Friday, July 31, 2015

Armstrong-Schroeder's Restaurant

Vintage Photo Friday
Armstrong-Schroeder's Restaurant, Wilshire Blvd. @ Spalding Dr., Beverly Hills, 1939

I have fond memories of eating Sunday breakfast at Armstrong-Schroeder's Restaurant on the corner of Spalding Drive and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  I wish it was open today!  My Dad just loved the kippers and scrambled eggs.  I remember it being an old-fashioned place with straight-backed wooden booths and colorful linoleum.

In the mid-1960's Armstrong-Schroeder's closed.  The building was radically remodeled and it became the first Nibbler's Restaurant.  I remember the architecture of this new restaurant being different from the usual coffee shop / Googie style.  It was very sophisticated, brick with lots of smoked glass, low-slung and attractive.
Nibbler's Restaurant, Wilshire Blvd. @ Spalding Dr., Beverly Hills. Photo by Nick Faitos, 1976
The Nibbler's Menu looked just like the building, turned on it's side!

Nibbler's was a big hangout for all the kids from Beverly Hills High School, just a few blocks from campus.  It was a classy coffee shop, plush carpet, low lights and cushy booths.  Years later, Nibbler's opened up another location in an office building at the other end of Beverly Hills on Wilshire at Gale Dr., just west of La Cienega.  Both restaurants are closed today.
The Wilshire/Spalding building later became a bank. Now it is a small office building. The low-slung, clean lines still remain.  I'm hoping that some of my architect historian friends chime in with the name of the architect.
9766 Wilshire Boulevard @ Spalding Dr., Beverly Hills, 2015. Photo, Google Maps
Have a wonderful weekend!  Eat out at a local restaurant!

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Photo Mural - Gone

Photo Mural by Estevan Oriol, January 2012. Painted Over 2015.

We don't have tons of murals in our neighborhood.  There are a few notable ones, like the   "Fairfax Community Mural" @ Canter's Deli, West Hollywood, by Art Mortimer, 1985, depicting the history of Jewish life in Los Angeles. There's the "Lakers Legends" mural on Redondo Blvd. just south of Pico.  We also have murals on the sides of buildings commemorating the lost lives of neighborhood activists. Of course, many of the little neighborhood markets have paintings on their exteriors of the food available inside their stores.
The mural of the beautiful girl on the side of the tire store at Pico and Ogden, just east of Fairfax Avenue disappeared!
5018 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. 2012

5018 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.  2015
Apparently, a new tire company took over the building and painted over the mural. Sigh.

I researched the signature on the mural and found out that Estevan Oriol is a photographer. So, this mural is a painterly photo / digital transfer. I'm still wondering who actually painted this beautiful girl! I suppose it's just a digitally maneuvered photo to appear like a painting. Even though this is a tire and repair shop, the mural was a bright spot on this drab block of West Pico Boulevard. I'm sad that it's gone. 
Re-painting in progress. Photo from Google Maps, 2015.

We have many car repair and accessory shops along this stretch of Pico, between Fairfax and La Brea. Slowly the area is changing. More coffee houses, restaurants and small shops are moving in. After living here for almost 25 years, it's nice to be able to walk down the street for dinner at a smart cafe. My 'hood isn't gentrifying quickly enough for me though. I'm ready for Zankou Chicken and a yarn shop, please.
Adios pretty Cholita!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Missing U (kulele)

I miss playing my ukulele. Nothing in this world is preventing me from playing except my own laziness. Instead of endlessly crocheting and knitting while watching TV every night, I could be strumming aimlessly on my sweet little ukulele, honing my chops!

Batman plays the uke
Barbie plays the uke

For some reason, it seems that I never practice unless I have a ukulele event to attend. For this reason, it's always good to be registered in uke classes or a workshop. I haven't really played since last Christmas! I'm guessing my yarny motivation is stronger than my musical motivation.

Knit Chart for Ukulele Intarsia Pattern

When summertime rolls around it makes me think of the beach, the ocean and playing my uke.

I must get back into the uke habit!  Hey! Ukulele Ladies!  Let's get together and JAM!
Natalie, Mary Jo and Brit

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Italian Birthday Festa!

Doxies Rule at Chez Yama-Berna

Oh my! I had the most wonderful birthday party on Saturday night! I LOVE all of my birthday celebrations...brunches, lunches and dinners out with friends. However, the MOST fun b-day party of all was at Natalie's and Joe's house. Yes, this is the best Italian kitchen in all of Hollywood! Both Natalie and Joe are fabulous chefs and their hillside home is particularly perfect for a summer supper.

The KnitGrrlz and I always celebrate each other's b-days together. We missed Brit on Saturday. We started out with cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres at the bar as we watched our hosts prepare dinner in their open kitchen.
Natalie's wavy hair turned itself into devil ears!

We moved to the patio for dinner. I don't know the official Italian names for any of our repast, but we had a perfect  salad with Natalie's home-grown tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, feta cheese and homemade focaccia. There were these divine breaded mushrooms on a bed of greens with balsamic and olive oil. Everything, of course, was accompanied by vino, vino, vino. Our main course consisted of HANDMADE PASTA with a divine sauce, greens, pine nuts, sausage and more. Handmade pasta, boys and girls. Yes, Joe made the dough, rolled it out and cut each noodle individually.  There's nothing as delicious as homemade pasta.
Click on Photo Collage to see that divine dinner up-close!

After dinner was the gift presentation.  WOW! These girls really know me. Absolutely every present was perfect for me. Nothing goes into the re-gift bin. Thank you, Sweeties!
Mary Jo gave me a Birthday Tiara. It never left my head!

Dessert was a yummy selection of Italian pastries.

Larry had given me the original Barbie Game as a gift.  Naturally, I brought the game with me for our post-dinner entertainment. Now I know why this game was in pristine condition. No one ever played it! The 4 of us slogged around and around that playing board, going shopping, baby-sitting, attending school events, acquiring boyfriends and getting rides from friendly "neighbors!" It took us FOREVER to finally achieve the goal of this get to the PROM.  Mary Jo won. She is the Prom Queen! I think I may perma-plaque the colorful game board and hang it on the wall!
It was truly a wonderful celebration. I felt like a kid again at my own very special birthday party. Thank you Natalie, Joe, Darcy, Mary Jo, Larry, Sasha and Tank!

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Monday, July 27, 2015


When I was a kid there was a slang term going around, "L7." If you put your fingers together in a certain way, forming an "L" with one hand and a "7" with the other, you get a square. Get it? You are strictly L7, Daddio! Be cool! Dinosaur that I am, I still use this term. Kids look at me like I'm crazy.
Lately my life is all about squares! I've been working on an afghan that consists of tons of squares. I'm working on dishcloths for the annual Discloth Swap of 2015. I just made a few square Tawashi as gifts, paired with fancy soap for my friends. I'm always making granny squares too, for one project or another, like my current Kauni Rainbow project. 

Diagonal Stitch Tawashi

Tawashi and Soap Giftie

Willow Square Tawashi

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Granny squares are the building blocks to fashion." Everything is modular. Squares are my life.
Kauni / Willow Shawl

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles

"Nichols Canyon" by David Hockney, 1980

Cut into the south side of the Hollywood Hills, Nichols Canyon stretches from Hollywood Boulevard to the south up to the top of Mulholland Drive to the north. Nichols Canyon Road is a narrow, winding road with homes and lush vegetation and wild life. It's the country, just above the city.
Artist and resident of Nichols Canyon, David Hockney made his Canyon known world-wide with this painting (above) in 1980. I love the riot of colors and the wiggly roads, dotted with colorful houses.
In addition to Hockney's make-believe houses, just west of Nichols Canyon you will find the John Lautner designed Harpel House on Torreyson Drive. I'm not sure if this is current, but at one time there was a Futuro House on this property! I'm obsessed with the Futuro homes. I would like to have one in my backyard.
A Futuro House (right), behind the John Lautner designed Harpel House, Hollywood Hills. Photo from "Curbed L.A."

