Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gulfstream

















I was dining with some friends at Chin Chin in Beverly Hills. After plates and plates of peanut noodles, minced chicken lettuce cups, garlicky string beans, and Chinese chicken salad, we needed some American dessert.

Luckily, Gulfstream at the Century City Mall and their hot fudge sundae delivered. Here you see the vanilla bean ice cream, candied nuts and the vat of hot fudge. Yum! Happy faces all around the table!

What you don't see is the second dessert we ordered: butternut squash and nutmeg creme brulee. I KNOW!! It was delish, and I will admit that it was even better with some of the hot fudge drizzled atop. Note that this was the Daily Dessert, so don't have a sad face if you go and they offer some other equally fantastic special.

Now, does anyone know what restaurant Gulfstream used to be?!

Click here to go to Gulfstream's Web site.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Barn Burner BBQ











I drive by the Barn Burner in Pasadena almost every day. Lately, I've been noticing the "Closed for Renovation" signs and I'm trying to not freak out.

The Barn Burner (or Barn Burger as it teases in my mind) is an awesome Texas barbecue joint within walking distance of my apartment. If you haven't been, it actually is a barn. It used to be a feed store (yes, in Pasadena!) and was a antique mall when I moved to the 'hood almost 10 years ago. Now, it's a cheezily decorated joint with some tasty chow. I'm thinking they're renovating the cheeze, which will totally take away the fun.

Back to the burger: this was a tasty slab of beef with cheese and mushrooms I had for lunch a few weeks ago. Note the little basket of homemade potato chips for munching while waiting for your fries. They used to have buckets of shelled peanuts at the tables, but I'm thinking that was for dinner service. For some trailer-parkesque reason, it's entertaining to crunch open the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor.

Stay tuned for updates, and keep your fingers crossed that no one's messing with our Texas barbecue!

No Web site at this time. Street address is 1000 South Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena. Phone is 626-403-7427.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Porto's

It's one of those crazy rainy nights in Los Angeles (really, it happens!), and I had a ticket to see my friend's Christmas concert at the Alex Theater. Knowing I'd need to find someplace to eat beforehand, and addressing that I didn't want to drive all over the place, the clouds cleared in my head as I thought about Porto's just a block or so across the street.

I've had their food quite often: their Cuban sandwiches at Hollywood Bowl potlucks and their pastries at fancy parties. This was my first time salivating over the full menu! I went with the Medianoche sandwich (medianoche = midnight and the weather made it seem very late, indeed) with the plaintain chips. Here you see the slow roasted pork, ham and Swiss cheese, but the kicker was the sweet bread. YUM!! And, before you think I pulled a "just a sandwich at Porto's" visit, I'll admit I warmed up with their legendary potato balls. They're kind of like mini breaded and fried shepherd's pies. Oh yes, and some steamy hot chocolate to wash it all down.

So, no pastries this time, but I could do some major damage at that counter. And, I won't save a return visit for a rainy day!

Click here to go to Porto's Web site.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Maira Kalman at the Skirball

I have two friends who are writing in the horror genre, one who has made a short and the other has several scripts floating around town that are garnering interest. So that may be where the vampire spark came from, or it could be the Monsters in the Movies program I went to in October still festering in my subconscious. In any event, when I saw the "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" book at Target, I was intrigued enough to throw it into my cart. (Never mind that I get to see his face regularly, as I will explain below.) I won't spoil it for anyone, but the book weaves historical facts, some twists on those facts, and some complete fabrications with enough intrigue that I had to take another looksie at what was known about Abe. In that exploration, I realized he and I had a number of similarities.

Abe Lincoln spent his formative years in Indiana, as I did. Me more years than him, but we're not quibbling over small details here. At 21, he left his small town for the big time in Illinois, with about a year of formal education under his belt. I left at 22 for NYC, the day after I graduated from college. Neither of us had a job, a place to stay, or more than a few coins (some of mine bearing his profile) to rub together at the kickoff to our adventures, yet we were able to land on our respective feet and launch our careers.

So how do Maira Kalman, the Skirball Cultural Center, and Abraham Lincoln connect? The Skirball currently has a delightful exhibition called Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) up through February 13. If her name is unfamiliar, you'll recognize her wacky illustrations. And, Maira loves Abraham Lincoln; she wrote about him in her blog and painted a wonderful portrait in adoration. He definitely would fall into the pretend boyfriend league for her. (Any of you who have known me more than a few minutes know about my pretend boyfriends. As a single girl, mine range from Ewan McGregor to Peter Sagal of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! fame, so I totally get Maira's thing for Abe.) Above, you see her homage on one of the exhibition banners. And since I now work at the Skirball, I get to see that face everyday.

Hopefully, I've now brought some illumination to the crazy world inside my head!

Click here to go to Maira Kalman's blog post about Abe.

Click here to go to the Skirball's Web site.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Village Pantry and Chocolate Monkey tea

A friend was in town from Denver, and we definitely needed some girl talk. Front of mind for this chat was The Village Pantry in Pacific Palisades and some Chocolate Monkey tea. Where do I start with the Chocolate Monkey? First off, it comes in a French press as opposed to a steeping pot, so you get some interaction while seeing all the interesting bits that make up the awesome flavor. Can you spot the apple and banana chunks or the pink peppercorns enhancing the chocolate and red tea? I've enjoyed it both hot and over ice, and either way it is delicious. Bonus points for being decaf!

And, if you're assuming that The Village Pantry is all about girly tea, think again. I had their Mayor Burger: Angus beef with carmelized onions, bacon, bleu cheese, lettuce and tomato on a challah roll. YUM!! It deserves its own post!

Click here to go to The Village Pantry's Web site.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Button Store















As the fifth of six kiddies, I regularly got hand-me-downs from a sister - or brother. Early on, I learned the benefits of the sewing machine, and I often made or remade my clothes. (Remember, I was Miss Home Economics senior year of high school, and they don't just throw those titles around!) Sometimes, my clothes remaking involved a fitting situation, while other times it was all about the bling.

Although I'm not making my own clothes these days, I still alter clothes on a regular basis. Boring cardigan sweater? Attach some ribbon to the placket. Sleeves too long on the pullover? Use the pinking shears to shorten and prevent raveling. The little curl it creates on the edges looks planned and paid for.

