Los Angeles What you have to say about everything LA! http://www.lunch.com/losangeles <![CDATA[ Walking on Water]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Gr...merica_s_REAL_Team.html) are four titles in front of their closest rivals, the nine-time champion Chicago Bears (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Ch...218883-Da_Monsters.html) and eight-time champion New York Giants (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Ne...at_Giants_They_Are.html). As for Major League Baseball, come on! You have the 27-time champion New York Yankees (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/baseball_team/U...to_Wear_the_Iconic.html) lording over absolutely everyone else for miles. The only other team in the league with a double-digit number of World Series titles is the Saint Louis Cardinals (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...e_Good_in_Baseball.html) who only won their tenth title in 2006 and their eleventh last year.

In the NBA, the Boston Celtics (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...-The_Big_Green_Men.html) would seem to have everyone else begging for mercy with their 17 titles. But the Celtics are actually feared by precisely no one right now. True, they've won more titles than any other team, but the Los Angeles Lakers could definitely give them a hell of a run. The Lakers are one of the oldest and most storied teams in the NBA. They were formed way back when the NBA was two separate leagues, the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League. The NBA considers the BAA its official forerunner, though, so the NBA's official record has a bad habit of simply erasing the one title the Lakers won in 1948, before the two leagues merged. If the NBA would let them keep that one title, the Lakers would have 17 titles on the record themselves. As it goes, however, they unfairly have to settle for being behind Boston by one for the moment. Although, with Boston slipping more and more lately and the Lakers always excelling, it might not be long before the Lakers hold the lead in titles themselves. They also have 31 conference titles to add, which means there are 14 other times the Lakers went to the Finals and lost.

The Lakers actually don't have quite as long an existence in the NBL as one might assume. They were formed in 1947 as the Minneapolis Lakers when a couple of businessmen decided to buy a recently disbanded team called the Detroit Gems, another NBL team; rather, they bought the equipment since, with the Gems looking like they were out forever, the players had all been distributed to other teams by then. Then they moved the team to Minneapolis and, inspired by the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" nickname the state of Minnesota goes by, gave them the new name Lakers. They spent their first days balling at the Minneapolis Auditorium and Minneapolis Armory. Since the Gems had the worst record in the league, the Lakers had the first pick in the dispersal draft, which they used on George Mikan, the most dominant center of the time. Mikan led the team to the NBL title in their first season, switching to the BAA the following year and winning the title there too! The next year brought the merger, and the Lakers won it all again! That initial title streak was finally stopped by the Rochester Royals in 1951.

Those oldest Laker teams featured Mikan and Jim Pollard, Slater Martin, and Clyde Lovellette, and all those guys are in the Hall of Fame. You would think a team with that many players would be great fun and exciting, but see, the thing is, back then the sport of basketball didn't have a shot clock. As a result, a game could randomly turn into a big, boring game of keep away. That's what happened on November 22, 1950, when the Lakers lost the lowest-scoring game in NBA history to the Fort Wayne Pistons by a score of 19-18. That game was later a factor in the shot clock's creation, and unfortunately for the Lakers, when the shot clock was created in 1954, they had two things going against them: One was George Mikan's retirement. The other was the fact that they suddenly had to adjust to a whole new method of playing basketball that no one was used to. The Lakers got so bad, they coaxed Mikan out of retirement for the 1956 season. His play wasn't up to his old standards, so he re-retired halfway through, but the Lakers went to the playoffs anyway, so it wasn't all bad. They were booted from the first round by the Saint Louis Hawks. Without Mikan, the Lakers experienced the very same results the next year.

Mikan was always the face of the Lakers by that time, though, and so the team, in need of a calling card, decided to un-retire him yet again, this time to coach. To say something nice about that experiment, Mikan was a shitty, shitty coach. After going 9-30 for the 1958 season, Mikan quit for good, leaving the team with the original coach, John Kundla. The schedule expanded, but the Lakers were all of 19-53 for last in the league, and you know what that means - first draft pick! With the first pick, they chose Elgin Baylor, the first of many all-time greats to don the purple and gold in the shot clock era. In 1959, Baylor led the Lakers over the Hawks, finally taking them into the Finals, where the first major confrontation of their long rivalry with the Boston Celtics was created when the Celts beat them in four straight. The Lakers proceeded to lose to Boston in the 1962, 1963, 1965, and 1966 Finals as well, always the victim of the Red Auerbach dynasty that won eight in a row.

Mikan being a team face, attendance started dropping after he hung up his sneakers. The team was almost sold to investors in Kansas City and moved there before Bob Short bought the team and kept it in Minneapolis. He wasn't able to find a way to cure the team's financial ills, though, and when baseball's Brooklyn Dodgers (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...ers_of_Los_Angeles.html) moved to Los Angeles and became a big time Hollywood success story, Short was well aware of it. Since it was basketball in 1961, no one in Minnesota made any effort to keep them. They decided to hold on to their now-nonsensical name. The move wasn't the only change the team made, either. They also hired a new announcer in Chick Hearn, who held the post for 41 years; a new coach in Fred Schaus; and a new point guard in Jerry West. For those who don't know, the player likeness silhouetted in the NBA's official logo is Jerry West. They don't do things like that for bench players. For the next four years, both West and Baylor finished among the league's top ten in scoring. They kept bringing the Lakers to the Finals, only to see them lose to the Celtics.

