August 31, 2006

The Lamb French Dip Will Change Your Life

Details Magazine digs 15 seconds deep and includes Philippe the Original as the only LA eatery on its list of the 22 best sandwiches in America:

When I was in high school my friends and I practically lived at this venerable downtown cafeteria. But while I love their famous roast-beef French dip, it's not good enough to change your life. Then a friend told me that all these years I've been getting the wrong sandwich. She said it's the lamb French dip - topped with blue cheese - that will change your life. And she was right. 1001 N. Alameda St.; 213-628-3781

Never mind that there might be other LA sandwiches worthy of mention; I think I know where I'm having lunch today. Might have that sub-dollar coffee while I'm at it.

August 30, 2006

New LA Link Love

A few new sites worth including in the menu over on the right side of the page:

Discover Atwater - The Discover Publishing Group finds 'hoods like Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Altadena and now AV. Not sure what the business model is - get businesses to pay for Internet listings? - but it could turn out to be a useful micro-CitySearch.

Erin's Kitchen - Erin eats, cooks and explores Los Angeles. I get hungry every time I visit. Stay tuned for the Newbie's contribution to a new LA weekend project coming soon to the Kitchen.

Cheapskatin' LA - Scours through the dregs and sniffs out all the cool freebies.

August 29, 2006

It Paints a Village

Urban paradox of the week: Everyone help hide that perennial neighborhood blight, and cover that graffiti with fresh paint. Just don't buy it at The Home Depot.

[Images from Luis Lopez's Flickr set]

Atwater Chatter

Atwater Village's Directors of Animal Welfare defend Long Beach rescue shelter: "What has happened to Alexia Kyrklund of Noah's Ark is the result of a huge misunderstanding." [Corrente]

Ever wonder what an Atwater Village water-delivery man looked like the year Jonathan Lipnicki was born? "I thought this was lost forever." [sic]

From Atwater Village in a metallic fleck red Mazda to San Diego for Comic-Con. AKA, "I Am Thirty And This Is My Summer." [Warble Me]

Fonts for pho? Ads for Indochine Vien [jon measures blog]

Perhaps to be nearer its publishing doppleganger on Media Center Drive, No-Fi Magazine has moved to Atwater Village [Myspace]

Famous last words: "I raced home to grab that ... who cares that I didn't have a receipt ... and headed to the Best Buy in Atwater Village." [En Vino, Veritas]

Imagined argument along Glendale Blvd. ... Toys! Education! No, toys! NO, EDUCATION! Wait. Why can't we be all things to all people? [Segray and Squires Educational Toy Store]

Speaking of all things: Organic doggie day care [Wagville]

Rent check! $950, $1,800, $2,300, $2,600

August 28, 2006

The Best 90-Cent Cup of Coffee in LA

Is from a vending machine outside the weight room at the Los Angeles Police Academy.

Admittedly, sub-dollar coffee is rare. As is someone willing to drink it from a vending machine.

August 27, 2006

And Now Your Los Angeles Moment of Zen

Ten pure silent minutes of a single, aerial nighttime LA establishing shot: Rivers of Light.

August 26, 2006

It Might Be a Mega-Chain Coffee Shop If...

1. Nearby mega-chain coffee shops post "Now Hiring" flyers
2. The contractor for more than 1,000 mega-chain coffee shops posts construction signs
3. The other coffee shop on the block is a well-liked mom & pop
4. The Washington Post writes up the neighbors
5. A giant, new banner proclaims it's going to be a mega-chain coffee shop

Next: The other side of the building might get something more interesting like, say, a wine bar, if...

August 24, 2006

New Townhomes in Old Tropico

Two small signs along San Fernando Rd., where Glendale Ave. ends, are likely missed by drivers-by. They announce an urban infill claiming to be the "first mixed-use condominium development" in an area that "virtually abuts" Atwater Village. Kids 95 years ago might have called this the City of Tropico. Today they call it Glendale.

Here's the scoop on the "Vintage" project, from a PDF at Urban Housing Alliance (via

  • 3673-3685 San Fernando Ave., Glendale, CA
  • 70 units with 53 townhomes
  • Budget is $18.7 million
  • Expected completion fall 2007
  • Three- and four-story stucco over wood frame
  • One level subterranean parking
  • 101,000 square feet residential
  • 7,500 square feet retail

No mention of the famous neighbors - Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart - now occupying space across the street at Forest Lawn.

UPDATE: Yes, this property does seem to include - by virtue of chain-link fence - the Coffee Shop Dining Room and the Original Barrio Fiesta of Manila. Both are closed and, presumably, headed for a wrecking ball. Horrible cell-phone photo shows the "Vintage" development sign on right, the Coffee Shop behind it on the left.

