Category Archives: Venice Beach Organizations

Veg Out in Venice at Plant Food + Wine


October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and to kick it off has revealed the 52 Top Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly Restaurants in the US.

Seven of the restaurants are in the Los Angeles area and one, Plant Food + Wine is right here in Venice at 1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., in the old Axe space.

Plant Food + Wine School
The Matthew Kenney Culinary School in Venice located above Plant Food + Wine

Matthew Kenney is the founder of Plant Food + Wine. He also runs one of his 5 culinary schools in the upstairs space above the restaurant. With other schools in Thailand, online, and another set to open in Miami.

“We’re honored to be part of it but I’m even more excited to see Open Table put an emphasis on vegetarianism to begin with. The fact they took the time out to celebrate World Vegetarian Day. It was a great list. I saved it,” says Kenney.

Plant Food + Wine Founder Matthew Kenney
R-L Plant Food + Wine Founder Kenney with Manager Repicé in the restaurant’s ‘Garden of Vegan’

Joey Recipé is the beverage director and manager at the restaurant. He says, “it’s so awesome to be part of a movement. I think more and more people are becoming aware of what they put in their bodies as a correlation to how they are feeling.”

According to the list was decided “based on our restaurant experts’ recommendations and diner reviews,” and that all the restaurants “feature vegetables front and center, creatively presented with expert technique and serious attention to flavor.”

Plant Food + Wine Cricket Fox
Vegetarian food that even carnivores can sink their teeth into

Diner Alice Fox, who is not a vegetarian, said while dipping a roasted fingerling potato into carrot ketchup  “Oh my gosh, these potatoes are delicious. They taste like they’re cooked in chicken fat!”

Kenney explains that you can use different, non-animal, ingredients “like smoke and spice and salt in ways that satisfy those desires for comfort food.”

Plant Food + Wine may be local but  Kenny has a vision that reaches further afield.

Plant Food + Wine
Plant Food + Wine on Abbot Kinney

“We want to change the way people eat and change the way the world eats and show that plant based food is actually the most exciting and most beautiful food and the only way to do that is for there really to be a lot of amazing options around the world. That’s why we train students so they can go out there and do this, and share it,” says Kenney.


Beyond Baroque to Host 100 Thousand Poets for Change

The 5th annual 100 Thousand Poets for Change event will happen today at Beyond Baroque from 10am – 2pm, with poetry readings continuing throughout the afternoon until 8pm.

100 Thousand Poets For Change
100 Thousand Poets For Change event at Beyond Baroque

The event runs in partnership with the 100TPC world movement, that sees multiple simultaneous poetry reading events held throughout the world. Uniting poets across the globe to bring peace, sustainability, and change to our communities. 

“We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. It will be empowering,” say organizers of the global event.

Beyond Baroque is at 681 Venice Blvd., Venice, next to SPARC and the Venice Fire Station.

300 Vendors Lined Up For Abbot Kinney Festival This Sunday

Venice, get ready to party! It’s on again – the Abbot Kinney Festival is taking over the street. Abbot Kinney Blvd. shuts down traffic and opens up to those ready to join all the fun of a mile-long street party Sunday, Sept. 27 from 10 am-6 pm.

The festival is a free event that gives back to the community.

“Yes it’s a big party, but it’s more than that,” said Donna Humphrey, chair of the Abbot Kinney Festival Association, the non-profit group that produces the festival each year. “Any money spent at the festival goes directly back to the community to support Venice-based, non-profit organizations. Primarily those that support the youth community and the arts,” Humphrey said.

Ticket sales for any of the three beer gardens help raise money “that goes directly back into the Venice community in the form of grants,” Humphrey said. As does money raised at the always-popular Kid’s Quad, a family friendly zone featuring rides, games, and activities at Westminster Elementary.

Some of this year’s grant recipients include Venice High School’s STEMM Magnet, Venice Arts, and the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation.

Now in it’s 31st year, the Abbot Kinney Festival has always attracted a large mix of vendors. This year there will be over 300 vendors joining the food trucks and booths that will line the street.

The Boulevard’s eclectic boutiques, artisan eateries, and influential art galleries infuse the festival with a local flavor capturing the artistic Venice vibe.

This year Beyond Baroque will host the spoken word stage. Plus, there will be three music stages: the Andalusia “Locals” stage presented by Matt Ellis, the Broadway Stage presented by Beacon Street Studios, and at the Brig’s Palms Stage with DJ’s spinning all day.

At 2pm on the Andalusia Stage Councilmember Mike Bonin will present Spirit of Venice Awards.

“At this year’s awards, we will honor Sue Kaplan, Edizen Stowell, Cecilia Castillo, and Challis MacPherson. They are all people who have all made a positive impact on the Venice community,” Humphrey said.

Also, Street Art Projects will join the Abbot Kinney Festival for a second year to produce a chalk art festival – the Venice Street Art Festival – on Abbot Kinney Blvd. at Westminster Ave..

