Tag Archives: UCLA

David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee

OK, first off, who even knew that David Lynch made coffee? I mean, I’m a David Lynch geek from way back, and even I had no idea that the multi-talented Lynch also roasted his own blend of gourmet coffee! Wow…so cool.

Anyway, my friend Ginger and I literally stumbled upon David Lynch Signature Cup coffee in the Book Soup booth at this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Apparently, Lynch had been there earlier in the day signing copies of his book on meditation, “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity”, which had just come out in paperback.

Seeing that stack of Lynch books with the little “signed copy” stickers totally threw me. Wait, whaaa? David Lynch was here at the Festival…signing books while Ginger and I waited in line for the Alicia Silverstone cookbook signing? Are you kidding me?! Urgh…damn you, Cher Horowitz!

Of course, it wasn’t really Silverstone’s fault. The Festival of Books printed catalog and website is almost impossible to decipher and Lynch was just one of many cool author events we missed that day. Thanks, Los Angeles Times!

Anyway, back to the coffee. So, right beside the pile of signed meditation books at the Book Soup cash wrap was a tiny pyramid of David Lynch Signature Cup coffee cans. Seriously, I just about died. I mean, right there before me was the perfect marriage of two of my lifelong passions…movies and coffee…in a darkly-beautiful, collectible can to boot!  How insanely awesome!

I immediately purchased a can of the Organic House Blend — David Lynch Signature Cup also makes an Organic Espresso and Organic French Roast Decaf — and popped that thing open the minute we got home. I didn’t make the coffee for a few more days, but, I just about died (again!) at what was inside the can. Nestled beneath the bag of coffee beans at the bottom of the can was a very cool “Eraserhead” coffee coaster!

Like the nerd that I am, my first thought was: “Wow, I wonder if the other coffee flavors have different coasters! I must buy them all!” Cooler heads prevailed and I decided to try the coffee first. And thank God I did, because that shit was nasty! Blech…watery, flavorless, probably one of the weakest cups of joe I’ve ever had. I tried making it several different ways too…regular drip, press pot, blended with a darker roast…but it always tasted the same.

If I had to pick a Lynch film to describe that gunk, I’d probably go with his bloated, big-budget disaster “Dune”. I know that sounds harsh, but, I was expecting something dark and murky, like “Twin Peaks”, but what I got was straight-up “Dune” in a cup. Only, you know…wetter.

So, if you’re on the market for a groovy collectible coffee can and “Eraserhead” coaster, by all means, order yours today! But if you’re looking for great gourmet coffee from a great filmmaker…keep on waiting.

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Diddy Riese Cookies & Ice Cream

OK, I know I just complained about how much we hate hospitals, but, that said, there was one thing that made going to UCLA Medical Center every other day for the last month bearable. Actually, I guess there were two…one was seeing and spending time with Laura and one was Diddy Riese Cookies & Ice Cream.

I don’t know how we managed to live in Los Angeles for 18 years and not know about this place, but, thanks to Laura’s hospitalization, we finally discovered what just might be the best deal in town. Thanks, Laura!

Located in the heart of Westwood since the early-80’s, Diddy Riese don’t just sell fresh-baked cookies and ice cream in a variety of flavors, but they also smash said ingredients together in a tasty ice cream sandwich for you for the low, low price of $1.50. Yep, you heard me…$1.50!

As expected with a deal like this, you do have to wait in a long-ass line, but, trust me, it moves hella fast, and the wait is so totally worth it. The cookies are great, the ice cream flavors kick ass and that crazy-low price makes everything taste even sweeter going down.

So, though valley-dwellers like us might pay a whole lot more than $1.50 in gas just getting there, Diddy Riese is definitely worth the trip. Deeeelicious!

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Time flies…

I know it’s only been a month since I posted something new, but, let me tell ya…it feels like it’s been a frigging year. I don’t know what y’all have been up to, but this has been one seriously long-ass month around here, amigos.

On April 1st (which was my birthday, for anyone still shopping for gifts) my sister-in-law, Laura, was hospitalized for what at first looked like a stroke. As if that wasn’t scary enough, it turns out that the stroke was brought on by a rare neurological condition called Moyamoya Syndrome. In the simplest terms — which are the only one’s I can wrap my unscientific mind around — Moyamoya is an inherited disease that causes certain arteries in the brain to become constricted which can often lead to blockages and strokes. When the main arteries get blocked, they sometimes generate tiny offshoot blood vessels that resemble a cloud of smoke in X-rays, hence the name Moyamoya, which translates as “puff of cigar smoke” in Japanese.

Once the doctors realized what they were dealing with, Laura was moved to UCLA Medical Center where she sailed through brain surgery like a bad ass and is now in the rehab wing across the street. It will be a long road to a full recovery, but she is already way further along than most people are at this stage, so we are  all very optimistic. And did I mention how punk she looks with a rad, half-shaved head? Awesome!

