My cool old bike

I bought this neat old Rollfast bike in 1990 in upstate New York while on a road trip. It was $18 and I had to buy a $50 bike rack to get it back to California. But it was so awesome and I always meant to restore it. Fast forward 21 years (sheesh) and vintage bikes are hot once again. Of course I never did get around to restoring it back in the 90s. My dad restores vintage cars so I asked him to help me restore my bike. But everytime I go out there I have a million other things to do. So it will probably sit there for another 21 years. Only now it’s in a bunch of pieces!

Anyhow, it’s pretty cool.

Vintage Rolfast bike

Vintage Rollfast bike

It was in need of restoration when I got it and has been outside for the past 21 years so now it REALLY needs help.

It was in need of restoration when I got it and has been outside for the past 21 years so now it REALLY needs help.

The handle bars always looked like this.

The handle bars always looked like this.

The vintage seat might clean up ok

The vintage seat might clean up ok

The original headlight still works!

The original headlight still works!

I’ll keep you all posted if we get any work done on it! I’d love to be able to ride it around.

Some Southern California Things

Some tasty tacos from Taco Azteca on Verdugo Rd. across the street from Glendale High School in Glendale.

Steak tacos and chicken tacos. Delish!

Steak tacos and chicken tacos. Delish!

One of my faves, Deluca’s Deli in The Americana At Brand.

CousCous salad, caprese salad, and bean and tuna salad. Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

CousCous salad, caprese salad, and bean and tuna salad. Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Greek salad, tuna and white bean salad, and calamari salad, Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Greek salad, tuna and white bean salad, and calamari salad, Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

The Oinkster in Eagle Rock:

Little piggies at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Little piggies at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Yummy cheeseburger and tasty fries at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Yummy cheeseburger and tasty fries at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

I spent 4th of July weekend in Laguna Beach.

Waiting to take the trolly downtown.

Waiting to take the trolly downtown.

My brother Chris and his friends getting ready to watch fireworks.

My brother Chris and his friends getting ready to watch fireworks.

We went to the soft opening of Katsuya, which just opened in Laguna.

Fancy cocktail at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Fancy cocktail at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Watermelon cocktails and various sushi at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Watermelon cocktails, excellent chicken salad, and various sushi at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

I love the ginger cocktails at Katsuya at The Americana, but they didn’t have it at the Laguna one. Oh well. The place is really pretty, and fun and airy feeling. I am not really into traditional sushi but the sushi there is very modern with lots of sauces and other things on it so I liked it.

 

Nickel Diner, Los Angeles, BOO!

I went to the Nickel Diner in downtown L.A. last year and thought it was pretty good. So I dragged some of my family there over Thanksgiving weekend and I am sorry to say, it now sucks.

Everyone looks pretty happy so far at the Nickel Diner in Los Angeles

Everyone looks pretty happy so far at the Nickel Diner in Los Angeles

I really liked the polenta with maple syrup and chicken apple sausage last time so I wanted to get it again. I also saw someone at a nearby table with some really great looking toast. So I thought I’d go ahead and get the 2 egg breakfast which comes with 2 eggs, polenta, and chicken apple sausage, TOAST and HOMEMADE JAM. I really wanted the toast and figured if I didn’t eat the eggs, someone else at the table would. You see that this menu says it comes with toast and homemade jam, right?

Well, everyone gets their mediocre meals and so do I.  But mine is missing the toast.

Scrambled eggs, polenta, and chicken apple sausage. Notice the glaring absence of toast.

Scrambled eggs, polenta, and chicken apple sausage. Notice the glaring absence of toast.

