Sunday, January 30, 2011

House of Pies

Afterall, it is called House of Pies. What else would you expect to see? Although I did have a tasty burger to lay a base, this dreamy lemon meringue pie, sidled with a glass of cold milk, was the perfect end to a delish meal.

The burger, you ask? It was the Way Out West Burger, pardner, which loosely translates to a big ol' cheeseburger, with bacon, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and an onion ring. Oh, and some dang good fries. Yeehaw!!

House of Pies seems to be going through a metamorphosis, with slight interior adjustments with each visit. Hey, as long as the pie still rocks, I'll keep my comments about the supposed upgrades to myself.

House of Pies does not have a Web site. Their address is 1869 N. Vermont (at Franklin) in LA, 90027. Phone is 323-666-9961.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ramen Jinya

Raise your hand if you, too, are dealing with sinus-y, congestion-y, allergy-y complications from 90+ degree heat, followed by temps in the 60s, with a bonus side of Santa Anas thrown in just to keep it really interesting.

I was mentally gearing up for another tub of matzah ball soup from Bristol Farms (not that there's anything wrong with that!) to heal what ailed me when I spotted Ramen Jinya next to the Marshalls on Ventura in Studio City. (Yes, I was taking the scenic route home.)

Here you see the Jinya Ramen with chicken chashu, spinach, green onion and fried onions in the chicken broth. YUM! More enjoyment came from watching the different ways the other customers ate their noodles; one guy used the chopsticks almost like knitting needles! I used the big spoon like a stage for working the 'sticks. My apologies if I offended anyone! You also see some delish organic lemonade hovering in the corner. It was a very tasty way to go, and I'm sure the extra vitamin C can't hurt.

It's been about an hour since my last noodle slurp, and so far very good with the congestion situation. Stay tuned because I don't think our weather party's over yet!

Click here to go to Ramen Jinya's Web site.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Museum of Neon Art

Finally! I picked the right time to be downtown when the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) was open! I remember back in the day, when MONA was over by the Pantry, and how much fun it was to go to the gallery. Since then, they've moved around to a few spaces, including Universal Citywalk. And, from what I was told, they'll be relocating to Glendale in the next year or so.

Meanwhile, back at Fun Land, it was great to see the neon retail signs from back in the day. Manny, Moe and Jack grinned at me, all back-lit and hanging on the wall. Ultimate bonus was that I was in the gallery by myself, and they turned on the neon just for me! They were all buzzy and humming and blipping for the first few seconds until they came alive!

They aren't able to display the full collection at this downtown site, and it can be a pretty quick stroll through the displays. However, it was totally worth it. Go see it for yourself!

Click here to go to MONA's Web site.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Hat

Believe whatever you've heard about The Hat and it's World Famous Pastrami. With 60 years of gloriously happy fans, I've heard - and shared - lots of happy Hat tales over the years.

Here you see my go-to sandwich: the Pastrami Dip, with the melt-in-
your-mouth tender meat spiffed up with mustard and pickles. YUM!! They also have some awesome fries and onion rings when you're really pushing the cardiovascular boundaries. I know it's tough to believe, but this sandwich is plenty for me!

With 10 locations in and around the Cruise Director Los Angeles borders, I tip my hat to The Hat and their delicious old school chow.

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

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eat Well Coffee Shop

My Jeep was due for its 90,000 mile check-up. I knew it would take most of my day, so I strategized how to maximize the waiting time. I went with the Jeep shop in Glendale, on Brand Boulevard with all the other dealers, as there were some shopping options and movie theaters close by. And, Eat Well Coffee Shop was just a short stroll away.

Eat Well is a classic diner, with Blue Plate specials and brown vinyl booths. I was there for breakfast, and, boy-oh-boy, did I eat well!

Here you see my choices from the Breakfast Special options: two eggs (any style), hash browns (or home fries), bacon (or sausage links, turkey sausage or veggie patty), plus biscuit and gravy (or toast, as if anyone would go that route!), all for like $7. The orange juice cut right through the protein/fat onslaught and was a bargain for $3. Tax and tip and out the door for $13.

P.S. I did see the awesome "Green Hornet 3D" after Eat(ing) Well. Both are tip-top of my recommendations this week!

Eat Well does not have a Web site. Street address is 1013 S. Brand Boulevard in Glendale. Phone is (818) 243-5928.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Granville Cafe

Yes, it's another of those rare salads that pop up on the Cruise Director blog on occasion. This one is brought to you courtesy of Granville Cafe.

Here you see their Thai Ginger Salad made especially delectable with soft soba noodles, mango, avocado and roasted peanuts, and the added grilled chicken.

Granville Cafe, with locations in Burbank and Glendale, is on an expansion plan. It's best that I post about them now before they fall outside my attempted Mom-and-Pop blogging standards. In the meantime, enjoy!!

Click here to go to Granville's Web site.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I was on my drive home, and, as usual, what's for dinner popped into my mind. I wanted something homey/substantial comfort food. I finally came up with Polka for some Polish food.

If I haven't already shared, I lived in a Polish neighborhood when I moved to NYC: Greenpoint in Brooklyn. This was pre-gentrification, and the three Hoosier transplants really stuck out. It was immediately clear that we weren't in Indiana anymore. However, we eventually joked about our abilities to get cash from the ATM in Polish and made the best of the big new world at our fingertips.

Back to Polka, the tiny restaurant in a random strip mall on Verdugo and York was packed. I counted six booths and 16 chairs, all filled. It was going to be about an hour for a seat, so I went with the take-out plan. Here you see the evidence of my inability to decide. I went with the Royal Plate which includes pierogi (potato and cheese dumpling), golabki (stuffed cabbage) and gulasz (beef stew) - all scored on the comfort food barometer! - with more mashed potatoes and veggies. Also in the stash was delish cabbage/carrot/potato soup, and custardy-pudding with cherries and cinnamon on top. I'll admit I only went as far as the cucumbers on the salad.

The interior is kitschy, with random tchotchkes, beer steins, and burned wood signs with "better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it" kinds of slogans scattered about. This is lingering food, and I'm sure I missed so many details in my quick in and out. But that just means I'll need to go back!

So, what other ethnic foods have I missed? Reply with your favorite!

Click here to go to Polka's Web site.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Natural History Museum

I've posted on the Natural History Museum (NHM) before, specifically on their B-Movies film series and the Butterfly Pavilion. This post is shifting to evolution - what natural history is all about.

NHM, or the Natch as so many former employees affectionately call it, is definitely evolving. As it approaches its 100th birthday in 2013, things are really happening. This Age of Mammals exhibit is the first revamped permanent display in many years, and a new dinosaur gallery is slated to open this summer.

All the while, some things are still the same. The old-school diorama galleries from the '40s are pulling in the crowds, and the Dueling Dinos in the foyer are automatic kid magnets! Go for a visit and let me know which you prefer, the old or the new.

Click here to go to the Natural History Museum's Web site.