The Last Bulldozer on the Internet

Remember those cute little construction workers on late-1990s Geocities pages? Their mere presence promised that somewhere behind the scenes a clever teen was busily preparing personal tidbits for public consumption.

In a bit of technological nostalgia - at least since I moved to LA six months ago - the web site for Los Angeles Magazine has housed this retro bulldozer GIF. As the September issue hits my mailbox, the dozer still scrapes July.

Shouldn't a perfectly readable city mag with an audience of 450,000 (average net worth $1,418,000) offer a bit more online?

Besides, all the Internets are under construction. That's the nature of this series of tubes. No need to call it out.

August 23, 2006

Welcome to Gentrification Village

Interesting LA Weekly article about re-births of neighborhoods across Los Angeles:

Like most weather patterns that sweep across Southern California, gentrification primarily moved from west to east throughout the late 1990s... As the 20th century drew to a close, the weather pattern kept driving east, making its way into Silver Lake... [Then] north and northeast, into middle-class neighborhoods like Atwater Village and Eagle Rock.

David Zahniser writes as if entire neighborhoods jump on the improvement bandwagon all at once. But as someone new to LA, and new to this little corner called Atwater Village, I can report property pride often rises house by house, block by block. You get $90,000 landscape improvements across from people who still park on the lawn. Fancy Asian bistros down the block from shuttered dives. Coffee Beans next to Black Eyed Peas.

Scratch that. The old Atwater Ranch Market will house a Starbucks after all. A flier at the Los Feliz Blvd. store announces SBUX is hiring for its new location at Glendale & Glenfeliz.

August 21, 2006

The Truthiness of the 31st District

From American Apparel to Langer's Deli, Stephen Colbert gets to better know Calfornia's 31st congressional district (which includes Atwater Village). Check out the showdown with Congressman Xavier Becerra.

August 20, 2006

Welcoming Committee Tonight?

It looks like John Mark Karr's visit to Los Angeles - on the champagne-laden Thai Airlines flight 794, en route from Thailand to my old stomping grounds in Colorado to face charges of killing JonBenet Ramsey - starts at LAX around 9:27pm Sunday.

John, one question: what was so awful in Thailand that you needed to escape it by confessing to a 10-year-old US crime?

From, captured at 6:30 tonight, the 15-and-a-half hour flight will arrive at LAX almost one hour late:

August 19, 2006

Democracy Delayed

Will the cause of freedom ever spread to our little Village? Where are the United Nations election supervisors? Help us, Condoleezza!

  • May 31 - The Atwater Village Neighborhood Council (AVNC) will hold its Third Election on August 12, 2006...
  • July 16 - The election is October 14...
  • Aug. 18 - Approximately February 2007...

Eating Off the Streets of LA

Use a fork in Chinatown and throw Skid Row into the dishwasher. Hey, who left this cheese on Disney Concert Hall? Don't you want to belong to the Clean Downtown LA Plate Club? $48.00.

August 17, 2006

Cute and Getting Cuter

What's so cute about Hollywood's most notorious madam taking flight to the northeast side? Oh wait, they don't mean she's getting cuter. From Defamer's Hollywood PrivacyWatch:

8/14 Atwater Village's Pampered Birds spotted Heidi Fleiss shopping for her birdies, with someone who looked a lot like her, her sister, I presume. She looked healthy and thin, pretty. She was incredibly polite. Atwater Village is cute and getting cuter.

August 15, 2006

Nearly Six Flags Over Atwater Village

Theme-park-worthy highlights from A History of Atwater Village to About 1940 by teacher and enthusiast of history Neil Malmberg:

  • 1784 - Spain - As part of Alta California, the rancho that will become Atwater Village falls under Spanish colonial government
  • 1821 - Mexico - Winning independence, Mexico assumes the land
  • 1848 - United States - Mexican-American war puts land under US flag
  • 1850 - California - Admitted to the United States
  • 1910 - Los Angeles - Atwater Village narrowly avoids incorporation into City of Tropico (eventually part of Glendale) and is annexed to LA

Say what? Los Angeles has a flag? Apparently.

How To Pronounce 'Los Feliz'

Hip. Historic. Jack Bauer's playground. This north central LA neighborhood is called a lot of things. Even if not everyone agrees how to pronounce it.

