Archives for January 2022

Rubio’s Taco Tuesday deals are now offered all day long!

 The Shrimp Trio

Rubio’s Extends Taco Tuesday Deals All Day Long

Original Fish Tacos Just $1.99, Including Lunch, Beginning Feb. 1

The new year brings a new perk for taco fans as Rubio’s Coastal Grill extends Taco Tuesday pricing all day long, now including lunch. Guests in California, Arizona, and Nevada can enjoy Rubio’s discounted offers, no coupon is needed. The all-day discounts include:

·      The Original Fish Taco™ — $1.99: Enjoy our signature wild-caught beer-battered fish, cooked to crispy perfection and topped with white sauce, mild salsa, and cabbage. Served on a warm, stone-ground corn tortilla.

·      The Fish Taco Especial — $2.29: Enjoy the classic Original Fish Taco recipe with handmade guacamole and cheese.

·      The Shrimp Trio — $7.99: Enjoy three fan-favorite shrimp tacos, including the Salsa Verde Shrimp Taco, Grilled Gourmet Taco™ with Shrimp and the Mexican Street Corn Shrimp Taco.

Guests are invited to order ahead through the Rubio’s app or Rubios.com. For more information about Rubio’s Coastal Grill and to view the menu, visit Rubio’sFacebook, and Instagram.

I know where I’ll be eating tomorrow!

Self Disclosure: Images and information were provided. Some form of compensation was received to facilitate this post.

Santa Monica Place Commemorates Lunar New Year Feb. 1-8

Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Place.

From February 1 – 8, 2022, Santa Monica Place will commemorate the Year of the Tiger to honor the Lunar New Year.

Guests will enjoy red and gold lanterns draped over Center Plaza that illuminate the night sky, as well as red envelopes with special deals from participating shops and restaurants, take-home craft kits, and fortune cookies. Well-wishers will have the opportunity to participate in a Lunar New Year tradition by hanging their wish on the cherry blossom wishing trees for prosperity and renewal for the new year. 

On February 4, The Gourmandise School will offer a Date Night: Lunar New Year Celebration class where Chef Katie Chin will teach participants how to make a tiger lily martini, chicken potstickers symbolizing prosperity, long life veggie noodles symbolizing longevity, a whole steamed fish symbolizing abundance and banana spring rolls with caramel sauce symbolizing prosperity. A 90-minute virtual Lunar New Year celebration with Chef Chin will take place on February 10. The cooking school will also offer Valentine’s Date Night: Chinese Dumplings on February 14 and Date Night: Thai Favorites on February 18. To register for an upcoming class, visit TheGourmandiseSchool.com

Chef Chin is a caterer, award-winning cookbook author, television chef, food blogger and Culinary Ambassador to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Katie co-hosted the national PBS cooking series, Double Happiness, in conjunction with her mother and together they wrote Everyday Chinese Cooking. On her own, she wrote several other cookbooks, including an award-winning bestseller: Everyday Thai Cooking.

WHEN

Tuesday, February 1 – Tuesday, February 8, 2022

WHERE

Santa Monica Place is located at 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, at Broadway and Third Street Promenade.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information, visit SantaMonicaPlace.com or interact with us via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Access our Concierge services anytime via text: (310) 499-2928.

Credit: Santa Monica Place and The Gourmandise School.

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power * An Historic Story Generations Should Witness

With unique access to a sitting member of Congress, Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power tells the complex story of Rep. Barbara Lee, a steadfast voice for human rights, peace, and economic and racial justice who was the lone vote in opposition to the broad authorization of military force following the September 11th attacks and is the highest-ranking African American woman in the United States Congress.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C. comments, “The fantastic documentary, Barbara Lee:  Speaking Truth to Power, directed by Abby Ginzberg shares an historic story generations should witness. I admire how this documentary focuses more on the current impact of Barbara Lee. Many documentaries based on a single influential person are solely focused on the past, while this film does not.” Ayden P. adds, “Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power is an inspirational documentary.  My attention was really captured by Barbara’s transition from a single mother on public assistance to an activist with a political career built on a promise to help others.” See their full reviews below.

Barbara Lee:  Speaking Truth to Power
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17 

The fantastic documentary, Barbara Lee:  Speaking Truth to Power, directed by Abby Ginzberg shares an historic story generations should witness. I admire how this documentary focuses more on the current impact of Barbara Lee. Many documentaries based on a single influential person are solely focused on the past, while this film does not.

Barbara Lee is currently a United States Congresswoman who has pushed boundaries and broken glass ceilings. This documentary follows the initiatives she stands for and how she has impacted the politics as the 100th Black member of Congress.

