Saturday, January 31, 2009

Items of Note

More real stuff coming, but this is real stuff too.

1. These are two trees on my street. Aren't they pretty?

2. This is an Ascaso espresso machine. I am desperately in love with it. Anyone have 700 dollars burning a hole in his or her pocket?

Shoot, didn't think so. (PS, this model is called The Dream. Fitting.)

3. This is 2 photos of The Golden State, taken by Tasha of Blackburn and Sweetzer. Almost ready for prime time, this hub of beer and sausage and Scoops is. She chatted a bit with Jason and Jim, the owners, last week. Check it out, along with more pictures, here.

4. This is another pair of photos taken by Tasha. She's good, isn't she? This time, it's of the Norm Maxwell Gallery, which is also on Fairfax, next door to the Golden State. She talked with Norm, the owner of the gallery, presumably around the same time she talked to Jason and Jim. He features urban art: some local, some international, some affordable, some pricey. I'm really excited about what he's bringing to Fairfax. Check out Tasha's post, with lots more photos and lots more from Norm, here.

5. This was the spread at Din Tai Fung (the new space, which is quite bright and modern and pretty!), last Sunday morning. Lots of amazing dumplings obviously, but see that near-empty plate of fried rice in the corner? Yeah, the reason it's empty? Because that humble mix of rice, scallions, and egg is magically delicious.

Dumplings are tasty, but they can be deadly. Thank goodness they come with instructions!

6. This was a wonderful winter night. Local friends and visiting friends, drinks in the lounge at Casa Del Mar (which is to say couches, fireplace, cozy), and a heated game of Apples to Apples. When it's cold outside, laughing keeps you warm.

7. This is a painting by Ryan Callis. You can find it right now at Taylor De Cordoba gallery on La Cienega. Inside the slit, it says "It's OK". Which, in fact, is true.

Okay, I think that's enough items for today.

Oh wait, one more! Check out the timestamp on this post. Friends, it's 1234-time! Go on, sing the song!


The Golden State is at 426 N. Fairfax Blvd., between Oakwood and Rosewood, and might be open by mid-February?
Norm Maxwell Gallery is at 430 N. Fairfax, just north of Golden State.
Din Tai Fung is at 1108 S. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia. Note that this address is for the original restaurant. The new space is just around the corner, behind the original. If you're going for weekend dumplings, get there before they open: a line forms.
Hotel Casa Del Mar is at 1910 Ocean Way in Santa Monica.
Taylor De Cordoba is at 2660 S. La Cienega in Culver City. Ryan Callis' works are on display there until February 14, but pretty much all of their artists are great.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

overheard on the facebooks

The people have spoken.

Panta is today we are making history!!!

Jennifre' thinks Ben & Jerry should market a Baracky Road: mocha w/ marshmallow White Houses -- except this version the nuts are finally out!

Caroline What a day, so proud of The USA.

Byron is believing this might be the best year ever.

Rick is feeling all tingly.

Jusneet is I ♥ ♥ ♥ you Obama....

Perrin made a concerted effort to always say 'George Bush', and not 'President Bush'. Now I can say President Obama... no shame, no revulsion... pretty sweet...

Michael swears Yo Yo Ma just winked at Lisa. Weird.

Rabbi Jonathan sees a "day when black will not be asked to get in back; when brown can stick around; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what's right."

Jehan witnessed history in person. DC isn't so bad after all...

Reid is happy to have an intelligent president.

Corinne is picking herself up, dusting herself off, after a looong 8 years.

David is ready for the real work to start.

Kelly finds it amusing that the only facebook friends that have anything negative to say about Obama are from the south. I knew I moved away for a reason.

Sadaf is thinking that Cheney looked a bit like Dr. Evil...

Christopher thought for sure Obama would take the oath by swearing on a stack of Superman comics.

is so happy.

Michael really loves his country.

Chris aretha's hat for president 2012!!!!

Rabbi Jennifer is inspired beyond words!

Andrea is all about ushering in new eras.

Alaleh shave, laser, wax: it is the end of the Bush era.

Its changed!!!

Danielle is wondering if there's any possible way she could stop smiling and then wondering why the hell she'd want to do that.

Chelsea is taking the faux canada cover off her passport.

Eric just read Obama's speech. Oh My God. We The People have arrived again.

Jack is grateful for the exit of the dunce.

Eyad yalla barack obama.

Scott I'm hopeful and excited.

Dave is yellow and will be mellow.

O'ryan is with friends singing the star spangled banner. What a morning!

Forest is "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal." -mlk

Beth is once again inspired!!! It's a new world!!!!

Jason is overjoyed. We have a statesman in the White House.

Elizabeth is glad to be Barackin' and rollin'!

Rachel is loving all these cali ladies bringing in obama.

Lesley loves starting off this era with so much soul.

Tannaz already has the chills. [not me.. another tannaz]

Michelle may cry while listening to the echos of pride throughout the capitol mall.

Rudy is watching with my students.

Julie is inspired to lesson plan! Really!

