September 30, 2009

New Village Bakery Ready for Expansion Already

MIXED IN WITH the great photos in LA Weekly's story about the new Village Bakery and Cafe (3119 Los Feliz Blvd.) is some news from owner and baker Barbara Monderine. The report: "Monderine took over the lease of the furniture store next door when it recently went out of business, and says they will be knocking out the wall and expanding the bakery sometime early next year." Also, don't miss her recipe for hazelnut-pistachio biscotti.

September 28, 2009

A Bit of Disney History in Atwater Village

The Tam O'Shanter Inn

NEXT TIME you venture into the Tam O'Shanter Inn, 2980 Los Feliz Blvd., ask for table 31. It's the 4-person booth in the corner by the fireplace. And it was where Walt Disney and his animators ate lunch in the 1920s and 1930s.

Back then, creating 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's studio was 2 miles away in Silver Lake, where Gelson's Market stands today on Hyperion Avenue.

Disney and his animators ate so often at the Tam O'Shanter (est. 1922), it became known as the studio commissary. And NBC LA includes it in its list of best Snow White spots in Los Angeles:
"And the inside? Looks just like a little nook-filled cottage, still. Is it a coincidence that Snow White was in the works around the time the artists would dine here?
"Snow White" isn't the only Disney connection with the Scottish-themed restaurant and pub, according to Jim Hill Media:
"Someone once told me that the houses around the Tam were built by Walt Disney for his employees to live in. I've also been told that the architecture of the Tam helped influence building design on the Pinocchio ride at Disneyland."
And if Walt's table 31 doesn't do it for you, see if table 15 is available. That was John Wayne's.

September 26, 2009

Scrubbed Wednesday, Tagged Again Saturday

ON SEPT. 16, I used the new City of LA graffiti website to report layers of colorful spray paint on the Glendale Blvd. bridge in Atwater Village.

On Sept. 23, I got an email saying the graffiti was removed.

On Sept. 26, I walked up the LA River to check it out. Indeed, the old graffiti was painted over, bright white on beige concrete. But now outlined in black was a giant TRS. That's The Rascals (or Thee Rascals) for those of you following your gang turf wars at home.

September 23, 2009

Season Finale: Summer Nights Event in Atwater Village

THIS FIRST week of autumn it's snowing in Colorado (where we used to live) but it's quite sunny and warm here for Atwater Village's third and final Summer Nights on the Boulevard for 2009. The festivities start on the 3100 block of Glendale Blvd., with several blocks of retailers, restaurants, shops and galleries staying open late and hosting live music and other social activities, Thursday Sept. 24, 6:00pm to 10:00pm. See you out there before the temps dip into the autumnal 80s next week.

September 22, 2009

Latest Heat Wave is Atwater Village Burglary Wave

Suspect DescriptionTHE NORTHEAST DIVISION of the Los Angeles Police Department is warning Atwater Village about a rash of daytime residential burglaries in September. Most of them take place between 8:00am and 4:00pm. See the latest Atwater Village crime map.

In one burglary, suspects were seen knocking on a front door. When no one answered, suspects cut a rear window screen and entered through the window. In another, a resident was distracted while suspects entered the front door. Items stolen: checkbooks, mail, computers.

At this time LAPD detectives do not believe the incidents are related, or that all the suspects are working together, but they do have a few descriptions:
  • Male Hispanic, 18-19 years old, 5'5" to 5'8" and 130-140 pounds
  • Female Hispanic, 16-18 years old, 5'1" to 5'2" and 105-110 pounds
  • Female Hispanic, 25 to 30 years old, 5'4" to 5'5" and 160 pounds
  • Male Hispanic, 18-25 years old, 5'8" and 155 pounds
Burglaries occurred along Los Feliz, Madera, Atwater, Garden and Brunswick, so no part of Atwater Village is immune. Seems like a good time to make sure doors and windows are locked. Report emergencies to 911, other police matters to 1-877-ASK-LAPD.

September 18, 2009

Viet Noodle Bar Makes Top 10 in Bon Appetit

Viet Noodle Bar

ATWATER VILLAGE'S Viet Noodle Bar, 3133 Glendale Blvd., has made the list of top 10 new Asian noodle bars in the US, published in the October 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. From the magazine: "At this Atwater Village noodle bar, pho comes topped with ingredients like organic chicken and cilantro." See all 10.

