Menu Mining: Gobi Manchurian at Woodland Indian Restaurant, Chatsworth

One of the things I love most about LA is the wide variety of food options available. When picking out an Indian restaurant for lunch in the West Valley, there are a range of choices: Indian buffet, lunch counter in the Sweets and Spices market, or vegetarian South Indian, to name a few. The top choice for the latter of those choices, for me, is always Woodlands Indian restaurant.

Gobi Manchurian at Woodlands Indian restaurant

More than anything else on their menu, the Gobi Manchurian is what keeps me coming back time and time again. Continue reading Menu Mining: Gobi Manchurian at Woodland Indian Restaurant, Chatsworth

A Modest, Magnificent Exhibition Of Our City’s History

You’re probably not like me and are able to cope with the scope of the massively collaborative and on-going Pacific Standard Time exhibitions that fall under the ambitious region-wide initiative’s banner. Me, not so much. With so many institutions involved, I suffer from something of a paralysis when trying to decide whether I should go to the Getty or the Hammer  or LACMA or wherever. Case in point: I literally became immobile when I just now went to the Pacific Standard Time website and a banner popped up that told me there are 42 events taking place right this moment of 10:28AM — and that may even include a Big Gulp Cup retrospective at my local 7-11.

A few weeks ago I did manage to brush my intimidation aside and pay a first-time visit to MOCA to see the cool exhibition of Weegee’s Hollywood period photographs, but — pardon the digression — then I wandered around the museum’s permanent exhibit and found this piece of crap stuck to the wall, which reinforced both my abject disdain for “contemporary art” and my urge to punish whoever curated it with an extended indian-burn session to the forearm of his or her choosing.

Detail from the 1938 Kirkman-Harriman map depicting Los Angeles County in 1860.

So instead of getting all wound up trying to eenie-meanie-miney-mo to which big box the next I’d go, instead I brought along my inner map geek and together we ventured yesterday to the first floor galleries of the Central Library downtown where I spent an extended segment of the afternoon marveling at the selection of kick-ass cartography displayed as part of  its “As The City Grew: Historical Maps of Los Angeles” exhibit.

The 34 maps arrayed go back to the mid-1800s and offer an awesome and up-close glimpse back into our city as it was and as it became. Unlike the aforementioned contemporary bullshit I encountered, some of the maps are true and intricate works of art, and I would highly recommend paying them a visit whether you just find yourself in the library’s vicinity or are in between far better-decided visits than mine to the myriad Pacific Standard Time venues.

WHERE: Los Angeles Public Library, Central Branch, 630 W. 5th St, 90071
WHEN: Through November 4, 2012
COST: Free

Castles in the Sky

Spirited Away

Cartoon-loving Angelenos are in for a treat: American Cinematheque is putting on a retrospective at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, running from this Thursday (26 January) through the middle of next month (12 February).

The American Cinematheque Presents
Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata and The Masters Of Studio Ghibli
A 14-Film Retrospective Featuring New 35MM Prints
of Studio Ghibli Classics including SPIRITED AWAY and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO

Much like recent US-made films Up and Wall-E, I think Studio Ghibli’s work appeals to viewers young and old alike. Find more info about the films being screened and the dates at the American Cinematheque site. Goldstar already has half-price tickets for Friday 27 January showing of Spirited Away, so snatch ’em up while you can.

I Braked for Five Guys Burgers

El Segundo Five Guys
Five Guys El Segundo, open at night

I’m a big fan of Five Guys burgers and fries, but rarely make the trip down to Carson. So it was a nice surprise at about 9:30 the other night, after a day of negotiations down in the South Bay, to be driving up Sepulveda Blvd. just short of LAX and to see the red and white Five Guys sign on the east side of the road. A quick maneuver into the parking lot, and more luck as Five Guys was open until 10 p.m. I saw, I scarfed. It’s in an office park-nice little shopping plaza with a courtyard and outdoor tables.

Five Guys also has other locations, and planned locations, in and around the Los Angeles area. Of these, the El Segundo outlet may be the most dangerous for me. The In-N-Out Burger just on the other side of LAX may have better views, but I’m partial to Five Guys’ food.

Pathtastic! Newly Discovered Bike/Ped Access In Burbank

In the past Burbank’s given me a couple big opportunities to balk at how that city’s done bicyclists wrong. The first time was major in the mid-2000s when its council responded to resident outcry that more bikes would somehow equal more traffic and more crime and roundly rejected what had been an already approved and funded route plan connecting the LA River Bikeway with the Chandler Boulevard Bikeway. The second was a couple years ago when Burbank political and law enforcement officials overly sympathized with a noisy contingent of Chandler Bikeway pedestrians who demanded that police officers should have nothing better to do than devote their limited resources to speed-trapping and citing all of us speeddemon cyclists who imperil the pedestrians’ entitled (and in some cases: irresponsible) use of the bikeway.

But on a trip to Burbank and back by bike this week, I have nothing to say but “Bravo!” to that burg after I chanced to discover an unheralded and entirely unmarked bike/pedestrian path that was so brand-spanking new it had to have only been recently completed. Paralleling the Burbank Western Channel between Alameda Avenue and Victory Boulevard, it’s short and sweet at barely a quarter-mile in length, but it provides a serene off-street shortcut connection between the two busy thoroughfares that not only serves cyclists passing through but also the residents of the neighborhood to the north of the channel.

Here’s hoping it’s the first of more to come.