Lately, I've been into buttons and have been relying on my stash to enhance choice items. One time in San Francisco, I visited a button store and bought sassy gold buttons with bagpipes. (Those buttons have dolled up a number of jackets over the years and now adorn a preppy brown corduroy blazer.) With the SF shopping experience in mind, I found The Button Store on Third Street near Sweetzer. Again, I was a bit overwhelmed by the thousands of buttons, both vintage and new, on display. Here you can see one set of graduated buttons I bought: black/magenta mother of pearl babies. Buttons here are not cheap, but these are not the kinds of buttons you'll find at Wal-Mart (not that there's anything wrong with Wal-Mart!). Sometimes you just gotta pay for your bling!

The Button Store does not have a Web site. Address is 8344 W. Third Street in Los Angeles. Phone is 323-658-5473.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pita Kitchen

One of my friends shared that the Pita Kitchen on Van Nuys (on the block south of Ventura) has
the best Mediterranean food in Sherman Oaks, maybe even the SFV. Although I haven't tried them all, I think she may be on to something.

I was feeling run down (after a run, mind you!) and needed food. Really, I needed some meat! I remembered her accolades about the Pita Kitchen and gave them a try.

Right off the bat, know that the place isn't much to look at, and they only have street parking on that busy intersection. However, once the food arrives, those inconveniences quickly disappear, along with the heaps of food on your plate. I went with the lamb kebobs, with rice, hummus and Greek salad. Wow!! My Mom is wearing a sad face at the thought of my eating lamb, but it was delicious!!

So now the challenge is out there. Share your recommendations on the best Mediterranean food in your part of town, and I'll take one for the team and blog about it!

Click here to go to the Pita Kitchen's Web site.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Porta Via














Now that I'm committed (or should be committed for even considering another full!) to running the LA Marathon in March, I'll be needing some new carb-loading options. The antipasti plate at Porta Via in Pasadena is a perfect solution.

Here you see my four delectable selections: spaghetti with tomato, olive oil and garlic at 9 o'clock; penne arabbiata at top; tomatoes and garbanzo beans at 3 o'clock; and their ceci bean cous cous with cranberries, almonds, arugula, and orangey essence at bottom. You know I like the arabbiata sauce from my Rosti post, and that cous cous salad is now guest-starring in my dreams!

So bring on the 26.2 miles! I'll be more than fueled up by my new chums at Porta Via, especially since they sell these salads by the pound. Let's see how much weight I lose on this plan!

Click here to go to Porta Via's Web site.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Travel Town















Add another attraction to the growing list of posts on Griffith Park. This time it is Travel Town.

I was visiting my friends at A Runner's Circle for new running shoes. (LA Marathon in March, here I come!) Driving through the Park, I started thinking about all the great blogging experiences I've had in those 4,210 acres: the Observatory, the Old and New Zoos, the Merry-Go-Round, the DWP Holiday Lights and the Autry Museum. Travel Town was a turnaround point when running the hill with my training group. Who knew it was such a fun place?!

I always wanted to ride a big train like these at Travel Town. I even have a little black leather suitcase that I thought would be perfect for the train. The closest I got was the Amtrak between Philly and NYC back when I lived on the other coast. Yes, I could still ride a train, but the romance attached to it is long gone, as it is with all travel modes.

Anyway, scattered about the grounds are various train engines and box cars from the long-gone era. You can walk into a few, but most are closed off. It was cool to hear seniors reminiscing about trips, while seeing the young'uns oogling the trolleys and old fire equipment. Although Travel Town is mostly trains, there are some other vehicles displayed in the Exhibit Hall, like delivery trucks and circus wagons. Cool stuff!

What else have I missed in Griffith Park?! Do share!

Click here to go to Travel Town's Web site.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fred 62













I know, it's another salad. But this Fred 62 Thai Cobb salad had a legitimate purpose.

What I really wanted was the Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love Pancakes with, you guessed it, peanut butter, chocolate chips and banana. But I also really wanted Fred 62's Punk Tart version of Pop-Tarts. I knew I couldn't rationalize Pancakes and Punk Tarts, so I want with the salad to lay the base for the tasty treat.

But this salad was more than just a foundation. It was spinach, shredded chicken, bacon, tomato, chopped eggs plus peanuts, sum tam, green papaya salad with fried wontons and spicy Thai dressing! It came out in an impressive square shape on a chilled plate to boot. Dang, it was gooood!!

Then came the Punk Tart selection: apple or the special pumpkin version. Rationalizing that pumpkin is really a vegetable, I went with the punkin' Punk Tart à la mode. YUM!! Now I haven't had a Pop-Tart in probably 20 years, but this one snapped me right back to every slumber party I went to as a kid. Every bit as good as the original!

Now that I've sold you on the Punk Tart, who wants to meet up for those pancakes?! I think it's a sharing/splitting opportunity!

Click here to go to Fred 62's Web site.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Descanso Gardens

Remember my May post on La Cañada Flintridge and my fantastic breakfast at Dish? I mentioned Descanso Gardens then, not knowing there was anything else in the LCF. Today, it's all about Descanso, and I know there's quite a bit there!

It rained most of this past weekend, and I was having major cabin fever. I needed a walk in nature; I needed some Descanso Gardens.

For me, Descanso differs from the other big gardens in the SGV - Huntington and Arboretum (I've written about both of them here) - where I go to the others to see something, I go to Descanso to just be. Strolling through the oak trees is calming yet invigorating at the same time. I love the proliferation of benches and seating areas, often off the beaten path, to sit back and soak it all in the vistas.

I've had some really cool experiences at Descanso, including helping out a night hike in search of orb-weaver spiders (the ones with the really huge webs), and attending a pipe organ day, with various styles of organs playing throughout the grounds.

Today's score was spotting the early blooms in the Lilac Garden. These few blossoms smelled amazing, and I can only imagine the scent when all the trees pop. LCF and Descanso, I'll be back!

Click here to go to Descanso Garden's Web site.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just Grillin'















I know, salads are pretty rare on the Cruise Director blog. However, this is a Burger Salad, courtesy of Just Grillin' in Alhambra.

I was running my errands in the 'hood: Jiffy Lube, 99 Cent Store, Big Lots, and I was starving. I drove by Just Grillin' over by the Kohl's on Fremont. Hmm, hadn't tried them before so today was the day.

I was immediately amused by some of the food names on the menu, like Mountain of Bacon Burger, My Ex-Girlfriend's Favorite Salad and My Current Girlfriend's Favorite Salad. While perusing the greenery section, I spotted the Burger Salad with avocado, serious slivers of parmesan cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms atop romaine lettuce. YUM! It was delicious collision of the burger and salad worlds and well worth the no-fries tradeoff. Well, at least for now as those spicy fries sure did look and smell good.

