Thursday, January 14, 2021

Spotted: Gnorbert the Gnerdy Gnome


I had never heard of "Gnobert the Gnerdy Gnome" until I passed this house on a walk during the holidays.
As spotted on one of our extemded walks: One house fully decorated for Christmas, and that included a wonderland of gnomes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Rate-A-Restaurant #396: Evil Cooks LA (El Sereno)

Restaurant: Evil Cooks

Location: 2461 N Eastern Ave. (El Sereno)

Type of restaurant: Tacos

We stipulated: Maria and I continue "New Food Sundays," inspired by the Los Angeles Times' latest 101 Restaurants special issue. Evil Cooks' weekend pop up taco stand sounded amazing, and El Sereno isn't that far away.

They stipulated: Open only Friday through Sunday evenings, in front of a house on busy Eastern Ave. Also: "our specialty is street gourmet tacos such as Black Al Pastor and much more. Lets no forget out Dessert Tacos such as our famous Flan Taco, Chocoflan taco, Arroz con leche taco, Camote con leche taco and much more."
What we ordered: Maria got the Prince of Darkness burrito: Black pastor, onion, cilantro, salsa roja, cheese, eggs, guac ($8). I got the three tacos: black pastor, chorizo verde, chicken pibil ($8).

High point: 
Whatta deal! These tacos, with the homemade tortillas, wonderfully prepared meats and right amount of condiments, were perfection.

Low point:  They had already sold out of their desserts, so we couldn't try the la bruja (flan taco) like we had hoped.

Overall impression:
An amazing deal, and well worth the drive and even waiting in line. Best tacos I've had in recent memory.

Will we return:  Yes Yes Yes!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lord Jacks, Duke of Schneiderton

This year I couldn't wait until Christmas morning for one specific reason: I had decided to surprise the family with a regal painting of Jacks, dressed as "The Aristocrat," via the popular Crown & Paw design service. My Variety colleague Elaine first alerted us to the ridiculous joy of Crown & Paw — and it was worth it. 

For $71 (yes, that included a 30% discount), I ordered The Aristocrat a custom pet canvas measuring 12" x 18" x 1. It was as simple as sending a photo of Jacks, and a week or two later they sent a copy of the painting to be approved. It came a few days before Christmas, early enough to wrap and stick under the tree without anyone even noticing. It was a hit!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Holy Guacamole, We've Got Hits: Best of 2020 Playlist

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2020's playlists for our nineteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix. Listen and watch below!

1. I Know Alone — HAIM

2. What Am I — Jordan Mackampa

3. Good Bad Times — Hinds

4. Lockdown — Anderson .Paak

5. Blinding Lights — The Naked and Famous

6. i see america — Joy Oladokun

7. Your Love (Déjà Vu) — Glass Animals

8. White Boy — Jensen McRae

9. Be Kind — Marshmello feat. Halsey

10. Lemon (feat. Sharon Van Etten) — Local Natives

11. Black Dog — Arlo Parks

12. Sweet Summer Sweat (feat. Dijon) — Jim-E Stack

13. I Just Wanna Live — Keedron Bryant

14. Kyoto — Phoebe Bridgers

15. Hit Me Up — Omar Apollo, Dominic Fike, Kenny Beats

16. Overkill — Holly Humberstone

17. Can I Believe You — Fleet Foxes

18. Someone — Gabriel Garzón-Montano

19. What I Do... — Taylor Janzen

20. Monsters You Made (feat. Chris Martin) — Burna Boy

21. rock bottom — MisterWives

22. People, I've been sad — Christine and the Queens

23. Fight The Power 2020 — Public Enemy feat. Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Jahi, YG, Questlove

Saturday, January 9, 2021

R.I.P., LA Icons Tom LaBonge and Tommy Lasorda

Sad to hear about the passing of former councilman Tom LaBonge. He showed up to the Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 unannounced, excited to see what we were doing. And I'll never forget seeing him, alone on a rainy Easter morning, clearing out a clogged street drain across from St. Casimir Church. I wrote about it for the blog, also in 2010:
Los Angeles City Council member Tom LaBonge is known for taking his love of L.A. to extreme measures. And we saw first hand on Easter Sunday how far he'll go.

As we were walking up the steps to Los Feliz's St. Casimir Catholic Church, one of the church's top volunteers yelled, "Hey! It's Tom LaBonge."

We turned and saw a man with a large trash bag, picking up garbage from the gutter in front of the church. He looked up and seemed genuinely embarrassed at being caught.

Yep, there was Councilman LaBonge, in sweats, randomly picking up trash in the neighborhood.

"I'm doing this for the church!" he told the St. Casimir volunteer before loading the trash bag in his trunk.

I asked LaBonge if he had any pumpkin bread in his trunk -- as he's well-know for passing out the treat, as baked and sold by the nuns inside Hollywood's Monastery of the Angeles.

He smiled, said yes, pointed to his car, and then drove off. Wait, where's my bread?
No one loved Los Angeles like Tom LaBonge.

Quite the sad coincidence that another iconic Los Angeles Tom — Dodgers icon Tommy Lasorda — also passed away today. Jon Weisman has a great tribute here.