How We’re Spending Our Christmas

Whatchu up to today? The L.A. Mag Digest team be chillin.

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Ahhhhh the holidays. A glorious, crazy time when everyone slaps a big smile on their face despite being stressed out to the max. Well, if you’re reading this, you’ve made it through another season, and heck, you’ve almost made it through another whole year. (Got New Year’s Eve plans yet?)

Anyway, from all of us at ye olde Los Angeles magazine Digest blog, we hope you’re having a fan-friggin-tastic day today, no matter what you celebrate—Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, or something different altogether. 

Anything special on the docket today? Here’s what our team of writing elves is up to…



Eddie Lin

Our awesome token Asian guy

What are your plans for Christmas?
I will be enjoying my Christmas at my dear friends’ home, the Lius in Long Beach. We have been sharing Christmas celebrations at their home for the past 20 years. Most of the friends at the party are former “cast members” from Disneyland’s Main Street USA restaurant world. It’s been one of the few traditions that we have continued without a break.  

Doing any cooking yourself?
I’ll be providing the eggnog. Maybe I’ll even try out our own Randy Clemens’ beer nog recipe. I’ll also be heating up Starry Kitchen’s Malaysian chicken curry potpie in the oven. (Does that count as cooking?) 

What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to seeing my closest friends and family in the same room together. I’m also excited to see the look on the person’s face who ends up with my white elephant gift of The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook. Ho ho ho! 

What are you least looking forward to?
December 26.



Bill Esparza
Latin lover extraordinaire

What are your plans for Christmas?
I will be spending Christmas with my wife here in town; we’ll probably go to the San Gabriel Valley for dinner on Christmas Eve, unless I get the urge to make feijoada for us with some caipiroskas for her and a double shot of Cachaça Anisio Santiago for me. After that—right after that—it’s off to Brazil for a breakneck tour of the states of São Paulo, Rio, and Minas Gerais by car to see the smaller towns I’ve been wanting to see.  

Doing any cooking yourself?
I’ve been deep into salsas lately and will be stopping by the Mercado Olympic, Northgate Market, and El Mercado de Los Angeles to pick up different chiles and ingredients for preparing salsas. There will be homemade huevos rancheros—my grandmother’s recipe—and I’ll surely pick up some blood sausage from Los Cinco Puntos to make my favorite blood sausage and fried egg tacos. 

What are you most looking forward to?
Spending time with my beautiful wife, enjoying my tamale haul—I order from multiple restaurants and home cooks—which will include rare Guatemalan pig ear and pig foot tamales, and picking up cheese and cachaça in Minas Gerais, Brazil. I can’t wait to hit up the many botecos (pubs) for bar bites, (more) cachaça, and Brazilian craft beers.  

What are you least looking forward to?
I’m least looking forward to the ever-increasing commercialization of the holidays, and all the obnoxious shoppers ruining the already hectic streets and freeways of L.A. Bah-humbug! 



Caroline on Crack

Everyone’s favorite professional lush

What are your plans for Christmas?
I’ll be driving up to Sacramento to spend Christmas with my parents. We usually celebrate Christmas Eve with a dinner and then a gift exchange at midnight. My mom usually makes the entire Christmas dinner herself. She doesn’t want anyone in her kitchen. We’ll have everything from a traditional Christmas ham covered with pineapple slices to lumpia to rotisserie chicken. It’s like an international food market on the dinner table.

Doing any cooking yourself?
I’ll handle the dessert and the cocktails. My folks have this persimmon tree in their backyard that’s especially fruitful this year so I’ll whip up a persimmon crumble and maybe experiment with a persimmon cocktail. 

What are you most looking forward to?
Drinking scotch and opening presents in front of the fireplace!

What are you least looking forward to?
The holiday traffic on the 5.



Lesley Bargar Suter
Our Supreme Leader

What are your plans for Christmas?
I’m spending the week with my in-laws deep in the heart of Texas. We’ll start things off in Dallas, move on to Nacogdoches, then off through the hill country, and flying out of Austin.

Doing any cooking yourself?
My mother in law won’t let me lift a finger (oh, darn!). Though she does let me head to the local liquor store and pick out wine. She likes it “smooooooothe.” [Said with a drawl.]

What are you most looking forward to?
My grandmother-in-law’s biscuits with homemade pear preserves. The Iron Works Barbecue in Austin. Wine tasting in the hill country, which I’ve never done. My father-in-law’s secret Ziploc frozen margaritas. (Don’t you worry, I’m snagging that recipe to post when I return!) Queso. Did I mention not lifting a finger?

What are you least looking forward to? 
The inevitable Macaroni Grill take-out on Christmas Eve. I get it, nobody wants to spend the whole night cooking, but I’m more of an Olive Garden gal. Ya hear me Marilyn Haggerty?



Randy Clemens

OMG! That’s… that’s me!

What are your plans for Christmas?
I’m heading to meet up with some of my barbershop quartet buddies, taking my mom and plenty of craft beer with me. 

Doing any cooking yourself?
But of course! I made some Chex Party Mix with Sriracha and coconut oil that is kind of ridiculous. And as soon as I get my ass in gear and get this post up, I’m going to make a shiitake mushroom and corn risotto to take with. (Chances are that I’ll toss some Sriracha in that too cuz that’s how I roll.) 

What are you most looking forward to?
More coffee out of this Bonavita drip coffee machine I finally splurged and got myself for the home office. The dime-bin piece of junk I had before… what a difference! Yeah, I’m gonna go brew another pot.

That, and being able to walk into a restaurant or turn on the radio to hear something besides Christmas music blaring through the speakers.

What are you least looking forward to?
Waiting 11 months before watching Elf again.


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