Thursday, October 11, 2007

Come Back To The 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

To order tickets online, go to

Monday, September 17, 2007


I can't believe I haven't done this yet. Maybe because a scant few people actually happen upon this page, but it's worth a damn shot!


Friday & Saturday nights, 8:30pm, Sept 14th-29th

ZJU - 4850 Lankershim Blvd, NoHo, 91601

ONLY $12!

Call ahead for reservations... Really.... Do that.

Here's the trailer for the show!
Check it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rollin' with my homebodies

Ah hah! I can honestly say "God, I am SO glad I didn't venture out to that party last night!" Usually, not so much. I'm generally the person saying, "What happened? Last night? Oh man. I can't believe I missed that... No, I was just at home watching back episodes of 'Rescue Me' on my TiVo." In defense of my usual behavior, "Rescue Me" is a really good show.

But no. This weekend, I made the right call.
This is what happened.

It was Saturday. My friend/co-worker Lisset was having a birthday shindig that night at some place I was unfamiliar with down in Hollywood. In truth, that could be anywhere as I am as well-versed in Hollywood nightlife as I am in theoretical physics. Heck, I'm probably more familiar with the latter. I digress.

I come home from a full day's work. A relatively easy shift as far as the job goes. I am fully intending to attend Lisset's birthday thing. I told her I would.

Then it hit me.
A bad case of the dear-god-if-I-have-to-stand-in-a-crowd-of-strangers-and-elbow-my-way-to-the-bar-to-flag-down-the-

Which is a really bad attitude to bring to a party.
But I persevered.
I put on a dress. And shoes. And earrings. Sprayed myself with something so I wouldn't smell like a sweat-stain. And I left.

Now since my destination was at Hollywood and Highland, I figured I could park at Universal City, take the Metro down and avoid a)driving into Hollywood on a Saturday night and b) parking in Hollywood on a Saturday night. I parked my car, convinced myself to get out and trotted off to buy my Metro ticket. Upon looking into my wallet, I saw a $20, fresh out of the ATM. And a couple pennies (all useful coins lost to vengeful parking meters).

Not wanting $18.75 in Metro tokens, I searched for a credit/debit option.
There was one! Score!
Only not when purchasing a one-way ticket. Damn.
I headed back to my car deciding to simply go to In N Out burger, purchase an order of their delicious fries and obtain change to feed the Metro pass-maker.
Then I turned the wrong way on Lankershim.
Then I couldn't get into the In N Out parking lot because of backed up traffic.
I sure as fuck wasn't settling for Carl's Jr.!
What was my next option.
An exit for the 101. North.

That's it. The universe is telling me to go home.
And so I listened.
I ended up spending the evening with Matt, Greg and briefly Greg's friend Gigi. We drank beer and watched "Demolition Man".

Don't you fucking snicker at "Demolition Man"! You don't know how to use the 3 seashells either!

Anyhow, I have it on good authority that the bar locale was impossibly crowded, hard to get into, and a stupid rump-shaking meat market. One friend said she barely saw Lisset.

Score one for me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

For corn's sake...

Nope. Nothing to do with corn. Just ran through my head.

Funny thing happened. I went to the beach for the first time in about a year... and it rained for the first time in 6 months. Imagine: if I had gone 5 months ago, Los Angeles wouldn't be having a water shortage right now and Matt would be able to do all the cannonballs he liked.

And on a side-note: if your job is to be a killjoy who talks down to people for a career, leave it at work. I'm 24. It doesn't have to be like that.

Why is it that elementary-school teachers oftentimes act like everyone is their student?

The point is that me + beach = rain for LA = big splashy diving.

Here's another recipe.
No, I have no focus today.

Roasted Veggies I Happened To Have
- potatoes
- yellow squash
- onions
- brussel sprouts
- mushrooms
- olive oil
- parsley, chopped
( - rosemary, finely chopped
( - grated parmesan cheese
( - breadcrumbs, italian style
( - salt
( - garlic powder

Heat your oven to 425 degrees! DO IT!

Chop the veggies into chunks so that each piece is about 1 to 1/2 inch. Leave the onion chunks bunched together. Or, you know, don't. In fact feel free to substitute whatever other veggies you might have. Give it a whirl. (FYI, whole garlic cloves would be a great addition but I didn't have any.) Anyhow, spread the veggies out to an even layer in a roasting pan. Drizzle them with some olive oil and give em a good rubdown so that they are well coated. Yes, with your hands. Now, take all the "topping" ingredients and mix them together in a small bowl. Basically make enough so that some of it can get on each piece of vegetable. Sprinkle your mixture over your spread and make sure you get a fairly even coating. Don't be afraid to get your hands back in there. Finally, sprinkle the parsley on top. Put it in the oven for about 45 minutes...ish. It's hard to account for all ovens, so I usually would check the progress about 30 minutes in. Just be smart. And if you like your stuff crispy, heck! Try an hour!

Frickin delicious. Makes good leftovers too.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

On food.

I've been coming up with a whole bunch of rather nifty recipes these past months and a few have been on post-its in my planner where no one will ever see and use them. Then then they will de-stickify and fall off and be lost forever. Or something.

Spare the drama. Save the recipes.

