Monday, June 30, 2014

Photo essay - Street Art

Here are some really good examples of street art that I have found in different places:

On a Street Stair in Lisbon

Same Lisbon staircase

Outside ABC No Rio on NYC's Lower East Side

Also on the Lower East Side of New York

Silver Lake district of Los Angeles

Also in Silver Lake

Close-up in Silver Lake


Rochester NY

Lisbon - they used 3 whole abandoned buildings in 1 street


Building #3 in Lisbon

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Flatbush Brooklyn - Afro-Latino Street Fair

One of things that I really like about living in NYC is that there is always something to do. Recently The Amazing Ms. D and one of our daughters - The Soon To Be Doctor went to Brooklyn to attend an Afro-Latino Street fair.

Here are some of photos of that afternoon -

The Amazing Ms. D & Soon-to-be-doctor feel the rhythm of the beat.

Cutting the rug so to speak

The dancing was contagious

Everyone was enjoying the music

The music made the feet move

  There was also an exhibition by a capoeira group:

It was beautiful weather to spend an afternoon outside enjoying good company and good music,

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Eating around LA

I just spent a long weekend in LA getting to know my new grandson. I didn't have a lot of time for exploring, but I definitely have a few things to write about - more good food.

Great Food on Melrose

We went to two places on Melrose Ave that were fantastic. For dinner we went to Vinoteque on Melrose. they specialize in Tapas. Between the three of us we tried the lamb meatballs, fried artichoke hearts, white bean ragout, glazed pork belly and sliders. All were prepared just right and extremely tasty. They also carry a very good selection of wine and beer. For dessert we headed a block east to Nuveux Artisan Creamery for Handmade ice cream and excellent tea and coffee. the ice cream is made in store and the coffee is single source.

Father's Day Breakfast in Larchmont Village

 The next morning we met in Larchmont Village (see map) for breakfast. Larchmont Village was founded in the 180's and became a trolley suburb of LA in the 1920's. For those who don't know what that is, or what happened to the trolley suburbs in LA i suggest watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The center of Larchmont Village is the block of Larchmont Ave between Beverly Blvd and 1st Street.

If you really wanted to,,,

Broccoli Tree

These trees do give nice shade
 There are several coffee shops and bakeries (including NYC's Babycakes and Crumbs). There are several trendy clothing shops. I am a sucker for book shops and Chevalier's Books pulled me in. It is a nice little independent bookstore with a good selection of current and children's books. A little bit north of Chevalier's is Landis' Labyrinth a very nice toy store. What I really like was that they have a good selection of hand crafted toys and "natural" toys that are made without using dangerous chemicals. These were perfect places for a brand new grandfather to drop some bucks and spoil his grandson.

Larchmont also has a Sunday farmer's market. Fresh fruits abounded. Plums, nectarines and peaches, and something that you can't easily find in NY - fresh figs.

For breakfast we went to the Larchmont Bungalow. They have a delightful selection of omelets, egg dishes and pancakes. I had the Cobb omelet which came stuffed with fresh veggie's, cheese, turkey and ham. The son-in-law LA had the Meat Sensation omelet, which he could not finish, while The new mommy had the Smoked Salmon Benedict. All of the food was wonderful, and there was plenty to go around. I would be remiss if didn't mention their Red and Blue Velvet Pancakes. These are rolled and filled with a cream cheese filling, these looked sinful, but mouthwatering.

Silver Lake

The Silver Lake neighborhood takes its name from the reservoir in the neighborhood. It has a fairly interesting history. The highlights include being the home to Max Stennet Studios and Walt Disney's first studio. While it has suffered an economic downturn, it is now being compared to Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood for both food and nightlife.

Walking around Silver Lake I observed many typical Southern California sights:

Oranges in someone's front yard

Cactus in another front yard

A small California bungalow

This mission church has been decommissioned

The church parish house is now a bike shop

SoCal office building

The tall palm trees that inhabit LA
If you are walking around the Sunset Junction section of Silver Lake and you want a quick snack I suggest Tacos Delta.

