Top Lists

LA Guide to Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

LA Guide to Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Even if you don't have a lofty title like Dame Judi Dench or Sir Ben Kingsley, there's no reason you can't live it up like an English noble. That's because the Queen's Diamond Jubilee has arrived, marking the 60-year anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign on the throne. So what exactly does all this have to do with us here in Los Angeles? Try 15-cent afternoon tea, fabulous garden parties and yes, English food truck fare. Cheerio!
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Street Scene: Franklin Avenue

Street Scene: Franklin Avenue

Sitting in the shadow of the towering Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre is where you’ll find Franklin Avenue, the epicenter of Franklin Village, one of LA’s more newly recognized neighborhoods. Wedged between Argyle Avenue on the west (right off the 101 freeway) and Van Ness Avenue on the east, the Franklin strip is one of those areas that really comes alive after dark. I recently spent an evening here with a fellow writer to check out this zone where cool kids, celebs and comics come out to play. Here’s my list of places both old and new that are worth a visit.
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Ask Mar: Best BBQ in Los Angeles

Ask Mar: Best BBQ in Los Angeles

Now that Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, the official season for outdoor grilling and cold beer swilling has arrived. And of course, you think outdoor eating, you think barbecue. So it was only a matter of time before someone emailed me for a few BBQ recommendations. Read on for a few of my personal 'cue favorites.
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Thursdays: Twilight at the Club

Thursdays: Twilight at the Club

We all know that Thursday has been the new Friday for years now, so there's no reason to put off until Friday what you can absolutely do on Thursday. Enter the return of Twilight at the Club, a Thursday night party at Griffith Park where cool local bands play, drinks and food abound and people willingly dress up like Carlston from "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air."
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Running Adventures in Ventura

Running Adventures in Ventura

Screeeech!!! Wait! Stop! It's banana hammocks run amuck! Okay, so these greybeards in top hats have nothing to do with the outdoor running activities in Ventura, California, but really, is there a more inspiring photo to get you moving? If you're ready to lace up something other than your mankini (like, say, your sneakers) there's no better place to do it than Ventura, that coastal town located between Malibu and Santa Barbara with miles of trails, roads and beachfront to run (and walk) on. On your mark, get set, go!
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Tasty Margaritas & Chips in LA

Tasty Margaritas & Chips in LA

Arriba, arriba! National Margarita Day and National Tortilla Chip Day have come and gone (February 22 and 24, respectively), but let's face it--those fauxlidays were just there to keep us going until Cinco de Mayo. And now that May 5 (aka everyone's favorite excuse to consume an excessive amount of margaritas and tortilla chips) is just around the corner, it's the perfect time to find out where to indulge around town. Read on for some of my favorites spots to get the tasty power couple.
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5 Small New Restaurants in LA

5 Small New Restaurants in LA

Los Angeles might be a city that espouses ‘bigger is better’ at almost every turn, but one thing I’ve noticed lately is the number of small restaurants opening up around town. Nice as it is to eat somewhere with lofty ceilings, a great outdoor patio and enough space that you’re not worried you're going to knock over your neighbor's wine glass, small spaces can be very charming, ultra cozy and well, just plain cute. Whether it’s by design or simply a coincidence, here are six restaurants in LA that prove bigger doesn’t mean better.
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Go Green: 10 Spots for Absinthe

Go Green: 10 Spots for Absinthe

Don’t call it a comeback; it’s been here for years. Although most of us associate absinthe--that anise-flavored, green-hued spirit--with the poets and artists of late 19th- and early 20th-century France, the fabled “green fairy” can be found at most bars nowadays. So whether you’re looking to emulate Rimbaud, Wilde, Van Gogh and Hemingway or you just want to get your drink on, here are a few places in LA where you can raise a glass o' green.
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Best Oscar Moments of 2012

Best Oscar Moments of 2012

Another year of Academy Awards has come and gone and even though the whole affair is usually kinda boring and way too long, nobody seems to be able to talk about anything else. At least for the next few days anyway. So I figured I may as well throw in my top 10 favorite moments from the 2012 Oscars. From a few memorable acceptance speeches to an eye-catching leggy gesture, here's what kept me watching on Hollywood's biggest night.
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All Hail Kale: Where to Go Green

