December 4, 2013

Landmark Wienerschnitzel

The world's first Der Wienerschnitzel has been designated a landmark by the City of Los Angeles. It was built on the Pacific Coast Highway in Wilmington.

There it is in all its great landmarkness.

permalink | December 4, 2013 at 08:17 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2013

Meanwhile, at Two Bunch Palms

Palm Springs Life has an article about "the completely renovated and re-envisioned restaurant called Essense" at Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa.

The restaurant renovation enclosed a former open patio to enlarge the dining area with length of picture windows framing the soaring San Jacinto Mountains. Essense' ambiance is a composite of light, natural woods, soothing white walls, and natural stone and fabric textures. Burlap napkins, nubby placemats and small square glazed pots of tiny cactus decorate the tables.

"Next year, developers anticipate room renovations and expansion, construction of a new spa, café, boutique, fitness center and eventually a high-energy grotto." That's after building the 3,000 square foot yoga dome.

permalink | November 29, 2013 at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2013

Restaurant Impossible

The Rude Pundit (one of my guilty pleasures) admits that one of his guilty pleasures is Restaurant Impossible and then he goes on to write about an episode "last week" (which I missed) that focused on the Georgia Boy Cafe in Maryland that is owned by two gay African-American men who have been together for some years. Rude Pundit liked the way they were presented on the show: "A damn food show was more honest and less sensationalistic and patronizing about how a nonwhite LGBT couple exists than pretty much anything the Rude Pundit's seen on American television."

permalink | November 25, 2013 at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2013

Herbal Supplement Purity

Here's a study published in October that reveals the sorry state of the herbal supplement industry. It was published by BMC Medicine. You may find the PDF version to be easier to read (I know I did). The researchers/authors are affiliated with the University of Guelph in Ontario and Bharathiar University in India.

The researchers took 44 herbal products from 12 companies and subjected them to DNA testing. They compared the results to a library of DNA from 100 identified herbs.

  • Only 48% of the tested herbal supplements contained some of the herb identified on the label.
  • 59% of the samples contained some plant material not listed on the label.
  • 33% of the samples included contaminants or fillers not listed on the label.
  • Only 2 of the 12 manufacturers provided completely unadulterated, correctly identified herbs.
  • 3 other manufacturers included NONE of the labeled herb in their products.
  • The other manufacturers provided some pure herbs, some contaminated samples, some with unlabeled filler, and some with another herb entirely.

Some examples of what they found:

  • A product labeled as St. John's wort actually contained Senna alexandrina and no St. John's wort. Senna alexandrina is a laxative while St. John's wort is not. Prolonged use of Senna alexandrina can cause chronic diarrhea, cathartic colon, liver damage, abdominal pain, epidermal breakdown and blistering.
  • Several products were contaminated with feverfew which can be used to treat fever, migraines and arthritis, but it does have negative side effects including swelling and numbness in the mouth, oral ulcers, nausea, and diarrhea. Pregnant women should not consume feverfew.
  • A Gingko product was contaminated with black walnut which could be dangerous to those with nut allergies.
  • They found unlabeled fillers including soy, rice, wheat.

It is very unfortunate that the paper does NOT identify the manufacturers of any of the products, good or bad.

permalink | November 4, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2013

Magical Butter

Rice cookers, bread machines, soymilk makers, and now an American inventor brings us the Magical Butter machine. The inventor is Garyn Angel of Port Richey, Florida. Toss some marijuana in it along with either oil, butter, grain alcohol or glycerin; push a couple of buttons; go do something for a couple of hours; come back to marijuana-infused oil, butter or tincture.

Here's the Magical Butter website where you can buy the MB2 for $175. Sales tax and shipping to southern California will be about $10 additional. Comes with a one-year warranty. Or, if you're nuts, you can buy it at Amazon for $195.69 with no manufacturer's warranty (although the seller, Variety Corp., will give you a 30-day warranty).

Magical butter
This looks surprisingly similar to my soymilk maker.

permalink | October 19, 2013 at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2013

Greasing Your Popcorn

Helpful advice to those who apply hydrogenated soy oil to their popcorn at the cinema.

