YOU CAN RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER.
Why leave the house when you can ride the Pier roller coaster from your couch?
Pick up Grand Theft Auto V here.
YOU CAN RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER.
Why leave the house when you can ride the Pier roller coaster from your couch?
Pick up Grand Theft Auto V here.
It’s Thursday. It’s hot. I am not at the King’s Head, but my iPhone noob brother showed my supposedly-savvy self that you can take panoramic photos with an iPhone and I took this photo this past weekend. So here it is, Ye Olde King’s Head, your home away from the 3rd Street Promenerds.
Things I wonder when I’m sitting at the King’s Head:
I have never watched a 7am fubol game at the King’s Head, but I am aiming to get there one day. I arrived at 3pm the other day and there were still guys left over from the morning. There are a lot of feisty English guys in there, some seem a little crazy. I’m 3rd generation English and usually not that feisty.
The breakfast here is probably one of the best in town. I also like feeling like I’m visiting a weird relative’s house. The waitresses are all friendly and will call you things like “love.” This is also an acceptable place to drink beer at breakfast. If that’s your thing. It’s people’s thing here.
Another nice thing about the King’s Head: Two bars! I have never sat down at the Bulldog Bar. It seems like a private club to me. Can I get in there? I met my old boss for drinks a while ago and he accidentally went in there, so I guess? He was wearing Diesel Jeans. You can get in anywhere in LA with Diesels on. I’m not getting into the Bulldog Bar with my sad Levis all bunched at the knee.
Okay that’s enough.
There are a lot of things I like about Speak Easy Cocktail, er, The Speakeasy, in Santa Monica. What I like most is that it’s pretty much a real speakeasy in that no one seems to know how to find it and there’s pretty much no chance you’ll run into anyone you know here.
The beer is bottled, the cocktails are strong, there’s random sports or reality TV playing in the background and usually it’s pretty quiet here. The quiet goes away on karaoke night when things start to get a little weird. Remember when you were younger and your weird uncle had too much to drink? This place fills up with weird uncles on karaoke night.
The bartenders are all very nice and very attentive. The mens room is the second worst-smelling in town, but the fact that I feel like I’m in my parents’ basement as soon as I arrive makes it a great place to hide out. There’s a long bar if you’re feeling social, or comfy booths if you want to hide out in the dark and talk about things other than work. It’s hard to find better drink deals west of the 405.
PS: The jukebox speakers are so good that I swear “Lady in Red” sounds good coming out of them.
I’ve been to the Blue Plate Oysterette a few times now, and it’s always a tasty experience. I’ve found that it’s better to go with a group than just a couple. If you go as a couple they will seat a weird French couple next to you and they will stare at you for the whole meal. Staring is a compliment in France. Probably.
It’s pretty cramped inside and outside, but if you go outside of the lunch or dinner rush hours, you’re good to go. I went for a late lunch once and we sat next to Christian Bale. I glanced at his posture and labeled him as a guy that they probably give free leftovers to, but it was Batman.
We attempted to go on an off night last night, but it was still pretty packed. The Blue Plate Oysterette doesn’t take reservations, but you can call to put your name in 15 minutes ahead of time. You may still have to wait 45 minutes when you get there, but hey at least it’s not a whole 60 minutes. Call from the Shangri La’s rooftop bar and finish your drink before you head over. Then sit on the bench for 45 minutes and watch a bunch of shiny cars get valeted.
Get the oysters. They are good. So are the lobster rolls. The fish tacos are not spectacular, but everything else seems to be. The Mrs. got a trout from Idaho and it was great and very polite like most things from Idaho.
I’m not a very good food blogger.
Sunday is taco day. Everyone knows that. The Tuesday thing is over. Sunday owns tacos now. Because Tacos Por Favor doesn’t deliver on Sundays and because Tinga always seats me awkwardly close to other patrons, I am BFFing Benny’s Tacos. It was a risk. I was definitely nervous. But Benny’s delivered. Like, literally.
They have tacos that you can eat without leaving the house. They will bring the tacos to your house. You don’t even have to put pants on. If you go the pantsless route, I recommend going big on the tip. The restaurant is painted with vibrant colors. I will probably never go inside that restaurant, but I bet there’s a positive energy in there.
I thought everyone should know.
I know some people may look at me and say “He looks like the kind of guy that eats dinner at the mall,” but I’m here to tell you it’s usually not true.
