February’s Truck Stop: 1st Annual Street Food Fest

Taco truck
The O.G.

If this weekend’s food trucks-for-Haiti event proved anything, it is that people will show up to eat street food.  In fact, they’ll show up regardless of the reason why these trucks have gathered a la Fast and Furious: Food Truck Edition.  Case in point: at least half a dozen people I talked to on Saturday had no idea that the purpose of the event was to raise money for Red Cross’s efforts in Haiti.  Upon being told, most said they’d maybe buy an extra something to support the cause.  Ah, slacktivism at its finest.

On February 13th, there need not be any pretense: over 30 trucks will gather for no reason other than to celebrate cheap food.  Shawna Dawson and Sonja Rasulaover (of Unique LA) have organized the first ever Street Food Fest at the LA Center Studios downtown.  Unlike the Haiti fundraiser, it looks like it won’t just be the circa-2008 food trucks in attendance.  No, note the name of the festival: it’s not a food truck festival, it’s a street food festival.  The organizers promise to showcase a close-to-complete picture of street food in Los Angeles, from NoHo’s longstanding Antojitos de Abuelita truck to Thai street food from the Wat Thai Temple to the shiny new kids on the block like the Flying Pig.  Here’s hoping that Echo Park’s churro lady makes a surprise appearance as well, because I miss her every single time I’m in the area. Because this is coming from the home of Unique LA, there also will be pop-up Unique LA-esque booths, with local artists and designers selling their pre-Valentine’s Day wares, if you are into that sort of thing.  It’s about time everyone got together for a little street party.

EDIT: Shawna tells us in the comments that there will be a donation-based cash beer and wine bar, the proceeds of which will support the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank.  The event also will go to 5pm, not 4pm as originally planned.  Sweet!!  More time, more food!

The First Annual Street Food Fest is Saturday, February 13th from 11am to 4pm 5pm at the LA Center Studios (500 S. Beaudry Ave.).  Because there’s all this open air food, no doggies allowed.  I know, total bummer.

Photo courtesy ddjewelz via the Metblogs Flickr pool.

Guess What We’ve Got Tickets To?

FRIDAY APRIL 16: Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem, Them Crooked Vultures, Vampire Weekend, Deadmau5, Public Image Limited, The Specials, Grizzly Bear, Passion Pit, Echo and the Bunnymen, Benny Benassi, Fever Ray, Grace Jones, She & Him, Erol Alkan, The Avett Brothers, Calle 13, The Whitest Boy Alive, The Cribs, La Roux, Yeasayer, Lucero, DJ Lance Rock, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Proxy, Ra Ra Riot, Deer Tick, Wolfgang Gartner, Aeroplane, Iglu & Hartly, Sleigh Bells, P.O.S., Baroness, Hockey, Little Dragon, White Rabbits, Wale, Kate Miller-Heidke, As Tall as Lions, Jets Overhead, Alana Grace, Pablo Hassan.

SATURDAY, APRIL 17: Muse, Faith No More, Tiësto, MGMT, David Guetta, The Dead Weather, Hot Chip, Devo, Coheed and Cambria, Kaskade, 2Many DJ’s, Major Lazer, Dirty Projectors, Gossip, Z-Trip, The xx, John Waters, Les Claypool, The Raveonettes, Mew, Sia, Camera Obscura, Tokyo Police Club, Porcupine Tree, Old Crow Medicine Show, Aterciopalados, Bassnectar, Frightened Rabbit, Dirty South, Flying Lotus, Corinne Bailey Rae, Pretty Lights, Shooter Jennings, RX Bandits, The Almighty Defenders, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, Craze & Klever, Zoe, The Temper Trap, Portugal. The Man, Band of Skulls, Girls, Beach House, Steel Train, Frank Turner.

SUNDAY, APRIL 18: Gorillaz, Pavement, Thom Yorke????, Phoenix, Orbital, Spoon, Sly and the Family Stone, De La Soul, Julian Casablancas, Plastikman, Gary Numan, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sunny Day Real Estate, Yo La Tengo, MUTEMATH, Deerhunter, Infected Mushroom, Club 75, Matt & Kim, The Big Pink, Gil Scott-Heron, King Khan and the Shrines, Florence and the Machine, Yann Tiersen, Little Boots, Miike Snow, Talvin Singh, Ceu, B.o.B., Babasonicos, Owen Pallett, The Glitch Mob, Mayer Hawthorne, Local Natives, Rusko, The Middle East, Hadouken!, The Soft Pack, Kevin Devine, Paparazzi, Delphic, One EskimO.

