Category Archives: central

el centro

American Beauty.

Some things are still well at Chavez Ravine. . .


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Rez-piration for the L.A. Marathon

So my friend decided to run his first Marathon this year:
a) In a driving rainstorm (5.71 inches in 24 hours in Northridge)
b) a year after having ACL surgery
c) with stomach issues hindering his first three miles.
In short, dude finished in sub-5 hours in his first attempt (not quite Markos Geneti, but still impressive).

In short,  this is a proposition to all those interested:
I am looking to run the Marathon in 2012, and I started ‘training’ yesterday.
I am also looking for training partners at various points.

Now obviously real ‘training’ is something like the legendary Hal Higdon’s Guide to Running 26 miles, 385 yards, and many great runners have run utilizing various training schedules, most of which begin four months prior to the race.

That said, I HATE running – as does my beautiful wife – and I started yesterday for this very purpose: I wanted to see where I was, both from a mental and cardiovascular standpoint: my first effort garnered a 10:57 first mile, then I hit the ‘walk’ button at the 16:50 mark, or 1.6 miles into the run.

Pretty lame, right? Exactly. My point is – all of you are probably ready to compete on that level (or better), and the truth is, I’m not going to ‘train train’ until November (four months prior to race). In the meantime, I plan on running a couple 5k’s, a 10k’s and ideally the Pasadena Half, which falls perfectly in line with the ‘real’ training.

For me, the Dixie Canyon Course is a VERY good cross-country trail that spans 3.5 (somewhat demanding) miles, and generally takes us about 55 minutes. We like to do this on (dry) Saturdays, though not necessarily every week.

I guess the point here is – who’s with me? If you’re not with me, you’re against me – and that really sucks. J/K. Seriously, though, looking for partners so hit me up.


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Bringing the Heat

Want to capture the essence of Los Angeles, a la Michael Mann’s brooding, impeccably-directed flick Heat?

Throw this on in the background, whether at work, at home, or in your car:

Ambient downtempo set against the backdrop of live police scanners, all within the vast milieu of Los Angeles and its never-ending evening skyline.

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Vallarta, Vying for Viability.

13051 Victory Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91606

Okay, confession time – as an avid, non-discriminatory food connoisseur, I am an addict of all things delicious. Well, that’s not the confession per se. What IS a confession is that the largest bounty of delicious in the greater Los Angeles region may well be at Vallarta Supermarkets.  At ANY of their 20 locales, in fact.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look:

A theme park?  Nope – that beaming color wheel of fresh produce is just a sliver of their wonderful selection, which also includes Carne, Cremeria, Produce, Botanas, Taqueria, Liquor, Beer, Tortilleria, Bakery, Pasteleria, Catering, Food to go and Juice Bar (And just in case that’s not enough, the also have Van Service, Customer Service, Banking, Lottery & Check Cashing).

Here’s a shot I was able to sneak of the carne/meat section before my wife, embarrassed that I was ‘The Gringo taking pictures’ almost bailed on me:

Like I’m saying, this is only about a quarter of the meat counter. The have everything from lengua to carne de res to pollo asada to cow’s hooves to tripe to chincharron to softshell crab to tilapia to fresh salmon. Dudes are so serious about their meat that the butchers wear hardhats. I’m serious – check the guy behind the counter in the red helmet.

One of the best things about Vallarta is that they also feature restaurant-type food, like some serious carneceria/taqueria type stuff. Here are the street tacos we ordered:

That’s asada on the left, carnitas on the right. Totally succulent, delicious, and even more important – the most robust condiment bar we’ve seen; cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lemon grilled onion and four types of salsa, all gratis.

In short, GO. It’s a modern American experience right here in your backyard.

Locations in Los Angeles County include:


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Hemingway’s Lounge, some type of place.

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.

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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This sounds like an LA afternoon

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The View Is Great From Here

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