Shaky Alibi Waffles Like You’ve Never Had Before

Click to make larger and more drool-worthy

There are so many reasons why I need to let you know about Shaky Alibi. Perhaps most signficantly, they have perfected the sweet/savory balance. I always have this brunch dilemma at restaurants. I often think this, above all other unmet needs, will drive me back into a serious romantic relationship: if I had a boyfriend, I could order the cinnamon apple French toast and he could order the Greek omelet and we could go halvsies. Sigh. But now, Shaky Alibi has saved me from propelling myself into yet another ill advised coupling just to avoid making up my mind about what to order for breakfast. They specialize in Belgian waffles, and by “Belgian waffles,” I mean that Mr. Shaky Alibi’s German great grandmother used to make an authentic Liege recipe that has inspired the opening of this coffee/waffle haven on Beverly Boulevard’s.

I read about the place on Urban Daddy a while back but only recently got a chance to go there. What hooked me in the review was the fact that the espresso is infused with tobacco and chocolate notes. I should have gotten a photo of the machine when I was there but I didn’t (I was too overwhelmed with the waffle), so you’ll have to trust me when I say it’s a thing of beauty–orange with lots of chrome. The espresso is delicious, so much so that I couldn’t even bring myself to try the shots of liquid chocolate. Let me say that again in case you weren’t paying attention: shots of liquid chocolate. Fuck yeah. [An aside: with all due respect to Urban Daddy, here are two differences between a blogging.la review and an Urban Daddy review. First, we say “fuck yeah” when we really like something (well, at least some of us do). And second, while Urban Daddy says you can meet up here “before catching Inception at the Grove,” I’d suggest it’s equally well located for a pre-Tapeheads screening at the New Beverly get together, except that Shaky Alibi closes too early–5pm Sunday and Monday, 7pm Tuesday through Thursday, 11pm Friday and Saturday.]

Yes, I came for the espresso, but I stayed for the waffle. Just cast your eyes on that beauty. It was delicious–a funnel cake-beignet-ish waffle sliced in half and filled with black forest ham and fontina cheese. This is what happens to a Monte Cristo when it grows up and goes to finishing school. Plus the place itself is well appointed and has cute and friendly servers. What more could you want? So now, in a three block stretch of Beverly, there is Susina Bakery, Milk, and Shaky Alibi. I’m calling it LA’s newest dessert row. Next time I’m committed to getting at least one shot of drinking chocolate.

Sunday 9am-5pm
Monday 8am-5pm
Tue-Thurs 8am-7pm
Fri-Sat 8am-11pm

LA’s Greatest Landmarks-Flashback Edition: Angelyne

In the 80’s you could see her (in what I remember as) one of her most regular spots – above the old parking lot next to the Chinese. You’d also find her in unexpected spots around town, towering and pouting above a busy street like Sunset or Santa Monica. She was big and busty and pink and blonde and she was ours.

Angelyne.

She was once both a stationary and moving landmark. The billboards around town and that car. If you saw that pink Corvette you knew it could only be her and your day/month/year was made. These days though, the billboards are gone (unless you know of one somewhere that’s leftover??) and if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her stopped for gas or groceries, go buy a lottery ticket, cuz you are one lucky starstruck being!

Can a person be a landmark? It’s hard to say no when we are talking about Angelyne. She’ll always represent LA in my heart, just like the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, Union Station, LAX, etc, etc. Could Angelyne happen anywhere other than Los Angeles? I don’t think so. And she’s unique! Try to finish this sentence: Angelyne is to 80’s LA what ____________ is to 21st century LA. I can’t do it.

I thought her billboards would be around forever, but this is LA. People thought the Brown Derby would last too. Time does march on. You can always visit her electronic billboard at MySpace (I know, I thought MySpace didn’t exist anymore either!) and there is an Angelyne Fan page on Facebook.

Photo by Minnaert and used under CC license.

This post (though slightly off) is part of the LA’s Greatest Landmark series. Read them all here.

81 year old driver hits 3 cyclists on Mulholland, leaves 2 in critical condition

Just a quick post pointing you to BikeSide LA because they have much better and ongoing coverage, but it seems that an 81 year old woman made a left hand turn at Mulholland and Las Virgenes and hit three cyclists, two of whom where airlifted out and are still in critical condition. The cyclists had the right of way and no stop sign. Hoping for the best for the cyclists involved, their family and friends.

