Monday, February 28, 2011

Wellness Tips for this Late Flu Season.

2 sick kids and my throat is killing me. What's a mother to do?  This late on-set flu is bad so take care of yourselves, dear readers! Some helpful wellness tips -

For Westside juicers - Pressed Juicery in Brentwood is back open.  Drink your greens and roots for a huge dose of helpful vitamins. And since I've been mentioning them so often lately, due to all the open/closing activity over there,  it bears repeating - I'm in no way affiliated with Pressed Juicery - I pay for every delicious bottle. Another Brentwood area Driveable Feast favorite is Cafe Rivva. Here's the most perfect Los Angeles sentence you will ever hear - Try the Kale smoothie.

Other juice bars around town that can make it easier for you to take good care of yourself  -
Real Raw Live on West Franklin in Hollywood
Earth Bar has a stand alone shop on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood as well as in Equinox Fitness Locations
Life Food Organic on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood
Beverly Hills Juice 8382 Beverly Blvd in Bev Hills

As well as Whole Foods Markets and Urth Cafes all over town.

If you're not feeling well this next suggestion may sound like the last thing you want to do but I am telling you it's so helpful. Roll out the stiffness and pain of an achy, fluish body.

Using a large foam roller that looks like this -

there are several different ways to roll out. Click here for a helpful article that includes a video demonstration.   I do this for the first 15 minutes of my weekly pilates class as well as at home a couple of times a week.  Regular rolling sessions can help keep you limber, and, I really believe, help move illness through and out of your body more quickly.  Don't have a roller? Click here to take a look at Gaiam's selection.

You can also do a sort of mini roll by using a tennis ball on the bottom of your foot. 

Simply step on a  ball and, placing as much weight on it as you can stand,  roll it around the bottom of your foot.

It WILL hurt - so good.

 While pressure is great for a whole system clearing - you will feel the energy shooting up your body as you step and roll -  if you feel the need for something softer and would like to do a sort of self reflexology on your feet, you can gently concentrate on the ares of the foot that correspond to achy places. Take a look at the chart below and use either the ball or your own hands to send love and healing energy to places in your body that need them both. Be well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

$15 Pizza & Pasta at Angeli – Good Food’s Happy Meal

$15 Pizza & Pasta at Angeli – Good Food’s Happy Meal

 Angeli Cafe is a Driveable Feast favorite. Though I live on the westside, Angeli is a long time weekend go-to place for fresh, delicious Italian. I especially appreciate how good they are to my kids.  And tonight from 6-8 it's $15 for pizza or pasta and a salad with drink specials too - a truly good deal.  If my kids didn't have the flu I'd be over there, traffic be dammed!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

This Sunday, February 27th,  Kidspace Children's Museum in Pasadena celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  Kids and families can enjoy stories read throughout the museum as well as Dr. Seuss themed games and crafts. Come dressed as your favorite Seuss character for a chance to win a prize!
Click here for hours, directions and other important information. 

Do you know the story of how the Cat and the Hat came to be?

The following is from  50 Years of The Cat in The Hat, a 2007 story  by NPR's Lynn Neary:

 "According to Philip Nel, author of The Annotated Cat, William Spaulding (director of Houghton Mifflin's educational division)  had seen a 1954 Life magazine article by the writer John Hersey.  In that article, Hersey took on a problem that was bothering Americans at the time: Why Johnny can't read.  Hersey concluded that the "Dick and Jane" readers that most schools used were just too boring and suggested that Dr. Seuss write a new reading primer for the nation's schoolchildren.
Nel says that Spaulding liked that idea and issued a challenge to Dr. Seuss.

"He said, 'Write me a story that first-graders can't put down.' And so Seuss did and he wrote The Cat in the Hat to replace Dick and Jane. And it was a huge hit. It was a huge commercial success from the moment of its publication. It really is the book that made Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss," Nel says.

