Hidden Gem: 94th Aero Squadron

Last Friday my friend took me out to a fantastic little place for Happy Hour nestled next to the Van Nuys Airport called The 94th Aero Squadron. As we’re driving through an industrial park to get there I’m a little leery but when we pull into the parking lot there’s a bi-plane parked in the front yard of a beautiful ivy covered building. Completely out of place from were we’ve just been driving and totally takes me off-guard. We walk into the place and it’s covered in old war paraphernalia like a TGIF out of the middle of a World War. When you walk up to the bar there are giant windows overlooking the runway. And by that I mean you’re about 100 feet from the planes taking off and landing. Sadly it was a super windy day ad the planes were taking off from the opposite end of the field. My friend said she got totally star-struck when Larry Flynt’s plane taxi’d by their table the week before ;-) I saw a few Coast Guard Blackhawk’s taking of and what looked to be a Russian Mig rolling around.

Like I said it was Happy Hour so we dug into the free noshables and ordered the GIANT appetizer sampler platter while we downed our cabernets and margaritas. There were just 3 of us total and it completely filled us all up to stuffing. OMG, the coconut shrimp were AMAZING! After a few glasses of wine my friend went over and chatted up an old guy at the “Pilot’s Only” table, which turns out actually is for pilots only. The staff was great and the vibe was chill. Before we left our waitress told me to go check out the banquet room which was made up like a blown out house overlooking the back patio where a band was just getting settled in for a long night of cover tunes. I’ll be going back there quite a bit I for-see. Definitely a hidden gem in the valley.



The restaurant is located at 16320 Raymer Ave in Van Nuys and you can find more about them at the The 94th Aero Squadron website. Hope to see you at Happy Hour!

You Can Take the Girl Out of Van Nuys…

Carl Raether's photo used through Creative Commons license

It’s been a long while since I have posted. Among other reasons (a bone-crushingly heavy work load, ennui and existential despair…) I have the lucky excuse of having been in Paris for a bit. Yes it was cold–a Jack Londony, Fargo-ish kind of cold–but heck, I’d rather freeze my ass off in Paris than be warm and toasty a lot of places.

And the food! Happily one of my foodie friends here, who lived in Paris for a couple of years, had sent me a meaty email with advice on where to get the best macarons (Ladurée) and falafel (Chez hanna) and steak-frites (Relais de L’entrecote). So, on C’s recommendation, we set out for steak at RE, a Paris institution. Steak-frites, understand, is all they serve. You can choose a dessert or a wine, but as far as a meal, they ask only “how do you like your steak?” and they are world-famous for that steak. The line, even in the cold, was long enough to extend into the middle of the street. We dutifully queued up and right behind us came an English-speaking couple, seemingly American. We got to talking and, yes, they confirmed that they were American. In fact, they were from Los Angeles. “Oh,” say I, “I’m from Sherman Oaks. Where in L.A. are you from?” The woman gets a look of consternation, hesistates, and says, “Er, we’re from just north of you.”

Which is to say, Van Nuys. Even as far away as Paris, apparently, a person will go to some trouble to avoid admitting as much.

The Other People On The Road

I just thought you might need a reminder of who might be driving next to you on the streets of L.A….

Waiting in line today at the Van Nuys DMV, I witnessed 4 people get a failing grade. To pass, new drivers can miss 6 or less. For renewals, it’s 3 or less.

From an article in last November’s L.A. Times:

When it’s time to take the California driver’s test for a license renewal, one-third of the drivers flunk the exam given in English. Among aspiring drivers who have never taken the exam before, 50% fail.

People taking the test in Spanish for renewal do even worse, with 80% flunking.

Yes, some of those wacky DMV questions can be tricky. I can understand missing a few. But, one guy missed 31 questions. 31 out of a possible 36.

Have a nice day.