Tuesday, April 06, 2021

So Many Changes

Culver City-Palms Railroad Station, 1940. LA Public Library Archives

While I was shopping at Sprouts Market on Venice Blvd. last week, I was wondering what this large piece of property was before it was made into a shopping center. The shopping center is  currently called Venice Crossing. The Sprouts was formerly a Haggen Market, previously Albertson's. There's a Starbucks, Noah's Bagels, Ross Dress for Less and more chains. 

The markets keep changing at Venice Crossing
Chain Stores at Venice Crossing
I do remember the A-1 Noodle Company being there, right next to what used to be the railroad tracks that run along Exposition Boulevard. You can still see the painted A-1 sign on what used to be the factory, from the tracks. The Expo Line now occupies these very same tracks.

In my hazy memory, during the late 1960s to the 1980s, I think this was just an industrial zone with the A-1 Noodle company and vacant land around the tracks, probably a few parking lots. Some of the areas were paved over, but the tracks were still visible. This particular line ran all the way west, behind the Westside Pavillion and ended at Fisher Lumber in Santa Monica. I also remember hanging out at a place called Mama Pajama. I even had an art show there in 1989! The shop was a collection of vintage clothing, coffee house with live performances and more. 
Industrial Section of Pacific Electric Tracks, facing east near La Cienega, 2007. Photo by Mike Palmer. This is how I remember the Venice Crossing area looking in the past.

Ahah! Culver Junction! I came upon a wonderful old photo online that described Culver Junction at this very same intersection, near Venice and Robertson. 
Culver Junction, located at Venice/Robertson, 1953. Photo from Historical Photos Expo Line

This was the Culver City-Palms Station, located at 9013 Venice Boulevard, a bit west of Culver Junction, serving both the Pacific Electric Railway Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Palms Depot, 1953

The Palms Depot building is where a self-storage facility is today, near Vinton Avenue and National Blvd. in Palms. This particular building was saved and moved to Heritage Square Museum in Highland Park and now serves as their Visitor's Center. Most of those large palm trees were pulled out to make way for the Santa Monica Freeway in 1963.
My little section of Venice Boulevard has changed a lot over the decades. It would be unrecognizable to old-timers! Remember to take photos of mundane things on the streets where you live. One day, those buildings and streets will be changed forever!

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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Ready for Passover?

Tropical Matzoh House

Passover begins at sundown on Saturday March 27th this year. Once again, Larry and I will be celebrating on our own and not with our extended family of 25-30 people. This pandemic has really halted our family celebrations. I'm sad to miss another family gathering.  Zoom Seders just aren't the same.

Following are some photos of our divine dinner from past family Seders.

We have our own, personalized family Haggadah

Matzoh Ball Soup
Gefilte Fish with Horse Radish

Passover is the 8 day observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II. This is a time of family gatherings and lavish meals called Seders. The story of Passover is retold through the reading of the Haggadah (prayer book). With its special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration.

When I was a child, my grandfather, Sam Katz was the Chairman of the Seder at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. We were required as a family to attend the huge second night seder in the basement Mirror Room of the Temple, Rabbi Pressman and Cantor Kelemar, presiding. I do love getting together with my family, but a huge banquet with long services full of squirming children is not always pleasant. I suppose I was one of those squirming children once, but the kids of my era seemed to have had more restraints and rules governing their behavior than the children of today!

My memories are of banquet food (bleah), the reading of the ENTIRE Hagaddah (prayer book for Passover) and singing more songs than was necessary. Maybe the purpose of this gathering was so that we, as a family, would have shared memories of suffering, like the Jewish slaves in the time of the Pharohs. Today, we speak with fondness of those long ago seders. Every few years my grandmother, Freda would declare that she was going to cook our Passover Seder dinner. That was an event! Grandma used to make her own gefilte fish! It was delicious. Grandpa didn't have as much control over our group as Rabbi Pressman did, so we usually cut the service short so we could get to our meal.

Family Passover Seder, 2013, Valencia, CA

In the past 25 years or so, my cousins Marilyn, Carolyn and I have made most of the food for our family Seder. Other cousins have assignments for decorations, wine, etc. The youngsters are in charge of serving the various courses and clearing the table.

Spinach Souffle, Fruit Compote

Chicken Marbella, Matzoh Kugel
Homemade Cherry and Chocolate Chip Macaroons
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Although I'm happy not to handle all of that food prep this year, I do miss our family gatherings. I'm hoping that everyone will be vaccinated by Thanksgiving so we can once again celebrate together. So, whether you're on your own or celebrating with a group, Chag Sameach!