Brush fire breaks out in Monrovia Canyon area

From the official city web the first information on the fire I spotted as I was exiting the 210 FWY about 1:15.

A small brush fire is burning in Monrovia Canyon Park. No structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered. The fire was apparently set off by a downed power line. A major Fire Department response has put dozens of firefighters and equipment on the scene. Watch this notice and the City of Monrovia page on Facebook for further updates.

From the old timers in the neighborhood they advise that that area has not burned since the mid-1960’s and is a concern to them.

According to my daughter the best place to view the ‘copter activity is from the Pavillions Shopping Center at Myrtle and Foothill.  For gawds sake…don’t attempt to drive up the hill for a better view of the activity, stay out of harms way and don’ t do anything to impede the fire fighters.  As for me, I have my suitcase still packed from the weekend so all I’m tossing in is the trusty insurance policies in the car and will be set to boogie if the fire gets bigger and they order evacuations.  (Good excuse as any not to unload the car and do nothing for a bit).

UPDATE 2:48PM from the city facebook page:  Firefighters have contained a small brush fire burning in Monrovia Canyon Park. Full encirclement is expected later this afternoon. No structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered. A major Fire Department response put dozens of firefighters and 40 pieces of equipment on the scene. Keep checking with us and our website for more details. Thank you.

Win Tickets To Something Corporate, August 28th

Orange County’s own, Something Corporate are bringing their “Reunion Tour 2010” to Club Nokia at L.A. Live on Saturday, August 28th, and blogging.LA has your tickets.

Would you like to see the final show on Something Corporate’s Reunion Tour? Leave a note in the comments section below telling me why you want to see this show, or your favorite Something Corporate song.

Winners (we’ve got more than one pair of tickets) will be notified via email by midnight Wednesday. Keep an eye on your email, as you need to respond by noon on Thursday. If all winners have not responded by noon, those tickets will be passed to the next lucky winner(s.)

Thanks to our friends at Goldenvoice. Don’t want to take a chance on winning tickets? You can purchase tickets for Saturday’s show here.

Living in their own Public Idaho

Spotted, coincidentally, near Idaho Ave. in Santa Monica, this vintage Ford Bronco with Idaho plates. Check out the state motto on that Idaho plate:

FAMOUS POTATOES

Seriously? In my best Jerry Seinfeld voice, I ask, “who were the marketing wizards who came up with that one?  How long did that take to create? Couldn’t you guys have been just a little more colorful with promoting your state?”

No “Sportsman’s Friend?” No “Sawtooth Beauty?” No “Vote For Pedro?” No “White Supremacist’s Paradise?”

Of course we know Idaho is famous for its potatoes.  But if every state’s license plate slogan was as obvious as Idaho’s, what would be on your favorite state’s plates?  Would we have …?

New Jersey:  “BIG HAIR

Florida:  “GUN-TOTING REDNECKS

Texas:  “LAND OF EXECUTIONS

Wisconsin:  “BIG FAT PEOPLE

Louisiana:  “SHIT HAPPENS

And for California?  How about:

HORRENDOUS TRAFFIC

or

EXORBITANT REAL ESTATE

Classic Eats #12: Smokin’ Good Time!

Classic Eats #12 was a great time, thanks to everyone who came out – regulars and newbies! There were a lucky 13 of us all together and much delicious discounted dinner was eaten and photographed.

Fellow B.LA blogger Jodi was there with her S.O. Eric, they ate and hung out with plenty of time to spare before their evening at the Hollywood Bowl. Janna, another B.LAer also came, holding court at the other end of the table. New Classic Eaters (and former lurkers) Donielle and Tony were also there. Hooray for bringing the people out from the shadows! I also loved all the awesome regulars coming again, though we missed Jeff and Donna and Mr. Hooks!

We were seated at a large table beyond the bar (not in the main dining room). Some of us got to sit in a classic red booth, which of course, made the evening that much more awesome. You would have found us by going past this fab sign:

Photo by Donielle (New To Classic Eats!)

Most everyone had MEAT as this was The Smokehouse after all. (Remember this is “Classic Eats” not “Healthy Eats”.) The proportions were all hefty with many a doggy bag leaving with us. We were all really pleased with the amazing 25% discount on any dinner menu item if you order before 6.

Two of our party ordered the Chateaubriand and it was served in style, tableside.

Photo by Shana Hagan

The finished presentation. I had a bite and it was tasty.