It is exciting to see so many familiar faces throughout this film, such as, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and the late former Congressman John Lewis. The flow and organization of this film is my favorite aspect. As most documentaries are known to be information heavy, I love how Director Abby Ginzberg starts the film off with Lee’s most recent endeavors. This demonstrates that Congresswoman Lee is still making history and that I am living in it! It is interesting to see how Barbara Lee differs from other politicians—her life in this film is depicted as one large campaign trail to get more people involved in what she advocates for.

Barbara Lee says the message of this documentary herself, stating, “You have to be true to yourself.” Also, although faced with so much controversy and hardship throughout life, we must, in every circumstance, know who we are and act accordingly. This film is a call to action from all of us to take a stand on the issues we care about.

I give Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power, 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommended it to ages 7 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power on STARZ premiering February 1, 2022.

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power

By Ayden P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power is an inspirational documentary.  My attention was really captured by Barbara’s transition from a single mother on public assistance to an activist with a political career built on a promise to help others.

The story is about Representative Barbara Lee, who is a voice for human rights, peace and equality. One point of significance is that Barbara Lee is the lone voice in opposition to the authorization of military force after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Barbara Lee is also the highest ranking African-American woman in the U.S. Congress.

This film highlights Barbara’s struggles as a child growing up in a segregated town, to being a divorced single parent; through these struggles we can see what motivates her to better her family’s circumstances.  Barbara Lee helps people who need assistance because it’s the right thing to do. She does it with a smile on her face, making me truly believe that she loves what she does and that it is her true calling. We get many glimpses of the woman and the politician as we see Barbara Lee in her office, in her car, in meetings and in her home. This gives a real picture into what makes Barbara Lee inspirational —she represents so many viewers like the single mother, divorced people, those on welfare, non-traditional college students, barrier breakers and servant leaders. Audiences also will see what colleagues, family and friends think of Barbara Lee. Notables like Cory Booker, the late John Lewis, Danny Glover and Barbara’s son all discuss Barbara and their observations. It is also noteworthy to see the adversity Barbara faced being the lone voice opposing force after 9/11. Even when people were very critical of her, she remained steadfast in her beliefs. This steadfastness is a theme in the documentary.

The message of Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power is to fight for what you believe in. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone or to be the first to do something. We are all capable of lending our voices to help and stand up for others. I give Barbara Lee: Speak Truth to Power 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults.  The film is featured on STARZ beginning February 1, 2022 for Black History Month.

Avoid These 5 Toxic Household Items

Your home is meant to be your safe space. It’s where you unwind after a long day at work and where you make ever-lasting memories with your family. It’s the place where you can get away from the problems of the outside world. But there can be hidden dangers in your home. There are many common household items that can cause serious health problems if left unnoticed.

Kitchen Sponges

If you don’t have a dishwasher then odds are you rely heavily on your kitchen sponge to clean your dishes. What many people don’t realize is most kitchen sponges accumulate massive amounts of microscopic debris and germs. Most kitchen sponges are made out of toxins including triclosan. Triclosan has been linked to cancer, skin irritation, and developmental problems.

They also generate a ton of waste as you continually throw out old ones and buy new ones. The best solution is to find a sustainable sponge replacement. You could use a rag for simplicity’s sake. Or you can search online to find eco-friendly sponges. Shops like Etsy sell knitted sponges that you can wash and reuse. Sea sponges can also make a more environmentally friendly option. These will eliminate the waste problem and protect your health.

Mattresses

Mattresses are another danger hiding in many homes. They can contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, flame retardants, and benzene. If your mattress contains these chemicals then you may be breathing them in throughout the night in a process called off-gassing. When this happens, the chemicals in your mattress are released into the air and can cause serious health problems when breathed in.

These toxins build in our system over time which exponentially increases health risks. These chemicals have been linked to respiratory problems, cancer, and other life-altering illnesses.

It is possible to purchase mattresses that are non-toxic. Finding a mattress free of chemical toxins and emissions will help you rest easier knowing that your health isn’t at risk. The safest mattresses don’t use certain dangerous chemicals and foam. They’re made with natural ingredients like organic certified latex, wool, and cotton.

Carpets

Certain carpets can contain PFAS chemicals. These chemicals include poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances which are also found in non-stain cookware. Exposure to these chemicals builds up in a person’s body over time and can result in serious health problems. They have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, reproductive issues, hormonal problems, and even liver damage.

