Celia Brugman (Kaiser Permanente, HeartThrob Sponsor), Dr. Curley Bonds (Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, WFHC Community Partner) and Celia Bernstein (Director of Development, WFHC) pose at Westside Family Health Center’s “I HEART WFHC” event on February 21, 2015 at TAG Gallery in Santa Monica.

Celia Brugman (Kaiser Permanente, HeartThrob Sponsor), Dr. Curley Bonds (Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, WFHC Community Partner) and Celia Bernstein (Director of Development, WFHC) pose at Westside Family Health Center’s “I HEART WFHC” event on February 21, 2015 at TAG Gallery in Santa Monica.

Openings

Palms-based Phorage (opened a few years back by Perry Cheung, Eric Cho and Jesse Duron) has expanded with a new beachside outlet, ASAP Phorage (303 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey). The new venue benefits from the magic touch of Chef Ulises Pineda-Alfaro, the wizard behind the Pastrami Nosh burgers and sweet potato waffle fries at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar on Sawtelle Boulevard in West L.A. (310) 876-0910; phoragela.com

An authentic Italian gelato spot has just soft opened (“soft”… and smooth, too!) last week in Santa Monica. Dolcenero (2400 Main St., Santa Monica) features all-natural recipes of founders Simone Acciai, Nicola Cambuli and Francesca Mallus, natives of Florence and Sardinia, Italy. (323) 540-6263; dolcenerogelato.com

A new PaperSource stationery store opened in late January inside developer Rick Caruso’s Waterside at Marina del Rey, 4718-A Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 301-1952; papersource.com

Teabo N Things, a convenience store featuring Asian culinary treats such as boba tea, eggrolls, Vietnamese iced coffee and banh mi, opened last Saturday at 103 W. Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey. (310) 751-6098

Branches of the fast casual pizza chain Pieology, operated by Carl Chang, have spread throughout California and across 10 states. The latest location, adjacent to the Culver Hotel (3815 Bagley Ave., Culver City), is the first to open in Los Angeles proper. (310) 280-9810; pieology.com

Foodie Shares, a membership-based food marketplace and iOS app, launches today in Santa Monica and parts of West Los Angeles. Unlike many food delivery apps, Foodie Shares aims to connect foodies to chefs who are cooking from home, providing a digital storefront for chefs to post dishes for review and sale to members. Users can search based on distance, culinary specialty, user ratings and overall value. Users can also “follow” chefs to receive regular updates and pre-order dishes. foodieshares.com/launch-area

Uber isn’t just a ride service anymore. UberFRESH, an on-demand food delivery service , is now serving Venice, Mar Vista and Marina del Rey with deliveries from local and cross-town restaurants from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. blog.uber.com/uberFRESH

Santa Monica’s Simply Raw has returned to 606 Broadway after an aborted attempt to relocate to West Hollywood, according to online reports. The restaurant’s menu has not been altered.

 Closings
The well-reviewed pop-up barbecue spot Brick Smokehouse (826 Hampton Drive, Venice) has shuttered for lack of a permanent lease agreement, according to Eater LA. Opened last October, Glen Rogers and Chris Sturge’s restaurant offered brisket, tri-tip and ribs as well as an array of craft beers.

 Coming Soon
The Cinemark Playa Vista & XD movie complex (12746 W. Jefferson Blvd., Playa Vista) opens March 12, the first in a string of openings this year at the Runway Playa Vista retail and entertainment complex, which will be anchored by the theater and a Whole Foods.

Also soon to land at Runway is the cafeteria-style Urban Plates, featuring dishes such as Grilled Urban Steak Salad (lettuce blended with pineapple-mango salsa, jicama, mint, mild jalapeno lime dressing and coconut roasted cashews) as well as healthy beverages with monikers like The Replenisher (orange, carrots, ginger).

