Art Beyond the Glass saw another successful year, bringing together a lively community of LA’s bar and beverage professionals in electric and ever-so-festive fashion. The annual event, which is dedicated to celebrating the artistic side of bartenders’ lives—literally—showcases painting, music, and all types of performance for a like-minded and rowdy crowd. Throw in endless craft cocktails and vendor experiences that stretch the realm of creativity and you’ve got about as ironically sophisticated take on a college party as you can get.
Held in the Los Globos Theater, Art Beyond the Glass welcomed an array of classic and up-and-coming drink purveyors that came ready to cater to their seasoned audience. Hendricks Dry Gin commemorated the event’s timing with a ‘midsummer solstice’ that included a number of summery drinks combined with a fully-costumed [read: scantily-clothed] Puck, emblematic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ilegal Mezcal was back with hand-injected Jell-O shots (yes, they had syringes on hand). Adjacent to them, Tromba Tequila offered up a sinfully sweet alcoholic melon sorbet topped with vanilla tapioca.
While Art Beyond the Glass is not necessarily known for food, Marker’s Mark made the day by dressing up their booth as a makeshift In-n-Out and—you guessed it—ordering dozens of In-n-Out burgers for the crowd. Patrons chomped and drank away whilst playing Duck Hunt at the Super Mario Bros setup hosted by Suntory.
Ford’s Gin went the extra mile by serving their drinks in gigantic ice blocks. Jägermeister promoted its new Jägermeister Manifest, but only for those who deemed themselves worthy by completing a medieval maze in 2 minutes or less to obtain the key necessary to unlock the libation from its display case. Jack Daniels, which hosted “Lynchburg Crossfit,” served up a drink that supposedly required handstand pushups and burpees to order, but—unsurprisingly—most were able to try it by just asking nicely.
On the artistic side, Art Beyond the Glass featured a number of live art creations, a silent auction, and musical performances. Event proceeds benefited Beautify Earth, an LA-based nonprofit dedicated to beautifying communities through public art. Be on the lookout for next year’s Art Beyond the Glass, taking place June 2020. For more information, visit ArtBeyondTheGlass.com.
Bricks is the kind of restaurant you grow up with and the type of place every community needs. It’s where families celebrate little league victories, where friends gather after high school football games, and where the grownups go to get killer burgers and beer on a casual night out. The tiny standalone building along Lyons Ave. sits just out of reach from Newhall’s main drag of increasingly trendy hotspots, creating a bubble of family-owned and operated nostalgia and warm, homey comfort for all who walk in through its doors. But there’s much more to Bricks than its communal tables, quaint patios and fancifully decorated counter—there’s some serious comfort food to be had.
Burgers, fries and shakes are the name of the game at Bricks, and present one of the best values this side of LA. The bacon bleu burger, practically toppling over from a mountain of onion rings and its namesake ingredients stacked atop a thick patty, puts rivals to shame AND comes with fries…like a good burger should. Same goes for the signature Bricks burger, a savory compilation of bacon, caramelized onion, Swiss cheese, grilled jalapenos and arugula. Each is complemented with a house-made aioli.
Bricks takes it a step further with its add-ons, a plethora of haute customizations that are well-worth the paltry $1 – 3 upgrade. That 50/50 patty—half beef, half chorizo—is as progressive as what you’ll find in any pretentious burger bar, as are those skinny fries with parmesan and garlic [though they could be served a bit hotter]. Best to complete the experience with a milkshake, just as stellar in sweet, decadent richness. Sea salt caramel and cookie butter are just two from a long list of tantalizing options. You’ll also find wine and beer, where Bricks has partnered with a locally-acclaimed brewery to step up its draft game.
While Bricks can’t exactly be classified as a small-town diner [Santa Clarita is bigger than you think], it does share the distinct quality of cooking up just about everything under the sun. From gyros to fried chicken, you’ve got an array of salads, sandwiches, hot dogs and meal-sized starters and sides to choose from. The street dog is a souped-up version of LA’s classic curbside bacon-wrapped hot dog, finished with that house-made chipotle aioli. Then there’s the bacon waffle burger, which subs out a bun for a bacon and cheese-infused waffle.
Bricks is located at 23820 Lyons Ave, Santa Clarita, CA 91321. Open 11a – 9p Mon – Fri, 10a – 9p Sat, 10a – 8p Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$25/person. For more information, call (661) 286 – 1091 or visit BricksNewhall.com
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has served up New York slices since 1990, where it opened its first location under the Brooklyn Bridge. Their technique goes much further back, however, utilizing coal-fired brick ovens that encompass more than a century of pizza-making. Now, with nearly 50 properties across the US and several international projects in the making, Grimaldi’s has proven its ability to scale classic production while retaining a heartwarming vibe.
The menu is somewhat of a rarity to the typical west-coaster: a full-service restaurant that’s almost entirely focused on pizza and salad. Read: no pasta, no chicken wings, no oversize meatballs or other usual suspects you’d typically find at a family-style Italian joint. What this means is an In-n-Out kind of focus—limited menu, but each item is done very well. What this also means is that the kitchen doesn’t even have a stove. Those old-fashioned brick ovens are the lifeblood of the fishbowl-style kitchen, going through more than 200lbs of coal a day.
The finished product is a classic New York-style crust, thin and crispy on the outside with an earthy element delivered from those coal ovens. And with a strong lineup of specialty pizzas and toppings for build-your-own creations, the choices are hardly limited. Corporate Executive Chef Cory Lattuca, a 15-year Grimaldi’s veteran, consistently churns out seasonal items to make the menu pop even further. Buffalo chicken pizza, anyone?
Lattuca takes Grimaldi’s a step further with sweets and drinks. Somehow those ovens are rigged to make some mean cannoli and New York cheesecake [Oreo and sugar cookie crust?!?]. Add a strong lineup of beers, housemade cocktails and—of course—wines. Fun fact: Grimaldi’s makes its own house wine in Italy.
Grimaldi’s has multiple locations nationwide. Hours can vary but hover around 11a – 10p Sun – Thu and 11a – 11pm Fri/Sat. Avg. Out-the-door price for split salad, split pizza and 1 – 2 drinks is ~ $30/person. For more information, visit GrimaldisPizzeria.com
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.