  • If you moved into the neighborhood - or an adjacent neighborhood - in the last five years: Loas FEEL-iss
  • If you got stuck in the neighborhood 20 years ago because you could never back onto Los Feliz Blvd: LOSS Feel-iss
  • If you thought this was the last LA word still pronounced in actual Spanish and/or you're the guy who did the bus stop recordings for Route 180/181: Loas Feh-LEES

August 14, 2006

Newbie Night at the Bowl

Cheese Plate
+ Bottle of Wine
+ Hollywood & Highland Shuttle
+ LA Philharmonic
+ Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture
+ USC Marching Band
+ Fireworks
+ Nearly Full Moon

= Ideal first visit to Hollywood Bowl

How do they position and build an outdoor music venue - mere blocks from the heart of Hollywood - that so completely protects the audience from outside sound? Even during the quietest piano concerto, only cricket chirps made it over the walls. For our Colorado friends, imagine dropping Red Rocks Amphitheatre next to Union Station and losing none of the acoustic wonder.

August 12, 2006

Footbridge Over Muddled Water

A generous Studio City reader noticed my mistaken assumption about Atwater Village's footbridge. I assumed it was the only pedestrian overpass (not counting sidewalks on street bridges) crossing the Los Angeles River. Others make the same mistake. But Google Earth, he says, reveals at least 10 LA River footbridges:

  • Canoga Park: Variel Ave. (between Canoga & DeSoto)
  • Reseda: VanAlden Ave. (bet. Tampa & Wilbur)
  • Reseda: Amigo Ave. (bet. Wilbur & Reseda)
  • Reseda: Etiwanda Ave./Reseda Park (east of Reseda)
  • Studio City: Sherman Oaks: Rye St./Sunnyslope Ave. (bet. Woodman & Fulton)
  • Studio City: Laurelgrove Ave. (bet. Whitsett & Laurel Canyon)
  • Studio City: Colfax Ave. (across from CBS)
  • Griffith Park: Mariposa St. (east of Equestrian Center)
  • Atwater Village: Sunnynook Dr. (south of Los Feliz) (also crosses I-5)
  • Paramount/Lynwood: North of Rosecrans
"Passable" bridges, to his knowledge, are the last two in Studio City, the one in Griffith Park and the one in Atwater Village (also known as the Sunnynook footbridge). The others neither he nor I have seen. Yet.

Click pictures for satellite images, links for street maps and directions:

Griffith Park: Mariposa east of Equestrian Center

Atwater Village: Sunnynook south of Los Feliz

Paramount/Lynwood: North of Rosecrans near I-710

[Top image from Sunnynook footbridge slide show]

August 10, 2006

Atwater Chatter

No substitute for strangers at restaurants, some news from in and around Atwater Village:

  • Club Tee Gee rocks the jukebox
  • J Ferrari Gallery hosts a benefit
  • Artichoke Jalapeno vs. 4 Cheese & Vegetable: Dip-off
  • The Onion stinks up Los Feliz
  • Echo Park is its own damn neighborhood, thanks
  • A tail of one animal hospital (not safe for weak stomachs)
  • Parking ticket and end of Kaldi's free refills sets back coffee cost-saving plan by 125 days
  • Rent check! $925, $1,250, $2,195, $2,650

Predator in Northeast LA

I assume this is (or was) a live mouse. And I assume (or hope) these neighbors have a powerful vacuum cleaner. This video is titled Dinner with Kitten Ferocia - High Beastess of Atwater Village. My cats should see it. They could learn something about focus, drive, concentration, basically about how to pay attention to something for longer than nine seconds.

August 9, 2006

What LA Neighborhood Is Right for You?

When Mrs. Newbie and I decided to move here last year, we knew little about life in Los Angeles. We were vaguely familiar with LA sightseeing and shopping, but had no experience with neighborhoods, commuting or housing. We knew nothing about east side vs. west side, coast vs. inland, valley vs. basin. Nothing about being an Angeleno.

So how did we learn? Wikipedia gave us neighborhood histories and locations. Rentslicer let us compare housing costs. Bloggers generously advised. Census data, crime stats and Curbed LA didn't hurt. And we drove and walked around LA for nearly a week, visiting different neighborhoods at different times of day.

But we neglected one crucial metric - the Gossipy Fellow Diner at the 100+ Location Chain Restaurant test - used by this Atwater Village forum writer to break a tie between Eagle Rock and AV:

I was having breakfast at Mimi's, which btw is excellent food and service, when I had the pleasure of meeting two gentlemen that are the owners of an up and coming barbeque business. I was very impressed with the comments of their business and found it appaling that they found no support in their own community. Therefore they had to take their business to the kind people of Eagle Rock who were more than happy to welcome them into their Farmer's Market and local events. Therefore when I decide to purchase a new home, I will be looking in the Eagle Rock area because obviously Atwater does not support their local businesses.

