E3 is opening to the public for the first time

After a brief public tease last year that amounted to nothing more than some branded tents and a Doritos stage, the country’s premier video game convention will let the public go hands-on with its overwhelming congregation of upcoming video games and virtual reality headsets.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, will open up a limited number of passes to this June’s convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Consumer passes will go on sale next Monday, February 13, at noon according to the announcement video below.

Tickets will cost $250, with special $150 early bird passes available on Monday, and provide access to the show floor, panel discussions and other events, according to Gamespot. A total of 15,000 passes will be made available to the public—a sizable chunk considering last year’s attendance number topped out at 50,300. It should also be noted that those consumer passes are considerably cheaper than last year’s $995 professional tickets; additional pricing for 2017 has yet to be announced.

E3 has historically only been for industry professionals—from game journalists to software developers—but last year the convention let 20,000 fans into its first free public-facing event, E3 Live. We found the L.A. Live spinoff’s pint-sized tents were a sideshow compared to the Convention Center’s multisensory overload. This year’s consumer pass, though, should give the general public the same hands-on, trade show experience as industry professionals—swag bags, soul-crushing lines and all.

Conversations swirled around the convention’s relevance last year as major publishers like Electronic Arts, Activision, Sega and Disney all decided to vacate their costly spaces on the L.A. Convention Center show floor. This year’s show floor roster has yet to be released.

E3 2017 takes place June 13 through 15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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One of L.A.’s biggest historic monuments is getting a new lease on life

One of L.A.’s biggest historical monuments is about to come out of hiding after 40 years. The Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial recognizes a battalion of U.S. Army volunteers who marched from Iowa to protect the city during the Mexican-American War. The monument itself is giant—400 feet of brick and sculpture—and includes a 77-foot water feature that was turned off in 1977. You’ve probably driven by it, even if you didn’t notice it. It’s on Hill Street, where Chinatown meets the rest of DTLA. Now, L.A. County has allocated the funds to restore the marker, switch the fountain on and bring the monument back to life.

The Mexican-American war started in 1846 when the U.S. decided it wanted to call Texas its own. From there, two years of fighting broke out across the southwest. Local “Californios” were fighting with American forces in Los Angeles when the Mormon Battalion—the only religious battalion in U.S. Army history—was sent to L.A. to build a fort and protect the city. By the time they arrived, fighting was largely over, but the fort was still constructed to maintain order. An American flag was raised at the fort on July 4, 1847. That ceremony is the subject matter of the memorial that still stands on the site.

If that historical incident seems slightly obscure for such a massive monument, it might be explained by the fact that many of the soldiers—along with the women and children they brought along on the march—decided to settle around Southern California and, generations later, several of their descendants had gone on to be prominent figures in mid-20th Century Los Angeles, including one Dorothy Chandler, according to the L.A. Times. In 1958, their ancestors got their monument. 

The same conservationist who oversaw the recent restorations of the Hall of Justice and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Donna Williams, will manage the Fort Moore project. Some updates to the original design will be made, including refashioning the water feature to just a modest layer of water rather than a full-on waterfall.

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PB & Yay! 9 Ways to Celebrate Peanut Butter Month in LA

It’s National Peanut Butter Month. Which means now’s the time for peanut-loving families to say “No” to sunflower seed butter sandwiches and soy butter-topped celery sticks and “Yes, yes, yes!” to the sticky nutty goodness that started it all. From PB&J donuts to burgers dripping with the stuff, here are 9 yummy dishes you can find in LA in honor of that delicious little nut.

Valrhona chocolate crunch donut that kids will beg for). Since donnuts are ALL beloved by kids, this means these donuts make the whole family happy.

Of course, with a grown-up ingredients comes a grown-up price tag. A single donut here costs about $4. To which, we say just stop at one, little donut lovers. Just one. (Good luck!)

451 Manhattan Beach Blvd.

1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Online: bluestardonuts.com

Mike C. via Yelp

Salt Peanut Cake at Nickel Diner
As if one layer of chocolate cake, peanut butter, and buttercream frosting weren’t enough to make your taste buds explode, this decadently delicious cake has three layers and is basically the size of your face. Sounds amazing, right? The Salt Peanut Cake, named after the Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz song with the same name, is made of three layers of devil’s food cake sandwiched with layers of peanut butter, potato chips, and peanut buttercream frosting. Grab a few spoons and let this sort of mega-slice be a family affair. Chips, PB, sugar and chocolate in one dish?  It’s kid-heaven.