Finding carpets without these chemicals isn’t easy as they usually aren’t listed with the product and there is no comprehensive certification for carpets that exclude them. It’s recommended to limit the amount of carpeting in your home and to purchase carpets made out of natural fibers such as wool, seagrass, sisal, or jute.

It’s also recommended to use certain types of vacuums to remove hair and dust from your carpet. Using vacuums with a HEPA filter will ensure that you’re not releasing those harmful chemicals into the air while cleaning your carpet.

Curtains

Just like mattresses, synthetic curtains can off-gas toxic chemicals into the air and put your health at risk. Blackout curtains in particular contain extra chemicals that bind dust to them and can be extremely difficult to clean. This can create an unhealthy quality of air in your home which can cause respiratory problems, among other issues.

Find curtains that are made from natural materials inorder to safeguard your health. You can find curtains made out of silk, linen, and cotton that are free of toxins. They come in a variety of colors and functionalities which allows them to still look nice, and you won’t have to worry about polluting the air quality in your home. Many online retailers offer curtains made from natural materials including Amazon and Etsy.

Air Fresheners

Most people use air fresheners in their homes without realizing the danger they are unintentionally putting themselves in. Air fresheners can be extremely irritating to the eyes, skin, and throat when breathed in, or when you come into contact with them.

Oftentimes these products contain dangerous chemicals such asethel/isopropyl alcohol, formaldehyde, and limonene. These chemicals can cause severe reactions in some people and are unhealthy for humans to inhale in general.

There are plenty of safe alternatives to air fresheners. You can use organic essential oils, sage, incense, and other plant-based fragrances to keep your house smelling pleasant without risking your health. These alternatives can be found in just about any supermarket and are abundant online.

Lobo, Jan. 27th Pet of the Week

Lobo is a 5-year-old cattle-dog mix. Whatever DNA from that breed runs through Lobo indicates that he needs purpose and a place to run. Lobo’s been at our shelter since July 1, so you know that he’s more than ready to go. Besides the need of space and activity, he’s struggling with the long-term noise. Lobo loves to play, petting and toys, toys, toys. He’s shown friendliness to other shelter dogs as well. He has a rock-solid response to “sit” and is very smart. If you’re looking for a super-cute, perfect midsize exercise buddy, Lobo’s perfect for you. Note that at his energy level, he’ll be best in a home with no small children. Adoptions are now conducted through appointment only, so call 562-570-PETS or email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov to meet Lobo. Ask for ID#A659678.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Must-Have Items for New Parents

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

As new parents get ready to welcome their new baby home, they might be wondering what the baby really needs in the first weeks at home. Of course, if they consult baby registry recommendations or inquire at a baby store, it will appear that the baby requires everything under the sun. Some parents desire all of the cool popular brands and gadgets that will make life easier for them and their babies. Some prefer to stick to the basics if they are on a budget or if they are new parents that are overwhelmed with the whole process. The following items will see new parents through the first few days and weeks without requiring any last-minute store visits or online shopping.

Baby Crib and Play Area

Many new parents do not immediately use a full-sized crib. However, once the baby outgrows the bassinet, they will probably need to be moved into a crib, so it is a good idea to buy one beforehand and have it set up, complete with a safe crib mattress. Around the age of three months, babies will require a play mat when they spend any time on their stomachs. However, parents should not worry that their child will outgrow their play gym; most of them can be used in children’s playrooms for years. New parents will see a lot of fancy bedding sets when they visit baby stores, but all they really need are around five fitted crib sheets and a few washable crib mattress pads. Some of them are even waterproof. Baby bedding sets often include pillows, bumpers, quilts, and soft blankets that should not be placed in the baby’s crib because they increase the risk of accidental suffocation.

Clothing and Layette

Although parents may want a few pretty outfits to show off their baby, the baby does not need anything posh in those first few weeks, so plain, simple, budget-friendly clothing will suffice. It is best to avoid buying too many newborn clothes because the baby will outgrow them quickly. At the same time, one will be changing outfits frequently because newborn clothing can get messy quickly. Parents should consider how often they plan to do laundry and what the weather will be like when their baby is born when making these purchase decisions.

Gear and Furniture

Many of us choose much more – a dresser, changing table, nursery gliders, bouncy seat, toy bin, baby swing, and so on – and adorning the baby’s room can be a highlight. New parents need a way to get around with their babies. Car seats are required, and hospitals will not release parents unless they have a correctly installed car seat. Avoid purchasing a used car seat, as tempting as it may be. Safety regulations have evolved, and parents need one that complies with all current regulations. Besides, individuals may not know if a used seat has been involved in a car accident and should no longer be used. A stroller or baby carrier is also great and necessary for many parents. An infant-only or convertible design with a lower weight limit is available for newborns.