Dr. Seuss had been a fairly successful children's book author up until then, though he was not yet a household name. He thought it would be easy to write the book Spaulding wanted, and expected to dash it off in no time. It took him a year and a half. Seuss underestimated how hard it would be to write a book using just over 200 words, Nel says.

"Seuss was used to inventing words when he needed them, so to stick to a word list was a huge challenge for him," Nel says. "And, in fact, his favorite story about the creation of The Cat in the Hat is that it was born out of his frustration with the word list. He said he would come up with an idea, but then he would have no way to express that idea. So he said...: 'I read the list three times and almost went out of my head. I said I'll read it once more and if I can find two words that rhyme, that will be my book. I found cat and hat and I said the title will be The Cat in the Hat.'"

In the end, Nel says, Seuss used exactly 236 words to write The Cat in the Hat, words that young readers can understand."

The former preschool teacher in me cherishes this story.  I have read The Cat in The Hat out loud many (many) times and I know first hand that the result of the Spaulding's challenge to Dr Seuss is both wonderfully engaging and helpful for developing reading skills.

The writer in me loves this difficult to achieve result - a masterpiece (of its type, people, I'm not comparing it to The Great Gatsby) created within a rigid framework, in this case a beloved story written using  only 236 words.  Like the 14 lines of a sonnet or the 5/7/5 syllable structure of a haiku,  the three panel framework of triptych or a great photograph taken on assignment,  hard and fast rules can be either an artist's undoing or the supportive skeleton on which a work depends.

Whether you are able to enjoy the Dr Seuss celebration at Kidspace or you just want to honor his actual birthday on March 2nd,  any Suess-themed party has to include green eggs! Of course, you can just add food coloring to scrambles eggs but, if you want something delicious, here is a green eggs recipe to savor.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Red Cross Shelter App For Fire, Flood and Earthquake Country. Yes LA, That's Us!

 The American Red Cross has created a shelter app for the iphone. Using the displayed map and your location you can find the nearest open shelter in the event of an emergency. The map is updated every 30 minutes. A detailed view shows last reported resident count and capacity. Add the app to your phone and, while you're thinking of it, check your earthquake supplies at home, at work and in your car.

American Red Cross 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pressed Juicery Temporarily Shuts

 What is a Westside woman to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Do to greater than expected demand from all the monthly cleansing, yoga doing, pilates stretching, barre method addicts over here on the Westside, Pressed Juicery can't keep up. According to their website in the midst of a move to a large facility they have had some kitchen issues and have closed their tiny, dutch-door stall at 13050 San Vincente #120 while they get set up for production in a "terrific new kitchen."  Stand by for word of the re-open.

I make gentle fun of all the  _______  (fill in the blank - weight? health? weight? health?) obsessed moms over here but the truth is, if my hair looked better, I'd be one of them. And I do love PJ's juice. I did a cleanse the first week of January and I felt fantastic. If you're looking for a healthy treat here's a tip.  When the store reopens go get yourself some of the almond milk, take it home and throw it in the blender with a frozen banana. I am telling you!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Yes, yes I know. The Met is in New York.  But such a momentous occasion is worth noting, no? On this day in 1872 the Metropolitan Museum of Art  first opened to the public  (though not as seen above - this building, with its wonderful Beaux-Arts facade, was completed in 1902.)  The museum is an obvious must see on any visit to Manhattan but did you know that The Met offers one of the best on-line art history resources available?  The Heilbrunn Timeline is a "chronological, geographical and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world as illustrated by the museum's collection." The site features maps, essays, images, indexes and, obviously, a variety of timelines.  It's informative and fascinating. Click around, explore and enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Casey Lane - The Tasting Kitchen Chef Gets a Well Deserved Nod

My Beloved Tasting Kitchen,  (this is how I would start a love letter to one of my favorite Los Angeles restaurants should I ever write one)

My Beloved Tasting Kitchen, though I know that it's wrong and that to indulge my poor fantasies would undo all the benefits I got from the Pressed Juicery cleanse I did a few weeks ago, still, almost nightly, I dream of your pasta...