Hungry for other eats? This bustling Downtown diner specializes in sweet and salty comfort food (they’re famous for their Maple Bacon Donuts) and just about everything on their menu is delicious. Wear loose clothing.

524 S Main St.
Downtown Los Angeles
Online: nickeldiner.com

ophoto: Franklin M. via Yelp

Peanut Butter Meringue at Pie ‘n Burger
Is there anything more American than a burger and a slice of… peanut butter pie? OK, so apple pie might be the typical patriotic dessert, but with PB &J being the all American kid lunch, this combines two flag waving faves into one terrific dessert. This tiny diner, which opened in 1963 and hasn’t changed much since then, has a homey retro feel and serves a straight-forward roster of breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, and pies (26 kinds of them!). Grab a swivel stool at the old-fashioned counter and bring on the All-American eats.

913 E California Blvd.
Online: pienburger.com

photo: Ivy W. via Yelp

The Peanut Butter Dog at Vicious Dogs
Is it lunch? Or dessert? Doesn’t matter. At Vicious Dogs, the trendy NoHo spot for all things frankfurter, your PB-loving littles can nosh on an all-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with peanut butter (and an optional helping of strawberry jelly, chocolate candy pieces, or bananas and honey!). It’s enough to make you forget there’s a hot dog in there at all. Elvis would have approved.

5231 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood
Online: viciousdogshotdogs.com

nutter-butter-peanutphoto: Natasha N. via Yelp

Peanut Butter cookies from Cookie Zombie
When you’ve got kids, going out to eat can be hard (heck, just getting kids in and out of the car can be enough to keep a family homebound). So get your peanut butter yummies delivered straight to you. Let your little cookie monsters run wild at home and order from Cookie Zombie, an El Segundo-based delivery company that brings freshly-baked cookies straight to your door. As if having cookies delivered hot to your door isn’t awesome enough, Cookie Zombie also delivers late-night so, if you just want to order in after bedtime, those cookies are all for you, Mama! As for flavors, the Peanut Butter Royale is a favorite; it’s a peanut butter cookie jazzed up with Butterfinger bits. There’s also a Sweet PB cookie and a Peanut Butter Cup cookie that aren’t on the menu, but can be made for PB-loving customers. Cookies arrive in a pizza box, just to remind you that, yes, you’ve just had cookies delivered at your beck and call.

Delivery is available for El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Playa Del Rey, Westchester, Playa Vista, Hermosa Beach, and North Redondo Beach.
Order online at cookiezombie.me

Joseph K. via Yelp

Peanut Butter Donuts from Stan’s Donuts
OK, so we know we already mentioned a donut spot, but we have to include one more, because, well — donuts.  Stan’s donuts deserves a shout-out because they’ve got not one, but three donuts devoted to peanut butter: the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pocket, the Peanut Butter and Fresh Banana (with Chocolate Chips!) donut and the Peanut Butter and Jelly donut. All of them are slathered with a layer of sweet, sticky chocolate or yummy glaze.

10948 Weyburn Ave.
Online: stansdoughnuts.com

Fugetsu-Do Peanut Butter Mochi via Daniel L. on Yelpphoto: Daniel L. via Yelp

Peanut Butter Mochi at Fugetsu-Do
As Monty Python would say, now for something completely different.  Any excuse to visit LA’s vibrant Little Tokyo District is a-okay by us. And there’s no better reason to go than the amazing peanut butter mochi at Fugetsu-Do. Since 1903, this family confectionery has been turning out mouthwatering mochi in every delicious flavor under the sun, and the peanut butter is among the very best. The shop offers pre-packaged mochi and sells them individually as well, so your pint-size gourmands can figure out which one they dig most.

315 E. First St.
Little Tokyo
Online: fugetsu-do.com

The Griddle Cafe Peanut Bubba French Toast via Hanie B on Yelpphoto: Hannie B. via Yelp

Peanut Bubba Crunch French Toast at The Griddle Cafe
This local breakfast hotspot cooks up a French Toast dish so nuttastic, you might mistake it for dessert. Their incredible Peanut Bubba French Toast is dipped in peanut butter crunch, grilled to the peak of perfection, then topped off with powdered sugar and whipped cream. Be warned, this eatery is crazy popular and fills up quickly on weekends, so be sure to snag a table early or you and your little hungry ones may be waiting a spell.

