Well today I ventured to Echo Park for this years Lotus Festival. Yes, they were in bloom and they were knock me over gorgeous. The rest of the festival, meh. My last time there was 2007 when I was a rower with the team metblogs Dragon Boat, but I digress.
This years show had very few artisans. There was some nifty stuff. Lots of Day of the Dead skulls painted on stuff you wouldn’t expect. Great food trucks…gotta give the food vendors the nod as they make this festival. The rest, sadly was swap meet crap. Its a common theme in outdoor events too many times of late, they let vendors in reselling cheap import crap forcing out the artisans with quality work who can’t compete at a price point. grrrr.
The music was fun and lively. and varied. Something for everyone and that alone makes its worth the drip to Echo Park and fight for parking.
This is going to be a fun event. Terrific even. Its about creating art, some adult refreshements (booze) and hors d’oeuvres to nourish your body and loosen up the creative spirit you bottle up daily while chained to your cube. Its about learning to express yourself in a media other than words.
The teacher this round is Elizabeth Jewell Butterfield, the featured artist at Monrovia Association of Fine Art’s annual Celebrate the Arts held in September. Elizabeth is an amazing mixed media artist. She takes bits of material, paper, what have you, tears in itty bitty bits and applies it to a canvas where it suddenly becomes a beautiful painting. She will teach you do the same in the First class held on May 30
The last time this was done at the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia it sold out fast. The teacher made the class exceptionally fun and everyone walked away with a piece of art to hang in their cube to remind themselves they can do it. I can’t stress enough…sign up early and don’t miss this fun event.
Perhaps, like many people, you observe Valentines Day. I do not. In my household, on February 14, we observe CHEESEBURGERTINES DAY, a far superior holiday with a singular purpose: it is a day on which you get someone who likes you to buy you a cheeseburger. Yes, it is a fake holiday that I made up. No, that does not make it any less of a holiday.
While the inaugural Cheeseburgertines Day took place at The Apple Pan (NATURALLY), we celebrate Cheeseburgertines Day at a different burger joint every year, in honor of the amazing plethora of great burger places in Los Angeles. We have been to fancy burger places (Cheeseburgertines Day 2014: The Tripel), and less fancy but no less delicious burger places (Cheeseburgertines Day 2013: Corner Burger).
This year, we hit up Shaka Shack Burgers in Santa Monica. Shaka Shack is Hawaiian-tiki-surfboard-themed, which appeals greatly to my appetite for kitsch; and the burgers were fantastic, A+ cheeseburgers, which appealed greatly to my appetite for burgers. They were seriously good burgers that I would pick over In-n-Out any day.
Special mention, though, goes to Shaka Shack’s fries, which were possibly the best fries that I’ve had in Los Angeles. You know how the best fries are the really crispy ones at the bottom of the basket? Well, every fry in our order was one of those. And you can get them with truffle salt. Not the healthiest choice, maybe, but that is why Cheeseburgertines Day comes but once a year.
The beloved all-ages venue in the far west Valley that has given thousands of local kids their start in music, tens of thousands of poets a chance to read their work, and probably millions of young people to tag/sticker bathrooms (and hallways…and sidewalks…and rear exterior walls…and everything else), and just generally get the F outta the house without having to go to the mall–will be closing at the end of the month. I regret to pass this news on so late but I only just found out myself.
Extremely patient and awesome owner Dave Politi founded the Cobalt Cafe coffeehouse in 1991. Grunge was a rising tide, emo was in its early stages, weird ska/funk/pop-punk hybrids particular to the Valley and south LA in general were bubbling up from high schoolers’ garages, and Starbucks wasn’t here.
I was a high school goth chick, shy as hell and loathe to speak to anyone. My friends’ bands played the shows. Seeing them, their openers, and those for whom they opened, up close and personal on a stage about a foot off the ground and approximately three feet from my face so their sweat flew in my eyes, lit off a fuse within myself that altered my DNA, transformed my passions and creative dreams forever. I got up the guts to read my mediocre emo high-school-girl poetry at the weekly poetry readings.
I got to know people. I became a regular. I met my first long-term boyfriend there, played chess there, bought punk records from unknown bands there from small private presses before records were collectors’ items, met some of the folks I’d run into long, long down the line ten years later in Silver Lake at Spaceland (and in other rooms), watched the comfy overstuffed furniture go the way of the dodo (too many episodes of puking, sweating and cigarettes leads them to an early grave), giving way to a more Spartan interior. People liked my poetry enough that I got a featured reading at a coffeehouse on Sunset Blvd, and I kept writing long into my late 20s. I sometimes wonder if all that writing didn’t lay the groundwork for my public blogging and journalism career, which itself has led to experiences and interactions that could never have been imagined by the mind of a repressed, shy 17-year-old black-lipstick-wearing girl in 1996.