No butterfat was harmed in making that web page.

permalink | October 16, 2013 at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2013

Hilltop Steak House Closing

Hilltop Steak House
Hilltop Steak House.

Google Street View of the fiberglass cattle grazing in front of the restaurant.

Hilltop Steak House, the unmissable gaudy landmark on Route 1 in Saugus north of Boston will close October 20. An excerpt from a letter from the owner:

the continued change in the demographics of our customer base, increased competition and the increased cost to run this fabulous landmark has been too great to overcome. We therefore have no choice but to close our restaurant.

Our Butcher Shop in Weymouth will continue to operate. In closing we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the departments of the Town of Saugus and its wonderful residents for their support and patronage over the last 52 years.

The big question for some is what will be done with that monumental neon sign? Someone at the Boston Globe photoshopped a suggestion that it be moved to the Institute for Contemporary Art on the Boston waterfront.

More real photos of Hilltop are here.

permalink | October 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Comments (1)

October 12, 2013

Haribo Gummy Candy

It has been suggested that this might be the ideal gift for a Member of Congress. Haribo Gummy Candy is sweetened with Lycasin, which Amazon describes as a sugar alcohol. Wikipedia calls it hydrogenated glucose syrup. I'm not a chemist, but I did watch Breaking Bad, so I can't say if that's anything more than a different name.

One could be concerned when there's a study of a sugar substitute that says this:

Consumption of 25 g lycasin HBC significantly increased borborygml in children and adults but no other gastrointestinal responses. Consumption of 40 g lycasin HBC or isomalt by adults significantly increased the mean frequency of bowel movements and the number of subjects passing watery faeces. In adults, 40 g isomalt and lycasin HBC provoked significantly more gastrointestinal responses compared to 25 g of either product

But it's the Amazon customer reviews that you want to read. They range from high tragedy to low humor. If you've been invited to a Halloween party by people you hate, this may be the candy to bring. But make sure there are no children. You don't want to do this to kids.

permalink | October 12, 2013 at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2013

Meanwhile in Omaha

This is fake.
Saul as Cinnabon manager

But this is real.
Cinnabon sign

Cinnabon stores in Omaha are using Breaking Bad imagery to promote themselves. They say "corporate" has approved this, so we must assume that Cinnabon has agreed to pay AMC a ton of bucks.

permalink | October 10, 2013 at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 3, 2013

Marijuana Edibles And Distribution

Focusing on Tripp Keber of Dixie Elixirs.

permalink | October 3, 2013 at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2013

This Is Nuts

Opening soon in Boston will be Frost Ice Bar at Faneuil Hall. It's kept at 21°F and all but the ceiling and floor are ice. Cover charge for adults will be $19. A cocktail will cost $11. Maybe you can get somebody to slap you in the face for an extra $5.

If this takes off, I must suggest someone open a dry sauna somewhere on the shore of the Salton Sea. Keep the temperature at 130° and serve $10 cups of boiling hot coffee or tea to the customers who will have already paid a substantial cover charge. The floor will be metal and special fire resistant shoes will be available for rental at $25/pair. Advertise it in Boston.

permalink | August 16, 2013 at 01:10 PM | Comments (2)

July 4, 2013

Ranking 36 Cheap American Beers

Here's the list. A fun read. For example:

24. Busch Light. This is for the sort of person who buys tube socks at the bus stop. Like on the one hand, all right, good job holding it together enough to get some brand-new socks on your feet. But then on the other hand, I can't help but point out that if you'd been a little more rigorous in planning your day, you wouldn't be buying socks at the bus stop.

The author doesn't admit to liking anything until he gets up to...

11. Medalla Light. Puerto Rican beer is American beer, buster. I drank a hundred million of these on my honeymoon and I suggest you do the same.
I might, if he invites me on his honeymoon.

The number 1 beer on the list? C'mon, this isn't "The Sixth Sense" where you find out the best cheap beer is really a ghost...oh, was that spoiler? Anyway, cheap beer #1: Grain Belt Premium which seems to be available in only these states: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Not even Saskatchewan.

permalink | July 4, 2013 at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2013

Seismic Joint

Installation and views of a seismic joint on the Oakland end of the new Bay Bridge.