Photo by Shana Hagan
Old school cocktail service

A photographer came around wanting to sell us a group photo. (She seemed perplexed when she asked what the occasion was and the best we could do was “It’s August 21st!”) We got this multi imaged one for free and had the option of buying a 5×7 for $16/each or $11/each if we purchased more than one. We politely declined.  We waited for the Captain to come by, but he never did…

Hey, are we on a cruise ship?

The signage at the Smokehouse is great.

Photo by Donielle

Thanks for another great Classic Eats Evening! Cheers to all who came and cheers to those we’ll see next time. Watch this space for news on Classic Eats 13!

Photo by Shana Hagan

See Donielle’s full flickr set here. Non labeled photos by moi.

L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: The Hollywood Bowl

Click to embiginate and see the Hollywood sign in the distance.

The Hollywood Bowl is certainly one of L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks. Opened on July 11, 1922, for the past 88 years the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as hosting countless music festivals, concerts, and cultural events.

Just a few blocks north of a more recent L.A. landmark, Hollywood & Highland, the Hollywood Bowl is built on the hillside of Bolton Canyon in one of the world’s largest natural amphitheaters. Just a few blocks from the heart of Hollywood, yet when you enter the Bowl it’s like leaving that other world behind. The noise of the nearby 101 freeway fades as you sit outdoors in the waning light of a warm summer evening. Sitting in one of the Bowl’s nearly 18,000 seats, you face the majestic white band shell, and beyond that the gentle rolling Hollywood hills with the Hollywood sign on the far ridge. Regardless of the evening’s scheduled performance, there is a certain serenity in that setting.

Satellite photo of Hollywood Bowl courtesy of USGS.

There is something for everyone at the Hollywood Bowl. While it is the summer home of the L.A. Phil and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, it’s not all classical. Wednesday nights during the summer typically feature jazz, Sundays are often world music, and that’s just the beginning. There are latin music festivals, showtune sing-alongs, movie music nights, and rock concerts. Next weekend John Williams will be conducting the L.A. Phil in highlights from the Golden Age of Hollywood, plus music he composed for films such as Star Wars, Jaws and Indiana Jones.

The list of legendary performances at the Hollywood Bowl is incredible. The Beatles played there on their first ever American tour in 1964. The Doors recorded a live album there in 1968. Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald performed on the Hollywood Bowl stage, as well as Billie Holiday, Al Jolson and Judy Garland. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Fred Astaire both danced there, and Abbot & Costello and Monty Python have performed comedy. The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Run DMC, Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkle, The Grateful Dead, Coldplay, Luciano Pavarotti, Depeche Mode, Cher…the list goes on and on. And on.

Click to make larger and more spectacular.

The Hollywood Bowl has also been featured in many films, including A Star Is Born (1937,) Anchors Aweigh (1945,) Xanadu (1980,) Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987,) and Escape From L.A. (1996.) There is even a parody of the Bowl seen in the Simpsons called “The Springfield Bowl.”

I’ve been a regular at the Hollywood Bowl every summer for more than 20 years. Nothing beats sitting out under the stars with a picnic and a bottle of wine and a great performance unfolding on the stage in front of you.

I’ve got more favorite shows and tips than will fit here, but for starters, one of my favorite shows (among many favorites) must be my very first concert there. Elton John, in 1982. I also saw Miles Davis‘ last show ever (he passed away a month later) in 1991. One of many pro tips? Park down the hill at Hollywood & Highland and walk up. It’s a short hike, but it’s not stack parked and with a HiHo validation it’s only $2 for the first four hours (as opposed to $16 in Bowl parking lots.)

Anyone who has been to the Bowl more than once or twice has a favorite feature or a tip to improve the experience. What are yours? Leave a note in the comments section below with your favorite thing about the Bowl, best show you’ve seen there, or your best Hollywood Bowl tip.

This post is part of the L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks series on blogging.la. You can find all of the posts in the series here.

L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive is one of those immediately recognizable L.A. locations that is used in every other film or television establishing shot once our fair hero arrives in SoCal, and is on every tourist’s agenda. It’s where Julia Roberts got a makeover in Pretty Woman, and was one of the backdrops for the drama of the kids of “Beverly Hills, 90210” (is it weird I can’t think of another legitimate reference not from the 90’s?). It’s the face of the entire city of Beverly Hills, especially considering you’re probably not cool enough to get into so much of the rest of the town’s more scenic areas, hidden behind private gates.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-hlBMMhLlg][/youtube]

But of course it’s more than just a street, or a particular strip of high-end stores. It’s a neighborhood filled with palm trees, small art galleries and contemporary architecture; a meeting place for locals on their lunch break. During a weekend afternoon the sidewalks overflow with those who just want to say they’ve been there and barely enter a single store. On a weekday night it nearly empties out entirely, with many stores closing at 5 or 6, creating a modern ghost town, with only a lit-up semi-bustling restaurant every block or two to remind you that yes, people do live around here, too.

