The upshot of the current wave (and we’re not experts here, just reading the news) is that even if on average catching Omicron is less severe, it’s spreading so rapidly that’s putting increased stress on our healthcare systems. Good news: Intensive care units are not as stressed as peak 2021. Bad news: Emergency rooms are still getting flooded and that’s testing the capacity of hospital resources in regions throughout the state. The Governor and Public Health are hopeful cases will level off, then drop within the next few weeks. Fingers crossed.
So with that preface… how do we feel about recommending people socialize to their hearts content, even if vaccinated? Not super.
Hence, this week’s list is another remix of virtual and (mostly) outdoor experiences, with a side of dining/takeout for good measure. Like we’ve said in the past, we hope to be back to our regular programming soon. Hopefully the spread of COVID-19 throttles sooner than later. In the mean time, be safe out there.
Virtual MLK Day
The biggest event slated for this weekend (Monday) had been The Kingdom Day Parade. Last week, organizers cancelled it amid the spiking hospitalizations and updated state guidance on mega-events. But celebrating Dr. King’s legacy is an important hallmark, and several L.A. organizations and institutions are doing just that with online programming. Some ideas below:
The California African American Museum -> CAAM is hosting a virtual program to celebrate King Day with a discussion ing’s 1967 speech, “A Christmas Sermon on Peace” followed by a performance by members of Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. The free program goes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday.
Westside Coalition’s MLK Events -> This Friday, the Westside Coalition is bringing back their the free annual MLK Holiday Concert featuring the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra in a virtual format. Then on Monday there will be an online celebration featuring music by the Linda Alvarez Trio plus spoken a spoken word performance by Get Lit — Words Ignite. More details here.
A Day of Service-> LA Works hosting multiple online events this weekend to support Dr. King’s legacy of activism and volunteerism. Activities include a Minecraft March on Washington, online tutor training and teacher aid events, plus a virtual share-out of experiences from program volunteers. All events take place Monday. Get the full schedule here.
(Mostly) Outdoor Ideas
If you want something beyond virtual, then maybe it’s a good time to do some random outdoor activities and adventures where you can still keep your distance. Rain is on deck for Thursday afternoon, but it should clear for Friday. Looking forward to a cool and cloudy weekend.
Mapping Fiction at The Huntington -> If you’re willing to brave a museum, the Huntington Library is debuting a new exhibition this weekend called Mapping Fiction, explores on the ways authors and mapmakers create fictional worlds. Even if the exhibition isn’t your cup of tea, The Huntington is relaxing place for an outdoor walk, and if you haven’t been since the new Chinese Garden was finished, you must check it out.
Garden Light Walks -> Both GLOW at the South Bay Botanic Garden ($34.95) and Lightscape at the L.A. Arboretum ($32) are in their final weekends. If you want to take an evening stroll marked by colorful installations and lights displays, there’s still a chance.
Rooftop Yoga -> Thompson Hollywood has partnered with Los Angeles yoga studio, Love Yoga to host a complimentary rooftop yoga session this Saturday, Jan. 15 at 9:30 a.m. The hotel will be providing mats, water and towels. Participants will also be treated to mimosas or fresh fruit juice after the session. Open to the public on a first come, first serve basis, but there are only 15 spots available per session. Attendees can book their space by emailing [email protected]. Hotel guests are able to reserve their spot at the front desk
Stairs Walks -> Speaking of exercise, how about a stair walk to kickstart your weekend morning? If you’re on the Westside, you could wake up early (ideally to beat crowds) and try out the Santa Monica Stairs, OR trek up the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Depending on how the weather shakes out after the rain, you might have a nice view of Downtown and the rest of the basin from the top of the overlook.
The Korean Friendship Bell -> Random idea: Take an afternoon walk around the The Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro, a pagoda-like structure donated by Republic of Korea in 1976. It features a 17-ton bell which is over 12-feet high. Make sure to bring your camera. Afterwards, take a ball to shoot hoops at the nearby basketball court that’s backdropped by a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean.
Greystone Mansion -> The former home of Edward “Ned” Doheny (son of the oil magnate) is a Tudor Revival mansion originally built in 1928, and today owned by the City of Beverly Hills and managed through their Parks division. As a public visitor, you can’t go inside, but the sculpted gardens and manicured landscaping are worth a walk. Parking and self-guided tours of the mansion exterior are free, although with the current COVID-19 conditions, you will have to make reservations online before you visit.
Burgers & Brewfest -> This Saturday the Burgers & Brewfest takes over Santa Anita Park for a day of burgers curated by Smorgasburg, cold craft beers and the excitement of Thoroughbred racing. Burger participants include Motzburger, Evil Cooks, Say It Ain’t So, Love Hour, and Thiccburgers.
