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11 Excellent Spots For The Best Poke in Los Angeles

September 30, 2015 by Mallory Carra

No one can argue the poké trend in Los Angeles is in full swing. Restaurants exclusively selling the dish — and its many build-your-own varieties — have been emerging and flourishing all over the city.

Recently, Chef Eric Park’s Hero Shop in Downtown L.A. and the beloved Black Hogg in Silver Lake both closed to make way for two Ohana Poké Co. shops at their respective locations.  From Venice Beach and Santa Monica to Pasadena and Carson, eateries featuring poké seem to be everywhere you look.

With that in mind, allow us to submit this compilation of some of the best poké shops in Los Angeles (in no particular order) you should totally check out to satisfy your craving for fresh fish.

Enjoy!

1. Wiki Poki

Wikis are made by the people, and so it is with Wiki Poki poké bowls. Stop by this shop in Koreatown to build-your-own poké bowl with a starting price of $8.50. The generous portions include a base of white rice, brown rice, or salad and your choice of seafood, which includes tuna (of course) and shrimp.

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2. Sweetfin Poké

Close to the Third Street Promenade, but not too close, this poké shop lets you choose from some yummy signature bowls or you can select ingredients for your own custom bowl. If tuna isn’t your thing, Sweetfin also serves salmon, albacore, tofu, and veggies. Wash it all down with some of the tastiest coconut water Santa Monica has to offer.

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3. Seasalt Fish Grill

As the story goes, this spot opened in Downtown L.A. with poké on its menu and the dish quickly became its No. 1 draw. Now, it’s also served at the Seasalt Fish Grill in Santa Monica.. You can get fresh sesame soyed ahi, sesame seeds, and green onions with tortilla chips, on top of a salad, or — if you’re truly crazy about poké — you can get it by the pound.

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4. Poké Etc.

Tucked in the back of Angelito’s Market in Carson, Ofelia Shively’s shop serves up authentic Hawaiian poké flavored with oyster sauce, wasabi, kimchee, spicy or limu. You can get your fresh fish by the pound at this Filipino market or, if you need your poké fix right now, you can get a half-pound in a bowl for $6.95. All the poké is shown off in a glass case, just like a deli.

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5. Poké-Poké

I knew poké was become a big deal once it made its way to this spot on the Venice Boardwalk among all the colorful characters along the beach. As Poké-Poké’s website says, “poké is not merely seasoned ahi, it’s a lifestyle.” Just walk right up the window, which is located across from Muscle Beach, and order up one of five styles with or without rice: Original, spicy tuna, wasabi, Aloha, and veggie.

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6. Jus Poké in Redondo

Owners Stefanie Honda and Jeff Snow received the inspiration for this Redondo Beach eatery from Honda’s Hawaiian parents, with whom she grew up making the dish. All bowls come with either white or brown rice, along with your choice of poké style (original, spicy, shoyu, wasabi, and California roll) and a side dish (seaweed salad, edamame, spicy edamame, Hawaiian chips, pickled cucumber). And it’s poké for a good cause, too — Honda and Snow donate a portion of all proceeds to the Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter, which helps promote the rehabilitation of local beaches and waterways.

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7. Spinfish Poké House

This Pasadena spot is tucked away in the Mills Place alley off Colorado Boulevard, but its traditional and creative fusion varieties of the tuna dish help it stand out from the crowd. Or you can choose to make your own poké bowl. Out of the signature bowls, which have generous portions, the Aloha 808 (ogo limu, Hawaiian sea salt, chili flake, green onion, and sweet onion) and the Shaka (masago, panko, and green onion) bowls seem to be the most popular.

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8. Mainland Poké Shop

The Hawaiian trend has even invaded the very delicious row of restaurants on 3rd Street in Beverly Grove, which includes Jones on Third, Magnolia Bakery, Sushi Roku, The Little Door, and more. Mainland Poké Shop joins those eateries with its gourmet spin on poké bowls. Like many other places, you can choose from a menu of bowls or make your own using tuna, salmon, albacore, or chef’s choice.

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9. Big Daddy’s Poké Shack

Formerly the Big Daddy Shack, Big Daddy’s now has a big appetite for poké in Venice Beach — and other bowls, too. You can build your own, or go with some of the ones already on the menu: Sesame-crusted ahi tuna, salt n’ pepper grilled salmon, chicken teriyaki, veggie kale, and many more.

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Big Daddy's Poke Shack

Credit: Big Daddy’s Poke Shack on Facebook

10. Poké Bar

This fish dish is so trendy that it’s made it to the Sunset Strip in WeHo. Poke Bar is located inside a Sunset Boulevard strip mall and features some original bowls — quinoa blend poke and a gluten-free bowl, to name a few. The toppings selection is equally as creative — if you’ve ever wanted crispy garlie, chia, quinoa, or Macadamia nuts in your poke bowl, this is definitely your place

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11. Poké N Roll

This Glendale shop is all about variety when it comes to its poké bowls. Poké N Roll has a huge selection of toppings (which include smelt egg, cream cheese, “100% Parmesan cheese,” and jalapeno), and sauces (wasabi mayo, eel sauce, and soy mustard, to name a few) to mix with your custom bowl. The seafood selection is even more impressive, offering more than just tuna — you can get a bowl of shrimp, scallop, and imitation crab, too.