With Baylor aging, the team made a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...25-A_True_Original.html) for Wilt Chamberlain in order to counter their mighty center, Bill Russell. They went to the Finals in 1969, faced the Celtics, and were considered the better team by a considerable margin. They still lost. They went back to the Finals in 1970, and for the first time, it looked like they had an advantage in not having to face Boston again. No, this time they played against the New York Knicks (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...he_New_York_Groove.html)! They… Lost. Again. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks in the following Finals and lost to them, too. For those keeping count at home, that made eight Finals losses in ten years. The other two years account for years the Lakers didn't get that far.

Nine games into the 1972 season, Baylor finally accepted the fact that he was too battered and bruised to get any further and help his team. He retired. That turned out to be a case of monumentally bad timing, because the evening of his retirement, the Lakers immediately began a run of 33 straight wins, the longest winning streak of any professional sport in the United States. They went on to win an outlandish 69 games, a record which stood until the Chicago Bulls (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Ch...atest_Bullfighters.html) broke it over two decades later. Los Angeles led the league in scoring, rebounds, and assists, went to the Finals, faced the Knicks again, and finally beat their Finals hiccups to claim their first title since 1954, their first title as the Los Angeles Lakers.

Baylor, sadly, was only a very small part of that title. The Lakers returned to the Finals in 1973, but the ravages of age were catching up to Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, and the team fell. Chamberlain retired after that and West only stuck around for one more year, and the Lakers hit the bottom. In the meantime, the Bucks had this really awesome center named Lew Alcindor, who had led the Bucks to their first (and to this date, still their only) title. He changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar upon his conversion to Islam, something he did for cultural purposes - his family was brought to the US by slaveowners named Alcindor, and they had been Muslims. He never said said anything bad about the city of Milwaukee or its people, but he did believe it couldn't meet his cultural needs, so he needed out and would only accept a trade to the Lakers or Knicks. The Bucks obliged, although they didn't get much in return. That tends to happen when the only teams you can trade with don't have anyone all that awesome.

With Kareem as the new center, the Lakers spent the rest of the 70's middling. They did well, but were never a real threat. The most memorable moment to the team was when Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich ran on court to break up a fight between Laker Kermit Washington and Rocket Kevin Kunnert. Washington saw Tomjanovich running at him out of the corner of his eye and instinctively thought he was running out to attack, at which point he clocked Tomjanovich, who needed a lot of reconstructive surgery. In 1979, the Lakers managed the first pick of the draft, and they used it on a Michigan State player who had just won the NCAA Championship. That player, Earvin Johnson, went by the nickname "Magic" and was expected to help Kareem carry the team. After what felt like a thousand years of Finals frustration and all those conference titles culminating in just one title since the old Minneapolis days, Showtime had now begun in LA!

Kareem and Magic led a solid core of athletic, talented players like Bob McAdoo, Norm Nixon, James Worthy, and Byron Scott. From 1980 to 1989, the Lakers won eight conference titles. In 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988, those conference titles were followed by NBA Titles. In 1984, 1985, and 1987, they also came face-to-face with their old Finals foes, the Celtics. Although the Big Three Celtics were led by Larry Bird, the Lakers took the title in 1985 and 1987. Magic/Bird became one of the great player rivalries in league history. The two of them were always pushed to greater heights by each other, and their one-upmanship fights created an entire base of new NBA fans which helped the league - which was cash-strapped as recently as 1980 - begin to thrive the way it does today.

1988 was the beginning of the end for the Showtime Lakers, even though they won the Finals against the Detroit Pistons that year. The Lakers returned to the Finals the following year, but with age overtaking a lot of the core players, they lost the Finals to the very physical and brutal Pistons team they had beaten a year earlier. Showtime's final swan song was in 1991. They went to the Finals again and cleanly overmatched by a younger, up-and-coming dynasty which went on to dominate the 90's: The Chicago Bulls. The following year, Magic Johnson came out and announced that he had been diagnosed with HIV. Back then, HIV and AIDS were different. No one knew about them, and no one talked about them, and people who had them were treated like pariahs. Magic became the face of HIV, and being one of the league's classiest players, made it his mission to educate everyone he could about the virus. They said he would be gone within a few years, but Magic is fortunately still with us even after 20 years. Back then, though, the lack of education forced him into retirement, thus closing the Showtime era.

The 90's were a nondescript period for the Lakers. With them gone, the Western Conference vied and jockeyed itself over who would earn the right to go to the Finals and get killed by the Bulls in most years. Save a yearlong comeback from Magic, the Lakers were relegated to the same back of mind as the Celtics: Teams who had lost to them a lot in the past were abusing them. Relief came in 1996 when they traded Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...hese_Hornets_Sting.html) for their first round draft pick, a Pennsylvania high school senior named Kobe Bryant. They also added center Shaquille O'Neal, a free agent coming off a powerful stint with the Orlando Magic (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...-Oh_oh_it_s_Magic_.html) and Derek Fisher from the draft. A year later, Robert Horry was brought in by trade from the Phoenix Suns. The next year, Rick Fox in a trade with Boston. The talent kept coming, and to make it really click, the 2000 season brought in the entrance of coach Phil Jackson, fresh off six titles with the Chicago Bulls and already one of the greatest coaches in NBA history!