7916 Sunset Blvd.
Online: thegriddlecafe.com

lphoto: Craig R. via Yelp

26 Beach: PB & J Burger
Usually, kiddos dig a little ketchup and mayo on their burgers. And if they’re feeling especially adventurous, maybe some lettuce. (Cray cray!) But if you have PB & J fans in the house, 26 Beach has an artisan burger so fantabulous, your kids may never go back to “usual” again. Skippy Peanut Butter and Knott’s Strawberry Jam ooze atop a perfectly cooked 100% Angus beef patty served piping hot on a bun baked fresh in-house. What are you waiting for?!

3100 Washington Blvd.
Online: 26beach.com

What’s your favorite peanut butter dish in LA – one that has you coming back again and again? Give us a shout, we’d love to know!

–Jennifer O’Brien and Melissa Heckscher


 main photo image: robinmcnicoll via Flickr

outdoor adventure: San Gabriel River bike trail

Cruising’ down the L.A. river without a care in the world.

San Gabriel river bike trail

The beginning of the path near Santa Fe Dam

No doubt you’ve driven down the 605 & seen the familiar scene from your car – bicyclists looking like they are suspended above, cruising by on a concrete path. That path you see – which extends for 28 miles from the canyons to the beach – is the San Gabriel river bike trail.

Starting near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, & cutting  south through Whittier Narrows, Pico Rivera, Downey – & eventually ending at Seal Beach – the path starts east of the L.A river on the north-end, and then stays right alongside it after Whittier Narrows.

We truly can’t think of a better way to get a unique perspective of all that makes L.A. what it is. Along the stretch of trail, you undoubtedly encounter various encampments of people, as well as great parks you can pull into to get some water, take a break, or lay in the grass. One thing that urbanites like ourselves found incredible, was the extent of ranch & rural zoning alongside the river. Throughout much of the first half of the northern stretch, you’ll see horse trails, barns, small-scale farms, & always make sure you say hi to the dudes riding horses along the river bank – who we are always totally jealous of because they usually have a beer in their hand & seem content-as-can-be.

San Gabriel river bike trail

Santa Fe Dam Recreation area

The San Gabriel river bike trail begins (on the north end) right off the 39 in Azusa, but a great spot to catch the trail & begin your journey is the Santa Fe Dam Recreation AreaThe Santa Fe Dam is a great park with open fields, a lake that you can swim in during the summer – but is open all year to fish & rent paddle boats on. Food is limited to concessions, so pack a lunch – & make sure to rent pedal bike if you are with your family, so you can cruise around the path bordering the lake.

San Gabriel river bike trail

View from the bike trail in Pico Rivera

Going south from Santa Fe, you cross through Whittier Narrows park, which is 1500 acres of pure park. With lakes, activities, & tons of amenities – it’s easily one of the best parks, if not the best – in Los Angeles County.

South of Whittier Narrows, the river trail continues along the L.A. river, through a mishmash of rural & urban settings, where you are bound to see a concrete structure – most likely hydroelectric, or a full-on horse stable, all within a few minutes of each other. The juxtaposition of different things to see is what makes this trail amazing overall.

San Gabriel river bike trail

Looking beautiful after a little rain

Depending on which stretch of the San Gabriel river bike trail you’re on, it’s inevitable you’ll see swaths of water occupied by birds, ducks, & other wildlife. Depending on the water levels, sometimes you can cross a ton of animal activity – & you can see that the L.A. river is more than just a concrete bed stretching between the freeways. The pathways are mostly level, with no huge grades – so from a “bike experience level”, it’s totally doable for most levels of expertise. We’re not in the best shape right now, & doing about 10 miles on the trail was easy-peasy. As is the case with any adventure, always keep your wits about you & try to time it so you’re not on the trail too late or once it gets dark. We’re not saying it’s unsafe, but you are separated on all sides for much of the ride, so emergency access isn’t necessarily as good as it would be on the streets or in neighborhoods.

San Gabriel river bike trail

A stretch of the trail near Downey

Whether an avid bicycle enthusiast, or someone who just dusted off the old Schwinn in the garage & you’re ready to take it for a spin – the San Gabriel river bike trail is fun for all ages, & a great way to spend a weekend morning or afternoon. If you plan to do the full stretch from the mountains to the beach, please plan accordingly – as that’s a long stretch & DOES require a bit more experience (or endurance!)

Enjoy! – & feel free to comment below with questions or ideas about this blog.

what is barrio.la?

we remind Angelenos of what “living locally” has to offer.

barrio.la finds local companies making high quality, eco-friendly goods right here in Southern California.

