watt’s picture of the week – sunday, august 24, 2014

big rubber duck in pedro

my pedro town had the good fortune to both host the tall ships festival and receive a visit from florentijn hofman‘s sixtyone foot tall “rubber duck” which I got to get a shot of from skipper jeff’s (you can read about the biggest hellride of his life here) “pride of cucamonga” yesterday in the main channel near berth ninetyone while I was doing an edition of the watt from pedro show (fourth one from his boat this summer!), right in front of us is the schooner “amazing grace” which sailed up from san diego to be part of the festival. behind in green is some of the vincent thomas bridge.

wienermobile-in-pedro-140823

also spotted near the duck, a wienermobile! last time I saw one was when I came to california from virginia and we got a visit at the lochmann farms dairy that was next to the navy housing I had moved to. I still got the wiener whistle the driverman gave me!

watt-oscar-mayer-wiener-whistle-140824

using one end hole to blow in, you can use the other two w/your fingers to blow that company’s tune! maybe this was my first cover?

photos by mike watt

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‘The Face in the Reeds’ Premiere at the Ruskin Group Theatre: A Passover Dinner any family could have

 Julia Arian (Rachel), Tom Berklund (Patrick), Stacey Moseley (Christina), Chip Bolcik (Barry), Paul Zegler (Sol), and Aidan Blain (Mose)

Julia Arian (Rachel), Tom Berklund (Patrick), Stacey Moseley (Christina), Chip Bolcik (Barry), Paul Zegler (Sol), and Aidan Blain (Mose). Photo by and courtesy of Ed Krieger.

Family holidays have much in common no matter what religion they are. In The Face in the Reeds, which premiered Friday night, August 22 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, a Jewish family gets together to celebrate the holiday of Passover. This is a perfect play for the Ruskin Group Theatre’s intimate stage, literally bringing the audience into the dining room to share the joys and heartbreak that surround one family’s Passover dinner.

Christina is the newest member of the family, a second wife and a recent convert to Judaism. Husband Barry is a doctor, trying maybe a little to hard to provide his family with the best. Rachael, the older daughter and a product of Barry’s first marriage, is trying to find her path in life and her sexual awakening as well as the love she wants from her family. And Mose, Barry and Christina’s son, is just trying to get past his Bar Mitzvah and onto the next step in his life. Add to this family Grandpa, recovering from a bout with cancer and chemotherapy and perhaps enjoying too much the release that medicinal marijuana gives him. Continue reading

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The Zombies / Santa Monica Pier, 8/21/14

zombies

(c) The Zombies.

The Twilight summer concert series at the Santa Monica Pier is one of the many reasons I love summer in southern California. It offers the chance to hear great music for free while witnessing the sights, sounds and smells of summer; the ocean breeze, hot dogs, popcorn, the Ferris wheel, the carousel, dog walkers, skateboarders, bicyclists; the bright lights and noise of the boardwalk games, under the sky pink with sunset.

If one needs a break from the music and the crowd, a quick escape down the stairs leads you to the beach; you can still hear the music in the distance while feeling the sand between your toes, and watching the waves advance and retreat in their endless cycle.

My husband and I made our way through the huge summer crowd Thursday night to see legendary 60′s British rock band, The Zombies. The Zombies nowadays consist of original members Colin Blunstone on lead vocals and keyboardist Rod Argent; they’ve also recruited bassist Jim Rodford (formerly of Argent and The Kinks), Rodford’s son Steve on drums, and session guitarist Tom Toomey.

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LAFW 2014 Kicks off with the “Ultimate Bites of LA”

Lobster Thermidor from Gabriel Ask of The Montage Thursday night LAFW started out with a bang. The party shut down Grand Avenue and brought chefs in from all over the city. The “Ultimate Bites of LA” tasting event presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred was hosted by chatty and down-to-earth Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot. Billy Harris emceed and DJ Dustin Fuselier was spinning it smooth but funky with the likes of Prince.

Chefs Ray Garcia and Fabio Vibiani battled it out against chefs Ben Ford and Graham Elliot in a taco challenge. Team Garcia/Vibiani emerged victorious and won 20K for the LA Food Bank! That translates into 80k meals!

The best bite of the evening had to be Braised Veal Cheeks with Black Truffle Polenta from Chef Mark Mollica of La Vecchia Cucina. Although the cheeks were braised, they had a decadent, crisp exterior. A close second was truffle-infused pasta served out of gigantic hollowed-out wheels of Parmesan from Chef Mirko Paderno of Oliverio.