Beginning in 2000, the Lakers won three titles in a row against the Indiana Pacers (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use..._in_Middle_America.html), Philadelphia 76ers, and New Jersey Nets respectively. For the 2004 season they signed Gary Payton and Karl Malone, on their farewell tours and looking for their final chances at rings, being victims of Michael and the Jordanaires during their best days. The Lakers were outwardly looking for a title that year, and assembled that team for the sole purpose of winning one. They came close too, going to the Finals before falling to a Detroit Pistons team which surprised everyone. Detroit had no talent that year at all, except for coach Larry Brown. Jackson retired after that, but un-retired a year later.

Shaq and Kobe got into a nasty spat later, which resulted in Shaq's departure to the Miami Heat (http://www.lunch.com/reviews/sports_team/Use...mer_Heat_is_Brutal.html) where he won his fourth ring. The Lakers muddled for a bit mostly because no one was sure about Kobe Bryant, whose image had taken some dire hits for a sexual harassment lawsuit which was eventually dropped because the woman turned out to be making it up. It seemed like there was a new report on how pissed off he was every other day, and there was always speculation on what team he would depart for as a free agent or be traded to. Kobe apparently learned from all that, though, because he emerged a much stronger and more level-headed leader. In 2008 the team was back in the Finals, where they renewed their rivalry with Boston again, and lost to them again. But they returned the next two years, playing against Orlando in 2009 and Boston again in 2010, winning both matches. And Kobe has become the player everyone hoped he could be.

I've accused the Celtics and Heat of being the Yankees of basketball, the former by virtue of titles and the latter by virtue of talent acquisition. It's the Los Angeles Lakers who fit the bill of the basketball Yankees over anyone else, though, because they have both. Besides Kobe, they spent this past offseason grabbing Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. In 2004, they tried the same approach with Payton and Malone. Nash and Howard still have gas in the tank, though, so it could work this time.

Besides, look at the list of names that have graced the Lakers: James Worthy, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson. That's a damn good all-time roster they have, and those names don't even begin to scratch it. They're the most valuable team in the NBA, and the most offensively spectacular - they've made their name on flash and glitz and glamour. Celebrities agree, and the Lakers are the chosen team of the rich, famous, and fabulous of Hollywood. Jack goddamn Nicholson is on the sideline every game, and he seems to be the guy who sums up Laker fandom more than anyone. The Lakers have had a million fantastic, talented, exciting All-Star players and all-NBA teamers.

The Lakers rivalry with Boston is one-sided. The Lakers have lost all but three Finals appearances against the Celtics. Currently, they're undergoing a surge of new rivalries against the powerful San Antonio Spurs, as well as the Suns, their two main divisional rivals. The Celtics rivalry is a lot fun and makes for great theater, though, because these two teams have won half of the total NBA Championships given out.

I personally hate these guys. Yes, I'm a diehard Yankees fan, but that's a legitimate territorial claim that even I find bemusing. There's no excusing the Yankee-like way they take the league's talent and crush all comers, which is why the Boston Celtics are seen as such an antidote. Like the Yankees, they're a worldwide corporation that seems to want to own everyone and everything. They're insufferably corporate. But, like the Yankees, the history and stories are amazing, and I rate them highly because of them. The colors of the Los Angeles Lakers are purple and gold, which are the colors traditionally associated with royalty. And the Lakers are most definitely royalty.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/sports_team/UserReview-Los_Angeles_Lakers-282-1388104-227875-Walking_on_Water.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/sports_team/UserReview-Los_Angeles_Lakers-282-1388104-227875-Walking_on_Water.html Tue, 28 Aug 2012 20:21:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Carmageddon Quick Tip by djevoke]]>
I have no idea why they need to shut down the entire freeway for a whole weekend- haven't they heard of doing a little at a time and shutting down only one or two lanes? Luckily, there's fifty million freeways or backroads to get you where you need to go to in LA. Also, luckily, I've lived there before and know these alternate routes. I feel bad for all the summer tourists that have no clue what they're in store for this weekend.

Hopefully, I will survive Carmageddon this weekend!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Carmageddon-282-1750559-210406.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Carmageddon-282-1750559-210406.html Sat, 16 Jul 2011 20:48:06 +0000
<![CDATA[ Gus's BBQ: Serving up Southern Style food in Los Angeles]]>
Gus’s BBQ has been a mainstay in South Pasadena since the 1940s. It was the place to go to satisfy a craving for reasonably priced cocktails and old fashioned BBQ. You could almost be guaranteed to find any number of the local colorful characters at the bar in the back, and patrons from high chair days to senior citizens dining in the main room and front dining areas. All of this small town class was threatened when Gus’s underwent a change of ownership and renovations in 2008, and my friends, mother and I feared the worst. I smugly resisted the revamped Gus’s, focusing my attention on my other favorite bbq joint, Robin’s. However, for some reason or another, in 2010 either hunger, curiosity or an empty wallet got the best of me and I joined my mother in crossing enemy territory.


