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.

Win tix to see Rocco Deluca headline at the White Light White Night benefit this weekend

This weekend, the South Bay plays host to the annual gala known as White Light White Night, benefitting the nonprofit Walk With Sally, which works to mentor and support children who have parents with cancer. This year, White Light White Night features So Cal native Rocco Deluca as the headlining musical guest.

With South Bay cuisine and 360° views of Los Angeles, this event is where white attire-wearing guests will be able to sample appetizers and foods from various renowned LA eateries and imbibe wines, beers and spirits all provided by local businesses. With an exclusive performance by Rocco DeLuca, the event will be hosted on the evening of Saturday, July 10, 2010 at the South Bay BMW lot and rooftop in Torrance. That’s right – the concert and event are being held on the roof!

General tickets cost $100 per person and VIP tickets, allowing access to the silent and live auction (offering one‐of‐a‐kind products and experiences including tickets to sporting events and lavish vacation packages), cost $150 per person and can be purchased online.

Walk With Sally is dedicated to providing mentoring support programs and services to children of parents or siblings with cancer through free of charge mentoring support programs and services that provide an emotionally safe environment for children to share their difficult experience with someone who has suffered the same.

Walk With Sally is also generously giving a pair of tickets to a lucky Blogging.LA reader! Just leave a comment on why you’d like to attend this event– you could tell us your favorite Rocco songs, list the eateries you’re most excited to try, or even share a personal story of cancer in the family. A winner will be selected by 3pm on Friday, July 9 and will be added to the guest list.

That’s a Good Damn Burger: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

It tastes a lot better than it looks.
It tastes a lot better than it looks.

Here’s how you can tell I’m not originally from California: I don’t like avocado on my burgers.

Really. I enjoy avocado in general. It’s nature’s answer to butter. And I’m the guy at the party who sits down on the couch and makes sweet love to a bowl of chips and guacamole until everyone in the room is staring. But I just don’t think avocado and burgers mix. Something about the cool smoothness of the avocado manages to distract my mouth from the burger and the remaining toppings, and then my mouth gets confused and angry and resolves to keep saying stupid things, like that maybe a flat tax wouldn’t be such a bad idea, or that those jeans aren’t doing my girlfriend’s hips any favors.

So I avoid avocado when I’m ordering burgers. I also avoid iceberg lettuce, but for entirely different reasons I’ll get into another time.

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about avocado when I go to Five Guys Burgers & Fries, one of the most recent east coast transplants. A smallish, DC-based burger chain best described as In-n-Out East, Five Guys was voted “best burger in Baltimore,” which is a great endorsement, if only because it allows me to imagine that I’m eating burgers and fries with Omar Little or Bunk and McNulty.

Five guys (fairly) recently opened up a restaurant in Carson, so I decided to give it a try after spending my Sunday morning with a crowd of kindergartners and their parents for reasons I’ll get into another time. The verdict? While In-n-Out probably won’t be losing market share anytime soon, Five Guys is goooooooood.

Continue reading “That’s a Good Damn Burger: Five Guys Burgers and Fries”

Is Fry’s the Real “Best Buy?”

IMG_1762I always want what doesn’t exist.  In this case, it was an old, and possibly discontinued, model of a small electronic appliance that customers seem to prefer over the newer models.  However, after some online searching, I found that the item indeed exists, only at Fry’s Electronics.   I didn’t know anything about Fry’s, except that I pass by the one on Route 1 in Manhattan Beach every so often, and one time a passenger in my car cheered when she saw the place.

So I made it to Fry’s yesterday, and was quite pleasantly surprised.  Fly the friendly Fry’s after the jump

Manhattan Beach law prohibits babysitting, nannying in city parks.

For some apparantely unsubtantiated reason, Manhattan Beach city officials are considering clamping down on personal trainers in city parks after they’ve allegedly found gym equipment left behind. NBC Los Angeles, who covered the story, spoke with a number of frequent park visitors, none of whom could recall an issue with gym equipment.

City officials hope to pass a ban on such dangerous equipment as yoga mats and exercise balls, but in the meantime point out existing city code that they believe already prohibits personal trainers from bringing clients to parks:

12.48.070 Commercial activities.
Commercial activities, including, but not limited to vendors, caterers, and peddlers, including vendors, caterers and commercial enterprises associated with permitted, organized groups, shall be prohibited in all City parks unless a permit is obtained from the Director of Parks and Recreation. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Director of Parks and Recreation from awarding a franchise for special events to a particular caterer or vendor.

I’m not a lawyer, so correct me if I’m wrong, but if they’re going to use this to charge personal trainers with a misdemeanor, wouldn’t this also apply to nannies or babysitters?

Free Concert in Long Beach Saturday

bobtributeCripes what can be better than FREE music on a broiling summer afternoon other than a free concert next to the ocean? With temps skirting 100 forecast for the Valley and SGV this weekend, that’s the perfect combo for us.  Long Beach is hosting a Battle of the Tribute Bands on Saturday 1PM-7PM at Rainbow Harbor.

All the details you could want on the Battle of the Tribute Bands can be found in their press release Facebook page.

Details: Saturday July 25, 1PM-7PM. 300 S Pine Ave, Long Beach. MAP LINK.

