Month: March 2016

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Every spring the time warp begins. Spring catapults us into the year on a freight train to summer. Not only does it always feel like we all turn into busy bees at work, but birthdays, picnics and gatherings are a plenty. People feel the call of spring and come out of hibernation. It’s time to clean house & throw ourselves into work and play. So I thought, “What would be the most comforting, delicious dish to share and is the least time-consuming?” My spinach artichoke dip can literally be made in 10 minutes and tastes like a warm hug. Your friends will think you channeled your inner foodie and spent all day in the kitchen. I have never gotten more audible “MMMMmmmm”s from an appetizer than this quickie dish. I’ve always loved the idea of a good spinach and artichoke dip, but have always felt like there was too much cream and not enough spinach in every bite. Universally, other recipes include cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. The result is a white creamy dip with …

Paramount Ranch ~ Agoura Hills, CA

Tired of hearing the word “Runyon” after your friends invite you on a hike? Can’t handle the crowds of actors posting vaguely inspirational (mis)quotes as an excuse to sneak in another almost-naked photo of themselves hiking the go-to trail? Well, breathe a giant sigh of relief because we’re here to tell you that you never have to step foot on that over-run Tinder trail again. Plus, it’ll be closed April through July for repairs—so what better time to expand your horizons? For genuine hiking enthusiasts, LA offers endless gorgeous trails throughout all of our many mountain ranges. If you’re looking for something truly unique, then hightail it out to Paramount Ranch. Located just off Kanan on the way to Malibu, Paramount Ranch is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and is overseen by the National Park Service. Most importantly, it’s also an Old West ghost town. Or, more specifically, an Old West Tinsel Town ghost town. Built by Paramount Studios back in the 1920’s to shoot their Western “talkies”, the Wild West facade set has …

The Edible Easter Egg ~ All Natural Dyes

One of my favorite childhood memories was on Easter Sunday when I would wake up to the feeling of magic in the air. It was a day for play.  After church, we would pile into the back of our station wagon and take the drive to my grandparents’ farmhouse where boiled eggs and beautiful dyes would be waiting for us. Decorating my grandma’s eggs made them so precious to me, those mini works of art magically became priceless Faberge eggs to be gazed at with admiration. After a late afternoon supper, we would play hide-and-seek among the fig and pecan trees in the back yard, dodging the bobbing lightning bugs at sunset. We would scan the horizon for pops of color of the hidden Easter eggs among the green grass like we were mini bank robbers on a heist. With Easter weekend upon us, we were so excited to be invited to our friend Becca’s picnic & egg dyeing party. Becca wanted to try out some edible dyes and I am always a “yes” to a kitchen experiment …

Just Float ~ Sensory Deprivation Chamber

Our mission at Sirens & Scoundrels is to go find every cool off-the-beaten-path adventure and bring it back to you so you can try it yourself. As a meditation teacher, I’m always especially curious about anything that promotes increased presence and self-awareness. So what do those things have to do with locking your naked self in a pitch-black soundproof weightless saltwater chamber voluntarily? Well, step inside and let us show you… Sensory deprivation tanks originated back in the 1950’s as a means to research the brain’s dependence—or lack thereof—on external stimuli. What they discovered is that controlled sensory deprivation (the removal of all external stimulation) over short periods of time had the same effects as entering a meditative state—moving from beta or alpha brainwaves into theta waves for deep relaxation. Starting in the 1980’s, centers began providing float tanks to the public seeking their restorative and rejuvenating properties. Over the years, we have heard about several float centers in L.A. But we knew the time had come to dive in with the opening of Just …

Goulash~ Beef & Potato Stew

St. Patrick’s Day is usually celebrated by parades of shamrocks, wearing green and drinking beer. But for me, St. Patrick’s Day always reminds me of my Czech grandmother. Her birthday was March 17th, 1916. So on St. Patrick’s Day, we would go visit my grandparents, who were married for almost 60 years by the time my grandpa passed away. Being farmers and homemakers, both my grandparents were amazing cooks. The smell of kolaches baking and goulash simmering on the stovetop were nostalgic aromas wafting through the screen door of their little farmhouse. My most euphoric and vivid childhood memories are always associated with cooking or sitting around a dinner table with my grandparents. We would cook and bake all day, then eat supper gathered around their wood dining table with the Czech radio station playing a polka or waltz in the background. My grandpa would sweep my grandma up in his arms and waltz her around the kitchen with pots bubbling and aprons flying. After a full belly, we would take a walk through the fields down to the railroad tracks at sunset listening to a …

Downtown Field Trip

Earlier this month, we invited our readers to cut class and ditch work with your resident Ferris Buellers for our first official Sirens & Scoundrels Field Trip. We were beyond thrilled to have an awesome group of artists and innovators come together for a rogue weekday art, food & culture adventure to Downtown LA! Who knew Tuesdays could be so cool? We started our adventure at the new Broad contemporary art museum on Grand. We first wrote about the Broad in our December article: HERE. Many readers wanted to check it out for themselves afterwards, but were surprised that tickets were booked out months in advance. So we decided we’d make it really easy: secure a bunch of tickets and invite people to just show up. This is the best way for you to do it with your friends, too. Tickets are free and you can reserve up to nine at a time, so we suggest that you just take the initiative for your gang and book the earliest date available online: HERE. The good news is …

Le Garage ~ Sausalito, CA

What’s a Siren or Scoundrel to do when they’re itching for the South of France but also need to pay the rent? Head up to Sausalito and experience the Riviera’s kissing cousin in all its dreamy aquamarine glory. If you really want to set the scene, go straight to Le Garage for a French Bistro dining experience that will leave you asking, “Cannes who?” Sitting right along the waterfront with big white sailboats and shiny yachts glittering and bobbing lazily in the afternoon sun, you can relax with a glass of French rose and dust off those phrases you haven’t used since high school: “Ah oui, Monsieur, je vais tres bien, merci beaucoup. Umm…that’s all that I remember.” Le Garage is a true fine dining experience made refreshingly accessible and delicious. The French owners wanted to bring some of their local comfort foods to the traditional bistro menu. So alongside their exquisitely executed staples like Steak Frites and Salade Nicoise, you’ll also find Country Pork Chops and Crispy Panisse—french fries made from chickpeas. The highlight …