The sullen waitress never returns to check on us so I can’t ask her about the toast. I kept expecting it to show up. Finally when we were all done and she brought us the check I asked her where the toast was. She says “we don’t serve toast anymore, it’s 50 cents.” WTF, Nickel Diner? Fifty cents for toast? When it says on the menu that it comes with the breakfasts? And she didn’t tell me that upfront when I placed the order. Just decided not to bring it to attempt to get me to pay extra for it (which I wouldn’t have done, and she probably knew that so just tried to ignore it — lame) And then she never returned so I could ask her about it? I think this place should be called The Nickel and Dime-ing You Diner. You’ll notice the online menu hasn’t been changed to reflect the 50-cent toast and I’m sure the actual menu hasn’t either.

On top of that, the check was over $70 for six people eating mediocre diner food. And then, of course, they don’t take American Express.

Nickel Diner sucks.

L.A. extravaganza

We were in L.A. with my daughter, Tori, over Christmas and New Year’s. Since the kid has never been to L.A. before and since it’s such an interesting place the first time, we wanted to give her as grand a tour as we could in the time that she had.

The best view of the Hollywood sign without having to hike is on Mulholland and Canyon Lake drives. You can park there, and on one side is the Hollywood sign and on the other is a great view of the city. Click here for a map.

Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with my camera phone

Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with Adrienne's camera phone

Mike and Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with my camera phone

Me and Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with Adrienne's camera phone

Later we went to Miceli’s on Hollywood. It’s an old Hollywood Italian restaurant where movie stars like Marilyn Monroe used to hang out. The food isn’t very good but the atmosphere is pretty neat. The ceiling is covered with chianti bottles, and it’s very dark in there.

But the service was terrible. I guess when you’re famous, you don’t have to try anymore. Seriously, man, bring me my Coke already. Damn.

Micelli's, Hollywood

Miceli's, Hollywood

Mike and Tori under a ceiling of Chianti bottles at Micelli's, Hollywood

Me and Tori under a ceiling of Chianti bottles at Miceli's, Hollywood

Not very good spaghetti and ravioli at Micelli's, Hollywood

Exceptionally ordinary spaghetti and ravioli at Miceli's, Hollywood.

While in Hollywood we walked around along the Walk of Fame, with all the stars, and went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and looked at all the handprints in the cement. I think you’d be surprised at how tiny celebrities are. Their hands and feet are itty-bitty.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood

It never occurred to me to visit the La Brea Tar Pits, but Tori suggested it. Good call, kid. What a neat place.

Some creature stuck in the tar at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles

Some creature stuck in the tar at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles

It will shock you to know that we also went to a bunch of restaurants.

Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

Mike at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

Mike at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

The famous Big Boy Combo at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

The famous Big Boy Combo at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA. Some seriously good food here. Burgers, shakes, fries. What a treat.

Here’s a picture of Adrienne in high school at the other Bob’s in Glendale. Wooo!

Bob's Big Boy, Glendale, 1983

Bob's Big Boy, Glendale, 1983. Adrienne is top right.

We also went to Pann’s, another mid-century diner. Pann’s was the restaurant in Pulp Fiction — different location, but they’re both identical. I did not yell: Everybody be cool, this is a robbery! Figure they’ve probably all heard it before. I did call Adrienne Honey Bunny at one point, but she just glared at me, so I stopped.
Pann's, Los Angeles

Pann's, Los Angeles

Tasty burger and fries at Pann's, Los Angeles

Tasty burger and fries at Pann's, Los Angeles

Dinah's Fried Chicken, Glendale, CA

Dinah's Fried Chicken, Glendale, CA. Surprisingly, Dinah's wasn't very good. It was only OK. It did, however, get us on a great discussion about our grading methods. I gave Dinah's a solid C: Not bad, not great; it was OK. Adrienne gave it a B-minus. Apparently, I'm a harder grader than she is.

Mmmmmm, ambrosia, Dinah's, Glendale, CA

Mmmmmm, ambrosia, Dinah's, Glendale, CA

Something else we did that was unexpectedly cool: Backstage where the Rose Parade floats were being made. I’m not much of a parade person, but this was fascinating. Never realized how huge these things were. And I also didn’t know the rules about how every float must be 100 percent covered with plants. Weird.

