Friday, August 21, 2009

New Deli

The Food Network recently ran a show about the best sandwiches in America. In addition to the #19 at Langer's they featured the "Godmother" at Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica.

I'd heard about, and driven by, Bay Cities for years but had never actually stopped in there. Today GeezBob and I decided to see what all the fuss is about.

It's a very simple set up -- a small grocery store with a deli counter inside, concrete block benches and tables outside.

But, boy, are the sandwiches good -- and cheap when you're used to paying Langer's prices. We both agreed it was the crunchy Italian roll that made Bay Cities worth the effort.
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I got in trouble for taking this photo at the Bay Cities Deli. "No photos inside the store," the cashier snapped at me. But how else could I show you just how cram-packed the deli was during the lunch hour? As crowded as it was I thought they did a good job of moving everyone through the system given the limited amount of space they have. Fortunately, GeezBob thought to order our sandwiches ahead on-line which really expedited the process.
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Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton -- who recently stunned City Hall by announcing he was leaving the LAPD and returning to New York City to work for a private security consulting firm -- passed by my booth at Langer's on Saturday.

I asked the Chief what he was going to do for pastrami on the East Coast. His wife laughed and said, "Yeah, there's none of the stuff back there." Bratton added, "I've always said Langer's is the best New York deli in Los Angeles."

GeezBob or Rui immediately said to me, "Well, you've got something for your blog." And ain't that what it's all about?
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Childhood

This is the sort of television programming that made my junior high school days tolerable:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Dining Rooms & Kitchens

Thursday morning I was in Victorville for a meeting and afterwards stopped off at the Green Tree Inn for breakfast in the Coffee Shop. Lots of nostalgia here for me. My grandparents lived just down the road for twenty-plus years and we had lots of nice meals here in the Coffee Shop and in the Dining Room -- the Crown & Sword Room.
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Friday night we had dinner, celebrating GeezBob's birthday, at RH at the Andaz Hotel. The restaurant's open kitchen is beautiful to look and and the food was very tasty.

The Andaz formerly was the Hyatt Hotel on the Sunset Strip. It was known as the Riot Hyatt because of all the havoc caused by rock bands staying there. The new restaurant's name -- RH -- is an homage to the hotel's rollicking past.

Andaz is a new brand from Hyatt Hotels and is their attempt to compete with hip W Hotels.
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It was packed at Langer's on Saturday at lunchtime. Apparently they were featured on the Food Network earlier in the week. Everyone was coming in and ordering a "#19."
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Beware The Creature

Monday night I went to Dodger Stadium for the first time this season. While the atmosphere is, undoubtedly, more family friendly McCourt's Dodger Stadium experience continues to frustrate.

Here's a good example: late in the game "The Creature" caught the eye of a camera operator. The Creature did a little dance that absolutely delighted the audience. Then after the cameras were off him, Stadium Security came up and escorted him away from the game. The crowd booed loudly.
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The fans cheered Manny Ramirez every time he came to the plate even though he recently finished his 50-game suspension for breaking baseball's steroids ban.
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The advertising infesting every nook and cranny of Dodger Stadium is worse then ever. They've even plastered an ad on the wall behind Stadium Organist Nancy Bea!
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sit Down, You're Rocking the Box

Friday night I was fortunate enough to be invited, again, to sit in the Reed and Davidson box at the Hollywood Bowl for their concert-staged production of "Guys and Dolls." Even though the recent Broadway revival didn't do too well, "Guys and Dolls" seems like a bullet-proof show. And the Bowl's production was very good.

The star-studded cast included Scott Bakula, Jessica Biel, Beau Bridges (left) , Jason Graae, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ken Page (purple tie in the center of the photo as Nicely-Nicely Johnson) and Ruth Williamson as General Mathilde Cartwright (she's impressed me ever since I saw her on Broadway as Eulalie MacKechnie Shinn in "The Music Man.")

Broadway-icon Donna McKechnie did the impressive choreography. The Hollywood Bowl has a HUGE stage and getting actors on and off the stage must be a real challenge. One doesn't simply walk off stage -- that would take too long. Lots of running to and from the wings.
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I was especially tickled to see Ellen Greene (Audrey in "The Little Shop of Horrors") in the show as Miss Adelaide. Like Carol Channing, Greene has one of those voices that once you've heard it you never forget it. I didn't know she was in the show and when she first came out I kept thinking, "why is that actress doing Ellen Greene?"
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I finally had a chance on Thursday to have lunch at the red-hot Bottega Louie in Downtown Los Angeles. The restaurant is located at Seventh and Grand in the space that for decades (including when I was in high school and college) housed Brooks Brothers. Completely transformed, Bottega Louie offers good Italian food at reasonable prices in a very LOUD dining room. Seems like the sort of see and be "scene" dining room Downtown LA has lacked for a long time.
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I was taking some photos on the way out and Wendy seemed excited to be in my photo of the pastry counter. In addition to the restaurant, Bottega Louie has several counters with food to go or casual dining at a few tables up front -- perfect for the downtown lunchtime crowd.
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In other theater news, on Thursday I went to see Lily Fanali (second from the left) in the Adderley School for the Performing Arts' production of "Bye Bye Birdie." As you can see from the photo above of the cast thanking their pianist, no boys signed up to be in the show. So the script was re-written to eliminate Birdie -- but the girls had a lot of fun screaming about his imagined presence.

Lily's performance was strong and showed considerable improvement over last summer's "Charlie and Chocolate Factory."

The Ann Margaret role -- Kim Macafee -- was played by 7-year old Blue Greene (far right). She seemed right at home on stage, which might have seemed a little strange except this show was in Santa Monica, after all.
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