Sunday, February 28, 2010

Open Mic @ Banquette

Open Mic
Saturday night was an open mic night at Banquette Cafe & Wine Bar. While the spouse was under the weather, I went downstairs and checked out Richard McDowell and others performing in the small interior of Banquette..

Richard had advised me he'd be performing at 8pm. It was more near 9pm, since there was a couple musical groups that performed ahead of the poetry readings..

Live Music
I caught the last number of this act when I first arrived..


This act performed quite a while.. they were alright, but I think having them perform some 8 or 9 songs (I lost count) in one set was a bit much.. I think they could have broken the sets up and let the poets perform in between. IMHO of course.. I mean I don't work at the Cafe so my opinion is pointless..

FINALLY.. Richard and a couple other folks got to perform..




I made a couple videos.. (I goofed w/ Richard's by holding the camera wrong, but righted it after a little bit.. ) I may link to those at some point.. sooner or later..

(*again, apologies for messing up the camera angle.. corrected in seconds 9/10)
video1* "Life as a Poet"

video2 "Jiggsaw"

We even got treated to some comedy.. which went from weirdly uncomfortable to LOL funny and back again a couple times. I guess good comedy does that.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Downtown Historic Bid Signage

Business Improvement District
24hr hotline number posted on trash bin at 4th and Main.. Supposedly been up at least a week. I just noticed today on my Friday lunchtime walk home.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mac & Cheeza Comfort

Although its website says "Opening Fall 2009," it was during last night's art walk the little shop soft opened.

Mac & Cheeza
Located on 8th between Broadway and Spring, (next door to Kelly's fudge) if you blink you might miss it.

The shop specializes on one thing: Mac & Cheese. It comes in some 4 different sizes from "Baby Mac" at $5 to "Mac Daddy" (which sounds like a family size portion) which runs about $25 and includes one additional item. Items like mushrooms, spinach, collard greens and meats like bacon or chorizo, or veggie sausage are $1 each.

Order at the counter, and it's made right in front of you.. Choose your size, what kind of mac (whether regular or rice) regular cheese or soy, any additions you want or if you want a toasted topping..

heating the mac & cheese
They make it to order and put it through their little oven..

"Baby Mac" w/ Spinach...

We got ours pretty quick and the container was HOT.. so be careful. It was also cheesy so we made a little mess taking the lid off.. They have Tapitio sauce to put on it so we got a packet of that.. (personally I like sriracha as it's a little hotter) and split it in half.. I'd say it's about a cup and a half serving.. Which technically is more than a serving. One person could definitely eat as a meal.

"baby mac" w/ spinach
With the tapatio added and mixed up.. You can see the cheesiness and spinach..


Well, for the price point it can't be beat.. I'm a big fan of mac & cheese.. This isn't my favorite mac & cheese.. I want to go back and try the chorizo or the collard greens.. anything that will give it a bit of a kick. The cheese blend is very mild and doesn't really add anything to the dish.. The spinach was good but again, there wasn't much flavor in ours.. It is what it is: Mac & Cheese.

Mac & Cheeza won't unseat my favorites: Royal Clayton for portion, price & creaminess.. or Nickel Diner's Smac & Cheese for zestiness.. even Pete's Cafe, which is somewhere between Royal Clayton's & Nickel Diner in portion, but has a 5 cheese blend that is cheesy.. but not zesty, would win out over this place.

Will I go back (I think I said I need to try more flavors!)? Yes.. not too often though.. after my art walk adventures (splitting a strawberry shortcake at Syrup Desserts and a couple minis from Big Man Bakes) I gotta pace myself.. I gained a pound overnight from all my food naughtiness... Also the Nickel being my favorite is a lot closer. ;P

Mac & Cheeza is soft opening over the next few days.. and then they'll have a Grand Opening the beginning of March. Check them out if you're in the area.. They're soy/ veggie friendly and again, they are very reasonably priced. CASH ONLY for now..

menu and art

Mac & Cheeza
223 W. 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Sun-Thurs 11am-11pm
Fri & Sat 11am-2pm

Here's the rest of my Feb ART WALK Photos (food & cat heavy)

Monday, February 08, 2010

New Year.. not much else

I realize it's been about 2 months since I posted last.. (and then it was personal posts) I honestly haven't felt like I had anything to post about. Not much going on.. for me anyway,(haven't really attended anything lately).


1. Since the new year I went back on Weight Watchers, so I've not been out to eat much.. I started the year at 223lbs and as of today.. I'm about 215lbs.. My goal is to lose about 100lbs by May 2011.. in time for the 10th wedding anniversary.. Although I admitted to a friend yesterday that if I get to 130-150 I'll be happy with that I'm sure.

I was pretty content at 170lbs but I know that isn't ideal for me. ;P

Veggie Hotdog @ Weeneez
Veggie Dog at Weeneez (one of the things I can eat on Weight Watchers)

2. BOOKS! Last year I did pretty good at the "reading more" thing. In general I did read more.. THIS YEAR I'm putting myself up for a very doable challenge: READ AT LEAST ONE BOOK A MONTH.

So far I'm doing pretty good! Right now I'm reading The Last Dickens by Mathew Pearl (we'll see if I finish as the book is due this Thursday.. and I can't renew).