Well, hell’s bells. It was good. Damn good.


We’ve gone back half a dozen times and I’m trying to branch out with other dishes. Here are the highlights of my most recent visit to Gus’s Barbecue:

 


Chicken Fried Steak


Order: Chicken fried steak with country gravy, creamed corn and garlic mashed potatoes.
Verdict: Amazing! I never had CFS before, and this one set the bar very high for future orders. Their gravy was home-comforting wonderful. The garlic mashed potatoes, while good, were definitely not garlicky enough for my liking (I should have probably told the waitress that I am not afraid of lots of garlic) and the creamed corn was a sweet side treat. Its consistency was neither gelatinous nor soupy, but an ideal combination.

 


Fried Chicken at Gus's BBQ


Order: Fried chicken with a side of apple cider gravy, garlic mashed potatoes and braised Southern greens.
Verdict: While the chicken was moist on the inside, crispy heaven on the outside, the potatoes weren’t garlicky enough to really warrant being called “garlic mashed potatoes” and the greens were too bitter to consume. The gravy was too tangy/apple-vinegar tasting, leaving a sour-sweet rather than rich gravy taste. My suggestion to get the greens more palatable is to saute them in garlic oil.

 

Chicken and Waffles


Order: Fried chicken and waffles with syrup.
Verdict: Heavenly balance between savory and sweet, exactly what my sister was going for. Generous portions of cornflake fried chicken & golden toasted waffles gave her enough leftovers for another meal.

Notable mentions: The Fremont Burger, red skin potato salad, Old Fashioned Cobb salad, BBQ shrimp salad, homemade milkshakes and the beer braised Texas brisket sandwich.

Upon closer inspection, Gus’s IS still family-owned and operated, just not by the original family. The new owners, however, sport a grade-A resume with the additional ownership of Tops, a mainstay in American diner food in Pasadena. Their dedication to keeping top quality fare flowing from Gus’s kitchen is sure to keep me coming back for more. PS: I was relieved to see one of our towns more colorful curmudgeons slinking out into the windy, dark night, warmed only by booze and the comfort of knowing Gus’s is still a welcome refuge for the waywardly weird.

Gus’s Barbecue
808 Fair Oaks Avenue
South Pasadena, CA 91030-2606
(626) 799-3251

 
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http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/place/UserReview-Gus_s_Barbeque-282-1715346-203311-Gus_s_BBQ_Serving_up_Southern_Style_food_in_Los.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/place/UserReview-Gus_s_Barbeque-282-1715346-203311-Gus_s_BBQ_Serving_up_Southern_Style_food_in_Los.html Tue, 8 Mar 2011 20:05:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ Nice Little Place, Good Food!]]>
With that said, Hudson House. Growing up in the South Bay and living in Los Angeles my whole life I've probably driven past this place a million times. I'll be honest, I didn't know it was there and I always thought to was a rundown dive bar. In fact it probably was at one point and now it's all nice. Anyways, I ended up at this fine establishment this past weekend only to find out I was wrong all along. The second I walked in I was blown away at how nice it was inside. It was small but it worked. I could see there being an issue if it was crowded, but I was there on a Friday night and was able to find a place to sit within a few minute. 

They have a pretty good menu of drinks as well as a long list of beers, Racer 5 included! Being that they served food and everyone we spoke with said the food was great we decided to try it out. So what's better than Beer Battered Cauliflower Fritters? I've had these before at Sophie's Place in Redondo and they were okay, but Hudson House can pull them off. Looking around the steak looked really good and they have a Pretzel Burger that made my mouth watter just looking at it. 

My only downside to this place is the size, but you can get past it once you have a seat, and the way they fill their drinks to the top with ice. As long as you're sticking to beer you'll be fine. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Hudson_House-282-1715298-203307-Nice_Little_Place_Good_Food_.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Hudson_House-282-1715298-203307-Nice_Little_Place_Good_Food_.html Tue, 8 Mar 2011 18:13:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ Malibu Wine Country?]]>
Upon arrival to Malibu Wines, I was in shock at how beautiful is was there. Their tasting room is all outdoors with long bars and tables around a really cool meadow like area. You can see the vineyards up on the hills across the road. They were pouring Saddlerock Ranch and Semler Estate wine. I recommend the 2002 Semler Cabernet Sauvignon. After tasting we decided to look for another winery. We quickly jumped on our iPhones and started calling around. We ended up at the Cornell Winery and Tasting Room.

This place was great! It was a small tasting room where you could taste different wines from around the Malibu area and up to Santa Ynez. The people working there were super friendly and very knowledgeable about their wines. After tasting I bought a bottle and headed next door to The Old Place Restaurant. Because I bought my bottle at the Cornell Tasting Room there was no corking fee. We meet the owner, Tim, who was a really cool guy, He had worked in the wine industry since he was a kid and you could tell he loved what he was doing. My recommendation for food here is the Rosemary Herb Pale Ale Chicken. Really good and the baked potato was to die for. They even hooked us up with some cobbler thing for dessert.

