Last Minute Christmas Gift For Someone and You

Dear So Cal Mom:

HELP! I have two people joining us tonight for our Christmas Day celebration, but I don’t have a gift for them? What do I do?  Merry Christmas! 


Stressed Out Mom

No worries Stressed Out Mom you don’t even need to leave your house.  Just go online to one of the following restaurants and order a gift card now. When you purchase a gift card, they will reward YOU. It’s a win-win situation and stress-free! 

 ·         RockSugar Pan Asian KitchenRockSugar 001

          Located in Century City, RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen provides a Southeast Asian escape, presenting authentic family-style cuisine in an upscale, tranquil setting. From noodle dishes to savory curries and sweet, house made desserts, Executive Chef Mohan Ismail’s dishes are inspired by his upbringing in Singapore and the regions of Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, and will transport you to these far off destinations with every bite. This holiday season, give the gift of RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen’s unique dining experience and receive your own $10 Complimentary Card with a gift card purchase of $50 or more.

·         Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill

        Holiday shopping just got a lot easier with the Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill holiday gift card sale. For every $50 in gift cards purchased, the buyer receives a $10 complimentary card that can be used in the first quarter of 2014. Restrictions apply:  The complimentary card can be used only Monday-Thursday from January 2-March 31, 2014; Only one per person per day can be used; Not valid on holidays. Purchase gift cards in store or online at

·         Mimi’s Café  

         Quiche-Lorraine When guests give a Mimi’s Cafe gift card this holiday season, Mimi’s will give back to them with a $5 coupon for every $25 gift card purchase. This award-winning national collection of French-inspired neighborhood bistros is known for its delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, friendly service and charming décor. Guests can order French dishes including onion soup, crêpes and quiches, along with bistro classics such as baked brie, bouillabaisse and coq au vin, to name a few dishes.  Mimi’s is also loved for its freshly baked muffins, as well as their all-butter croissants in flavors such as chocolate, almond, and classic butter. The holiday gift card offer is only available at Mimi’s Cafe restaurant locations and is not available for purchases made online or via third party retailers.

           Marie Callender’s

          This holiday join Marie Callender’s for their delicious in-restaurant Christmas Dinner. With something for everyone, guests can choose from five special holiday entrées including: Freshly Roasted Turkey, Oven-Baked Ham, Home-style Beef Stroganoff, Mediterranean Salmon, or Oven-Roasted Vegetable Pasta. Each entrée includes soup or salad, and wouldn’t be complete without a slice of Marie’s famous Apple Pie! Marie Callendar’s is also offering take home feasts for those that prefer to pick up their meal. Marie Callender’s is offering a $5 Bonus Card with any Gift Card purchase of $25 or more. The $5 Bonus Card is redeemable from January 1 – 31, 2014 with the purchase of $20 or more. Valid at participating locations. For more information, or to find a Marie Callender’s location nearest you, visit  

·         The Counter 012The Counter

          The Counter®–the build-your-own burger joint—offers a $5 reward card (to be redeemed from 1/1/14 to 2/28/14) with every $25 gift card purchase. The Counter offers a fresh, unconventional approach to creating the ultimate burger – with over a million possible “Build Your Own Burger” combinations choosing from six proteins, 12 cheeses, 33 toppings, 23 unique sauces and six types of buns. The Counter offers a full-service, fast-casual dining experience in an inviting space with industrial décor and upbeat music. There are currently 35 locations in the United States and four international locations, with the newest being in Mountain View, CA and San Diego Airport (open this week). For more information, visit·         

        Cheesecake Factory

          With more than 200 made-from-scratch menu items, a gift card from The Cheesecake Factory can be a tasteful gift for family, friends, co-workers and clients. Gift-givers can share the gift of cheesecake with everyone on their shopping list and receive a ‘Slice of Joy’ card valid for a complimentary slice of cheesecake with every $25 gift card purchased from Nov. 29 – Dec. 31. Gift cards are available for purchase at all restaurant locations and an ‘eGift Card’ can be purchased and sent online at The “Slice of Joy” cards are redeemable on a future visit from Jan. 1 – Mar. 30, 2014.

·         King’s Fish House

o    Guests who purchase $100 worth of gift cards will receive a $20 bonus card for use at King’s Fish House or any other King’s Seafood Company restaurant.

·        watergrill 006 Water Grill

         At Water Grill (Downtown LA and Santa Monica) – the premier seafood destination in downtown Los Angeles and now in Santa Monica—guests may purchase $100 worth of  gift cards and receive a $20 bonus card redeemable at either Water Grill location or at any other King’s Seafood Company restaurant (555 Long Beach, Fish Camp, King’s Fish House, Lou & Mickey’s in San Diego, and PierBurger in Santa Monica).

         Taste at the Palisades

Purchase a $100 gift card at Taste of the Palisades and receive a $20 card in return as a thank you gesture. Remember Taste offers Grilled Cheese Night on Sundays, Half off bottles of wine of Tuesdays, Tortilla Republic Pop-up on Thursdays, and $9.50 lunch specials Tuesday through Friday.  538 Palisades Drive,  Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 Phone : 310-459-9808 – infopalisades@ilovetaste.comhttp:/ – /

Corner Bakery

 Gift cards from the Corner make the tastiest stocking stuffers, thank-you cards and last-minute gifts. Stop by your neighborhood Corner Bakery Cafe today, and with every $25 in gift cards purchased, you’ll receive a $5 Bonus Card to use when you come in January 1-31

Tasty Tortas

Downtown Los Angeles now has Executive Chef, Founder, and restaurant entrepreneur Jimmy Shaw’s Loteria Grill. Always thinking ahead, he built a Mexican sandwich Torta Company next to his signature restaurant to serve warm and tasty fare.