All Hail Kale: Where to Go Green

Move over spinach, there’s a new green on the scene and its name is kale. Yes, it’s been around for practically ever, but with all the recent attention, kale really has become the latest superfood superstar. Not only is this leafy member of the cabbage family loaded with vitamins K, C and A and decreases the risk of many types of cancers. So if you want to get in on the action, check out these places (as well as a DIY version) for kale that will have you going back for more.
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Budget-Friendly Food Finds

Budget-Friendly Food Finds

The New Year has arrived and with it the resolution to spend less money. But as someone who loves going out for a fine meal on the regular, it can be a resolution that’s a little hard to swallow. Or at least that’s what you might think at first. Los Angeles is a pricey place to live, duh, but there are plenty of places where you can get your grub on (and do it well) without spending mucho bucks. Here are some of my favorite budget-friendly food finds in LA that will help keep you on a deliciously frugal path.
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Ask Mar: Weekend Getaways

Ask Mar: Weekend Getaways

As someone who’s always out and about, I’m always asked to name my favorite restaurants, the hottest new place to get a drink or some secret spot to impress a visiting guest. Hence, the “Ask Mar” series where I share these Q&A’s with the rest of you. It's been a while since I've posted one of these, but I thought today's query was a pretty good one. A colleague contacted me looking for local getaway ideas that don't require a plane ticket. Here’s what I had to say …
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New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles

New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles

A Mayan Apocalypse replete with fire dancers, go-go boys and warrior sacrifices? A Moulin Rouge cabaret that will transport you to 19th century Paris in the middle of LA? An extravagant ball with Cleopatra herself? Yes, kids. It's New Year's Eve in Los Angeles. So if you didn't get enough role-playing at Halloween or just want to send off 2011 with a bang, here's where to go for New Year's Eve in Los Angeles.
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10 New Restaurants in LA

10 New Restaurants in LA

The great thing about LA and its mythical allure is that even when the world seems to be falling apart there is never any shortage of dreams. Case in point: The fact that new restaurants just keep showing up every day like so many would-be stars. And being that we are in the what’s-hot-now capital of the world, here are 10 new restaurants in Los Angeles that are making a buzz.
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Giving Back: Restaurants with Holiday Spirit

Giving Back: Restaurants with Holiday Spirit

Family, friends and warm, fuzzy feelings. It's what the holidays are all about. This time of year also reminds us that there are a lot of people out there who aren't so fortunate and could really use our help. And one of the easiest ways you can actually make a difference is by eating, drinking and being merry. Seriously.
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Best Pizza in Los Angeles

Best Pizza in Los Angeles

The best pizza in LA? Ask someone where to find the best pizza in LA and the answers are so passionate, so philosophical, so varied you'd think you were asking about the very meaning of life. Pizza purists might say the best pizza can only be found at a pie-only joint that devotes its entire kitchen to the creation of the doughy cheesy stuff. In which case, purist I am not. That's because it is my strong opinion that some of the best pizza, at least in Los Angeles, is found at restaurants that just so happen to do great 'za. Here are just 5 places where I have found my own version of the best pizza in Los Angeles.
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Liquid Diet: 12 Skinny Cocktails

Liquid Diet: 12 Skinny Cocktails

Summer is the obvious time when people think about losing weight, cutting calories and finally getting that bikini bod. (So shallow you are.) But just because sweater weather has officially arrived doesn’t mean you still couldn’t trim off a few calories here and there. And because not drinking is not an option, more places around Los Angeles and Orange County are offering skinny cocktails. Here are 12 drinks (without artificial ingredients) that will help you live it up while keeping your calorie count down.
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20 Fall Cocktails To Warm You Up

20 Fall Cocktails To Warm You Up

Ah, fall. A season marked by crisp air, turning leaves, longer nights and lots of sweaters. That may be true for the rest of the country, but here in SoCal we’ll settle for the longer nights. Because even though it sucks when you’re stuck at work long after the sun has gone down, it also means there are more after-dark drinking hours. (Gotta look on the bright side!) From smoky sweet sensations to seasonally ripe concoctions, here are 20 fall cocktails ready to warm you up around Los Angeles and Orange County.
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Oktoberfest Events in LA

Oktoberfest Events in LA

Steins brimming with beer. Chicks baring boobs in dirndls. Grown men dancing in lederhosen. And lots of sausage and strudel. Yes, folks, Oktoberfest is here. Which, in the grand American tradition of celebrating foreign holidays, means one thing: It's time to booze it up! The biggest event might be going on in Munich, but there are plenty of places around LA, OC and the IE that are getting German with it. So raise a glass and get ready to oompah your way through the month.
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Strange Brew: 8 Beer Cocktails

Strange Brew: 8 Beer Cocktails

Lagers and stouts and ales, oh my! With the whole mixology craze reaching critical mass, it makes sense that the realm of cocktails has at once moved beyond and returned back to basics. Namely, with beer. For some, wine is too snobby and fruity cocktails are too girly. So it was only a matter of time before the humble brew got its own moment in the spotlight. Here are a few places to find beer cocktails in Los Angeles and beyond.
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Sip & Swirl: California Wine Month

Sip & Swirl: California Wine Month

Did you know that September is California Wine Month? As the producer of more than 90 percent of all wine made in the United States, California is one of the first places that comes to mind when we think about wine. ("Sideways" and "Bottle Shock," anyone?) Which means it's time to try some of our state's fine vintages. Here are a few places around the LA area that are celebrating California Wine Month with special deals.
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Ask Mar: Gluten-Free Santa Monica

Ask Mar: Gluten-Free Santa Monica

As someone who’s always out and about, I’m constantly asked to name my favorite restaurants, the hottest new place to get a drink or some secret spot to impress a visiting guest. Hence, the "Ask Mar" series where I share these Q&A's with the rest of ya'll to hopefully help you out, too. Today I had a colleague contact me, looking for gluten-free restaurants near the Santa Monica Pier. Here's what I had to say ...
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Fashion’s Night Out in Los Angeles

Fashion’s Night Out in Los Angeles

Fashion's Night Out is a global event aimed to promote shopping and help spur business ... with a stylish twist, of course. For one night only on Thursday, September 8, stores in cities from Manhattan to Milan and London to Los Angeles stay open late and host special events to get people spending while having a good time. Read on for some noteworthy Fashion's Night Out Los Angeles events going on from 6pm to 10pm, unless otherwise noted.
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Ask Mar: Where to Eat in Whittier

Ask Mar: Where to Eat in Whittier

As someone who's always out and about, I’m constantly asked to name my favorite restaurants, the hottest of-the-moment spot or what places an out-of-town friend should not miss. I was recently asked about where to eat in Whittier, a city that's somewhat familiar to me since many of my family members live there. Below are a few of my expanded answers.
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10 Free Things to Do in LA

10 Free Things to Do in LA

There's no such thing as a free lunch. But there is such a thing as a free workout, free concerts and lots of other free things to do in Los Angeles, especially during the summer. From a weekend workout with an A-list trainer to fun outdoor music shows, here are 10 places to get out and have fun without spending any money.
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Beer Gardens: Not Just German

Beer Gardens: Not Just German

Sprechen ze Deutsche? Well, you no longer have to. The o.g. biergarten may have originated centuries ago in Germany, but today's beer gardens have gone multi-culti with international brews that span Asia to North America. Get ready to brush up on your cross-continental drinking skills.
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Dining Out: 6 Foodie Finds Under $5

Dining Out: 6 Foodie Finds Under $5

I love a fine fancy meal as much as the next person, but I have a hard time dropping $150 on a meal sometimes no matter how fabulous it is. Fortunately, being on a budget in LA doesn't mean a life of bad fast food. I recently spilled the beans on some of my favorite cheap eats to the ladies at Broke Girl's Guide, a free daily email that helps us live large while spending small.
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Ask Mar: LA Birthday Restaurants

Ask Mar: LA Birthday Restaurants

Hi Mar, How are you? I hope you are having a wonderful day :-) My husband's bday is tomorrow and I am desperate to find a fun, nice (not too expensive, think mozzarella pizzeria) place to host a dinner for 10-12 people. I know you are the Restaurant QUEEN and am hoping you can point me in the right direction. HELP!
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Weird Ice Cream Flavors