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Thursday, March 04, 2021

Celebrating During the Pandemic

This past year has been a year of togetherness for me and Larry. Luckily, we still get along beautifully! We celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary yesterday, amid the rules of Covid-19. We couldn't do most of the things that we would have done, like travel, visit museums, go to the movies, attend an art show or other gathering. We managed to have a nice day though.

We started out the day with coffee for Larry and a Medicine Ball Beverage for me. The Medicine Ball at Starbucks consists of peach tea, citrus mint tea, steamed lemonade, honey and hot water. It's supposed to combat the flu, sniffles or any other virus! It was delicious. We drove over to the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. The Farmers Market is very L.A. noir during the rain. It's an open-air market with many covered areas. We ducked into an alcove to enjoy our hot beverages and watch the rain. After some produce shopping, we headed back home.

This would have been the time for a visit to the museum. Hopefully, museums, etc. will re-open soon! Instead, we watched our wedding video from 29 years ago! It's a VHS tape, but Larry still has a few VCRs hanging around the house, so he hooked it up and we had a few laughs. Ahhh! To be young, handsome and beautiful!

We were married at the L.A. City Hall, March 3, 1992. Larry's buddies from the Photo Department at his aerospace job took the video and photos of our big day.
The fountain just outside of City Hall
We rode up to the Tower at City Hall. The skyline of Los Angeles certainly has 

changed during the past few decades!

We decided to have tacos for lunch. We didn't want a huge feast, because we'd planned to go out to dinner. We ended up at Bee Taqueria on Adams Blvd., just east of Fairfax. It was recommended to us by our friend, Emiko. 

The MOST delicious carne asada and seafood tacos!

This is the second time we've eaten at Bee, always in the rain! This is an unusual place. The property houses a few other shops and business, mostly in shipping container-like buildings. Bee Taqueria has the MOST delicious gourmet tacos! We shared the seafood/shrimp taco and a carne asada taco on a blue-corn tortilla with guacamole. The rain had let up, so we dined alfresco. It was chilly, but invigorating.

We managed to do things around the house, knit, read, practice ukulele and catch the news on TV before heading over to Sawtelle Blvd./Japantown for dinner. We ate at Midoh on the second level of Sawtelle Place, this mini-mall that houses a market, sushi place, Daiso, mochi place and Karaoke. Our friend, Sherry recommended Midoh. We were the only patrons on the back patio this cold and rainy night. They had heaters, so it was comfortable. The food is home-style Japanese. It was really wonderful. We each had little dinner salads. Larry ordered the Udon Carbonera which is a fusion of Japanese and Italian food, with bacon, cream, egg, parmesan cheese, black pepper, and baby spinach. It was rich, creamy and decadent! I ordered the Nabeyaki Udon Hot Pot which is chicken broth with chicken, udon noodles, shrimp tempura and soft-boiled egg. It was warm, filling and comforting. For dessert we shared this parfait of strawberry fluff with chunks of lemon chocolate brownie on top! They have a marvelous dessert menu. We will definitely return to Midoh. The food and service were great.

Mixed Greens Salad
Udon Carbonara

Nabeyaki Udon Hot Pot

Really, considering the world's circumstances, we managed to have a fine time celebrating our 29th anniversary! Next year, I hope we'll be in Palm Springs or Hawaii!

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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

29th Wedding Anniversary

Los Angeles City Hall, March 3, 1992

It was a cloudy, rainy day on March 3, 1992. Larry and I were married on that day.  We decided on a simple ceremony at L.A. City Hall, since our City meant so much to us. We married on Fat Tuesday because we met in New Orleans, 1990. We drove downtown with Larry's best man, Jon and my maid of honor, Ruth. It was a simple, quick ceremony by the County Clerk. Larry's camera crew from his aerospace job met us downtown and snapped a few photos after the clouds cleared. Afterwards, we headed over to Chinatown for a dim-sum feast. The following day we honeymooned on the beautiful Island of Catalina. The past 29 years has been the best part of my life. Happy Anniversary, my sweet Larry!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Happy Valentines Day 2021

"Nancy" by Ernie Bushmuller

This year, Valentines Day fell on a Sunday. We're still in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, even though our virus numbers are going down in Los Angeles. No indoor dining, no gathering in bars, no inside fun with friends. It's February. It's cold. We are lucky in Los Angeles to have a few sunny days at least, so outside activities are popular.

In the morning, Larry and I just had our usual breakfast and read the Sunday L.A. Times. We exchanged our homemade, personalized Valentine cards. In past years, before we all learned Photoshop, I would cut out pictures, paper doilies, construction paper hearts and glue everything together into a Valentine collage. With the advent of Photoshop, we are way more sophisticated now with our cards.