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Where do you love to get poké in Los Angeles? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Food

14 L.A. Tea Spots Every Boba Lover Has Gotta Try

September 14, 2015 by Mallory Carra

After a long day in the Los Angeles sun, I can’t help but crave a good ol’ boba tea. Sipping on those colorful variety of tasty flavors paired with delicious tapioca pearls (optional, of course) through an extra thick straw always cools me off and brightens my day.

Luckily, there are tons of awesome places in L.A. to indulge in tons of boba (a.k.a. bubble tea) with an wide selection that’ll leave you never bored — this city’s got alcoholic boba, horchata boba, and even a tea shop were you can order via drive through.

So without further introduction, and in no particular order, here are our favorites.

[RELATED14 Spots For The Best Bottomless Mimosa Brunches in Los Angeles]

1. Boba 7

Tucked in the back of Downtown Thai restaurant Soi 7 is this so very unique boba joint that dares to go boozy with its drinks. Boba 7 (a.k.a. the “labobatory”) boasts such delicious alcohol-infused favorites as Green Tea Heineken (using the whole bottle of beer), Applejito (an apple-flavored mojito), Mango Fett (a “mangorita” with mango flavored soju), and many others. You can even build your own boba adventure with alcohol, or without. And yes, they have really delicious virgin drinks, too, such as horchata boba and Boba Graham (with Teddy Grahams!).

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2. Boba Tea Lounge

If the sweetness from the tapioca pearls isn’t enough for you, this Covina cafe serves its teas with the pearls as well as Kit Kat, Twix, Butterfinger, Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms, and so many more in its signature boba shakes. They’re totally worth the drive to the San Gabriel Valley. For the less adventurous, Boba Tea Lounge also as your standard milk teas and some really yummy sandwiches on the menu.

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3. Cafe 70 Degrees

This Culver City cafe offers black, oolong, green, white, herbal, flower, and fruit teas for your sipping pleasure in several different ways: Milk tea, icy slush, icy snow, or even blended boba mocha blast. If you take your drink to stay, Cafe 70 Degrees has lots of classic board games like Connect 4 to enjoy with your friends — and the food’s pretty good, too.

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4. Boba Avenue Express

In a hurry? Buy your milk tea bobas without getting out of your car at the Arcadia location of the Boba Avenue brand, which now has three locations in Southern California. The Baldwin Avenue drive thru also serves coffee and provides soy milk substitutes. So convenient.

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5. Boba Truck

This tea shop on wheels has an impressive menu of flavors, teas, combos and it doesn’t limit your drink to just tapioca pearls. Boba Truck gives you the choice of including boba, mini boba, lychee jelly, and mango jelly, really mixing it up for something different. What I’ve always liked about the staff is that they’re willing to adjust the sweetness to get it just right for you — now that’s good service.

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6. Urth Cafe

I always used to go to this quintessential L.A. eatery for its delicious savory salads, but then I discovered what many other Angelenos already know: Urth’s boba drinks are amazing. You can get green tea (my personal favorite) and milk teas. The teas are perfect to pair with the amazing food at any of its four locations around Los Angeles.

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7. Ozero Tea & Desserts

If you like to smell the roses and drink ’em, too, this Little Tokyo spot is the place to be. Ozero serves yogurt drinks (called “Yo-Yo”), shaved ice “snowies,” milk teas, and “fluffies” in a variety of flavors. So what’s a “fluffy”? Apparently, it’s made with a creamier, fluffier milk that has patrons coming back again and again. “Our take on what a tea latte should be,” says the menu.

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8. Coco Fresh Tea and Juice

I still remember being shocked at the menu at Coco — pudding in boba, really? Oh, but it’s totally a tasty thing at this drink shop’s locations all over the world. The milk tea with boba, pudding, and grass jelly is known as the “3 Guys,” but you could also get any of those three things separately with your teas, as well. But why not opt for pudding? You only live once.

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9. Half & Half

We have this San Gabriel Valley tea house to thank for making the original hot honey boba and iced milk drinks as Half & Half declares at its eight locations around the L.A. area. You could go with their classics, or you could choose one of their many milk smoothies (coffee, wintermelon, taro, red bean matcha, and milk candy among the options), tea lattes, hot grass jelly, and old fashioned black tea.

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A little afternoon boba is just what the doctor ordered. #sgv #mydayinla #montereypark #teatime #losangeles

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10. I Love Sweetea

You may think of Southern sweet tea when you see the name of this place, but this Mid-City cafe serves way more than just iced teas. Drinks like red velvet cupcake snow tea, slushes, snow, and fruit tea flavors are served in “hugs” (small) and “kisses” (large) sizes. Too cute. Supposedly, you can get a free upgrade to “kisses” if you check in on Yelp.

