Wednesday, August 17, 2016

R.I.P. Summit Inn: Cajon Pass Fire Destroys a Route 66 Landmark

Summit Inn

I was heartbroken to see tonight that the devastating fire in the Cajon Pass has completely burned down the Summit Inn, a Route 66 landmark that fed travelers for generations.

We were just at the Summit Inn this March, as we traveled on Route 66 to Arizona, on the way to the Grand Canyon. We stopped for lunch, and although the food was pretty average, the history and experience was well worth the stop. (Why would you ever stop at a fast food chain if you have the opportunity to actually take in some local color?) The service was great, the staff friendly. And the restaurant was covered with Route 66 memorabilia, as well as trinkets detailing the history of the Summit Inn. Sadly, that's all gone now.

Meanwhile, the "Blue Cut" fire has destroyed countless homes, and forced 80,000 residents to flee. The 15 freeway is shut down in the Cajon Pass, cutting off the main freeway between L.A. and Las Vegas.

Here are a few pics I snapped while dining at the Summit Inn:

Summit Inn

Summit Inn

Summit Inn

Summit Inn

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CicLAvia Returns to Wilshire Boulevard, and Blogger Kid 2.0 is Ready (PHOTOS)

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLAvia was back for a shorter course this Sunday, shutting down Wilshire Boulevard between downtown and Western. But that was good enough for the thousands who came out and took advantage of the empty street to ride their bikes, skateboards and other contraptions -- or even just walk it.

It was an even bigger deal for the Franklin Avenue crew, as it was the first time Blogger Kid 2.0 rode his own bike, without training wheels, at a CicLAvia! We only took the training wheels off a few weeks ago, so we were mighty proud.

Also: A shout-out to the CicLAvia personnel on hand, who rushed to our aid when the Blogger Kid 1.0 snapped off his bike pedal and tumbled to the ground. Luckily, he only got a few scrapes. But his bike is going to need some work!

More shots from a beautiful -- but hot! -- Sunday at CicLAvia:

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

CicLaVia August 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Watch: As the Rams Return to LA, Rowdy Fan Drops the 'F' Bomb Live on Local TV Post-Game Show

FCC the Rams

Is this why we can't have nice things, like an NFL team? Thankfully, the guy in question is a Cowboys fan... and the big return of NFL football to Los Angeles was a tremendous success on Saturday night. A win for the L.A. Rams, and 89,000 fans in a jam-packed Memorial Coliseum -- it was nice to see football in Los Angeles for the first time since 1994. (A first for me here, and I've been living in Los Angeles for 20 years!)

Live TV being live TV... we learned on Saturday that KABC/7 wasn't on a delay when a rowdy Cowboys fan grabbed a reporter's mic and shouted, "F--K THE RAMS!" (Only... he wasn't censored.) Watch above.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Hello, Expo Line: We Finally Make the Trip to Santa Monica

Expo Line

No, New York Times, it is NOT the "Subway to the Sea." It's not a subway, first off. (The Metro Purple Line, which could be the "Subway to the Sea" one day, is so far only scheduled to reach as far as Westwood. The NYT hasn't issued a correction yet.)

Expo Line

But the Metro Expo Line DOES reach the sea, and that's been one of the big game changers this year when it comes to public transportation in Los Angeles. We recently finally rode the length of the Expo line, from 7th Street downtown, all the way to the ocean.

Expo Line

A few snap observations: As the Metro itself has admitted, the Expo Line needs more train cars, at least on the weekend. Apparently the additional train cars have been ordered... but for now, the trains are crowded. And on the weekend, people are mostly heading to the very end -- meaning the train gets busier and busier up until the end of the line.

Thankfully, having started at the beginning of the line, we had seats.

Expo Line

Next: Keep your fingers crossed you get a newer train car. On the way down, we road in an older train, built in the late 1980s and probably been in use since the Blue Line first opened in 1990. The air conditioning was not existent, making the car hotter and hotter as more people climbed on board. (We had a newer train on the way back, and it was cool riding.)

Expo Line

The ride itself is very pleasant, and offers interesting views of the city -- including Exposition Park and its museums, and a great view of the Hollywood Hills (including the Hollywood sign) during the elevated sections.

Expo Line

Things get pretty crowded at the end of the line, as crowds disembark and wander every which way into Santa Monica. But to be so close to the ocean, it's a dream come true -- our TRAIN to the sea has arrived!

Expo Line

Most importantly, the Expo Line has now CHANGED THE GAME when it comes to the Great Los Angeles Walk! For the first time this year, there will be an easy rail option to get to and from the start and finish lines!

Friday, August 05, 2016

Rate-A-Restaurant #372: Stickhouse (Santa Monica)

Stick house

Restaurant: Stickhouse

Location: 223 Broadway (Santa Monica)

Type of restaurant: Dessert (Gelato)

Stick house

We stipulated: After taking a journey on the Metro Expo line to Santa Monica, we wanted an ice cream treat. We walked by Stickhouse -- and the concept was intriguing enough (unique gelato flavors on a stick!) that we walked in.

Stick house

They stipulated: "A carefully considerated but simple idea: what about putting freshly made artisan gelato on a stick? Such a goal was finally achieved in 2006 with patented automatic machine which produces a high quality artisan gelato on a stick according to the best Italian tradition: daily made with genuine ingredients. A great tradition has been reinvented thanks to Italian creativity and technology, and in 2009 a new franchising project was born: Stickhouse."

Stick house

What we ordered: Mike: Banana gelato with white chocolate; Maria: mint gelato with chocolate; Evan: Banana gelato with chocolate; Nathan: Mint chocolate gelato with chocolate. All $4.50 each.
Stick house

High point:  The gelato was indeed tasty -- rich, but not too rich -- and we loved the variety of flavor choices.

Low point:  A lot of menu items weren't available -- including the "Cupido" (sorbetto on the outside, gelato on the inside), which I would have bought.

Stick house

Overall impression: In hindsight, I wouldn't have dipped my gelato in chocolate. It was fine, but it took away from the gelato flavor. (Plus, it was unnecessary extra calories.) But they didn't even give the option.

Will we return: Quite possibly. Stickhouse's Santa Monica location is the only one so far in the United States (it's mostly overseas), but another is opening soon in Hollywood.
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