Click here to go to Just Grillin's Web site.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Le Petit Beaujolais

I like throwing some French around when I get the chance, sprinkling words and phrases here and there as appropriate to utilize the language portion of my brain. Since I need food to fuel the gray matter, it all came together at a delightful little French bistro in Eagle Rock.

I was meeting a friend for a catch-up breakfast. She recommended Le Petit Beaujolais (midway between our maisons), known for its yummy dishes. I went with their oeufs et pain perdu, or eggs and French toast, with the crispest bacon I think I've ever had. It actually curled, like the ribbons on gift boxes! (I could imagine someone in the back with the scissors curling the bacon ribbons!) The French toast was fabulous, topped with bananas, strawberries and walnuts, the powdered sugar making a warm glaze; it was doubly-delicious dipped into the runny egg yolk.

We ended up staying for three hours, so I got to view a variety of dishes delivered to other tables. The quiches and croque-monsieurs had me considering lunch. Quelle horreur! I did have another appointment, so it was time to move on. Not to worry, I'll always find a way to weave food, French, and French food into my life!

Le Petit Beaujolais does not currently have a Web site. Their address is 1661 Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. Phone is (323) 255-5133.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fab Hot Dogs














I have a friend who's a total devotee to Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." He and his wife invited me to join the club and try one of Guy's local dives Fab Hot Dogs in Reseda.

Fab Dogs is the home to the Ripper, the deep-fried hot dog. Although intrigued, I was more inspired by the Spicy Redneck (as usual, I ordered the most compelling food name). This dog was fabulous: grilled and wrapped in bacon, topped with chili, slaw and jalapenos!

The joint was jumping, and it was mouth-watering to watch other orders pass by our table. Guy's image was everywhere. Apparently, Fab Dogs was a real hole-in-the-wall pre-Guy, then after the show aired, all of Los Angeles had to have one. They're now in a strip mall on Victory, with lots of parking and ample seating. Check them out and let me know which hot dog name gets you!

Click here to go to Fab Dog's Web site.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Roosevelt Hotel

Last month, I went to my friend's short screening in Santa Monica and posted about my double-dipping at Rosti while I was on that side of town.

Tonight, I was invited to a fancy-schmancy Hollywood screening at Grauman's Chinese Theatre ("The King's Speech" was spectacular! I highly recommend it!), part of AFI Fest. Following the movie, there was an afterparty at the historic Roosevelt Hotel. Although I should've graciously departed so that I could get up and be perky for work the next morning, I needed a fix! I guess I'll catch up on my sleep another time.

The Roosevelt is a must pop-in while in Hollywood, if only to look up at the ornate ceilings and at the other architectural details. The Roosevelt is one of those LA hotels oozing in history. In 1929, it hosted the first Academy Awards, and Marilyn Monroe lived there for a couple of years in her early LA days. Allegedly, Marilyn never really checked out and continues to haunt the hotel. Montgomery Cliff supposedly hovers around, too, long after his death.

So whatever your interest - LA history, architecture and/or ghost hunter - stop in next time you're in the 'hood. Tell Marilyn and Montgomery howdy for me!

Click here to go to Grauman's Web site.

Click here to go to the Roosevelt's booking Web site.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dia de los Muertos with Self Help Graphics

Although Halloween has always been a favorite holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an even cooler event!

Skulls and death are similar between the two and calendar placement doesn't help, but Day of the Dead is more about celebrating those that have died as opposed to scaring and creating fear about dying.

DOD participants set up elaborate altars with pictures and personal items in remembrance of the departed. People definitely dress for the occasion, ranging from traditional outfits to punk rocker attire, both with the painted white faces with black skull details. Festive tissue paper papel picado designs like these skeletons decorate the space. Of course, food is central to the celebration. The special sweet bread - pan de muerto - is something to look forward to each year. Add some music and dancing, and it's a party!

This was the first time I've celebrated in Los Angeles outside the Self Help Graphics location. This year, they moved the event to the East LA Civic Center, while maintaining all the energy of the original spot. And, for all of you tired of seeing my light blue with red ringers DOD t-shirt (I'm wearing it in the About Me photo to the right), I did score on another version from the same designer. Keep an eye out for both shirts in my LA adventures!

Click here to go to Self Help Graphics' Web site.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Coffee Table Bistro

I often overlook The Coffee Table Bistro on the stretch of Colorado in Eagle Rock. See, Coffee Table is right across the street from the Oinkster (see September 2009 post), and you know how fond I am of those Belgian frites.

On the frites front, here you see the Coffee Table's also awesome fries, sidled up to their Blacked Ahi Burger. Yes, that's a seared tuna filet on a whole wheat bun and all the standard burger toppings. (I know, it looks like a grilled PB & strawberry J sandwich!) The filet was huge and soooo delish!!

I've always liked the cool mosaic tiled tables - each one different - at the Coffee Table. I'll just have to remember to share the love a little more when choosing between these two fooding neighbors!

Click here to go to Coffee Table's Web site.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mo's Foggybottom Burger















Last July, I wrote about Mo's Foggybottom burger, and how I had to earn one before I ate one. Well, today was finally the day!

After more than a year of salivating, my 2:44 clock time for the Los Angeles Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon was nothing! Well, it was something, but I knew the Foggybottom was waiting for me, so I tried to have a pep in the step. (For the non-runners out there, it's important to have protein after a long run to refuel your muscles and allow for recovery. Some people think this is an excuse to load up, but I'll leave that to you to decide.)

For clarification, the Foggybottom is a hearty burger to start with, then you are served little bowls with peanut butter and sour plum jam to spread as desired atop the burger. The flavor is awesome! You also get a run at their salad and toppings bar, where I took some tomatoes and pickles (not that they were going on the Foggybottom!), plus some really tasty slaw and potato salad. I definitely had some good vegetable products to balance the burger.

Dang, if I do the full LA Marathon in March, what will be my recovery meal? Hmm, something to think about on those long runs!

Click here to go to Mo's Web site.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lemonade

Day three of Jury Duty. Yes, you are correct that I glazed right over day two. That's because one of the defendants passed out in the court room, and the paramedics showed up and took the accused away while handcuffed to the gurney. As you may guess, there wasn't going to be much court action following this, and we were released for the day.

Today, the case was settled out of court, and we were excused for good. I decided to make some lemonade out of the completely lame experience, and, luckily, there's a Lemonade location at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

Here you see my selected buttermilk chicken breast, sweet potatoes with pistachios, and brussel sprouts with parmesan and balsamic vinaigrette. YUM!! But the topper to the meal is definitely the zingy peach ginger lemonade. My taste buds are proclaiming that it's a lame day no more!