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11. Bon Bon Tea House

Get your boba on up in Northridge at Bon Bon Tea House, where you can get milky drinks with honey boba, snowy milk, egg pudding, lychee jelly, and so many more with endless flavor options. Word is you’ll get a free upgrade to the “power” size if you check in on Facebook.

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12. Factory Tea Bar

Need an energy boost, but don’t want to turn to coffee? Factory Tea Bar in San Gabriel has got you covered. Their “Energy Up” drinks blend kumquat, lychee, apple, or kiwi with Redbull, which will be sure to give you wings with amazing flavor. Factory Tea Bar also offers milk teas, flavored milks, blended yogurt drinks, and sour drinks. The snacks and desserts look pretty epic as well.

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13. Bon Appetea Cafe

The Alhambra cafe offers a comprehensive food and drink menu, which includes milk teas (Hokkaido, Caramel, Rose, Lavender and more), flavor teas, slushies, yogurt drinks, those trendy potted plant teas, blended juices, and coffees. Options for toppings include honey boba, egg pudding, grass jelly, crystal jelly, aloe vera, konjac, green bean, and red bean. Drink up!

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14. It’s Boba Time

With a name that’ll ensure it’s the answer to anyone who asks what time it is, the Koreatown haunt is a favorite among Angelenos and boasts lines out the door to prove it. Hot and cold drinks fill the menu, which features milk teas (taro, Thai, honeydew, and red bean among the flavors), iced teas (pomegranate, kiwi green, orange passion), shaved snow and ice, frappes, shakes, and so much more.

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Where do you love to Boba in Los Angeles? Let us know your favorite spots in the comments below!

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Food

12 Awesome Places to Eat in Culver City You Definitely Gotta Try at Least Once

September 8, 2015 by Mallory Carra

If you’re down to hang out on the westside of Los Angeles, chances are you or your friends will pitch a place in Culver City. And why not? The revitalized downtown area has lots of hotspots for food and drink, some easy-to-use parking garages, plus the nearby Sony lot gives you that cool Hollywood feel.

But it’s not just downtown that has foodies swooning. The New York Times has praised Culver City as “Los Angeles’s newest stylish neighborhood, a magnet for lovers of the arts, good food and culture.”

To that end, we’ve prepped a list of some of the best restaurants and food spots in the Culver City area to consider for  your next foodie adventure in Los Angeles.

Below (in no particular order) is our top 12.

1. Wildcraft

Take your Italian food game to a whole other level at Wildcraft. The Downtown Culver City tavern serves up gourmet red, white, and carne pizzas, along with a variety of decadent pasta dishes. In addition to yummy eats, the restaurant hosts a “scrappy hour” (Monday-Friday 4- 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 4-6 p.m.), during which kitchen scraps are used to inspire new cocktails — and you can try ’em for $7, plus other happy hour eats.

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2. Meet in Paris

Avez-vous faim? (Are you hungry?) This delightful French bistro in downtown boasts a hearty brunch menu, All-You-Can-Eat Mussels on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 – 9:30 p.m., and happy hour everyday from 3 – 6 p.m. In addition to the mighty mussels, Meet in Paris’ menu also features steak frites (steak and fries), fromages (cheese), and Paris classiques like Croque Madame and Crepe Bretonne.

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3. Humble Potato

Don’t let the name fool you. I once went in here expecting a whole menu of mashed, baked, and loaded potatoes, but it’s actually all about the burgers — juicy, delicious, and tripped out burgers and hot dogs with Japanese flavor. You can keep it simple with the Humbaga (which is recommended for first timers) or go hard with the Battle Royale burger.

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4. ChocoVivo

If you’ve ever dreamed of a world of chocolate, this Washington Blvd spot will come close to making it come true. ChocoVivo serves up all chocolate, all the time in the form of hot chocolate, frozen chocolate, chocolate affogato, mochas, and just simply milk and cookies. For an added treat, they offer homemade organic vegan tamales Wednesdays through Sundays. Chocolate and tamales? Sounds like heaven.

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5. Father’s Office

When I first moved to LA, one of my old friends swore that Father’s Office had the best burger in the city. I was skeptical, since I’ve always been partial to In-N-Out burger, but once I tried the Helms Bakery gastropub’s juicy Office Burger, I was totally blown away. It’s a must-eat for any L.A. burger fan. Pair your burger with one (or more) of the many beers they have on tap. Chef Sang Yoon’s other venture Lukshon is right next door.

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6. Lukshon

Asian fusion never tasted so good. Located next door to Father’s Office in the Helms Bakery complex, Chef Sang Yoon’s tasty and generous South Asian-inspired dishes will have you going home with a very satisfied full belly of delicious Hawaiian butterfish, spicy chicken pops, lobster roll banh mi, and more.

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7. Copenhagen Pastry

Culver’s very first Danish pastry shop has residents dreaming about the Kringle, a delicious flaky pastry filled with almond paste and topped with sugar and almond flakes. It’s the most popular of the goodies available at Copenhagen Pastry, but their selection also includes the Copenhagen line (“Sunshine caught in a pastry,” according to the menu), the Nugat Crown, and raspberry macaroons, to name a few.

