Simply Good Food

There’s a new restaurant in Venice, and the food is delicious!

Yo! Venice tried a few dishes and let’s just say, “Yep. It’s good. We’ll be going back.” From the house made pickles, hummus, and bread to pasture raised chicken and lamb, our mouth is watering at the memory.

The restaurant serves Middle Eastern classics with a twist, and the twist is tasty! New York Times said Dune’s avocado toast is the best, and owner and head chef Scott Zwiezen’s falafels keep winning best in Los Angeles.

Unlike most new restaurants in the neighborhood, Dune won’t cost your whole pay check. The hummus plate is substantial and only $8.00. The Fried Chicken Shawarma, with mind-blowingly good spices in the batter, is $11:50.

“We hope to join the Venice community by offering a friendly space which focuses on very high quality and organic ingredients, served casually, quickly, and affordably,” said the owner and head chef Scott Zwiezen.

Dune has built a wildly enthusiastic following among the L.A. foodie scene, most likely because it is the anthesis of wanky gastronomy.

Zwiezen is well-known as the co-founder and chef behind the hugely popular vegetarian spot, Elf, in Echo Park. Dune is his second restaurant and is open in Atwater and Downtown L.A. The Venice spot is so far planned as a short four-month residency in the vacant space that used to be Dudley Market.

“We will have natural wines and good beer, and we have a little market which will feature harder to find Mediterranean and Middle Eastern products and fresh produce,” said Zwiezen.

Dune is only in Venice until the end of the year, which gives you less than four months to try it out. However, if the locals are keen, Zwiezen said there’s chance he might stay in the neighborhood.

Try Dune in Venice at 9 Dudley Avenue.

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Volunteer at the Abbot Kinney Festival

The Abbot Kinney Festival is September 24th and the non-profit is looking for locals to volunteer on the day.

“We’re really excited to announce that the KidsQuad is bigger and better than ever. Look for it at Abbot Kinney and Brooks,” Abbot Kinney Festival Association (AKFA) Chair, Donna Humphrey told Yo! Venice.

With live music, beer gardens, chalk art, and food, over 300 vendors will take over Abbot Kinney Boulevard next Saturday.

“We’re looking for fun, energetic people to help out. We need help in the KidsQuad with game and activities, merchandise and info booth, logistics and more. It’s a great way to make new friends and give back to the community,” said Humphrey.

The shifts are only 5 hours, so you can still stay and play at the festival. Plus you score festival swag as a thank you including a T-shirt, hat, and a backpack.

The Abbot Kinney festival is a fundraiser, with 100% of the net profits reinvested into the Venice Community through the organization’s Community Grants Program. “This year we’re awarding grants to 25 to local Venice organizations,” Humphrey told Yo! Venice.

To volunteer, sign up online at Email any questions to


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Lineup Announced For Santa Monica College Fall Jazz Series

SANTA MONICA, CA – The Santa Monica College Music Department is presenting the 2017 Fall Jazz Series, featuring the Nick Mancini Group, Billy Childs and Prophecy, and Gilbert Castellanos. All concerts are held at 7 p.m. at the SMC Performing Arts Center and tickets for each performance cost $10.

The SMC Fall 2017 Jazz Series lineup is:

• Friday, September 15, in The Edye: Nick Mancini Group. Vibraphonist Nick Mancini has performed and recorded with such diverse luminaries as Arturo Sandoval, Charles Fambrough, Harvey Mason, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Peter Erskine, Poncho Sanchez, Kenny Werner, New York Voices, and Jennifer Holliday.

• Friday, October 6, in The Edye: Billy Childs and Prophecy. Pianist, composer, and multiple Grammy winner Billy Childs brings his exciting new group to SMC for a performance that combines elements of funk, hip hop, and jazz, woven together by Childs’ unique genius.

• Friday, October 27, in the Music Hall: Gilbert Castellanos. Trumpet virtuoso Gilbert Castellanos, one of today’s most passionate and exciting performers, makes a rare Santa Monica appearance with his outstanding San Diego-based group.


The SMC Performing Arts Center is located at 1310 11th Street, Santa Monica. For tickets and information, visit their website or call (310) 434-3005 or (310) 434-4323.

Photo courtesy of By Jimmy Baikovicius from Montevideo, Uruguay


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Weekend getaway at the famous Venice Beach

There’s more to Venice, California, than Muscle Beach and tattoo parlours – although if you’ve got a yen, there are certainly enough beachside bodybuilders and ink-artists to satisfy that. But a stroll, skate or bike ride along the beachfront promenade is a fine way to soak up the scene, indulge in a little architectural appreciation – is that a chandelier-lit treehouse? – and admire the sartorial choices of runners clad in everything from neon spandex to superhero capes.

