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.

Monday, July 12, 2010

DeBell Clubhouse Grill

I know, it's hard to believe I'm recommending a golf course clubhouse for some tasty chow. But I've been to the DeBell Clubhouse Grill twice now, and both times the food was very tasty and the setting peaceful.

DeBell is set in the hills/foothills of Burbank. From this patio you see open terrain, big blue skies and beautiful trees. Again, who knew Burbank could be like this?!

Here I'm showcasing my baby back ribs with the lovely jacaranda tree. Note the golfer doing his swing thing in the background to confirm that I'm actually at a golf course and not a country club or a rich friend's house. The ribs were delish, and the beans and potato salad sides yummy. Don't forget to order the garlic bread when you answer their dinner bell!

Click here to go to DeBell's Web site.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Amir's Falafel

Before I knew Zankou Chicken, I knew Amir's Falafel in Studio City. When I moved to LA more than 20 years ago, I lived in Toluca Lake/North Hollywood/Studio City, depending on which utility company was making the decision. Amir's was close by, and their food was cheap and tasty!

Once I left the area, I forgot all about Amir's. Today I was early for a meeting on Coldwater, so I cruised around the old 'hood. Amir's was still there, in the strip mall at the corner of Ventura and Colfax with crappy parking, like time had stood still. Lucky, time has been good to Amir's as their food was just as good as I remembered!

Here you see my hummus plate with falafel, yummy cucumber and tomato salad and pita bread. It was fabulous, and I was stuffed to the gills! Thanks for the memories, Amir's, and I'll make an effort to get back on a more frequent basis.

Amir's Falafel does not have a Web site. Street address is 11711 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. Phone is (818) 509-8641.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl

I know! Fireworks at the Rose Bowl on Sunday, and, tonight, fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl accompanying the "Hallelujah" chorus! How do I possibly top that?!

Let me start with the way-back machine, and my watching Warner Bros. cartoons as a child. Not only was that my primary introduction to classical music, but it was my first looksie at the Hollywood Bowl. Remember the one with Bugs Bunny conducting the pompous opera singer? (It was "Long Haired Hare" for the aficionados out there.) Bugs makes him hold a note for so long that the band shell starts to crack. That was the Hollywood Bowl to my naive little eyes. Now it all makes perfect sense.

Flash forward many years, and a lot of shows at the Bowl. I try to go at least once each summer season, and I've never seen a bad show. Of course, some are better: Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis performing together comes to mind, and one time Liam ó Maonlaí from Hothouse Flowers played the piano with a collaborative ensemble and left me speechless on many fronts!

And, returning the the cartoon thread, it's great fun on the nights the orchestra performs live to the animated pieces. "Kill the wabbit" takes on a whole new meaning in that venue!

So pick a night, pack a picnic basket, and get out to the Hollywood Bowl! It's certainly hard to top the experience.

Click here to go to the Hollywood Bowl's Web site.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Fireworks at the Rose Bowl

Last year, I blogged about South Pasadena's pancakes and parade to celebrate the 4th of July. This year, I'm adding the Fireworks at Pasadena's Rose Bowl to the must-do Independence Day list.

I started this year differently. I actually got up and ran to the Rose Bowl. I can follow a route that is almost exactly 6.2 miles, which happens to be the equivalent of two laps around the Rose Bowl path. On my walk cycle (I run eight minutes then walk four minutes as my intervals), I was greeting a fellow morning exerciser as in "we're getting the exercise done now so we can eat later." She shared that she would be watching the fireworks from the Lincoln bridge, and that it was free. Hmm, I've seen the Rose Bowl and South Pas fireworks from my driveway, but I've never paid to see them up close. Although the entrance fees are pretty minimal at $7-$10, it was more the neck cricks and massive crowds that were unappealing. If I could see the show without the crick and crowds, that would be terrific!

I left about 6P for the 9P fireworks. I swung by Vons for a sandwich, as I wasn't sure how close I could get to the food for sale at the Rose Bowl. After driving around for 30 or so minutes scoping out a parking space, I eventually found one by the Vons where I got the food. While walking to the Rose Bowl, I was still looking for the cut-through to the Lincoln bridge. I ended up just walking down Rosemont and sat down on the wall by the Rosemont Pavilion to eat my grub, still planning on getting to the bridge. More and more people showed up and grabbed spots on the wall. I quickly clued in that I could stay here for the show!

The wall spot was awesome! Although I couldn't hear any music accompanying the fireworks - I really wanted to hear Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" coordinated with the blasts - I couldn't have asked for a better view. No neck crick, plus the relatively quick exit up Rosemont, only added to the fabulousness of the event. I'll be there on the Rosemont wall next year. Let me know if I you'd like me to save you a space!

Click here for the Rose Bowl's Web site.