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8. Bucato

Cell phone photos and flash photography aren’t allowed at this Helms Bakery eatery, so all of your attention will be free to savor the incredible pasta they have to offer. The menu changes often, so be sure to check Bucato’s Instagram account for the latest daily menu for lunch and dinner.

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9. Coolhaus

This ice creamery’s legendary cookie and ice cream sandwiches are available on Coolhaus trucks in L.A., New York City, and Dallas, along with the brand’s brick-and-mortar location on Washington Blvd. Check out unique and cool ice cream flavors like avocado sea salt, Cuban cigar (smoky caramel, salt, and coffee), fried chicken and waffles, cream cheese and rye, potato latke and apple sauce, and so many more. A vast variety of cookies (some gluetn-free) are also available to put yummy ice cream between.

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10. Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars

Cool off with some unique cones and popsicles (a.k.a. paletas) at this Sepulveda Boulevard spot. Flavors include horchata, coffee, smoked milk, chili mango, and scalded milk with cactus, among others. LA Weekly named Mateo’s as one of LA’s 10 best places to indulge in paletas, so get ready for a treat.

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11. Samosa House and Bharat Bazaar

This eatery and market on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue has fast and delicious Indian cuisine that won’t break the bank, but will satisfy your stomach. Indulge in samosas, dosas, and combination plates, which allow you to select up to three portions of main dishes and includes brown or white rice, naan or chapati, and raita.

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12. n/naka

It takes about three months to get a reservation this unmarked kaiseki restaurant on Overland Avenue, but oh boy, it’s worth the wait! Once you do get through the door, Chef Niki Nakayama presents a modern kaiseki tasting menu that has blown patrons away with its taste and elegance. And yes, there’s a vegetarian option — as well as optional wine pairing — available. While you await your reservation, check out Nakayama’s episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix for a behind-the-scenes look at n/naka.

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What do you consider to be the best places to eat in Culver City? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

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Food

14 Spots For The Best Bottomless Mimosa Brunches in Los Angeles

September 1, 2015 by Mallory Carra

Staying out late, sleeping in, and relaxing after a long week — there are so many things to love about the weekend. But I can’t forget one of the best: Indulging in a delicious bottomless mimosa brunch on Saturdays and/or Sundays.

The word “brunch” has been in the lexicon since 1895, but the meal and the act of getting a bottomless mimosa to go along with it is more popular than ever. I mean, who wouldn’t want omelets, frittatas, biscuits and gravy, avocado toast, and some bubbly to make the weekend complete?

L.A. is certainly filled with lots of amazing bottomless mimosa (and other booze) brunch deals, but where to start?

Well, in no particular order, here are some of the ones you’ve absolutely have to try (and be sure to let us know in the comments about your favorites too!).

Mo brunch, mo betta. Labor Day Weekend means three days of brunch at A-Frame, so we better see your face at least once.

A photo posted by A-Frame Restaurant (@aframela) on

1. A-Frame

What could be better than bottomless mimosas during brunch? The Hawaii-inspired Culver City restaurant serves up all-you-can drink mimosas, Bloody Marys, micheladas, and Hite beer for $15 as long as you purchase a brunch entree (Double Kimcheeseburger, anyone?) or indulge in all-you-can eat pancakes for $15. The stacks you can choose from are buttermilk, LilKoi butter, banana macadamia nut with whipped cream, P.O.G. (pineapple, orange, and guava), and buttermilk fried chicken — but you can only choose one per order.

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2. Overland Cafe

This Palms spot is beloved by many locals for its unlimited champagne brunch for $6.99 on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. But such amazingness does come with some rules you must follow: 1. You pay for the orange juice separately, 2. You need to purchase a yummy entree at regular, and 3. There’s a two-hour limit. Drink up and don’t waste a second.

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3. The Anchor

Ready, set, drink — you get 90 minutes to enjoy bottomless mimosas, soju Bloody Marys, and micheladas for $14 at this Venice eatery on Main Street. Brunch lasts from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on weekends. Pair your boozy drink with The Anchor’s famous truffle lobster roll, which will surely make your weekend.

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4. Littlefork

In the heart of Hollywood, Littlefork offers unlimited mimosas, Bloody Marys, Bloody Larrys (made with bourbon), and punch for the price of $16 on the condition that you purchase an entree. Many would steer you in the direction of the delicious and delightful maple eggs, which is eggs and bacon served in cute little egg shells.

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5. Barbrix

You can order bottomless mimosas for $8 with the purchase of an entree that costs $12 or more at this Silverlake wine bar. Make sure you make a reservation before you go get your drink on, because the wait here can be an hour or longer for weekend brunch.

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6. The Must

Tired of the the same ol’ mimosa? Trade orange juice for raspberry or mango sorbet paired with bubbly champagne (a.k.a. sparklers) for this downtown haunt’s bottomless deal for a very cool cocktail. Weekend brunch lasts from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and serves up fare like their signature Cholo fried rice.

