Category Archives: LA bloggers

Grilled Cheesy Goodness

Hey blogging.la community! Wanted to quickly introduce myself… in blogging.la’s wonderful decision to add on a slew of new bloggers, I somehow made it through the hurdles and have been warmly welcomed into the community. So who is this newbie blogger you ask? Well, even if you didn’t I’m still going to tell you. I’m a native Los Angelino, such a rarity it seems, who had a normal childhood growing up in the suburbs of West Hollywood, traipsed to New York for a quick jaunt, and then missing the warm So-Cali sun returned back to the homeland. Like all good LA children, I’ve made my nest in the “Industry” but fashion myself as a foodie & blogger on the side. If your taste buds teeter on the side of adventure, you’d probably enjoy my collection of deliciously baffling cupcakes on my blog, Cake & Heels. When I’m not baking, reading scripts or planning massive beer pong tournaments, I’ve decided that I’m dedicating that remaining 5% of free time on my pie chart of life to writing HERE, on blogging.la. So seriously, THANKS for having me and hopefully this is the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship!

Grilled Cheese Invitational

So let’s get down to the oh-so-gooey and cheesy heart of this post… preferably layered between slices of freshly baked bread. It’s that time of the year, the 2nd 8th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational! This Saturday, April 23rd, Los Angeles Center Studios plays host to what has grown into a massive annual tradition. Over 300 amateur & professional competitors battle for grilled cheese glory in 4 different categories: Love, American Style || The Missionary Position || The Kama Sutra || The Honey Pot. And the best part? YOU can be the judge.

In addition to the usual crowd of foodies, fans and cheese heads, you can expect some fierce competition out of the likes of Top Chef Masters: Eric Greenspan from The Foundry, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2011: Ricardo Zarate from Mo-Chica and the soon to be hit Picca, the amazing Walter Manzke formerly of Bastide, Church & State and currently at Le Saint Amour, Eric Samaniego from my Sunday night favorite Comme Ca, Micah Fields who loves to please at the Standard Downtown and Nyesha Arrington from the gorgeous Cache on Main Street. Plus the fabulous Alie & Georgia of McNuggetini Cocktail Fame will be on hand mixing up magical libations during the event!

The 2nd 8th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational
Saturday April 23rd || 11AM – 6PM
Los Angeles Center Studios
1201 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
$12 Online, $15 at the Door, $17 Judging Pass
www.grilledcheeseinvitational.com

Blogging.la Turns 15K!

I don’t know wether to laugh or cry at this but we’ve hit our 15,000th post published mark this week! The post in question was from frazgo titled Buy clothes that fit… mildly nsfw. The post stirred up a little dust on the merits of blogging in general but all in all good fun.

I can’t believe we’ve made it this far. There have been some incredible writers through our doors over the past 7+ years and we’re going to be opening up the floor for more people next week so if you want to join in on the Granddaddy of LA blogs get your links handy and I’ll be posting details on Monday on how you can become one of the crew.

Here’s to the next 15k!

Bloggers Picnic in SGV set for Saturday

The motley crew of bloggers at the 2008 Picnic.

Come rain, quake or fallout the picnic will go forward Saturday at Farnsworth Park in Altadena.  This will be something like the 5th Bloggers Picnic since we started this in 2007.  Its open to all bloggers, blog readers, fans and stalkers who would like to attend.  We’ve even had bloggers from the LA area appear at prior events so it truly is open to everyone.

Timothy Rutt of the Altadena Blog took over organizing a few years ago.  I don’t have a complete list of everyone that will be there, but I can tell you that West Coast Grrlie Blather, Pasadena PIO and the Pasadena Daily Photo will be there to get things started.  The gawds of blogging overruled kid’s sports gawds this weekend so even I can make it for a while on Saturday morning (I’m bringing “Browned Butter Brownies” as my contribution).

This is true potluck style.  Bring your favorite dish to share.  Blog it to share with others if you can.

DEETS: Saturday March 19, 11AM-5PM, General Charles S Farnsworth Park, Altadena CA.  MAP HERE.

4 Angelenos on a reality adventure

It starts with a call from Ford if you’re Matt Farah from Redondo Beach who runs the Los Angeles based “The Smoking Tire”. For others like Donna Ruko in the Focus Rally America it was answering a post in a trade paper promising a reality show based on a cross country road trip.  For those that answered the call and got chosen its been an adventure unlike anything they’ve ever done before.

Four Los Angelenos have been on that adventure for 3 weeks now, due to end sometime in the next couple of weeks (my personal guess is somewhere here in LA). They are Matt Farah (Redondo Beach) and Brittany Boddington (Northridge) making up Team Red. Team Yellow also representing LA is Donna Ruko (Los Angeles) and Bryn Dresher (West Hollywood).