Very appropriate for this year

Corny, but heartfelt!

Larry had some gardening jobs to complete and I was scheduled to go to a little birthday party for my friend, Sherry. I met up with the Uke Buddies (an offshoot group of the C.C. Strummers) at the Jackson outdoor Cafe for a bit of lunch, birthday cake and ukulele playing. The Jackson Cafe is my go-to place during this pandemic. Sam, the owner, makes the BEST sandwiches, wraps, soup, salads, omelettes and more in his little snack shop. The patio is quiet and delightful. There are enough empty tables on a Sunday so that we can socially distance ourselves. We were lucky that it was a sunny day (until the wind came up later in the afternoon). 
Ethan, Tom, Carole, Emiko and our Fans
Dianne, Ellen, Cali
Cali and Birthday Girl, Sherry
We ate lunch, played a few tunes and had birthday cake, prepared by Ronnie. It was a really fun afternoon! Sam and his staff wanted to know when we're coming back. They LOVE hearing us play ukulele and singing! We even had a few fans during our set.
Ronnie, Dianne and Ellen
I always try to match my ensemble to the decor!

After our the ukulele lunch party I hurried home to my sweet Valentine. The weather was turning cold. Outdoor dining was out of the question. Larry had received a gift card for In 'n Out Burger for his January birthday from our friends, Audrey and Jeff. This was a perfect time to redeem that coupon! We have several In 'n Out Burger locations in the L.A. area. The one closest to us is always mobbed. We decided to take a drive down to El Segundo, south of the airport and try the larger In 'n Out there. The line was short, we could see the sun setting toward the west through the palm trees while we enjoyed our burgers in Larry's spacious car.

It was a perfect Valentines Day! I hope you had a good Sunday too!

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Friday, February 12, 2021

February Holidays!

So many holidays on ONE weekend! It's the Lunar New Year of the Ox. It's Valentine's Day. It's Mardi Gras! I don't know what to celebrate first. Since we really can't go anywhere during this darn pandemic, we shall sooth ourselves with the foods of these holidays.

Lunar New Year! We must pick up a meal at my favorite Chinese Restaurant in L.A., Kim's Restaurant in Crenshaw Square. Their Wor-Won-Ton Soup is SO delicious!

Wor-Won-Ton Soup at Kim's

Valentine's Day this year is not going to be so romantic. I refuse to cook another heart-shaped meatloaf! In fact, I refuse to cook anything at all! It so happens that during the day on Sunday we'll be at The Jackson Cafe on Jefferson Blvd. with a small group of ukulele players. I might be adventurous for lunch and try one of their paninis or sandwich wraps. My go-to favorite at Jackson's is the Caprese Panini.  There are comfy tables with umbrellas in this office complex patio. The owner of Jackson's, Sam, is SO hospitable. Sam and his staff really know how to put a meal together! This has been my go-to place during the pandemic. Easy parking, good food and friendly staff.

Caprese Sandwich & Salad at Jackson Cafe

We usually spend the weekend just before Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras weekend at the Original Farmers Market on Third St. Larry and I have been going to their Mardi Gras celebration for over 30 years. Many of our favorite bands perform over the weekend. The Market is decorated for a New Orleans party. NOT THIS YEAR. Of course, they will have all of the foods associated with Mardi Gras, but none of the entertainment this year. 

Mardi Gras Decorations at the Original Farmers Market

I'm not that fond of the food served at the Market. It's always been a major tourist trap (without the tourists this year). There are only a few restaurants that I actually like. Larry and I do frequent the fresh produce stalls, poultry stores and butchers at the Market though. We might drop by for a bit of King Cake at the Bakery. You cannot beat the atmosphere at the Farmers Market, that's for sure! Here are the offerings:

We might stop by our local Creole eatery, Stevie's Creole Cafe on Pico Blvd. for a bowl of their delicious gumbo or even a po' boy sandwich. It's walking distance from our house. Their food is terrific, so the lines are usually long.
Shrimp Po'Boy at Stevie's
Seafood and Sausage Gumbo at Stevie's
Traditional King Cake

Larry and I were actually married on Fat Tuesday in 1992 which happened to be March 3rd that year. We met in 1990 in New Orleans, so NOLA has been a big part of our lives. We shall toast each other on Mardi Gras this year and save the big celebration for March.
YES! It's going to be a food extravaganza for the next few days! Enjoy February. Stay safe and wear your mask!

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