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7. Wirsthaus

This German pub gives you two options for unlimited brunch booze: Bottomless mimosas for $12 or you can minus the OJ and go for bottomless champagne for $9. Pair it with the La Brea spot’s breakfast burritos, breakfast schnitzel, Bratwurst scrambled, sautéed Barvarian meatloaf, and more dishes that’ll turn your weekend from the ‘wirst’ to the best (had to). Weekend brunch lasts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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8. The Church Key

This lovely Sunset Strip restaurant boasts a delectable weekend brunch with $13 bottomless mimosas. While you’re sipping on the bubbly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can also order deep-fried French toast, “Toad in the Hole” Croque Madame, eggs any style, The Church Key’s famously delicious Brioche donuts with brown-butter glaze and many more.

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9. Meet In Paris

If you can’t get to Paris, at least come to Culver City on the weekend for this French bistro’s bottomless champagne, Bellini, and Kir Royal deal for $17 per person — or bottomless mimosas for $18 per person. You can also fill your stomach with delicious omlettes or go for a “La Formule du Matin” prixe fixe breakfast for $15 per person. Brunch spans from opening until 3 p.m.

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10. Eat This

This Hollywood eatery encourages you to eat up for weekend brunch — and drink (responsibly). Bottomless mimosas are $15 per person for two hours and their menu emphasizes that no sharing is allowed and don’t order starting at 3 p.m. (when brunch is over on Saturdays and nearing its end on Sundays). If you prefer some limited bubbly, Eat This also serves mimosas by the glass.

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11. Off Vine

Situated in a cute craftsman house in Hollywood offers bottomless mimosas and champagne for $16.95 and unlimited Bloody Marys for $18.95 during weekend brunch. As for food, Off Vine’s menu serves up Cinnamon bunletts, breakfast pasta, veggie burritos, and more.

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12. Local Table [Closed]

Reservations are recommended for this downtown spot’s Sake Marys and bottomless mimosas made with fresh pressed orange juice for $12 with the purchase of an entree. Brunch menu dishes are made with organic local ingredients from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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13. Joe’s Restaurant [Closed]

As part of the Abbot Kinney eatery’s libation menu, unlimited mimosas and hibiscus cocktails are $14 per person. Weekend brunch dishes include peach french toast, avocado garbanzo hummus toast, green chili and turkey chorizo breakfast burrito, and more.

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14. Berlin Bistro

Located in Downtown Long Beach, unlimited mimosas are available for $20 per person, as long as it’s ordered with any breakfast or brunch entree. From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, brunch dishes include Berlin’s specialty bowls: The Rustic Bowl (two poached eggs, braised kale and spinach, red and white quinoa, charred heirloom tomatoes, grilled tomato, prosciutto slices, grilled sourdough) and the Berlin Bowl (large bowl with hash browns, scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon strips, cheddar jack cheese, buttermilk biscuits, country gravy).

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Have any favorite bottom mimosa brunch spots we left off the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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Cool Spots

13 Fun Places to Hang Out in L.A. Where Parking Doesn’t Totally Suck

June 30, 2015 by Mallory Carra

As an Angeleno I’ve come to terms with an irrefutable truth I know I can never change: traffic is inevitable.

Therefore the No. 1 question on my mind any time I consider going anywhere isn’t “will there be traffic?” rather it’s “how’s the parking?”

Maybe I’m the exception, but I’ve come to loathe any place with street parking ruled by permits and I’ve learned to greatly appreciate locations that boast a big, free lot with plenty of spot to park in. Of course, the latter are like mythical unicorns in Los Angeles.

I should note that I don’t believe you should ever let trouble figuring out where to put your car stop you from experiencing the awesomeness that this city has to offer. It’s 2015 – there are definitely many ways around frustrating parking situations (ahem, Uber, Lyft, carpooling, and LA’s ever-expanding Metro, to name a few) and not everywhere in Los Angeles is an absolute parking nightmare.

That said, below I’ve listed some fun places to hang out in L.A. that’ll most likely have a parking spot ready for you, along with a good time.

And of course if you know any other L.A. places where parking isn’t a pain (and you’re willing to share your secrets) leave your suggestions in the comments!

[RELATED: 57 Fun & Free Things to do in L.A. Every Angeleno Should Try Once]

Greystone Mansion in Los Angeles

Greystone Mansion. Credit: Amatullah Guyot

1. Greystone Mansion

The Greystone Mansion boasts excellent views of Los Angeles coupled with a spectacular exterior garden and park which is open to the public for free during regular hours year round. Oh yeah, and a sizable, FREE, parking lot which, unless their is a scheduled event taking place, usually offers ample, hassle-free parking.

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2. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

If you’re looking for a bit of peaceful nature in the city, this 401-acre park on South La Cienega Boulevard has waterfalls, a Japanese garden, duck ponds, a hike with a great view of Los Angeles, and free parking on weekdays. On weekends, be prepared to pay $6 to enter the recreation area, but even then the sprawling urban oasis has plenty of spots for cars.

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3. Westside Pavilion Mall

This was Cher’s favorite mall in the classic teen movie Clueless – and perhaps it’s because the Pico Boulevard shopping complex offers free parking for three whole hours. Seriously. On a bustling boulevard where you could be circling the streets countless times looking for a spot, Westside Pavilion saves the day with its glorious free parking garage. Catch a movie at Landmark Theaters or get a drink at Westside Tavern in the mall and your free three hours extends to a no-cost five hours with validation.

