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.