Yeah. So. Wanna go to Coachella? Goldenvoice has given me a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky winner. They’re good for the whole three-day festival. To win, you must marshal all the social media at your command & tell your friends to come here to this post & leave a comment, begging, demanding, or crafting an elaborate sob story commanding my attention. They can cut a video & leave me a youtube link; link to their blog post telling me how your therapist thinks you should get tickets for your mental health; draw me a picture & post it to flickr. They have an incentive, of course, because then you might take them with you. I won’t automatically assign the tix to the person with the most friends commenting, of course; inbound links, twitter searches, etc will all factor in, plus creativity and how sorry I feel for you.

L.A. River Reading

Los Angeles River_cover_PAfter reading Zach Behrens’ post on LAist last week about the man seen fishing in the L.A. River, I began to consider how little I know about the often hidden natural habitat of our city. Living in such urban surroundings, dwarfed by skyscrapers and barricaded by strip malls, it’s easy to forget that the City of Los Angeles is also a thriving and abundant ecosystem with actual wildlife and everything.

In an effort to learn more, I decided to check out the following books, “The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Re-birth” by Blake Gumprecht and “Down by the Los Angeles River: Friends of the Los Angeles River’s Official Guide” by Joe Linton. Both are available on Amazon, but I’m first going to see if our brand new Silver Lake Library has them.

I’m certain that there are also many blogs dedicated to this subject, so if you have a particular one that you recommend, please leave a comment here and let me know. I’d love to check it out.

San Gabriel River is running, great morning for a walk.

sgvrunningLast weeks rain brought about an added bonus in my corner of LA.  The San Gabriel River is running, side streams too.  Even several ponds have collected.  They are full of egrets, ducks and the odd pelican.  The air was brisk but the walk was worth it.  I started my stroll along the river from Duarte’s Encanto Park (#12 on the map).  Actually the stroll was over and under the bridge which was once part of the old Red Car line that ran to Glendora.

All pics by me with the trusty cell phone (forgot to put freshly charged batteries in the “good” camera).  They do get bigger with a quick click.  One more pic after the jump.

Continue reading San Gabriel River is running, great morning for a walk.

Jeff and Erin’s Epic LA Wedding “Save the Date” Video

If you’ve been to as many weddings as I have, then you’ve also received your fair share of “Save the Date” notices. Though I’ve seen some really creative ones cross my desk, I’ve never seen a “Save the Date” as EPIC as Jeff & Erin’s!

Jeff Wong & Erin Martin met while they were in college in SoCal in 2000, but their love has landed them down-under– Sydney, Australia. Ten years after they first met, they are tying the knot in the Los Angeles area, and they’ve created a wedding website, a “teaser poster” and a “wedding trailer” to lead up to the wedding date. Since Jeff did some video production in college, they “started with a simple idea that was going to be a weekend project.” But then, in their own words, they “just got a little carried away.”

With all the attention that they are getting on this trailer– they’ve been written up in HuffPo & Boing Boing— I am guessing there are going to be high expectations for their wedding. (No pressure, guys!)

I’m also guessing that they’re going to have to lockdown parts of their website which was originally started just for their friends and family. The site is already being innundated by visits from strangers who are congratulating them — and wanting to know where this wedding is going to be so they can crash it– who is with me on this one!?!? (Kidding!)

Anyway, congrats to Jeff and Erin and best wishes on their big day!

That was a lot of water last week!

ATT00006My corner of the SGV came in at 9.5 inches of rain in this weeks storms.  I measured.  In a bucket.  That means we got nearly a half of our annual rain in one week.  Not bad.  Won’t have to run sprinklers for at least a month.  Now if the Sierra snow pack is getting what we need maybe our water worries can be alleviated a bit this summer.

Now to go out and enjoy the fresh air and blue skies by walking the dog.

Pic by me with the trusty cellphone.  A quick click will make it bigger  if you really want to see the amateur rain gauge at its biggest.

See You At Classic Eats Tomorrow!


Quick reminder that we’ll (hopefully) see a lot of you tomorrow, Saturday, January 23rd at 2:30pm at Langer’s. They know we are coming and are very excited about it. LA Metblogs Classic Eats is at the top of their news page!

When close down Langer’s at 4pm (when they close), we’ll proceed to Cole’s around 4:30 – 5pm where you can either eat more deli meats or have an early cocktail or two. We’re not fussy.

What then: Some people may be off to the Derby Dolls, some people may stick around. It’s entirely up to you!

Can’t wait!


Tarkovsky’s Own Private Apocalypse

tarkovsky_600 In America, you watch movies at museums. In Soviet Russia, museums watch movies of you!

No, Yakov Smirnoff isn’t back on the road. This is even better.