All of them are dialed into the social networking scene to a degree. The most notable is Matt Farah of the red team who owns The Smoking Tire the blog and on twitter as @thesmokingtire. His rally partner Brittany Boddington set up a tumblr blog just before this race and is on twitter as @britboddington. Donna Ruko has her own site and can be followed on twitter at @donnaruko. The only one without a significant web presence is Bryn. Complete bios are at their Rally America pages for Team Red and Team Yellow.

As racers in the Rally America part of their challenges involves their followers. Team Red currently has nearly double the amount of followers of its nearest competitors (8049) and Team Yellow is mid pack (3790). Why is this important? Well as a team follower you can interact with them while they are driving and help them solve challenges. As an example, today the followers had to find objects starting with specific letters and upload them to a facebook page, with check in at the checkpoint based on your completion time. Sort of an interactive Amazing Race.

Their days are planned out by the production team, but they have no idea what is in store for them when they wake up every day. Their days are so busy with challenges, checkpoint and jump start that they have no time to do touristy stuff, and if they do have some down time they all have to agree on what they do and do it together. For Donna she says she has seen so much of this country this trip that she is looking to going back to many of the places and being a tourist and just check out what she missed.

When I talked with them this morning they had plenty of good things to say about this adventure, but they all missed LA to a degree. For Matt, Brittany and Bryn its the homey things like their own bed, their cats and friends here in the city. For Donna its hikes up behind the Hollywood sign that she misses the most. Regardless, their adventures will be over soon and they’ll be back to life in LA and its adventures.

When we travel we all miss something from home, these guys have been on the road 25 days already and told me what they missed about LA. What do you miss most about LA when you travel? Just curious.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWhKnfJnlco&NR=1[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5hrT30-Pwc[/youtube]

Screen grab with the permission of Focus Rally America

Two area Blogger’s take exception to the presence and accuracy of Patch

Not that many months ago Patch, AOL’s news group came to LA with the promise of hyper local news reporting. I have to admit I had high hopes for them to be digging into local news that the bigger outlets don’t tackle as it just wouldn’t generate the ratings. Not all the bloggers held the same high hopes, some certainly have taken exception to the presence of “McBlog”.

Here in the SGV two bloggers in particular have focused on what Patch is doing in their communities. Sierra Madre Tattler and Monrovia City Watch believe that Patch reporters don’t report accurately or in depth.  Allegations are also made of censored comments and out right banning from comments.

On the first topic Sierra Madre Tattler is more adamant about the shortcomings of patch. John Crawford has numerous posts up on Tattler regarding the short comings of the legal understanding and accuracy of reporting. He has openly challenged the stories on their controversial water rate hikes. He and many believe that procedurally the city didn’t follow the law regarding hearing notices etc.,. When challenged Sierra Madre Patch ultimately stood behind the report even though Sierra Tattler believes they gave them all that was needed for a retraction. (As a side bar the Howard Jarvis folks are looking into the rate issue and may sue over how it was done).

He summed up Patch in a recent email “he reporting on Patch is lame at best, disinformation at worst. The Sierra Madre version of America’s 800 site McBlog has resorted to telling the worst kinds of lies in what is a rather pathetic attempt to curry favor with City Hall.” He also said in a blog post “Sierra Madre has long been beset by media that thinks people here are only interested in reading hollow press releases and brain numbing boosterism. Material coming from the same small handful of people, over and over again.”  More on his thoughts HERE.

My emails to Sierra Madre Patch editor John Stevens for comment on the allegations made by Sierra Madre were not responded to.

Here in Monrovia, Monrovia City Watch takes exception with the depth and accuracy as well, but is more concerned with censorship of comments. Recently there was an unfortunate loss of life in a fire and comments went off topic into the effectiveness and compensation of the local firefighters. In it Cyrus posted a link to a youtube video that was, according to Nathan McIntire of Monrovia Patch, flagged by 3 locals as “inappropriate”.

After that Cyrus made several additional comments regarding the “censor” of his comment. He has stated to me that those comments were all removed as well as those made by Nathan to remove the entire chain of comments so no one could read into what had transpired.

Nathan commented on Cyrus’ allegations in an email to me:

As far as the depth of our coverage, I think it speaks for itself. We cover Monrovia on a daily basis and are grateful to have been embraced by nearly everyone in the community, including Mr. Kemp (who was a very active user), before this unfortunate incident.

