Monthly Archives: March 2009

Thank Annie Miller for Grilled Cheese Month.

Oh man.  If you haven’t been to Clementine, you are missing out.  It’s auspiciously tucked away in Century City slightly off the main drag of big Santa Monica.  For those of you who have found parking somehow and had lunch (or dinner) there, you know Annie Miler is serving it up the right way, combining the fun of seasonal cooking with the warmth of comfort food.

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I first discovered Clementine when I got into print advertising in 2005 before I figured out the internet and got all fancy with a blog.  My old company did work with Annie and she was a great person to work with.  I was in charge of the promotions for an event called “Grilled Cheese Month” and it was awesome.  Every week, Annie pits her sandwiches against each other, conjuring up the most wonderful variations of grilled cheese sandwiches known to mankind.  By the end, there is technically a winner, but the reality is, the more you tried during that month, the bigger the winner you were.

I used to truly enjoy going to Clementine for work, making the drive from WeHo and finding parking somehow only to come inside and have Annie give me a sandwich and a cookie like I was coming home from school.  It was my first out of college job and I will always appreciate how cool she was, which she didn’t have to be to a Jr. Project Manager in print tasked with the job of helping her design her collateral for this wonderful event.

picture-24I do not know if she is still using the agency I used to work at, but their creative was always superb and I suspect it might still be them.  The new ads for GCM look amazing.  As you can see, it’s LA iconographic artwork with a vintage flavor, only grilled cheese is the star of the show.  I think they are brilliant.  They are joyous and remind me of the way I imagine Los Angeles used to be before I was born, and also of the feeling you get taking a bite of a big, gooey grilled cheese sandwich in the summer.

picture-31Even better than the advertising is this year’s lineup of sandwiches.  Annie didn’t need any help from other celebrity chefs as this is her home court and she is the master of her domain, but the guests contributing sandwich variations clearly shows what those of us who frequent Clementine already know:  Annie can hang with the best of them.  And she does so without a trace of arrogance.  As her list of guest sandwich artists proves, Clementine is accessible to top flight chefs and casual diners alike.

Jimmy Shaw, the genius behind Loteria grill, has created for Annie a Chichirron de Queso featuring crispy cheese, black beans, avocado, pickled jalepenos, mayo and pico de gallo.  I know exactly how it will taste and how good that will be.  The bar is raised even further as Annie has Suzanne Goin creating a sandwich.  This also confirms how cool Suzanne is.  If you haven’t tried A.O.C. and Luques yet, slap yourself in the face and then once you come to, eat there.  Suzanne has drafted a Queso Mahon and Chorizo with quince paste and romesco.  As with everything Suzanne does, a casual eater need not worry about having knowledge of the ingredients, just trust she knows exactly what works best.

Other guest contributors include Amelia Saltsman, who authored The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook, Evan Kleinman of KCRW’s Good Food, and last but definitely not least, Nancy Silverton, the virtuoso behind the breads of Mozza and La Brea Bakery.

All of these plus Annie’s brilliant spins on America’s most traditional of sandwiches.  Personally, I look forward to her Cheesy Meatloaf, Cheddar and Swiss on dark bread with crunchy apple slaw and the Croque Monsieur and its ham and gruyere on country white bread.

picture-43So kudos to Chef Annie Miller and another successful year of Grilled Cheese Month.  For a dorky foodie like myself, I revel at the chance enjoy her seasonal favorites along with experiencing how a Suzanne Goin or a Jimmy Shaw go after such a seemingly simple permeatation of cheese and bread.  I doubt Annie remembers me, the work I did with Clementine or the cold limeade she’d send me home with when I would stop by with stuff for her to check out, but I remember it.  Back then I didn’t know how to cook or what a Michelin star was or even who Gordon Ramsay was.  I didn’t know I was talking several times a day with one of Los Angeles’ most gifted chefs and restauranteurs.  Annie packages all kinds of goodies for sale along with take out dinners and even, during the summer, picnic baskets to take to the Hollywood Bowl.  Miller has a real understanding of what is a landmark in Los Angeles, but more and more I am realizing there’s more to it.

