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

Two 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. Two winners came in quickly.

Kelsey McConnell, who says she loves Off-Ramp and had a ramen adventure with her girlfriend in Torrance:

And Imelda Hinojosa …

… an artist who writes:

The picture is me snacking on a homemade tortilla. My son wanted "breakfast" for lunch, so I made sausage/eggs, fruit salad … and flour tortillas. I had just sat down at the computer, to check my e's (and snack on his left over food) when I got your newsletter. How's that for timely? Tortillas are one of the things I learned to make from my mom & Grandmother. I regret never learning to make the other traditional foods. My Mom could make the perfect fluffy chili rellenos stuffed with melty cheese … mmmm. And of course, she made the Holiday Tamales.


The (Doo-Dah) Queen is Dead! Long Live the (Doo-Dah) Queen!

The 33rd Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade – the significantly more light-hearted relative of the Rose Parade -- is on May 1, and the Doo Dah organizers are looking for a new Queen.

Tryouts are on February 13 at 2pm at the American Legion on 179 N. Vinedo in Pasadena. I’ve encouraged Queena Kim, Off-Ramp producer and co-host of CyberFrequencies to try out. She is wise, cruel, and is already named Queena. But she doesn’t want to have to get up really early on the day of the parade. (Please use the comments section below to encourage Queena to try out. Offer enticements like cocoanut macaroons from El Pavo, money, dry goods, free landscaping services, etc.)

So what does being the Doo Dah Queen entail?

I asked Michelle Mills (above), the Pasadena Star-News reporter and blogger, who reigned under the name Naughty Mickie two years ago, how being Queen changed her life, and if she has advice for the new Queen – or Queena. Michelle writes:


How did they know? CIA releases new soup recipe book -- “The New Book of Soups” -- just in time for Rabe’s cold.

All babies’ middle names should be Vector. Enough said. Several doses of generic Alka Seltzer Plus® (effervescent) and Gypsy Cold Care® tea later, I still need the best remedy of all, preferably poured directly into my nostrils: soup.

Lo and behold, my inbox today included a note that the Culinary Institute of America has updated its soup Bible and has now published “The New Book of Soups” with over 160 new and improved recipes. Buy it now and have part of the proceeds support my weekly show Off-Ramp and the rest of the fine programs at 89.3-KPCC.

Here’s a free recipe from the CIA:

Chicken Broth
Makes about 2 quarts

Chicken broth is a crucial ingredient in soup making and the flavor of homemade broth is hard to beat. You can double or even quadruple this recipe and freeze the extra so you always have some on hand. To make a double chicken broth, substitute cold chicken stock or broth for the water in this recipe.


Angst doesn't taste good. So drop the drama and use the "Eat Los Angeles" food and drink guide.

It happens all the time. You and your friend/lover go out to eat, and the drama ensues.

“Where should we go? Is it any good? Yelp! has conflicting reviews. I’m getting hungry. Let’s try this place here. But where was that other place I saw? What do you feel like eating? What do YOU feel like eating? Do you feel like Italian? I could eat Italian. But do you really want it? I’m hungry and cranky. Let’s just go to X” (the place they’ve been going for twenty years and eating exactly the same thing).

You shouldn’t be making these decisions on an empty stomach, and you shouldn’t be making these decisions alone. Which is why the “2010 Eat Los Angeles” guide exists. When the mood strikes, check the guide, which has been compiled by the EatLA folks, who, by the way, only bother to include places they consider tasty. The guide also includes purveyors of uncooked/unmixed food and drink so you can go home and make dinner and cocktails yourself.


Magical movie, “The Secret of Kells,” to screen at Egyptian Theatre with intro by Off-Ramp contributor Charles Solomon

It was a bummer that the movie “The Secret of Kells” only showed for a week last month. (Its Oscar-qualifying run.) But take heart. You have another chance.

“Kells” is a wonderful film about a young monk who becomes the great illuminator behind The Book of Kells, the medieval treasure that (literally) weaves pagan Celtic symbols into the Bible.

On this weekend’s Off-Ramp, Charles Solomon and I preview the movie for you, in advance of Charles’ appearance at the Egyptian Theatre Saturday afternoon at 1pm to intro the film. Tickets went fast for the Oscar qualifying run, so you may want to act quickly and plan to be there Saturday.

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

Top secret tracking number: TYE5UVH8S6BW