Weird Ice Cream Flavors

Lick, lick, hooray! If you're tired of the same old vanilla ice cream experience, you're in luck. With summer still here, it's time to get in on some of the weirdest flavors you've never heard of. From an ice cream in North Carolina that's so damn hot you have to sign a waiver just to taste it to foie gras and Jesus Juice in San Francisco, check out these freaky frozen flavor bombs.
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Ask Mar: Best Santa Monica Eats

Ask Mar: Best Santa Monica Eats

As an official food & fun expert (don't you love that?), I'm always asked to name my favorite restaurant, the hottest of-the-moment spot or what places an out-of-town friend should not miss. So I figured why not post some of these emails, tweets and Facebook messages with my answers. Hence, the new Marpop series, "Ask Mar."
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10 Reasons to Love Kapalua

10 Reasons to Love Kapalua

Ah, Hawaii. The gorgeous island chain out in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles away from everything, everyone, yet there it is. I recently headed over the Pacific to the crystalline waters of Hawaii for a little rest, relaxation and, of course, the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival. While it takes well more than five days to really know a place (even if it is an island), it is a perfect bite-sized way to get acquainted with Kapalua, the gorgeous coastal resort on Maui's northwest shore, and its closest neighboring towns. I guarantee it's a place you won't soon forget. Aloha!
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10 Summertime Picnics To Go

10 Summertime Picnics To Go

Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind. Okay ... forget the barftastic Will Smith song. (Wouldn't want you to lose your appetite.) The season of outdoor dining has arrived and a tasty picnic is just the way to do it. Whether you're in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or Napa Valley, here are some delicious ideas for prepared picnics to go.
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12 Best Dishes in LA Right Now

12 Best Dishes in LA Right Now

Looking for the best bites at LA's hottest restaurants? Much like an album, most restaurants serve up a few great hits that stand out from the rest of the menu and can be enjoyed over and over again. Whether it's the perfectly crisped piece of thin-crust pizza or a delicious preparation of vegetables (there's a lot of green food on this list), find out where to eat and what to order so you can get the best dishes being served in Los Angeles right now. Ready, set, go!
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Weekend Warrior: Brunch in LA

Weekend Warrior: Brunch in LA

Ah, brunch. Arguably the most important meal of the week, it's when we say good-bye to a busy workweek filled with hurried lunches and usher in lazy mornings and a relaxing meal spent with friends, family, good food and maybe even a few surprises. Whether you're looking for an all-you-can-eat deal, brunch with the Beatles, a few hula dancers with your danish, or a French Riviera escape without leaving LA, here are some great ideas for brunch in Los Angeles.
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Best Hamburgers in Los Angeles

Best Hamburgers in Los Angeles

Where's the beef? In case you missed the arbitrary-holiday-of-the-month memo, May is National Burger Month. (Bet you're glad May has 31 days.) There are a million "Best Burger" lists out there, and since it's all just a matter of taste anyway, here's my own hit list of where to find a great burger around Los Angeles. Get ready for a few surprises.
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Spring Cocktails in LA & OC

Spring Cocktails in LA & OC

Spring has sprung and that means it’s time to drink in the season with a fresh new colorful cocktail. Say goodbye to the hot toddies and pumpkin-tinis of the winter months and get ready for lots (and lots) of blood orange, fresh berries, a flower or two, and yes, even arugula.
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Where To Go For Waffles in LA

Where To Go For Waffles in LA

International Waffle Day might be over (it was March 25) and National Waffle Day (August 24) is still far away, but who needs an excuse to celebrate a wacky holiday when the subject matter is so tasty? Read on for some places you might want to consider when you're in the mood for deliciously crisp battercake.
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Medium Bare: Strip Club Cuisine

Medium Bare: Strip Club Cuisine

Looking for some topless sirloin? How about a strip steak? Or, wait ... you'd settle for just any piece of meat, well done, wouldn't you? Alright, alright. Enough with the punny one-liners. If you're anything like me, your idea of going out to a nice dinner doesn't include a cadre of naked women slithering around a pole.
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Get Melted: Grilled Cheese Week!

Get Melted: Grilled Cheese Week!

The countdown to the Grilled Cheese Invitational is on. The big event happens Saturday, April 23 at Los Angeles Center Studios and if last year's blowout is any indication of how this year's will fare, it's going to be out of control! To prepare, event sponsor Tillamook Cheese has partnered with six Los Angeles and Orange County restaurants that are offering their own grilled cheese melts.
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