Have you eaten at the Tasting Kitchen yet?  the pasta? the raw milk gelato? the meats and cheeses if that's your thing? even the bread and butter which my kids literally fight me for? Don't you love the way the waiters touch you on the shoulder when they come to share the secrets of the kitchen?   Chef Casey Lane deserves both his James Beard Foundation "Rising Star Chef of the Year" nomination and Food And Wine's nomination for "The Peoples Best New Chef 2011: Pacific."  Agree?  Click here to cast your Peoples Best New Chef vote.

The Tasting Kitchen
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd

President's Day Weekend - In Los Angeles With the Kids

Not going away this holiday weekend?  I don't know about you but I could use a trip to someplace warm right about now - it's freezing out!  If you and your family are going to be in LA (and you can drag them away form the non-stop frenzy of the All Star Game) put on your mittens and check out some great things going on around town:

He wasn't a President but he was one of out most important and most interesting Founding Fathers -
Benjamin Franklin - In Search Of A Better World runs through March 13th at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.  Featuring 75 rare artifacts from Franklin's life, the interactive exhibit is suitable for all ages (well -probably best for 4 and up. )  And if you have a 4th grader they are quite likely spending this year studying California History. The Bowers has a great collection of Native American art with a special focus on the native groups that lived along the Southern California Coast and an ongoing exhibit called California Legacies: Missions and Ranchos that is a must see for CA students.

The museum is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 - 4  Click here for full information.

Running through the end of the year at the Hollywood and Highland Center across form the Kodak Theater in Hollywood - The Da Vinci Exhibit.

The Exhibit Includes

    • More than 60 full-sized interactive replica macines
    • More than 20 reproductions of his works of art
    • Three Galleries with two devoted to the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper
    • Activity area with more than 30 intriguing games to play and models to build
    • Books, puzzles, and souvenirs to acquire, many of which are not available outside of the Davinci Gift Store
Monday through Sunday 10am to 6pm, click here for full info.

The California African American History Museum in Exposition Park celebrates the history and achievements of African Americans throughout the year but it's really the place to be on Monday February 21st when the museum presents Rollin' Out 365 Days of Black History Celebration.  A "Family Fun Fest" will take place in the courtyard and galleries from 11am - 4pm. The event is free. For full museum information click here.

Sunday Feb 20th is the monthly Third Sunday at The Autry Museum. This month's event features Create Your Own Masterpiece - an opportunity to paint a Western inspired work of art. Story time begins at 11:30 am with stories about Georgia O'Keefe and Charlie Russell to get young artists in the mood.  A musical jam begins at noon and the hands on event runs from 1:30 until 4.  Details here. The Autry will be open on Monday.

Kidspace Children's Museum in Pasadena will also be open Monday from 9:30 to 5pm. Craft activities include making cherry trees, Lincoln stovepipe hats and edible log cabins.

Remember that many of our local museums offer teacher's guides on their websites. Parents can use them too! They can help you talk with your kids about what you are seeing, offering great information and food for thought. Sometimes they even have crafts or projects that you can download to further enrich your experience.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders Files for Bankruptcy

Borders book store chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today and announced that they will be closing at least 15 stores in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties.  Closings include 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles (which is the big store in the Westfield shopping center)  2110 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach and 14651 Venture Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.  For a complete list of closings click here and - on a positive note, I guess - stand by for good sales. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tweet tweet

Yes - it's true - A Driveable Feast is finally on Twitter. Thank you to the blog readers who have requested tweets from me- I'm sorry it's taken so long.  I have been reluctant both because I still think it's kind of weird and also because I don't enjoy figuring out new computer things.  However, I do realize that a woman who runs all over the city finding treats is actually a perfect twitter (er.) So, dear readers, bear with me while I figure this thing out and if you know how to follow me - please do! Now - I bet there's a direct link somehow to do that from here...

