Los Angeles Haunted Hayride - a MUST!

pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes
Last year I realized that some of the good old-fashioned pleasures from the East Coast are alive and well in Los Angeles. Hayrides for instance. Haunted hayrides were one of my favorite pastimes; being out in nature, the nip in the air, and the smell of woodsmoke and fear.

horse skeleton carousel

I was at first reluctant to shell out $25 for the hayride, but it was worth every penny. I'd have paid double. Off-roading through the mountains of Griffith Park and sidling up to gruesome Hollywood-grade scenes in the woods is unforgettable. Lit Christmas trees topped with decapitated heads greeted us as Silent Night played softly in the background. Circus tents were filled with maniacal clowns. Rednecks in cabins, licking their chops and calling us "fresh meat" as we rolled past. 

The Haunted Hayride was tricked out with perks that make you want to stay all night. A house of mirrors, horse skeleton carousel, costumed characters on stilts, haunted maze, a sideshow, spiced apple cider and pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes.

Happy Halloween Los Angeles!

If there are three things I can guarantee about Halloween in Los Angeles:
- girls wearing corsets, tutus and thigh-highs, claiming to be anything from a referee ("My corset is striped, duh!") to the devil ("My corset is red, duh!")
- Me pretending to live in a world where referees wear corsets
- Amazing parties
- Bulimics stashing bite-sized goodies in their purse for later
- Great costumes  
 Enjoy photos from last year's festivities!

Michael Jackson (with a white hand), me as Snooki, and Curt & Courtney
party in the hills

the city glitters below

abusive spread!
Corey Howe wins for Most Clever Costume - making a mockery of girls who feel as if EVERY costume must be slutty
 Cute couple alerts!

Top Gun's Maverick and Kelly McGillis
Red Riding Hood & Big Bad Wolf
Hugh Hefner & Playmate

Katy Perry &......Katy Perry


Do you suffer from Political Correctness? Heal thyself with Frog Island!

Well it's about time people in Los Angeles are cured of their political correctness. All that useless guilt made it hard to crack a joke around here. I don't know if it was 9/11 or the nationwide movement to try and replace the word "black" with "African American" while still being called "white," but our stooped, apologetic selves were highly unattractive. But the other day, I saw people spilling out of Pantages Theatre after seeing Book of Mormon. They were blissful. Among the cackles I heard, "It was so wrong, I loved it!" and "Ha! AIDS jokes, can you believe it?!"

Now that we've lightened up, it's time to celebrate. No, you won't get tickets to Book of Mormon. Trust me. It's time Frog Island got the limelight. This troupe has been abusing me for years, and I've loved every minute of it! Tomorrow, Oct 30th at 10/9 central, the Viral Video Showdown on the Syfy Channel begins its run, and guess what happens a few episodes into the season? Frog Island will descend upon the masses!

They were chosen for good reason. To Frog Island, nothing is sacred. Laughing at ourselves is the only way to stop us from taking everything so seriously, and they are happy to help. A Hasidic Jew pimp promoting Morrie's Discount Ho's, racist cops that jump for joy when a Rodney King hologram appears and a Slave Hair infomercial. Although nothing beats their Pacino & Pacino talent series.

Check them out on the SyFy Channel tomorrow night, and prepare to be abused!


Is the Victorian Rose B&B haunted?

Nona and Richard have a good thing going. They packed up and left L.A. to make their Ventura bed and breakfast, The Victorian Rose, an unforgettable experience for Angelenos and other travelers. 
It was once a wedding chapel in the 1800's. With vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows from Germany and a pipe organ, it was inevitable that people would claim the place is haunted. It didn't deter me, (quite the opposite, in fact) although I discovered countless websites claiming someone had fallen off the choir balcony to their death, after which strange things took place.