The truth is, Annie and her restaurant are becoming one of those landmarks.

CLICK HERE to find out the schedule for Grilled Cheese Month and how to find the restaurant.

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Rajon Rondo is Weak Salad Sandwich.

Check out Kaliphornya’s dig on him.  Gotta be honest.  Rondo is lame.

LAME.

LAME.

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Monday Movie Review: Airborne (1993)

When a movie has the tagline “Heroes aren’t raised or bred. They’re AIRBORNE”, you know you are getting into some bad ass medicine.  When a movie has a second tagline that says “How do you become the most popular kid on earth? Take to the sky”, then you know you are getting into something even more bad ass than you thought you were after reading the first tagline.

But when your film has a THIRD tagline that reads:  “There are two basic types: those who get AIRBORNE…and those who don’t”, then all I only have one thing to say.

I get AIRBORNE.

This film was directed by Rob Bowman who made his name hitting cinematic home runs like Reign of Fire and directing television shows like MacGuyver, Baywatch and Quantum Leap.  Let me tell you something, Rob Bowman really got robbed that year for the Oscars.  James Cameron wins for Titanic?  That show is rigged.

This movie opens up with Mitchell Goosen, the poster boy for the 1990s California surfer stereotype, shredding all over Venice on a sick set of Rollerblade TFS’s.  He’s doing all the cool crap your friends whose parents didn’t make them wear the wrist guards and super douchy helmets could do.  Mitchell Goosen, is friggin’ awesome at Rollerblading.  But that is not all.  He stops at the beach to show that he is also the best surfer on the planet as well.  He then races his ‘boy’ back in a very competitve way.  We know all we need to know about Goose:  he’s got badass Rollerblading and surfing skills, and his hair is awesome.

But then, the bad news happens.  Mitchell’s super-mellow and out there parents inform him they are peacing out to Australia for six months to research stuff.  Mitchell’s like “tight, California gangsta pool parties” but they are like “sorry Goose, you are going to live in Cincinnatti with your Aunt and Uncle and cousin who you somehow barely know at all.”   Drag in D flat, broseph.

So Goose goes to Cincinnasty as is super bummed all the time.  It’s cold. It’s lame.  It’s Ohio.  His Aunt (the secretary from Ferris Bueller) and his Uncle (Mr. Dewey from Saved by the Bell!) are nice, but clueless.  Also, they pinch the Goose’s cheeks. Clearly they don’t do that in Cali.

The only good news is that his Cousin Wiley is played by Seth Green with long hair wearing a leather jacket.  I think we all want that cousin.  Wiley sort of shows Mitchell around the ‘Nasty, but the ‘Nasty cannot handle the Goose.  They Goose is all about good times, good vibes, awesome hair, waves and Ghandi.  The problem is, everyone in the ‘Nasty only likes hockey and making fun of California.

One guy REALLY hates Mitchell and that is Jack.  Jack is the best hockey player ever and he also looks like he is in grad school and has two kids already.  Jack’s hate for the Goose leads to the most important scene on film of all time.  In fact, I am pretty sure 90% of the water polo playing Orange County crowd (they call it H20 polo) learned something really valuable from this film.  This is the first time the word BRAH made it onto the big screen.  You are welcome, America.  Love, Hollywood:

Whoa.  That was hot.  So hot, Orange County said “Yup.  That was it.  We want that.”  In fairness to Mitchell Goosen, the H20 polo thing is more of a combination of the Goose and Jack.  It’s jocky, it’s laid back, it’s the most awesome sport ever that is on television once every four years at 4 am.  But I digress.

By the way, did you notice Jack Black in this scene?  Good.  Because it’s him.  And he is rad in this film as Augie.  He’s the goalie.

