Monthly Archives: February 2011

Hemingway’s Lounge, some type of place.

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Lounge
6356 Hollywood Blvd, 1st Floor
Hollywood, CA 90028

I’m generally not big on Hollywood, most specifically Hollywood & Vine. The last time I was there was for Beso, the underwhelming celebrity vehicle/storefront for Eva Longoria. Not horrible, just typical mid-Holly – too dramatic, too intentionally evocative and less content than the sites penalized by google’s latest algorithm rejigger (wow, I really went there with it huh?)

Anyway, when The Wife dropped the name Hemingway’s Lounge on me a few weeks back, I was intrigued. However at that point, I didn’t realize it was in Hollywood. Long story short, we had a special invite to a launch party of some kind this past weekend, and took full advantage of the New York-ian weather to play like urbane youth, from the attire to the Metro ride to the sweet nightlife.

The result was a large hand with typewriters adorning the walls.

a LOT of typewriters.

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There were also many books as well, befitting the namesake of the Lounge:

but most of all, there were Absinthe references in quasi-authentic knickknackery such as:

the disaffected mixologists even conjured up fancy aperitifs such as The Old Man and the Sea, Death in the Afternoon and so forth:

The Old Man in the Sea (I had to do it) was too sweet – MUCH too sweet – and definitely not a $16 (not a typo) drink. As for Hemingway’s itself, the atmosphere was lively and the ambiance was proper, but taken as a whole the space was just too square.  Despite the consistently on-theme decor (cool? indeed. heavy handed? wallop me with a mallet), the spacing was actually a bit tight – the table lamps and vintage antique-y chairs were more clutter than capable and the term fire-hazard blared through my mind more than a few times.

A spot sui generis, and definitely a world away from the typical Hollywood ‘scene,’ this lounge will be successful as long as they keep admission restrictions in effect (currently only private parties on Friday and Saturday nights, so you either need to be on a list or go during the week).

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Canton Kitchen: This IS Your Mom’s Chinese Food

Long before there were Korean taco trucks, Japanese teppan-yaki joints, Mongolian BBQ, and Asian fusion on the Westside, there was something that people simply called “Chinese Food.” That’s what they’ve been serving at this tiny to-go only Venice Blvd. spot since 1966. Not the Americanized Panda Express variety nor the uppity post-modern fare of, say, P.F. Chang’s, but the rustic, old-fashioned stuff: fried rice, chow mein, and a variety of beef and pork dishes, all coated in a delicious layer of MSG.

I called ahead and ordered the Cha Shu Pork appetizer, Shrimp Fried Rice, Pork Chow Mein, and an order of Egg Rolls. I arrived twenty minutes later and everything was packed and ready to go. The first thing that struck me when I got home was how large the portions were. The egg rolls were fatter than a pair of Hot Pockets and they were more than generous with the chow mein and fried rice. The bbq pork appetizer was quite tasty and the rice was excellent, with a hearty amount of shrimp. The chow mein was the weakest item, but I forgot to ask for a side of crispy noodles (which kind of makes it for me.)

While the Chinese owned-and-operated restaurant probably gets more than its fair share of stray patients from the Rainforest 420 Collective two doors down, it’s worth a drive for any Westsider looking for quality Chinese. And come on, who doesn’t love those little white boxes?

Canton Kitchen, 12511 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista 90066. Open 11:30-9:00 daily. Closed Tuesdays. To-go only.

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Banksy ‘Elephant’ Still On PCH – But For How Long?

A recent visit down to the PCH in Santa Monica revealed that one of the latest works by the elusive street artist Banksy remains untouched. The piece, an abandoned drum of some kind stenciled with the words “This Looks A Bit Like An Elephant” and green crayon-ish touches, is on the east side of PCH just across from the parking lot of Will Rogers State Beach.

With Banksy works all over town being defaced or taken down almost as quickly as they go up, who knows how long this one will be around in its original condition. And now that the rain (and snow?!) are about to kick in it’s probably not worth risking mudslides/avalanches in order to get down there this weekend to see it for yourself. So enjoy these pictures instead.

The notoriously secretive artist is apparently in town for the Oscars. His enigmatic, excellent film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, is up for best documentary feature. Given his reputation for privacy, it’s highly doubtful that Banksy will reveal his identity in front of millions of viewers should the film win the Oscar – but his recent burst of activity suggests he may have something else cooking.