bedroom in the old choir loft
the old choir balcony, overlooking the bed and breakfast
Then again, those websites are rife with typos, which made it all seem less credible. I wasn't about to give up bedrock waterfall showers, wine and cheese at 5 pm and an elaborate breakfast on fine china. Then I spoke to Nona and Richard, and they confirmed that someone did indeed fall of the choir balcony (creepy!) and it was a child (creepier!) - not to mention that the Travel Channel covered the place in Haunted Hotels. Thankfully, the kid lived. And this place is a true landmark!

view from the choir balcony
angels watching over you, literally
choir balcony from main room
the showers
my friends John Will and Ariana Drehsler
the main room
wine and cheese the night before

The Obama Tour of L.A.

homemade Snickers ice cream bar - to die for
I'd like to start by saying that I went to Fig & Olive way before the president did. I realize this isn't a cultural accomplishment, since he lives in D.C. and what the hell kind of accomplishment is that, anyway?

Second, I went to Tavern without knowing that the president dined here. It just so happens that the places I pick to eat are favorites among the leaders of the free world.

And these places are worth mentioning! Both are airy with muted colors and indoor trees. The food is delicious. Some photos of Tavern are below.


Fall color in Los Angeles!

Any East Coast transplant will understand how exciting this is for us!


Photobooth Pro - Giving the finger to vanity

Vanity doesn't only handicap those made to walk the red carpet. At parties where people know there will be press or at least shutterbug friends who are a little too Facebook-happy, they fret over how they look. So much so, that even with an open bar (!) it can ruin their evening.
How many times have you heard:

"Um, can you take another one? I look fat here."

"Um, can I look at the pic on your camera? If I don't like it you HAVE to delete it."

"Um, please don't tag me on Facebook."

"Um, that was my bad side."

"Um, hold on hold on hold on...I wasn't ready."

"Um, can we take a few, just in case?"

It always starts with  an "Um."

Photobooth Pro allows people to toss inhibitions aside and give the finger to vanity. A collection of RIDONCULOUS hats, boas and shades will assure the most vain and insecure that they can just calm the hell down and have a good time in the spacious photo booth.

To top it off, every person gets a copy of the photos right there on site, so if necessary, they can stare at themselves all night without being locked in the bathroom. What's more, is that online photos are available just days later, so they can crop, recolor, and Photoshop the photos into ("more realistic") versions of themselves before posting to Facebook.


The night I wished I were Mexican

Kim Burke-Connors and I

Dios mio! If there is anyone in Los Angeles who has not yet been to Red O, get yourself together, man! And for anyone out there who has issues with pricey Mexican food, well that's just racist. Not all Mexican food is cheap to produce. The mole and spice-rubbed roasts were as intricate as any Parisian dish I've had. That place made me wish I were Mexican.

Red O was such an experience, that I forgot to photograph my food. And this girl takes photos of all kinds of business. I did however, save the tasting menu from a recent dinner party I attended there. Read it and weep. And then eat. And if you don't, that's racist. 


The Real Best Burger in Los Angeles

The Bowery vs. Father's Office

The Bowery has a devoted following on Yelp, and fans claim that the place "STILL" has the best burger in Los Angeles. In other words, they do not appreciate being trumped by all the hype Father's Office has built up.

The Bowery Burger was tasty, and I appreciated the choice of toppings, such as jalapenos and onion rings. The cooks mean business; that place has the best grilled cheese and tomato soup in Los Angeles, and they have plenty of competition there.

But then I tried Father's Office. One bite, and I pitied vegetarians the world over. I was all, Can I get a witness? on that thing. For the haters, let me address the three chief complaints people have about Father's Office:

Complaint #1) You can't alter your burger order.

Explanation: Why mess with perfection?

Of note: The top-grade beef is a little fatty and red (blood and fat give meat its flavor, you ill-informed George Foreman Grill-loving freaks) the bread is French (need I say more?) and it's piled with bleu cheese, arugula and caramelized onions.

Complaint #2) There's always such a long line.

Explanation: Please see explanation above.

Complaint #3) There are too many hipsters.

Explanation: I agree. Those bastards. 

Father's Office wins, hands down.