Okay… those are just a few random ideas. If not of that sounds like your jam, and then at least you can still eat!
Dining and Takeout
Not everyone is going to be down with eating out right now. Get that. But all the food-newsy places listed below offer outdoor dining in some format, or currently pushing takeout concepts. Have a look, and maybe you’ll find something tasty for the holiday weekend.
New Sushi To-Go Boxes at IDG concepts -> IDG’s concepts Sushi Roku and Katana revealed a new $34 Signature Sushi Box. Exclusively available for pick up and delivery, the box features the restaurant’s signature White Lotus Roll made with popcorn shrimp tempura, asparagus, and avocado topped with albacore, crispy onions and wasabi truffle soy. From there it’s the diners choice between salmon or tuna poke over rice or mixed greens. Two pieces of crispy rice sushi plus a side of edamame also come with the meal. Orders for the Signature Sushi Box can be made on sushiroku.com, katanarobata.com as well as delivery apps Postmates, Doordash and Uber Eats.
Banh Cuon Tay Ho -> Little Saigon’s Banh Cuon Tay Ho expands to the city of San Gabriel this weekend with a grand opening celebration this Saturday, Jan. 15 (11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) with complimentary food, DJ tunes and huge giveaways of tech products like a Nintendo Switch and Apple AirPods Pro. This particular location is the first Vietnamese concept in the area to operate solely on a to-go format. Banh Cuon Tay Ho’s signature Vietnamese street food items like Bánh Cuốn, a type of rice rolls filled with pork and wood ear mushrooms as well as a variety of spring rolls, vegetarian options, noodles and rice dishes will all be packaged up in eye-catching boxes that can be enjoyed anywhere.
Bark & Brunches Series -> Take your best fur friend to the newly opened Godfrey Hotel in Hollywood for a special Bark & Brunch series this Saturday, Jan. 15. Occuring on the third Saturday of every month, guests can enjoy a brunch menu with fellow dog parents on the patio of the hotel’s restaurant ALK. All dogs will be treated like VIPs with a complimentary “cocktail.”
Esters Wine Shop & Bar now open for lunch -> Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Santa Monica is bringing back daytime service from noon to 4 p.m. with dishes from Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Jones. Menu highlights include a vegan Curried Butternut Squash Soup, seasonal frittata filled with farmers’ market produce, and a lineup of new sandwiches and salads. Guests can also take advantage of the “Esters Happy Lunch” option which includes a chef’s choice of two cheeses, two charcuterie, a side salad and a glass of wine for $30.
New Happy Hour at Atrium -> Atrium in Los Feliz has a new happy hour menu inspired by European coastal cities. During happy hour (4 to 6 p.m. daily) guests can dine on fresh oysters, open face toasts topped with smoked salmon, an Apero Plate filled with manchego cheese, chorizo, jamon serrano, and basque peppers to name a few. A number of specialty cocktails by Beverage Director Ornella Ashcraft are $8 during this time.
Mardi Gras Ice Cream at Dear Bella Creamery -> Dear Bella Creamery in Hollywood has partnered with Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen for a chef collab Mardi Gras Queen Cake ice cream flavor. Available during carnival season (Jan 6 – Mar 1) the flavor is made with oat milk vanilla ice cream infused with the aroma of bread with pockets of brown sugar filling and layered with ribbons of purple, green, and yellow frosting.
Bridgetown x Ronan -> Okay, not for this weekend BUT as a special look ahead… Daniel and Caitlin Cutler’s Neapolitan pizzeria Ronan and Rashida Holmes Caribbean pop-up concept Bridgetown Roti will collaborate on a special dinner next Wednesday, January 19. Named one of Eater’s “11 Best New Restaurants in America” in 2021, Bridgetown Roti is best known for delicious curry-filled, handmade patties and rotis derived from Holmes family recipes from Barbados. For the one night collaboration Holmes will work alongside the Cutler’s for an Italian Caribbean mash up of four menu items. Available à la carte, dishes include a Jerk Pork Belly Pineapple Pizza with fermented pineapple habanero; Butter Fish Escabeche with bell pepper sofrito, Thai basil and cilantro; Brown Stew Turkey Wings with five spice gravy, polenta, curried persimmons and herb salad; and a Coconut Coquito Ice with Rum Cake for dessert. Ronan’s standard menu, and tiki-inspired rum cocktails from Ronan Beverage Director Jeremy Wad will also be available for the night. Reservations are encouraged and can be made via Resy. The Bridgetown x Ronan collaboration will also be available to-go.