However, this past Friday I let my lady friend convince me that it would be acceptable to spend part of our Friday evening listening to a back end developer give a talk about web programming at General Assembly in Santa Monica. That was great and all (and there are a lot of cool classes coming up there soon) but afterward we were not willing to walk too far for dinner. I had recently heard about the Blue Stove in the Santa Monica Place Mall, inside Nordstrom.
So yes, in this one case, I did eat dinner at the mall.
It was interesting. As you can see from the photo above, our dishes were all fried. The things I’d noticed other patrons raving about were the Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos, the Salt & Pepper Calamari, and the Short Rib Poutine so we went with that.
The Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos were good, crunchy and fried, but tasty. I don’t ever really need fried food and I was hoping this would be a little fresher, but they did the job. They were tiny and came in a set of 4.
I ordered the Short Rib Poutine because I haven’t had poutine since I last visited Montreal years ago and I could not resist. Plus I just sat through an hour presentation about PHP, Python and Ruby on Rails so I needed the food equivalent of hiding under the covers for a while. This worked.
The calamari was also good. I’m from Rhode Island and I’ve had fried calamari with about 85% of the meals I ate growing up, and I will tell you that this was as good if not better than most I’ve tried.
Blue Stove also has a full bar and extensive wine list so this could be a good hiding place for anyone that happens to be married to a real Nordstrom enthusiast.
One selling point here is that Nordstrom apparently has a lot of amazing shoes, so if you’re an anxious shopper like me, maybe head to the Blue Stove and put yourself into a food coma before wobbling around the shoe section. I have my eye on some red dock siders.
222 Broadway St
Santa Monica, CA 90401
I hate moving, yet over almost 7 years of living in LA, I have moved 7 times. I went from living on a floor in the Palms to living in a typical “New to LA” apartment in West LA, to another starter apartment in West LA, to a place off Lincoln in Santa Monica for two weeks to a nice small apartment in Santa Monica, to a place infested with rats in West LA and now back to Santa Monica. I am hoping to stay put for a while.
For the past few weeks I’ve heard something scurrying above my bed. At first I figured it was a squirrel dragging his nuts around the roof (Hey-o), but when the lady and I decided to get it checked out, an exterminator told us that there was “a lot of activity” up there.
“Rats, a lot of rats.”
I’m no prima donna, and for a second I wondered if this was an “LA thing” that we’re all just dealing with. We all pick up a burnt coffee from Coffee Bean, trudge through our day jobs, and then attempt to regain some sanity in our rat-infested apartments. Apparently this is not the case.
People in LA think that rats are “gross.” The other day, a Health Inspector came by (we had contacted the Health Department in case our landlord gave us any trouble when we tried to break the lease) and he informed us that we have “roof rats.”
P.S.: Based on our one experience with a Health Inspector I gathered that they are actually Health Reporters. They don’t really look around, they just take your word for it.
Here’s some info on roof rats.
Some things I will miss about the Sawtelle neighborhood of West LA:
Some things I will not miss about the Sawtelle neighborhood of West LA:
So, we’re moving to Santa Monica, near Montana.
Here are some things I’m looking forward to:
Some things I’m not really looking forward to:
*Update: I have moved to the Wilmont area of Santa Monica
This apartment is soo much better than the last. I feel like I can inhale in this apartment. Everything is very Pleasantville up in Wilmont. I can’t look out the window without seeing a parade of dog walkers, there are early morning wake-up calls by the cycling teams that yell “TAKE A RIGHT ON 26TH” to each other at 5am, and everyone seems to have a 1 year old baby.
I will take it. Life is good now. Maybe the Snark is over?
This past Monday was my fiancée’s birthday, so we headed down to Hostaria del Piccolo for dinner. I had never heard of or seen this restaurant before, but I found it while browsing through my OpenTable app and I figured it would be fun to check out a new place. I was considering a few other west side restaurants including the Buffalo Club, Tar and Roses, and La Botte, but Hostaria del Piccolo looked nice and casual and the menu made my stomach rumble.
We had reservations but they were apparently not necessary on a Monday night. We were greeted by a friendly hostess and taken to a seat out on the patio. I’m one of those year-round Christmas lights enthusiasts, and Hostaria had a nice chain of blue Christmasy lights strung around their minimalist/woody patio. It was pretty cozy back there. Heat lamps are at the ready in case it gets a little cold, and Monday Night Football is on the TV in case you want to stretch to sneak a peek at the score.