Every time I have returned to the Valley to see a line of self-conscious green-and-black-haired high schoolers goofing off with each other in front of the venue, or bros in short pants and Deftones t-shirts unloading a 350 Ford, I have smiled to myself, grateful that sometimes, good things don’t change, and that there’s a place for us weirdos to go–still. Yeah, sometimes the music sucked. Well, usually it does when people are that green. But it was music, and we–now, they–were and are making it. Some of them got really, really good. Some of the poets went on to long careers as luminaries in the poetry arts scene throughout the US. Records were make, books published. Creative dreams came true.
The place reeked of sweat, coffee and cigarettes; the bathrooms are an archaeological dig though layers of paint, Sharpie, and stickers; sometimes the baristas were overwhelmed or had a ‘tude (as is proper, whiners!), but that all just made it better. I have been everywhere, man, and seen a lotta shows, but the Cobalt was the most genuine, unprepossessing, free-spirited creative fermentation machine I had ever seen. You did not have to be hip to walk in. You did not have to wear the right clothes. In fact, it’s still pretty hipster-repellent.
Sadly, Dave’s got his own Life S**t going on these days, and there’s less and less money coming in the doors with promoters and bookers being less supportive than they used to be; and let’s face it, non-Starbucks-priced coffee will never keep an indie business afloat, especially when your clientele is allowed to just hang out and buy nothing the entire time they’re there.
Dave Politi should be lauded for giving so much of his life and energy to a cause–“the kids” and “the music” and “the words”. The longtime host of Tuesday Night Poetry–he’s been doing it almost as long as the Cobalt was open–Rick Lupert–should be thanked, and I encourage you to see him read his funny and thoughtful work at other venues around town. All the hosts of Monday night open mics, all the baristas who endured patiently for many years, every doorman who had to bust kids doing the things that kids do–thank you, one and all. Here’s to the Cobalt Cafe. From such a humble little corner of the West San Fernando Valley, her influence has already spread around the world. Dave and the Cobalt are studies in how simply making space for others to be themselves, can ripple outwards in a quietly irresistible wave of transformation.
Hover over photos for Creative Commons/other photo credits.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you love Los Angeles native, See’s Candies! They are putting up pop-up holiday shops around town so you don’t have to brave the mall when you get invited somewhere last minute and don’t want to arrive with your hands hanging. They are selling only boxed chocolates, no candy counter full of individual yummies to mix and match. But when Aunt Gertrude is stopping by and you’ve accidentally left her off your list, you can race in for that two pound box of dark chocolate nuts and chews she loves so much.
I had every intention of going to the Patchwork Show in Santa Ana today but a series of events kept me from it. First church (hi hippie Unitarians!) which got canceled due to the kid oversleeping her morning nap, then I spent too much time researching ways to use my remaining root vegetables from the Culver City Farmers Market to make leftover turkey chili, Skyped with the in laws, and then I happened to look at a map and discovered Santa Ana is hella far down in the OC. By that time, this wet stuff had started falling from the sky. Too bad… lots of great vendors were at the Long Beach show and I was looking forward to shoving some cash at them. Next up… Unique LA!
Some of the most memorable meals of my life have been on boats.
One memorable boat meal was a few summers ago. I was in the Netherlands on vacation, and after a long day of trudging around Rotterdam in the rain, we ended up on De Pannenkoekenboot: the pancake boat. The pancake boat sails around the Rotterdam harbor for an hour, during which time you fill your face with as much as you can from an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet that includes toppings that range from the kind of thing you’d expect (ie: syrup) to the kind of thing that makes you question the definition of “topping” (ie: large wedges of brie). Also, there is beer. The pancakes were delicious, but that’s completely incidental. Stick me on a boat, feed me any food, and I will happily regale people with tales of my nautical adventure culinary for years to come, as though I am an actual pirate and not just a fairly boring person who occasionally eats on a boat.
But one need not travel abroad for a boat-bound dining experience! We live near an ocean, or so I’ve heard, so there restaurant options close to home that will move you to regale your dining companions with a theme-appropriate fake pirate accent. You could go to the fanciest boat restaurant of them all, the Queen Mary. OR, for something more down to earth, you could head down the road to the Leeward Bay Marina at the LA Harbor. That’s where you’ll find the Chowder Barge: a floating restaurant with a 40-year history of chowder-slinging.
I visited The Chowder Barge for the first time last weekend, and was glad to discover that it is basically a perfect place. It’s nestled among sailboats, and the doorway is at the the end of a swaying dock. Inside, the walls and ceiling are covered in nautical tchokes, a giant fireplace hangs from the ceiling, and it looks like the kind of place frequented by the Big Kahuna from Gidget.
You can order beer in normal-sized glasses at the Chowder Barge, but why even bother when you can just get the CAPTAIN’S MUG, which is larger than a human head. It also weighs about as much as a two-year-old. Why mess around? You get your beer and your upper arm workout, too. Here, look how pleased I am about this Captain’s Mug:
You, too, could know this joy!
The food was good. The clam chowder was so bacony might as well have just been cream of bacon soup with clams, which is not exactly a problem. If you order the Double Clam Chowder, you get a bowl of chowder filled with deep fried clams! And if you order the Chowder Burger, you get a bowl of chowder with a cheeseburger in it! Because god bless America. None of my party were bold enough to brave the Chowder Burger, but I’ve already decided that I will be returning for my birthday, where I will have a Chowder Burger with birthday candle in it.
