|Free hot chocolate and cookies at Valerie Confections|
Now that holiday shopping season has officially begun, Seasons 52 opens today at the Westfield Century City mall. This is the third SoCal location, with a fourth opening in Santa Monica in 2013, bringing seasonal fare and no dish going above 475 calories. There's a wrap-around patio, herb garden and "living" garden wall, live entertainment, huge wine list and specialty cocktails. Doors open at 11 AM for lunch (10250 Santa Monica Blvd.; 310-277-5252).
One tasty way to find gifts - hit the Valerie Confections open house this week. Starting today, each day features a special tasting and deals (20% discount on purchase of sampled items). Today you'll taste smoke and spice truffles and pumpkin-seed caramels; Wednesday is hot chocolate, hot matcha and cookies; Thursday, tea truffles; Friday, tea and petit fours; Saturday, special holiday confections like peppermint bark, nougat, and noir and blanc fruit cake. The shop is open from 10 AM-7 PM (3360 W. 1st St.; 213-739-8149).
Check out the new happy hour at Pasadena's Trattoria Neapolis for Hump Day. All drinks - well drinks, any draft beer (14 on tap), a glass of house red or white wine, and craft cocktails, like a basic Bourbon-y Gold Rush - are $5. Food, too, so you can get mini pizzas topped with Bloomsdale spinach and feta or smoked pork shoulder and taleggio cheese, lamb sausage corn dogs or butternut arancini for $5. Monday through Thursday at the bar only, 3-6 PM (336 S. Lake Ave.; 626-792-3000).
Although Mirabelle opened with a new look and menu this summer, there's a new new chef at the helm, Drew Ison, who introduced a new menu of contemporary American dishes like pan-seared jumbo scallops with smoked lentils, Kurobuta pork chop with brown-butter spaetzle, and braised short ribs with sweet corn polenta pudding. There are drink and food deals on the daily happy hour from 4:30-7 PM and 10-11 PM (8768 W. Sunset Blvd.; 310-659-6022).
Knackig started as a Sunday afternoon sausage pop-up but is now a more permanent late-night grub stand. Find the grilled brats, knackwurst and kasekrainers on Friday and Saturdays from midnight to 3 AM at Mignon Wine Bar in Downtown LA. It's also now at Toluca Lake's Vendome Wine & Spirits on Fridays from 5-9 PM.
The BevMo Holiday Beerfest happens at Golden Road Brewery today. $45 gets you unlimited samples of holiday beers from from breweries like Ass Kisser, Big Hurt, Chimay, Hanger 24, Rogue, The Brewery, Widmer, Golden Road, of course, and more. $60 VIP ticket gets you early admission and a special tasting. Noon-5 PM (5430 W. San Fernando Rd.).
For even more beer, the Yard House infiltrates the San Fernando Valley for the first time, opening at Northridge Fashion Center today. The mega-space is much like the others: 140 taps encircling the island bar, classic rock blaring out of speakers, and a big menu full of beer-soaking food. We have to admit, the happy hour menu isn't half bad (weekdays from 3-6 PM). Locals can get a sneak peek on Friday or Saturday night after 8 PM; grand debut is 11 AM on December 2 (9301 Tampa Ave.).