Disneyland definitely does Christmas in style, and when you visit the whole park will fill you with holiday cheer. This year, Disney California Adventure is serving up holiday specials at their Festive Foods Marketplace, where you can get seasonal goodies from across the globe. While you're there, check out Cars Land, which has been transformed for the holiday season. https://disneyland.disney.go.com/
The Mission Inn & Spa
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Mission Inn's "Festival of Lights," and they're pulling out all the stops with their "Sweet-Twenty Five" celebration. It's been called "America's Best Public Lights Display" (USA Today, 2014), and it started small with 16,000 lights, but now covers the entire city-block property with over 5 million lights. This year, it's a fun and exciting candy theme, which means a new Candy Stroll, Sweet Dreams suite, Kelly's Spa specials and delicious candy-themed Casey's Cupcakes! There's plenty of time to soak in the magic, when you take a stroll and enjoy a meal at any one of their on-site restaurants during the festival. It's going on now through Jan. 6. http://www.missioninn.com/
L.A. Zoo Lights
The Los Angeles Zoo is ready for Christmas with "L.A. Zoo Lights." The zoo is filled with thousands of shimmering LED lights and 3-D animated projections that make the zoo come alive after dark. Some of the zoo animals have an early bedtime, but you can see L.A. Zoo Lights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. while taking a walk through the disco ball forest and more. Tickets range from $10 to $20, and children under 2 are free. http://www.lazoolights.org/
Sanrio Village at Tanaka Farms
Tanaka Farms in Irvine brings the Christmas Spirit to the O.C. The special Santa Tour is a cheer-filed wagon ride through the 30-acre farm, where you can sample winter vegetables and learn the history of the farm. At the top of the hill you can tour Sanrio Village where you can catch up with Santa Claus or, even, Hello Kitty on weekends through Dec. 17. http://www.tanakafarms.com/
Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens
"Enchanted: Forest of Light" is a 1-mile long interactive experience through Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. It'll be around until Jan. 7. The gardens are filled with incredible light displays that create a magical, interactive experience unlike anything else in L.A. that's for the whole family. Tickets range from $23 to $30 per person. https://www.descansogardens.org/
Disney on Ice: Follow Your Heart
Whether your little ones love Disney Princesses or Dory and her fishy friends, the latest Disney on Ice is a family outing guaranteed to make their holiday! The new show, "Follow Your Heart," features stories and characters from Disney movie favorites. The show travels through SoCal Dec. 14 until Jan. 7, so catch a show while you can! https://www.disneyonice.com/tickets
Knott's Merry Farm
Enjoy a warm classic Christmas at Knott's Merry Farm, where as soon as you walk into the park you're surrounded with the sights, sounds and smells of the holidays! Freshly roasted nuts, delicious hot chocolate and fresh desserts are staples of the Merry Farm. Not only is the food amazing, but there are 40 local vendors that specialize in personalized Christmas gifts for everyone on your "nice" list. https://www.knotts.com/
Aldik Home is one of the nicest Christmas stores in L.A. It started off as a silk flower shop in the 50s, but later became known for its quality silk floral products and incredible decorations that leave lasting impressions. Now, the 24,000 square foot shop is flooded with amazing Christmas decorations, and the owners even have talented designers who will decorate your home for you. https://www.aldikhome.com/
Vodkas & Latkes at Akasha in Culver City
The holidays go hand-in-hand with traditions, but there's always room for new customs! Akasha, in Culver City, is taking holiday traditions to the next level with "vodkas and latkes." Akasha's holiday menu pairs delicious Hanukkah latkes with holiday-themed cocktails, making cultural comfort food something everyone will enjoy. https://www.akasharestaurant.com/
Tamales at Casa Vega
Our favorite hideaway in the valley knows how to celebrate Christmas. Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks has a special tradition of the employees decorating for the holidays, but the tradition doesn't stop there. It's just not Christmas in L.A. without tamales, and we got to make sweet corn tamales with owner Christy Vega in their newly remodeled kitchen. Then, we got the Casa Vega recipe for Sweet Corn Tamales and Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce for you to make them at home. Enjoy chicken, beef, vegetable and sweet corn tamales at Casa Vega, or pick them up to-go until Dec. 31. Make sure to call ahead and pre-order! http://casavega.com/
Sweet Corn Tamales
15 corn husks
3 cup of sweet corn, cut from the cob or frozen if not in season
cup of sugar
cup of flour
4 teaspoons of corn meal
1 tsp baking powder
10 strips of cheddar cheese
10 small strips of freshly cooked, skinned and seeded Anaheim chilies (canned will work too-Ortega)
1. In a large container, place the corn husks deep in hot water and cover for a couple hours until they are soft and pliable. Tip* you may need to weigh them down with an inverted plate and a heavy can to keep them submerged.
