Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Blogger Bloom’s Basque Bistro Boggles

Wow! Just check out the dining room of La Villa Basque Restaurant in Vernon, highlighted by Ellen Bloom in her blog, LA Is My Beat.

There's a lot more photos and restaurant info at her blog, posted Wednesday, 2/3.

I guess I should not have been surprised, because LA Observed’s Kevin Roderick had already told me about the Valley’s Basque heritage, so why not in Vernon.

(Thanks to Suzette Smith for sending this along. Nice catch, and yes, we gotta try it. You get an Off-Ramp merit badge, but you might have to design and sew it yourself.)

Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.


The LA Times’ new section – a drug or a fabric?

The LA Times recently introduced a new section. See, the Wall Street Journal is buying time on the Times’ presses, and that’s pushed back the usual deadline for Times reporters. The new section -- LATEXTRA -- is supposed to help with that problem. But … what does the name really mean?

Julian Bermudez and Marc Haefele, at Philippe's this morning, riffed on the name.

"Latextra," Julian says, "sounds like a pill that keeps you up all night.

Marc says it's a synthetic fabric that "stretches while you flex … and feels just like velvet."

Please vote below or nominate your own meaning.

(Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.)


Rabe’s photo essay from Venice Beach – no weirdos, I promise.

My sister in law Patty (right, below) came to LA last weekend with her friend Sherri (left, below) and, since they’re from Michigan where the average temp right now is -273 F, they wanted to hit Venice Beach…

We spent a lot of time just breathing the sea air and saying, “Mmmm. This is nice.” And them asking me why I didn’t come out to the beach more often. I didn’t have a good answer.

Then, we checked out the skate park and the two moms (Patty and Sherri) winced every time they saw a little kid on a skateboard without a helmet. Then, the souvenir crap strip, and then, happily, a walk by the beach houses and down a few quiet lanes along the canals.

Here are the rest of the shots, taken with my Hipstamatic app.

By the way, apropos of sunsets and mmmm, this week on Off-Ramp, Steve Julian, KPCC’s award winning Morning Edition® host, goes tequila tasting.


A Vast Wasteland of Televisions and Rabe’s Question

I took this photo this morning. This is only the latest trashed tv in my neighborhood. For the last couple weeks, I’ve come across easily a couple dozen big tube tv’s in the trash or – usually – on the verge.

Why? Was there a big sale at Costco? Did all the analog/digital converter boxes suddenly stop working at the same time? Did someone tell everyone in Cypress Park that there’s a tv fairy who will leave $20 under your pillow if you dump an old tv?

Please leave your answers below and meanwhile, I guess I’ve found the topic for a new photo essay.

(Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.)