Pop into Clabe Hartley’s Cow’s End Cafe, two blocks up from the sand, for noshes and coffee, then sally forth to walk off that avocado-laden breakfast wrap (US$8.25/RM35.30). You can stroll this stretch of strand from Marina del Rey to the Santa Monica Pier and beyond. But the real treasures of Venice Beach actually lie inland – and we’re not just talking canals.

The city’s famous waterways were the dream of Abbot Kinney, a developer who created these “Venice of America” canals – 11.26km of canals, complete with arched bridges and gondolas – in 1905. Some of the canals were replaced with decidedly un-Venetian roads over the decades, but the remaining canals were renovated in the 1990s, new sidewalks and bridges built and new homes went up along the banks.

Our goal today isn’t Kinney’s canals, though. It’s his street. Dubbed the “Coolest Block in America” by GQ magazine in 2012, Abbott Kinney Boulevard has only become more so, much to the consternation of some locals, who preferred it in its more bohemian, less expensive state. Clearly, those locals have not sampled the butterscotch pots de creme with salted caramel at Gjelina, or the painstakingly brewed coffee at Blue Bottle’s Venice outpost.

Forget the saying about drinking the Kool-Aid. We’ve slurped the butterscotch – and we are smitten by this neighbourhood.


Stroll or bike along the promenade at Venice Beach to take in all the sights.

There’s a spot to eat, drink, gaze or shop every few yards on this boulevard, from organic juice bars and coffee houses to boutiques, bistros and galleries. Stroll the half-mile stretch from Blue Bottle to the upscale Lemonade cafeteria, and you’ll pass more than 100 enticing storefronts. Pop into the G2 Gallery to see the Ansel Adams exhibit upstairs; or hang a left before you reach the stairwell to browse a charming gift shop. Pick up home decor items at adorable Tumbleweed and Dandelion. Find vacation gear and beachy, floaty dresses at the new blue-and-white striped Beach House Brand boutique, or street-chic glasses at Warby Parker.

But don’t miss chef Travis Lett’s stylish Gjelina, lined with dark, distressed wood – even the ceiling is panelled – and hung with Edison-bulb chandeliers. Lett, a 2016 James Beard nominee for best in the west – his other restaurants include GTA (Gjelina Take Away) next door and the breakfast-centric Gjusta – has crafted a seasonal menu with wide appeal. On this particular Friday afternoon, a line stretches out the door. Brunchers and lunchers congregate indoors and out. A group of well-dressed teens is celebrating a birthday on the patio. Business types are conferring over flatbread pizza and smoked salmon toasts. Aziz Ansari has just slipped out the front.

And every diner is thinking – butterscotch! – San Jose Mercury News/Tribune News Service/Jackie Burrell


Saturday, Aug. 26 saw the annual Venice Beach Music Festival return to Windward Plaza Park on Venice Beach Boardwalk. The event began in the early afternoon and lasted into the night, and included a lineup of eleven musical acts, local art vendors, and activities for Venice locals and tourists passing through alike.

The Venice Beach Music Festival has showcased music and art from both Venice locals and artists within the greater LA area for the past eleven years, with this year’s event being its twelfth. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the summer of love, Strawberry Alarm Clock, the band behind the 1967 hit “Incense and Peppermints” headlined the festival. Also performing was Barry “The Fish” Melton of psychedelic rock band Country Joe & the Fish.

Among the artists showcasing their work was Justine Patrick, of the art organization Thunderbachs. She was exhibiting and selling prints silkscreened onto maps of Los Angeles, and exhibits her art regularly on the Venice boardwalk.

“The great thing about Venice and something like this is people come from all different places. This is a great way to expose the art of Thunderbachs to a different audience,” said Patrick. “It’s also good to hear consistent music.”

Joel Harris was another artist showcasing his works at the festival, who has been part of the Venice community for years. He began selling his works on the boardwalk in 2007, after moving to Venice, and since settling down with his family, has transitioned into selling his works at the Venice Beach Music Festival as well as the annual Spring Fling, its sister event, in which he’s been participating for the past four or five years.

“I like meeting all different people from all walks of life and sharing my art,” Harris said.

His table, which he helmed alongside his daughter, featured a large canvas on which were printed the words “Wake Up,” with notable figures from throughout history collaged into the letters.

Maria Campbell of Rainbow on a Mission sold a variety of goods tie-dyed or done in marbling, another kind of unique dyeing technique. Campbell has participated in the festival for the past two years, and has found that Venice Beach Music Festival goers are interested in her pieces. Campbell herself was decked out in a tie-dye shirt, marbled apron and tie-dyed denim jacket.

“It’s a really great music venue,” Campbell said. “We love the fact there’s a festival on the beach.”

For more information about this year’s festival and past and upcoming Venice Beach events, visit


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