Tag Archives: mojitos

A night at the Saturn Awards…

I should start off by saying that, sadly, “Not Forgotten” came home from the 36th Annual Saturn Awards empty-handed on Thursday night. Sorry…

But one of the things I learned about attending my first big-time award show (as a nominee!) is that it really is an honor just to be nominated. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. And seeing as the folks who put on the Saturn Awards are some of the coolest, geekiest, sci-fi, fantasy and horror fans imaginable (people like me!) I was even doubly honored.

Seriously, I have never felt more at home in a room full of Hollywood phonies, and that’s because these people were not your everyday Hollywood phonies.

No way, man, these folks were the real deal. That Starlight Ballroom was busting at the seams with talented, creative, film-loving freaks and geeks of every shape and size…and those people know how to party, yo!

This year, the Saturn Awards were held at the Castaway Restaurant in the hills overlooking Burbank…and if there was any doubt as to where you were when you got out of your car, the scads of little alien heads at the bar and the life size astronaut suit on the red carpet totally clued you in.

Still wondering what award show you were at? Well, perhaps you should ask that fellow over there in the Samurai Stormtrooper costume, or the man driving the moon buggy in a grungy space suit. I swear, amigos, I never stopped smiling all night…that place was fanboy heaven.

Rubbing shoulders with people like Sam Raimi, Leonard Nimoy, Billy Dee Williams, Guillermo Del Toro, Malcolm McDowell, the lovely Anna Torv from “Fringe”, cast members from “Heroes”, “Chuck” and “Breaking Bad”, iconic “The Greatest American Hero” star himself, William Katt, and actually being touched by the dude who played touch-happy Jacob on “Lost” (Mark Pellegrino)…I mean, shit, who needs an award with a line-up like that?

Of course, we would have loved to have won our category — we lost to Rod Lurie’s “Nothing But The Truth”, which includes no sci-fi, fantasy or horror to speak of — but, we were having too much fun to dwell on the loss for long. I mean, the food was great, the bar was wide open — Daddy had three mojitos and a chocolate vodka martini, but who’s counting? — and the vibe at the Castaway was awesome, so, what’s to complain about?

And on top of all that coolness, I managed to score two gift bags at the end of the night. Sure, I felt a little greedy lugging them around the after-party in the courtyard, but what can I say, I loves me some free shit. And when that free shit involves “King Kong” and “Avatar” DVD’s, well, all the better!

Thanks again for the nomination, guys…long live the Saturn Awards! To see a full list of this year’s Saturn Award winners, please click here.

And to see more of my super-nerdy pics please click here.


Filed under Do, See

Downtown L.A.’s “Ciudad”

On their very cool website, Ciudad invites one and all to “experience the bold and seductive flavors of the Latin World” and last night, we took them up on it!

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Ciudad is the brainchild of world-renowned Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger and though a little pricier than their fare at the similarly-themed Border Grill in Santa Monica and Las Vegas, Ciudad is worth every penny you pay. Seriously…it’s kind of magical.

Although Christine has eaten at Ciudad a number of times over the years — her workplace, downtown’s Central Library is practically across the street from the restaurant — I had only been there on one other occasion, but the memory of that meal has stayed with me ever since.

So after enjoying the sunset from the rooftop bar of The Standard nearby, we hiked on over to Ciudad for a late dinner with some of Christine’s co-workers. And seeing as the late night happy hour at Ciudad had begun just minutes before we walked in — incredibly enough, they have house mojitos, sangria and a number of other rocking good cocktails for only $4 a pop from 9-11 on Friday nights! — we could not have planned it better!

The only hitch to the late night happy hour is that you have to enjoy your drinks literally at the bar and cannot move to your table until after you’ve settled your tab. Fine by us! So we drank ourselves silly at the bar, settled the tab and stumbled to our table around 10-ish.

And the food? Wow…word’s cannot do this place justice. Fusing delicious new and classic authentic dishes from Spain, Mexico, South America, Central America, Cuba and even Portugal, the menu is almost as rich, colorful and varied as the crazy hip decor and art work inside.

We started with some incredible tapas-style dishes. And though the Peruvian Ceviche with plantain chips and Argentine Empandas (with wild mushroom, warm chipotle sauce and swiss chard!) were fantastic, I gotta say that my favorite of the three appetizers we shared was the Fried Spanish Brie. Dios mio, that stuff melted in your mouth…it was incredible.

And this from a man who is not a huge fan of the Brie…don’t get me wrong, I love me some soft cheeses, but Brie has never been my favorite. Until now!

And dinner was even more amazing! Not only were the hip, mid-century dishes super groovy to look at, but the plating of this food was out of this world. Beautiful culinary art on every plate…just gorgeous!

I had the slow-roasted Niman Ranch Carnitas with mashed yuca, organic black beans, fried plantains and grilled corn salsa. Wow, even just typing those words is making me drool. It was probably the best carnitas I’ve ever had anywhere…and that mashed yuca is something I wanna make at home, like, every night. I loved it!

Christine had a huge crusted pork chop from the “Specials” menu that not only tasted like heaven, but rivaled the Brontosaurus bone on “The Flintsones” in heft. That thing was enormous!

And that lovely pork chop was not alone in the size department, because, unlike other hipster haunts downtown, the portions at Ciudad are authentically gigantic. That’s right, they don’t eat dainty in any of the countries listed above, so why should we do it here? Sí se puede, indeed!

I don’t have any pictures to back this all up of course — Christine forbid me to photograph my food in front of her work friends — but you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that even the heartiest eaters out there will not leave this joint hungry. It’s just not possible…

So next time you find yourself downtown on a Friday night between 9-11PM — gotta hit that happy hour, I mean, come on, regular-priced Supremo Mojitos are $15! — check out Ciudad! Sure, it might cost you and arm and a leg, but I swear to God, the food you eat here will flash before your eyes when you die.

Yep, it’s that good!


Filed under Eat