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Taco Talk

Our review of the best taco joints in SoCal for your Taco Tuesday pleasure.

Tacos El Fogon in Bellflower, California is a cozy brick and mortar with a south of the border vibe reminiscent of places you would find in Tijuana or El Zocalo in Mexico City.

They offer a mix of traditional tacos like asada, carnitas and pastor alongside tacos de suadero (rose meat), buche, chiicharron and tripas. Their other taco menu offer the more unique style of tacos al vapor including cabeza, labio, cachete and lengua. Each is very authentic with hearty portions.

Pricing is reasonable at $1.50 for traditional and al vapor (lengua is $1.80).

Location: 10325 Alondra Blvd. in Bellflower

Get Ready to Depart to the Otherside

The crew of the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor - Fear Lives Here awaits your visit to their all new attractions and mazes this 2019 Halloween season.

Arguably the best space utilized for scare, the Queen Mary's history of hauntings adds to the creepiness and allure.

New for 2019 is ROGUE, a near capsizing maze experience that can only happen aboard the Queen Mary. A total of six horrifying mazes await you on the water off Long Beach along with live entertainment, secret bars and scarem-out-loud rides!

Overall Dark Harbor is becoming the go-to SoCal attraction replacing the tired and aging designs of others. It certainly has the best overall value and parking and the ability to stay aboard the ship in one of its many suites after you explore its haunted hulls.

Dark harbor runs September 26 thru November 2nd.

Tickets start at $20 on select nights with discounts on entrance before 8pm! General admission with Fast Fright or Evil Express entrance accommodations is also available as are VIP or Ultimate Scream experiences featuring secret bars, private tours and escorts and more!

Visit DARK HARBOR today for your tickets.

Universal Studios Hollywood A-Mazes

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror. 

This year’s event features 10 terrifying mazes inspired by today’s most compelling movie and television horror properties as well as a selection of all-original horror-themed mazes envisioned by the masters behind the creation of “Halloween Horror Nights.”

As an iconic Southern California’s Halloween event Halloween Horror Nights is designed to taunt, terrorize and torment guests as they navigate the darkness from one frightening maze to another.

Themed mazes includes selections from top television programs and movies including The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, US and Frankenstein meet the Wolfman,

HHN takes place now thru November 3, 2019. For tickets and select day offerings, visit HHN

Knotts Scary Farm - Not So Much

This is the oldest of all the Halloween themed events taking place over the next month in SoCal - and it's showing.

Boosting over 1,000 monsters (that take up space along narrow walk ways - Knotts tends to cater to the teen crowds.

Nine mazes, including seven from years past along with two new mazes fill the theme park, which is decked out in macabre features. Unfortunately there are more misses than hits this year even with slightly altered maze structures for the older returns.

The Depth, a maze that features water elements (including a full on waterfall) has visitors meeting a kraken like monster (we think that's what it's supposed to be) while trying to avoid becoming soaked. Although the water elements are interesting they are not scary - strange yes, but not horror-driven.

The other mazes are predictable and because of crowd size don't allow for tension build up as visitors are crammed into mazes without much separation between groups.

Pricing ranges from $42 to $99 (without fast passes) with parking at $22. Hotel packages are also available.

Parking is an issue with lots packed and walk time from your spot to the entrance a trek for some. Overcrowding is also a problem - so much so that waitlines are often the scariest thing about Knotts Scary Farm. If you want a fast pass you will need to shell out more cash ($85). Knotts Scary Farm runs through October 31st.



Hortencia Olmos

August 2019

As the dog days of summer slip into fall and kids return to school there’s still time to have a memorable summer experience – and the good news is you won’t have to go far!

Welcome to staycation 2019 and the Downtown Los Angeles explosion of exploration. The epicenter in DTLA is the JW Marriott Hotel.

First remove any previous notions you may have of what a hotel is because the JW Marriott reimagined the experience for business travelers, families and weekenders looking to relax. And boy did they nail it!

Amongst the newer developments in DTLA, the JW has a glitzy geometric glass exterior and is perfectly located at L.A. Live - the nerve center of social interaction.

Tons to do around the JW including a concert at either the Staples Center or Microsoft Theater, eateries including Wolfgang Puck, Katsuya, Rosa Mexicano and Shaquille’s, dance at the Conga Room, explore music history and present at the Grammy Museum, or people watch along the corridors that connect each venue.

The real excitement, however, is to be found inside the JW Marriott’s expansive lobby and entrance areas. It has the liveliness of Time Square in New York during the day and the robust party vibe of the Vegas strip at night.

Enjoy a meal and drink at the neon infused Glance Lobby Bar. Decorated with vibrant colors and boasting one of LA’s most delectable menus, it’s a great spot to meet with friends before or after a concert or Lakers game, or to simply enjoy on a date night.

Be sure to check with the concierge’s desk and ask about any current promotions including free wine tasting, vouchers for a free movie at the Regal Cinemas, or free popcorn from Lucky Strike (bowling).

The amenities of the hotel are impressive with spacious rooms featuring impressive views of the city. The JW Marriott has perfectly balanced classic elegance with a modern touch. Yes, the décor is trendy, but the underlying feeling you get from entering the hotel is classy and sophisticated, both timeless features.

Staff is more than willing to serve and accommodate needs and are amongst the friendliest ever encounter by this writer.

Now that you are situated, your staycation can get underway.

Refresh yourself by lounging poolside with the sun doing its magic of replenishing the spirit. DJs and servers are the norm on weekends.

You may want to rejuvenate at the Spa Sanctuary featuring a unique Garden to Glamour Treatment known as the Watermelon Vodka Tini Body experience. Also, the staff at the spa are experts at providing CBD facial and body treatments to relax your muscles and ease any tension – these are a must try.

Once you are ready to take on the nightlife be sure to include a stop at WP24 on the Ritz-Carlton side of the JW. Located on the 24th floor the restaurant bar combo has stunning views of downtown and has an abundance of rich appetizers on one end and full meals at the other. The bar features abstract specialty drinks your waiter will be more than happy to share with you; if you really want a memory try the Hot Child in the City drink made with Mescal.

An absolute must experience is the JW’s Mixing Room. A bar, restaurant and dance club rolled into one with live DJs playing music of all genres to the delight of visitors. Meet new friends, enjoy a romantic night with your special friend, or, as I did, meet one of the members of a band just coming off stage from their performance at the Staples Center.

The great thing about the JW is it doesn’t feel like a hotel, instead you get the sights and sounds of colorful city inside, the vibrancy of a club or music festival outside and the attentiveness of staying with family.

Pricing for rooms varies and there are local and monthly promotions available. Based on the amenities and offerings of the JW and where it is located, stays are reasonably priced and affordable.

If you are still looking for that summer getaway, we recommend the JW Marriott in the Los Angeles area. And don’t forget Labor Day is just around the corner!

Summer at the JW Marriott includes:

Tiki Thursdays at The Mixing Room – every Thursday classic tiki cocktails, Polynesian bites along with live entertainment and vintage luau décor. Tiki Thursdays happen every Thursday through Sept. 5th.

Ice Cream Bike – the popular JW Marriott Los Angeles ice cream bike and floral installation returns offering a classic Instagram photo opportunity in the hotel lobby. Guests will enjoy complimentary ice cream samples every Friday, 4-5 pm, starting July 12th.