You could argue that every meal at Gaucho's Village includes live entertainment—servers are constantly visiting tables with humongous skewers of meat and slicing off choice pieces with a sword-like knife. To summon such a show to your table, all you need to do is turn a small marker over to display its green side, or turn your "Bring on the Meat" t-shirt right-side out. Then, you select from an array of flame-roasted cuts, ranging from the traditional picanha, or sirloin cap, to tri-tip and filet mignon wrapped in bacon. The blazing churrasco fires backstage also cook lamb, pork, and sausage, and the menu suggests a proper wine pairing for each cut.
Though these meats have been featured on the Travel Channel's Tastiest Places to Chow Down, they aren't the only impressive spectacle at the restaurant. The real show occurs on weekends, when samba dancers and DJs rev up the always-festive atmosphere. Guests who would rather kick back than shimmy along can visit the attached lounge. There, a separate lounge menu boasts empanadas and coxinha—fried balls of chicken and cheese—as well as flavored hookah on a back patio fenced with live bamboo.
Sedthee welcomes diners with a warm atmosphere and gracious hospitality. The menu is packed with traditional Thai cuisine, including stir-fried dishes, hearty curries, and delicately flavored desserts. Start a gustatory voyage with the prosperous baby––baby back ribs in Thai herbs and flash fried for a texture bonus ($8.95)––before delving deeper into the dark heart of flavor with the Jungle Feast, which bathes crispy duck (or vegan soy duck) in a tub of sweet pineapple, grapes, and a spicy coconut-milk forest curry made with freshly-ground spices ($13.95). Sedthee's specialty spicy lamb chops come grass-fed from New Zealand to get a marinated coat of Thai spices ($15.95), and Devil's fried rice, which comes with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu ($7.95), and the creamy medium spice of the Panang curry, made with fresh, hand-juiced coconut milk (starting at $7.95), can please traditionalist palates. A dessert order of taro custard cake à la mode ($5.95) places the sweet end cap on top of the dinner pipe.
Cozy candlelight and flickering lanterns cast soft shadows in 55 Degree Wine’s cellar, where waiters eagerly pair customers’ palates with weekly rotating wines. Featured on Best of LA Weekly in 2012 for its wine program, the winery stocks more than 2,000 labels, of which up to 60 are spotlighted in the cellar’s monthly lineup of pours. Though most vintages are Italian, ambrosias from Europe, South America, and other far-flung climes find homes in the shop after being tasted and approved by store owners. The thermostat, appropriately set to 55 degrees, helps keep elixirs fresh and patrons comfortable, but guests may wish to bring a sweater or particularly affectionate bear.
The chefs at Chadaka Thai shower traditional spices over a bevy of fresh seafood, spicy curries, and refreshing vegetarian dishes. Tender steak and succulent lamb chops don flavors of lemongrass and hot peppers as egg and rice noodles take on a range of shapes beneath savory sauces. In the dining room, towering windows and pillar-like pendant lights illuminate dark-wood décor as stark geometric furnishings find a rustic complement with burl accents and a patchwork-quilt ceiling. Candlelit tables for two fan the flames of a romantic evening or passionate fire-eating contest, whereas an outdoor patio framed by pinewood-hued beams grants diners a glimpse of the bustling shoppers just beyond their savory sanctuary.
A retail shop outfitted with a tasting bar, Colorado Wine Company is run by owners John and Jennifer Nugent, who offer a friendly, laid-back environment for mingling and sipping. Each Tuesday night, fervent taste buds will traipse through a flight of four wines, presented specifically by the wines' importers and winemakers. Artisanal cheeses from Auntie Em's Cheese Shop are on hand to complement and flatter each glass and palate, and you can purchase bottles (many under $25) to re-create tastings at home for dinner guests and monocle-wearing cats.
Dave Reinitz packed up all his belongings into a motor home, left New York, and began driving across the country because he was bored. When the engine finally blew, he was in Los Angeles, and decided that was where he would stay. As if by providence, Dave immediately took to his newfound city's comedy scene. Eventually, he partnered up with comedian Barbara Holliday for his life's next great adventure—Flappers Comedy Club.
Today, Barbara, whose credits include Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Friends, co-manages the multipurpose club she owns with Dave. A breeding ground for new talent, the venue plays host to standup comics and variety acts, and gives up-and-comers a hand with comedy classes called Flappers University. Many local and rising comedians have tested their standup material at Flappers, and the stage has supported the seasoned weight of stars such as Dave Attell and Jason Alexander. Before, during, or after shows, patrons can fuel their giggle fits with grub from the club's onsite restaurant, including Cajun-spiced burgers, seared ahi, and brick-oven pizzas.
In the intimate confines of Atwater Playhouse, a new 45-seat theater, acting teachers impart the skills behind not acting. Most commonly known as method acting, their style hinges on actually feeling a character's emotions, rather than simply mimicking them. This immersive approach, used by greats such as Meryl Streep and Al Pacino, has landed students roles in productions such as The Dark Knight Rises, Drive, and Weeds.