A Taste of Hunger * Truly Shows The Perfection Of The Culinary World

A power couple within the Danish gourmet scene run the popular restaurant Malus in Copenhagen.  The couple is willing to sacrifice everything to achieve their dream – getting the coveted Michelin star.  KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nyara A. comments, “The captivating film, A Taste of Hunger by Christoffer Boe, truly shows the perfection of the culinary world. Each dish in this movie is carefully arranged and perfectly cooked. The acting portrays the deep desire that every chef has to create a dish that the customer would never forget.” See her full review below.

A Taste of Hunger

By Nyara Afshar, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The captivating film, A Taste of Hunger by Christoffer Boe, truly shows the perfection of the culinary world. Each dish in this movie is carefully arranged and perfectly cooked. The acting portrays the deep desire that every chef has to create a dish that the customer would never forget. I can almost smell all of the delicious food, as if the scent of sautéed oyster, cooked octopus, and fermented lemons are wafting through the screen.

The storyline revolves around a Danish couple, both culinary experts. Maggi (Katrine Greis-Rosenthal) and Carsten (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) both dream of only one accomplishment, receiving the world’s most renowned culinary award, a Michelin star. Although their dream is big, they use every means of achieving it, even if it comes in the way of their relationship, and more importantly, their family. Will Maggi’s affair destroy their dream altogether, or will they push past this bump in the long road to a Michelin star?

The protagonist, played by Katrine Greis-Rosenthal, portrays her character with a sense of mystery. You never truly know what is going on inside of Maggi’s head. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays both a loving father and an uncompromising boss very realistically, giving the viewers mixed feelings of whether they should root for him or not. The food shown in this movie is designed to almost perfection, enhancing the quality of this film. My favorite part of the movie is the opening sequence. The beautifully presented food and the music create an enthralling introduction to the movie.

The message of this film is that working hard is the only way to achieve your dream. No matter how hard you try, there will always be setbacks and forks in the road, but to reach what you want, you have to get back up, no matter how many times you fall. This is an uplifting message to all those who have a big dream, no matter how hard it is to fulfill. The main age restriction of this movie is due to the sexual scenes. There are multiple scenes that would not be appropriate for ages 13 and under.

I give A Taste of Hunger 4 out of five stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters and on demand January 28, 2022.

The King’s Daughter * A Swashbuckling Adventure With A Royal Heroine, A Mystical Creature And A Fairytale Setting

Known as The Sun King, Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) is the most powerful and influential monarch on the planet. Obsessed with his own mortality and the future of France, Louis turns to his spiritual advisor, Père La Chaise (William Hurt), and the royal physician to help him obtain the key to immortality. Believing a mermaid (Fan Bingbing) contains a force that grants everlasting life, Louis commissions a young sea captain to search the seas and capture the mystical creature. Further complicating his plans is his orphaned daughter, Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario), who returns to court with an abundance of elegance and an inherent defiance of authority. With a rare solar eclipse approaching, Louis will discover where his daughter’s true loyalties lie as he races against time to extract the mermaid’s life-giving force. 

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Selene W. comments, “If you’re looking for a swashbuckling adventure with a royal heroine and a mystical creature in a fairytale setting then The King’s Daughter is for you!  This movie showcases the beauty and majesty of Versailles with breathtaking cinematography that is truly the stuff of dreams.” Kyla C. adds, “The King’s Daughter combines historic and futuristic elements into one modern, fantastical film. The sets are absolutely beautiful and the acting is on point—and along with that, an intriguing storyline and deeply developed characters make it impossible to stop watching.” Makena P. wraps it up with, “I love The King’s Daughter because the story timeline creates suspense and is very intriguing. It guides the film in many different ways, with costumes, makeup, sets, setting, and how the characters are portrayed. The costumes really caught my eye—every single one is different.” See their full reviews below.

The King’s Daughter

By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The King’s Daughter combines historic and futuristic elements into one modern, fantastical film. The sets are absolutely beautiful and the acting is on point—and along with that, an intriguing storyline and deeply developed characters make it impossible to stop watching.

The fantasy story follows King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) of France and his determination to gain immortality, no matter the cost. Even the death of a mermaid (Bingbing Fan) and the grief of his daughter, Marie-Josephe D’Alember (Kaya Scodelario), will not stop him. He proves his selfishness even further by forcing his daughter into a marriage to make allies with the Dutch, despite her love for the sailor Benoit (Paul Ireland). Will Marie learn of the King’s plans in time to save the mermaid? Or will lives be lost and love drained in King Louis’s path to eternal life?