Their menu changes regularly depending on what's in season. So even if they don't have these dishes, I'm sure their replacements will be equally delish. They do have a few other locations in addition to MOCA, so I invite you to make some Lemonade in your neighborhood today!

Click here to go to Lemonade's Web site.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monsters in the Movies

Back in May, I posted on two spectacular exhibits at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AKA, the Oscars). Tonight, I went back to The Academy for an awesome presentation with film clips on the evolution of movie monsters at Monsters in the Movies.

For instance, 1981's "American Werewolf in London" with David Naughton - who was there to give the audience some behind-the-scenes tidbits (note that he's still hot!) - was quite different technology-wise from 1941's "The Wolf Man," but both totally freaked out audiences in their days.

Jon Favreau talked about learning the monster ropes in 2005's "Zathura: A Space Adventure" so his later "Iron Man" movies could look fantastic.

It was fun to hear how many monsters are actually puppets or miniatures, and how stop motion transitioned into go motion as technology caught up. On the stop motion side, we got to see the masterful work of Ray Harryhausen in "One Million Years B.C." while hearing from Phil Tippett, the co-developer of go motion, a technique where the object is moved with the camera rolling. The artistry here is making the inanimate object move realistically. Tippett is no schlump; he developed go motion for "The Empire Strikes Back."

Today, most monsters are computer generated, so it will be great to see another program like this in a few years to learn the latest ways technology is making us believe in monsters.

Click here to go to The Academy's Web site.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

I'm on Jury Duty downtown today. It's raining, and both places where I wanted to lunch are closed. (One for the day, one for good!) Off I wander in the rain for someplace, well, blogworthy.

Then I heard the bells at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. I knew they had a restaurant, and maybe I could get a pipe organ fix afterward!

While I was set to settle for a boring turkey sandwich, the Cathedral's Cafe Galero surprised me with this tasty BBQ chicken pizza and delish chicken pozole soup. I'm not a pozole expert by any stretch, but this one had cilantro, radishes, roasted peppers, corn, tomato, onion, cabbage, zucchini and tortilla strips and will be my new standard to measure other versions to. And the pizza, with the thin crust and roasted corn mingling with the usual suspects, raised the bar for other pizzerias.

As for the Cathedral itself - I just have to say it - that is not a pretty building. A concrete bunker and church just don't mix in my sensibilities. (Although I am remembering the heavenly sleep in the concrete Wigwam last month...) However, the pipe organ's sounds bouncing off those concrete walls was awesome!

So there you go. Did you score on anything blogworthy today?!

Click here to go to the Cathedral's Web site.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pierce College Corn Maze

Last October, I posted on the Corn Maze at Forneris Farms in Mission Hills, near the intersection of the 405 and 5 freeways. In my efforts to cover ALL of Los Angeles, this year I ventured southwest to Woodland Hills and Pierce College's Corn Maze.

The set-up was the same: utilize your three-dimensional skills to recognize cutout patterns in the corn that correspond with the two-dimensional map illustration. Then you follow the path to find the "you are here" spots and answer questions about farms and agriculture in Los Angeles. This year, it took me just under an hour, and I found all of the eight question spots.

Here you get the idea that you can't see very far in the corn! And, this path may be an actual part of the pattern, or it could be a teaser route to confuse you. I don't remember because the corn stalks all end up looking the same. And, unless you're walking along the fence line, you really have no idea of north, south, east, west, which makes it challenging to follow the map. But, as you might expect, that's all part of the fun!

So, two Los Angeles corn mazes down. How many more can there be out there?! Definitely, let me know what I'm missing!

Click here to go to the Pierce College Corn Maze Web site.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mijares Mexican Restaurant












I drive by Mijares Mexican Restaurant in Pasadena each morning on my way to work, their 90th Anniversary banner waving at me as I head toward the 134. Before it rolled into the 91st anniversary, I decided I needed to be part of their celebration.

Of all the enticing dishes on the menu, I was drawn to this one - Corky's Fabulous Garbage Burrito - primarily for the awesomeness of the name! It's stuffed with the usual burrito suspects, then you can personalize by adding sauce and cheese, and/or beans and rice, and/or carnitas or machaca. Very tasty, and huge! Thanks, Corky, for a tasty dinner and an equally tasty lunch the next day!

By the way, Mijares is also known for their margaritas. As I just say no, you'll have to let me know if the acclaim is deserved. In any event, let's all clink our glasses and cheer Mijares on for another 90 fabulous years!

Click here to go to Mijares Web site.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rosti Tuscan Kitchen

Although Santa Monica is only about a marathon away, sometimes it seems like it is another country. When I head that direction, I usually double dip my activities, and tonight was a perfect example. I was invited to my friend's film screening at the Aero Theater, which just happens to be a few blocks from one of my favorite restaurants, Rosti Tuscan Kitchen. When I lived in Venice, I was at Rosti all the time. Here's the reason it's a fave: the gnocchi all' arrabbiata. I want to drink that firey sauce with a straw!

Knowing the potato-pillow gnocchi coma was virtually inevitable, I started with the arugula and fig salad to lay a base. And you know the salad is good when you actually finish it when the reason you're there is steaming on the table!

Laying the base was crucial, as this dish is just gnocchi, with spicy sauce and roasted cloves of garlic. Simplicity perfected!! And, maybe it's a good thing I need to do a marathon to get there now, as this kind of carb-loading could be addicting!

Click here to go to Rosti's Web site.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fashioning Fashion at LACMA


















Back in August, I posted about the Wizard of Bras. That experience laid a wonderful foundation for the Fashioning Fashion exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Fashioning Fashion showcases men's and women's actual clothing and accessories from 1700-1915 through four lenses: timeline, textiles, tailoring and trim. A major theme was the shifting proportion of women's figures over the two centuries. Where we use push-up bras and Spanx, they used corsets, whale bones and hoop skirts to reshape their bodies. I loved these bustles! As a girl who doesn't need any additional junk in the trunk, these were just amusing to me. The middle bustle actually folded up when the wearer sat down, providing a least a modicum of comfort, considering she had a metal frame attached to her behind!

There were some surprises from the men's camp as well: chest padding, the evolution of the three-piece suit, and some major bling on the shoe buckles were all quite remarkable.

The mannequins appeared in and around huge stylized packing crates, giving an impression that they were just discovered. And what a discovery it would be! The fabrics and garments are absolutely stunning, and I wanted to touch each one. I can't wrap my head around these clothes surviving hundreds of years in some cases, when I can't seem to drink a glass of water without leaving a stain.