Thinking there must be an establishment somewhere in California calling itself the "Seismic Joint," I found it at The Exploratorium. It's got one Yelp review so far:

We had to ran out of the Exploratorium and grab something to eat here because we were starving but did not want to eat too much because we had dinner plans somewhere else.

This place is like a small cafe, but the clam chowder is surprisingly good. I think the mostly have pastry and sandwiches.

permalink | May 20, 2013 at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2013

This was predicted

Witnesses described the pressure cooker as "bullet colored." And I'm sure his gait appeared to be "sinister." "An FBI agent said: 'You need to be more careful moving around with such things, Sir'." Next time he delivers kabsa to a party, he will carry it discretely in a backpack.

Meanwhile all the Irish and Japanese and African students walking around campus with their pressure cookers were allowed simply to proceed as if they were innocent!

permalink | May 12, 2013 at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2013

Amazonian Freedom

Squab barbecue
This is how young women used to enjoy themselves back when America was a free country.
They'd grab their shotguns, go shoot up some juicy young pigeons and then make an ice cream vendor barbecue the birds for them. Then WW2 came along.

Actually, this is from a story about the world's largest pigeon farm on KCET.

permalink | April 27, 2013 at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2013

L.A. Beer Festival

Yesterday I went to the L.A. Beer Festival which was held on the grounds of Paramount Studios on Melrose. The beer wasn't to be available until 5 PM. Those who entered before 5 o'clock hung out in a parking lot with several food trucks where you could gird yourself for the coming onslaught. There were several hundred people there when they dropped the gate at 5:00. What you could see from the gate was this Sky Wall and many beer vendors in front of it. Those who didn't check their email thought that was it and flooded into that area, creating more congestion and not as much beer drinking as hoped. Those who had opened up the PDF mailed the day before knew that there were far more vendors behind the Sky Wall in a faux New York City.

Ones fear, observing the crowd and the congestion, was that it might be tough to get enough beers in the three hours of the event to make the cost and effort worthwhile. But about 20 beers later (they give you a little cup that can hold only 3 or 4 ounces), when one begins to relax and checks his watch to see how much time remains before last call one sees that it is only 5:30 and is satisfied that things are progressing very well in terms of beer consumption.

Paramount Studios Melrose Gate (4568)
The iconic Melrose gate.

L.A. Beer Festival - Paramount Stage 14 (4558)
Stage 14
where Glee, Saturday Night Live, Top Gun and The Ten Commandments were filmed, along with many other big movies and TV shows.

L.A. Beer Festival - PBR Truck For Irony (4534)
The PBR was there for irony, I'm sure.
They had the biggest truck - actually, the only truck - but business was very slow.

L.A. Beer Festival - The Bun Truck (4548)
The Bun Truck
where I got "Duck Fat Fries" with garlic. I asked if the duck fat was organic and the answer was "Who cares?"

L.A. Beer Festival - the Sky Wall (4537)
The Sky Wall.

L.A. Beer Festival (4522)
It's like New York City except the street is packed with southern Californians.

L.A. Beer Festival (4524)
A NYC Metro bus map at a bus stop.
A New York friend of mine says that the bus stops in NYC do not have these maps.

L.A. Beer Festival (4526)
As I stood in line for a beer I saw a lot of people coming and going through this alley
, so I headed back in there to see what there was. It turns out it was just a place for the beer vendors to smoke their medical marijuana. It's sad that so many in the craft beer industry seem to be afflicted with arthritis, cancer, sleeplessness, AIDS, anxiety, chronic pain or any of the other maladies treated with marijuana - and at such a young age too!

L.A. Beer Festival (4530)
Looks more Boston-ish to me.

L.A. Beer Festival (4531)
Like I said, Paramount Studios.

L.A. Beer Festival (4533)
Those are not New Yorkers.

L.A. Beer Festival (4566)
Hey, you can only rent it.

The complete set of photos is here.

