Sunday, May 29, 2011

Big Sky Morning

I was greeted by a beautiful sky during my morning walk today.   I used to wonder why the two sections of L.A. are so different - the SFV and the "city" side of L.A. - but I don't really wonder that anymore after living on both sides of the hill for many years.  A short slideshow is after the jump.


Friday, May 27, 2011

The Bear Pit

Oh boy, I was looking forward all week to going to The Bear Pit.  I hadn't been there in at least 20 -- more likely 25 -- years.  As a kid, I would go there with my mom, dad & sister and I think it was probably my favorite place to go to dinner.  (The BBQ beans, man -- I mean I remembered exactly how they tasted).  I was so excited - were the beans the same?  Were the bears still there painted on the wall?  Was the sawdust on the floor?  So today comes and we're all excited - my two boys, my wife and me - and I got off work early, and it is a gorgeous afternoon.   We get there, walk in and bam!  It's like I was back in time 30 years ago.  I got the baby back ribs, with slaw and fried potatoes (not french fries, literally whole little fried potatoes).  And of course the beans.  I'm not normally one for ribs, but here you gotta go all in.   Yum freekin' yum.  K was disappointed in her BBQ turkey sandwich -- the turkey wasn't marinated in the sauce, it just came on the side.  The kids, however, loved their chicken nuggets.  And most importantly - we all had an absolutely great time continuing a great family tradition.  More pictures below the jump.  [Note - if you're wondering why there's no pictures of the actual food it's because the moment my dinner was put in front of me I started wolfing it down....]

The Great Divide

You know, I just found this sign located on the Sepulveda Pass absolutely fascinating.  According to the sign, to the south is the 405 Freeway, and to the north is the San Fernando Valley, and to me they seem to be equivalized in a weird way.  One way leads to a large, diverse and geographically distinct area, and the other way is a freeway (never mind that freeway also runs through the entire valley and also leads you to another large, diverse and geographically distinct area -- Los Angeles).  Now it's at an intersection whereby going left indeed takes you to an entrance point to the SFV and going right puts you onto the 405.  So it's not equalizing in a practical sense.  Still though -- kind of seems a bit of a dig to the south half of Los Angeles.  That way is the freeway.  This way is the SFV.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Some historic L.A. Eateries

I started thinking about historic L.A. Eateries, and thought I'd post a few items about them.  Of the three, two of them are in the Valley but I couldn't help but add Musso & Frank in Hollywood, we'd drive from our home in Studio City over Cahuenga to get there, it really wasn't that long of a trip.  It just feels like part of my experience growing up in the Valley.  Actually, it's only now as an adult that I've come to appreciate what a good location Studio City is in.

Musso & Frank Grill has been around since 1919.  I saw an entry on Blogging LA about it and am now feeling the urge to go.  I remember going there as a little kid, with my family, often with my maternal Grandmother.  She used to get sweetbreads to which of course I thought "YUCK"!  (I still think that).  I would always get the ground beef steak, and nothing else.  It's a grand old place that I need to take the family to.

Miceli's has been around since 1949.  There's two - one in Hollywood and one in Studio City - of course  I would go to the Studio City one all the time as a kid.  The thing about Miceli's is the bread rolls, I don't think I've ever had better.  The pizza is the floppy, thin, fold Brooklyn-style kind that I can scarf all night.  And they have live singing throughout the restaurant, which is decorated like well, an old Italian village.  The whole thing is pretty schmaltzy, but as I'm thinking about old school restaurants this one is one of my faves.

The Bear Pit in Mission Hills was probably my absolute favorite place to go -- it's been around since the '40s and is still there, and I really want to go back.  I haven't been there in probably 25 years and it's funny, I don't remember much about the food, but I do remember the sawdust floors and the delicious BBQ baked beans.  Hope it's still the same.

Then there's the places that I just absolutely loved, but are no longer here -- Amber's Chicken Kitchen (Encino), Victoria Station (up at Universal Studios), Hampton's Hamburgers (in Burbank).   Shame they're gone...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tapia Bros - farm right down the street

Tapia Bros is a family farm right on Hayvenhurst and Burbank - it's really close to our house.  I used to come here as a kid when it was known as Maria's Corn Stand, and it's a treat that I can bring my kids here so easily.  Tapia Bros opens from around April to November, and it's a joy to walk down the street and buy fresh, locally grown strawberries, green beans, tomatoes, peanuts, peaches, white cherries, etc. etc. etc.  We went over there today and picked up a few things.  But that's nothing compared to the corn - which should be coming next week.  Tapia Bros is especially known for its corn, both the white and yellow kind.  It's so richly sweet you really understand why so many sweeteners are made from it.  I can't wait.  In the meantime, below is a photo of this Valley gem, and a little slideshow is after the jump.