Regarding Mr. Kemp’s charge that he was “censored” on our site: the only comment of his that was ever removed–before our regional editor removed his recent threat to spam our site–was removed by other users. It was a link to a video deriding firefighters (in vulgar language) that was posted to a story about a local woman dying in a fire. Three users flagged the post as inappropriate, and it was automatically removed by our system.

Cyrus reponds that it is pure “bullshit”, that he was banned because he got into “Nathan’s face over the depth and accuracy of the fire reporting”. He agrees that the video had what some would consider vulgar language, but he believes that the link alone could have been deleted. If they felt his including his blog URL in the comment was spam they shouldn’t have included a spot to put ones URL in the comment in the first place. Banning him outright was just “Bullshit and hiding behind the TOS was equally so”.  (It appears that flagging results in automatic removal of comments by the Patch system based on Nathan’s comments).

Bloggers like Cyrus and John get it that comments aren’t always nice or for the thin skinned. Certainly life isn’t always nice-nice, but is the AOL TOS for Patch just a little rigid?  (I get it they are a big corporation and can set their own terms of service).  Anyone else running into similar with Patch?

(screen grab of the patch sign-in courtesy of Cyrus Kemp and it does get bigger with a click)

Ladies & Gentlemen: Waltarrrr Has Left The Blogging

Pictured above leading a charge westward toward downtown across the 4th Street Viaduct during CycLAvia last October is Highland Park-based blogger Waltarrrr. I find this image I captured of him on that glorious day rather iconic in that for the past 4.5 years he’s been trumpeting to greater Los Angeles all about the present and past of the multifaceted communities of Northeast Los Angeles. And I present it to you today so that you can join me in saying goodbye not to him, but rather to his indispensable 90042 blog, whose hibernation he announced yesterday:

What I can say is this blog is going to sleep for a while. The weekly posts just won’t be there anymore. Instead, I plan to focus on my first love, Art. I’m a painter by trade. As a byproduct of putting my efforts into writing and researching this blog, I haven’t actually made a painting in some time. In my studio sits a pile of blank canvases awaiting my attention. This year I resolved to start painting rather than writing, to start sketching rather than tweeting. I’m a craftsperson, a maker. At this juncture I need to create tangible objects more than web posts.

It has been a fun trip, but the time has come to put the blog to rest. Thanks for sharing the ride.

I’ve had the pleasure of his company on numerous bike rides and various long walks. The favorite story I like to tell about him happened in October 2008 when I’d planned to walk the entire length of Western Avenue from Griffith Park to the land’s end. Waltarrrr was very much looking forward to it, but as the day approached a conflict arose that prevented him from joining us. So he did the entire thing himself a week earlier than us, adding untold distance by venturing off on explorations down countless side streets until he was forced to stop around Torrance. Set on completing the journey, he returned the next day to where he’d turned back by the 405 Freeway and walked the rest of the way to the sea. His Flickr photoset of the two-day trek is here.

While I’m going to miss 90042 immensely, I’m also going to hope there’s ultimately a parallel to draw between his amazing journey and his blogging: he knew when to quit but came back to where he left off and kept going.

Sweet Charity: Blogging.LA’s Guide To Giving – Kiva.org

I hope Oprah doesn’t have a problem with me riding her coattails on this, but since I’ve been a Kiva fan and lender since long before 2010, perhaps it’s Big O who is tagging along with me.

Kiva is one of my favorite organizations helping to alleviate poverty around the world. Kiva is not a typical charity, wherein you might make a donation which is then used to help those in need. Kiva is a micro-lending organization which facilitates the funding of small loans (average loan is $381) for impoverished entrepreneurs. Those small loans help people build their businesses, and work to lift themselves out of poverty. Like a standard loan, it is expected that the money will be paid back.

While the average loan is a few hundred dollars, that is distributed across many lenders. The typical lender contribution to any one loan is only $25. For only $25, you can help change a life. Continue reading below where I’ll tell you how you can help just as much for even less of your own cold, hard cash.

One of the things I like best about Kiva is the feeling of partnership. Unlike typical charities where you donate and the money gets distributed to…someone, with Kiva you get to decide exactly where your money goes. When you go to Kiva’s website, you can see all of the different loans that are funding now and learn about the entrepreneurs before you choose to lend to them. You’ll see pictures, learn about their business, read a bit of their personal story. You can choose what country, what type of business, and specifically which individual you want to lend to.

Since 2005, Kiva has loaned nearly $180 million through Kiva Field Partners (local microfinance partners) in 57 countries to over 470,000 entrepreneurs. Here’s the best part: all of those impoverished entrepreneurs  get the benefit of the loans, then pay the money back. Kiva’s current loan repayment rate is 98.91%. That means a default rate of less than 1.1%! That repaid money can then be loaned out again and again, and the same small amount of your money helps multiple entrepreneurs numerous times.