The King’s Daughter has gorgeous sets. The palace is gigantic and golden, with intricate designs etched on the top of the points. Wide open fields with vibrant green grass, a fountain surrounding a magnificent statue and the seaside cliffs where Marie has to decide her fate are only a few of the breathtaking locations. The cave where the mermaid lives, however, rises above all. The gentle dimness sets the tone for the friendship that will be created and then jeopardized. With the ship towering over the water, the limited light reflects in the sea. These pretty sets create a perfect background for the wonderful acting. Pierce Brosnan as King Louis, Kaya Scodelario as Marie, and William Hurt as Pere La Chaise deliver some of the best performances. The actors drop clues as their characters’ motivations and secrets are slowly revealed to make the plot even more interesting.

The message of The King’s Daughter is to treasure loved ones and regard all lives as important, no matter their appearance or powers. This is shown through the themes of love and equal treatment of other species, symbolized by the mermaid. There are periods of violence, particularly at the end.

I give The King’s Daughter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Get that popcorn ready—you can view The King’s Daughter in select theaters beginning January 21, 2022.

The King’s Daughter

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14 

If you’re looking for a swashbuckling adventure with a royal heroine and a mystical creature in a fairytale setting then The King’s Daughter is for you!  This movie showcases the beauty and majesty of Versailles with breathtaking cinematography that is truly the stuff of dreams. 

The King’s Daughter is based on the book The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre—a historical fantasy novel taking place during the reign of King Louis XIV of France (Pierce Brosnan).  King Louis, known as The Sun King, is the most powerful monarch of that time and obsessed with his own mortality and rule. While seeking the key to immortality, he has his estranged daughter, Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario) brought to court.  She was secretly raised in a convent and is unaware of her parentage but has a forthright character, intellect and beauty that draws him to reconsider his world and values.

The performances in this film really add to the haunting majesty of the storyline under the direction of Sean McNamara.  I really enjoyed the depth of the relationship between King Louis (Pierce Brosnan) and his spiritual advisor, Père La Chaise (William Hurt).  Naturally, my favorite character is our independent and strong heroine Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario), and she is a great role model in this film.  Interestingly, after playing the romantic roles in this movie, Kaya Scodelario and Benjamin Walker (Captain Yves De La Croix) fell in love in real life!  Another magical element is the narration by the incomparable Julie Andrews. 

In addition to the acting performances, the breathtaking setting of Versailles imbues its own magic as does the visual effects in this film.  Music is another key element which supports the story, and I enjoyed the scenes of Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario) composing and performing as her music weaves its magic on more than one character.  Near and dear to my heart are the sumptuous gowns and costumes designed by Lizzy Gardiner as the exquisite detailing adds to the majesty of the characters. This film has more than one message as it explores the importance of belief and values. The characters learn to stop hoping for the perfect world and to live in the one that they inhabit and try to make it better—an important message for everyone.  King Louis XIV learns through the perseverance of his daughter, Marie-Josephe, that only love is immortal.

I rate The King’s Daughter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults who will enjoy it as well. The film opens exclusively in theaters on January 21, 2022. Don’t miss this magical story as it unfolds!

The King’s Daughter

By Makena P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13


I love The King’s Daughter because the story timeline creates suspense and is very intriguing. It guides the film in many different ways, with costumes, makeup, sets, setting, and how the characters are portrayed. The costumes really caught my eye—every single one is different. The outfits of Marie-Josephe (Kaya Scodelario) are so beautiful and seem to always have a touch of her personality in them.

The storyis about King Louis XIV’s (Pierce Brosnan) daughter, Marie-Josephe D’Alember, who comes from an orphanage where she is being raised by nuns. She is introduced to the world where she meets a mermaid (Bingbing Fan) who is captured and put in a secret place where the subjects of King Louis XIV hold her. Marie-Josephe doesn’t know what they are planning to do with the mermaid and why.

The cast of The King’s Daughter is excellent overall and includes William Hurt in a key role as Pere La Chaise. The movie is partly filmed in the Palace of Versailles in France including a big dance sequence filmed inside the Hall of Mirrors. The King’s Daughter has so much of everything—action, adventure, family, fantasy, and romance which all make the film so interesting!

The message of this film is that you know what’s right and wrong, so don’t let anyone get away with doing something wrong. Even people you love might be doing something for the wrong reason—it’s important to stand up to them and make it right.

I give The King’s Daughter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find The King’s Daughter in theaters on January 21, 2022.