Anyway, the good news is that, if all goes well, Laura will be coming home on Friday to complete her rehab from home in Glendale. Yay! I’m sure she’s dying to get back to some semblance of normality and being home will totally help in that respect. Hell, I think she’ll be happy to just have her own Tivo back!

And of course we’ll all be happy to be done with hospitals, not to mention that obscenely over-priced parking structure at UCLA! I’m sorry, man, but hospitals suck so bad. And trying to keep Greta from touching every shiny, germy surface in sight when we visit is next to impossible. Urgh, I practically bathed her in hand-sanitizer that first week we visited.

So, as things ever-so-slowly ramp back up to normal, or the “new normal” as my brother Ryan calls it, I just wanted to thank everybody out there for bearing with us as we completely abandoned our blog. Sorry…

And as far as the month of April goes, I usually love you, baby, but you kinda sucked this year…here’s hoping May is a whole lot better for everyone. Most especially for our favorite little puff of smoke herself, Auntie Laura. Get well soon, sweetie…we love you!

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Padma Lakshmi @ Festival of Books

On Sunday, my friend James and I made the long trek down the 405 to attend this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. While Christine has worked the festival for the last several years — manning her rocking Library Store booth — neither James nor myself had ever actually been to the Festival of Books.

I guess it’s one of those L.A. things you always say you’ll do and never end up doing — kind of like the L.A. County Fair, which Christine and I did memorably attend two years ago…rock on, deep fried snickers! — so this year, when we learned that the smoking hot “Top Chef” host, Padma Lakshmi was going to be spicing up the festival’s culinary stage, we knew we had to go.

And not only was Ms. Lakshmi going to be signing copies of her best-selling cookbook “Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet: A World of Recipes For Everyday”, but she was also going to be cooking as well…so, wow…how could we lose?

And even though we left the valley way later than we should have — if there had been traffic, we would have been so screwed — James and I ended up arriving just in time to see the fetching Ms. Lakshmi take the stage.

Taller and way funnier — not to mention hotter! — than she is on TV, Lakshmi started with some questions from the crowd. Our favorite was the query posed by an adorable little red-haired girl who asked: “What was your favorite thing you ever ate on the show?”

Smiling, Lakshmi admitted that, hands down, her favorite dish was the Fideos with Clams and Saffron prepared by Season 2’s eventual winner, Ilan Hall on the Santa Barbara episode. Ironically, Lakshmi joked, Ilan was also responsible for creating her least favorite dish of all time, the stomach-turning Fried Chicken Liver with Chocolate Ganache.

Another amusing moment came when a fan asked Lakshmi the name of her favorite place to eat in Los Angeles. Not missing a beat, Lakshmi smiled and answered: “My Mom’s house!” Wow, not only is this woman smart and beautiful, but she loves her Mom too…perfection.

Lakshmi then read some hilarious non-cooking passages from her book before firing up the burners onstage and launching into a cooking demonstration with a delighted fan from the audience.

And though we couldn’t sample the Mushroom and Goat Cheese Flautas or the Fresh Mint and Date Dipping Sauce she paired with them — probably due to some other new ordinance passed by anti-foodie Gloria Molina — they looked and smelled amazing.

Then, while Padma took a couple more questions from the crowd, James and I joined the already daunting line at the book signing tent nearby.

Despite the sweltering heat earlier in the day, things had begun to cool down at this point, so the wait wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. And quicker than you can say: “Please pack your knifes and go” we were having our pictures taken with Ms. Lakshmi while she signed our books.

But the best part came later when we noticed a sweet-faced, Indian-American woman hanging out in the signing tent next to Padma’s. She seemed to know Ms. Lakshmi very well, so, putting two and two together, I asked her if she was Padma Lakshmi’s mother…and guess what? She was.

My inner geek surging to life, I then asked this poor, unsuspecting woman if she’d mind signing her picture in Padma’s book for both James and myself. I know, stalker much? I’m surprised she didn’t call security on our fat asses.

Blushing wildly, Padma’s mother agreed to sign our books. And though she didn’t like the picture of herself I chose for her to sign, she found a better one on the same page and not only signed her name, but also posed for the picture with James below. Whoa…two Lakshmi’s in one day? Awesome!

By the time we were finished, the sun had begun to set on the Festival of Books and it was time to meet Christine and her co-worker “Santa Fe” Sarah at their booth up near Royce Hall.

So, after powering through some of the more interesting booths — many of which were offering incredible “end of the festival” markdowns — and scoring a free Koran from a super friendly young woman at the “Facts about Islam” booth, we headed back to the car for the long drive home.

Books, food, brainy-hot cooking show hosts/cookbook writers and their mothers…hmm, not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

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