Right now Groupon is offering $25 Kiva loan credits for only $15. For less than the cost of a night at the movies (for one, no date,) you can help change a person’s life for the better. Here’s how:

  • First, if you’re not already a Groupon member, join here. Full disclosure: If you join through that referral link, Groupon will give me a kickback, which I will in turn use to make more Kiva loans. Everybody wins, particularly another poor cobbler in Uruguay.
  • Buy a $25 Kiva credit for only $15 through Groupon here. Don’t wait; this is a limited time/limited availability offer.
  • Register with Kiva here. Then choose the loan you want to fund here.
  • As the loan is repaid you’ll get regular updates as to its status. When the first $15 (your initial investment) is repaid, it’s yours. You can either withdraw or re-loan it, which is what I do. The $10 that Groupon kicks in will be donated to Kiva when the initial loan is repaid, helping to cover Kiva’s 501(c)(3) non-profit operating costs.

Easy. Only a couple of steps. It might take you 10 minutes and minimal financial investment, for which you will have direct positive impact on a specific individual’s life.

In this season of giving, here is a big opportunity for a small contribution that will continue to give throughout the year, again and again.

Sweet Charity:Blogging.LA’s Guide to Giving, a new Series.

Get ready for another series. In time for the Holidays we at blogging.la are putting together the “Sweet Charity:Bloggingl.LA’s Guide to Giving”. All of us here have been somehow touched but the need to give back to the community. We each have our own favorite charity, non-profit or other organization that we feel gives back to the community. There we devote our energy, time and money to help them meet their goals.

The series will profile those groups that we at Blogging.LA contribute to. You, the readers can chime in with those that you give time too as well. If its one you are particularly passionate about send me a couple of paragraphs as to why you believe in them and I’ll post it as part of the series giving you credit for identifying them. Send it to me at frazgo(at) mail (dot)com.

Helen Keller summed it up best: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”.

Join us this Holiday Season by celebrating those groups that have touched our hearts.

Image used under a creative commons license by IronRodArt from flickr.

YouTube vid results in additional arrests from the USC/UCLA Tailgaiting Brawl.

With the proliferation of HD DSLR’s and the ability to post on YouTube its bound to happen again.  Just in case you live under a rock and missed it 2 men were knifed during a brawl at the Rose Bowl that took place during the tailgate parties prior to the USC/UCLA game on Saturday (first story HERE).  “hcineceros” was there and caught it all on video.  The video lead to an additional 3 arrests today according to the Pasadena Star News just a bit ago.  All this because a football hit a mercedes.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jp0orUsVQk[/youtube]
Hat Tip to the Crime Scene blog for finding this and another video of the incident.

Doesn’t it make you wonder how many other videos exist of the event and what if any additional evidence will be gathered in the process?

Hi From Long Beach!

Well hello Los Angeles!  Oh how I’ve missed you.  What?  You mean I’ve been away for so long you don’t remember me?  Allow me to refresh your memory.  I’m that guy who was born and raised in the Valley, Burbank/Toluca Lake to be exact, then moved down behind the Orange Curtain for 9 years.  In that time I began writing for a little blog called OC Metblogs.  Oh you remember me now?  Great!

The Lone Sailor at the end of my street, keeping watch over the harbor.
The Lone Sailor at the end of my street, keeping watch over the harbor.

For the rest of you, my name is Dave.  I have been a huge fan of LA Metblogs Blogging.la since not long after it was started.  I remember reading it thinking “Man, I’d love to write for them.”  But alas, I lived in Orange County.  Then I discovered OC Metblogs, which I know you all read daily, right?  Right??

Cruise ships, cranes, Spruce Goose hangar and Queen Mary. Pretty much sums it up.
Cruise ships, cranes, Spruce Goose hangar and Queen Mary. Pretty much sums it up.

Recently I finished my schooling to be a Registered Nurse and landed a job at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance.  Immediately the wife and I saw this as our opportunity to move to LA.  Back for me, first time for her.  We’ve both always wanted to live in Long Beach and we found an amazing place.  So here I am!  There’s just one thing.  While I can get all around the Westside, Downtown, the Eastside, the Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and Orange County like nobody’s business, I know NOTHING of the South Bay.  And from what I can gather, most of LA doesn’t either.  In fact, when I was with OC Metblogs, I was given permission to post about the Long Beach Grand Prix (which I will cover in full this year) because many people consider Long Beach to be practically Orange County anyway.  Which, I can tell you after having been here 2 months, couldn’t be further from the truth!

Wyland bringing some OC flavor up north.
Wyland bringing some OC flavor up north.

