provided for a truly Indian taste that will get your palate revved up for more.
Chinese food is arguably one of the most popular cuisines in California. Many of us have it at least once a week, while some of us stray from it, considering it a guilty pleasure. For that classic Chinese flavor with a contemporary twist, New Moon restaurant in Montrose serves up original entrées that’ll make your taste buds dance. For that classic Chinese flavor with a contemporary twist, New Moon restaurant in Montrose serves up original entrées that’ll make your taste buds dance.
“I opened with every penny I had and all my savings. Thanks to my wife and her support, I was able to build what we have today.”
That’s Raphael Berry talking about the beginnings of his iconic restaurant, Berri’s Café, which he opened in 1995. Flash forward twenty years, where today, Berri’s Café serves between six to eight hundred diners a day. Raphael vividly remembers, “I used to be there 17 hours a day. I got so busy I forgot everything else.”
Well, not really. While he was busy growing Berri’s Café (along with raising the three children who came along), Raphael and his wife Tensha had an idea for a “gourmet to go, fast casual” culinary concept.
The waning fall and early winter months means that our edible guilty pleasures don’t have to be quite so guilty anymore; especially when it comes to sweets. Nothing quite says “Season’s Greetings” like a warm apple pie, or a serving of maple glazed, candied yams.
We’ve rounded up some of our fashionably favorite boutiques to ensure a most wonderful gift we know someone special will love and wear for many seasons to come. Oh, and don’t forget to get a little something for yourself, Santa won’t mind!
Holiday parties are on, and vintage is in. What’s a fashionista to do but head over to Great Labels Designer Resale in Studio City and Santa Monica, where luxury abounds for the girl on the hunt for fashion treasures from the world’s top designers. Peruse evening wear and little black dresses destined for a new year’s eve on the town. Or you just may find that Hermès scarf or Chanel bag for your BFF. Owner Andrea Waters cleans out the closets of A-list celebs, while you get to reap the rewards of her fabulous finds. For over a decade, fashion fanatics have relied on Andrea for guilt-free shopping sprees. Starting at an early age, Andrea knew how to spot a trend, even when finances were tight. After a dream job at Calvin Klein and an unexpected turn of events led her to a job at a consignment shop, Andrea envisioned exactly what she wanted and brought her vision to life. Now the rest of us can reap the rewards of an upscale shopping experience, with surprisingly downscale price tags.
This is the time of year we get to play dress up and look our prettiest, with up dos, jewel-toned nails, and our best party dresses. We need our skin to glow and our eyes to sparkle. It’s also the time of year where temptation is everywhere, when boxes of chocolate appear on our desks at work, along with pot lucks, pies, candy, and barrels of caramel popcorn. Yes, you can make a resolution to get back in shape after January 1, but why not start now? We've got the people and places to help you stay on track and look fabulous for the holidays now.
The definition of saxum, from the Latin, is “stone”. The definition of triumvirate, also from the Latin, is “a group or association of three.” To that end, the triumvirate of Pasadena’s forthcoming Saxum Tile Design Studio consists of partners Charis Mansur, Rich Mortensen and Greg Hess. They boast an invaluable combination of skill sets which they utilize in both residential and commercial projects.
Here in the Southland we are blessed to have a veritable cornucopia of one of a kind retailers at our fingertips, all year round. During the holiday season, this is even more something to be grateful for, when the pressure is on to find the perfect gift for family, friends and business associates. Our local brick and mortar stores in the Valley and Pasadena allow us to relax and re-experience the pleasure of shopping. Read on to see all the wonderfulness we have found for you.
Aldik Home has been bringing silk floral beauty and more to LA since 1952, when it was founded by Richard Gold and his partner. Richard’s son Larry Gold now runs the Van Nuys business that has been recognized by Los Angeles Magazine’s Best of LA for its trompe l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) flora.
I am sitting with the convivial, sophisticated master jeweler and gemologist, Cosimo “Cos” Altobelli in his sunlit Burbank office. He has graciously agreed to share his and his family’s fascinating history with Boulevard’s readers.
In a season of giving, we have to remember the greatest gift we can offer - that of a welcoming and inviting home. After all, your home is where memories are shared and new ones created. It's the season to make a lasting impression, etched fondly in memory and setting the canvas for a good year to come.
Finding the perfect gift is never a simple endeavor, and while it truly is the thought that counts, there’s nothing like the look of genuine surprise and glee in someone’s eyes when they’re presented with something undeniably special, and completely out of the ordinary. When it comes to choosing a unique gift, half the battle is finding a store that gives you plenty of unique options. Old Pasadena’s repertoire of special retailers gives you that in spades! Explore the plethora of independent boutiques, all nestled in a nostalgically historic downtown setting, and all of them found only in Old Pas.
Eagle Rock’s Sir Michael’s Party Rentals’ roots are in event transportation services, but they’ve gone on to build a strong customer base through their flawlessly executed weddings and corporate events. Nearly twenty years on, their reputation is golden when it comes to thinking about the details even the most thorough and experienced party host can overlook. While many people plan holiday parties for friends, family and work colleagues, founder Michael Nogueira points out that – when image is everything – you leave the party’s actual staging to the pros.
The Village of Toluca Lake, established by General George Forman back in 1923, is a wondrous world unto itself. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from major power players Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, Walt Disney, ABC and NBC Television, it boasts a treasure trove of dining, shopping, entertainment, fashion and beauty options for your pleasure.
Join sisters Anna and Elsa, along with their silly snowman Olaf, Kristoff and Sven, as they take you on a frozen journey to discover the most magical power of all, which is—spoiler alert—love! Disney on Ice presents FROZEN. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie you may also encounter special guest appearances from some of your other favorite Disney characters. This Academy Award-winning fairytale on ice comes to the Staples Center December 9-14th, and to the Honda Center in Anaheim December 16-21st.
There have been many movie incarnations of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel 'Frankenstein' over the years, including the 1931 Universal classic starring Boris Karloff, the 1994 Kenneth Branagh-directed version, 2014's 'I, Frankenstein' starring Aaron Eckhart, and now this November's 'Victor Frankenstein', starring James McAvoy as the titular mad scientist who uses electricity to reanimate a stitched-together corpse. The film, which opens in theaters everywhere on November 25, is told from the perspective of Frankenstein's assistant, Igor, who is played by Daniel Radcliffe. It is up to Igor to bring Victor back from the brink of madness and save him from his own monstrous creation in the PG-13 movie directed by Paul McGuigan and written by Max Landis. The trailer promises an action-packed, effects-heavy spectacle as Victor and Igor try to dodge a detective who is investigating missing body parts. After McAvoy utters the immortal line "It's alive," Radcliffe asks, "Do you realize how significant this is?" McAvoy replies, "Oh, I have an inkling."
Since that epic conclusion there have been three 'Star Wars' prequels that, although financially successful, were not as beloved by fans. All that is likely to change on December 18, 2015 when 'Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens' opens and breaks all kinds of box office records. Set 30 years after the conclusion of 'Return of the Jedi,' the J.J. Abrams-directed sequel brings back familiar players like Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill and merges them with fresh faces like Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac. The latter plays Poe Dameron, a Resistance X-wing pilot. At a 'Star Wars' press conference, Isaac described his character as "the best freaking pilot in the galaxy... He's been sent on a mission by a certain princess, and he ends up coming up across Finn [played by Boyega], and their fates are forever intertwined."