Palm Trees, a Famous Bakery, and Mexican Food

First opening in 1931, family-owned and -operated Helms Bakery supplied local residents with its fresh-baked bread delivered “Daily at Your Door” (the Helms motto) for over 40 years. Even though the bakery is no longer baking, the Helms Bakery building remains a cherished local landmark.

Opening his bakery in 1926, Paul Helms started small but worked his way to being the premiere “neighborhood” bakery in Los Angeles. Winning the contract for the 1932 Olympics, Helms Bakery grew from its original 32 employees and 11 coaches (horse driven vehicles that delivered the freshly baked bread) to having the Helms Coaches deliver as far north as Fresno, east to San Bernardino, south to San Diego and up to the moon.

In 1969, an aggressive marketing campaign netted Helms a contract to furnish the first bread on the moon, via Apollo 11. Although their products were never sold in stores, Helms Bakeries became one of the major employers in the city.

This is remarkable because the network of freeways had not yet been built, so the trip might have taken an hour or more. Each truck would travel through its assigned neighborhoods, with the driver periodically pulling (twice) on a large handle which sounded a distinctive whistle. Customers would come out and wave the truck down, or sometimes chase the trucks to adjacent streets. Wooden drawers in the back of the truck were stocked with fresh donuts, cookies and pastries, while the center section of the truck carried dozens of loaves of freshly-baked bread. Products often reached the buyers still warm from the oven.

Now, the bakery building is the rock of the Helms Bakery District, a mecca of contemporary furniture retailers, delicious cuisine, and unique shops. Just walking around the streets and window shopping brought to mind the various rooms in my house and different design ideas I’d love to do.

Stopping for a quick bite to eat, I dropped in at Campos, a local Mexican restaurant chain. It’s not fancy, but the food is inexpensive, tastes good, and is very filling. I enjoyed the $5.00 lunch special; an enchilada, rice, and refried beans. They have a great selection of salsas to compliment my meal. I love to add a bit of spice to my rice and beans.

After you finish shopping and eating, you can walk a few blocks down National where you reach the area’s Conjunctive Points–an innovative industrial park. So bring your walking shoes and your four-legged friends.

Culver City, with its wealth of history, is definitely a warm and welcoming part of Travelin’ Local in Los Angeles.

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Architecture as Art

Culver City, a small city within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, has successfully initiated a program that is designed to give architects a place to show off their innovative and creative work. It’s called Architecture as Art, and features varied and illustrious architects, such as Eric Owen Moss, Tom Farrage, Laddie John Dill, and James Heimann.

All of these pictures were taken within a few block radius; most centering on the Conjunctive Points– which is an industrial/office area located between National Boulevard and Jefferson Street. I was amazed and intrigued at the varied designs:

This is known as the Beehive, built in 1998. Besides the basic structure itself, I found the mounds of grass in its foreground to create additional texture and depth to the structure, substantially adding to the architect’s creativity.

This structure is known as the Umbrella, due to its resemblance to an upside down umbrella. It features a balcony from which the surrounding area can be viewed. Umbrella received the Los Angeles Business Council’s Design Award in 2000 and the AIA/LA Design Honor Award in 1999.

This is the Tennis Channel’s building. I love the combination of glass, metal, brick, and terra cotta creating a multi-dimensional and textured exterior.

Untitled, built in 1997, was the first of Eric Owen Moss’ designs to be approved by Culver City under the “Architecture as Art” program. With the incorporation of older, existing building components, Moss created a new concept by using its original elements.

Located at the Willows Community School, this type of artwork is mounted on several of the various building façade’s, which are on the school’s campus. I love the quilt feel of it.

I don’t know what the end result for this construction will be, but if it’s like anything close to the other buildings—and I’m pretty sure that it will be–I’ll definitely be returning to shoot and document its end result.

Do you have any unusual construction projects in your neighborhoods? How about underground houses, houses with grass roofs, or an office building with an artistic slat?

It’s amazing what little—or big–treasures can be found while Travelin’ Local.

Los Angeles Scavenger Hunt

I’m participating in a “local” photo scavenger hunt being hosted by Nicole.

In that vein, I’m going to share this “teaser” post to give everyone a flavor of the interesting, and the unique places and neighborhoods that I’ve recently visited, and will be sharing more in the next week or so.

Right now, you’ll notice a few empty spots, but have no fear. As the days progress, you’ll see each category full. Until then—enjoy the preview:

1. Local currency (Coming soon)

2. Local flag (Coming soon)

3. Local food

4. Something rusty

5. Local wildlife

6. Local nature

7. Local stamp

8. Part of your neighborhood (it can be a very small part)

9. Traditional house

10. A local person

11. Local weather

12. Local transportation

13. Traditional local clothing

14. Night sky (Coming soon)

15. Sunrise

16. Local product non-food (Coming soon)

17. Something furry

18. Something feathery

19. A sign of the season (Coming soon)

20. A part of you (Coming soon)

21. Your main hobby

22. A local shop (Coming soon)

23. A local restaurant

24. A street sign (Coming soon)

25. A local mail box

As you can see, Los Angeles has a large, varied local landscape, full of characters, sites, sounds, and so much more.

If you’d like to see more of the other participants in the scavenger hunt, please visit 1st Scavenger Hunt on NicoleB Photography for the list of bloggers from all over the world.

If you did a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood, what would you find as you went Travelin’ Local?

Men at Work

These days, with the economy in the dumper, finding work has become a challenge. No one is hiring, people are being laid off, and companies are closing their doors.

For people who’ve been laid off, the coming months—and indeed the future–without a job, or finding work different than what you “used to do and earn’ can definitely cause stress; but it might also be a chance to take your career in a different direction or maybe You are the President of Your Career.

I find it interesting that there are so many wide and various careers out there, and especially here, in Los Angeles, people find the most unique ways of making a living:

The gold gentleman in the picture above is pretending to be a statue. This is his job, and after watching him for a while, he does it quite well. Indeed, a friend that was with me on this particular day actually thought that this man was actually a “statue.”

The little girl dressed in pink, was extremely curious about him, and was diligently trying to understand the reality of the situation. By the way—to make the situation a little more “futuristic,” the dog isn’t real. A few minutes after the girl and her mother left, the golden man scared a group of onlookers by jumping out at them with well-rehearsed lines such as “Where’s my Money Man!” Of course all was in good fun and it certainly put a smile on my face. While I don’t know how much money this man makes, he seems to love what he does and is very good at it.

The art of graffiti is becoming more and more popular, and mainstream. I’ve visited the Venice Graffiti Walls before, but this time, I came on a weekend and was fortunate enough to talk to both of these gentlemen for a few minutes. Creating graffiti is their full time job. They are hired on a project by project basis.

Graffiti art isn’t as easy as just spray painting a wall, and doesn’t come cheap. Based on what these guys told me, paint is priced from the low of $2.00 per can for an inexpensive domestic brand to upwards of $10.00 for a European import. The main difference being in the quality of the paint, plus the way the spray nozzle tip works. For very detailed work, a nozzle with a very small hole is needed.

The part of the wall being worked on here will take several hours to complete, use many cans of paint, and when done, may only be up for a minimum of a day, or depending on the size and degree and kind of the art, the work can take days, or even weeks.

They were very excited because not only are they hired to paint murals, they also have an ongoing art exhibit of their art on canvas—which is typical of acrylic paints and the stretching of the canvas.

Another unconventional yet pecuniary beneficial way these gentlemen found a way to survive and prosper during these tough times.

This is also a great time to go back to school to advance your training, retrain for a new career, or obtain an advanced degree to compete in the 21st century marketplace. Or perhaps you want to work and do both. Nonetheless, education is the new commodity for our country’s competitiveness and advantage, and what can beat the bucolic feeling and surroundings of our colleges and universities?

To be sure—despite the scare tactics employed by many; and the bad news pouring out of the media, there are jobs a plenty and by exploring, and getting to know your area’s businesses, organization’s people and decision makers, the sky is still the limit.

Los Angeles, and Southern California, has one of the most diverse, best, and comprehensive universities, city colleges, technical, and other resources for education, job training, and internships, among other opportunities. All it takes is some “elbow grease” to put your feet to the pavement, and pedal to the medal by staying active, interested, and motivated to turn things around for yourself if you happen to have been affected by the economic turn-around.

By Travelin’ Local and staying committed, there really is no place like home.

Life’s a Beach

This post is a summer teaser; especially for those that live in winter climates. Hopefully you’ll think of me, not cruelly, but in the spirit of Travelin’ Local–of and about Southern California–as an invitation to visit.

Soon spring will arrive, which means summer is right around the corner; which quickly reminds us of our favorite beach pastimes that we like to pursue.

The most natural and obvious responses are water related activities:

  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Sailing
  • Fishing

It’s still kind of cold here—both air and water temperatures–so today there weren’t a lot of people swimming in the ocean.

Since its time to start thinkin’ about summer vacations, the beach, sun, sand, and fun, I wanted to post some perennial ideas of those things we all love about the beach.

Surfing is always a great option, if you travel to a beach where the waves are breaking. I’ve never surfed, but I do like watching surfers. They have so much patience, hovering in the waves waiting for the next set of waves which come like clockwork or even for the “big one.”

These kids are having the time of their lives by also hangin’ on the sand and using their surfboard as a prop. One of the kids has one “bootie” on and one off. They are used to keep your feet warm when surfing in cold water, along with a full wet suit.

The beach portends and offers the ability to relax, relax, and relax some more. 

Catch some rays, read a book, people watch, have a picnic, the possibilities are endless. And you get to enjoy the beauty, sights, sounds, smell, and feeling of the ocean at the same time. It adds an element that’s special and sometimes inexplicably joyous.

Just plop down in a beach chair and let your body absorb the ocean’s push and pull: from checkin’ out other beach goers to feeling the chest thrusting, churning beating of the waves. I don’t think life gets any better than hangin’ at the beach.

Safety first, so don’t forget to bring plenty of sunscreen.

If you haven’t tried it, jogging or walking in the sand can be a very strenuous activity. The sand acts as a cushion for your feet, but as your feet sink in, you have to work harder to keep your speed up. It isn’t easy, and it will use up more calories than walking on grass or the sidewalk. However, the feel of the sand on bare feet is pure and who can argue with the splendorous view.

Look closely at this picture, at the top of the mountains in the right center, you’ll see distant shot of the close up I took while Goin’ Down the mountain.

Another great benefit of spending time at the beach is that it’s perfect for the entire family. Families can bike together, walk, and for the young, build sand castles.

Of course, walking along the beach is as old as the human experience.

Life’s a Beach, so get your winter bike out of mothballs, or if you’re fortunate, fold up your bike and just put it in the back seat.

I’ll be featuring additional ideas for activities you might enjoy at the beach, so keeping thinkin’ fun in the sun, because even though I enjoyed a great morning at the beach on Valentine’s Day, today it’s raining cats and dogs.

You never know what kind of weather Mother Nature’s going to throw Travelin’ Local, but no matter what, seize the day—Carpe le diem!

Valentine’s Day at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market – Part II

As I wrote in yesterday’s blog entry, I’m a big fan of fresh fruits and veggies. Over the years, I tried to get my kids interested in eating them, too, and for the most part, I succeeded.

One way I was able to accomplish this feat was to take them to pick-your-own farms. Living on the East Coast, the season is a little limited, but we managed to find blueberries, apples, strawberries, cherries, and even a few raspberries.

Picking our own was cheaper, but more importantly, by the time we left the farms or orchards, the kids didn’t need any lunch because their stomachs were full of the food we were picking. We’d take our bounty home, and then we’d sometimes freeze it, make pies, or keep it in the basement for as long as possible before spoilage. Often times though, we gave much of it away so it wouldn’t go to waste.

There isn’t anything like the taste of freshly picked food. Even during winter time, we are fortunate here in Southern California, we can patronize the luscious, bountiful, and select harvest of often enough local produce and other foods.

The fresh taste of apples, which still have the leaves attached to the stem, evoke and stir memories of past ventures and wonderful other times I had at other Farmer’s Markets on the other side of the coast.

Here’s a close up view of some of the various food items that were available at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market:

If you enjoy sweet potatoes—especially if you know how to cook a sweet potato pie, there was a stunning display of vegetables for purchase. Sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, C, B6 and beta carotene.

This was the first time I had seen purple potatoes, so my need to conquer my curiosity was satiated—I went, I found, and I learned more about them.

Potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, and iron; however, colored varieties may contain additional antioxidants.

The oranges on top of the crates were to die for. They were fresh, sweet, and juicy. I bought a bag full and brought them home. I’ll definitely be returning for some more in a couple of weeks. Plus, who can beat the vitamin C in oranges, especially during the flu season?

As I’ll be starting my own herb garden soon this picture from the Farmer’s Market was prescient. There isn’t anything like the taste of fresh herbs added to a rice dish, chicken dish, soup, or pasta.

One more important tidbit about herbs is that they add flavor without adding any calories. So, if you’re interested in adding to the flavors of your next pasta or rice dish, try adding a few herbs instead of butter or oil. You’ll love the taste and your heart will thank you. Here are a few ideas for you to try: Herb & Spice Chart.

Having an indoor garden is possible all year round. If you need or want some help in growing one, this is a good resource to use: How to grow an indoor herb garden.

Its part science, part art, and all fun, when you’re Travelin’ Local to find those neighborhoods to augment and add to your culinary and food palate.

Today was one of those days. Until next time, Bon Appétit.

Valentine’s Day at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market

I’m pretty sure not everyone spent their Valentine’s Day at the local farmer’s market, but for me, it was perfect since I’ve wanted to go to this market for a long, long time, and Saturday was the day.

By closing two city blocks on Arizona between 2nd and 4th, vendors from all over Southern California are able to provide the best of their organic fruits and vegetables, range-free bison, fish, honey, fresh flowers, and so much more.

All of the Santa Monica Farmer’s Markets are Certified Farmer’s Markets (CFM), established in 1978, when then-governor Jerry Brown signed legislation known as the Direct Marketing Act, enabling California farmers to sell their own produce directly to consumers at locations designated by the Department of Agriculture.

Currently there are three criteria for CFM’s:

1. They must consist of farmers who possess a current Certified Producer’s Certificate issued to them by their county’s agricultural commissioner.

2. They must be non-profit entities, sponsored by the farmers themselves, a non-profit organization or a municipality

3. All produce and products sold at a California Farmer’s market must be grown or made in California.

These simple guidelines help to ensure that CFMs continue to exist for the benefit of the communities they serve.

Currently, there are over 300 Certified Farmer’s Markets in California.

Looking over the array of food available, I saw varieties of food I’d never seen from purple potatoes to free range eggs to the freshest tasting oranges I’ve eaten.

Today, I was one of the estimated 900,000 visitors the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market receives every year. One of the inherent benefits of living in Southern California is that produce is grown all year round.

The beauty of a farmer’s market is that the food is local, thereby keeping the money spent local, which also lessens its carbon footprint. Currently food travels an average of 1500 miles before it reaches your table. Try this carbon footprint calculator to see how much you and your family contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions. Mine is just average, but I do try to limit my driving, and I buy local whenever I can.

Because I’m going out of town in a few days, I didn’t purchase too much; just a few oranges, apples, and honey. I love fresh honey in my tea. Next time I go, I’ll have a total menu planned so I’ll then be able to share the recipes and dishes with you. I love cooking, especially veggies.

Speaking of veggies, I took some great pictures of the fruits and veggies at the market, but there are too many for this post, so tomorrow, I’ll put up more pictures from my Valentine’s Day at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, including the myriad of fresh fruits.

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day? With the many sights, sounds, and unique places to spend with your friends, family, and loved ones, it’s fun and easier on the wallet to find the hidden treasures in your hometown.

I am a Seashell

I am a seashell

waiting for

somebody to see

me.

 

I am shiny and

curled up like a

cinnamon roll.

I’m rough and

sandy.

 

I swim

with the

sea and

the sea

with me.

 

I am

cold inside

so if you

touch me

you’ll shiver and

quiver.

 

I swim

around the

sea with

animals living

inside of me.

 

I’m joyful

in the sea

with fishes

and sea

creatures

surrounding me.

 

I like

being a

shell

because

people

 

can hear

the sea

inside of

me.

By Melissa, age 7

Brought to you via A Poem a Day

A Poem a Day is part of the organization called Writers in the Schools (WITS). WITS is a non-profit organization that encourages, and engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. WITS writers work in year-long programs in over 350 classrooms in order to help students develop their creative and analytical thinking skills, which are so important in today’s competitive and complex world.

This topic is near and dear to my heart as I used to teach 5th grade students and am passionate about all things education. I lend my total and wholehearted support for any group that’s helping kids to read and write more often.

WITS’s focus is on inner city kids, but they also offer workshops at art museums, hospitals, community centers, and juvenile detention centers, just to name a few. If you’d like more information on their work, or even purchase one of their books, please feel free to click here.

I was excited to find out that California does have a link to this project, California Poets in the Schools; however, I was disappointed that the Los Angeles County Public Schools does not have a website to feature their students’ work. If you know of such a link, please let me know as I’d love to feature poems by local youth poets here.

I love reading and writing, and am a firm believer that a love of reading starts and home, but continues in the classroom. Does any of your local schools offer and participate in any program like this?

As time goes, I look forward to featuring more such K-12 writings, and I’d love to feature one from your Travelin’ Local schools.

A Valentine’s Day Story

In case you didn’t know it, today is Valentine’s Day. Yes, February 14th is here again, and to help you along with finding the perfect gift for your loved one, Gentlemen (and Ladies), here are a few suggestions:

To create a little

In your relationship, you can start with a gift of a

Or if you’re into higher end gifts, this works

Don’t forget about a nice dinner

And a

In the

Who knows? In the end, you might have

And get a

Take good care of yourself and those that you love today.

Goin’ Down

I’m on my way back down to the base of Temescal Canyon. If you’ve been following me on my trek over the previous two posts, you were able to watch me as I made it to the waterfall, and then to the top of the mountain.

Going down a mountain, especially one that’s a little slick due to all of the recent rain required watching every step. One wrong move sometimes means you’ll fall down or find yourself in a tumbler–which isn’t nor can be a good thing.

And even though I was watching my steps, I was also watching the panoramic view. Probably not the greatest nor the latest news—but I still was basking in the glory of the moment and the bountiful California sunshine that the day afforded me.

People often say that hiking is boring–this particular hike is one in which “boringness” never entered the equation. In-between the initial steady uphill climb to slow dissent, I was totally captivated during the entirety of the 1+ hours I spent here. Indeed, afforded the opportunity I could and would spend even more time here, but such is life.

With the ocean on the left and multi-million dollar homes on the right, who could get bored? Temescal Gateway Park is located in one of the higher end real estate areas of the city, known as the Pacific Palisades.

Each and every home has a uniqueness all its own. I’m continually fascinated by houses that are built in and on hills. Part of my attraction to hillside houses, I’m sure, is because I grew up in Ohio, which isn’t known for its hills—because it’s mostly flat plains and farming country.

The other thing that Ohio isn’t known for is sailboats. There are some boats on Lake Erie; but my family was more into camping than boating.

As I said, we’ve recently had quite a bit of rain, but looking at this part of the trail, you wouldn’t have guessed that, being as its dirt brown. If you look closely, you can see the deep trenches made as the water flowed down hill; however, with the direct sun on it for most of the day, this part of the trail has already dried up.

I’ll leave Temescal Canyon and you with this thought:

Not too far from the end of the trail is a fallen tree spanning an even smaller creek. I’m sure many people have walked across the tree, maybe just to see if they could do it or to see what was on the other side, forging a new path.

Are there any trees you walk across in your neighborhood or parks you love to visit over and over again?

Whichever it is, Travelin’ Local, is all about what you like, where you want to go have fun, and hang out in your locales.

To strike that right balance only you know for sure but keep coming to check out what’s next here in our community.

Until then, please enjoy this video featuring Jeff Beck singing and playing “Goin’ Down”

On top of the Mountain

"I’ve Been to the Mountaintop"

By Martin Luther King, Jr.

“..I would move on by Greece and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon. And I would watch them around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality. But I wouldn’t stop there.

I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn’t stop there.

I would even come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the Renaissance did for the cultural and aesthetic life of man. But I wouldn’t stop there.

I would even go by the way that the man for whom I am named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church of Wittenberg. But I wouldn’t stop there.

I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn’t stop there.

I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but "fear itself."

But I wouldn’t stop there.”

Source: American Rhetoric: Delivered on April 3,1968 Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters), Memphis, Tennessee

Well, I did it and I made it.

Yesterday I posted about my trip to Temescal Gateway Park and walking the Temescal Canyon Trail to the top.

Reaching the waterfall and being able to document it and experience its changes was great; but after that, I still had a half mile climb to the top, plus I still had to make my way back down. In total, the trail is about 2.5 miles, however it feels much longer because of the long up and then the long down.

Was the climb worth the effort?

Absolutely, making and setting goals, then executing and accomplishing them is both tremendous life lessons and enable us to move forward in life. How many times do we read an article, blog, and/or listen to somebody who reminds us of this daily?

I’ll be going back for more soon:

Here you can see the grandeur of the city, spreading for miles and miles, plus the beauty and depth of the Pacific Ocean.

I then turned my head to the right side, and was greeted with this shot:

Although the sun does detract a little, if you look closely over the horizon, you can see a small island out in the distance. No sooner did I snap this photograph, I was then told by a fellow hiker, that this island is only visible from the mountaintop a few days per year.

As I followed the trail a little further down, the views just kept getting a little better:

That’s downtown LA in the center frame–with Beverly Hills, Westwood, and the San Gabriel mountains off in the distance. In total, the view length of this is about 20 miles, which to me is just amazing and comprises the perfect way to be able to actually look and to use the camera to share.

Today’s post was the tip, and tomorrow’s post will be including the views and sights on the way down.

Keep Travelin’ Local both here and where you live, by keeping it real.

My guest post at Problogger

Just recently, I submitted a guest post over at Problogger entitled, “The Power of a Comment”, and Darren, Problogger’s owner and publisher was gracious enough to publish it.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s a well-known fact that commenting on other people’s blogs helps drive traffic to your own blog. I knew this, but until today, I had never seen its real results. Harnessing the action ability has led individual blog owners to comment back, which happened to me several times, like here, here, and here.

But, this time it was different:

For the rest, click here.

Problogger is a treasured and valuable resource for all bloggers no matter what you write about or your niche; and I encourage everyone to check out the website and to become part of their vibrant community.

Thank you, Darren for the opportunity you gave me to make a difference, as dreams can indeed come true.

A Waterfall in my Backyard

It’s true. Temescal Gateway Park is a Los Angeles hiker’s dream. I hiked there a few months ago, but due to all the rain we’ve recently had, I was very curious to see if the park’s waterfall had managed to regenerate itself. At first blush, being that the last time I was here, the waterfall consisted of a trickle. (Bummer Dude!)

As its entrance is right off of Sunset Blvd, the park is easily accessible to both drivers and Metro bus users.

After parking at the park entrance, just follow the entrance road to the Temescal Canyon Trail head and that’s where the majestic canyon opens and starts. All you need to do is just go–it’s easy to find.

As always safety first! Be sure to bring along some water and a friend. Yesterday’s sojourn wasn’t firmly planned, so I hadn’t really prepared, however it wasn’t too hot (In fact, I was wearing a sweatshirt, which soon became sweaty), so water wasn’t an issue, but my shoes, which were an older pair were a menace. Due to several inches of rainfall in the past few weeks, the trail was a bit slick on the downside, and I did slip, luckily resulting in only a pair of dirty kneed jeans. I think my ego was definitely more damaged.

Although its chiming is labeled as “moderate,” I think that the Temescal Canyon Trail is a “little strenuous,” as the climb’s incline is about 1,000 feet in the first mile.

Since getting to the waterfall was my goal, the trip up seemed at times to take a while, but in reality, it’s was only about 20-25 minutes.

It felt so good to be outside hiking again—since I haven’t had too much time recently, this trail definitely got me “back in the saddle again” so to speak.

Temescal has long been a canyon that inspired nature lovers and enlightenment-seekers. During the 1920s and 1930s, the canyon hosted Chautauqua assemblies—large educational and recreational gatherings that features lectures, concerts and stage performances. The canyon was purchased by the Presbyterian Synod in 1943 and used as a retreat center until 1995 when the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy purchased the property.

After about a mile of hiking, I came upon the waterfall. As I said earlier, it was only a few short months ago that because of the drought conditions in Southern California, what was once a true waterfall had been reduced to a trickle.

Although a bit more than a trickle now—but not totally ground water satiated, it still has a ways to go before all the water is replenished at the fall; but be that as it may I could hear the waterfall before I approached it, and that made the ascent well worth the effort.

The waterfall is about ⅔ up the canyon wall, so I still had a ways to go to hit the peak and start on the trail down. About ½ a mile after the waterfall, I reach the Canyon Trail peak.

From here, you are able to see Beverly Hills and much of the Westside.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the views of the city as I started down. The last time I hiked this trail, it was fairly early in the morning on a not too clear day.

Today was the complete opposite.

So to keep things interesting, and because I took so many pictures, I’m going to save the trip down for tomorrow’s blog. So make sure that part of your online destination tomorrow is here.

Let them eat Eggs

Canter’s Deli is a Los Angeles institution.

Established in 1924, over the years, it has become a haven for celebrities, producers, directors, musicians, local residents, regular customers, tourists, and just everyday people.

Open 24 hours per day, its menu varies from bagels and lox, to corn beef sandwiches, to fresh baked goods.

For this morning, I decided to have a good, hearty breakfast, so off to Canter’s I went. Their breakfast special of an egg white/mushroom omelet with a side of hash browns topped with fresh salsa really hit the spot. On a cold morning like today, the freshly brewed coffee really seemed to warm both my body and soul.

Sitting in an old-fashioned booth, surrounded by restaurant history, I couldn’t figure out what to take pictures of first, but seeing as I was hungry, the menu was my initial stop.

Next to arrive, via a friendly waitress, was my hot coffee and glass of water.

As you can see, I drank a little before I even snapped the picture. Although I don’t take sugar in my coffee, I do love the old-fashioned sugar containers.

After only a few minutes, my breakfast arrived, this included my omelet, plus a delicious toasted onion bagel:

After only a few minutes, my breakfast arrived, this included my omelet, plus a delicious toasted onion bagel:

Much to my surprise, I discovered I’m not the only one to have ordered a bagel at Canter’s. In fact, over the years, they’ve sold:

  • 2 Million Pounds of Lox
  • 9 Million Pounds of Corned Beef
  • 10 Million Matzo Balls
  • 20 Million Bagels
  • 24 Million Bowls of Chicken Soup
  • I feel great knowing that I’m in good company!

    On the south side of Canter’s, is a mural. It’s a collage in black and white, sponsored by the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles. The collage is based upon old photographs which served to document the Jewish history in Los Angeles, from 1841 to 1985.

    The 7 panel mural is located on the south wall of the Canter’s building on the corner of Oakwood and Fairfax. The designer and artistic supervisor was Art Mortimer, who collaborated artists such as Stephen Raul Anaya and Peri Fleischman, and over 50 neighborhood volunteers, to complete the fine de siècle of the Mural.

    Here is one of the panels:

    Over the years, many celebrities have passed through Canter’s doors:

    In the 50’s Marilyn Monoe and Arthur Miller ate here, as did Jack Benny and Elizabeth Taylor. Other celebrity noshers have included Sydney Poitier, Mel Brooks, Wilt Chamberlain, Charlene Tilton, Brooke Shields, Jackqueline Bisset, Catherine Oxenberg, John Travolta, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Buddy Hacket, Olivia Newton John, Muhammad Ali, Monty Hall, Bill Cosby, David Brenner, Rodney Dangerfield, Dick Van Dyke, Shelly Winters, Elizabeth Montogomery, The Cars, Henry Winkler, Greg Morris, and the producer of Miami Vice, Michael Mann, who has written from inspiration for up to 3 hours at a time when he was writing for Vegas.

    Many celebrities who prefer to go "incognito" sneak in around 3:00am for a late night nosh!

    So, if you’re ever in LA and want to take a chance of spotting a late night snacking celeb, drive on over to Canter’s. In addition to everything else, they also have free parking.

    It’s an institution—no matter what you’ll be able to have a great meal, to check out the local scene, and to ponder and pause for a few moments during these tough times.

    So, now that breakfast is over, it’s time to work up my dinner appetite—as we’re on the good eatery theme; at least for today.

    Where to go, what to do, these thoughts are racing though my mind as I plan the next Travelin’ Local destination and pleasurable spot.

    You’ll soon find out in the next entry, until then keep coming and commenting about those things in your neighborhood, and of course mine, that pique your interests.

    Walking to the Fowler

    Yesterday afternoon I traveled locally to the Fowler Museum, which is located in the heart of the UCLA campus.

    What a treat!

    As the first in my series of free museum days, the Fowler was a great choice. Indeed, the Fowler is free every day.

    But, if you’re planning a visit there, plan ahead because it’s only open Wednesday – Sunday from noon-5pm. And parking, while not inexorably difficult to find, is an issue to be navigated. There are a few parking garages south of the Museum, but there’s the Ronald Reagan – UCLA Medical Facility to contend with, along with the massive student population.

    Right now, they have several exhibits on display with a wide diversity including:

    As soon as I entered, I was drawn to the striking photographs of the Iraqi Marshlands that peppered the walls, which are a marvelous example of first, a century’s old culture based on water; second, the effect which the barbarous dictator (Sadaam Husain) had on the Marsh Arab population and the environment; and third, the great efforts to bring this landscape and culture back to life—literally and figuratively.

    Next, I headed toward one of the current exhibits, entitled Silver Seduction, which are code words for jewelry, of course.

    What is there to say about some of the most beautiful silver jewelry I’ve ever seen? It was magnificent.

    The talent, artistry and sophistication of the Silversmith’s in Mexico, are captured in the Museum through display behind Plexiglas boxes, photographs, and a running video commented on by many of the artists and artisans throughout the Mexican City, their homeland.

    Also featured at the Fowler are special programs for families, like the upcoming event entitled, Pop Art, an arts and crafts project using soda tabs and bottle caps to create works of art influenced by El Anatsui’s sculptures.

    In addition, always education friendly, the Fowler Museum offers free programs full of in-gallery sessions and hands-on art making workshops for school field trips. Just call (310) 206-5663 for more information.

    Although Travelin’ Local is part photo and travel blog; unfortunately, no photographs are allowed in the museum, however, I did take a few on my way there:

    This is part of the roof of the Student Union building; I loved the colored arches. And as you can see, the usual sunny California skies were on vacation this week with intermittent clouds, sun, wind, and some rain– with more to come.

    Yes, you guessed it. This is the official UCLA bruin. He’s a pretty big guy (well, I thinks it’s a “guy.”)

    A bicycle parking lot–because it was Sunday, the lot was pretty empty, but I bet it fills up during the week.

    As I walked out of the Fowler, I spotted a few flowering trees. Maybe due to all the rain we’ve had recently or the irrigation system; they were a bright spot in an otherwise fairly cool, rainy day.

    As I wrapped up my day I began thinking about my next Travelin’ Local tour.

    Finding of the ordinary spots in your own neighborhood is what Travelin’ Local is all about—and as I think about it more and more, life sometimes doesn’t get any better.

    Sea gulls in Motion

    I’m taking a hint from a recent post I enjoyed over at SierraVisions.com which featured a great photo palette of bald eagle pictures, all of whom reside in Starved Rock State Park.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have bald eagles, but I do have sea gulls, typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls. They have stout, longish bills, and webbed feet.

    These pictures were taken in a variety of locations, because you can’t go anywhere in the Los Angeles area and not see the wonders of sea gulls:

    Oops, after taking another look, these pictures were all taken at Venice Beach. There’s smattering of a few pigeons in this bright California day.

    If you’re planning a trip to Southern California and Los Angeles in particular, definitely be sure to put sun, fun, and shopping on your to-do list. But when it comes time to relax, sitting by the beach, reading a good book and watching the sea gulls is a great way to go.

    Please Mom, please!

    “It would look so cute on me. That one with the pink flowers would so match the pink streak in my hair.”

    “Honey, we have spent enough money today. We’ve already stopped by so many small boutiques here on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.”

    “But, Mom, please, please. I’ll do the dishes for a week.”

    “You’ll have to do the dishes regardless of whether I buy the dress or not.”

    “Oh, Mom, you always say that.”

    “You’re right, Honey, I always say that, because it’s true. You do a good job doing the dishes.”

    “Yes, I do. So, I deserve a reward. How about a dress?”

    “You think?”

    “Yes, Mom, I think it’d be great.”

    “Okay, Honey, let’s go take a look.”

    5 pictures in 5 minutes

    I’m so frustrated. Last week, I had a great hike planned, taking my camera and hoping for a good sweat. However, the online directions I had weren’t any good, so I didn’t get to where I wanted to go, which was Runyon Canyon Park. I’m keen on the idea of combining my two loves, walking and taking pictures. The hike at Runyon Canyon Park looked like a great uphill climb, and promised photos full of panoramic vistas.

    So in order to go from zero to hero I put a twist on Neil’s motivational suggestion of 5 in a half, “Take just 5 pictures within a half mile (or kilometer, no need to do the conversion math) of your home.” My spin on this idea is to take 5 in 5, meaning, take 5 pictures within 5 minutes of all at the same location. In these 5 Pictures in 5 Minutes I used a different viewpoint, multiple lenses, or various camera settings, for each picture.

    The road I was driving on was extremely curvy and twisty; plus it was barely two lanes. Weaving its way up the canyon, I could see several shots from the car. Of course, there was only one place to pull off to the side and take any photos, so I took complete advantage, taking 5 shots in 5 minutes.

    Here are the other four pictures I took:

    BTW, in this shot, I’m not sure what that large slab of concrete is. I’m assuming that it’s some type of erosion protection, but trees would have been a much more attractive alternative.

    Love, love, love the view this house has. I can see myself waking up in the morning, getting a cup of coffee and just enjoying the morning sunrise.

    Can you say multi-million dollar homes?

    The hillside architecture is fascinating. How do they really get these houses to stay up?

    So, that’s it for this edition of 5 in 5. I like this idea, which translates to, you might see it again.

    What about you? Do you have a place you can go to take 5 pictures in 5 minutes? It might be a challenge, but Travelin’ Local is definitely the way to go.