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

Recession antidote: EatLA contest winds up with more great shots of happy people

In this week’s Off-Ramp newsletter, we offered four brand new Eat LA guides to food and drink in Los Angeles. (On this week’s show, I interview the editor, and she gave us some books to give away.)

The contestants needed to send us a photo of themselves in some food- or drink-related setting. The first four in were Kelsey, Imelda, Robert, and Suzanne, and their books are in the mail. But we got more great pictures.

As far as I could tell, not one of these entrants needed to go out and take a new photo, which tells me that, even though food related photos are not always the most flattering by fashion standards (that is, Anna Wintour isn’t going to put Sonja Thinmodel on the cover munching a rib or a drumstick, with sauce on her chin), we like them and we take them. And guess what? People look happy when they’re around food and friends, which makes these photos about 900% better than the “beautiful” people’s shots. Anyway, that’s just me.

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California Governor’s Race in a Tie

On his campaign website, current state Attorney General and would-be Governor Jerry Brown touts his old record:

During Governor Brown’s tenure, California produced 25% of the nation's new jobs, significantly reduced taxes and built up the largest state surplus ever. His eight years in office are generally considered among the most innovative in California history.

But it fails to mention that he was also responsible for this, which I bought for $5 Saturday night at a second-hand store on Sunset Blvd.:

The “Jerry Brown for Governor” necktie is 100% polyester, which means it can only be tied in a four-in-hand, otherwise the knot would be as big as your head. It’s brown, of course; can’t fault him for that. It’s about 3 feet wide, which I believe was determined by taking the total width of the sportcoat lapels and dividing them by a factor of 2.54.

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A few almost-winners in the Off-Ramp EatLA contest!

In this week’s Off-Ramp newsletter, we offered four brand new Eat LA guides to food and drink in Los Angeles. (On this week’s show, I interview the editor, and she gave us some books to give away.)

The contestants needed to send us a photo of themselves in some food- or drink-related setting. The first four in were Kelsey, Imelda, Robert, and Suzanne, and their books are in the mail. But we got more great pictures.

Reva Smilkstein, at Fatty’s in Eagle Rock, apparently on June 17:

Heidi Seymour (on the right, I believe, with a friend):

And Tony Rodriguez, “with the Orochon Special #2 Spicy Ramen Challenge in Little Tokyo that I heard Queena Kim talk about a couple of years ago on Off Ramp!”

Thanks to everyone who entered. If you want to be in on these kinds of cool giveaways in the future, sign up for the Off-Ramp Newsletter.

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Two more winners in the Off-Ramp EatLA contest!

In this week’s Off-Ramp newsletter, we offered four brand new Eat LA guides to food and drink in Los Angeles. (On this week’s show, I interview the editor, and she gave us some books to give away.)

The contestants needed to send us a photo of themselves and food. We met two winners, Kelsey McConnell and Imelda Hinojosa, yesterday. Today, congratulations to Suzanne Lee of Sherman Oaks, who apparently enjoys ribs … a teeny bit ...


… and Robert of Orange, who entered on behalf of his Dorito’d daughter:


Thanks to all who entered. I’ll post some more photos later of those who entered, but weren’t among the first four. Maybe EatLA will take pity on them...

If you want to be in on these kinds of cool giveaways in the future, sign up for the Off-Ramp Newsletter.

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

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Mama Mia! Bars are still watering drinks?

I’m almost 43. I’ve been drinking since I was 18 or 21. (I can’t remember what the limit was in Michigan when I turned of age.) I’ve been around bars since Dad took me to the Detroit Press Club when I was in Kindergarten. Heck, I’ve been mixing drinks for just as long, like little Patrick Dennis in “Auntie Mame,” and have never had any complaints.

I have never had a watered drink in all those years, until tonight at an American Italian restaurant in Los Feliz. I’ll identify it only as P------ because there are many positive reviews of it on Yelp! and because people don’t seem to go here for good mixed drinks.

See the “martini” here?


It’s really dry vermouth and water, shaken, not stirred, with extra water.

I ordered it specifically 3-1 Bombay Dry Gin to vermouth. The waiter delivered what looked like a delicious icy martini, with two (actually very tasty and huge) olives. When he returned, I told him, “I think they reversed the proportions. There’s not nearly enough gin in this.” He brought a fresh one back, no argument. It was exactly the same. But since I didn’t want to make a fuss, I sipped it and enjoyed the olives.

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