Los Angeles has so much going on & is alive with eclectic neighborhoods, places to see & things to do – so while we’re at it – we keep you in the know about cool things going on in your own ‘hood & the cool people making it all happen.

feel like wandering with us?

cool… ’cause that’s what we do here.


Cuteness Overload! Visit the New Baby Animals at San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

Get ready to coo and ahh your way through the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park while visiting the new, adorable baby animals on display. Get a peek here at Taj the greater one-horned rhino calf, Leslie the baby gorilla, Tombi and Ilangha, the cheetah cub sisters, a mandrill baby named Ajani and a Rodrigues fruit bat pup named Lucas. Their pictures are too cute for words, but seeing them in person can’t be beat!

gorilla-san-diego-zoo-safari-park                                                                                                                                              Photo: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Look at that sweet little face! Leslie is the baby “girl-illa” of doting and attentive mother, Kokomo, who holds her close constantly. Leslie’s father Winston protects the troop of eight critically endangered gorillas at the Safari Park. Since 229- pound Kokomo is often toting Leslie in her arms, be sure to check there first to catch a glimpse of this little bundle of joy.

cheetah-cubs-san-diego-zoo-safari-parkPhoto: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Who else wishes they could cuddle this darling duo? These cheetah cubs are named Tombi, which means “girl” in Zulu, and Ilangha, which means “sunshine” in Zulu. The mother of these spotted sisters would not care for them, so they are being raised by animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where they can been seen in their nursery at Nairobi Station between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Zulu and Ilangha will eventually end up at the San Diego Zoo to join the sustainable cheetah population the Zoo has been building for over 40 years, but for now they’re enjoying plenty of playtime and nap time.

rhino-taj-san-diego-zoo-safari-parkPhoto: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Taj means “crown” or “jewel” in Hindi, and this male rhino’s birth is vital, as he joins only 3,500 greater one-horned rhinos that remain the wild. Since 1975, Taj is the 70th greater one-horned rhino to be born at the Safari Park, which is the most prolific breeding facility in the world for this species. Taj nurses from his mother Tanaya about twelve times a day. As an herbivore he will graduate to eating grasses, hay and pellets. He weighed a whopping 160 pounds at birth and he currently weighs around 275 pounds! When Taj is fully-grown at 3 years of age, he’ll weigh in between 4,000 to 5,000 pounds! Visit Taj in all his splendor at the Safari Park.

mandrill-baby-san-diego-zooPhoto: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Look at that adorable mandrill baby, Ajani, clinging to his mama, Kesi! This little guy is the first mandrill born at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park in fourteen years, where more than 34 mandrills have been born since mandrills first arrived at the zoo in 1923. Visit mom Kesi, dad Jasper and their new baby boy at the zoo on Monkey Trail in Lost Forest.

bat-pup-san-diego-zooPhoto: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

This critically endangered Rodrigues fruit bat pup named Lucas was born via C-section, and sadly his mother did not survive. The Safari Park staff are caring for him around the clock, and he’s shown here clinging to his “sock mom.” Caring for the orphaned fruit bat is no easy feat. His body temperature must be carefully regulated in a controlled incubator that keeps him warm and provides enough humidity to keep his wings pliable. He eats every two hours, and feedings last up to 45 minutes. Afterwards, Lucas gets bathed using a damp cotton ball, and then he’s wrapped in a warm blanket that cradles him like his mother’s wings would have. Meet this marvel at the Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

San Diego Zoo
2920 Zoo Dr.
San Diego, Ca
online: zoo.sandiegozoo.org

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
San Diego, Ca
Online: sdzsafaripark.org

Which baby animal are you going to visit first? Have any of you already met one of these cuties?

––Beth Shea

Desert X has announced its artist lineup and schedule of events

Desert X, the hotly-anticipated superstar art event opening in the Coachella Valley this month, has announced its lineup of participating artists and a schedule of opening and preview events.

The collection of site-specific art pieces installed in the desert landscape will be on public view from February 25 to April 30 and features pieces by huge names in contemporary art including Doug Aitken, Lita Albuquerque, Jennifer Bolande, Will Boone, Claudia Comte, Jeffrey Gibson, Sherin Guirguis, Norma Jeane, Glenn Kaino, Gabriel Kuri, Armando Lerma, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Julião Sarmento, Phillip K. Smith III and Tavares Strachan.