Rodeo Drive's pedestrian walkway - from Picasa user Aurélien Boffy

I’ll admit, I’m decidedly low-brow in my consumption of local hot spots, and have never bought anything there besides cupcakes (lots and lots of cupcakes). It’s one of the few  tourist venues I know of that has surprisingly ample free parking, but I always take the 720 bus anyhow. There isn’t much history to be found here (aside from a couple of the old hotels now under new names and a few shops, much of the Rodeo Drive shopping center as we know it came to be in the 70’s). But it’s a highly walkable neighborhood to bring visiting friends to on bright, sunny afternoons – those afternoons where the streets are flooded with people, gawking and shopping, from all walks of life and all parts of the world, making up a little microcosm of multicultural Los Angeles itself.

Check out the rest of the L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks series here.

See You At Classic Eats #12 Tomorrow Evening!

THE SMOKEHOUSE is our Classic Eats Destination.

The details again:

Saturday August 21st – I’ve made a reservation for 12 in the dining room at 5:15. This gets us in under the early bird special: 25% off anything on the dinner menu until 6pm. At this point we have about 10 peeps who are coming, so there is room for more! If you are coming just for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, that’s cool too, pile in. As ever, look for the Classic Eats sign.

The Smokehouse
4420 West Lakeside Drive
Burbank 91505

See you there!

LA’s Greatest Landmarks: Colorado Street Bridge

Connecting  North East LA (Highland Park and Eagle Rock) with Pasadena is the beautiful Beaux Arts style Colorado Street Bridge.  (Colorado Street for the new to the area runs from Griffith Park on the west end to Monrovia, my little corner of LA on the east end).  Built in 1913 it is one of our older surviving landmarks still in use today.  The bridge has its fun stuff and sad stuff.

Sad stuff first…its better known local name is “Suicide Bridge” after the number (some say as high as 200) of tormented souls that ended it all with a jump to the rocky arroyo below. Weird California has some good information and tales of jumpers, ghosts and other bits of information to stimulate your already active imagination.  Urban Legend (my father-in-law gave it to me first) is that the bridge became a magnet for the forlorn who lost it all during the stock market crash that triggered the first great depression.  The most recent suicide was August 8, 2o1o according to the Pasadena Star News.

The fun stuff is the Annual Bridge party hosted by the Pasadena Heritage group.  This party takes place every July usually around the 2nd Saturday.  Pasadena Heritage and the city close down the bridge and turn it into a giant party.  Local Restaurants and brewery’s are there along with live music at various stops along the bridge.  The proceeds go to preserving Pasadena history and historical landmarks.  If you haven’t done this event yet, I’d highly recommend it as something to toss into your bucket list.  Nice evening out with friends on a piece of beautiful history can’t be beat.

This post is part of the LA’s Greatest Landmarks series currently running here on blogging.la, if we miss one of your favorites tell us about it!

Image from the Wiki and used under a wiki commons license.

Get Your Group- and Grub On and Win a Groupon

One of my favoritest cookies in the whole city is a platino from Platine Cookies in Culver City.  They’re like Oreo cookies, but fluffier and made with real ingredients.  I can eat a whole batch in one sitting.  So, you can imagine my total excitement when, a few months ago, Groupon offered a voucher for the bakery.  For the uninitiated, Groupon takes your mother’s Sunday circular coupons, mashes them with Woot, and adds a little friendly high school peer pressure.  Every day, Groupon gives you the chance to buy a voucher (the Groupon) at a price far less than its actual value.  The catch is, a minimum number of people must buy into the deal.  If that minimum threshold is reached, then your credit card is charged and everyone wins, huzzah!  If not enough people are interested, then no cards are charged, and no one gets the deal (aw).  In the case of Platine, I paid $12 for a $25 voucher to the bakery.  At least 75 people had to buy the Groupon for it to be unlocked; they did and it was.  Huzzah!  Platinos for everyone!

