Leslie's List: Honey Cocktails, Meatballs, and a 'Magic' Bar

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
Leslie's List-Recovered EDITTED

This to-do list is culled directly from my own calendar and interests. Most everything on the list can be done no matter where you live, but because I live in L.A., my "Do" each week will spotlight a unique L.A.-based event or activity. If you're inspired by any of these tips or have some of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

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If you're a fan of Magic Castle (we all are after going as a team over the holidays) you'll love this vintage-inspired, totally transformational bar in West Hollywood, which opened last week. Thursday through Saturday, they host ticketed magic shows for $40 per person, and the rest of the week, they serve cocktails and Chinese-Thai from the takeout place next door. And if booze, spicy takeout, and *magic* doesn't cinch the deal for you, the decor will.

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Inspired by Shira's response to my Food Diary, my boyfriend and I decided at the beginning of the month to do a "Healthy February," where we don't eat any gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or anything fun. As you can imagine, we've completely failed. We generally eat fairly healthy—most of our meals are home-cooked, if a little too sugary—and have been pretty successful during the week. But we've managed to sneak in a few beers and cookies by saying, "we've earned it." All this is to say that I don't have anything healthy to recommend here. What I do have to offer is a completely diet-crashing-worthy healthy-ish lamb meatballs from Yotam Ottolenghi. These sweet and sour Middle Eastern meatballs are so, so delicious, made sweet with cooked figs and barberries. It's even "Healthy February"-friendly if you leave out the yogurt. But, let's be honest: You've earned it.

Read small 2

As soon as I heard the plot description for 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster, I couldn’t wait to read it. The basic premise, is that there are four stories told about the same identical protagonist, from birth to death, but in each story, the external factors and decisions prompted him to lead four parallel but completely different lives. It’s such an interesting way to look at how the decisions we make every day can have enormous domino effects on the entirety of our lives. 

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When it comes to television shows, Girlfriends Guide to Divorce is absolutely my guilty pleasure. It's what I watch solo with a glass of wine after work when I don't have other plans—so I could not be more excited that Season 3 is out. The show is extravagant in its portrayal of affluent divorced moms in L.A. ,but the characters are surprisingly likeable and relatable to the point it feels like I'm hanging out with a group of girlfriends. The third season is available now on iTunes.

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The New York Times' podcast "Still Processing" has some of my favorite cultural commentary anywhere. Co-hosted by Jenna Wortham, a staff writer for the Times Magazine, and Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, Wesley Morris, they talk about everything from Beyoncé to their favorite films, and their feelings about putting "read" receipts on text. It's funny, charismatic, and so, so smart.

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This "Hunny" cocktail from Andy Ricker's Thai restaurant (in Portland, New York, and Los Angeles) has long been a favorite of mine, but I didn't realize until this weekend how easy it is to make at home—you'll just need to buy the Pok Pok drinking vinegar online or at a gourmet food store (like I said, failing at Healthy February). This Sunday, I made a big batch of it and brought it in mason jars for a picnic at the end of a hike with friends. It was the perfect thing to have outside on a perfect L.A. day (but tastes just as good on a chilly evening at home).