And, a bonus note about the set-up - I knew the docent leading the tour, so I got some inside info - the mannequins were designed to fit the clothes, as opposed to the museum standard of fitting the clothes to the mannequin. That means that you get a real sense of the height and size of the original wearer, instead of a cookie-cutter figure sporting the clothes.

By the way, Fashioning Fashion is in the newly opened (just last week) Resnick Pavilion, with two other fantastic exhibitions. So get yourself dolled up and head over!

Click here to go to LACMA's Web site.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Doughboys Cafe and Bakery Restaurant












Oh yes, it is as good as it looks!! This, my friends, is the PBC&B from Doughboys Cafe and Bakery Restaurant on Third Street, just west of Crescent Heights.

PBC&B is a peanut butter, chocolate and banana sandwich dipped in egg batter and grilled, then sprinkled with powdered sugar. The red sauce behind is raspberry dipping sauce. What else can I say, besides can someone get me a glass of milk, fat free, of course!

Click here to go to Doughboy's Web site.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Burger Continental














You would think with an inviting name like Burger Continental, I would've taken a trip or two around their global burger options. But no. This was my first burger at Burger Continental.

Yes, I've eaten there many times, but I've always ordered from the Mediterranean section and had delicious lamb and veggie kebabs, or shared a Feast with a group of friends, while being entertained by the belly dancers.

Today was different. This Mushroom Regency Burger was screaming at me from the menu! Can you understand why? Grilled mushrooms and onions, plus cheddar and avocado, completely encapsulate the meat! With the burger specials, you also get to take a run through the salad bar, and their version is stocked with yummies like minted cucumbers, tomato and mushroom salad, hummus and pita, falafel, and tabouleh. This wasn't your Sizzler's salad bar!

Burger Continental is on Lake near California is Pasadena. Try the burger or the kebabs as they're both fantastic! Shall I meet you there and we can split orders?!

Click here to go to Burger Continental's Web site.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Aquarium of the Pacific

Jellies! I'm not talking donuts this time, or those colorful rubbery-plastic '80s shoes. (I had blue fisherman sandals, so it's somewhat relevant to mention them here.) I'm talking Aquarium of the Pacific and their wonderful collection of wacky water creatures. These sea jellies, and their milky-white cousins the moon jellies, are just a few of the features that keep me coming back. My other faves include "petting" the wet-velvety-soft bat rays in the touchpool, and checking out the seahorses and the drag-queen-esque sea dragons.

Here's an insider tip: plan to have your lunch inside Café Scuba during one of the seal and sea lion shows. Since most people are outside, pick one of the booths near the windows to get a view of the show without baking in the sun. My food from the café was tasty, too: grilled cheese panini with bacon, brie, Granny Smith apples and apricot jam with a huge green salad. Yum!!

After a couple hours of aquatic stimulation overload, it was also nice to walk along the path to the little seaport village - I'm usually running this route as part of the Long Beach Half Marathon - watching the little boats and the humungous Queen Mary. And just try to get the Aquarium's theme song out of your head, because it is terrific!

Click here to to the the Aquarium of the Pacific's Web site.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Nonna's Pizzeria

My little town of South Pasadena is known for its smalltown charm. However, most small towns I know don't have two by-the-slice pizza joints within a block of each other. Well, South Pas does, and, as a pizza bonus, there's a Papa John's between them!

The pizza wars started with Mamma's Brick Oven (710 S. Fair Oaks) taking over the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building. They had parking as a bonus. Nonna Pizzeria (818 S. Fair Oaks) was the later entry, taking over a Middle Eastern restaurant's space. I tended to go to Mamma's, due to the forementioned parking. However, I was across the street at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy (see post from June 2009) and decided to give Nonna's a try. I had always thought it a copy-cat type of place. Chef Boyardee, was I ever wrong!

Both Nonna's crust and toppings were much better than Mamma's! On the left is the veggie spinach, artichoke, and sun-dried tomato slice, balanced out with Meatlover slice on the right. Let me tell you what was right about this slice: under the cheese, another layer of meat was hiding there! Delish!!

And, since I mention Papa John's (800 S. Fair Oaks), Papa John Schnatter knows smalltown! He's my people: a Hoosier from the next county over. My folks ate Papa John's when it was still a local shop. So rock on, Papa John! You continue to get my pizza dollars, and I always look forward to your garlic dipping sauce!

Click here to go to Nonna's Web site.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cee-dee's Big Adventure: LA County Fair

My final stop on the Big Adventure was the Los Angeles County Fair. Yeehaw! I hadn't been to this fair in at least 10 years, and I was looking for the cheeze. One slice of cheeze was the pig races. I was totally looking forward to them, and the little oinkers did not disappoint! Is it too cheezy to say that racing fans got to "bring home the bacon" with a coupon for free bacon at Ralphs? I thought so!

Speaking of bacon, there were lots of tantalizing fair foods, including chocolate-covered bacon and deep-fried everything. I was majorly tempted by the deep-fried s'more, but I just said no. The Cheese Cave sandwich was definitely doing its job!

Other fair highlights: Heritage Square with quilting demos and a Medicine Man show; "Celebrate Mexico" with beautiful flowers and plants displayed; and the live animals in Mojo's Jungle.

My favorite after the pig racing was Millard Sheets Center for the Arts exhibit. Titled "Three Centuries of Artistic Innovation from the Industrial Age to the Computer Age," it showcased how manufacturing innovations fueled artistic innovations. Artists - including a weaver, wood and marble sculptors, painters, a glass bead designer and jewelry makers - were demonstrating their specialties and explaining how their art has changed over the centuries.

I missed a lot of the displays, and I left before the Rick Springfield concert that night. Now that would've been some cheeze!

The Fair runs through October 3. Let me know what cheeze you find!

Click here to go to the LA County Fair's Web site.

Cee-dee's Big Adventure: Cheese Cave

Day two of the Big Adventure, and I woke up in a teepee in Rialto, CA. Next on the agenda was the LA County Fair, the largest county fair in North America. While driving west on the 10, I had a realization that maybe I should lay a base before indulging in some deep-fried fair food. Claremont was the next city sign I saw, so Claremont it was.

