Top Lists

Absinthe @ The Charleston - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Jennifer Lopez & Cameron Diaz - Photo Getty Images

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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Yes, that is actually my grocery box

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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Din Tai Fung's veggie dumplings - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Photo courtesy of Parker Palm Springs

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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Street's curried mussels

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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Freddy-Smalls bruschetta - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Macarons from XT Patisserie

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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oliverio-truffle-pizza

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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Z' Tejas Veev Spa Cooler

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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Antonello's Pearfecto

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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Photo courtesy of City Tavern

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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Step inside 1886 Bar for a little St. Elmo's Fire

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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Just say yes to California wine!

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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The Misfit's fried chicken - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Magnolia's stylishly tasty FNO cupcakes

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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Photo courtesy of Phlight

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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Kit Rich & the girls working out

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 o'clock - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Chaya's $2 skewers

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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Malibu Wines birthday fun - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Photo courtesy of Fifty Licks ice cream truck

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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Stella Rossa's burrata & grapes - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Pineapple Grill's famous upside down cake

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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Locando del Lago's tasty picnic

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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L'Epicerie halibut - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Scarpetta brunch - Photo by Mar Yvette

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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Father's Office burger

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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Grill on the Alley Pear Smash

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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