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4. Griffith Park (Mostly)

The great thing about Griffith Park is that parking is universally free. Admittedly, parking near the Griffith Observatory is usually a big pain in the neck (those crowds…). And yet there are so many options for parking as your hub to access the park, from The Ranger Station, the Baseball Field, the Merry Go Round, the Bronson Canyon Lot (where you can check out the bat caves or the hike to the Hollywood hike), or even on the western edge of Griffith where you can park above the reservoir in a residential neighborhood and trek up to the Wisdom Tree.

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View of DTLA from Griffith Park

A Griffith Park hike. Credit: Mitch Barrie via flickr

5. Downtown Culver City

Not only does this revitalized area have so much to do, but Culver City also has so many places to park! The downtown area has a bunch of parking garages that offer free parking for up to two hours (each additional hour is $1). The rest of the city has lots of street parking, a huge Metro station parking lot, and decent sized lot in the Helms Bakery complex (home of Father’s Office and Lukshon). The only time I’ve ever had an issue parking in Culver is on Tuesdays during the Culver City Farmers Market, which is when the garages usually fill to capacity.

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6. Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock House in Hollywood

When I lived on the Eastside, I stumbled upon this park by accident and used to come here to sort out my thoughts, because luckily, I never had to think too hard about parking. Barnsdall has a small lot on the street level and more parking as you make your way up the hill of the beautiful green space. The park has art in the garden, a gorgeous view of LA, occasional wine tastings, and the newly-opened Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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7. Hilltop Park in Long Beach

As the name states, this park is at the top of a hill and offers an amazing view of Long Beach – especially at sunset. On a clear day, you’ll even be able be able to see Downtown Los Angeles in the distance. But the best part? All the plentiful free parking on the residential streets surrounding the park (well, except maybe on the Fourth of July).

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Hilltop Park Sunset

Sunset over Hilltop Park. Credit: Frederick Dennstedt via flickr

8. Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades

This truly unique and lush spiritual sanctuary in the Pacific Palisades boasts a lake, a garden filled with lots of flora, a waterfall, a chapel inside of a windmill, koi fish in the lake, and a parking lot. Come here for a walk, some meditation, or to just observe the wildlife in action.

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9. Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica

This collection of art galleries in Santa Monica – including the Santa Monica Museum of Art – surrounds a giant and free parking lot. Once upon a time, Bergamot was an actual train station from 1875 until 1953, but today it houses the work of some of the most unique and creative artists that Los Angeles has to offer.

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10. Brand Library & Art Center in Glendale

Get your read on and appreciate some quality art at this amazing complex in Glendale. The library not only has a free parking lot, but also free gallery exhibitions and free concerts on the the Brand Library Plaza this summer. Thank you, Glendale!

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Brand Library in Glendale

Brand Library in Glendale. Credit: Renee Silverman via flickr

11. L.A. Live (For Lunch)

When I first moved to LA, I parked in one of LA Live’s lots for a dinner and a movie, that turned into drinks…and I wound up owed $30 for parking by the time I got back to my car. Yikes. But the complex is trying to remedy that expensive parking situation by offering patrons free parking when you eat at any of LA Live’s yummy restaurants for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Woohoo!

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12. Forest Lawn Museum & Memorial Park in Glendale

You can’t beat a free museum with free parking. The renowned museum hosts collections that focus on culture and religion, as well as a comprehensive stained class collection. The complex also includes a cemetery, the Hall of Crucifixion-Resurrection, chapels, and churches.

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13. Universal/Studio City & North Hollywood Metro Stations

Want to go into Hollywood, but avoid all the parking hassle? Try parking in either of these free Metro Station lots and using your TAP card to travel down to ol’ Hollywood. You’ll avoid all the confusion and frustration of parking in the area, as well as spend a lot less, too.

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What’s your favorite hassle-free-parking destination in Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments below!

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Cool Spots

A Handy List of The Best Theaters to See Discount Movies in Los Angeles

May 29, 2015 by Mallory Carra

There is no better place to watch a movie than Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood itself. But while the City of Angeles is packed with some of the most storied theaters — Chinese Theaters, the Egyptian Theater, and the Cinefamily, to name a few — you could wind up spending a pretty penny to catch a flick.

Last Fall I went with some friends to see Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar at the Chinese Theaters in Hollywood. Sounds like a simple enough outing, right? Wrong. The $20 price tag on the IMAX ticket, paying for parking, buying food (I had to — it was dinner time after work!), and the traffic headache getting to Hollywood on a Thursday evening made the night more expensive and stressful than it was worth (not to mention the movie did not live up to its hype, in my opinion.)

Luckily, there are actually plenty of other options in L.A. to see a flick without breaking the bank.

To that end, check out a rundown of some of the best discount movie theater options in Los Angeles (listed in no particular order).

Hope it saves you a few bucks!