Starting tonight, LACMA begins a weekend film series titled The Apocalyptic Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky. The series includes tonight’s screening of the Russian director’s science fiction masterpiece Solaris (1972); Ivan’s Childhood (1962) and Stalker (1979) on Saturday; The Mirror (1974) and Nostalghia (1984) on Friday, Jan. 29; Andrei Rubelev (1966) on Saturday, Jan. 30; and The Sacrifice (1986) on Friday, Feb. 5.

Also included as part of the fun beautiful-yet-devastating experience are the documentaries Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky (2008), an examination of various individuals touched by Tarkovsky’s legacy, screening on Saturday, Jan. 30; and One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich (2000), French filmmaker Chris Marker’s homage to his friend Tarkovsky, screening on Friday, Feb. 5.

And for those not prone to Vertigo and looking for a Soviet-era-inspired appetizer, click here.

Images: Stills from Andrei Rubelev (left) and Solaris (right), courtesy Kino International.

Garcetti Acts on Hollywood Parking Issues!

Okay.  I am humbled and I am in awe.  I recently wrote about getting an unjustified parking ticket in Hollywood.  It was the second time this year I got one in which I had paid for an hour returned to find a ticket, with 20 minutes still in the meter.  At $50 a pop, I have been beyond frustrated.

After writing about it the first time, Eric Garcetti contacted me and offered help.  I didn’t deal, just paid the ticket.  This time, I vowed to fight. And miraculously someone in his office researched the problem, found that the meters were off in certain areas… and had the ticket refunded by the city.  All I can say is that this is one politician who rocks!  He actually listens to the problems of his peeps and does something to ease their hardship. He’s my new political hero.

And he responds to lots of other issues as well.  I recently wrote his office about the Medical Marijuana Ordinance that was being considered.  I  had some thoughts and suggestions for making this new law work for patients, and one of his deputies actually called back AND emailed me in response.  I wrote to every councilperson and only got personal responses only from his and Tom LaBonges office.  Pretty amazing.  Most politicians send a form response and you never hear anything about the issue again.

It’s great to know that Eric Garcetti is on top of his districts needs and really does respond.  He’s the kind of guy I’m proud to have representing me.  Thanks!  We need and appreciate the hard work you and your office are doing!

Simon’s Cafe–a Valley Gem

Chicken tagine
Chicken tagine

A couple of weeks ago I needed to organize a last minute dinner party for a dear friend’s birthday. It was Friday. I needed a table for eight for Saturday. I called Pinot Bistro–nothing doing. I called Marche–no dice. I called Simon’s–hurrah! They came through. And that’s the thing about Simon’s: They should be super busy but they’re not. I’ve never had to wait for a table there, and I’ve never been disappointed in a meal. Simon, the owner, chef, waiter, and so on, was born in Morocco and opened the first Moroccan restaurant in Japan. He’s been in Encino for at least as long as I’ve been in LA (8 years) so he must be doing something right.

Dr D with her complimentary cookies
Dr D with her complimentary cookies

In any case, he was able to make room for our party and, as usual, the service and food were both fantastic. My friends who ordered the brochettes said they were a bit dry, which is unusual, but my chicken tagine was delicious–chicken with currents, apricots, and apples. Simon’s merguez is one of my favorite Valley meals period. I believe he makes the spicy lamb/beef sausages himself and they really are amazing. Also be sure to have falafel to start. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a better falafel. For this trip we had lots of desserts as well and they were all great, but I particularly liked the spiced eggplants and pears I’m sure there’s a fancy French name for these. I just don’t know it. I’m not a foody. I just like food. In the end, the bill was very reasonable and Simon came out and gave the guest of honor a box of cookies for her birthday. Next time you’re at the Arclight Sherman Oaks, do yourself a favor: skip the Cheesecake Factory and walk across the street to Simon’s Cafe. It’s located on Sepulveda just south of the boulevard (across from Whole Foods). There’s parking in the back. You can thank me later.

Get Baked For A Good Cause

bakesaleStop by Home Ec. in Silver Lake this Sunday, January 24 for a bake sale to benefit Doctors Without Borders and their efforts to help the scores of devastated earthquake victims in Haiti. The bake sale will run from from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, or until they sell out.

I contacted the ultra sweet and talented owner of Home Ec., Jenny Ryan about Sunday’s event and she said,  “Prices will probably vary from $1.00 to $5.00, depending on the treat, and we’ll have beverages on hand too.”

There will also be vegan friendly baked goods available from Vegan Bake Sale.

100% of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. For more details on the bake sale, go here or click on the pretty pink flyer to your right.

Speaking of baked things, if you want to ensure that your craving for cupcakes is operating at peak performance, may I suggest Mr. Greens medical marijuana collective just around the corner from Home Ec.?

Home Ec.
3815 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026