One More Golf Course Movie: The Princess Bride

FRIDAY NIGHT marks the final outdoor movie scheduled this summer for the Los Feliz Municipal Golf Course, 3207 Los Feliz Blvd., in Atwater Village. See the poster. Showing September 18 at sundown: The Princess Bride. Blankets and picnics on the green are encouraged. Chairs and pets, not so much.

September 16, 2009

New Website: Request Graffiti Removal in City of LA

Round the Corner 2TONIGHT I'M requesting graffiti removal via the new "self help" website from the City of Los Angeles,

I'm reporting huge, multiple scrawls on columns and walls on the northwest wall of the Glendale Blvd. bridge (Google map), the wall facing the LA River. They're likely only visible from river trails in Atwater Village, but still. It's a historic damn bridge! Show some pride! And let's see how long it takes the City to clean it up. Next, maybe Sunnynook Footbridge?

UPDATE: Already got this: "Your report has been assigned the following Service Request Number: 310893. You will be notified via e-mail when the contractor reports they have completed this request."

September 14, 2009

Every Canele Has Its Thorne

CHEF DAVID THORNE helms the menu tomorrow, Sept. 15, at Canele in Atwater Village. Part of the Friends Cook series, it's a 3-course dinner for $32:
  • First: Watermelon and beet salad with feta and preserved meyer lemon
  • Second: Seared duck breast with parsnip puree, cabbage and plums
  • Third: Roasted figs with creme fraiche and condensed arabic coffee
Read all about the last Friends Cook event on Sept. 8.

September 11, 2009

Village Bakery & Cafe Opens in Old LA Bread Space

NOW OPEN: The Village Bakery and Cafe opened its doors this week in the former L.A. Bread space, 3119 Los Feliz Blvd. Helmed by the founding co-owner/pastry chef at Eagle Rock's Auntie Em's Kitchen, this new breakfast and lunch spot in Atwater Village promises to be a richer, nicer cousin of the building's former occupant. I stopped by yesterday for the decadent Thanksgiving on a Bun: turkey, stuffing, cranberries, gravy on the side. Huge. With a salad. For $8.95.

The Village Bakery will still bake and serve the same breads as LA Bread, but pastries and cafe items are now made daily from scratch. Signs and paint went up this week. The Village Bakery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 8:00am to 4:00pm, and Sundays, 8:00am to 3:00pm.

September 9, 2009

Update on Van de Kamp Campus

EVEN AS ITS new college prep school enrolls students for fall term, the old Van de Kamp bakery site on Fletcher Drive is still a subject of debate. Did Los Angeles City College balk on promises to restore the historic building for a satellite campus? Van de Kamps Coalition hosts a community meeting and update presentation:
  • Thursday Sept. 10, 7:00pm
  • LA River Center and Gardens
  • 570 Avenue 26, Los Angeles, CA

Maybe Not the Message LADWP Wants to Send

Maybe Not the Right Look

SHORT, PERSONAL note to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power CEO David Nahai:

During a week when LADWP's busted water mains swallow a fire engine and drown a major traffic artery, you might not want to go with the casual mafia lieutenant look on the evening news.

Despite LADWP's alleged history of thuggery, nothing instills less confidence in a nervous public, worrying their street might be the next sinkhole, than a dude lounging on a leather sofa.

Sit up straight. Button the shirt. Maybe throw on a jacket. Or sit at a desk. Drop a couple grand on media training if you have to. At the very least, try and look like the guy who might be able to handle the problem.

September 8, 2009

NBC's 'Southland' Comes to Atwater Village Sept. 11

ALTHOUGH IT sometimes feels like we're already living inside a police drama, this marks the first time NBC's "Southland" will shoot scenes in Atwater Village. This Friday, Sept. 11, keep eyes peeled for hunky cops, moody perps and parking restrictions on the south side of Fletcher Drive, the east side of Casitas Avenue, both sides of Kerr Street, and the south side of Carillon Street. Highway 2 and the Los Angeles River will also have their fair share of:
  • atmospheric smoke effects
  • "weapons" brandished
  • emergency vehicles with flashing lights
  • actors with exterior dialogue
The second season of "Southland" debuts Oct. 23 on NBC, but the Atwater Village scenes are likely part of a later episode. Stay tuned for airdates. In the meantime, see a map of other "Southland" crime scenes.

'The Duo Dishes' Duo Dishes Tonight's Canele Menu

SURE IT'S last minute, but that's how friends are sometimes. Canele bistro continues its Friends Cook dinner series tonight, Sept. 8, 5:30pm to 10:00pm. Chrystal and Amir, the duo behind The Duo Dishes food blog, have a 3-course menu for $30 per person:
  • Sweet Apple and Bacon Puffs with Pomegranate Glaze
  • Tarragon Chicken and Grape Pot Pie
  • Almond and Coconut Cream Fruit Cake
No reservations taken. Canele is 3219 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village.