Anyway, there’s a big hockey game against “the Preps” and Jack sees the Goose fleecing his hot sister Nikki (who I was in love with when I was eleven years old) so Jack basically gets Mitchell to get in on the hockey game.  Mitchell totally blows it though and scores on his own goal.  Lame.  Nikki is super bummed.  The main dude on the Preps (who we’d only hate more if he was a terrorist) makes fun of Jack for the California boy.  Jack is extra super pissed now and basically goes into caveman mode for the rest of the film.

Either way, Nikki is a total tuna and totally falls for Mitchell and his smooth talking California game.  He takes her to like an arboretum and impresses her because he knows all kinds of plants and stuff.  Then Jeremy Jordan’s “My Love is Good Enough” starts pumping and Mitchell totally impresses her by Rollerblading the shit out of the arboretum.  After all of this, he scores a date.  He does so with this conversation:

Nikki: So, if you could have lunch with any three people in the entire world – alive, dead, fictitious, I don’t care. Who would it be?
Mitchell Goosen: What kind of question is that?
Nikki: A fun one, c’mon.
Mitchell Goosen: Well, I’d have to say Tom Curren; greatest surfer in the world, now that would be cool. And, um, maybe Ghandi. Not for lunch though, he wouldn’t eat lunch.
Nikki: And the third one?
Mitchell Goosen: I’d have to say you.
Nikki: Me? You can have lunch with anyone in the world, and you would choose me.
Mitchell Goosen: You’re not just anyone. You’re special.

Hell  yeah, Goose.  That’s how you melt some frozen girl heart.

He and Wiley bust out some cool outfits and hit the road and do some cool stuff with the girls on their date.  Wiley seems like he’s blowing it, but later on she starts digging him.  It’s rad.  Until Jack shows up and it gets too hot to handle.  Mitchell is all into Ghandi and won’t fight even though he should.  Even Wiley thinks that is lame.

Anyway, things are really bad for Mitchell.  Nikki is on the fritz.  Wiley doesn’t respect him.  Also, there is no ocean in the ‘Nasty which is still pissing the Goose off.   What can he do?

Get a conveniently timed package from California with his rollerblades!  Now Mitch starts making friends super easy as he’s shredding everywhere.  It turns out EVERYONE in the ‘Nasty likes to shred.  Dude, why didn’t he bring the blades in the first place.  He’d have already been super popular.  Remember the tagline of the film?  Hell-O!

Anyway, Mitch gets this weird look on his face and decides to rock up to the hockey game and beg his way in.  Nikki is watching like “oh, man what’s next”.  Goose keeps smiling like “chill, brah I know what’s next”.  He decides to PANTS the dickhead from “the Preps”.  Jack Black laughs and says something I have no idea what it is, but it is awesome.

Goose is stylin’.  What is stylin’?  I’ll show you:

So the hockey team comes over later and is like acting like they still hate Goose, only its a joke and they all start hugging and tell him how awesome he is.  Duh.  So Snake, the oddly misplaced Latino and resident bad ass, tells Goose that they are planning a rollerblading race to “settle it once and for all” with the Preps.  The race will be on the Devil’s Backbone, which sounds pretty intense.  There is a definite sense that not all of these rollerbladers will be coming back alive.  Whatever, man.  The Preps need to get cut down a notch and the only way to do that is with Rollerblades.

The race shows up and Jack is like SORTA cool will the Goose, even though it’s pretty obvious the Goose at this point has gotten tricky with Nikki.  The race starts and it’s pretty gnarly.  It’s also clear that the Devil’s Backbone is code for “all of Cincinnati”.

I won’t tell you then ending.  It must be experienced.  And you can.  The whole film is online at youtube.  Just search “Airborne Part 1” and follow to 2, 3, 4.

See you next week.

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More Boston Love From Trippah.

Here’s another response from Trippah, who is becoming one of my new best friends.  I hope he likes talking to me as much as I enjoy talking to him.  By the end of this, I am pretty sure we’ll be BFF.