Nova is watching history unfold with the children who are the future of our great nation. Wow..

Ariel is crying tears of joy and for once in a long time is proud to be an american!

Bill is proud to be an American.

thanks to Forest Erickson for the 'photo'

Friday, January 16, 2009

Play With Your Food

Food is fun. Here are some links:

The Avocado Papers: Yum! Because you've got a mean hankering for a Raw Pheasant and Glass Smoothie.

McSweeney's Review of New Food: Find out what lost childhood really tastes like.

Dan's Juice Blog: It's packed with chard-apple-celery action!

Happy Friday, friends!

thanks to chotda for the photo

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's Good (Magazine)?

Can you love a magazine without actually having read it? Answer is yes. Recently, I found myself in a cloud of buzz about Good magazine, and oddly, what I was hearing had little to do with any magazine.

It started with an email about a Flickr group called Intercontinental Breakfast, in which people posted photos of their breakfasts around the world. Being a loyal fan of the most important meal of the day, obviously I was enamored.

Next, I read on Eating LA about some awesome event they were having, which consisted of a tamal-making workshop, free Intelligentsia coffee, and a bunch of other random stuff. I liked what I was hearing. When I find out about people who find significance in building community through bringing together cool people, delicious food, and opportunities to learn stuff, it makes me very happy.

But, then, in a moment of Baader-Meinhofian goodness, I found myself at Good Magazine headquarters. My friend Debra invited me to a holiday party at their space on Melrose, which turned out to be an event called SlideLuck GoodShow. It was a riff on an international event called SlideLuck PotShow, where people bring food and booze (the potluck part), and then there's art, in the form of a series of slideshows (get it now?).

The crowd was eclectic, the food and drink were plentiful (a combination of homemade foods and donated wine, teas, organic chocolate bars, ice cream, and more), and the space is awesome. One hallway houses a row of headphones hanging over chairs, where you can listen to podcasts from some of the world's young movers and shakers. The main room has a bar in the back, a custom-designed DJ booth up front, and a door to a small yard. Maps play a big role in the decor: California maps, Metro maps, Fallen Fruit maps, and a wall-sized map of Los Angeles, annotated with a bajillion stickies. There's a lot to love.

The slideshow featured some awesome images: a piece featuring kids' disturbingly emotive faces as they played video games, some thought-provoking posters from Obey Giant, and a piece based on one of my favorite books, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, among many others.

All very cool, right? But still, no magazine. Until at lunch one day during break, bff Rachel slides a copy of Good Magazine across the table to me. I glance at the page she's opened it to, and see her name. These Good people, as if they hadn't already won my affections, had interviewed Rachel about her new role producing Arabic language films for Disney. Small world.

So, here's what we learned: Good is rad. They've got so much going on, and have such a hand in the community (little do they know they're gonna get hit up for the bake sale this year!), not to mention the global community, and the magazine is just one part of it. And in fact, the magazine itself is a means to make the world a better place: pay as much as you want to subscribe, and 100% of it goes to the charity of your choosing. See? Rad. I'm excited to discover where they go in 2009. (Ready for the cheesy?) I bet it's somewhere good.

here are more photos from the night, including some closeups of the stickynote map.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Anisette: What to Feed the Person Who Eats Everything

Let's start with Annie and Eric. Annie and Eric, who smuggled fourteen cheese -- fourteen cheeses -- in their suitcase back from Paris.

Annie, whose tearful dreams of avocados and tacos lead her from New York to the Motherstate (her term) like the scent of a pie cooling on a cartoon windowsill, and who'd hop in her car at any time of night and drive to Glendora if it's strawberry shortcake season at Donut Man. Eric, who has brought home an entire half-pig (warning you, click at your own risk, graphic pig photography, pretty gross), and from the pig has created porchetta, sausage, bacon, and (again, gnarly photos ahead) headcheese. Annie and Eric, who took me to 'inoteca for dinner when I visited them in NY, then proceeded to order salads, paninis, bottles of red, one after another, then of course the decadent truffle egg toast, something like twelve cheeses, and a bottle of prosecco, all after a day spent at the Feast of San Gennaro, which, for those uniniated into the guido-ish world of Mulberry Street, is a street fair through Manhattan's Little Italy devoted entirely to stuffing your fat face until it's twice as fat. Annie and Eric are not messing around.

So, they're in town for Christmas, Annie's called on me for brunch (along with our dear friend Samantha, herself known for some late night Donut Man outings), I know we had to do it up.

Anisette. It's French, it's fancy, it did not disappoint.

Brunch at Anisette just felt great. You walk in and immediately feel the the sliver of a restaurant's sparkly ambiance. Gorgeous Frenchy details, worn red leather banquettes, a wall lined with absinthe bottles and magnums of Veuve all the way up to the lofted kitchen. Waiters rush by with trays filled with every shape of glassware -- stems, bowls, and tiny carafes. The staff were notably smiley, as were the clientele, a fact that I must say was a little disconcerting at first, considering how much we were all paying for a casual weekend brunch. But, what the hell, it's vacation. And we have New Yorkers in our midst. We went large.