UPDATE (1.24): I received an email from Cory Wilkerson, an assistant transportation planner for Burbank, who confirmed that more indeed is to come. He wrote, “We are planning to extend the pathway to the Burbank Metrolink Station, Top Priority Project #8 in our Bike Plan. The project was funded through Metro’s Call for Project and constrcution is schedule for FY 2015.”

After the jump you can find an annotated and embiggenable Google Map screengrab of the path’s location along with two timelapse clips of rides on the segment, the first traveling from Victory to Alameda and the second coming back from Alameda to Victory.

Continue reading Pathtastic! Newly Discovered Bike/Ped Access In Burbank

Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to Trifle with. Win Tix!

Do you remember the movie Airplane?

Remember the two gentlemen who spoke “Jive?” Remember the subtitles at the bottom that translated what they were saying? Remember whenever one of them would say a certain word, the subtitle always translated it as “Golly?”

Such fun.

It’s in this spirit I would like to remind you, one and all, that The Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ to Trifle With!

(And if you haven’t seen Airplane, get your golly together and watch the trifling thing.)

In Any Case, I’m giving away Tickets to see The Wu on Saturday, Jan 21st! Wanna Go?

Email your Full Legal Name as it appears on your Legal Driver’s Licence or State ID card to [email protected]

Winners will be notified and will show said ID at the Will Call booth the night of the show to claim tickets. Protect your neck.

Wu-Tang Featuring All Original Members: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa
Saturday January 21, 2012
Club Nokia
Los Angeles, California
Show time: 9:00pm
Door time: 8:00pm
Age: All Ages+

Step to the Wu.

Continue reading Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to Trifle with. Win Tix!

It Caught My Eye: Which Way Did It Go?

Though I’m prone to pedal to and from any errands I have around my neighborhood, I opted this afternoon to take a walk around the way — one that turned into a 4.5 miler, involving the Silver Lake Library (to satisfy a jones I was having for some Le Carré), the bank, the Edendale post office, and the awesome recently opened Cuscatleca Bakery (to satisfy a jones I was having for some mango empenadas). Around the first mile I found this next in my ongoing and occasional Streetfiti series:

And though it’s on a stretch of Silver Lake Boulevard sidewalk I’ve trod upon many, many times before, it was only today that I found out the answer to where “it” went.

“13.1 Los Angeles” Half Marathon Next Sunday, Starting at Venice Beach

Runners may be distracted by the Marina Harbor views

The 13.1 Los Angeles half marathon (13.1 miles) takes place next Sunday, January 15, against “a new scenic backdrop.” The half marathon, part of the “13.1” series of races in major U.S. cities, starts at 7 a.m. at the Venice Boardwalk (Rose Ave. intersection), winds around the Marina del Rey Harbor, and ends in Playa del Rey. Area drivers should plan accordingly.

In addition to the half marathon, there will be a separate “Karhu 5k” race along Dockweiler Beach, in which racers will compete against — insert joke here — a runner dressed as the Karhu Bear. Runners who “Beat the Bear” will win a pair of Karhu brand running shoes.

Red Flag Warning and parking restrictions start Sunday 1/8 at 8AM

nifty red flagThis from the official LA Fire web site:

A Red Flag Condition has been issued for Los Angeles City.
Red Flag Restricted Parking will be in effect from

Sunday, January 8, 2012 08:00 AM
Monday, January 9, 2012 08:00 AM
until further notice.

For details by neighborhood who is in restricted parking areas for red flag days check the LAFD Web HERE.

If you want to sign up for email notice of these check the LAFD Web HERE.

Moon Shot

In case you didn’t get a chance to ogle tonight’s not-quite-full moon, here she is as seen from my Silver Lake backyard with my point-and-shoot cam pressed up against the eyepiece of my 60x spotting scope (biggable if clicked):

The actual full sphere arrives Monday night, but I snapped its almostness tonight just in case the weather conditions become decidedly less cleartastic.

Trader Joe’s Hollywood Annex

Yeah, Trader Joe’s has an annex and it’s in my kitchen. In a burst of New Year organizational energy, I tackled the depths of my main kitchen cupboard. After an hour of stacking organizing and grouping I was amazed. From the depths of my shelves, my cupboard is built really deep into the wall…came can after can of the same stuff! I’m nothing if not consistent.
Looking at the bounty, I realized, I may never have to shop again for any foodstuffs other than fresh vegies and the occasional piece of animal protein.

I was mortified at the number of unused Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce jars I had (6), jars of Hearts of Palms (5), cans of organic black beans (6) and containers of olives I had (can’t even count em).
Forget about tallying up the gross amounts and varieties of pasta, rice, and quinoa stacked in my cupboard. It’s as if I expected that the world was gonna end and I had to have a stockpile of food to hold me over until spring vegetables could grow.
So now, part of my New Year’s agenda is to make every meal use some of the canned, jarred, dried or packaged food I have lurking in my cupboards. I should be able to cook til April.
I googled Trader Joes Recipes and found some on their site, chow hound and several more. Any ideas welcomed!

I’m also planning a trip to a shelter to share some of this discovered bounty!
I guess getting out the old broom is good every once in a while cuz we all win!

Timelapse: Sunriding

It wasn’t that long ago that I was biking 6,000-plus miles a year across this city. Then came the opportunity to work from home in 2010 and all that mileage evaporated. Case in point, with the close of 2011 I’d tallied only a few miles over the 700 mark. But I kicked off however comparitively little I’ll be riding this new year on the right note, with a 20-mile ride today that started in the pre-dawn, included a meet-up with the sunrise about nine miles in and then got me home via Chinatown in time to watch the Rose Parade. Here’s that 83 minutes of pedaling condensed down to a four-minute timelapse: