Monthly Archives: November 2008

Martha Stewart Apple Raspberry Slab Pie @ Costco

I don’t know what’s cooler, the fact that Martha Stewart is now making frozen pies, or, better yet, that she is selling them at Costco for $10.99! Yep, Costco, the place with the crazy-good roasted chickens and all the free samples.

Of course the old ladies in the white hats weren’t sampling this delicious Apple Raspberry Slab Pie when we were there, but after hearing Martha talk it up on her show for the last couple of weeks, Christine and I bought one anyway.

Martha Stewart Apple Raspberry Slab Pie #1

Martha Stewart Apple Raspberry Slab Pie #2

And let me tell ya, this pie is amazing! Seriously, it tasted like Martha cooked it in our kitchen that night. It was totally fresh, the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and had this incredible crust that left us dreaming about it for days. Or maybe that’s just us. Either way, I defy anyone to find a store-bought frozen pie crust this good…it will totally blow your mind.

And best of all, the pie itself is freaking gigantic. I’m talking like casserole-dish-big. I’m not complaining, mind you, but, wow, we had leftovers for days. We ate ours fresh out of the oven with vanilla ice cream, and Laura tried hers with whipped cream, which was also very good. But even cold, days later, that pie was positively drooltastic.

So, if you’re looking for something a little different for this year’s Thanksgiving feast, I’d say Martha has the pie for you, amigos. And if you really wanna be sneaky, chuck the box and the cool recycled paper tin it cooks in and tell your guests you made it yourself.

But make sure and leave some time for baking, because this tasty slab pie takes one hour to cook and another whopping hour to cool before serving. You don’t know how tempted we were to cut into thing at the forty-five minute mark, but hey, if Martha says to wait an hour…we listen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

10 Comments

Filed under Eat

Clifton’s Cafeteria, Los Angeles

Located at 648 South Broadway, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Clifton’s Cafeteria is the last of a once thriving chain of depression-era cafeterias. And though I had never been there before, Christine, having worked downtown for so long, is something of a Clifton’s veteran.

Clifton's #1

So, when our friend Ginger said she wanted to eat somewhere “a little different” on her last visit, we knew exactly where to take her!

Founded in 1935 by Clifford Clinton, the crazy cool Clifton’s is actually known as Clifton’s Brookdale and is designed to resemble a giant forest scene. Having spent several summers as a young man in the Santa Cruz Mountains — my home turf, right on! — Clinton wanted to recreate the magic of a beautiful redwood forest indoors. And, man did he ever!

Clifton’s Brookdale has a 20 ft. waterfall and stream, stuffed and mounted moose and deer heads, a log cabin and even a fishing grizzly bear. And as if that’s not enough, there is also a tiny cave-like chapel — yes, I said chapel! — where you can sit in front of a diorama of a forest and listen to a scratchy recording of “The Parable of the Redwoods”. So cool!

Clifton's #2

Clifton's #3

Clifton's #4

And with a vast selection of cafeteria staples to chose from, the food is just as varied as the decor. Of course, like most cafeteria food, it was pretty bland, and the fried chicken I had was downright deadly. Really bad stuff!

Ginger and Christine both fared much better with the macaroni and cheese and a fairly tasty sliced roast beef with au jus. But I think all three of us agreed that if we had to do it over again, we would probably eat somewhere else first, then come to Clifton’s for coffee and dessert.

Yes, amigos, it’s true…despite my ice cold skirt steak, I would totally go to Clifton’s again. If not for the food, then surely for the atmosphere, which seriously kicks ass. And aside from being a kitsch-lovers paradise, Clifton’s is positively gigantic. I’m not kidding, you could explore it for days.

Clifton's #5

Clifton's #6

Clifton's #7

To start with, Clifton’s is a whopping three stories tall. Yep, three stories of faded, backlit nature photos and fake trees! Awesome! And though the third level was closed to the public that day, the manager kindly let me sneak up there with my camera for some quick pics.

Much more refined than the lower two levels, the third floor has kind of a vintage ice cream parlor meets red-walled whorehouse thing going on that is really groovy. There are tons of cool mementos up there too, not just from Clifton’s Brookdale, but also from it’s far sexier cousin, the long lost Clifton’s Pacific Seas. Man, wish we could have seen that place in it’s prime!

Clifton's #8

Clifton's #9

So, if you find yourself downtown with a couple of hours to kill, you gotta check this joint out. Seriously, there is no place in Los Angeles like it.

Clifton’s is open seven days a week from 6:30AM to 7:30PM, for directions, menu and parking information call: (213) 627-1673.

3 Comments

Filed under Eat

“Urban Light” @ LACMA

Still playing catch up with my blogging duties this week, sorry. But did wanna tell you guys about a really cool outdoor exhibit that Ginger and I came upon a couple weeks back while cruising Wilshire Boulevard.