I'd never been to Claremont before, and I saw the signs for the Village. I figured I could get a muffin or ice cream or something snack-y there, and I started strolling their version of an Old Town. The Cheese Cave was one of the first shops I saw. I'll admit upfront, I really wanted it to be cheezy. Instead, it was a awesome fromagerie that also sold grab-and-go sandwiches. I'm kicking myself that I didn't get a photo of the menu board so I could be accurate in my details of this delish sandwich, but here goes: a wonderfully soft sliced cheese with some kind of salami, layered with some sort of crunchy cucumber (Armenian maybe?) with mustard seed spread on a velvety soft baguette. As a side dish, I went with the little cup of dried fruit. Mind you, I was just at Hadley's, king of the Inland Empire dried fruits, so I wasn't expecting much. The Cheese Cave's dried apricots and cherries were fresh and perfect with the sandwich!

P.S. I took the sandwich to go, and found this bench to stage my shot. Is it cave-y enough?!

Tum-tum is now happy so I'm off to the Fair!

Click here for the Cheese Cave's Web site.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cee-dee's Big Adventure: Wigwam Motel

My idea of sleeping in a concrete teepee is more than 10 years old. I spotted my first Wigwam Motel on Route 40 in Holbrook, AZ, heading to the Grand Canyon. I couldn't stop that time, and, on subsequent visits, Holbrook has not quite been far enough away to stay. Heading east, I hadn't accumulated enough miles to stop for the night, and, heading west, I would rather keep on truckin' than stop.

Last summer, my big brother and his kiddies wanted to stay at the second Wigwam near Mammoth Cave, KY. That didn't happen either, as there were no wigwams available during our powwow.

Then I remembered the third (and final) Wigwam was only about 50 miles away, conveniently located between Cabazon and the LA Fairgrounds on the 10 Freeway in Rialto. Voilà! And, I was sleeping in a teepee on my Big Adventure!!

Teepee sleeping is decidely different from motel or hotel sleeping. Furniture doesn't quite fit right, as the walls come to strange teepee-ish angles inside. Even in the shower the walls slanted in, and the tile-layer did a phenomenal job of fitting all the pieces together. I will note that it was the most quiet sleep-away-from-home I think I've ever had. Note to self: sleeping in a concrete bunker with no neighbors can lead to restful ZZZs! Next stop is the Fair!

Click here to go to the Wigwam Motel's (in CA) Web site.

Cee-dee's Big Adventure: Hadley's

So stop number two was the Cabazon Outlets, which I went to right after the Wheel Inn. Stop number three was Hadley's Fruit Orchards. For the uninformed, Hadley's is known for it's date and banana-date shakes. I know, it doesn't sound tasty at all, but it is! My b-d shake was the perfect recovery drink after shopping in the desert, and the perfect fuel for moving on to my next Big Adventure: the Wigwam Motel. Stay tuned...

Click here to go to Hadley's Web site.

Cee-dee's Big Adventure: Wheel Inn

So how did two days off turn into a Big Adventure? Let me tell you! Since I started my new job, I've been working with split days off. (This was my idea to accommodate my training schedule for the upcoming LA Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon.) But this week, I got a bonus day off, meaning I got two days off together. The Big Adventure started out as a trip to the LA County Fair. Then it grew into the Fair and the Wigwam Motel. Then it grew into the Fair, the Wigwam, and Cabazon for the Wheel Inn Restaurant and Hadley's. The outlets and Claremont were bonuses. But, before I get ahead of myself, let's go back to where the adventure began: the Wheel Inn.

Me, Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex go way back. I knew these boys even before I met them, having been introduced through "Pee-wee's Big Adventure." To this day, the dinos stand tall at the Wheel Inn, where Large Marge dropped Pee-wee off in the movie. You can still visit the gift shop inside Dinny's belly, just like old times. Since my last visit, the Wheel Inn has expanded to include the Cabazon Dinosaurs and Museum with animatronic dinos. I was on a Big Adventure and looking for cheeze, so I had to see the "World's Biggest Dinosaurs." Spoiler alert: the Museum has a blatant creationist stance, and, in some dioramas, dinos mix and mingle with tigers and lions. That said, the coolest part of paying the $6.95 admission is that you can climb the stairs inside Mr. Rex "at your own risk," all the way up to his mouth! That's the trade-off for the big slice of propaganda.

As a side bar, the grilled chile cheeseburger at the restaurant was just the cheese I needed to continue the Big Adventure!

Shockingly, the Wheel Inn doesn't seem to have a Web site. Their address is 50900 Seminole Drive in Cabazon, and the phone is (951) 849-7012. You really can't miss 'em off the 10!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bamboo Cuisine

I was going to lunch with my new work BFF. New in the sense that I've just started this job, but he and I worked together years ago at another gig and it has been great fun reconnecting! The "where to eat" conversation went something like this: Me: "What do you have a taste for?" BFF: "There's Italian, the healthy place, or there's Chinese..." and then again "and, there's Chinese..." until I finally got it that we should get Chinese.

What a fine recommendation it was: Bamboo Cuisine on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. Parking in the back was the first score. The second was seeing the Dry Sauteed String Beans on someone else's table and knowing that they would be at my table tout de suite. They were awesome, and, served up with the hot and sour soup and crispy salad with the kick-y vinaigrette as part of the special, lunch was about $10.

My fortune cookie should've said: "Just listen to BFF next time so you'll get to eat sooner!"

Click here to go to Bamboo's Web site.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Great Harvest Bread Co.













It's International Bacon Day, so I felt obligated to celebrate with the rest of the world the wonders of cured and fried pork strips. I've been meaning to try the new Great Harvest Bread Co. in South Pasadena after several pleasing experiences at the Great Harvest in Thousand Oaks. To my antici(say it!)pation and delight, my local shop has a BLT panini on the menu.

Here you see the grill marks toasting the Dakota bread with the pepita seeds and hearty grains. Almost a healthy sandwich, I could tell myself! Especially since there's garlic and herb spread instead of artery-clogging mayo. With six strips of bacon and good tomatoes and lettuce, this was a fab way to celebrate the international holiday.

What food are we celebrating next?!

Click here to go to Great Harvest's Web site.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Caveman" at the Tar Pits

Last summer, I went to several screenings of the "B-Movies and Bad Science" films at the Natural History Museum. This year, they showed all the flicks outdoors. I blew them all off until last night's "Caveman," shown on the lawn at the La Brea Tar Pits, for my flashback drive-in experience.

In my youth, I lucked out. My Dad was a theater projectionist, which meant I got to go to the movie palaces (across the river in Louisville), as well as the drive-ins, on a regular basis. If I wanted to, I could sit inside the booth, away from the crowds in my personal screening room, or I could hang with the masses. I would have definitely watched "Caveman" multiple times during the summer of 1981, as it starred Dennis Quaid. Dennis was one of the stars of "Breaking Away," the 1979 film about four high school graduates trying to figure out what they were going to do with their lives. It was set in Bloomington, Indiana, a college town about 100 miles north of my smaller town. I still regularly watch "Breaking Away," just to keep it real. Hopefully, one of these days I'll figure out what I want to do when I grow up!