I'd highly recommend taking a little day trip up to Malibu for wine tasting. The industry there is young, but I'm telling you, this is going to be the place to go in a few years. The people are really nice and are happy that you're there. Tell them Ryan sent you!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Malibu_Wine_Country-282-1712594-202927-Malibu_Wine_Country_.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Malibu_Wine_Country-282-1712594-202927-Malibu_Wine_Country_.html Tue, 1 Mar 2011 18:38:53 +0000
<![CDATA[The Cat and Fiddle Quick Tip by GlassofWin]]> http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Cat_and_Fiddle-282-1695542-200679.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Cat_and_Fiddle-282-1695542-200679.html Thu, 3 Feb 2011 20:02:19 +0000 <![CDATA[ The Cat and Fiddle]]> I met up with my pal Steffie and her beau at LACMA one day and afterward we headed to Hollywood for an early dinner at The Cat and Fiddle, a place that Steffie’s beau, a bona fide Brit, wholly endorses. Situated on Sunset Boulevard, sitting back from the noise and grime of the street is a tranquil courtyard perfect for outdoor dining. We ate inside where the decor is English pub-centric, though not football hooligan over the top. There is an area for darts and a stage for their live music nights, typically Sunday and Thursdays.

 


The Cat and Fiddle


Steffie ordered macaroni and cheese with peas, bacon and mushrooms while her beau and I each ordered the chicken and mushroom pie with steamed vegetables and fries (for Kris) and mashed potatoes (myself).

 


Macaroni and Cheese - Cat and Fiddle


Steffie enjoyed the mac and cheese and let me have a few bites to judge for myself. The macaroni (or pasta) in question is penne style. Very cheesy and rich, though I could do without the bacon. Stef is too much of a bacon purist to due without it.

 


Chicken and Mushroom Pie


I was careful to ask the waiter if canned mushrooms are used for the pie, which they are thankfully not. Anyplace that uses tin mushrooms does not get my business. I enjoyed the pie – though I was surprised that the chicken and mushroom mixture came in a ramekin with no actual pastry shell or bottom. This bummed me out just a bit since the top shell was extraordinary. I mixed the mashed potatoes up, added a little HP sauce (I wasn’t fond of the gravy) and ate it all up.

 


Chicken and Mushroom Pie - innards


Prices are a little steeper than what I am used to for Brit pub fare, but the quality holds up and the portions are nice. HP sauce available for purists. I’m not promising anything, but you may spot a rocker or two here as The Cat and Fiddle’s roots lie in rock and roll with its co-founder Kim Gardner. Learn more about The Cat and Fiddle from the link below.


The Cat and Fiddle
6530 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 468-3800

 
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]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Cat_and_Fiddle-282-1695542-200614-The_Cat_and_Fiddle.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Cat_and_Fiddle-282-1695542-200614-The_Cat_and_Fiddle.html Wed, 2 Feb 2011 06:35:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ Good place to watch the Laker game.]]>
Barney's to me would fall somewhere between the pub and the classy sports bar, but with outrageous menu. Oh and you can get wings. Everything from breakfast to salads to sandwiches. They've got it all, as well as a large variety of beers. I'm a fan of Racer 5 and I usually get that at their Santa Monica and Westwood locations. So in all, if you're coming for food and drink you won't be bummed and I'd say they have reasonable prices.

I've only been to 2 of their locations, the one in Santa Monica and the one in Westwood. If you're going to watch a game, I would highly recommend the Westwood location. They have a huge high def projector screen right above the bar surrounded by a bunch of smaller flat screens. It's the place to go to watch a game. I was able to watch the Laker game while watching soccer, golf, NASCAR, tennis, horse racing, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Rickey Bobby. Yes, they show movies as well!

The one downside to Barney's Beanery for me was the service. I've been to the Santa Monica location multiple time and the Westwood location once. I've never been happy with their service. It might be that they are mad that our group usually buys drinks only, but hey that's business so I don't know what's their deal. Most of the time when a restaurant has bad service it's just one of the waiters or waitresses, but no, I've yet to have a solid waiter or waitress at Barney's. 

Overall, I would recommend Barney's, especially the one in Westwood. Usually filled with UCLA student grabbing a drink and watching a game. Even though their service need work, I can look past it and have a good time!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Barney_s_Beanery-282-1660399-199514-Good_place_to_watch_the_Laker_game_.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Barney_s_Beanery-282-1660399-199514-Good_place_to_watch_the_Laker_game_.html Tue, 18 Jan 2011 17:51:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Grilled Cheese Truck]]> Food trucks are the latest craze here in Los Angeles and it’s been my goal to try out and report back on as many food trucks as I can.

 

Grilled Cheese Truck

First up is the Grilled Cheese Truck, which showed up for the Sweet Streets 2 opening reception outside of gallery nucleus in Alhambra, a city roughly 10 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles. Being relatively close to me, plus I was already set to go to the event, I finally had the opportunity to really make a foodie adventure out of the evening.

Firstly, the line was insane; but that is to be expected with popular food truck fare on a weekend evening and admittedly, it was my own stubborn foodie mentality that kept my friend and I in that line. I will not hold the line against the Grilled Cheese Truck except to say that it should meet the high expectation that a line only rivaled by a Disneyland ride can muster. Sadly, this ain’t Space Mountain.

When it was finally our turn, I stepped up and ordered exactly as so:
“One mac and cheese melt, one brie melt and one dessert melt. And a soda, please.”

Though the area was crowded it was not so loud that the employee could not hear me. I used my credit card and the receipt that required my signature did not itemize my order.

When our order was finally up about ten or so minutes later, I took our food over to our coveted planter makeshift seats and handed my friend her order. I ordered the brie melt for my friend, a devout vegetarian. The brie melt which is automatically without meat. The brie melt that you have to ask for turkey and be charged for it. The brie melt that they put meat on and charged me for it.

While I am sure they are good people and would have refunded me and made the correction, we were too tired from having waited in a 90 minute line to disrupt and bother the patient people who were still waiting. We would have held up that line by at least another 10 minutes, and it would have been unfair to punish them for another person’s mistake. Instead, I took the meat out of the portion that had the least of it and gave it to my friend, plus half of my mac and cheese melt.

I tasted the other half of the brie melt with the meat on – and promptly took the meat off. The turkey was positively revolting; I don’t know what brand they use or how long it had been out. It was, to say the very least, not good. Sans meat, the brie melt was OK but I could hardly taste the pear and honey it boasts.
 



The brie melt with the turkey $6.75 | $7.75 with meat


The mac and cheese melt was an improvement, and even my friend who isn’t particularly fond of macaroni and cheese, complimented it and said it was her favorite out of the three. Mine, too.

mac and cheese melt | $5.50


The dessert melt, (Nutella, bananas and marshmallow fluff) while a promising idea, was mediocre in execution, being thin and dry. We couldn’t even finish it.



dessert melt | $6.00


Overall, it was a disappointing, overpriced experience and one that I do not care to repeat. Given that I can make all of these easily (and confidentially more sufficiently) at home, I will be saving my money and moving on to another food truck cuisine.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Grilled_Cheese_Truck-282-1641593-197659-The_Grilled_Cheese_Truck.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Grilled_Cheese_Truck-282-1641593-197659-The_Grilled_Cheese_Truck.html Wed, 22 Dec 2010 18:42:27 +0000
<![CDATA[ 2 Words: Haunted Zoo.]]>
Once we arrived to Griffith Park there was hardly any parking. We had to park in an overflow lot that was about a mile walk away. I didn't really mind the walk, but I could see how others would. We got there about 9PM so I figured the place would be pack. When we walked up to get in line and the line was relatively short. I guess you could pay an extra $10 to not  wait in the line, but to be honest with you the 20 minute wait was totally worth it because they had haunted scarecrows and some masked man scaring the people in line which was fun to watch.

Once you get to the front of the line, getting freaked out starts immediately. You get locked in a cage for a few minutes then the next thing you know you're sitting in a trailer filled with hay being pulled behind a tractor into a misty wooded area, AKA HOLY CRAP!!!

The ride is actually pretty fun and scary. The actors/monster come right up to the trailer and scare the crap out of you. It pretty creepy driving around the old zoo and when you mix in creepy beings it getting even freakier. 

I would recommend checking out the Haunted Hayride if you don't mind spending the money. The cost seemed reasonable in the beginning, $25, but in the end I felt it was a little overpriced. To me the ride was just getting awesome when it abruptly ends. It's a situation where you think to yourself, this cannot get any crazier and your right, it doesn't. It just ends. Also there's nothing else to really do there. I guess there is a haunted maze you can walk through, which we didn't and there is a weak carnival with a few kid rides that I wouldn't even recommend walking through. 

In all the Haunted Hayride has a ton of potential. If they made it a little longer and added some other attractions and things to do around it it would make the trip up to Griffith park totally worth it!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/business/UserReview-Los_Angeles_Haunted_Hayride-282-1658922-191929-2_Words_Haunted_Zoo_.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/business/UserReview-Los_Angeles_Haunted_Hayride-282-1658922-191929-2_Words_Haunted_Zoo_.html Mon, 25 Oct 2010 17:16:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Dog Agility Quick Tip by donna_r]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifewithdogs/reviews/d/UserReview-Dog_Agility-24-1453985-84176.html http://www.lunch.com/lifewithdogs/reviews/d/UserReview-Dog_Agility-24-1453985-84176.html Wed, 4 Aug 2010 21:46:04 +0000 <![CDATA[2010 NBA Finals Quick Tip by theKENnection]]> http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-2010_NBA_Finals-282-1481623-62855.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-2010_NBA_Finals-282-1481623-62855.html Wed, 30 Jun 2010 12:15:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Dog Agility Quick Tip by DevonCook]]> http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Dog_Agility-282-1453985-58532.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Dog_Agility-282-1453985-58532.html Tue, 15 Jun 2010 18:27:13 +0000 <![CDATA[ Needs to Be Put Away For Life]]>
It will be a travesty if he gets anything less than the 35 year maximum.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Joran_van_der_Sloot-282-1471847-23070-Needs_to_Be_Put_Away_For_Life.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Joran_van_der_Sloot-282-1471847-23070-Needs_to_Be_Put_Away_For_Life.html Tue, 8 Jun 2010 13:32:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Joran van der Sloot Quick Tip by MichaelN]]> http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Joran_van_der_Sloot-538-1471847-57944.html http://www.lunch.com/Politics_Your_Way/reviews/d/UserReview-Joran_van_der_Sloot-538-1471847-57944.html Sat, 5 Jun 2010 15:30:47 +0000 <![CDATA[ Dog Agility Training - Fun for You and Your Dog!]]> Do you want to have a well-behaved and relaxed dog who pays attention to your commands and is a joy to be around?  One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is to teach them agility.  Both of my dogs have gone through agility training after having received basic dog training and, hands down, agility training is one of the fastest ways to teach your dog to watch and listen to you.  And it’s a tremendous amount of fun, to boot!