Rose Parade float in progress

Rose Parade float in progress.

A huge room full of roses getting ready to be put on floats, Pasadena, CA

A huge room full of roses getting ready to be put on floats, Pasadena, CA.

Another float in progress, Pasadena, CA

Another float in progress, Pasadena, CA.

Mike and Tori on the catwalk overlooking the Rose Parade floats being built

On the catwalk overlooking the Rose Parade floats being built. Not entirely sure it was OK that we were up there. But nobody said anything.

Samples of some of the plants being used on the floats

Samples of some of the plants being used on the floats.

Mike and Tori in front of the real Chinese Theatre and in front of the Hollywood float version of the Chinese Theatre.

Tori and me in front of the real Chinese Theatre and in front of the Hollywood float version of the Chinese Theatre.

Overall, I had a great trip. I think Tori did, too. She seems to enjoy herself wherever she happens to be, which is a nice quality.

I’d also like to thank all of Adrienne’s family for putting up with all the dumb touristy stuff we wanted to do. Thanks, too, for all the hospitality.

Four Los Angeles cafes

I went to a bunch of really good restaurants when I was in L.A. over Christmas.

First was Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena. They have a great fresh menu. There are only about four tables in the tiny space, but a whole bunch of them outside on the sidewalk and behind the restaurant on a patio.

They don’t have espresso, so I just ordered a coffee.

Coffee at Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena, CA

Coffee at Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena, CA

I saw toast and jam on the menu and was oddly intrigued for some reason. So we ordered it and it was pretty good. We should have ordered the biscuits, tho. They looked delish when they walked by on their way to someone else’s table.

Toast and jam from Elements Kitchen Cafe in Psadena, CA

Toast and jam from Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena, CA

My brother ordered a delicious brunch item. I’m not sure if they have this all the time or only on Sundays.

Polenta with poached egg from Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena, CA

Polenta with poached egg from Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena, CA

I had a chicken curry sandwich. It was really good, perfect, actually. The girl at the table next to us ordered it as a salad, which is probably also really good.

Chicken curry sandwich at Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena, CA

Chicken curry sandwich at Elements Kitchen Cafe in Pasadena, CA

We also went to Recess Eatery, several times of course.

Very exciting conversation at lunch- Recess Eatery, Glendale, CA

Very exciting conversation at lunch- Recess Eatery, Glendale, CA

Teacher's Pet salad with chicken

Teacher's Pet salad with chicken

Delicious shrimp and avocado quesadilla from Recess Eatery, Glendale, CA

Delicious shrimp and avocado quesadilla from Recess Eatery, Glendale, CA

Mike and Tori at Recess eatery, Glendale, CA

Mike and Tori at Recess eatery, Glendale, CA

Cafe latte at Recess Eatery, Glendale, CA

Cafe latte at Recess Eatery, Glendale, CA

Of course we also went to Amici and their new deli Deluca’s Deli.

Cappucino at the bar, Amici, Glendale, CA

Cappuccino at the bar, Amici, Glendale, CA

Mushroom pizza at Amici, Glendale, CA

Mushroom pizza at Amici, Glendale, CA

Biscotti at Amici, Glendale, CA

Biscotti at Amici, Glendale, CA

Caprese sandwich at Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Caprese sandwich at Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Another of my old favorites is Cafe Midiat American Rag on La Brea in L.A. I haven’t been in years and it’s changed hands since I was there last but it’s still fun and delish. It’s in the back of the housewares part of American Rag.

Mike and Tori at Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Mike and Tori at Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Mike and Tori at Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Mike and Tori at Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Nutella quesadilla from Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Nutella quesadilla from Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Quiche and french fries, Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Quiche and french fries, Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Cafe latte at Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Cafe latte at Cafe Midi, Los Angeles, CA

Yum!