Again, the menu here is amazing. I let the birthday girl make the choices because I was overwhelmed by the choices and hey, it was her birthday.
We started with the calamari and shrimp appetizer. Somehow we made it out of Lobsterfest with a craving for more seafood. It was really tasty and I knew I could expect only good things to come out of that kitchen.
We decided to split our entrées so we could try both a pizza and a pasta dish. We (she) decided on the Testarossa for pizza. It was made with tomato sauce, Tuscan bean pesto, Gaeta olives, heirloom tomatoes, and basil. It was among the freshest pizzas I have ever tasted. We only finished half of it at the restaurant, but two more slices managed to disappear after we returned home. So good.
For pasta we went with the penne, which had cream of porcini and truffle oil. Usually when I eat al dente pasta it is because I am hungry and I broke out the strainer a little too soon. Here, the slightly al dente pasta tasted more like some sort of pasta art. Next time I’m in a rush in the kitchen I’m just going to add some truffle oil. I think anything with truffle oil on it is the greatest thing in the world so my non-foodie self is probably just easily fooled. OR, is this is the best penne ever? I need you to stop by and let me know. I cannot continue to go around being fooled by truffles at every non-Irish pub restaurant I go to.
There is so much more menu to be explored here. Maybe we go again tonight?
I’m back in LA!
I’ve spent the past 4 years living about 50 yards west of the Santa Monica/LA border. It feels good to be back. Really, I only moved about a mile. I’ve been out here 6 years and I’ve always lived within a one mile radius of the West LA/Santa Monica line, except for those couple months I spent living on the floor in the Palms area.
Our last place was managed by Sullivan-Dituri, a nice real estate company that seems to manage every other building on the west side. If you see a bug, drain clog, or any other issue, they’re on top of it. Some guy will show up the next day and fix it and everything will be cool. Before you move in to a Sullivan-Dituri owned place, it’s repainted, floors redone, and maybe there’s even a new fridge. Great stuff, I miss those guys.
Our new place, while bigger and more private, is filthy. We’re renting it from an older Chinese couple that apparently kicked out the previous tenants. Upon initial inspection, the place seemed fine, if a little outdated color-wise. That was fine, this house is from the 40s and we were looking for a place where we could use our treadmill and where I could make a little recording studio without bothering the neighbors. It soon became apparent that our landlords had not felt the need to clean or have anything repaired. We realized pretty quickly that we were sharing our new place with an army of ants and some kind of monster/rodent that scratches at the other side of the wall in our bedroom closet.
The landlords, rather than hiring an exterminator, dropped off a case of Raid ant traps. We hired Maggy Maid to come in and clean. We figure these combined efforts would clear out anything that was attracting ants and make the kitchen appear clean enough so that the Mrs. and I would feel comfortable enough to cook.
After the Maggy Maid cleaners left, the place looked pretty much the same. I’m sure it was a lot cleaner, but the faded yellow bathroom tiles still gave it the impression of being dirty. We checked around to see if anything else needed cleaning, and apparently they neglected to clean around the refrigerator (the most disgusting refrigerator you have ever seen) as we found a half-full bottle of Budweiser full of ants and a chicken wing underneath. We told the landlords that we had found the probable source of our ant infestation but when we inquired about getting a new refrigerator, preferably one without a rusted out everything, we were told “We’ll keep an eye out for deals.”
So we went to Best Buy and bought one ourselves. Hey, now we own a fridge. The Best Buy delivery guy said he’d take the old refrigerator to recycling if we’d like, but our landlords made us hold onto it so they could donate it to their church. So, now someone at that church has the most disgusting refrigerator in LA and probably a full colony of ants to go with it.
Our spending started adding up.
$687.20 for the new fridge
$30.90 for contact paper to cover up the fugly kitchen tiles
$140.00 For Maggy Maids to disinfect the place
$35.40 for felt pieces to protect the floor from furniture
~$50.00: Raid, ant traps, vinegar, baking soda, bleach, sponges, brushes, lightbulbs, laundry detergent for multiple loads of rugs/cloths/clothes affected by leaking showers and sink
(Handy Renter Tip – Contact paper is great for covering up ugly tiles. We got ours on Amazon.)
(The Mrs. did all the work. I spent the afternoon playing Madden 13. Trust me, it’s better that way.)