I don't remember much of what we talked about, (well, other than that we had to curb the swearing, what with the adorable child next to us playing with her croque monsieur), but my goodness, we ate. With the first round of bloody Marys, mimosas, and coffee, we ordered a small basket of flaky pastries. The croissant is the only one worth mentioning, but the basket came with jams and a perfectly piped squiggle of vanilla bean butter! Heaven! Eric, being Eric ordered himself 3 oysters, and they too were well-trimmed: served on a bed of crushed ice with a tiny bowl of mignonette. The bloody Marys were notable too, for more than just their potency -- one was all sorts of savory, with mustard, horseradish, more mignonette, and giant blue-cheese-stuffed olives, and the other, called the Farmer's Market, was a cool refreshment, with muddled cucumbers and fresh dill.

But then came food, along with another round of drinks, natch. The broth accompanying Eric's mussels was velvety with a bit of cream and lots of fresh tarragon, and Samantha's eggs benedict looked fine, but the duck confit hash was the thing. Bits of dark shredded duck had the texture of the richest jerky you've ever tried: the smallest bites were slightly chewy, bigger chunks were like butter. A 'melting' duck egg sat over top, its creamy yolk seeping through the hash as soon as I broke it open. Swoony.

Oh wait, just remembered what we talked about. We were absolutely redundant trying to get Annie and Eric to move to Los Angeles. We really need to do this more often. The Motherstate needs Annie and Eric, though I'm not sure if we can afford them.

Anisette is at 225 Santa Monica Blvd., between 2nd and 3rd st. Call for a reservation: (310) 395-3200. In addition to brunch, they're open for lunch and dinner, and have a full bar.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I always really enjoy Christmas day. Unfettered by obligations to baby Jesus, I get to do whatever I want. Typically this means convening with all the other Jews in town at Nate'n Al, savoring lox, eggs, and onions (mmmm!) and vintage waitress snarkiness, after having waited an hour for a table. It's usually the prettiest day in the world, so walking through abandoned Beverly Hills, the air seems crisp and impossibly clear. One year we ran into Rachel's grandparents, who kindly footed the bill for breakfast after her grandpa regaled us with stories of what Los Angeles county used to be.* Other years, we'd see relatives, acquaintances, my family doctor, Larry King.

But this year, we were invited to a real Christmas brunch. Well, actually, I'm not sure if this is how Christmas is typically celebrated, but there was a little tree, so that counts, right? Even if half of us were Jews? Typical LA Christmas maybe? Anyway, our friends were housesitting someone's cozy (and gorgeous) house, which came complete with fireplace and lazy terrier named Gatsby. They made tons of delicious brunch food, along with mimosas and great coffee, and we lounged around in our socks and read InTouch magazine. Got catty about Top Chef contestants, talked seriously about Who Wore It Better, and learned about Kenny Shopsin, the crazy genius behind macaroni and cheese pancakes and a book called Eat Me. It happens that there are a few extraordinarily hilarious characters in the group, so we didn't need much more entertainment than ourselves (well, basketball was on too, but really who cares). Christmas, just how it was intended. Right?

*Rachel's Gramps was a one-man oral history of Los Angeles. He attended UCLA, back when the campus was downtown, and could tell stories about every detail of Los Angeles history for decades back.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Blog is Short for Backlog

Oh, people. This is what happens when you lag. When you spend your vacation irresponsibly flitting away every moment at holiday parties and dinner parties, christmas brunches, family brunches, and groggy morning after brunches, feasting on piles of seafood and piles of latkes, sipping red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, cheap wine, even though really what you should really be doing is scrunching up under many blankets and dutifully typing away on your laptop (what I am doing at this very moment, though I started far too late tonight), obviously. How stupid of me to engage in impromptu boardgame nights in the lounges of fancy hotels instead of blogging like a good girl.

Because, now, where do I begin? I'm overwhelmed. I mean, there's the amazing caramelized shallots I took to Samantha's Win, Lose, or Draw birthday party; a show-up-your-fancy-NYC-friends brunch at Anisette; the fascinating beet latkes at one dinner party; the perfectly fluffy Yorkshire pudding at another; the Christmas eve discovery of the glory that is YogurtLand, and yet another trip to yummy Marouch left undocumented. And so much more. These were 2 action-packed weeks. And I want to share the most delicious moments with you.

And I will. I promise. Slowly and steadily, peppered with stuff from before vacation even started that I still haven't gotten to (like that amazing Lebanese brunch at Pi on Sunset... how I've neglected it!), and even more fun stuff coming up (can you say raw Mexican seafood?!), which, alas, will prevent me from having time to write. Ah, does it ever end? So, yeah, bear with me. We'll get through it all. Someday.

Hope that all of you had a warm and cozy holiday, and that 2009 will be filled with light and deliciousness, and maybe it seems like a lot to ask right now, but we could all seriously use some peace.