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

Andersen’s pea soup hits spot on long, bleak drive.

You’ve done the drive down the 5 from San Francisco. The only thing worse is when it rains.

You should stop every hour or so to stretch your legs and clear your mind, but every minute you stop is another minute later you get home.

Then, two hours out of San Francisco, Pea Soup Andersen’s beckons.

A hot cup of coffee …

Special seasonings …

Free butter …

And a bottomless bowl of pea soup!

I'm also a sucker for the real tableclothes, polite service, and Scandiavian decor. Andersen’s turns 87 this year.

Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.

(All Photos by John Rabe.)


Rain swells the LA River and Arroyo Seco – photos and movie from John Rabe

This was the scene at about 1pm this afternoon where the Arroyo Seco joins the LA River.

...a movie I took panning down the Arroyo Seco (note: it's San Fernando Road, not Avenue 26, as I say in movie):

... a still view from under the Avenue 19 bridge, looking out onto actual whitecaps on the LA River.

... and looking down the final yards of the Arroyo toward the river.

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


Supervisor Mike Antonovich: Don’t wait. Start prepping for the storm now.

The rains are coming, and the Supervisor says you should get to work now – if you haven’t already – if your home is in the path of possible mudslides. Here’s the release:

January 15, 2010
For Immediate Release


LOS ANGELES COUNTY – To prepare for forecasted winter storms that could produce up to 8 inches of rain next week in areas affected by recent fires, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich encourages residents in hillside communities and fire-impacted areas to take precautions now.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works’ 24-hour toll-free hotline, (800) 214-4020, provides homeowners with engineering advice and recommendations on how to prevent damage utilizing sandbags, k-rails, and deflection walls to protect individual properties. Sandbags are available at all Los Angeles County Fire Stations.


Off-Ramp host John Rabe plays with new iPhone app, warns of art prank to come

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days, but I’ve been busy exploring a new app on my iPhone. It’s the Hipstamatic, and it degrades the quality of the iPhone’s camera.

When any joker (like me) with a digital camera can take beautiful shots, the photos we used to make with old cheap cameras now have a certain charm. But now you don’t have to buy a funky Soviet-style camera at Urban Outfitters, and go to the trouble of having the film processed and printed, or search out an old Instamatic and film.

With the Hipstamatic and its interchangeable virtual lenses, films, flashes, and gels, you can take black-and-white photos with a fake date at the bottom:

And you can add a glow to color shots – making even the impossibly handsome Connor the Dog look better:

So equipped, my plan is to go around Los Angeles and take shots of old looking stuff, then post the results, claiming I found the photos in a box in an attic, or at a flea market. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. You, as savvy John Rabe blog readers, will know it’s a prank, and will perhaps think of ways to aid and abet my efforts. (This is an invitation.) Maybe we need a code word? Please try to work the word “Swordfish” into whatever you do, and that’ll tell everyone else you’re in on the joke.