As always, with my annotations in red:

Ill tell you what, how about you bring all your chump college and pro teams to boston and suit up against the sox, celts, and pats? (is this up to me?  I’ll call them.  When’s good for you guys?  I think USC football is available on Saturday afternoon, but the Lakers will be too busy wondering if the Celtics can get past the Cavs) Why the F is my spelling such a problem? (For me, it’s not.  I could see it being tough to find employment that requires you to write anything) I feel like im corresponding with my boss or the governor or somehting. (I think that just made my point.) Get over it, were just talking sports, not re-writing the constitution.(If you re-write the Constitution, that’s the country I want to live in.  With Liberty, and Pedroia for all, right?  Wicked, tight.)

Its like i say “many sucks and its clearly on the home stretch of his career” and you come back at me with, “you spelled “Manny” wrong and forgot to capitalize the “M”.” That is retahded.  (It’s like, you spell everything wrong, and like, I try to translate it so my readers know what you are trying to say.)

….im sorry you went to USC, you were probably in some toolish frat too.  (Guilty as charged.  Although you did say talking to me felt like talking to your boss, and that’s probably a strong possibility one day.

So there is the latest conversation.  Trippah, if you read this, I am giving you a special opportunity.  I will give you a free post on this blog.  Just write me an article and I will post it.  I promise I won’t make comments in red.  I like your style, dude.  Tell the world how it is.

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Have a Great Weekend Lost Angeles.

No big blog today.  Just a friendly wish for you to have a great weekend.  Get outside, get a lot of things done that none of us will be able to do once Dodger season starts.

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More Boston Hate.

Here’s a nice quote from a man who just typed a bunch of random letters as his name, but then provided his actual email address.  Nice.

fuck LA you gus suck dick at sports you can keep manny

President Obama.  Please send money to Boston for punctuation education.  And yes.  We will keep Manny.

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In a Bad Economy, Don’t Whine.

It’s 3pm on a work day.  Suddenly, a good friend of yours calls and they ask you if you know anywhere that is hiring.  They have worked hard, they loved their old job and were happy doing their daily toiling.  Now, they don’t know what to do.  You ask if their next gig has to be in the same field.  They don’t care right now.  Times are tough and they just want to work.  They want to provide for their families or keep saving for a house or even just pay off tuition loans from college or grad school.

My mother used to say “read the room” to me.  That meant it was always important to make sure what you are saying or what you are doing is appropriate for what is going on around you.  I wish I could say I always read the room, but I didn’t.  Still, can you imagine after your friends around you are looking for work, replying back to them, “I am angry at my job because they are overpaying me and not asking me to do much work and are keeping me around for at least three years?”

I can’t imagine that either.  But I know two guys who literally DID just say that.  They both have the same job:  centerfielder.  They both play a game for a living:  baseball.  They both didn’t “read the room”.  They are Juan Pierre (Dodgers) and Gary Matthews Jr. (Angels).

The Dodgers and Angels had their reasons, but both teams decided to overpay for new centerfielders.  The Dodgers were even dumb enough to give Juan Pierre a  year deal for just under 50 million dollars.

roids make you jump really high.

roids make you jump really high.

This should be where the story ends, honestly.  Two guys, God bless ’em, got paid enough money that their families and their ancestors will always be rich (unless one great grandchild decides he wants to collect islands and build diamond crusted buildings on them).  But this isn’t where the story ends.

In the case of Juan Pierre, he was a lazy hire by GM Ned Colletti, a knee jerk for J.D. Drew opting out to go be lazy in Boston (a place that sucks) and win World Series.  They sign Pierre and he does what he always did.  Never strike out, hit about .300, have a frusteratingly low OBP, steal a lot of bases and throw like an eleven-year-old girl.  Eventually, the Dodgers decided they needed more and proceeded to admit Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp could play, and after a failed Andruw Jones experiment, they landed the Dreadlocks to patrol left field and be awesome 24/7.  Juan was out of a job.

here's juan practicing resting on the bench.

here's juan practicing resting on the bench.