Hey - that only took 5 minutes! - Look to the right --------------->

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February in Los Angeles isn't

really about the weather. I say this not because I take it for granted after being here for 20 years. I grew up in Pennsylvania. Snow, cold, wind - these things are deep in my bones and always will be.  I don't take 72 and sunny for granted, ever. Still, wonderful and freeing as it is, the weather isn't really the most magical thing going on right now. 

February in Los Angeles is about the light.

Early morning, around 6:30 am

Catalina Island, 7:15 am from my window

 4:15 pm light on the porch

and on the Chinese Elm

Will Rogers Beach, sunset

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Pop Up Shop At SMMoA

Do you still need something special for Valentine's Day? Would you like to save 10% and support your local art museum at the same time? Gracie, the museum store at the Santa Monica Museum of Art is hosting a Valentine's day Pop up Shop tonight and tomorrow (from 11am - 6pm.) You can find special treats, jewelry, great books - all kinds of cool things to give your sweetie.  Plus, if you mention For Your Art - you will get 10% off!

And hey, in case you're wondering "What's For Your Art?"  It's a weekly arts newsletter that tells you all about arts happenings throughout Los Angeles. You can sign up to get your own copy here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Santa Monica's Aero Theater Shows a Great Family Film this Friday Night

As you wish....

 The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica is showing The Princess Bride ( PG) this Friday, February 11th at 7:30pm.  The Princess Bride, from 1987, is a beautiful fairy tale.  Written by William Goldman, perfectly directed by Rob Reiner and staring Robin Wright and Cary Elwes with memorable performances by Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn and Mandy Patinkin (My Name is Inigo Montoya - you killed my father. Prepare to die!)  it's well worth seeing on the big screen.

The Aero Theater 1328 Montana Ave. Santa Monica

 If you're looking for a treat after the film, the recently opened Montana Ave. branch of Sweet Lady Jane is open on weekend nights until 11pm. 

Sweet Lady Jane 1631 Montana Ave. at the corner of 17th Street.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chicago: The Chicago Code and Fantastic Architecture on Lake Michigan

This post was originally written last summer.  But - as The Chicago Code (which was still being called Ride Along at that time - I have updated the title so the links work) premiers tonight on Fox, I am re-posting.

A Driveable Feast has been on vacation - sort of.  My husband has recently finished his 5 year run as a writer/co-executive producer on Friday Night Lights .  It has been wonderful knowing many of the people responsible for this beautiful show and it is a special joy to watch FNL end with 4 Emmy nominations, though I must say that every writer, editor, director and principle actor on the show deserves a nomination. I have been able to watch from the bench as the entire team created what is one of the best shows in television history.  It has been a privilege. The final season of FNL premiers on NBC on Friday, April 15th.

John is currently a writer/producer on a new show for Fox called The Chicago Code.   Shawn Ryan, creator of The Shield,  is the creator and exec producer of the show.  The Chicago Code takes the audience inside the Chicago Police Department.  Any fan of The Shield knows that Shawn Ryan is a talented guy.  With him at the helm, a terrific cast that includes Jennifer Beals, Jason Clarke and Matt Lauria,  and scripts that are tight and fresh, The Chicago Code should be terrific.  

UPDATE - and it is! Click here for the latest reviews and here for a great interview with Shawn on local public radio station KCRW.

So here's where my sort of vacation comes in. The Chicago Code shoots in Chicago and that's where I took my kids last week, to see something of their dad and to experience the city.

Hog Butcher for the world
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat
Player with Railroads and the Nations Freight Handler;
Stormy, Husky, Brawling
City of Big Shoulders:

Chicago, Carl Sandburg

WHAT a fabulous place.  City of the river and the buildings that line it. City of art and parks and museums that put Los Angeles to shame ( I mean it, every time I see a Science Museum or Museum of Natural History in another major American city I get all riled up about what we don't have here. Where is the billionaire who will do for history and science what Eli Broad, David Geffen and Lynda Resnick have done for the art museums in this city?)