There were three very different foie gras dishes. Alma, which was named Bon Appetit’s best new restaurant of 2013, went all molecular gastronomy on us with liquid nitrogen frozen bits of liver that chef Ari Taymor would neither confirm nor deny was foie gras. The restaurant that had me passionately digging into the foie like a long lost lover was B Too with Bart Vandaele’s a Canned Foie Gras Parfait with Lavender Crumble, Stella Cidre Gelee, Peach and Mint. As always, fruit paired well with the silky foie, and the gelee brought a perfect textural counterpoint. One unexpected surprise was a foie gras macaroon. The purple shade led me to believe it would be grape. The creator of the unusual bite was Stephanie Boswell of Rose.Rabbit.Lie in Las Vegas. In fact, there were a few interlopers including a tricked out Airstream from The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

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Rum was the Drink of the Day at the Tiki Oasis in San Diego

Crowd at Sip and Savor at the Tiki Oasis. Phot by Edward simon for The Los Angeles Beat.

Last weekend’s Tiki Oasis event in San Diego was a resounding event, with thousands of happy guests attending concerts, dances, car shows and more. The drink of the day, of course, was the Island staple, rum. Several symposia, rum tastings, tiki bar drinks and even a rum and cigar lounge highlighted the versatile drink. At the Sip’n’Shop, everyone got a chance to visit various vendors, from clothing to tiki mugs. Most of the vendors were pouring rum-based tiki drinks, while distilleries such as Deadhead, Lost Spirits, Mount Gay and Angostura sampled their different rums so the guests could compare them. Everyone was in a great mood, waiting in line for the next drink while talking to people in front or behind them about who had the best drinks or the best tiki glasses. Continue reading

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The Duck Stops Here!

Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

The Port of Los Angeles host the west coast debut The Netherlands’ artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck at Tall Ships® Festival L.A. The Duck made its entrance to the Port of Los Angeles on August 20th and will remained docked in the port till the 24th. Some of the previous ports the Rubber Ducky has spread its good will in are: Australia, Taiwan, China, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Pittsburgh. The celebrations will include exploration and sailing experiences on the tall ships. There will be live music provided in the afternoon and evening with lots of food trucks to experience, as you walk the pier. It’s a great experience the whole family can share and you’ll get you chance to take your own selfie with F. Hofman’s Gigantic Rubber Duck!

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Random LA: “A mannequin in a bikini will bring ‘em in!”

mannequinI can only hope she comes alive at night and fights the patriarchy.

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Sips, Savors, Shopping and Singing at the Tiki Oasis

Dressed up  for Bali Hai night Continue reading

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Jinya Ramen in Studio City

garygyozaThe gyoza (ghee yoh zah) at Jinya is, for me, the best that I have had so far in Los Angeles. The Kiyoken Gyo-za Ekimae Bento  at Yokohama Train Station may be better although tasting quite different from Jinya’s, but may not be worth going 10 hours by jet just to have a nosh.  The rough ground pork was infused with a touch of ginger, garlic, sesame oil, Shiro Kosho- (ground white, aromatic pepper) and maybe Dashi (fond de cuisine), & MIrin (sweet Japanese Sake)  and was mixed with a fine cutting of cabbage and onions.

This mixture was sauteed together to let all the flavours meld.  Then it was put into thin wonton skins to make a dumpling, and  placed in hot oil to crisp.  The thin wonton skin was crispy on one side and soft, chewy on the other. The inside mixture was porky Umami and  light & fresh tasting at the same time due to the inclusion of the finely chopped vegetables.

The amount of salt in the Gyo-za was sufficient so I mixed only a touch of Ponzu (pone zoo) Sauce, a bit of garlic infused Ra-men sauce, & a hot chile paste as a dipping sauce.  The vinegar acts as a gastric to cut the oiliness of the fried Gyo-za while the piquancy of the chile paste ups the Umami factor.

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Ahmanson Theatre’s “We will Rock You” Rolls, Flows, and Almost Breaks the Mold

Photo Courtesy of Paul Kolnik  L-R: Ruby Lewis, Brian Justin Crum, Erica Peck and Jared Zirilli

Photo Courtesy of Paul Kolnik L-R: Ruby Lewis, Brian Justin Crum, Erica Peck and Jared Zirilli

Y’know that story about that guy…the guy who just doesn’t fit in, by way of actually fitting in, but nobody notices he fits in ‘cause there’s nothing he really does to stand out; and he basically just lives in a shack in oblivion, eats Cheetos all day, and has not an original thought in his head; no goals…no aspirations and no musical skill whatsoever (and most probably a questionable and singular odor now that I think of it) and dies a slow painful death schilling it (somewhat unbeknownst to him) for the vapid corporately funded “Man”.  No?  Yeah, well that’s not what this story is about…but close…very antithetically close…

The temperature is perfectly warm in dry August Los Angeles degrees…not unlike my Continue reading

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