Friday, December 23, 2016
The annual "Nutcracker" show at the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre is a Los Angeles holiday tradition. But it sells out fast -- which is why instead we wound up recently checking out the "Bob Baker Marionettes Holiday Spectacular," which featured the Wizard and Demitrius Demi Star the Third as they explored the Bob Baker Holiday Galaxy: Santa and his Elves, Rudolph, Chanukah and even Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" favorites... some pics:
After the show, everyone was treated to ice cream -- a Bob Baker tradition. "Nutcracker" continues through mid-January, while the Bob Baker always has new shows on the horizon. Check out details here.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Looking for a backdrop this holiday to take photos or just feel festive? We headed down to Grand Park, in downtown Los Angeles' Civic Center, earlier this month to take our annual Christmas card photo. The options were numerous. A few more shots without our smiling mugs:
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
The Los Angeles Zoo's annual L.A. Zoo Lights is back for its third consecutive year, featuring some old favorites and new displays. It's an easy way to get into the holiday spirit, and one of the best, most extensive holiday lights displays you'll see in all of Southern California.
Highights include the self-guided 60- to 90-minute tour featuring animal-themed LEDs, lasers, 3D projections, and animated displays, with touches throughout celebrating the zoo's 50th anniversary.
Near the children's zoo portion.
At the entrance.
A tunnel of lights.
A newly imagined water display is quite impressive.
Get a glimpse of real reindeer – including two babies!
Near the carousel.
A new black light experience at the LAIR, which gives attendees an opportunity to see more reptiles in addition to the lights.
The water bottle frogs are back!
And in multiple colors.
More from the new water display, which includes animation projected on the water.
Near the LAIR.
Music programmed by KCRW!
These elephants are always favorites as well.
More photo opps, including this backlit screen of the Blogger Boys. LA Zoo members can get discounted tickets. Depending ont he evening tickets are between $14 and $18 for adults over 13, and between $11 and $14 for kids 2-12. Children younger than 2 are free. The lights continue through Jan. 8, but are closed December 24 and 25.
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Restaurant: Industrial Eats
Location: 181 Industrial Way (Buellton)
Type of restaurant: Pizza, sandwiches
We stipulated: On a quick trip in nearby Solvang, we needed a kid-friendly restaurant that also allowed dogs. Industrial Eats not only ticked off those boxes, but it also fulfilled one more need: Decent food.
They stipulated: "Quality, local food served here. Our restaurant and butcher shop feature food sourced from the Central Coast. Dine in or get your hands dirty carving up your own animal in one of our workshops. You can even take us home with you. Enjoy fresh preserves, pâtés, cheese and handmade bacon."
What we ordered: Mike: tomato, fennel sausage, mozzarella, basil pizza ($14); Maria: wild mushrooms, camembert, garlic confit pizza ($15); Kids: tomato, mozzarella, basil ($13)
High point: That pizza crust was pretty fantastic, thanks to the wood burning oven. But the high point was also being able to bring our tiny dog inside. It made such an important impact on us.
Low point: It was so crowded that we had to sit at the bar, which was fine -- but we didn't quite get a full explanation of how the menu worked.
Overall impression: An impressive eatery in Buellton, of all spots, and well worth a visit. The food, the environment, the location (in an industrial spot, natch), it all worked. Skip Pea Soup Andersen's and hit Industrial Eats the next time you drive past Buellton.
Will we return: Absolutely, looking forward to it.
Monday, December 05, 2016
Solvang, of course, is probably best known as the Danish-inspired town in the Santa Ynez Valley, home to around 5,000 people (and more tourists). But it has also become a destination friendly to pet owners, oenophiles, bicyclists and fans of pastry.
Yeah, this is kind of disturbing. Solvang has its detractors as well. But how can you not enjoy a small town with so many bakeries and wine tasting shops?
The expansive view outside of the Mission Santa Ines.
Hiking, south of Solvang.
Keep an eye on mountain lions.
Mission Santa Ines, a quick walk or bike ride from anywhere in Solvang.
The fields across the street from Sunny Fields Park.
The boys were fans of Sunny Fields Park, located on the outskirts of Solvang (and near plenty of wineries, which Maria and I were fans of).
Inside the park.
The park is a big attraction for kids.
Our hotel was dog-friendly; which helped since we brought our new rescue dog, Jacks, along for the trip. Solvang turned out to be amazingly friendly both to pets and to kids. One bakery even gave us extra pastries when we bought cookies for the Blogger boys. Solvang may be a small town, but its restaurants, bakeries, shops (including a cool book store) and outdoor activities make it a worthwhile stop. And its close to plenty of wineries and nearby towns, like Los Olivos, with their own draws.