Nichols Canyon was named after John G. Nichols who served as mayor of Los Angeles between 1852 and 1853, then again from 1856 to 1859. He was a businessman and a builder. Homes were built in the canyon as early as 1920 when it was still a dirt road. There was also a Boy Scout camp at the top of the Canyon, demolished in 1950. Most of the "modern" homes were built in the 1950's. 
Many famous people have lived in Nichols Canyon over the years, including actors and musicians, such as Ava Gardner, Rudy Vallee, Steve McQueen, Mama Cass Elliot, Harry Nilsson and more. 
I haven't even touched on the history of Mount Olympus or Laurel Canyon! The hills above Hollywood are chock full of interesting facts.
I look forward to a trip up Nichols Canyon this weekend to visit famous residents, Natalie and Joe in their hillside hideaway for yet another birthday celebration!  
Party House, Nichols Canyon, Hollywood Hills

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

#tbt - Throw Back Thursday

I have a few scanned family photos that I've never shown. These are photos from my Aunt Mae's collection; group photos with Mae and her friends in Los Angeles. 

Los Angeles, 1925. Mae, bottom row, second from left

I do love how dressed up all the kids are in the photo above. This must have been someone's backyard birthday party. At the time, my grandparents lived in the West Adams area of Los Angeles. Notice the old clothesline and the wire fence?

Los Angeles, 1937. Mae, right in plaid skirt

This appears to be a hillside neighborhood. My Aunt Mae has told me stories of riding the red car to visit friends in Los Feliz and Silver Lake. I know she was in high school at the time. I've never heard of Club Chathert (sp?). I must ask Mae the next time I see her! Check out those adorable hairstyles and clothes!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yarn Crazy

No matter how much yarn a crocheter and/or knitter owns, they always want an additional amount. A person could have bins, drawers, baskets, shelves, tote bags and a school locker filled with yarn (#ellenbloom #yarnaholic), and there's always that yearning for just a little bit more.
Usually at this time of year, during my month-long birthday celebration, I like to make gift-giving easy for my friends. Those in the know give me gorgeous yarn that I would probably not purchase for myself. I'm talkin' FANCY yarn, not the kind you buy at the local chain craft store (not that there's anything wrong with that).
I was lucky enough this past week to receive a boatload of ravishing yarnyness from my friends! Thank you, Ladies!
Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted, "Ginger" from Beth

Twist Heavenly Sock, "Ever After" from Carol

Twist Sock Yarn from Julie

Malabrigo Worsted, "Amoroso" from Diane

Tahki-Stacy Charles, Cotton Classic, Mercerized from Natalie

There are still days left in the month of July and a couple of anticipated celebrations. Who knows if there's more new yarn in my immediate future?
Just in case, I bought myself a few presents in the last couple of weeks...
Scratchy, but gorgeous Kauni "Rainbow," from Ellen B. This will eventually become a V-shaped shawl

Madeline Tosh "Holi,"  from Ellen B. I only have two skeins of this yarn. Not sure what to create. It's so festive!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Polynesian Pop

Larry took me to Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach for my birthday dinner. I had never been to this particular Don's before. The place is a riot of tiki design, including the A-frame, tikis, Tapa cloth, nautical items and more. I was reminded of fancy dinners at The Luau in Beverly Hills as a kid.

I posted a few photos of Don's online while I was there. My friend, Barbara, reminded me that this building used to be Sam's Seafood at this location (1960-2006). Aha! I remember Sam's! We used to have dinner here after a day of sailing at Alamitos Bay in Long Beach when I was a youngster. Sooooo, I had been here before! Sam's became Don the Beachcomber in 2006. This particular building had a Polynesian design since being rebuilt in the early 1960's, but with a few less tiki statues. I remember a decidedly more seafaring decor, with lots of fish sculptures on the walls.
Founder, "Don Beachcomber" aka Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt 

Hidden Village Dining Room

We each had a tropical beverage with rum. Larry's was super potent. Mine was more minty and refreshing...similar to a Moscow Mule. Delicious.

We moved to the Hidden Village dining room and ordered dinner. The ginger, sesame green salad was divine. Larry order the seared Ahi, encrusted with citrus and sesame and I had the crispy duck in orange sauce with sesame udon noodles and vegies. Desert was a most delicious Hawaiian bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Really, the food was delicious.
Sesame and Ginger Green Salad

Seared Ahi

Crispy Duck

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

After dinner drink. Kinda' like a Mojito Slushie

We spent LOTS of time taking photos of the exterior and interior. 

It was a lovely evening. Thanks, Larry!

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Hiren's BootCD
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