BREAKING NEWS: LA area affected by HSBC office closing

My wife walked into work this morning and got the news.  HSBC is closing all 600+ former Household and Beneficial offices in the US and Canada.  Some 6,100 people are going to be out of a job.  That includes the West Covina, Panorama City, Van Nuys, LA Eagle Rock, West Covina, Long Beach and Ladera Heights offices that she has worked at over the years.

She is shell shocked.  She feels horrible for former peers and bosses that are in the affected branch office closings.  As I type this she said that her friends are being called into their various offices and being given their severance packages.

Those offices were closed as they were the branches that for years had specialized in secured personal loans and most recently sub-prime mortgages that HSBC had put an end to over the last few years.  Without them creating loans they were a huge expense that warranted closing, just bad timing with unemployment so high at the moment.

Tough times LA, tough times indeed.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

At FriendFeed many of us West Coasters smug with our proximity to In-N-Out were getting intrigued by comments from East Coasters who kept touting Five Guys Burger and Fries.  There’s not many burger chains out there that can compete with the freshness of INO burgers, so we took their banter with a grain of salt. When one FriendFeed user mentioned there was a Five Guys in Torrance, I went straight to Google to make sure. Lo and behold, after entering my zip code on the site two locations in Southern California popped up. A FriendFeed meetup was quickly hatched.

Inside Five Guys
Inside Five Guys

Last Saturday a group of us descended on Cerritos to see if Five Guys could hold a candle to In-N-Out. Now keep in mind, this is purely subjective and unscientific. To make sure, I’ll have to eat at the places back-to-back. But one thing stood out. Five Guys decor looks a lot like In-N-Out. A. Lot. But I wasn’t going to let that bother me. Why? Because Five Guys smells better than In-N-Out.

Once we got settled and more people showed up, we ordered. Now everyone had warned us that the small fries are enough for two people, so I ordered two small; on regular and one Cajun. There was no difference in taste between the two, except for the Cajun fries sometimes tasted dustier. My husband got a small cheeseburger; that’s a burger with one patty, with onions, lettuce, tomato, relish (YUCK!), mustard and ketchup. When he opened it, it looked utterly disgusting. There was like half a jar of relish on that thing. I can’t believe he ate it. I got a large cheeseburger (two patties) with grilled onions and mushrooms, lettuce, mayo and ketchup. In other words, I got the burger exactly like I usually make my burgers at home. Continue reading “Five Guys Burgers and Fries”

Found: Good sportsmanship in Kids sports here in LA

Adam's free throw after a WCS Spartan foul.
Adam takes his free throw afer a Spartan foul.

WCS Spartans, and I mean coach, players and parents deserve a round of applause.  I actually gave the coach and one parent a hand shake.  In all sincerity I was impressed by how they played and acted.  Yes, there were parents coaching from the sidelines, but it wasn’t mean and with malice towards our kids.  We’re all in competitive kid sports (basketball) but not everyone keeps sportsmanship in the equation like the WCS Spartans. 

This weekend my sons Santa Anita Mountaineers (SGV based) played the WCS Spartans (Carson based) in a very tough basketball game. What stopped me in my tracks is that one of the parents of a WCS Spartan player actually coached his son on how to make sure someone is OK when you accidentally foul and knock them to the ground.  How absolutely refreshing to see and hear that instead of the usual congratulatory praise when a strong player is taken out. (I’ve ranted about this and it happens more often than I care to see and tossing a dart…happens most often in the Orange County tournaments).

As a Mountaineer parent to the parents of the WCS Spartans, thanks for being such good sports and great competitors.

Pic by me with a point and squirt casio exlim.  Its the free throw after a foul by a WCS Spartan in the 12U (6th grade and younger) tournament this weekend.  It does get bigger with a click.

Playa del Rey home burglary suspects caught on camera

This and more photos (after the jump) are from during reported home burglary that occurred around 1pm on August 17th on the 7900 block of 81st Street of Playa del Rey.

Two black males, in their teens or early 20s, and a white 4 door car are shown in the stills.

David Coffin from the community blog Westchester Parents (where the pix were originally posted) tells me he believes the shot here came from a “nanny cam.” All I know is this single home apparently has more surveillance cameras than my apartment complex. Hopefully it will pay off with an arrest.

If you recognize the above individual or his partner in the additional photos, contact the LAPD Pacific Division at 310-482-6313, referencing case #081424066. Continue reading “Playa del Rey home burglary suspects caught on camera”

Pt. Fermin claims two more victims this afternoon – one fatally

In two unrelated incidents, two men were found at the bottom of San Pedro’s Point Fermin cliffs today, in what LAPD believes to be suicide attempts, according to the Daily Breeze.

A police chopper spotted the first body today around noon, and when fire and paremedic crews arrived they stumbled across the second body. One man is reported as having died, while the other is in critical condition.

Carlos Es at Life on the Edge writes:

It’s been crazy down here in Pt Fermin, apparently 2 people have tried to commit suicide. One is dead. Police say the 2 are totally unrelated. It’s been nothing but chaos outside my house with 6 helicopters in the sky and a dozen fire trucks, paramedics, etc.