Dog agility is a fast-growing sport that is becoming more and more accessible everywhere in the country.  You can find training rings pretty much anywhere these days.  Many dog training centers now offer basic agility training, as well.

There are all sorts of agility tricks you can teach your dog in your back yard with a portable agility kit.  If you like competing, you can take part in many of the agility matches that happen throughout the country.  You may have seen some of the competitions on Animal Planet or other sources.  Animal Planet has links to many, many online videos of dogs doing agility – some are awe inspiring, some are funny, and all are delightful to watch.  Even if you have no interest in competing, agility training is an amazing sport that does so many things for both you and your dog.

Portable Dog Agility Tunnel

Dog Agility TunnelAs a new dog owner, here are just a few of the great advantages I found in training my dog to run agility obstacle courses:

  • They learned to watch my every move and they wanted to do what I asked them to
  • I learned about how dogs read body language and have learned to use it more effectively.  (In fact, both of my dogs are much better at responding to visual body cues than they are to spoken commands!)
  • The dogs get tired both physically and mentally because they have to pay such close attention to your commands
  • I got in great shape from running the track and learned a lot about economy of movement.  (And laughed a lot when either my dogs or I did something silly.  You can get a lot of laughing in when you’re running around a rink with your dog!)

Here’s a little video that shows some of the first steps you can take to begin to teach your dog that basics of agility.



If you are a handy type, you can make your own agility equipment out of PVC pipe using plans available online.  Being the lazy type, I prefer to use the ready made portable agility kits.   They're lightweight, easy to put together and take apart, and the ones offered The Camping Dog Supplies site come with carrying cases.

Many kits come with several basic agility obstacles - jumps, a hoop, a tunnel and weave poles.  My only concern about the portable kits is that some of the obstacles, such as the tunnel, tend to be a little short for a large dog.  But if you've got a medium-sized dog, these kits are just great.  If you haven't ever tried this sport, do!

There are tons of training resources online that help you get started.  It's so much fun!  Your dog gets tired quickly and so do you.  It's the best exercise ever for both people and their dogs.  Try it!

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Dog_Agility-282-1453985-21849-Dog_Agility_Training_Fun_for_You_and_Your_Dog_.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Dog_Agility-282-1453985-21849-Dog_Agility_Training_Fun_for_You_and_Your_Dog_.html Tue, 11 May 2010 22:41:03 +0000
<![CDATA[Vintage Expo in Santa Monica Quick Tip by AlanaJoy]]> http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Vintage_Expo_in_Santa_Monica-282-1444704-56201.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/d/UserReview-Vintage_Expo_in_Santa_Monica-282-1444704-56201.html Wed, 21 Apr 2010 04:47:14 +0000 <![CDATA[Best Sunday Brunch]]> http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/Lists-282-2125-Best_Sunday_Brunch.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/Lists-282-2125-Best_Sunday_Brunch.html Wed, 21 Apr 2010 04:36:34 +0000 <![CDATA[ Planespotting at LAX]]>
LAX might not rank high in passenger satisfaction (although I would disagree) but when it comes to planespotting it is unmatched. LAX has arguably some of the best vantage points and spots to gaze, watch, identify and take photos of your favorite commercial planes. I'll share some really great spots.

In-N-Out
This is probably the most famous spot to watch planes land on runway 24 at LAX. The planes literally hover over the famous LAX In-N-Out and are so close you can make out the pilots and see some passengers. This is really a great spot. 

Imperial Hill
This vantage point lies on a park alongside the other end of LAX on runway 25. This spot is so cool because you can see literally the whole runway 25. Planes land and take off right in front of you. Another cool thing is that when cargo planes land imperial hill is right in front of the cargo plane unloading docs and you get really, really close to the planes as they fix themselves to unload their cargo. 

It's really hard not to find a really cool spot to watch planes at LAX. There are several other secret spots at LAX such as the proud bird restaurant and Flight Path aviation museum to name a few but these 2 spots are where you'll find some really cool action at LAX. LAX...for me it's the best planespotting airport in the world. 

