Mommy Tonk: Music, Comedy, and Swearing, Tonight in LA

Shannon Noel and Stacie Burrows, the musical comedy duo Mommy Tonk (basically a mom version of Tenacious D), perform tonight at Open Space Theater in LA.

If you know what Tenacious D you will automatically love this idea and you should definitely check out Mommy Tonk‘s show tonight at the Open Space Theater in Los Angeles. If you don’t know what Tenacious D is, then I’m actually kind of jealous of you, because you get to discover two incredibly funny wonders of the world at once.

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But let’s focus on Mommy Tonk for a second. I met these ladies when I performed in Expressing Motherhood the first time in February of 2014, but I had already been a fan since I had seen them in previous shows. They perform comedy bits with original music about parenting and domestic issues. What catches you off guard is how earnest they seem at first. In the build up to “Mom Crush,” their parody of the Little Big Town song “Girl Crush,” they get all misty-eyed about the perfect moms they see on Instagram with their perfect lives. If this was your first time watching them, you might think they mean it, but then they launch into the song, and well, you’re just blown away.

But that’s just the beginning. Every other song is even more irreverent and filthy, turning their twisted lens on such parenting topics as organic eating, PTA fundraisers, and housecleaning. One of their numbers is bound to earworm itself into your brain, so be careful what you sing without knowing it. (Case in point, the day I happily walked around humming “Get Off Your Ass You Fucking Asshole…”)

The show is over the grade, and over the hill on Fairfax, and it’s raining today. All of those things are true. But if you happen to live over there, or are stuck in LA for a meeting and want to kill time before coming back home, or you have the rare Monday date night, catch Mommy Tonk performing with a backup from the Assless Chaps and special guest, comedian Megan Dolan. You won’t be sorry.

Mommy Tonk — Monday, March 14th at 7 pm at 457 N. Fairfax @ Oakwood

Preview Mommy Tonk on their YouTube channel and share it with your friends.

Painting and Wine Make Better Art at Pinot’s Palette

Directed painting workshops – paired with wine drinking – have been popping up all over the place. I attended one that I found to be fun and relaxing earlier this year as a special event at The Play Destination. But now there is a local place anybody can go for this fun night out – Pinot’s Palette in Westlake Village.

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Occupying the space that once was The Pump Station in the plaza at the corner of Agoura Road and Village Glen, Pinot’s Palette is a place where you can take a painting class and purchase wine, beer, and snacks. It’s as simple as that!

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  • Pick the date and painting that works best for you and/or your group.
  • Make your reservation online in a few easy clicks.
  • Show up on the date and get ready to enjoy painting!
  • Purchase wine and beer from our fully stocked bar

Two-hour classes cost $35 per painter, and 3-hour classes cost $45 per painter. Drinks and snacks are extra (but you can bring your own snacks). You can view the schedule – and what you’ll be painting – online and choose according to the art or your availability.

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I’ve often heard of these workshops as great Girls’ Night Out events, but since Pinot’s Palette invited me to be their guest on a scheduled date night, I brought my husband along. I didn’t tell him what we’d be doing in case he thought he’d be the only guy. Not to worry – there were plenty of men in attendance and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

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At Pinot’s Palette your name is drawn at your seat in chalk on a chalkboard painted table, and everything is there for you: canvas, palette of colors, brushes, water, and paper towels.

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All you have to do is buy a drink at their little bar, don an apron, and settle in. They’ve taken a lot of the thinking out of the process for you–a trained expert leads you step-by-step through the night’s project. Or, you can opt to just paint whatever you want. The trainer on media night had a great sense of humor and encouraged us to hit the bar for more drinks if we were nervous. Of course, you don’t have to drink the wine or beer, but it did make it more fun, especially with local wines being poured that night.

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My husband and I both followed the exact same directions, but the final product was very different. Our children were delighted and each claimed a painting for his bedroom. (Not sure how appropriate it is…but they appreciate our art!)

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We both really enjoyed the evening. The class was 2 hours long, and afterwards we strolled over to Casa Escobar for a lovely dinner. Date night achieved! I recommend this for pals, dates, and even private parties. No kids, though – this place is only 21 and over.

IMG_9315Even the signage on the storeroom door has a sense of humor.