Recent titles (listed in most recent first):

-Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Theif (meh but the movie is coming out soon)
-(DK New Orleans City Guide)
-(Lonely Planet New Orleans City Guide)
-Why New Orleans Matters by Tom Piazza (great book!!)
-LA Noir* by John Buntin (*still reading.. will resume when done w/ library book)

Besides getting back to LA NOIR I want to read Lolita (I love Vladamir Nabokov and have read this book at least 3x over the years) for the Metropolis Books book club meeting for this month.

3. walk/riding my bike.. we'll see how this one goes this year.. Didn't do much riding last year (and not much walking at all) because I wasn't feeling up to going out and being seen in public as overweight as I've gotten.. and this all started when I had gained about 20lbs back.. and then I went over the 200lbs mark.. so you KNOW I wasn't going out then.. LOL so we'll see..

4. Blogging more? Like I said I've not had the heart to blog.. or look around the neighborhood for 'ideas' or stories.. part of me doesn't give a crap. There's people doing it better than me.. and some doing it MUCH MUCH better than me.. so why bother?? I sometimes think I'm so OVER the whole blogging thing. OTOH.. I've gotten pretty lazy.. LOL So this will be a BIG "we'll see" ;P

I guess if I can get off my butt and do more than the Wii Fit Plus.. maybe I'd see something around town to blog about.

916 Rue St Ann, New Orleans, LA.

NEW ORLEANS.. New Orleans is taking a big chunk of my thoughts these past couple months. People who actually know me (to some degree that is) know I used to call New Orleans home. I lived there off & on from 1991 to March 1999. I felt like I was hitting a plateau in some regards.. and took up my mom's suggestion to give Florida a try.. so I transferred my job to Sarasota and tried it for a year.. The previous December I had started posting on #radp (usenet) and met my future husband, Sean, through a monthly Disney chat.. I moved to Berkeley March 2000. We married in May of the following year.

I think at this point in time, had I not met Sean, I would have ended up back in New Orleans. I love my mom but Sarasota just isn't my bag. For me it was a lot like Indianapolis (with a major weather substitution) Throughout the years growing up, it was full of family and holidays, but I wasn't doing much else. It's not to say there's nothing to do in Sarasota, as an adult, I just wasn't getting out and doing it..

New Orleans is the sort of place where almost every weekend there's a festival, and so many holidays and parades.. It's an incredibly easy place to make a niche for yourself, to make friends and find things to do and see.. It's full of life and flavor.. and so much emotion.. My worst days made good memories. How many places can say that that??*

*Please note, I moved March of 1999.. Long before Katrina.. So my rule about living in New Orleans definitely has some serious exceptions. Katrina being a MAJOR one.

So.. I was OK for a while.. Settling in with Sean.. growing a life together. However, even in Berkeley I wanted us to go 'back' to New Orleans.. He's never been. Me, I wanted to see my friends and walk my old haunts and show him "my home".. Despite New Orleans negatives, there were many positives.. and I was very comfortable and happy there.

We came close in 2002.. I got the travel books to encourage his interest (he never really looked at them) and as it was we ended up visiting Philadelphia (as well Hershey, PA and Baltimore, MD) so I could visit my "Honorary Uncle" and "Honorary Tante".. I am so happy we did that.. I don't regret it one bit.. The only thing to note is that it put New Orleans on the back-burner.. for many years, despite me bugging him to go.

After Katrina I thought I was going to go nuts not going.. It wasn't a time to do touristy stuff.. I wanted to go and put myself to work.. Being married, you can't just get up and leave your spouse to go do your own thing.. Maybe you can, but it wasn't something I thought I could do at the time. It was heart-breaking.

People crap or carp about Katrina.. I don't think some folks can imagine the permanent mark that Katrina has made on the city and its people. So much of the land still devastated, and a good portion of its population scattered to the four winds: to this day many places and people have never recovered from this.

I won't go on here because my post isn't about that.. and I honestly don't want to hear the junk people still put out. No one is asking for your pity.. I don't give a crap that you don't care. I do.. and that's what matters to me. New Orleans has come back, in large part because there's enough people who do care.

I don't know what New Orleans is like today.. I imagine it the same in many places, and in many more places, things have closed or been wiped off the map.. The skyline is changing.. Different people live there now.. several of them are friends of mine, and some.. never moved back.

Last December the spouse made a comment to some NOLa friends of ours.. that with the Disney exhibit there at the NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art) he'd have an 'extra' reason to come to New Orleans.. This after I hassled him last October to go.. (didn't work obviously).. This time I put it to him.. and decided, if he doesn't go, I will.

So.. VERY LONG STORY.. not short.. some 11 years later.. I'm going back to my other home, New Orleans.. next month. My best pal Rebecca will be in town with her son, and so we'll meet up as well some other friends.. I'll take Sean around the Quarter and Uptown, and we'll do the D-Day Museum as well the Art Museum and possibly Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World (he wasn't interested in Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest this trip.. nor are we wasting time with swamp tours, nor plantations this time around). It's mainly a hang out with friends and get Sean acquainted with New Orleans.. If he falls in love with the city like I did the first time I stepped foot there, that's a bonus, but I'm not holding my breath. The guy has a subdued nature, (unless the CAL Bears are playing).

I wasn't sure if I should post about the trip here.. I meant this blog to be about living Downtown LA.. I've re-started using the "I-5 Nomads" blog for our frequent adventures (many Disney related..) last Fall.. but that seems like a more appropriate place.. So we'll see.

Anyway.. I'm rambling at this point and it's been very TMI.. So, that's what I'm up to.. or NOT up to, I guess. Hope yours is a GREAT new year! Here's to more Downtown LA blogging.. by everyone, not just me.