 

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/product/UserReview-Los_Angeles_International_Airport-282-1642797-20492-Planespotting_at_LAX.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/product/UserReview-Los_Angeles_International_Airport-282-1642797-20492-Planespotting_at_LAX.html Fri, 2 Apr 2010 03:59:48 +0000
<![CDATA[ My idea of heaven in Los Angeles...]]>
I hopped off the bus in Chinatown and decided to walk down Broadway, since I'd never been through LA's Chinatown.  It reminded me of home (San Francisco) with all the smells, small statues of Buddha, countless fountains and people blocking the sidewalks to peer, ever so hesitatingly, into another culture.

Arriving at Grand Star Jazz Club, which is impossible to find unless you know where it is because it's hidden in the back of a plaza, I ran into a DJ and a promoter friend of mine that looked as if they just stepped out of a high end spa. They had grins from ear to ear, even if they looked a tad exhausted. Ahhh....I know the feeling. 

I got to the door and pulled out my canned good donation (this allows you to get in free), the guy told me that ladies are free but, I told him I wanted to donate it anyway. What am I going to do with Chef Boyardee in my purse? I also gave him a few dollars, he looked confused and I explained that I really appreciated what they were doing. The canned goods go to LA Rescue Mission. This event perfectly balances my love of vinyl and humanitarian aid, anything I can give to help out, I will.

Once inside, I was overwhelmed as always with the countless records just waiting for me to look through them, so I decided to work my way toward the DJ booth where my friend DJ Michelle Q was spinning funk. Taking a deep breath, I dug into the soul crate (a box that holds vinyl records) and found rare edition Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and good ol' Stevie. Oh...what is this? A rare edition Run DMC 12" for only $13. Kid-N-Play's "2 Hype" for $1.99?!?

Overall, I spent $75 and walked away with 20 records. An average of $3.75 a record, including Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, a record of Sugarhill remixes of old school jams, Old Skool Funk and so many others.

If I hadn't been out the night before, I would've saddled up to the bar where they serve drinks to people that are of age for a very reasonable price. It averages $5 a well drink and $3 a beer.

Walking outside, I joined Michelle and a bboy (breakdancer) dancing in front of turntables spun by DJ AC the PD with an MC rapping over a Latin funky track. The smell of BBQ hung in the air mixing with the positive energy of the day reminded me of block parties when I was a kid.

So, if you love vinyl, listening to LA's most talented DJs, BBQ, block parties, breakdancing, hip-hop, local clothing companies and artists, and so much more, welcome to the pearly gates called Beat Swap Meet.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/bar/UserReview-Los_Angeles_Beat_Swap_Meet-282-1381141-6131-My_idea_of_heaven_in_Los_Angeles_.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/bar/UserReview-Los_Angeles_Beat_Swap_Meet-282-1381141-6131-My_idea_of_heaven_in_Los_Angeles_.html Wed, 18 Mar 2009 00:29:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ Boisterous beery bean entertainment]]> Pros: Alcoholism on display, massive beer selection, interesting atmosphere

Cons: Alcoholism on display, perhaps too many beers, can get rather noisy

Effort duplication is a terrible thing. I wrote about Barney's Beanery in passing a relatively long time ago -- see "Drinker's Guide to Los Angeles," http://www.epinions.com/trvl-review-51D0-E58F092-37FAD33B-bd4

This is what I had to say about Barney's at the time:

Barney's Beanery [Hollywood]: An "institution," albeit one that needs to clean their beer dispensing equipment more often. Wildly large selection of beers, bottled and on tap, available. Entertainment includes karaoke and lingerie shows, yet still manages to attract a moderately respectable clientele. Food is hit and miss but mostly hit for bar food. Ditto service. Last report is that staff tells you about the no-smoking law while handing you an ashtray.

More detailed notes are called for here:

The current smoking practice seems to be to passively allow it in the bar area only, or to ban it entirely. Depends on what phase the moon is in...

The food is classic sop-up-the-alcohol stuff: it's not a place to eat while sober, unless you're big into weird chilis and various forms of grease. That said, they do do a bang-up job with American bar food. For once, the menu isn't limited to wings, burgers and fries.

Beer selection: huge. Beer: hrm. Apart from the aforementioned issues with dispensing -- perhaps inevitable with that much beer -- the bottled beers are a bit suspect. They stock Canadian beers even I have never heard of, which is...astounding. The problem here is that there's probably me, and six other people in the city, who want to try obscure Albertan beers. Just how fresh is this dusty bottle...?

That said, the service, while sometimes more than a bit slow, is usually polite and I have no doubt that they'd replace your beer if it was skunky.

Patrons are invariably drunk -- very much so -- and run the gamut from skanky Hollywood hipsters to old rummies to regular folk. Women can wear sweatsuits and get hit on here, so beware.

All in all a grand old time, albeit not a fancy one. An excellent place to take people visiting the city, too.



Recommended:
Yes]]>
http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Barney_s_Beanery-282-1660399-192632-Boisterous_beery_bean_entertainment.html http://www.lunch.com/losangeles/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Barney_s_Beanery-282-1660399-192632-Boisterous_beery_bean_entertainment.html Thu, 27 Jan 2000 12:00:00 +0000