Los Angeles is kicking off the most lovey dovey month of the year with one of the most hotly anticipated restaurant openings of 2024 — Mideast Tacos, the brick-and-mortar shop behind the “falafel taco” from Mini Kabob’s Armen Martirosyan and his partner Aram Kavoukjian. Aside from that, we’ve got recommendations for a great weekend Martini (and a special that extends to Mondays) and a new speakeasy that just opened directly behind Hollywood’s hottest Italian restaurant, Mother Wolf. All this, plus tons of live music because it’s Grammys weekend and a lot — I repeat, a lot — of musicians are in the city and gracing stages all over town. Here’s what to do in LA this weekend.
Friday, February 2
Perfect for your vegetarian and vegan friends, the sensation that is Mideast Tacos is expanding across Los Angeles for a reason — falafel in a tortilla instead of a pita is the exact kind of playful fusion that’s always made our city’s food scene one of the best in the world. Created by Armen Martirosyan of Mini Kabob and Aram Kavoukjian, this pop-up at the Row DTLA has been a local favorite for a while now and will be opening their first brick and mortar in Silverlake this week. As for the food, it’s a sensation. The falafel taco is obviously a must-order, but it’s even possible to go gluten-free here, too, so all of your most difficult-to-feed friends can come along. But if you’re into carnivorous and pescatarian options, steak, shrimp and chicken tacos are also on the menu, plus quesadillas and burritos in any of those options.
James Blake isn’t just one of the foremost electronic musicians of the last two decades, he’s actually made a distinctive effort to bring up friends and other artists in his wake and help create a more robust community for electronic music. That’s part of the impetus behind his latest set of shows, attuned with Grammys week, which doesn’t just feature him but also puts a slew of other artists behind the boards at this gargantuan, five-room nightlife labyrinth. This show has performances both Friday and Saturday this weekend, Friday tickets here.
Officially opened as of last Thursday, January 25, this tucked-away speakeasy is the newest addition to the renovations and repurposing of the Citizen News building in the heart of Hollywood. Flanked by the Thompson and Tommie hotels and located directly behind Mother Wolf and the underrated French stunner, Mes Amis, this new spot features luxury spirits and an exclusive feel. Reservations here.
Every year during Grammys week, when an inordinate amount of the jazz talent in the entire world happens to be in town, Robert Glasper always gets together the kind of otherworldly, unmissable crew that money could never buy. Go spend your goodwill on paying these criminally underrated geniuses to improvise and jam together for hours, and don’t be surprised if a few mainstream superstars show up, too. Tickets here.
This show supports one of the best causes in the entire music industry — independent artists. If you’re like me and you tend to think the Spotify and TikTokification of music is rather annoying, then getting out to hear musicians who are doing it all by themselves is a great way to combat that. Presented by UnitedMasters, artists like Davido, Uncle Waffles, and Tokischa will be holding it down starting at 9 p.m. Tickets here.
Where to Go for Lunch in Downtown LAAn array of pastries and LA’s original food hall are waiting for you
Saturday, February 3
What could be more on-brand during Grammys weekend than seeing an indie outfit from the West Coast who have racked up their own fair share of statues? Because the city is going to be a snarl of traffic anyway because of the big music awards show, why not get out of town early, head up to Pomona and make a day of it? Go visit The Glass House Record Store to stock up on vinyl, venture over to Claremont for a hearty serving of Gus’s BBQ (get the brisket), then head to the theater for one of the best live bands this side of the Mississippi. Tickets here.
For fans of California’s most beloved baseball team (yeah, I said it), the future has been looking incredibly bright. And for those diehard Dodgers fans who would love nothing more than an anticipatory start to the year, DodgerFest is a celebration of all things baseball that will kick off at the stadium this Saturday at 2 p.m. The 90-minute show includes interviews with brand new players like Shohei Ohtani and Tyler Glasnow, and concessions, live entertainment and more will all be available throughout the day. Gates officially open at 11 a.m. Tickets here.
Opened in late 2020, Gigi’s dealt with its fair share of uncertainty as the city was still reeling from pandemic-related closings and a sorta awkward but very necessary outdoor dining frenzy. But in the ensuing years, Gigi’s has become an institution more quickly than almost any other newcomer of its era. With an impeccable sense of old world design — including hand-painted murals around the top of the dining room and inside the chic bathrooms — and a kitchen that churns out every classic from gribiche-infused steak tartare to a heavenly cheeseburger, it’s the bar program that stands out above the rest. The classic Martini, a Gigi Vesper, or a thyme Gimlet are all staples at the moment, all ready to facilitate a clean break with Dry January. Add the recent arrival of new dishes on the dinner menu as a reason to check back in with this Sycamore Avenue spot this weekend. Reservations here.
Sunday, February 4
I’d caution that if you rolled your eyes before reading this listing, you might be pre-judging something that’s actually pretty fun. Whether you’re a Nascar fan or not, the Clash at the Coliseum is a great way to check out exactly what racing culture is all about, especially because it includes life performances alongside the races. But even if Machine Gun Kelly isn’t your jam, this kickoff event at the historic Coliseum will be one of the best things happening in the city on Sunday. Tickets here.
Fans of the Black Crowes, this is your moment. The band is officially back together and on a reunion tour that includes a post-Grammys benefit show that supports Janie’s Fund, an organization devoted to helping neglected and abused girls. This ticket costs a pretty penny, but it does include an open bar and food from In-N-Out along with that Black Crowes set. Tickets here.
An afternoon spent listening to the classic music of John Williams is high up on my list most weekends, but considering the composer himself will actually be conducting a live orchestra at one of the most acoustically perfect venues in the world? Well, that’s pretty much unmissable. Taking audiences through all of the best moments in cinematic history that he’s been a part of, from Vertigo and Batman to The Godfather, Williams will conduct his scores at shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Tickets here.
There are countless independent film festivals hosted in Los Angeles throughout the year, but this event is organized specifically to support the works of Black directors, writers and majority Black crews that focus on works about Black centered stories — which are still very underrepresented in the film and TV world as a whole. Screenings for the festival are held at the Let Live Theater, an 80-seat venue that’s outfitted with a Christie DLP projector and seven JBL speakers. Tickets here.
Day drinking at a new cocktail bar in West Hollywood counts as a religious experience in my book, so joining up with the crew at the just-opened Holy Water for their special Sunday menu is great weekend option. To get a sense of what they’ll be serving, consider the Golden Coast Reviver, a play on a Corpse Reviver that includes Hitachino Yuzu Lager and ashwagandha, or the Still Summer in Peru, a Capurro Pisco-based drink with LoFi Gentian, orange bitters and Prosecco. During their special “Sunday School” menu from 1-9 p.m., they’ll be spinning vinyl, and if you bring a record to play, they’ll grant you 30% off your first drink. In this economy? I’ll take it. No reservations needed, just drop by.
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