Today, Groupon’s Big Deal is a $10 Groupon for $20 worth of credit at GrubHub, available to everyone as soon as 750 hungry people sign on.  For those unfamiliar with the site – aren’t we learning all sorts of things today! – GrubHub is for times like now when you’re home late from work, it’s wayyyy too hot to cook, and you need to order food but don’t want to leaf through all those gross delivery ads piled on your doorstep.  GrubHub rounds up a list of places that will deliver to you and even gives you their menus.  For places working with GrubHub, you can actually even place your order then and there: say I wanted to a piece of New York pie and have Two Boots delivered.  I could look up the menu and place the order, all on GrubHub.  Pretty nifty, yes?

The $10-for-$20 Groupon is a pretty good incentive to get you to try the service, but what’s better is a $0-for-$20 Groupon.  That’s right, for those of you who have never tried GrubHub, yours truly is giving out a few Groupons for today’s GrubHub deal.  All you have to do is comment below with the name of your favorite place in the city to get delivery.  Be sure to comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.  And remember: 750 of us have to go for the deal, at which time we are all winners here.

Photo courtesy Lucyrk in LA via the Blogging LA Flickr pool.

The 5 Worst Trader Joe’s Parking Lots in LA

I love Trader Joe’s for their prices, for their Joe-Joe’s, for their simmering sauces.  But, all the mushy love I have for Trader Joe’s is nearly outweighed by how much I hate it for having absolutely awful parking lots.  If you don’t live near one of their new and improved stores – i.e., the ones at Hollywood and Vine or Olympic and Barrington – then you’re stuck with an archaic lot that is a one-way traffic jam from hell.  This is my list of the 5 Worst Trader Joe’s Parking Lots in LA.

5.  Huntington and Rosemead

The Trader Joe’s on Huntington and Rosemead in the good ol’ San Gabriel Valley shares space with a Petco next door.  Often, when Trader Joe’s plays nice and shares its parking lot space with others, the lot actually is not half bad (see, e.g., the parking lot at Santa Monica Blvd. and Martel in WeHo).  Not so here.  As you can see, the parking lot employs the Loop method.  There are two entrances; whether you go with the Blues or the Reds, you’re going to be stuck in a one-way jam somewhere.

4.  Santa Monica

Like its brother across town, the Trader Joe’s in Santa Monica also utilizes the Loop method, and also fails spectacularly.  There are two entrances: one on Pico, and the other at 33nd (the other end of the loop).  Cars inevitably converge, and it’s a bloody fight on who gets to continue through the Loop.  Smarter drivers forgo the Loop entirely and opt for one of the spots in front of the entrance, or look for a spot behind the store – but good luck getting there.  Those entering on Pico theoretically have a Stop sign to obey, but who listens to red octagons in a parking lot?  No one, apparently.

3.  Silver Lake

I think of this lot as one where Trader God threw up all the available parking spots into the air and let them fall, along with Traitor Satan, into the pits of Hell.  The result: spots scattered awkwardly in a half-Loop around the perimeter of the store.  Cars entering or exiting the lot from either entrance on Hyperion sidle uneasily alongside each other, angling for a spot.   I’ll let you in on a secret though: if you drive on Hyperion, past this insanity, past the Cheese Store, there is an overflow lot.  Park there and save yourself an enormous hassle.

2.  La Brea & 3rd

What is worse than a tiny parking  lot designed for a large volume of suburban shoppers jonesing for some two buck  Chuck?  A tiny parking lot designed for a large volume of shoppers jonesing for  some two buck Chuck located right off of one of the busiest  intersections of the city.  For some reason, Trader Joe’s thought this little plot of land was capable of handling not one, but two, ill-fated Loops.  If  you look carefully at the pic below, you can make out the  arrows painted in the lot, which, I guess, are supposed to tell you  where to go.  In practice, the arrows make no sense:  they don’t  guide you to safety any more than the footsteps do at Ikea.

1.  Arroyo Parkway
This is the OG TJ’s, circa 1967.  The template of its future stores, including, apparently, its horrible parking.  The lot is a labyrinth and the parking slots are tiny beyond tiny  (as my friend pointed out, “only a clown car” could squeeze in the spots).  Overall, the lot is ill-equipped to handle the density of traffic and the vanity of Los Angeles (gigantormous Lexus SUVs hogging 2+ spaces, I am looking at you).  Yes, I would like to know how Trader Joe’s came up with the Loop and Other Urban Parking Lot Nightmares, but what I really want to know is: How did the people in the yellow box get in and out of their cars?

That’s my list.  What’d I miss?