Pinot’s Palette
2879 Agoura Rd
Westlake Village, CA 91361
(805) 379-9963

Some photos (the really good ones) courtesy of Pinot’s Palette.

New Dishes and Old Favorites This Year at the Grill on the Alley

The Grill on the Alley, with a location in the Westlake Promenade – you know, the restaurant with the wall of fire out front – is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The original location opened in 1984 in Beverly Hills, and now there are Grill restaurants here in Westlake Village, Hollywood, San Jose, Florida, Chicago, and Dallas. To celebrate this milestone, the chefs added some dishes to the time-honored menu of grilled meats, fish, and sides, and on a recent date night my husband and I headed there to try them out.

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I always like to taste what the restaurant is famous for, so of course we started with server-recommended drinks – nutty brown Atticus IPA on tap for the husband and a cucumber gimlet for me. It was the perfect refreshing start to the meal, and even though I’ve been eating a mostly gluten-free diet for several months (a totally different story), I had to try the giant slab of sourdough bread the menu so descriptively boasted as a signature of the restaurant. It was served with a trio of spreads: The Grill’s classic sweet butter, fresh sundried tomato tapenade and extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper and thyme. This came with a colorful partner – enormous shrimp arranged in a cocktail dish. There were no leftovers.

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I am a big filet mignon fan, so when it was time for the entrees this is what I chose without hesitation. All of the grilled entrees are cooked on the restaurant’s white oak-fired grill. You can even see the stacks of wood just waiting to flavor your meat or fish.

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Our server explained that on the new menu you can choose from seven different sauces for your cuts of steak: Boef Onions with Bordelaise, Béarnaise Sauce, Green Peppercorn Sauce, Truffle Butter, Bleu Cheese Herb Crust, Oscar Style, and Pepper, Bacon, & Onions. I’m afraid I can’t tell you what “Oscar Style” means because the server had me at “truffle butter” and I was done. Toast.

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I was happy to end the meal right then and there but they also brought a trio of sides. There are five sides served for sharing. We chose the Braised Brussels Sprouts, Lobster Mashed Potatoes, and Chipotle Cheddar Cream Corn, because it would just have been gluttony if we had also ordered the Cauliflower Gratin and the Wild Mushroom Risotto. (But we wanted to.)

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Plus the entrees were served with braised broccolini and creamed spinach. Everything was mouth-watering and each bite demanded a pause for savoring. I joked that there’s no need to ever make Thanksgiving dinner again because The Grill is right down the street and I’ll never match or exceed their Brussels sprouts, which are prepared with carrot, onion and bacon hash, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and tossed with roasted pecans.

Are you hungry yet?

Let’s talk about the Center Cut Blackened Ahi Tuna Steak entree, which my husband chose. I was having a food moment of my own, but he actually stopped eating for a second to muse about all the places he’s eaten ahi in his life. It’s his favorite thing to eat. He’s very critical of seafood dishes, because they do not often measure up to the times when he’s gone fishing and basically plucked a fish out of the ocean, cleaned it, and grilled it over a campfire.

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But this dish, he said, was the best ahi he’s ever eaten. I’m not making this up, people. Even though I think of The Grill as a steak place, my husband’s reaction to their epic tuna makes me say that if you’re going to dine here, order the ahi.

I’d hate to disappoint this post by skipping dessert, so we didn’t. We ordered hazelnut creme brûlée, again at the server’s suggestion, and man, am I glad I listened to that guy.

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If your summer is already packed with plans taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and the many outdoor events we can attend in and around our beautiful town, you can multitask by ordering a picnic dinner or lunch from The Grill. You just need to order it 24 hours in advance, and each meal is packed in a reusable insulated tote bag and includes two 30th anniversary plastic commemorative wine glasses, wine opener, mixed nuts, signature sourdough bread and butter, table cloth, napkins, plates and cutlery. The prices are very reasonable starting at $32.95 for a basket of shrimp and crab louie and key lime pie for 2. (Wine is extra.) Here is the full picnic menu.

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Epic tuna, mouth-watering food and cocktails, and an elegant picnic menu just in time for summer. All served up in an elegantly decorated location right around the corner, with cozy booths perfect for date night. We all win!

The Grill on the Alley
Westlake Promenade
120 E. Promenade Way
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 418-1760
Website

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My husband and I received complimentary meals to facilitate this feature.