So, if it’s OK with you, I’d like to take y’all along for the ride as I explore this amazing community South of the 405 and West of the 605.

Oh, and I’ve included a little tasting menu of what’s to come via my camera.

Thanks!  :-Dave

A unique skyline for a unique city.
A unique skyline for a unique city.

Blogger Prom 2010

Blogger Prom 2010, one of the most exciting, most exclusive parties of the year was held recently at the restaurant with perhaps one of the most beautiful views in Los Angeles, Yamashiro. Too many superlatives for the first sentence, you say? To call this event merely spectacular would be gross understatement.

Obligatory awkward pre-prom photo.

Did you have a good time at your high school prom? Really? I went to two senior proms (as a sophomore I dated a senior; aww yeeeah.) Now granted, it’s been a few years since those proms, but as I recall both were notable for not being particularly memorable. What I do remember is paying more than was reasonable for a mediocre meal, bad music, and hanging out for hours with a bunch of people I didn’t particularly like. (No offense to my old high school friends who may be reading this. Not you, of course; I’m talking about all those other jerks.)

Blogger Prom is the grown up version of what those other proms aspire to be. No generic rented tuxedos here. This year’s theme was “L.A. Confidential,” so attendees dressed with that style/period in mind. Everyone looked fantastic. Rather than some unremarkable hotel ballroom, this prom was held at a gorgeous Hollywood landmark. Also, no need to sneak booze in (Dad, if you’re reading, I probably didn’t do that in high school,) as adult beverages were provided by Pinky Vodka, Zaya Rum, The Beer Chicks and Eagle Rock Brewery, and The Dalmore scotch.

Not to be out done by the drinks, the food was provided by Yamashiro’s own Chef Brock. Among other dishes, Chef Brock made a smoked sausage taco. He brought in the smoked sausage from a 100+ year old smoke house on his own family farm in eastern Washington. Delicious! There was also a great Wasabi Guacamole that  he tells me is not as easy to make as it sounds.

In addition to all of the great food and drink in beautiful surroundings, the guest list was made up entirely of southern California bloggers. It was a chance to see old friends, meet new ones, and finally connect faces to many of the online personas that we were already so familiar with.

Queen JozJozJoz's reign begins. Photo by Heather Kincaid (heatherkincaid.com/blog.)

This event was a prom, and of course, every prom needs its Prom Queen. Nominations happened online, with the final voting being completed on the evening of the prom. There was stiff competition, but ultimately one stood victorious. Blogger Prom Queen 2010 is none other than 8Asians.com editor and Blogging.LA‘s own, JozJozJoz!

As the evening wound down, some continued on to the official Blogger Prom after party at Test Kitchen. As we departed, each guest received a fantastic gift bag filled with everything from Pinkberry and Sprinkles cupcakes to passes to American Cinematheque and the Grammy Museum, a gift certificate for tickets at Goldstar.com and so much more.

The tale of this evening would not be complete without a huge thank you to the Blogger Prom Committee, without whom none of this would have been possible. They all worked so hard to put together this delightful evening and make sure that it was the party of the year, and at that they were wildly successful. In addition to throwing one hell of a party, the committee made this a charitable benefit, and were able to raise $2,400 for Operation Fronline Los Angeles. Thank you Caroline On Crack, E*StarLA, Happy Go Marni, LA and OC Foodventures, LAist, Shop Eat Sleep, The Liquid Muse, and When Tara Met Blog.

The Blogger Prom Committee. Photo by Heather Kincaid (heatherkincaid.com/blog.)

Blogger Prom 2009 was fantastic. Blogger Prom 2010 was even better. I don’t mind telling you, I can’t wait for Blogger Prom 2011. If you weren’t on the guest list this year, you certainly don’t want to miss next year. Start your blog now, and keep your fingers crossed that you make the list. At the very least, start sucking up to your favorite L.A. blogger now, and maybe, just maybe, you can be his +1 for the best party of the year.

 

Blogger Mugged in Broad Daylight Fights a Bitch Off

Our good friend e*star recounts her horrific mugging in broad daylight while the rest of Hollywood stood idly by. It sounds like she gave the girl a good ass-kicking:

She careened me towards the white picket fence at June and De Longpre, pulling my hair. I whipped her back around, kicking her in the stomach. We continued as I screamed from within the far reaches of my lungs to the passing cars who probably thought they were witnessing a chick fight, what with my female mugger.

It’s comforting to know that events like these are still taking place while the LAPD is running radar on Coldwater & Burbank to catch soccer moms speeding on their way to work.

We’re glad you’re OK, Esther. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for standing your ground in your new neighborhood.