See, we assumed relocation was all about economics, crime, access and aesthetics. Silly! It's all about the politics of BBQ sauce vendors and farmers' markets.

August 6, 2006

Who Invited the Suit?

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti hops out of an unkilled electric car and chats up Atwater Village lawn-sitters during Tuesday's National Night Out. Over his left shoulder is the police officer who tricked me into joining the LAPD's eight-week Community Police Academy. What can I say. I'm a sucker for 90-second pitches from armed orators. (More on the Academy - week one was LAPD history & homicide - after I graduate.)

[Photo from Council District 13's Flickr page]

Barely Skating By

I'm surprised to learn that the narrow pedestrian overpass connecting Atwater Village to the west bank is the only footbridge crossing the 51-mile LA River. But so writes Michael Collins from Los Angeles CityBeat, as he rolls by Atwater Village on "asphalt as smooth as a baby's butt" ...
My Eastside skater gal and I discovered this remarkably private stretch of "black ice" while stuck in traffic on the Golden State Freeway near Griffith Park. The River Run starts by the Channel Boulevard Bridge in Burbank, hard on the Los Angeles River between the zoo and Travel Town... Located just south of Los Feliz Boulevard is the only footbridge that spans the L.A. River and connects to Atwater Village...

[Photo by Dr. Dennis Duffield from CityBeat]

August 5, 2006

'AmericanEast' Goes Far East

Drive-by blogging: Noticed in passing this morning that Tony Shaloub's AmericanEast movie set has moved from the fictitious Habibi's Cafe along Glendale Blvd. to the very real Asia Los Feliz restaurant and its newly-improved sidewalk along Los Feliz Blvd.

(I keep calling it a Shaloub project, since I TiVo "Monk," but IMDb lists him like 18th in the cast. It's beginning to smell more like an ensemble piece, unless someone knows differently...)

August 4, 2006

Shameless Cute Kid Promotion

An Aug. 12 silent auction to benefit Kindness Connection Peru, from our newbier-than-even-me Atwater Village international center for the arts, J Ferrari Gallery, 3015 Glendale Blvd.

August 2, 2006

Osteria Nonni for Sale

You'd think those employees were bears at Yellowstone. From LoopNet:

Osteria Nonni - 3219 Glendale Blvd. (Atwater Village) - Building Size: 2,100 SF - Year Built: 1930 - Fantastic opportunity and great upside, to open for lunch. Another little neighborhood Italian Rated A restaurant. Restaurant includes all inventory & equiptments. Sale includes beer and license. Large storage area. Operating hours are from 5:00 to 10PM Mon to Sun. Selling- Owner retires after 17 years of operation. Please do not disturb employees. PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT TALK TO THE EMPLOYEES.

UPDATE: Shes-crafty says this isn't quite right: O.N. is already set to be Canele (click for too-cute picture of ownership change).

Economic Fallout of LA Heat Wave

Eyewitness reports on Sunday, near the end of the hottest July ever in Los Angeles, indicate that the Starbucks store at 2919 Los Feliz Blvd. in Atwater Village ran out of iced Venti cups.

To compensate, Starbucks offered two iced tall iced beverages (12 oz. each) for the price of a one iced Venti beverage (24 oz.) - a savings of 50 cents to $1, depending on the order.

The report has not been disputed by the Starbucks corporate "rumor response" department. Although, at press time, it was not clear why an iced Venti beverage couldn't be served in a hot Venti cup.

Maybe there's a rule.

Garcetti Nugget

The LA Council President dropped this stat on Atwater Village lawn-sitters at yesterday's National Night Out: Los Angeles is the second safest large city in the U.S. (behind New York City, which has twice as many police officers per citizen) and serious crime in LA has fallen to its lowest level since 1956. LAPD Chief William J. Bratton backs it up here.

LAPD's helicopter enforcement program, coincidentally, also launched in 1956.

August 1, 2006

Tehran Gone?

Outside Iran, it's said, Los Angeles has the highest population of Iranians. A book and a movie both cop the title Irangeles. And at some point Los Angeles and Iran's capital Tehran became "sister cities." Wikipedia lists Tehran as one of 22 LA sisters. As does governing body Sister Cities International.

But the annual LA Sister City Festival does not list Tehran. Nor does LA's official city web site.

So where'd our Persian sister go? And why?

Below, an interesting linguistic map from UCLA showing pockets of Farsi speakers (in brown) in and around Beverly Hills.