"Urban Lights" #1

Located just outside the spanking new Broad Contemporary Art Museum — an expansion of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) next door — this impressive light sculpture is by legendary performance artist Chris Burden.

Entitled “Urban Light”, Burden’s sculpture incorporates more than two hundred vintage Los Angeles County lamp posts. Cool, huh? And though LACMA and the Broad keep pretty conventional museum hours, Burden’s sculpture truly comes to life when the sun goes down.

We drove by at 2:30AM and, I kid you not, you could see those gorgeous lamp posts glowing from blocks away. With no traffic to speak of on Wilshire — except for these two crazy-ass joggers we kept running into — stumbling upon these ghostly lights in the middle of the night was kind of magical.

"Urban Lights" #2

"Urban Lights" #3

I’m sure it looks pretty cool during the day too, but, I’m guessing this is something best viewed at night. So, if you live in the area, check it out! And if you don’t, well, come on down…

4 Comments

Filed under Do, See

“Australia”

OK, let me start by saying that Christine and I were huge fans of Baz Luhrmann’s last movie “Moulin Rouge!”. The music, that crazy dramatic story, Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman singing in a giant elephant, what’s not to love? Almost any way you look at it, the movie kicked ass.

AUSTRALIA #1

So, when we went to a WGA screening of Luhrmann’s latest widescreen epic, “Australia”, on Friday night, we had pretty high hopes. Unfortunately, the movie did not deliver on many of them. It’s not that “Australia” is bad, because it’s not, in fact there are some really cool things in it, but overall the movie is a bit too bloated for it’s own good.

The biggest problem for me was that in trying to recreate his favorite sweeping epics from the past — “Out of Africa”, “Gone With The Wind”, “Giant”, etc. — Luhrmann lost sight of the things he does best. And though he infuses the film with plenty of crazy camera angles and editing, and his patented love-it-or-hate-it slapstick humor is all over the place, the movie as a whole is shockingly conventional. And for someone with Luhrmann’s unique talents, that is very disappointing indeed.

And though much of the dialog is extremely cheesy and almost painfully corny in spots — the first half hour of the movie is so obnoxious that we almost walked out, seriously, it’s mind-numbingly lame! — the movie has some very cool scenes, and stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman have never looked better.

AUSTRALIA #2

AUSTRALIA #3

In fact, they look so good that it’s kind of distracting. Kidman is at her shiny, china doll prettiest in this movie, which is cool, but a bit hard to swallow when she’s supposedly out there wrangling cattle in the outback. And Jackman’s costumes are so fetishized in some scenes that it’s almost laughable.

I mean, really, what self-respecting Aussie drover would be caught dead in those tight-ass, low rise jeans? And in 1939? Please! I get it, I mean, Jackman is hot and rugged and all that, but wow, there are so many shots of his enormous package and bounce-a-quarter off it ass that you’d think Tom of Finland was Luhrmann’s co-director. It was kind of crazy…

But all that said, the cattle drive portion in the middle of the movie is really cool and totally unique and the Aboriginal child actor who plays Nullah, newcomer Brandon Walters, was also pretty fantastic. And his narration, though difficult to understand in spots, definitely ads to the impact of the movie.

So, overall, not a great film, but definitely not the worst movie you could see this Thanksgiving weekend. And if you like your movies big, loud, and packed with Aussie stereotypes — seriously, Jackman says “crikey” so many times it’s like he’s channeling Steve Irwin or something — “Australia” is the movie for you.

AUSTRALIA #4

AUSTRALIA #5

After the movie, we stayed for a brief Q & A with Luhrmann and one of his co-writers, Stuart Beattie (“Collateral”) which was interesting, but totally dominated by Luhrmann’s strange ramblings. He was cool, but, wow, kind of a nutter if you ask me. Let’s just say I can see why he burned through three co-writers on this movie…yikes.

That said, I was a bit bummed that they cut the Q & A short because I wanted to ask about the rumor that they shot seven different endings for the movie (yep, you heard me, seven!) but seeing as the film itself was over two and a half hours long, I understood the moderator’s need to move things along.

Plus, after sitting in that theatre with a bunch of sweaty screenwriters for over three hours, crikey, even I was ready to go home! Whew…

9 Comments

Filed under See

“Slumdog Millionaire”

OK, I know I said I’d blog about all the fun stuff we did with Ginger over the last few days, but after seeing director Danny Boyle’s new movie “Slumdog Millionaire” at a screening last night, I had to blog about that first because, well…this movie is freaking incredible!

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE #1

Christine and I have been huge Danny Boyle fans for years — we have seen every feature he’s directed except for last year’s sci-fi epic “Sunshine” and his first big flick “Shallow Grave” — and while all of his movies have been amazing, I gotta tell ya, “Slumdog Millionaire” is arguably his finest moment as a filmmaker.

