Football in L.A.

Football in L.A. is mostly the Trojans. Sure the town now has two pro teams, neither of which are the Raiders, and UCLA has been playing well the past few years, but still, when people here think of pro football, odds are they mean soccer.But the Rams are back in town and no matter with whom they share a stadium, be it Carl Lewis or Marcus Allen, they will all be playing in one of America’s most iconic venues.

I will watch anyone play football any where, but not every game is played in a place with an olympic cauldron {insert shout-out to the University of Utah here}. Now granted, most other venues have better luxury suites, or tailgating, or at least one modern bell or whistle, but none of them are in Los Angeles.

And being in L.A. means elote and agua fresca. Everywhere should have elote.

Now forgive my limited sample size (just LA and Philly), but here is what I can say from what I have seen- or experienced. Rams crowds are about 1/28th as aggressive as Eagles crowds. Perhaps it is because of the better weather, or because you would need a pitcher’s arm in order to hurl a battery from the cheap seats to the field in the Coliseum, but I saw people wearing the other team’s jersey in the stands without harassment. I got a sun burn. No one hurled obscenities at their own team’s players. But, in both places, the players ran, tackled, threw, caught and kicked.

And football fans were pretty much still themselves.

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Oh the Tacos at Guisados!

It’s just down the street from Dodger stadium, which I did not think about till I found myself in a string of stagnant cars filled with people wearing blue hats. I wasn’t there for the game, I was there for mole’.
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Standing in line with a bunch of hipsters I had plenty of time to check out the chalk board menu and its list of creatively named entrees, none of which looked familiar, I decided to do what all smart people do in new situations; order the sample platter. Now my not understanding the menu may have had more to do with my lack of Spanish than their creativity, but I tend to trust anyone who states on the menu that they don’t adjust the recipe. they know what they are doing and that is what you go there for.

From the menu: “Chiles Toreados-Habanero, serrano, jalapeno, thai, chiles blistered together over high heat. Served on top black beans. Adjustments kindly declined.”

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And horchata, always order horchata. Their’s was the most cinnamony I have ever had, in a good way. Good enough to make up a new word; like cinnamony.

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How Can You Look at Stars When the Building is So Cool? Griffith Observatory

Just a note, don’t go when it is even close to convenient, you are in a hurry, don’t want to walk a million miles, or don’t want to be with other people, because this place is popular. It is also worth it.IMG_6869

The observatory is built on Mt. Hollywood, the same one that has the big Hollywood sign, in 1935. From its inception it was open to the public for free. It was meant to make astronomy approachable and accessible to the masses and the masses show up en masse.IMG_6873

The copper domes really do house legit telescopes that aid real-life science (see what I did there?). Smart people doing smart things that I don’t understand, work there. I didn’t work there, I just looked there.IMG_6878The city, the sky, and the building. The art deco scalloped smooth lined solid colored building, the pastel fading multicolored shapeless sky, and the staccato jumbled lit up city.

You can only go there when you have some time.IMG_6870

Only go there when all those crowds and lack of parking and walking don’t matter. Because despite all that, you have to go.IMG_6875

MILK: and Macarons…. Oooooooh Macarons

I’ve been to MILK twice, once on a weekday, the other a weekend, and on both occasions the line stretched out the door. I haven’t been to Disneyland but I hear they have the same problem over there. I also hear that just as at MILK, the waiting is worth it.IMG_7076

They make Nutella ice cream. How can you argue with that? They make and sell all sorts of baked goods, sandwiches, cupcakes, and pretty much whatever it is that you hadn’t thought existed but once you do know- you need it.IMG_7074

For instance, macarons. I have heard of macarons. What I had not considered was making ice cream sandwiches out of macarons. what I had also not considered was a lime hibiscus and  clove soda. I now love both of those things.IMG_7062

Going to MILK every day is not an option for me, and not recommended for anyone. Not recommended in the same way that gluttony, overindulgence, and food abstinence are not recommended.

Of course taking recommendations is not recommended… unless it involves macaron ice cream sandwiches and lime, hibiscus, and clove soda.IMG_7079

That Place Looks Crazy: Walt Disney Concert Hall

Imagine a soda can with no label, no colors, just metallic silver. Now imagine you took this chromey can and smashed it, bent and twisted it all up. Then… imagine that metal mess was about five stories tall. If you cannot imagine such a think don’t worry, I know where you can see one; and it is awesome.IMG_7255

The place opened in 2003, was designed by a famous guy (Frank Gehry), and is the home of the LA Philharmonic. all of those things are true, and perhaps relevant, but what is important, is that it is a wonder to look at.IMG_7248

I want to write about it, tell you stuff, but its all blah, blah, blah, when what is important, is what you see.IMG_7252

 

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The Plaza of Angels

While driving into the heart of L.A.  I imagined aspiring plastic actors, hipsters, and the Hollywood sign. What I got instead was this:two dancers

It made sense once I saw it, but I didn’t expect it.  There in LA’s historic plaza, in the open space flanked by statues of Catholic missionaries and Spanish conquistadors, were Aztec dancers. This was not the land of William Penn.

smoke and dancersLA’s history is normally thought of as marked off by stars on sidewalks and fourth grader’s building mission models. I prefer Olvera St.market

It has sandals made from tire treads, redundant booths filled with baja pullovers, and plenty of painted skulls.skulls

If you look close enough at the photo you will see that I did not look very close before I snapped the picture. I mostly just kept strolling. The place had atmosphere. It smells heavily of roasted chili, there was loud mariachi music, and most of all, there were luchador masks.masks

I have never claimed to be classy. I have also never sat through a pro wrestling match; televised or otherwise. I do not speak Spanish past a Sesame Street level, mi casa es su casa, but I stood in front of that wall transfixed by the idea of owning a Nacho Libre red and powder blue mask. I think I would look very much like Jack Black were I wearing a cape and jumping around in stretchy pants. I’m not sure this is a good thing, but at that moment it was what I wanted. I wanted it for about $5 but the guy at the cart wanted it for $10.

There will be no photos of me dancing in a cape, mask, and stretchy pants.

At least for now.

In the mean time I present something much tastier:flamesNo it is not DiBruno Bros., but anyone who turns up their nose at carne asada is much more insane than Hector Jimenez ever pretended to be.conquistador