The worst thing ever is moving and then moving again right away. We did that 4 years ago when we realized our apartment was connected to our neighbor by thin pieces of sheet metal in the heater and in the medicine cabinet. She talked a lot about her foot fungus. Also, the first time we turned on our TV, our downstairs neighbor came up to complain about the noise as her bedroom was directly below us. Both of these women were yoga instructors. That’s just an FYI.
After experiencing that drama, we were very interested in making this work (we still are.) However, we needed to look at our options. In our email communications with the landlord I quoted California Civil Code 1941.1 in order to let our landlords know that while we’re trying to make this new place work, we have a justifiable reason for breaking our lease should it come to that.
A dwelling also may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it substantially lacks any of the following:
- Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
- Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
- Gas facilities in good working order.
- Heating facilities in good working order.
- An electric system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, in good working order.
- Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage), free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
- Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
- Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair.
Yesterday, a professional exterminator (as opposed to me running around socks-only with a bottle of Raid) stopped by and sprayed around the inside and the outside of our house. It’s been about 24 hours and so far no sign of any ants. I may have just jinxed it.
Today’s issue is mold spores in our toilet bowl. I have already begun my research on message boards and eHow, two resources that seem to only deliver bad and inaccurate news. Let’s see what Yahoo Answers has to say.
Now we’re treating this like our homeowner experiment. Luckily instead of this house being a fixer-upper, it’s a you-fixer-upper, which is easier and cheaper, but really it’s no fun having your landlords in your apartment every day. I am getting used to it though. Last Wednesday they spent the evening supervising a handyman while I sat in the living room nursing leftover Labor Day Tecates.
You can bet I’ll be hiding a half full can of Tecate when I eventually vacate this place.
Folks, this is what happens when your friend gets a new girlfriend.
Email 1: Hey Jon, Jonathan’s birthday is coming up and I want to throw him a surprise party.
Well that’s awesome. I love surprises and parties. I know my friend Jonathan (we actually call him Jon but that’d just be confusing) and he enjoys consuming a healthy amount of booze. This sounded fine. I told her we’d be there, just tell me the when and where.
Email2: Hey we’re going to rent the Barcycle! We’ll spend the day pedaling up Main St. from bar to bar.
Okay, what just happened here? One second I’m agreeing to show up at a bar or apartment and cheers the day away with my friend on this 30th birthday. This was last month, and I think we are all aware of how unbelievably hot it has been. Pedaling up Main St. on a giant barbike? Was it too late to opt out? Could I just stop talking to Jonathan and find other friends? That option looked pretty appealing.
Because I am an awesome friend, I sucked it up. I never bothered to tell my wardrobe that I’ve been living in an endless summer for the past six years, so it was a struggle to find anything to wear. In the end, I’m pretty sure everyone wore jeans. I am so glad I did not wear my American Eagle cargo shorts from 2002 because they make me look like a dad and there is seriously not enough bronzer in the world.
We met at The Firehouse in Venice, which is just a really weird place. The draught beers never have heads and I think they’re trying to pull off some kinda sushi bar theme nowadays. Whatever, they were dicks to us at the end at the end of the night so they are not getting a hyperlink.
The Barcycle was parked outside and we got the lowdown from our, captain(?) The deal is this: You’re actually not allowed to bring booze onto the Barcycle, so it’s not really a bar, but it does allow you to cycle to bars… so I think the name still works. It’s sorta like a merry-go-round in that some of the seats don’t do anything, except in this case you’re not sad that your horse isn’t moving up and down, you’re psyched that you don’t have to pedal.
The pedaling is harder in some seats than others, but that said, not very hard. The harder you pedal, the more wind you get in your hair. You will, however, be the sweatiest crew in the bar when you arrive.
We hit a few bars on Main St., the first being O’Brien’s. I don’t know what it is with that place, but the crowd there always seems to be one whiskey away from riot. That could be an Irish thing, my family reunions go pretty much the same way. Our birthday bar friend ordered a round of Jager bombs. He quickly learned the lesson that age 30 is the year your body starts rejecting Jager bombs.
We hit a few more bars, and then pedaled on back to The Firehouse. There, one of the waiters told my exhausted fiancée that she looked too drunk to order (she only had a couple beers, she was driving) but then returned with a (headless) beer for her saying “Just drink some water first.” We used that weird interaction as an excuse to escape actually a Firehouse meal, and I’m pretty sure we were the only members of that party that woke up the next day without a hangover.
In the end, that Barcycle was pretty fun and I am allowing Jonathan to stay with his girlfriend; though I will require a lot of advance notice about next year’s festivities.