New Beverly Cinema

Credit: Al Pavangkanan via flickr

1. Valley 6 Plaza in North Hollywood

If you’re looking for cheap seats for a movie and cheap eats in the Valley, you’re in luck. Valley 6 in NoHo shows semi-new films for $1.50 a ticket all day on Sundays and Tuesdays. On all other days, the price for a general admission ticket is $3 — pretty sweet, right? But if you have your heart set on seeing a flick in 3D, a $2 surcharge will apply. Rumor has it the theater also dishes out $1 hot dogs at the concession stand. What a steal!

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2. New Beverly Cinema

This theater is owned and operated by director Quentin Tarantino, who programs the New Beverly to show its share of his own flicks, as well as classics, new classics, and arthouse independents. The cinema specializes in weekend double features for one $8 ticket, meaning that’s technically $4 a movie.

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3. Highland Theaters in Highland Park

Catch the newest and hottest films for $5 a ticket all day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the family days special. If you can’t make it to this theater on those days, you can still get a good deal — the bargain matinee ticket price is $6 for showings before 6 p.m.

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4. Academy Cinema in Pasadena

This Colorado Boulevard theater has plenty of ways to indulge in relatively new blockbusters. Tickets are $2 to see some newish flicks in bargain matinee showings before 6 p.m. and then it costs $3. But 6 p.m. is also when Academy Cinema’s “Date Night” special begins: Two tickets, two popcorns, and two sodas for $10.

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5. Sundance Cinemas in West Hollywood

On Tuesdays, this indie theater considers everyone a “Student Of Life” and offers $6 student admission to everyone all day (no student I.D. required). Now there’s no excuse not to catch that award-winning documentary or that very moving foreign film. Thanks, Sundance Cinemas!

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6. Starlight Terrace Cinemas in Rancho Palos Verdes

If you’re down in the South Bay, this theater in the Terraces Shopping Center shows brand-new movies for $5 all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays ($2 surcharge for 3D movies). On all other days, bargain matinee admission is $7 for showings before 6 p.m.

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7. Rave Cinemas in Baldwin Hills

Are you free on a Tuesday? The hottest movies are $6 all day at this theater in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. If you can’t do Tuesday, there’s another discount option — it’s $7.15 for the first bargain matinee showing of the day.

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8. Los Feliz 3

This vintage Vermont Avenue theater shows a mixture of hot indie movies and arthouse favorites. Catch a $6.50 bargain matinee for showings during the day. Only some of their films have online ticketing for now, so you may have to buy yours at the box office when you get to the theater.

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9. AMC Theaters in Century City

Early risers, rejoice! You can see the latest movies for $6-7 at the Century City mall’s state-of-the-art theater if you catch a showing before noon. And it’s no myth — when my mother was in town, she made me watch a 10 a.m. showing of Anchorman 2.

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10. Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair

Don’t want to be cooped up indoors during a beautiful night? I don’t blame you. Try this drive-in theater, which shows new movies in $9 double features. Just make sure you pick the movies you want — there’s no switching and driving to other screens during the showing.

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11. Cinemark in Culver City

This theater in the Promenade in Howard Hughes Center plays today’s latest flicks for $6 a ticket all day on Tuesdays and $7.15 for the first bargain matinee showing of the day.

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12. Vineland Drive-In in City of Industry

Cuddle up with a special someone in your car at the drive-in, just like back in the day. But this park-and-watch theater plays new flicks, rain or shine. It’s $9-$9.50 for a double feature and all you need is an FM radio. If you don’t have one of those, the theater sells ’em at the snack bar.

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For more discount movie ticket options, check out our discount events page and filter for movies to see what’s available.

And if you think we missed any discount theaters in Los Angeles be sure to tell us in the comments so we can update the article with additional listings.

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Things To Do

12 Spring & Summer Food Events Every Angeleno Needs to Have on Their Radar

April 30, 2015 by Mallory Carra

What’s better than enjoying an amazing meal while soaking up the sunshine? Doing so while being completely surrounded by food vendors, of course! Luckily, angelenos can do just that at the regions many food festivals this spring and summer.

As a frequenter of festivals large and small, I’ve come up with a few guidelines for myself — and you — to help navigate through the many stalls and not get overwhelmed by all the crowds and delicious choices.

First, make sure you’ve got cash — nothing feels worse than being that person who’s only got credit-card plastic surrounded by cash-only vendors. Sadface… 🙁

Second, take a walk around and survey your food options before committing which lines you and your friends will stand on.

Third, have a blast, eat well, and experience everything! Aside from all the yummy food, many festivals also have art on display, craft vendors, and so much more to make it a day — or night — you’ll never forget.

Easy enough right?  Now here are some of this spring and summer’s food festivals you totally need to keep on your radar (in no particular order).

https://instagram.com/p/rfkVaIEeFs/

1. 626 Night Market

This incredibly popular Asian-themed market enters its fourth season of bringing the foodie spirit of the 626 (San Gabriel Valley) and more to Santa Anita Park, Orange County, and Downtown L.A. Vendors have ranged from the original ramen burger and Japadog to spiked juices and shave ices. Bring an empty belly and remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The market will open during various weekends during the summer.