For those who read my review of Loteria Grill –, you will understand why this affable image003chef is one of my favorites.

On Friday the 13th of December, I attended an Opening Night of Torta Company and Loteria Grill. I was excited to try his new restaurants at FIG at 7th. Located on the first floor inside TASTE, it’s a gourmet food court.

MELT is across the way serving up epicurean grilled cheese sandwiches. I was happy to also see Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Joe Kim, open a Flying Pig inside this new development (Read my review of Flying Pig –  Kim told me that his Flying Pig has been open for four months.

We were led into the TASTE to the makeshift bar, not everything was up and running yet at this clean and brand new gastronome. Jalapeño, Tamarind and traditional Margaritas were being custom-made for the 100 guests.
Sous chefs were making Shaw’s famous soft tacos with chicken mole poblano, carnitas en salsa morita, and papa con rajas with creamy potatoes.  We nibbled on each of the authentic tasting Mexico City-style tacos before the Tortas arrived.

Served wrapped in paper and hot off the grill, Shaw and his brother served up one of the most unique tasting sandwiches I have ever had. They are divided into categories: IMG_5887Vegetarian, Chicken/Turkey, Fish, Beef, Pork and my favorite La Cubana. Chef Jimmy Shaw’s brother Andrew Shaw created this tasty torta. Imagine black beans spread on authentic Telera rolls fresh out of the oven, and topped with smoked ham, melted white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, avocado, chipotle mayo and a cilantro dressing. It’s distinctive flavors will keep people downtown happy at lunch or when they take one home for dinner.

The two vegetarian tortas are a roasted poblano peppers and Oaxaca cheese with pinto beans or an oyster mushroom stewed in a tomato-chipotle sauce with avocado and Oaxaca cheese.

Chicken Tortas include a breaded cutlet with black beans, onions avocado, chipotle mayo and cilantro dressing or a turkey mole sandwich

Fish is either Shaw’s famous red snapper Veracruz with olives, jalapeños and a caper sauce or an exquisite tuna melt with Gruyere cheese, avocado and sweet dill jalapeños.

Shaw offers a roast beef torta with a Mexican twist and a chorizo cheese steak that tastes like a Philly cheese steak with Mexican flavors.

IMG_5888His pulled pork is tender and juicy, as is his smoked Black Forest ham and cheddar cheese.

There is a Caesar salad and Jicama slaw of the menu to accompany the Tortas.

For those with a sweet tooth, the banana and Cajeta torta. Cajeta is a milk based sauce similar to caramel. For early risers wanting to take breakfast to their desk, there are three breakfast tortas to get you going until lunch.

Located at FIG at 7th, Loteria Grill and Torta Company will be a spot you visit often when downtown at work or shopping. Go to:





Fig at 7th

732 S. Figueroa St.

Los Angeles, 90017



Christmas Festivities at Disneyland and California Adventure

IMG_5763Families feel the joy of the holiday season when they visit Disneyland and California Adventure. Disneyland Resort is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Snow has fallen on Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Main Street is decorated with festive garlands, cheery wreaths and thousands of white and colored lights.  The towering 60-foot Christmas tree has more than 70,000 lights strung along the branches and there are 2,000 custom-made ornaments. 

 Over at Disney California Adventure Park Radiator Springs displays holiday décor that includes a “snowcap.”  Buena Vista Street has decorated street cars, colorful wreaths and Santa’s office with photo opportunities. Be sure to admire the magnificent Christmas tree.

Foodies will enjoy the smells of freshly made peanut brittle and fudge filling the air. Mickey Mouse pretzels, brownies with red and green sprinkles and FROZEN cupcakes.

Be sure to see the following:IMG_5805

Christmas Fantasy Parade – Goofy and Pluto do their best to decorate a life-sized gingerbread house. Woody and Buzz wave from atop giant wooden building blocks. Mickey and Minnie take a romantic twirl on a frozen pond. The Disney Princesses dance and curtsy at the Candlelight Ball. Best of all, Santa rides high in his sleigh filled with presents and good cheer.

It’s A Small World Cruise –  During a musical boat tour sail along a canal for an approximate 15-minute journey to the Polar regions, the British Isles, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Asia, Africa, South American,  the South Pacific and The United States. Almost 300 papier-mâché people are dressed in traditional outfits, as they sing in their native language for the holidays to promote peace and universal harmony

IMG_5784Viva Navidad  is a Latin-themed holiday street party with music and dancing. Join the Three Caballeros and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Street Party is at 12:25, 1:30, 2:50, 3:5o, 5:30 and 6:20 p.m.

Mad T Party is a hip, high-energy nighttime experience in California Adventure neat Hollywood Land. There is music, games, dancing, drinks and yummy treats. The party starts at 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

World of Color – Winter Dreams begins at Paradise Bay at 8:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Friday it’s at 10:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday there are two shows. One at 9 p.m. and the other at 10:15 p.m.

Disney’s Aladdin – A 45 minute musical that tells the classic story of love with special effects, terrific dance numbers, puppetry, and pageantry all set to music from composers Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice.

See the Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party at the Paradise Pier.

Be sure to get to both parks early and get your FastPass to some of your favorite rides.

To learn more. go to