2. In a food processor, grind the corn and then add the sugar, flour, corn meal, butter and baking powder. Grind together very well making a Massa.
3. Drain water from husks. One at a time, flatten out the husks with the narrow end towards you and place 3 oz of Massa spread in the middle of the husk.
4. Add the strip of cheese and small strip of chili in the middle of the Massa.
5. Take the left side of the husk and fold it directly over the right side. Fold the narrow bottom end of the husk onto the folded tamale. ** For parties and presentation you can tie with strip of corn husk when serving dry tamales.
6. As you are making the tamales, stand them up on their rolled ends in a prepared steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately 30-40 minutes, until Massa is firm and holds its shape. *Tip: Cover the tamales in the steamer with a layer of the left-over corn husks. You can also fill empty spaces with gently wadded aluminum foil to prevent them from falling over.
7. Serve dry with Tapatio and Mexican crema.
Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce to complement your Sweet Corn Tamales
Yield: 3 cups
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar
12 ounce fresh or frozen cranberries
6 ounce fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 lime juiced (optional)
1. In a medium saucepan combine minced jalapeños, water, sugar, and cranberries.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, mash the cranberries to preferred consistency.
3. Stir in the raspberries and lime juice.
4. Remove from heat and chill before serving.
Westbound L.A.: Miracle on Santa Fe
Usually, Westbound is a fun bar in DTLA to hang out for a drink, but once Miracle on Santa Fe rolls through - everything changes! Miracle on Santa Fe is a pop-up series that injects Christmas cheer into the bar and the spirit even steeps into the special "Miracle" menu and cocktail line. Spirits never get low here because there are carolers to bring you back into holiday mode. http://westbounddtla.com/miracle-on-santa-fe/
The Santa Room at Adele's of Hollywood
Adele's of Hollywood is not only the go-to stop for Halloween costumes, it is THE place for Santa to shop, too! Adele's has the largest collection of Santa suits available and they supply suits to Santas all over the Southland and the world. We got to take a special peek into this spot, where only the finest wool and velvet are used for Santa's special outfits, lined with luxurious satin. http://www.adelescostumes.com/
The Porsche Experience
The Porsche Experience could be the perfect gift for someone who "has it all." Located in Carson, the Porsche Experience will put you behind the wheel of one of Porsche's sweet rides with a certified driving coach. You'll experience a rush not possible on public roads and once you're done, enjoy a fine dining experience at their Restaurant 917. Driving experiences start at $235 for 1.5 hours, but you can also try the Simulator Experience starting at $35 for 30 minutes. https://www.porschedriving.com/porsche-experience-center-los-angeles/experiences/driving-experiences
When it comes to flying, small is beautiful, and JetSuiteX is gorgeous! This luxury travel experience comes with all the perks of a first-class ticket without the hassle of the usual commercial flights. JetSuiteX flies all over California, to Las Vegas and to Mammoth for the ski season. Tickets start at $129 and go up to about $300, and include checked luggage, cocktails, Wi-Fi and snacks! This is a luxury experience that is more affordable than you thought and would be a great gift! https://www.jetsuitex.com/
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