It was great fun to watch a cheezy movie with lots of other folks, while surrounded by gurgles of tar seeps. What movie would you like to see in a unique setting? Do tell!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taco Station

From the train station to the Taco Station! I spotted this taco stand with the gas pumps while taking care of business at the Employment Development Department on Green Street in Pasadena.

Serving taco truck-style tacos at a permanent spot, this place is quite a hoot! Although it looks like an old-time service station - the kitchen would've been the garage - it is actually a fabricated site used as a film location. Who cares?! This is Los Angeles, afterall, and it's still fun!

I ordered two basics and one whim: carne asada, pollo (you know these as steak and chicken if you've ever been to a Taco Bell) and nopales. That's cactus, and it's the one in the lower right. All were very tasty, and I didn't have to chase after a truck!

Taco Station does not currently have a Web site. The street address is 1265 E. Green Street in Pasadena. Phone is (626) 795-1224.

Monday, August 23, 2010

La Grande Orange Café

La Grande Orange (LGO) Café in Old Town Pasadena has their own spin on the "plus one" perk of being on a guest list. On Mondays and Tuesdays, they have a fantastic dinner offer of buy one entree, get the second for $5. Sweet!

As person number two of the deal, here you see my $5 meal: Dixie Pan-Fried Chicken. The description said "crispy chicken with mashed potatoes served warm - picnic style." It was delicious! I've done a lot of picnics in my day, and none were as fancy as this. No gingham napkins here, but the surprise cinnamon roll resting atop the potatoes and green beans definitely made my day.

LGO is located in the 1935 Del Mar train station, now the Gold Line metro stop, and you can imagine the long wooden benches, valises, and passengers filling what is now the dining room. Snap back to reality, and you'll see folks in padded booths with laptops and cell phones, and others patiently waiting for the next available table. It's a fun mental juxtaposition.

Check out their menu, and let me know when you want to be my plus one!

Click here to go to La Grande Orange Café's Web site.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Billy's Deli & Cafe

I was heading east on the 134, passing through Glendale, and it was supper time. Hmm, I knew there had to be something tasty nearby, and I thought of Billy's Deli & Cafe over by the Galleria. That was the start of my can't-go-wrong dinner decision.

Mind you, it was supper time, and I was torn between the liver and onions versus the pigs in a blanket. The unflappable waitress even said "good luck deciding between those two" and give me a few minutes to ponder.

Obviously from my picture, I went with the piggies and blankies. Their version - buttermilk pancakes wrapping sausage links - was delish! The scrambled eggs served as a nice way to cut the syrup, and the pickle slices and lemonade provided just the right tang to balance the sweetness.

I wisely ignored the black and white cookies placed near the cash register, knowing I'd pass through this way again. Note that the cookies are about the size of a 45 RPM record so they're hard to ignore. And, if you don't know what a 45 is, ask someone around 45 years old! Maybe next time, I'll just come for the black and white and save my decision-making skills for more pressing matters, like can I recall all of the words to "the ink is black, the page is white," one of my early Three Dog Night 45s? Maybe, after the cookie, I can!

Click here to go to Billy's Web site.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Market Grill

So, I continue with the monster theme. Today, it's The Angry Beast at The Market Grill, a tiny surprise east of Old Town Monrovia. Here's the setup: you have to go through the liquor store, cash only, then there are just 14 seats in the place. Yes, it's kind of sketchy but totally worth the seek and find!

This monster sandwich is made of roast beef, swiss cheese, grilled onions, roasted green chiles, fresh spinach and horseradish mayo on grilled rye. And, that's not your typical scary potato salad sidled up to the Beast; it's a minted lemon potato salad and is a delight all its own! (See, I can manage my it's and its!)

Take a look at their menu. I saw most of the dishes that day (remember, there are only 14 seats so you'll get to know your neighbors), and everything looked and smelled amazing! I can't decide if it's a good or bad thing, but they didn't have their specialty chocolate chip and bacon cookies that day. You know I'll be roarin' back to The Market Grill very soon!

Click here for The Market Grill's Web site.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monster Thai

I drive by their sign each day going to work, sometimes zipping along at top speed, but usually poking along, giving me time to ponder. On the 101 heading west, just past the Coldwater Canyon exit, the sign screams Monster Thai. I was intrigued and had to step into the mash!

The scariest thing about Monster Thai is deciding how spicy you want to go. Here you see my Beef Salad, with the yummy spicy lime dressing. I went with medium heat, and it was totally manageable. I picked up more of the minty/cilantroy flavors dancing around the grilled beef, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Fiendishly good!! Next time, I'm cranking that Monster up a few notches. Who's up for the frightfest?!

Click here to go to Monster Thai's Web site.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Home Lands at The Autry

I've been meaning to see this exhibit at The Autry since the spring. Now that it's about to close, I finally made it to Home Lands: How Women Made the West. It's an interesting exhibit focused on three areas: northern New Mexico, near the Rocky Mountains, and Puget Sound, and how women turned "western spaces into home spaces by adapting it."

What I really liked about this exhibit was the wonderfully creative staging and backgrounds for the story and the artifacts. Here you can see the corn husk covered wall behind the grinding stone and storage vessels. The display base reminded me of geological strata that you see there. Also in this section, there was a message written in yellow and blue corn kernels (who else has been to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota?), and a burlap wall pinched and tweaked to replicate mountains or fault lines.

In the Puget Sound area, salmon was a main focus. One wall was covered with circular mirrors representing salmon skin, behind a fishing photo and framed marketing ephemera.

For the Rocky Mountains, a station wagon was sliced in half, with a flyer under the windshield wiper that explained how cars aimed at women allowed families to spread out to the suburbs.

You only have until August 22 to see for yourself!

Click here to go to The Autry's Web site.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wizard of Bras

OK, ladies, maybe you're able to buy your bras off the rack. Lucky you! I need a little more - how to I say it? - heft to my bras. The Wizard of Bras in Monrovia more than accommodates my challenges.

I've been a curvy girl my whole life; even at lower weights, I've always had hips and boobs. The Wizard of Bras totally changed how I select bras. The ladies at the Wiz measure and fit you to the right size, as opposed to my attempts to wedge into what size I thought I was. Many times, my cups truly spilleth over! And, once I figured out my true size, it is simple to get the right one. Some studies say that 80% or more of women wear the wrong size bra. That's crazy! Join the 20% true-fitters with one trip to the Wiz.