September 4, 2009

Is Foothill Boulevard LA's Most Perilous Street?

View What's Going on with Foothill Boulevard? in a larger map

WHEN THE NEWS came today about a vehicle driving into a structure on Foothill Blvd., I had an acute sense of deja vu. Foothill? Again? A search on the last year of Los Angeles Fire Department alerts revealed no fewer than 10 incidents along an 8-mile stretch of Foothill Boulevard:
  • Sept. 4, 2009: 13700 W Foothill Blvd; Solo vehicle into (business?) with structural compromise.
  • Aug. 21, 2009: 14040 W Foothill Blvd; 2 1/2 year old male fell from 2 stories.
  • Aug. 18, 2009: 8935 W Foothill Blvd; Brush Fire, 2-3 Acres on Ridgeline.
  • June 11, 2009: 11451 W Foothill Blvd; Reported fire in 1 acre of grass/brush in the Hansen Dam area, south of the soccer field.
  • March 13, 2009: 15950 W Foothill Blvd; Male hiker fell approx. 50 ft down hillside, sustained multiple inj's, listed in critical cond. Hoisted out of canyon for tsp to hosp.
  • March 7, 2009: 12950 W. Foothill Blvd; Structure fire, McDonalds restaurant, heavy smoke on arrival
  • Jan. 16, 2009: 10411 W. Foothill Blvd; Physical Rescue, Traffic collision involving auto vs pwr pole. 1 person trapped.
  • Nov. 18, 2008: 13947 W. Foothill Blvd; Air Ambulance, 2 y/o injured in traffic collision.
  • Sept. 27, 2008: 11798 W. Foothill Blvd; Air Ambulance, Young female run over by horse.
  • Sept. 19, 2008: 13142 W. Foothill Blvd; Reported traffic collision on the back side of dam in vicinity of hang gliders. Vehicle on side of hill.
As possible explanation, this long, windy street about 15 miles north of Atwater Village often represents LA's last line of defense against the mountains. I'm sure some of the Man vs. Nature incidents (brush fires, young female run over by horse) get coded as happening along Foothill Blvd., even if they occur further into the wilderness.

But that doesn't explain all of it, least of all traffic collisions and restaurant fires. So what gives? Something in the air? Bunch of crazies living up there?

Still Time to Get into New School at Van de Kamp Campus

THE COLLEGE PREP school newly-opened at the landmark Van de Kamp bakery site, 2930 Fletcher Drive, is still accepting applications for its inaugural year. Classes began August 31 at Environmental Science & Technology High School but ninth-grade enrollment continues through September at (213) 943-4930, ext. 1000.

September 2, 2009

Where Will Michael Jackson Finally Rest?

Death Above Los AngelesWE ALREADY know the body of Michael Jackson will be buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, just across the tracks from Atwater Village. It (he) goes down tomorrow, September 3, during a private evening service.

But where will the King of Pop finally rest? Where would you? One detailed report has MJ resting near Walt Disney's garden grave beside the Freedom Mausoleum. Another story says Jackson will be slid into a crypt inside the Great Mausoleum.

Forest Lawn staffers are notoriously mum toward tourists and fans, but this one is sure to eventually pop up on one of the many celebrity grave location websites.

September 1, 2009

What's the Scoop with Old Cold Stone Creamery?

FROM A SLEUTH via email: "Just wondered if anyone knew what was happening inside the old Cold Stone on Glendale? There seems to be some activity happening inside. Air-conditioning unit stripped out, paper on the windows. Pink Berry, Red Mango, who has the scoop?" Indeed, what is heating up there? The retail slot at 3134 Glendale Blvd. has been vacant since December 2008
UPDATE: From the AVNC forum, word is this spot will be an as-yet-unnamed art-themed coffee, juice and organic food cafe of some kind, probably not unlike the new-ish Yoga Lab about 3 blocks up.

Ash Tuesday in Atwater Village

Contained SunriseFOR THE FIRST time in this 6-day-old Station Fire, I noticed ash this morning on vehicles in Atwater Village. We're about 10 miles from the nearest flames. Of course it's not the visible stuff that gets you, they say, it's the finer particulates in the air that cause the greatest health risk. And AQMD's air quality forecast map calls for "unhealthy" air today, with an air quality index value of 159. I think this'll take more than one Shamwow.