A little cement building with a shaded area to eat out back, these were delicious, fresh and inexpensive. Soft tacos start at $1.47! 

The Pine and Crane

If you are in Silver Lake for dinner I suggest The Pine and Crane. The Pine and Crane is an example of the new trend in restaurants that is not "fast food" but not a traditional restaurant. Maybe you would call it "high quality fast food." You order and pay at the counter when you enter. The menu is limited with 7 or 8 apps, a few salads and 6 or 7 main courses. Then you sit down and your food is brought over to you by a very friendly wait staff. I am not sure that I like this trend, but I loved the food at Pine and Crane. I had the Asian Slaw and the Jidori Chicken. The slaw was fresh, crisp and full of flavor, although maybe a little heavy on the sesame oil. I could have used a little acid to brighten it up. The Jidori Chicken is a dish that I have not seen on the east coast. It is a stir fry mix of chicken, mushrooms, peppers and whole roasted garlic cloves. The peppers give a nice heat, and the garlic add flavor and sweetness. Overall a really nice dish that I would love to see gain a hold in NYC.

Feed Body and Soul

My last evening I went to the Abbot Kinney section of Venice (see map) to eat. Another trendy area, these 3 blocks are kind of the antithesis of Venice Beach. There are many choices of restaurants here and really like Feed Body and Soul's Happy Hour menu. They have great tapas from $5-10 and their mixed drinks and beers are all $3 off. The bar is nicely stocked with high end bourbons, whiskeys and rums. The Asian Greens were a little salty, but they had a nice char on them that added flavor. But the hit is their Sesame Chicken Skewers. Usually chicken skewers are dry and flavorless other than whatever sauce they are served with. NOT AT FEED. Feed serves moist, delicious chunks of chicken with the skin still on them. These are cooked just right, with a pepper and garlic rub. They were one of the food highlights on my trip to LA. I also indulged with one of their 123 Crushed Margaritas. It was thirst quenching without being over sweet.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Budget Travel - Funny Travel signs

This is just a quick entry. A link to something really funny from Budget Travel Magazine - Funny travel signs

Beware of monkeys

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Real NYC Part 5 - IS 44 Greenflea

Before there was Brooklyn Flea there was Green Flea at IS 44. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (see map) this market started as a fund raiser for the PTA of the local middle school. Today it is an amazing collection vendors. Over the past 25+ years it has become a Sunday tradition.

This is not a neighborhood "tag sale." These are serious vendors. The range of products go from inexpensive knick-knacks like hand and candy to vintage books and magazines, costume jewelry, and fantastic furniture.

Under one of the tables at Green flea
 Some vendors sell the relics from our collective past - magazines, signs, kitchenware.

Buttons reflecting past political movements

More political buttons

Others sell cultural collectibles - pins, postcards,
sports cards.

There are also vendors who sell their own creations. One vendor whom The Amazing Ms. D  and I loved was Cheetahrama. These fashion accessories have been created by Deborah Gregory, who has taken the name from her experience writing the Cheetah Girls books. What she does now is to make some beautiful accessories. She makes card holders, and make-up cases:

She uses classic pictures of movie greats (Pam Grier, Eartha Kitt, Audrey Hepburn), African American culture (Josephine Baker, 1920's French advertisements) and other cultural references.

I loved the Eartha Kitt - Catwoman case, so I snapped that up. She also makes pendants, Hair bands and other wonderful things.

Another vendor that we loved was Susan Bellinson who designs and sells her wares under the name of  Sucaro. Sucaro produces a new must have for travelers - The Freedom Sling. This update to the fanny pack is both stylish and serviceable.

The Amazing Ms. D wearing a Freedom Sling

 The Freedom Sling has 3 front pockets with individual clasps and top and bottom zippered pockets. It can be worn cross shoulder or at your waist. We both bought one for our upcoming summer trips.

Operating year round, with indoor and outdoor vendors, GreenFlea is a great place to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday.