April 27, 2011

game on

So I'm a day behind... sorry. write me for a refund. ok, back to the story... As great as a grilled cheese festival may be, for me the main event of the day Saturday was the return of the LA Galaxy for another home game with the Angel City Brigade. My pal Pat joined me for it and we went straight from the Grilled Cheese Fest to the stadium to get to the Angel City Brigade tailgate good and early. We met a few more ACB'ers (Brigadiers?!) and enjoyed how openly the ACB welcomed members of the Portland supporters group, Timbers Army. I guess because of the recent events at Dodger Stadium, that brought out the security guards who stood by and watched, looking a little confused and seemingly unaware that they were invited and welcome guests. Finally we all took our places in the end zone. I wasn't sure how Pat would take to the ACB antics, but he joined right in and played the good sport (and truth be told, I think he enjoyed it.) Best of all, the team really found their footing and played brilliantly to a 3-0 win. And the ACB was on fire. Watching the replay later I was really amazed at how loud we were. I'm quickly learning that the worst thing about being part of the ACB is having to wait for the next home game.

April 25, 2011

cheesy poof

For a few years, one of my favorite events every year is the Grilled Cheese Invitational. Its had some good and bad years, and definitely changed drastically in recent years. Saturday's edition was good, though it may have lost its fun by just getting too big (not really faulting the organizers for that; I mean what can they do?) The beer garden got a much needed expansion (though the non-IPA options were pretty scarce) and the non-competing vendor area selling cheeses expanded dramatically. The biggest change this year was in the judging - for the first time you paid extra to judge (not a bad idea,) but they also limited you to 2 chances to judge per person. So for $20, you got to judge two grilled cheese samples. Hmmm. Still, we did fine. We managed to buy some cheeses from vendors before the lines got long and even stopped for beer while others mobbed the judging area. We jumped to that later, so luckily by then, we had had enough cheese to be fine with just the two samples. While not the fun of last year or three years ago, it was by no means the nightmare year they had two years ago. While the crowd was huge and lines were everywhere, they mostly went pretty fast. Will I go again? Hell yeah! After all, its people like me raving in blogs and social media about the event that made it so big, I can hardly give up on it because of that. Luckily for me, it was the precursor to my main event for the day. What better appetizer for fun than grilled cheese? more on that tomorrow...

April 20, 2011

try lingual

A project that took up a good bit of my February was a corporate sizzle reel for the global meeting of a large company. It's a 90 second piece using all still photography and text with no voiceover. In the end, the client was thrilled with the final piece, and a couple weeks ago, they asked if we could remake it in both Spanish and French. While working on it, I was surprised to realize that it was the first time I had done a project in another language. At times I thought my head might explode while lost in the minutiae of both language translations, but in the end, it worked out well. I don't yet have permission to show the video, but hopefully I'll be able to share it someday down the road.

April 18, 2011

well scripted

When it comes to the graphic design of gourmet food trucks, there are a few well designed ones, and lots of pretty bad ones. Much like toothpaste or soda labels, food trucks seem to be full of overdone graphics falling victim to the desire to "make it pop" with no adherence to the rule of "just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should." But the well done trucks tend to stand out, and far and away one of the very best designs belongs to the Canter's Deli truck. At a recent outing among some of my beloved trucks, my friend Bill told me about the article below by designer Michael Doret, who designed the Canter's truck. It's an amazing story. Doret is a logo and type designer who designed a typeface called DeliScript that was (wait for it...) inspired by the neon sign over the entrance to Canter's. When Canter's was looking to create a gourmet food truck of their own, they found out about DeliScript, and instead of just buying the font, they tracked down the designer to design their truck in totality. And the results show it. There's a lot to love about the whole story, which you should read at the link below. My favorite thing is that even though the truck is a vinyl "wrap" (they have to be anymore,) he still designed the truck to look like it was painted. The details of how the wrap process works (and the way most trucks are designed to work with that) will make any designer who reads the article recoil in horror. Thankfully the truck turned out great and is a model of how intentional and well-thought design can make a difference - even on wheels.
  • AIGA LA: Art Imitating Life...Imitating Art
  • April 15, 2011

    small town fair

    I stopped by the local fair again tonight (ok, maybe another gourmet food truck had something to do with it,) but it was a rare warm night and it was kind of nice just to wander around. The fair is so small and (for lack of a better description) rinky-dink that it really felt like a small hometown fair, which I guess it is. It's often said, pretty accurately, that LA is really 40 small towns strung together; nights like this are great reminders of how true that is.

    April 14, 2011

    döner card

    I thought I had written about my love for döner many times, but apparently I've just written many times that I should write about it someday. Döner Kebap is a Turkish dish of lamb shaved off a rotating spit served in a variety of ways, but most commonly on bread like a sandwich with sauces and vegetables. I'm always surprised that it isn't found much in the US - in fact, with the exception of one place in LA, I've never been able to find it anywhere in the US. On the other hand, it seems like you can find but it on almost every street in Germany, which is where I fell in love with it. Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover that there was finally a gourmet food truck in LA that specialized in döner, something I had always called for, but never expected would really happen. Tonight the @DankysDoners truck was nearby in Redondo Beach, so I had to make a trip. They steered me toward 'the Turk' sandwich. It was every bit as good as I remember from my travels overseas: shaved lamb and beef piled with cabbage, corn, cucumbers, and other vegetables. Their Danky sauce was great, but a little mild (though perhaps that's intentional for a US audience.) Hopefully they'll expand and offer an optional version with a little more spice (or maybe I just need to know what to ask for.) They were in town for a local carnival, which was pretty dead. Combine that with the fact that not so many people here know what döner is, and I think they had a tough sell of a night. That and a couple friends responding to my posts with "what's döner" were enough for me to finally write about it to help spread the word and spread the love. Hopefully Danky's and döner will develop a healthy following and make it down our way again soon.
  • DankysDoners.com
  • April 10, 2011

    half empty

    Saturday was the 2011 LA Beerfest, an event I only discovered last year and had a blast attending. Perhaps it was just because it wasn't the unexpected fun of that first year or the heightened expectations from having so much fun then, but I have to admit that this years edition did not live up to 2010. It seems that they (might have?) sold a lot more tickets this year, as everyone seemed to agree that it was much more crowded than before; but more importantly, many of the vendors ran out of beer about an hour and a half into it. It became pretty frustrating to be at a beerfest going to tables of vendors and not being able to get a beer. I guess if anything, it lowers my expectations for the next one, so maybe it'll end up being more fun because of that! I ended up barhopping with my friend Andrew afterward, which turned into a fun experience of its own (and I was able to get a beer! not to mention my first Pho...) So all in all, not much to complain about.

    April 8, 2011


    A short winter snap (hopefully short!) brought some amazing low-hanging clouds above LA today...

    April 7, 2011

    fields of time

    About three years ago, I wrote about LA's Wrigley Field, the precursor to Dodger Stadium. Today I ran across a post by Nathan Masters with some great photos and a well written history of baseball stadiums in LA, including Wrigley Field, but also Washington Park (near Washington & Main,) Gilmore Field (near where the Grove mall is today,) and also one I didn't know before: that the Chicago Cubs used to have their Spring Training on Santa Catalina Island. Its worth a look (first link below,) even if just for the photos, but its also a good read. With Dodger Stadium being the third oldest major league ballpark in the country, it makes it even more interesting to know about baseball in LA before the Dodgers.
  • KCET: A History of LA's Baseball Stadiums
  • observed. March 28, 2008: history
  • April 6, 2011

    truck detailing iv

    more detail slivers of some of LA's more than 200 gourmet food trucks...