One of my favorite things about Boyle’s movies is the way they so effortlessly balance hysterical humor and totally gut-wrenching drama, and, trust me, the heartfelt, beautifully-crafted “Slumdog” has both is spades.

I don’t want to spoil too much by telling you what it’s about — you really have to experience this thing for yourself, preferably on a big screen! — but essentially the movie takes place during a frantic two-day period in the life of the titular Mumbai slumdog, Jamal Malik (an astonishing Dev Patel) as he appears as a contestant on India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”.

As the drama of the game unfolds, the movie flashes back in time to fill in the hilarious, touching and often painful series of events that brought a penniless Indian street urchin to the hot seat of the biggest game show in the world.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE #2

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE #3

Like “Trainspotting” and his lesser-known “Millions”, Boyle’s “Slumdog” pulses with life and moves along at a breakneck speed with a soundtrack that will totally blow your mind. Seriously, we were looking for it online the minute we walked in the door. It’s not available yet, but, wow…it kicks ass!

And while the cast is uniformly excellent — no doubt due to the superb job done by his co-director, legendary Indian casting director, Loveleen Tandan — the non-pro child actors featured in the flashbacks will totally rip your heart out. I shit you not, amigos, these kids are incredible.

And with a sparkling, award-caliber script by “The Full Monty” scribe Simon Beaufoy, and breathtaking cinematography by frequent Boyle collaborator Anthony Dod Mantle, this movie truly soars above almost everything else we’ve seen so far this year.

But perhaps the highest praise came in the form of the crazy-loud cheers that arose from the crowd — at a screening no less! — during key moments in the film. Seriously, that shit never happens during award season, and with a crusty old Academy crowd? Never!

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE #4

So, if they dug the movie enough to cheer each of the actors names in the super cool closing credits (yep, they did that too!) just imagine how much you’ll love this movie. “Slumdog” opens in limited release today, so check it out!

13 Comments

Filed under See

L.A. Loncheros Community Forum

First off, sorry for being away for so long. Our friend Ginger was in town this weekend and we kept ourselves way busier than usual with tons of totally blogworthy adventures. And while I am chomping at the bit to blog about them, have been way too busy to even post our pictures to Flickr yet, much less blog (or sleep!), so, it might take a couple of days to get back up to speed. Sorry!

In the meantime, while Christine and I sleep off our “staycation” hangovers, wanted to alert los locals about a super cool Taco Truck Community Forum that is taking place this Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Loncheros Community Forum flyer

Organized by La Asociación de Loncheros L.A. Familia Unida de California — I know, talk about a mouthful! — the event is geared towards updating the taco truck community and their many fans about recent developments in the ever evolving Taco Truck War of 2008.

And while all that sounds kinda cool, the big selling point for this street taco fanatic is located in the fine print at the bottom of the flyer…FREE FOOD! As you all know by now, nothing gets my fat ass out of the house faster than the promise of free food, and free taco truck food…hell, I’m thinking about camping out tonight to score a good place in line!

Thanks to our compadre Aaron Sonderleiter at Saveourtacotrucks.org for the heads up on this rocking event. Call the number on the flyer above for more info and if, by chance, you happen to grab a place in line ahead of me, I am totally cutting in line to stand with you when we get there. You know, if that’s cool with you and everything…

Either way, que viva los taco trucks!

2 Comments

Filed under Do, Eat

A night for the record books…

Holy crap, what a freaking night! Not only did we elect our first African-American President ever, but we did it with record numbers! I mean, shit, last I heard, L.A. County had an 83% voter turnout this year. Amazing!

Barack Obama on election night #1

And even cooler than the turnout and the positively epic results was the totally electric vibe in the air last night. Seriously, everywhere Christine, Ryan, Laura and I went in our pursuit of election night freebies — and as you can see from the pics of Tiny O, we made the rounds! — the winds of change were in the air, baby.

People were excited, happy, smiling, it was like everyone in the country got out there and voted for change and then went out there and scored some free food to celebrate. And what a celebration it was!

We were actually mid-way through our happy hour priced meal at the Daily Grill in Burbank when the news came over the airwaves. Our man had won…and even the McCain-Palin-loving chatterboxes at the next table could not dampen the spirits in that joint.

I swear to God, tiny bar food hamburgers never tasted so sweet as they did at that moment…wow. And though we were stuffed to the gills by the time the bill came, we still had enough room to swing by Krispy Kreme on the way home — we hit Ben & Jerry’s before we ate — to score some free donuts.

Barack Obama on election night #2

Barack Obama on election night #3

Barack Obama on election night #4

And as we ate our piping-hot donuts and listened to Obama’s kick-ass speech on the radio on the drive home, we knew that no matter how bad our heartburn was in the morning, we were gonna wake up smiling…

Rock on, President-Elect Obama, rock on!

2 Comments

Filed under Do, Eat