Lunar New Year officially begins this weekend, which means the number of parties and happenings is quite large. Add to that all the Valentines-related menus, and this is officially the first very busy weekend of the year. Here are a few ideas for how to spend your time, even if you just want to hibernate through the rainy season and curl up with some takeout at home. Are are 13 things to do in LA this weekend.
Friday, February 9
Because love is in the air, perhaps it’s time to get your partner what they really want this year — a night of perfectly balanced nigiri and excellent sake. Originally a hit in its native Mexico City, Santo is the spot to get a perfect sushi dinner in Silver Lake. Smack dab in the middle of Silver Lake junction, this tiny, counter-seating-only spot is packed to the gills from the moment it opens at 5 p.m. all the way until close around 10. The fish is fresh, the sushi rice is perfect and the music is bumping, but it’s the slight fusion twists — like a Hamachi Choco, seared fish with Oaxacan chocolate and salt —that makes this place truly fantastic. Reservations here.
UNREPD may be a smaller gallery in Los Angeles, but size hasn’t stopped them from becoming quite a force in the art world here. Run by two Puerto Rican women who knew there were plenty of artists and collectors who looked like them and didn’t feel safe or welcome in traditional settings, they embarked on a mission to create that safe space. Now, UNREPD has become an essential part of LA’s gallery scene, and their latest show, a collection of 16 paintings from Kenyan artist Velma Rosai, is the latest exhibit to showcase their curation. Entitled This Is Not A Human Being, And She Is Not A Spirit, the exhibit draws on “the ancestral, the otherworldly, and the high strange as they echo throughout Lamu, Kenya in particular and the African continent in general.” More info here.
While some sommeliers might turn up their nose at a wine pairing that involves salty, crunchy and incredibly salty fast food items, for Rebecca Rose Phillips, there’s nothing better than a high brow/low brow moment. Phillips has been very open about her love of pairing fast food with wine for years, so it’s no surprise that she’s turned this personal preference into an event where others can join. At her hidden gem wine bar in Studio City, Vintage Wine + Eats, this open-minded som will be hosting Fast Food Fridays every week this month. This entails the wine shop kitchen recreating fast food favorites — from scratch, no less — and pairing them with a range of varietals for the kind of experience that proves wine tasting doesn’t have to stoic. This Friday, they’re pairing pours with a special version of a Crunch Wrap Supreme. No reservations needed, just show up at Vintage Wine + Eats.
What is Friday night for if it isn’t settling in for a night of Lakers basketball? We’re getting pretty close to the chaos of March Madness and the postseason, so why not treat yourself to a nice, low stakes night of ball while you still can? Tickets here.
Saturday, February 10
If it stays rainy over the weekend — or if you simply have a rain hangover and want to continue chilling on the couch — then the advent of a new takeout option on the west side will definitely be of interest. With the grand opening of their second location this Saturday at Colony Cooks in Santa Monica, Seoulmates is slowly but surely taking over LA — and with good reason! Their Korean barbecue tacos are a thing of beauty, from the bulgogi, to the fried chicken, to the barbecued mushrooms. Feeling really hungry? Throw in a bibimbap, and you won’t be disappointed. If you want to stick around, there will be a lot going on at the opening day party, like free drinks and an exclusive menu item for early arrivals. In fact, the first 50 attendees will even receive a limited Korean Spicy Pork sandwich (crafted with viral sensation Ginza Nishikawa, no less) as a complimentary addition to any other food purchase.
As the United States becomes more and more fractured politically, regionally and economically, LA-based ceramic artist Adam Silverman sought to create a symbolic art exhibit that would focus on our commonalities. Silverman collected “clay, water and wood ash” from every American state, Washington, D.C. and all five inhabited U.S. territories and combined these elements to create a set of tableware and ceremonial pots. He created 224 ceramic objects total, and named the collection Common Ground. Now established in the Skirball Center for a year-long exhibit, the intent of the display is to “celebrate American pluralism while also fostering human connection through shared meals and collaborative installations.” It’s worth a visit, and even more so if you catch the collection in use for a special meal. More info here.
LA’s 6 Best Vintage-Style Diners for a Dose of NostalgiaWhen we dine, we dine retro
Century City is already a great location for a weekend away from your apartment. It’s tucked away in the middle of the west side near lots of green space and luxury residential areas, but still close to the mall, tons of restaurants and even entertainment options. While their massive spa is always a good idea, Fairmont Century Plaza is also pulling out all the stops for a romantic stay in February. A two-night minimum stay will get you passes to the spa, a food and beverage credit, free parking and even late checkout. Nothing says “I love you” like a luxurious two days spent lounging in a fancy hotel suite. Reservations here.
If you’re around the west side on weekend nights, the programming at The Hammer Museum is consistently excellent — and admission to this public art space is always free. This latest exhibit is a retrospective of contemporary Korean art during a time of unprecedented global shifts that showcases work from artists like Ha Chong-Hyun, Jung Kangja, Kim Kulim, Lee Kang-So, Lee Kun-Yong, Lee Seung-taek and Sung Neung Kyung. The exhibit itself features 80 works across all different kinds of mediums, from painting and sculpture, to ceramics, photography, video and film. Additionally, the opening night will feature performances from Korean hip hop group Dynamicduo and dance crew PROWDMON. The galleries open at 11 a.m. and will remain open until 10:30 p.m. More info here.
Go big or go home is usually my approach to holidays, especially those that include a significant amount of food or a specialty menu. Chinese Lunar New Year includes both, and it’s hard to imagine a better place to celebrate than Bistro Na, the first-ever restaurant in Los Angeles to receive a Michelin star. Though the inspectors might be picky and the star-rating is no more, the attention it brought has kept this spot on the map for diners who want excellent Chinese cuisine. Their specialty holiday menus is priced at $500 for six people and includes a whopping 10 courses, and it only goes up from there. Check out the menu options here, and snag a reservations here.
Want a slightly less intense (and expensive) menu of Lunar New Year classics? Woon has you covered. Their week-long take starts February 7 and runs through February 11, including limited-edition specials like firecracker wings, honey walnut shrimp bao, stir-fried rice cakes, the Lucky Coins Spicy Cucumber Salad and a whole lot more. Most items here are around the $10 to $20 range. Reservations for parties of up to eight or more are available here, otherwise, just walk in.
Sunday, February 11
Silver Lake and Culver City favorite 33 Taps opens their doors at a third location in DTLA. With an ideal menu full of bar food favorites like nachos, wings, calamari and burgers, there are also — you guessed it — always 33 beers on tap. No reservation needed, just show up on game day and claim a stool or table. More info here.
I didn’t have the urge to experience the events of Squid Game for myself after binge watching the hit Netflix show. That’s like picking up a copy of Stephen King’s The Long Walk and going for a walk after — just not a normal instinct. But there seems to be plenty of people out there who are gluttons for punishment, as this IRL recast of the trials and tribulations that some of the Squid Game characters go through has become a fun weekend activity for plenty of Angelenos. Seventy minutes of stress and mind games, what better way to spend your Sunday? Tickets here.
Some things never go out of style, and Italian food on Sunday nights is one of them. The other? Well, that would be Cecconi’s, a favorite for celebs and West Hollywood locals for their private, pretty patio seating, generous marble bar for solo dining, and plush velvet booths that provide the perfect vantage point to scan the rest of the room for fellow VIPs. If you’re going, you’re getting the lamb cavatelli, no questions asked. Vegetarians will have their pick of salads and other veggie-friendly options, but the cavatelli is a constant crowd pleaser for everyone else. Well, that and their near-perfect wine list. Sunday scaries who?? Reservations here.
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