Desert X will open to the public in late February, but if you’re already heading out to Palm Springs for Modernism Week, you’ll be among the lucky few to get an advance preview. Pre-opening events kick off on February 17 with an artist panel at the Palm Springs Art Museum starting at 4pm moderated by Steven Biller, the art editor of Palm Springs Life magazine. After the panel, stop by artist Rob Pruitt’s “Flea Market” which will be at the museum through the 26th and opens with a reception from 5 to 8pm. Another panel with artists will be held the following day at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

If you want to support the non-profit art project—while also attending what’s sure to be one of the coolest parties of the season—consider snapping up tickets to the pre-opening gala on February 24 in Rancho Mirage, featuring surprise musical guests and other entertainment. Tickets are $50 to $150; if that seems at all steep, just remember that most of the other events associated with Desert X are free for the public to attend.

While you’ll find art installed in locations spread out across the Coachella Valley, the central hub to start your experience will be the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. For the duration of the multi-month event they will offer maps, books from several of the presenting artists, and play host to a number of the public events, such as an opening night presentation by artist Julião Sarmento on February 25.

If you’re not going to be able to make it out to the desert this month but want to get a sneak peek at what will be out there (perhaps for a side-trip when you head out to the Coachella music festival?), make your way to the Hammer Museum on February 21 for a lecture by Jeffrey Gibson, bringing a little bit of Desert X back to the city.     

Desert X 2017 runs February 25 to April 30, 2017 at various locations around the Coachella Valley. Check the event website for complete details and event schedule.  

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Black Rabbit Rose opens in Hollywood with magic shows and craft cocktails

Is there any world the Houston Brothers can’t create? For the past few years, the nightlife moguls have transported us to Paris, Cuba, the ’70s, the ’80s and what feels like countless house parties in the middle of Hollywood. Each bar incorporates an element of magic, whether it’s a hidden door or a secret room. But their latest bar, Black Rabbit Rose, takes the magic up a notch—literally.

Black Rabbit Rose is both a bar and a magic theater, though unlike the neighboring Magic Castle, it doesn’t require connections to get in. It might require some patience, though—the space is small, comprised of just two cozy rooms. In the bar section, craft cocktails are whipped up, like the refreshing Zig Zag Woman or the sultry Dark Arts made with lemongrass vodka, lime, aloe and activated charcoal. In the theater, ticketed shows ($40 per person) run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9pm, and feature magicians, illusionists, burlesque dancers and other performers. The talent is curated by Rob Zabrecky, an entertainer who has worked in magic, music, film and TV.

If dinner and a show is on the agenda, Crying Tiger is located adjacent to Black Rabbit Rose, offering Thai and Chinese food at the bar (during the day, the restaurant offers lunch through a take-out window). You won’t be able to bring food into the theater, but pork buns and lettuce wraps can be enjoyed before or after the show. 

Tickets can be purchased here, though you don’t need to buy a magic show ticket to enjoy the bar. 

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Hollywood’s Redbury Hotel to become outpost of Hospital Club, a private hangout for ‘creatives’

Hollywood’s boutique Redbury Hotel is set to become a members-only club aimed at the creative class.

The building at Hollywood and Vine will be renovated and will open in early 2018. Club LA, the “debut” extension of London’s The Hospital Club, “giving members access to an international network of creatives,” the club said Tuesday in an announcement. Our friends at Eater LA tell us the hotel’s ground floor restaurant Cleo is staying put.

H. Club in Hollywood will offer 36 hotel-style bedrooms available to club members and the public. Hotel guests will get a temporary membership to the club, and have access to all the fancy member amenities:

  • three options for food with “sustainable and locally sourced ingredients”
  • a rooftop restaurant
  • multiple bars
  • an outdoor pool
  • a tea room
  • coworking space
  • a music studio
  • a screening room
  • space for live performances (this one can be enjoyed by guests and members)

The Hospital Club was co-founded in 2004 by Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. (The London Club’s original location is housed in the former St. Paul’s Hospital in Covent Garden, hence the name.) In June 2016, a company owned by Allen bought the Redbury for $41 million.

The club, catering to creatives with money, will be situated in the heart of Hollywood, where companies including Netflix and Viacom have set up shop.

“Big names are moving into the area. I have been astonished by the level of development. It’s like it’s on the cusp of something exciting that is about to explode and we want to be part of that,” a rep for the Hospital Club told the Los Angeles Times.

The Times says the Redbury will close in July.

If that timeline sticks, h. Club LA will open ahead of another members-only club poised to open in Los Angeles: Soho Warehouse, the Arts District outpost of Soho House. Rich entrainment execs have an appetite for these exclusive clubs. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Soho House in West Hollywood has become the center of the industry, where top players prefer to lunch and make deals.

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