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. Some of our favorite LA restaurants and bars are offering affordable deals that give back to those who need it most. Check out these places around Los Angeles (and Orange County) where you can have fun while embracing the holiday spirit.

Takami Sushi Restaurant – Downtown LA
There really are no words for the generosity of Takami. When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan earlier this year, Takami donated 100% of all their profits to the Red Cross Japanese Relief Fund. And once again, this Japanese restaurant on the 21st floor of the Wilshire Building is giving back now through Christmas Eve. Take one unwrapped toy of $10 value (or more) and you’ll receive $25 off your lunch or dinner bill. (Small print: one toy per couple, with minimum $50 purchase.)  Last year, the Takami toy drive generated two truckloads of goodies and the staff hopes to do even more this year.

Photo courtesy of City Sip

City Sip: wine & cheese, if you please

City Sip Wine Bar – Echo Park
Fresh from a makeover, this popular Eastside wine bar is once again joining forces with the Green Beacon Foundation for the holiday installation of Food For Thought, a seasonal supper that sponsors the Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles, a non-profit community development corporation that has initiated the Veggie Voucher Program. (Translation: This program allows low-income shoppers to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the growers at the Echo Park Farmer’s Market.) The meal, cutely called “Tis The Seasonal Supper,” includes a four-course meal created by Gloria Felix of Reservoir Restaurant along with wine pairings by City Sip’s Nicole Daddio. This special dinner is Sunday, December 11 @ 7pm. It’s $68 per person, but 100% of the proceeds go to the cause.

Lola’s on Fairfax – West Hollywood
This famed hangout is best known as the home of the apple martini, but don’t hold that against it. There’s a new ‘tini in town and you’re really gonna love the generous spirit. (Yes, you can take that both ways. Clever, huh?) For the month of December, Lola’s has teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to create the Iris Martini, a $15 concoction of Grey Goose, triple sec, a splash of lemonade, fresh cranberry juice and a smidgen of cranberry sauce. 100% of all sales from this drink will go to the One Drop Foundation, circus founder Guy Laliberte’s charity. You can also score discounted tickets to IRIS with any brunch or dinner purchase. |

The Edison – Downtown LA
Every year during the holidays, this landmark subterranean speakeasy does its part to get you liquored up while celebrating the spirit of giving. From now until Saturday, December 18, take a new unwrapped toy and you’ll get a complimentary Edison 77, a swirl of Applejack, prosecco, lemon and honey syrup. (The name pays tribute to Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.) Last year, the Edison collected thousands of toys for the Midnight Mission in Downtown LA and hopes to reach its goal of 3,000 gifts this year. Can’t think of a better reason to hit the bar every night until then. Can you? |

Macarons from XT Patisserie

Mac daddy: Macarons from XT Patisserie

Pita Jungle – Pasadena
Forget the pita. If you have a sweet tooth and want to be a sweetie to the needy, then you simply must check out the annual “Eat My Blog” bake sale going on 10am-4pm at Pita Jungle in Pasadena on Saturday, December 10. The blogger-hosted event promises to be better than ever with 50+ local bloggers and restaurants raising much needed funds for the LA Regional Food Bank. So whether you feel like coconut milk tres leches cakes from Xoia in Echo Park or macarons from XT Patisserie, you’re bound to get a good feed while doing a good deed. |

Don the Beachcomber – Huntington Beach
Every Sunday in December and January from 3pm-6pm is when you can party by the beach and share the love. Legendary reggae bassist Fully Fullwood is joined each week by a variety of musicians (many of whom have played with the likes of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Soul Syndicate and Tracy Chapman) who encourage everyone to bring whatever they can to help end youth homelessness: clothing, diapers, baby wipes, back packs, blankets, sheets, school supplies, grooming products … it’s all donated to several area organizations. So is the $5 admission fee. | www.reggaeforareason

Posch Restaurant – Irvine
If you’re gonna do happy hour, you may as well do it with some real holiday cheer. Wednesday, December 14 from 6:30pm-10pm, Someone Cares Soup Kitchen launches its fundraising campaign with a happy hour party that includes a performance from Australian celebrity artist “Gilli Moon,” spoken word lyricist J. Walker and the LA Lakers girls. There’s also going to be more than 60 silent auction items, lots of complimentary appetizers and music all night for just a $20 donation. The goal is to raise $100,000 (!) to help feed the hungry and homeless. |


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