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2. The Renaissance Pleasure Faire

Sure, the first thing you think of when you think “Ren Faire” is knights and princesses, but you should really be thinking of delicious turkey legs and meade. The old timey festival is currently open through May 17 at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Center and boasts a food court filled with turkey legs (duh), English eggs, whole quail, pork chops on a stick, and more. Pair it with some beer, wine, or meade that are flowing into the festival chalices.

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3. Street Food Cinema

Good movies, amazing venues, live musical performances and tasty local area food trucks. What more could you ask for? Street Food Cinema will take place at four different L.A. venues with over 50 screenings in total starting with a screening of The Breakfast Club on May 2 at Exposition Park.  Food trucks scheduled for the summer (on select dates) include Boba Ni Taco, Ragin Cajun, My Delight Cupcakery, The Beignet Truck, Cousin’s Maine Lobster, Good Greek Grub, The Grilled Cheese Truck and many, many more!

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4. Eat|See|Hear

If outdoor movies are your bag then you’ll also want to check out the Eat|See|Hear film series with dates from May 9 to Sep 12 and a selection of food trucks that includes Street Kitchen, Good Greek Grub, The Gastrobus, The Urban Oven, The Deli Doctor, Slummin Gourmet, Say Fish Taco, Dot Saigon, Wafl, Coolhaus and many, many more!

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5. The OC Fair

The venerable Orange County fair is advertising itself as “one big party” this year and it’s a slogan that’s right on target. In addition to awesome rides and kitschy carnival games, the Costa Mesa festival at the OC Fairgrounds fries up everything you could possibly imagine. Everything. Oreos, snickers bars, avocados, turkey legs, fried green tomatoes — you name it, someone at the fair has probably fried it up. But the whole party, which runs from July to August, isn’t all about raising your cholesterol — non-fried vendors have included Pink’s Hot Dogs, Texas BBQ, and ice cream, frozen fruits, and more.

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(Of course you can always check out the L.A. County Fair as well, running in 2015 from Sep 4 – Sep 27 at The Fairgrounds in Pomona)

6. LA Street Food Festival

Have you ever thought that LA has so much good food that it could all fit in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium? Well, the folks who run the LA Street Food Fest have thought it — and made it a reality. This all-you-can-eat foodie heaven will hold its sixth annual tasting event on July 11th. Past events have included Churro Borough, Badmaash Indian food, Kitchen Mouse Vegan Café, craft beer gardens, a tequila tasting tent, and more.

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7. Los Angeles Vegan Beer and Food Festival

Calling all vegans! While most other festivals do make sure to include meat-free and diary-free options, this event is truly all for you. Grab all the vegan grub and beers you can handle on May 16 at the Rose Bowl. More than 100 approved brews from the likes of Babe’s Brewery and Smog City Brewing Company will be present, along with eats from Floret Vegan Kitchen, Starlite Cuinse, Health & Spice, and more.

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8. Tacolandia

Dreams do come true, especially the dream of gathering all of the best and delicious tacos LA has to offer in one place. LA Weekly’s celebration of the gourmet taco will be on June 6 this year at El Pueblo De Los Angeles and will feature tortillas filled with yummy-ness from Kogi BBQ, Ricky’s Fish Tacos, The Hungry Cat, Puesto, and more.

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9. Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival

The best of the best of the LA food and wine scene gather at this can’t-miss annual event. Now in its fifth year, the festival has become a four-day, star-studded feast that has showcased celebrity chefs such as Guy Fieri, Giada De Laurentiis, Michael Chiarello, Michael Voltaggio, and so many more. It doesn’t look like a date has been set for this year’s festivities, but the event usually takes place in August at various venues in the Los Angeles area.

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10. L.A. Times The Taste Festival

This food and drink extravaganza takes over the back lot of Paramount Pictures Studio every Labor Day weekend with lots of cooking demos and mingling with LA’s hottest chefs, pop-up bars, Sundaybrunch, and lots of other foodie fun. More than 70 of the city’s best restaurants, along with dozens of breweries and wineries are on hand for a fabulous fest. Tickets do cost a pretty penny, but it’s guaranteed that by the end of the weekend, your appetite will definitely be satisfied.

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11. Long Beach BBQ Festival

Get grillin’ and ready to feast on three days of the most delicious BBQ at this August event held at Rainbow Lagoon. Last year, the festival boasted the “World’s Best BBQ Ribs,” along with pulled pork, sausages, and a big ol’ BBQ competition. For those that don’t want to wait in line for their grilled up eats, visitors could opt for the VIP Rib Village All-You-Can-Eat pass, which included all the meat you can possibly eat (calling Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson), guaranteed seating, and other non-meat eats, like salad and dessert.

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12. Big Bite Bacon Festival

All aboard the S.S. Bacon. You can get your bacon on and on and on at this celebration of pork’s finest, held Aug. 1-2 on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Last year’s sold-out inaugural event included all the bacon eats you could ever want from restaurants like Slater 50/50 and Beachwood BBQ, beer, and delicious desserts — some of which, yes, had bacon in them, too.

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Did we miss your favorite outdoor foodie fest for the summer? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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