What are you favorite floating or nautical-themed restaurants? Comment away, me hearties!
When you enter the Apple Pan, you have to understand you are entering a totalitarian state. This joint has been around, almost untouched, since 1947 and nothing you say or do will change how they do business. This is true on any day. This is doubly true on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eves when they make tons of extra pies and all of us die-hards line up to get them. (My husband loves the chocolate cream.) You’ll wait and if you are like me, you’ll enjoy the wait because the wait is great theater.
With all the extra people coming to buy pies on the same days every year, you would think they might put on a special person simply to sell pies and keep the crowds moving. No, no they won’t. Why? Because we are the Apple Pan and because f**k you. You don’t like it? Go buy pies at that tramp Marie Callendar’s place. The guy who takes your pie order is the same guy servicing his side of the counter (which of course is full of lunch eating peeps) and he’ll get to you when he gets to you.
During my 35 minute wait, I was lucky to stand next to a nice woman who had the same attitude as I did, in fact she was going to be late for a doctors appointment, but damned if she was going to miss picking up the apple pie for her boyfriend’s family! We chatted a bit between shows.
Because if so, there are a few very groovy things on the horizon!
Crafters and Chili Cooks Sought for Holiday Event
at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum
The Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park is currently planning the fourth annual “Holidays on the Homestead,” a holiday-themed fundraiser for the museum to be held on Saturday December 6th from 5 pm – 8 pm. Participants are now sought for the “cowboy” chili cook-off and the handmade craft boutique.
Rose Edwards, the wife of the museum’s builder, was known for her chili and cornbread holiday feasts at their 1930’s homestead holiday celebrations. This delicious tradition is being revived in her honor! All chili styles will be considered; there is no registration fee for the cook-off.
Representing the talents of artist and museum founder Howard Arden Edwards, crafters are being sought for a craft boutique of handmade country and holiday-themed items. Booths are $30, supporting the non-profit Friends of the Antelope Valley Indian Museum.
For chili cook-off or craft booth information and applications, contact Jean Rhyne at (661) 946-6900 or [email protected] See below for more information about this fun event!
Went to our fave 24-hour taco shop, Casa de Tacos, hidden in a small strip mall at the corner of Topanga Canyon and Wyandotte in Canoga Park. It is SO GOOD to enjoy real Latino-style tacos after three years of Georgia tacos. Got me some lengua and some tripas, for the ultimate in all I had missed.
Then I saw the sticker affixed to the side of the napkin dispenser, and I knew…the taco gods want me home.
Pizza Rev is coming to K-town and its grand opening all proceeds go to helping the Los Angeles Animal Shelter, North Central Animal Shelter. The LA Animal Shelter serves local homeless and abandoned pets. The pizza deal is pretty sweet, you get a personal sized pizza and you pay what you want a the end for it (Suggested donation is $8). I absolutely love a local business that branches out and gives back to the community with each new location.
Adding to the fun is Social Media Sunday on October 12. All you have to do is “like” or “follow” them on facebook, instagram or twitter and show them your phone with the info and they will give you a free pizza! Such a deal. (Sorry they aren’t on ello).
I’ve written about Pizza Rev a few times already. Love the stuff…thin crispy Roman style pie you build yourself along an assembly line of friendly helpful Pizza Rev staff. They even have gluten free and vegan options! Do yourself a favor and pay them a visit if you are in the K-town area, you will be hard pressed to vind a better pizza for the money. Anywhere.
Deets: Pizza Rev grand opening 109/14, 11AM-10PM, 3150 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90010
It’s here the final 626 Night Market, the thing to do in the SGV, is this weekend. Friday night it starts at 4PM and runs Saturday into Sunday too. Food, stuff, music and special guest appearances market this weekend.
Theres still no transit way to make it there. From the 210 Exit Santa Anita and drive south to Huntington. Make a right and follow Huntington to the Santa Anita Park.
Parking is free and admission is a measly $3 per person.
Deets. Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia. MAP HERE Hours Friday/Saturday 4PM-1AM, Sunday 4PM-10PM
Sierra Madre Playhouse and California Pizza Kitchen in Pasadena have teamed up for a fund raiser to benefit the Playhouse and its coming production of “4,000 Miles” The fund raiser is only at the Pasadena CPK on Los Robles, all day on Thursday September 4, 2014. When you give your wait person THIS FLYER, 20% of your purchase will go to Sierra Madre Playhouse to fund this production.
Sierra Madre Playhouse was chosen over many other theaters in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles premiere of “4,000 Miles” That play from what I’ve heard is an interesting look at transgenerational values and the exchange between a young man and his estranged grandmother. The play opens September 26 and runs through November 8. More details here.
Deets: California Pizza Kitchen, September 4, 2014 11AM-10PM. 99 Los Robles Ave (at Union Street), Pasadena CA. MAP HERE.Flyer HERE