Now, who's off to see the Wizard?!

Click here to go to the Wizard of Bra's Web site.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Umami Burger












Remember my reference to fancy-schmancy burgers in my Bob's Big Boy post? Here's a perfect example of a burger you won't find on a diner menu.

This burger from Umami was fabulous! It is the Spanish Burger: fresh ground lamb, saffron aioli, roasted red pepper hash, rioja sauce and baby wild arugula. Behind, spot the sweet potato fries and the triple-cooked (!) hand cut fries. Last September, I posted about the Belgian frites at Oinkster, which are double cooked. Triple cooked fries = extra fancy-schmancy!

Umami is a Japanese term for the fifth taste, another taste in addition to sweet, salty, sour and bitter. I'm not even sure what that means. I do know that this burger tasted good, and that's good enough for me.

Click here to go to Umami's Web site.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Carmine's















I am filing this Carmine's post under Making Lemonade. See, I had more laundry than could possibly be accomplished in a timely manner with my limited washer/dryer setup. What's a girl to do but go to the laundromat? This is where the lemonade comes in.

There are two laundromats within a mile or so of my South Pasadena apartment; both happen to be near tasty restaurants. The plan was to throw in some wash, grab my food, and be back in time for the dryer. One laundromat is by Señor Fish, home of the incredible potato tacos that I wrote about in March. The other is by Carmine's, an awesomely decadent Italian restaurant that I walk or run by several times each week. It even smells good from the outside! I hadn't eaten at Carmine's since I was carb-loading for the March, 2009 Pasadena Marathon. Based on this photo, I think it's clear my lemonade this time was made by Carmine's.

This dish is their Gumbi House Special. That's the wait staff's writing on the bag, not mine. What is Gumbi, you ask? It's rigatoni sauteed with marinara, romano, light butter, melted mozzarella, diced homemade meatballs and mushrooms. Yummm!! Now you know why it's so special!

As you've probably guessed if you're a regular here at Cruise Director Los Angeles, I can pack away a lot of food, but this ended up being dinner for four nights. And, the minestrone soup that came with the Gumbi was practically a meal by itself.

So, laundry mission was accomplished with happy taste buds to boot. Now here's my challenge to you: tell me about the last time you made lemonade!

Click here to go to Carmine's Web site.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bob's Big Boy













I'm all for fancy-schmancy burgers with elaborate combinations of toppings, but sometimes I just want a regular burger. The Big Boy delivers every time.

In my rural Indiana youth, there wasn't much to do on the weekends. One place to gather was the Frisch's Big Boy, where everyone drove through the parking lot, made the loop up to the White Castle and came back through Frisch's. Yes, that is what we did all night on most Fridays and Saturdays. If you were lucky enough to get a parking spot at Frisch's, you had to order food. A car hop brought your food to the car so you you could eat while keeping an eye out for others "cruising" through. The Original Big Boy with fries was a standard on many of those nights.

Flash forward lots and lots of years and the reopened Pasadena location of Bob's Big Boy. Same yummy burger, fries and root beer I remember from those formative years, served on a plate and without the exhaust fumes!

When I'm looking for that flashback weekend experience, I head over to the Burbank Bob's Big Boy. On Friday nights, their lot is filled with classic cars; car hop service is available on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Two great options to have the Original!

Click here for Bob's Big Boy Pasadena.
Click here for Bob's Big Boy Burbank.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Runner's Circle

I've often said that it takes a village to complete a marathon. (I've done three fulls, five halves, and I'm training for my next half in October. I kinda know what I'm talking about.) You gotta have coaches for directions and leadership, team mates for support and encouragement, and gear for the logistics. When it comes to gear guidance, there is no better place than A Runner's Circle (ARC) on Los Feliz for everything running related. In fact, their tagline is "We make running easier..." and they do.

For starters, good shoes are essential to complete your event wanting to do more. The staff at ARC takes the time to get to know you and what you're training for before even talking shoes. They do a gait analysis and recommend the best shoes for your natural stride. What always cracks me up is they remember BOTH shoes that I use. They'll ask "Mizuno Nirvana or Asics Kayano this time?" Now that's service!

In addition to the in-store attention, they also provide water stops on weekends in Griffith Park, sponsor two "fun runs" throughout the week, and show up at lots of community races and events. ARC is basically creating a running village! Come on, what are you waiting for?!

Click here to go to A Runner's Circle's Web site.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Slaw Dogs

So what do YOU eat after you've had dental work done? For some reason, a hot dog popped into my head. I've been wanting to try The Slaw Dogs, so today was the day.

Slaw Dogs is on Lake in Pasadena, north of Orange Grove and just south of that crazy fast food intersection with Orean and Roscoe's. I spotted Slaw Dogs when I did the Orean post last month.

They are the hot dog equivalent to the hamburger trend of piling lots of random stuff on top of the meat. I really wanted to try the Thai Slaw Dog with the satay dressing and cilantro-carrot slaw, but as you can see by my picture, I went all American.

This is the Picnic Dog, grilled and topped with BBQ sauce, potato salad, onion rings, and a dill pickle wedge. It was fantastic! And, I will add, perfectly chewable post-dental drilling; no weird "fight for a bite" dogs I've had other places.

Slaw Dogs has seating inside and a couple of picnic tables outside for alfresco dining. I totally dug the live basil plants on the outdoor tables, when we tend to see carnations or other less useful plants.

Give them a try. I'm sure you'll find some combination to your liking. Or, make your own combo!

Click here to go to The Slaw Dog's Web site.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

El Cholo Mexican Restaurant















El Cholo
is a classic mom-and-pop restaurant that has grown to multiple locations while keeping the food real!

I'm lucky enough to be within walking distance of the Pasadena one. At least for now, I should say. They are moving to the Paseo in October. If I did emoticons, there would be a sad face inserted here. That means I need to enjoy their Green Corn Tamales while they are still in the 'hood!

If you haven't had this specialty, log off your computer and go! Don't let reading about it stop you from going! Only available May to October when the corn is fresh, these are melt-in-your-mouth tamales with corn masa, cheddar cheese and ortega chile. Need I say more?

Although the Pasadena restaurant is separate from the other locations, the tradition continues with the same family serving up the delicious food. I'm sure I'll keep going once they relocate, it'll just be a longer walk home afterwards.

Click here to go to El Cholo's Web site.