Some observations:

  • The little plastic cup they give you when you enter is in a plastic bag. Very nice, especially compared to the WBUR beer tastings I went to in Boston. There they handed you real glasses from a box and they were filthy, sometimes even bearing dead roaches. But back to the plastic bags. The nearest trash cans to the point where they handed you the plastic cup were several hundred feet away and not visible. The obvious result was that this rather careless crowd simply threw the plastic bags on the ground where they blew around Paramount property.
  • Experienced beer festival attendees came with long necklaces of pretzels. Great idea.
  • They let you bring in bottled water and I saw one man drinking from a gallon jug. I realized they didn't need to worry much about water spiked with booze at a beer festival.
  • Some beer vendors had no sign or banner at all. Others had nothing more than the 8½x11 piece of paper with their name that identified their spot. If you walked around to where you could see the kegs, those were usually labeled. I don't understand why a brewer would go to the effort and expense to be at a beer festival and not at least make up a good sized sign with their name.
  • I saw no vomiting and no public urination...until I left Paramount property. One of our festival participants only made it about a block before he gave the sidewalk a good hosing in daylight, unable to make any significant effort to hide himself.
  • One guy had the balls to wear his GoPro Hero3 on his head while touring the festival.

permalink | April 7, 2013 at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2013

"The Spiciest Event of 2013 - Salsa Blast!"

Spicy food, hot music and Desert Hot Springs cool breezes are on the menu for the 1st Annual "Salsa Blast!" The Desert Hot Springs Salsa Festival, "Salsa Blast!" to be held on Saturday, May 4, 2013 from 11am to 4pm on Pierson Boulevard, west of Palm Drive.

"Salsa Blast!" is presented by the Desert Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and is a free community event designed for the celebration of everything salsa – savory spices, tempting rhythms, and mesmerizing moves. You can taste it, you can dance it, and you can even take it home!

"Salsa Blast!" will feature The Great Salsa Blast Taste Challenge and award winners in the following divisions: Best Hot Salsa, Best Medium Salsa, Best Mild Salsa, Best Red Salsa, Best Green, Best Specialty/Fruit Salsa, and People's Choice Salsa. There is a charge to vote for your favorite salsa.

Food, Music, Vendors, Kid Blast Family Fun Zone, Custom Car Exhibition and a DJ inspired exclusive Caliente Club; there's sure to be something spicy at "Salsa Blast!" for everyone!

Vendor Applications [PDF] are now being accepted and must be received by April 15, 2013.

For more information, please refer to the website

permalink | March 19, 2013 at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 2, 2013

Parsnip Soup

A very quick read from THINGS THAT HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO SOMEWHERE ELSE. [Their caps, not mine.]

permalink | March 2, 2013 at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 9, 2013

Girl Scout Thin Mint Cupcakes

Available only at Crumbs Bake Shops now until February 22.

California locations:

  • HOLLYWOOD: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard
  • BEVERLY HILLS: 9465 Little Santa Monica Blvd
  • CALABASAS: 4799 Commons Way
  • GLENDALE: 779 Americana Way
  • LARCHMONT: 216 N Larchmont Blvd
  • MALIBU: 3939 Cross Creek Road

Massachusetts locations:

  • BURLINGTON MALL: 76 Middlesex Turnpike
  • NATICK MALL: 1245 Worcester Street

Other locations.

permalink | February 9, 2013 at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2013

Los Angeles Beer Festival - April 6

Bear in mind this is the LOS ANGELES beer festival and, as the video below shows you, that means it has less to do with beer and more to do with young attractive people dancing in a movie set that looks like a gritty urban setting where palm trees don't grow.

But not to worry, the L.A. Beer Festival takes place at Paramount Studios on Melrose Avenue so palm trees are nearby and marijuana dispensaries are just a short walk away, so you will be reassured you are still in California.

Tickets are $43.19 for either the noon to 3 PM session or the 5 PM to 8 PM session. Tickets for designated drivers are available for only $15 at the gate. I assume that gets you a big red "A" on your forehead, or something like that.

Entertainment will include Howl At The Moon, who describe themselves as "World’s Greatest Rock N’ Roll Dueling Piano Show." There may be very limited competition for that title.

permalink | February 2, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)