For Gary Matthew’s Jr., when he wasn’t eating steroids at an amazing clip, when he wasn’t eating them in a contract year, he was busy letting the Angels watch his batting average shrink 71 points since the aforementioned roiding contract year.  So the Angels signed Juan Rivera and figured they could at least utilize Gary’s high flying defense.  That was until the poor economy led to a great deal on Bobby Abreu, who now makes Gary the odd roiding outfielder out (3 OF postions and a DH).  Luckily, Gary is off the juice because he is pretty angry right about now

Today, USA Today grabbed quotes from these two guys who should be counting their lucky stars.  They should be counting them because in a time where fans of the team they played for are hustling to scrounge up cash to come to a ballgame and endure seven dollar hot dogs and eleven dollar beer, these guys are complaining about playing time.

A very pissy and infantile Matthew’s had this to say today:

“I’m not going to sit here and not play this season,” Matthews said in a calm, measured voice. “I’m just not going to do it. Obviously, something must be done.”

Something will be done, Gary.  You will shut your pie hole and collect your paychecks which equal out to around $68,000 each time he doesn’t have to do his job.  That money is guaranteed.  He gets it no matter what.  I know it sucks to sit on the bench.  Everyone wants to feel useful.  Well I got an idea for you Gary that doesn’t involve using steroids or playing baseball:  Pick fifteen games this year and donate your day rate to sit on the bench and complain to a fifteen Angelinos who lost their job this year.  Don’t worry, you will still get 10 million dollars in salary AFTER doing this (based on his 33 million dollars and three years remaining on his deal).

Juan Pierre was just as insensitive and doubled up on Gary in saying this:

“It’s tough because I’m used to playing every single day.  Last year was torture for me. If this organization thinks I’ll be happy making money and sitting on the bench, they signed the wrong guy.”

Was it torture Juan?  Was it like having to tell your wife you lost your job?  Was it like telling your kid they can’t have a bicycle for Christmas?  Or was it just a bummer to want to play a game, but not being allowed to.  Well, I know in fairness you have been performing at the level you always have and someone probably would stick you in centerfield and see if you could break a glass window by throwing a rock at it, but don’t tell us it is torture.  Torture is watching you never take a walk while collecting 9 million dollars a year.

some of his BS dribbled down his chin.  see.

some of his BS dribbled down his chin. see.

Bobby Crosby of the Oakland A’s was almost as lame as Pierre and Matthews today, but at least had the public relations savvy to mention how it affected the team:

“You’re getting paid the same, but you don’t want to sit on the bench. I don’t think the A’s would want me around if I ever thought, ‘Oh, great, I get to sit around and do nothing now.’ ”

But the truth is, what everyone wants out of all of you is to shut up and collect your paychecks.  If the team can move you, then great, bon voyage.  If it really isn’t about the money, ask the teams for a reduction in salary.  If Juan Pierre came to the Dodgers front office and said, “Hi Mr. McCourt.  I really appreciate how much you are paying me, but I really would like to play everyday.  Maybe we could reduce my salary to a level where you could trade me more easily and still get something back.”

What do you think they’d say?  Nothing, they’d be too busy doing a wild and naked dance while dialing a dozen other clubs on the phone at once.  But Juan isn’t doing it.  That’s because in a time when people are fighting for crumbs, he and roiding Gary and Bobby Crosby all want their cake and to eat it to.

Well they can.  From the bench.

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11 Days Until Opening Day.

That is good because it will fall to single digits over the weekend and over the weekend I am in a good mood.

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Extreme LED Sheep Herding.

This is mindblowing.  I didn’t know it was possible to make something that included sheep herding awesome, but they did.  Kudos to Dave for sending this my way.

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Where the Wild Things Are.

Check out these pictures from Spike Jonze’s new take on the classic children’s book.  I think this looks better than season 2 of Lost.  I am kidding, Lost is terrible.  And so are you.  But this movie is awesome.

05_Flatbed_1 - MARCH05_Flatbed_1 - MARCHWhere the Wild Things Are05_Flatbed_1 - MARCH

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