Bowlero Mar Vista (12125 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista) is expected to open in mid-April, rising from the total remodel of the former AMF Mar Vista Lanes. The concept is “a retro-modern spin on classic bowling fun” that features 28 lanes of black light bowling plus vintage-style custom furniture and an upgraded audio-visual system with a large lane-side video wall and state-of-the-art deejay booth. In another nod to fun times past, Bowlero will feature classic old-school arcade games and pinball machines. Pepe’s Galley is gone, but now executive chef Edward Porter, winner of Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” will be handling the food and drink.

The Independence, named for an 1875 Los Angeles rail line, is methodically chugging its way to 205 Broadway in Santa Monica. This Buddha’s Belly redux by owner Jonathan Chu is set to get on track with chef Tom Block (BLT Steak, Allen & Delancy) overseeing a menu featuring burgers topped with gruyere and caramelized onions as well as shellfish stew with clams and chicken wings with salsa verde. Santa Monica native Tatia Oshidari serves as general manager. Vincenzo Marianella, who also works at Chu’s nearby hot spot Copa D’Oro, has a cocktail menu in the works that includes the LongShore (bourbon, port syrup, lemon, egg white, bitters) and the Last Stop (scotch, coffee, grappa, amart averna, whipped cream).

 Upcoming  Events

Last month’s Tech Talk Tuesday at General Assembly in downtown Santa Monica featured Jordan Manavian, president and co-founder of WeDesign L.A., who talked about branding via social networks.

Last month’s Tech Talk Tuesday at General Assembly in downtown Santa Monica featured Jordan Manavian, president and co-founder of WeDesign L.A., who talked about branding via social networks.

Tonight: Venice Chamber Happy Hour, 6 to 8 p.m. Monthly networking event takes place this time at the venerable Hal’s Bar & Grill, 1349 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. $10. (310) 822-5425; venicechamber.net

March 6: Free Fridays @ LAX Coworking, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lunchtime speaker at 12:30 p.m. LAX Coworking, 9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 208, Westchester. (310) 645-5151; laxcoworking.com

March 10: Tech Talk Tuesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guest speakers share expertise on everything from social media to startups at this informal lunch sponsored by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce. (310) 393-9825; smchamber.com

March 31: Binge Networking, 8 to 9 a.m. A monthly meet and greet at the LAX Coastal Chamber, 9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 210, Westchester. Free for members; $10 for future members. (310) 645-5151; laxcoastal.com

 

Right on the cusp of Valentine’s Day and the very day “Fifty Shades of Grey” hit multiplexes, James Murez’s 800 Main event space in Venice became the se-XXX-y site of an adult-themed party celebrating the fifth year of Mistress Creative, which recently moved from Venice to Santa Monica. The Feb. 13 affair featured a second-level room where guests were encouraged to pose with paddles or their firmest spanking hand, while professional pole dancers swirled to DJ-curated beats downstairs.  On the rooftop, guests socialized over libations and freshly made popcorn while taking in the multimillion-dollar view of Venice at night. Overall, the evening was a touch more wink-wink and playful than the shenanigans featured in “Fifty Shades” but still a feisty, fun way to ring in the romantic holiday. Photos by Brittany Soo Hoo

Right on the cusp of Valentine’s Day and the very day “Fifty Shades of Grey” hit multiplexes, James Murez’s 800 Main event space in Venice became the se-XXX-y site of an adult-themed party celebrating the fifth year of Mistress Creative, which recently moved from Venice to Santa Monica. The Feb. 13 affair featured a second-level room where guests were encouraged to pose with paddles or their firmest spanking hand, while professional pole dancers swirled to DJ-curated beats downstairs.
On the rooftop, guests socialized over libations and freshly made popcorn while taking in the multimillion-dollar view of Venice at night. Overall, the evening was a touch more wink-wink and playful than the shenanigans featured in “Fifty Shades” but still a feisty, fun way to ring in the romantic holiday.
Photos by Brittany Soo Hoo

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