Friday, April 26, 2013


Some of you have been on the receiving end of my strategizing to eat at MessHall on Los Feliz Boulevard, located in the old Brown Derby building. At first, I imagined the menu to be like the defunct Cook Shack's on Huntington Drive (with the breakfast burritos the size of my forearm). But no, MessHall has a similar campy name, but a completely different menu.

Above you see the my fancy-schmancy food: Roasted Beets Salad with baby greens, grapefruit and orange segments, and a pomegranate vinaigrette. In the back are the Smoked Corn Fritters. And, because I couldn't resist the dessert menu options, below you see the Banana Cream Jar Pie. All three dishes were delicious!

The plates all have these cute little pine trees, and there's a fun collection of MessHall camp-style badges on the wall. To continue with the theme, I asked where the cots were for the my nappy afterward, because I sure could've used one. No go this time, but who wants to "become available" the next time I'm recommending a new place to eat?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gary Baseman at the Skirball

This time, instead of telling you about an exhibition on the final weekend, I'm going to tell you about Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open at the Skirball before it even opens to the public.

If you're already a Gary fan, be prepared to be wowed in our presentation of his work. Laid out like a house - complete with furniture from his parents' and aunt's homes, plus a mezuzah, a mail slot and a backyard - you'll see tons of examples of his drawings, paintings, animation, toys, linens, wall paper and clothing designs, plus some of his personal collections that inspire his work. Gary's alter ego Toby, seen here at the head of the dining room table with me, is everywhere.

If you're not familiar with his name, Gary is the creative force behind the Cranium board game, and the Disney animated series Teacher's Pet. And if that's still not ringing any bells, come see the show anyway; I'm sure you'll recognize his style, and your creativity and imagination will soar!

Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open kicks off April 25 and goes through August 18. Let me know when you're coming by!

Click here for Gary's page on the Skirball's Web site.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Maurice Sendak at Bowers Museum

I'm road tripping today to the OC to see Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons at the Bowers Museum before it closes next Sunday. Most of the pieces are connected to Sendak's iconic "Where the Wild Things Are," with lots of illustrations of Max and the Wild Things. It was great fun to see his various styles, from simple line drawings to more complex watercolors and pen and inks, many of them noted as gifts "to a fan." Pep in the step to see it before it's gone.

While there, I also checked out Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasure of Ethiopia, which closes next Sunday as well. If you've taken an anthropology class since about 1975, you've learned about Lucy. She is a 3.2 MILLION year old humanoid, and is the oldest and most complete adult fossil of human ancestry yet to be found in Africa. The Lucy galleries were packed to the gills. Visitors lined up to read each segment of the human evolution timeline, patiently stood by to view her skeleton, and watch the movie about her discovery. I'm always pleased to see coming out to see some science, and the Lucy gallery was a wonderful bonus.

Click here to go to the Bowers' Web site.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Charm Vegan

Now you know I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian. I am quite comfortable with my omnivore lifestyle, but every now and again I give "healthy" food a try. Charm Vegan's Thai-inspired entree was also delicious.

Here you see my Chili Basil Leaves lunch special, which also came with miso soup and a nice salad with spinach, cucumbers and tomato, in addition to the brown rice and spring roll. Lots of food for around $8.

Charm Vegan is the sister restaurant to Patakan Thai (see October, 2012 post) on Fair Oaks in South Pasadena. Two great options to have when it's time for dinner!

Click here to go to Charm Vegan's Web site.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Big Daddy's Fire Grill

I pulled into the Von's parking lot on California between Orange Grove and Fair Oaks, wracking my brain for what to grab for dinner. Then I noted Big Daddy's Fire Grill, in Hallmark Gold Crown's old space, and it was on!

Right inside the door, there is a big ol' bin of oak to properly set the mood; it smells amazing in there. I imaginarily taste all the choices on the menu and finally go with the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (marinated in rosemary, with crushed fresh garlic, dijon, lettuce and tomato, and pesto aioli dressing) and "KCS" Killer Cole Slaw (red cabbage, shredded carrots, red onion and garlic with peanuts, mayo, olive oil and red wine vinegar). Wow, both off-the-chart delicious!!

I can hardly wait to try the Lamb Burger and the Mindboggling Tender Filet Mignon Sandwich from the wood-fire grill, and a "we put the quake in your shake" milkshake. Who's meeting me for dinner at Big Daddy's?!

Click here to go to Big Daddy's Web site.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

West Restaurant at Hotel Angeleno

My department is having an offsite breakfast meeting at West Restaurant at Hotel Angeleno. Cha-ching and it's a fancy-schmancy pancake face!

My smiley-cakes were delicious, served up with fresh fruit, a dish of lemon curd and three chicken apple sausage links. All the plates my colleagues ordered looked equally tasty: French toast, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, omelets. Oh, if you need further distraction from the project at hand, the sweeping view from the 14th floor of the westside is pretty amazing, too. (Hotel Angeleno is the round hotel at the intersection on the 405 and Sunset Boulevard.) Work accomplished and a fourth pancake face to boot!

Click here for West's Web site.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Last Bookstore

Remember my soapboxing about Vroman's and bookstores back in August, 2011? I hope The Last Bookstore isn't really the last bookstore, but it's a super cool one if it turns out to be true.

Located downtown at the corner of Fifth and Spring Streets in an old bank building, it is a bit overwhelming at first entry because your eyes are darting in all directions. To one side, an open mic session was in full swing. Readings and live music fill the cavernous space. Book shelves were everywhere, alongside some interesting art installation like this one shown here. Most of the books are used, but there's a whole section of new releases. Upstairs, there was a yarn bombing workshop taking place and artist gallery spaces for onsite work plus hundreds of more bookshelves. Wow!

I walked out with six used books, including a 1960 "Building Better English" textbook from L.A. City High School. I can't wait to go back and stroll those aisles again. Who wants to experience The Last Bookstore with me?

Click here to go to The Last Bookstore's Web site.