Memorial Day Weekend, L.A. Style

If you’re starting to crave the flavors of summertime, you’re not alone. While Memorial Day Weekend is, first and foremost, an honorary celebration of the brave soldiers who died fighting for our country, the final weekend of May also marks the start of summer for many Americans. That means grilling, friends, family, and grilling. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of Memorial Day happenings for the holiday weekend…

For the “King (or Queen) of the Grill” Type:

Who better to trust with your cookout plans than the inventors of the Dodger Dog? Whether looking for a beach bonfire site or a family park with picnic tables and grills galore, Farmer John’s SoCal Grill Locator’s got you covered. The local company’s online service allows you to search by zip code, or browse the full list of entries to find the perfect public venue for your Memorial Day cookout.

For the “But I Don’t Wanna Cook” Type:

If standing above a smoky grill doling out burgers and buns doesn’t sound like your idea of a blast, then Katana’s new Red Sun BBQ Garden, might be more up your alley. Starting this Sunday, the West Hollywood restaurant will offer a special BBQ menu EVERY Sunday from May 29 through September 4. As usual, Katana will be using their Bincho grill (fueled by fancy Japanese charcoal) to fire up the chicken, seafood, and vegetarian skewers found on their regular menu. On the special Sunday BBQ menu, you’ll find the Sichirin Grill for two, where American Kobe beef and crab legs will be cooked tableside for $39. Too rich for your blood? The tuna “poke” tartare or the yellowtail sashimi might go perfectly with the patio seating, sake sangria, or perhaps a watermelon margarita for $8. 

For a more American-style feast, make your way to Westwood to check out The W Los Angeles’s Backyard BBQ offered on Monday, May 30. Menu items run the gamut from a grilled skirt steak wrap ($16), to corn on the cob served with spicy avocado butter and cotija cheese for $6.

For the “Where’s My Drink?” Type:

“Scratch the barbequing—I want wine!” If this sounds like you, maybe the second annual City of Angels Wine Fest is where you should be this Memorial Day. From 1-6 p.m. on Monday, May 30, food and wine lovers will enjoy reds and whites hailing from nearly 30 California wineries while nibbling on food catered by Café Pinot, Kendall’s Brasserie, Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse, ‘Tina Tacos, and Zucca Ristorante (all part of Patina Restaurant Group). A $25 Food-Only entry includes four food vouchers, while the $70 Food & Wine entry gets you the four food vouchers and unlimited wine—that’s right, unlimited. Or you could go all out with the $150 VIP entry, granting you unlimited food and wine. Hosted by The Rotary Club of Los Angeles Foundation, the event benefits Volunteers of America’s programs helping the homeless transition to jobs.

Worry not hop-heads, we would never forget about you. If you’re willing to make a little trek to The Phoenix Club in Anaheim, Orange County fave The Bruery will be pouring and cheers-ing their third anniversary with a party and local beer festival. Many of the Bruery’s own suds will be on tap, as well as those from several other local beer-makers. To get into the May 29 event, $35 general admission buys a souvenir glass and 10, 4-ounce tasters, while the $50 VIP admission includes the 10 tastings, plus six more of The Bruery’s limited release beers (lucky you). Making it all the merrier, 100% of proceeds will go towards the Lestonnac Free Clinic. Cheers to charity!

And for the “Give Me My Dessert!” Type:

Wherever you decide to eat, no Memorial Day Weekend is complete without the sweet—At least, that’s how we see it. Highlighting a seasonal favorite, Magnolia Bakery in West Hollywood is currently dishing out three rhubarb treats to satisfy your sweet (and tangy) tooth, and will continue to do so through the end of June. While the lumps of sugar and spice atop the rhubarb crumb pie have us excited, maybe it’s the sweet, yet tart, strawberry rhubarb pie that’s calling your name. Whichever suits your fancy, $12 gets you a 6” pie, while $24 gets you the 9-incher. Individual slices are also available for $4, and rhubarb crumb muffins ($2.25 each) could make for a tasty little snack.

For a fancier fix, from Friday, May 27 through Sunday, May 29, Patina Restaurant in Downtown’s Walt Disney Concert Hall will celebrate not only Memorial Day Weekend, but also Executive Chef Tony Esnault’s birthday. (“For he’s a jolly good fell-ow!”) Putting a twist on the delightful dessert his mother used to make around this time each year, Esnault’s “deconstructed” strawberry tart combines white chocolate lemon sorbet, sablé dough, strawberries, lemon cremeux, and crystallized basil into a tempting  ($14) masterpiece.