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a baseball nerd plays hooky

With an impending three-day weekend and an imminent rain storm threatening to (literally) dampen enthusiasm, I took drastic measures & utilized a floating holiday. Boom – parlayed my three-day into four, but what was I going to do with only half a day of sunlight (or better, Seattlelight) before the storm?

Being that this is All-Star We: ekend for the NBA (and most Angelenos), I decided it was a no-brainer to attend the anticipated sporting events of the winter – OPENING DAY. Both the Cal-St. Northridge Matadors and UCLA Bruins played home games today. CSUN was taking on Seattle at 11am at Matador Field (Lindley and Lassen):

. . . while UCLA faced off against the University of San Francisco at gorgeous Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UCLA’s Gerrit Cole, a preseason All-American, started (and finished) the game for the Bruins, striking out 11 in dominant fashion – he was hitting 97mph in the 9th inning on the radar gun in front of this bevy of scouts:

leading UCLA to the victory, sealing their #1 preseason ranking and setting off this celebration.

The swift game was completed in just over 2 hours. . .and immediately thereafter the rain started falling. Only  in L.A. can you get in not one, but TWO baseball games prior to the rain.

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DK’s Donut Again

Conveniently located two blocks from the workplace, I headed to DKs Donuts AGAIN to grab a hot cup of coffee and a dozen donut holes. Rainy walk made it all the better.  The spot is spot on. Not heavy, not fatty, and not over the top. Literally just right with the satisfaction. DKs is quickly becoming a habit.

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Top 5 Last Minute Valentine’s Day Restaurants

I don’t have a girlfriend anymore. Eff all that noise. But when I did, I knew how to treat a lady right. And that often meant hastily making terrific Valentine’s Day dinner plans at the last minute. So don’t panic, Pro-Crastanova. These places are all super romantic, reasonably priced, and strangely available each and every year:

1. La Fondue Borguignonne, Sherman Oaks: What the? A real French fondue place? In the Valley? That’s right, friends, and it ain’t bad. Then again, how hard is it to screw up melted cheese, soft bread, and an assortment of tasty meats? The place has truly been untouched by time, with a quaint little bar area that is tres Europe. Cozy lighting and the cooking-at-the-table factor adds to the intimate vibe, and the chocolate fondue dessert is not to be missed. [Editor’s note: Apparently this restaurant is now closed, and will soon be re-opening as a Gyu-Kaku. Apologies for the confusion.]

2. Cafe Luna, West Hollywood: Yes, this place was way better in its original incarnation (Caffe Luna) and the food isn’t anything to write home about. But the courtyard patio, with its cute two-tops huddled together among vines of twinkling lights, is almost magical. A perfect place to share a bottle of wine and make crayon drawings on butcher-paper tablecloths. [Editor’s note: This place no longer exists and no evidence was found of it online or elsewhere. It may have only existed in the writer’s memory.]

3. Cafe Bellissimo, Woodland Hills: Recommended for couples in the initial relationship stages, where things like singing waiters and 45-minute food times are still amusing. Yes, this is THAT kind of place. Own it. Sure, you can get a more authentic chicken piccata at Sbarro, and the service is downright abominable, but where else can you hear ‘O Sole Mio’ live, belted out at full volume a mere three feet away from your table? [Editor’s note: Unable to find a review of this place post-2003, it seems as if it no longer exists either. Future editions of this piece will refer to this restaurant as ‘Miceli’s.‘]

4. The Hump, Santa Monica: This tiny Japanese restaurant overlooking the runway at the Santa Monica Airport was once one of the city’s most romantic hidden treasures. That is, until a year ago, when they got busted for selling endangered whale sushi and shuttered their doors. So why is it on this list? Let’s just file it under “the one that got away.” Oh, and by the way, whale sushi? F*cking delicious. [Editor’s note: This restaurant is also closed.]

5. Malibu Seafood, Malibu: What’s more romantic than watching the sun set over the ocean while devouring half a lobster, a basket of shrimp and fries, a pile of ceviche, and one of those bread bowls filled with clam chowder? This little shack serves up no-frills seafood done right, plucked right out of their literal front yard. The views from the deck seating are stellar and the $0 corkage fee is a tremendous bonus.

Malibu Seafood, 25653 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu 90265. Technically closed at sundown but you could probably still get served as late as 7:45 on Valentine’s Day.

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This sounds like an LA afternoon

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