Street Art Projects is a grassroots Venice-based initiative for art in public places. The Street Art Festival is a contemporary version of the historic Italian tradition of the “Madonnari” where traveling artists would redraw the great works of the renaissance masters on city streets. At this year’s Abbot Kinney Festival a number of contemporary artists will be creating original chalk drawings.

While there will be valet parking available at points along Electric Ave. and one on Venice Blvd., arguable the most Venice-like way to enjoy the day is to ride a bike. There will be two bike valet locations, one at Venice and Abbot Kinney Blvds., the other at Abbot Kinney and Main St.

Photo by

Rediscovering the Importance Of Scrap

Atlas Novack

Yo! Venice Contributor

There aren’t enough kids that play with junk anymore. It’s all iPads and video games. Years ago kids could go out into their backyards with a stick and a rock, and make a house out of the leaves from the oak tree. There used to be a kid culture of playing with scrap, and it seems like it may be dying out. However, that may not necessarily be the case yet.

Just a few blocks east of the In-N-Out on Washington Blvd., the reDiscover Center sits in a building next to a Pitfire Pizza. The reDiscover Center is one that focuses on the creative reuse of materials for art and education.

A non-profit facility and organization, one that’s been open for 11 years now, the center receives scrap metal, wood, PVC pipes, and everything in between from various recycling facilities around Los Angeles recycling centers, before using them for various “tinkering projects.”

Besides just art, some projects are donated to local schools, such as jungle gyms, all of which are made by the children with the help of adult supervision. Most projects are sent home, with bigger ones being taken apart for the materials to be reused the next week.

The reDiscover Center was founded by a group of architects and pre-school teachers, who wanted to encourage children to learn, grow, and experiment with their environment, and were getting tired of the conventional construction-paper-and-crayon approach that most classrooms had to offer.

Over time, the center has helped its community, and even offers scholarships, as well as donations and accepting kids from Westside Children’s Center, from foster care homes, and really any disadvantaged youth in general.

It has been shown that the kids show an increase in self worth and overall happiness because of these programs.

Children are matched in groups for certain projects, being moved around if necessary. “Some kids get along, some don’t,” said Jonathan Bijur, executive director. “When that happens, you shuffle the groups around and move on. Sometimes the kids make friends, and that’s great too.”

The tinkering projects are for ages 7-12, and employ real tools in their projects, such as drills.

The utmost safety is taken in these endeavors, with no injuries being reported in the center’s 11-year history, partially due to kids being made aware of the dangers of certain tools, but also due to the fact that the center employs one trained adult for every five children, ensuring a safe, well-supervised environment.

It also allows kids more attention from an authority figure, which is good for self-esteem. Besides tinkering, there are programs available for children 6 and under, which involves art projects.

The program has seen great success as a summer camp, to the point where they are expanding it to after school as well. The first day is free for those who want to see what all the buzz is about, with $20 day passes available for drop-in sessions. They also offer monthly unlimited access for $150.

For more information, call 310.393.3636 or visit

The Kombucha Scandal that had Venice in a Fizz is Still Bubbling

On May 8, 2015, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control raided Full Circle Venice, a local spiritual community center on Rose Ave., after a tipoff  that kombucha was being served at a charity fundraiser.

The fermented tea, which contains trace amounts of alcohol, was confiscated and a third-party vendor was cited for serving the drink without a license.

Andrew Keegan
Andrew Keegan, Founder of Full Circle Venice

Consequently, the “Kombucha Raid” incident  garnered international media attention for both Full Circle Venice and the organization’s founder, Andrew Keegan. Some of  reports claiming Keegan himself was “cited” or “busted” for illegally serving kombucha.

However, Full Circle say that Keegan was not at the property on Rose during the raid, nor did he interact with law enforcement officials in any way that night, and that reports saying otherwise have  damaged not only Keegan’s reputation but the reputation of the entire organization.

As a result, on friday September 18th, Keegan filed a lawsuit against media conglomerate AEG.

A statement issued by Full Circle Venice today reads, “All of these journalistic “liberties” are damaging to Mr. Keegan’s reputation and harmful to his work with the mission of Full Circle.”

The organization states that due to the negative publicity surrounding the false report of Keegan’s arrest, his personal and professional reputation have been significantly harmed. Adding that the negative publicity has driven away clients, donors, and congregants from Full Circle Venice.

Executive Director at Full Circle Venice, Jason Dilts said, “Andrew is standing up for truth and accountability. This is about more than money. We have free press but the press has a responsibility to report the truth. This is about drawing a line in the sand and asking what kind of country we want to live in? What kind of a media do we want?”

On Tuesday actor Sean Penn filed a lawsuit against Empire creator Lee Daniels. The complaint being that, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Daniels falsely accused Penn of hitting women.

“This is a timely conversation. Facts matter, we cannot have flat-out lies,” said Dilts.