Oh, the buildings of Chicago...  I was in architectural rapture! Everywhere you turn there was something wonderful.

A brief tour -

Any architectural thrill ride in Chicago must begin with Frank Loyd Wright.

From the houses of Oak Park, about 20 minutes west of Downtown -

 Arthur B. Heurtley House, 1902

 Frank W. Tomas House, 1901

 Frank Loyd Wright home and studio

a detail on the studio

to his Robie House near the University of Chicago

a great example of the signature planters

Frank Loyd Wright is one of Chicago's most famous sons.

But it's the skyscraper we see when we imagine the Chicago skyline.

The top of the Willis Tower ( formerly the Sears Tower) completed 1974, Skidmore, Owings and Merril

The John Hancock Tower  (Skidmore, Owings and Merril, completed in 1970)

The Chicago Architecture Foundation  offers a variety of guided boat and walking tours of the city.  I highly recommend the 90 minute boat tour. The docent was well informed and funny and the hour and a half spent sitting in a comfortable chair on the deck of the boat was a great way to rest after several hours spent walking. My husband has compared seeing a new city with me to the long march so I now make an effort to work in time to sit throughout a touring day.

One of the most beautiful new buildings is Renzo Piano's 264,000 square foot modern wing for The Art Institute of Chicago, below.

The building, completed last year, connects the third floor of the modern wing to Millennium Park via  the Nichols Bridge -

The bridge lets you out almost at Frank Geary's Pritzker Pavilion where we were fortunate enough to hear the orchestra rehearsing for that evening's performance.

I could only stay a moment because my boys were being drawn like magnets to Cloud Gate, artist Anish Kapoor's huge silver bean.

Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor

Millennium Park is a not to be missed pleasure.

Just across the street from the park is the Chicago Cultural Center. This beautiful building, designed by the Boston firm Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge and completed in 1897 hosts more than 1000 programs a year. Even if nothing is going on there you must stop in. The building houses 2 Tiffany Domes including the largest in the world and to sit quietly underneath it after walking for several hours was heavenly.

The recently restored Tiffany Dome, the largest in the world.

Two more not to be missed buildings:

The Carbide and Carbon Building is a green terra-cotta covered art deco masterpiece designed by Daniel and Hubert Burnham and completed in 1929.

The building is now home to the Hardrock Hotel.

And then there is Aqua, the tallest building in the world designed by a woman; Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects.  
 Aqua by Jeanne Gang, completed in 2009

I love this building, how it ripples and seems to be almost alive.  It's one of the sexiest building I have ever seen.

But I think my favorite building in the city might be the one directly across the street from our hotel.

 The Palmolive Building, 1929 built by Holabird and Roche

A picture from 1930

The Palmolive was for a long time the Playboy Club and Towers. Now it's condos. When I went over to ask if I could see the lobby the door man told me the building was the inspiration for the Empire State building. Inside there are beautiful relief sculptures carved into the walls and the elevator doors, all drapey art deco females.  I didn't take a picture because I already felt nosy. The building sits at 919 N. Michigan Ave.

One more building that must be mentioned. Actually, a pair of them; Marina City designed by urban utopist Bertrand Goldberg and completed in 1964.

The bottom of Marina City

Goldberg's intention was to stop the flight to the suburbs by creating complete, easier to live in urban environments.  The self contained city-within-a-city houses stores, restaurants, a swimming pool, a bowling alley, a theater and homes - everything a person would need to live comfortably in the city.  This concept is par-for-the-course today but at the time it was revolutionary.

Here you can see Marina City in the background of what was, undoubtedly, the highlight of my sons' trip - a visit to the set of Transformers 3!  I hear tell of a spectacular stunt featuring these buildings.

 Transformers 3 on Michigan Ave.

Up close and personal with Bumblebee

A peek at a new member of the cast.

For more on Chicago Architecture check out this site.  For a wonderful, poetry based walking tour click here for the Chicago Poetry Tour. And for a detailed look at The Chicago Code click here.