Ricotta Honey Buns
(really easy)

Baking mix (Bisquick or knockoff, reduced fat okay)
Pine nuts
Ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Take your baking mix and follow the biscuit dough instructions for however many biscuits you want to make.

Note: If you're like me and put your baking mix in a sealed container, throwing away the box, you can find the recipes online.
Basic ratio is:

2 1/4 cups mix + 2/3 cup milk = 9 biscuits
Adapt this to fit your needs.

Add to this some cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon. I like a lot so I put in enough so that the cinnamon is slightly noticeable when looking at the dough. Mix in some pine nuts. Who am I kidding? At this point, you'll probably be kneading them in. If you don't like touching dough, get over it and get your hands in the bowl.

In a seperate bowl, take about a cup of ricotta cheese and sweeten it with honey. Once again, add enough so that it lightly tints the ricotta.

Have a cooking sheet on hand and sprinkle it with flour so that your biscuits don't stick.

Now, here's the tricky part.
1) Make a disc of dough about 3/4 the size of your palm. If the dough is too sticky, put a sprinkle of flour on the outside so you can form your discs. Lay the disc on the pan.
2) With a spoon, put about half a spoonful of ricotta onto the center of the disc, keeping clear of the edges.
3) Make another disc and put it on top.
4) Seal the edges.
5) Keep doing this until all your dough is gone.
6) Eat any extra sweetened ricotta because it's delicious.

Bake them for about 10 minutes or until they are a slight golden brown on top.

These biscuits kick the hell out of any pretentious $5 scones.

More to come!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Screw June!

You know what June is about?
Getting ready for July and August.


Think about it. If you do seasonal work, by June you better be working on having a sweet summer job. If you burn easily, you better get a base tan and get used to throwing on sunscreen every time you leave your abode (even if it is just your left arm to avoid the dreaded Driver's Tan). If you are cheap and hate turning on your air-conditioning, you better get used to the heat slow and gradual-like because if you start cranking it up June 2, there'll be no money for ice-cream and sno-cones come August.

You know what June is not about?
Blogging, apparently.

I'll get back on it, I swear.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Total Eclipse of my Self-Control

So, when I was a kid, was exposed to a wide variety of foods. I realize that isn't a very interesting way to start a story, but deal with it. I wasn't exposed to sexual predators or random acts of violence, just the occasional palak paneer. This, on top of the fact that my dad was one heck of a cook, I got the foodie bug early.

I started out expanding upon the most basic, simple food I could make: mac 'n cheese. I started adding every herb I could identify to my food, quickly discovering that too much of it would surely taste like crap. Once I got the right formula worked out, my sister soon preferred my mac 'n cheese to my moms. Lesson learned? You don't always need to follow the box instructions.

I dabbled in other cooking but really didn't give it much thought for a good many years after that. Being an unstable adolescent girl really does take up a LOT of time. However, now that I am a stable-esque twentysomething, I can afford to reprioritize. "Obsessing about boys" is definitely down a couple rungs, maybe number 4 or 5 on my grand To Do list. And this brings me back to my love of food.

Food and I have a dangerous relationship. You know how you see needy girlfriends who get all angry and bent out of shape when they don't get to see their boyfriends enough? I'm somewhere between that and a junkie. Like a chemical dependecy, I get shaky, cranky and irrational when I haven't eaten. Maybe this is where it started but I've advanced from here to a true connoiseur.

Some people look at porn online. I'm all about recipe websites. If I had to pay to access the Food Network's website, I'd be toast. But while the site is free, there is a price you pay.

Food gets expensive, especially the good stuff. Even making it at home can really add up! Just like the guy who gets hooked on virtual poker, I keep finding a drain on my funds and it's leading straight to my mouth.

I'm trying to keep it under control, but as Bonnie Tyler once said, "every now and then I fall apart."

(sing it with me)
"AND I NEED YOU NOW TONIGHT! And I need you more than ever!"
Ok, enough of that.

The point of all this is... food is good. Food is awesome. Learn to make it yourself. If there are certain things you find yourself drawn to and craving, research them. You'll learn SO many neat things by just wading through recipe after recipe. The more familiar you get with ingredients, the more comfortable you'll become around them. Fear of cooking is no excuse, just start small.

I've been obsessing over pizza all week. After cruising through a slew of suggestions (and factoring in price and what is currently in my apartment), I came up with a brand new recipe:

- Pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joes (herb flavor)... or make your own, show-off!
- 3 good-sized mushrooms, sliced thin
- Half an onion, sliced into thin rings
- A yellow squash (just the good thick middle part), sliced into thin rings
- Shredded mozzerella
- Trader Joe's Pasta Seasoning
- Garlic salt
- extra flour
- The Sauce
( small can of tomato sauce
( a sprinkling of fresh thyme
( 6-8 leaves of fresh basil
( 1 tbsp. garlic in a jar
( 1 tbsp. neufchatel cheese, warmed... or cream cheese or any soft blendable cheese
( a splash of red wine, preferably cabernet sauvignon
( a few shakes of dried cumin powder
( 1 italian sausage
( 3/4 cup ricotta cheese*

Set the dough out to sit in room temperature for at least 20 minutes, just like the instructions say (or longer).

Heat up a pan (MED-HIGH). Grab your sausage and, in a way that will terrify any man, run a sharp knife down the length of it. You want to take off the casing. Get as much of the inner stuff into the pan as possible. Break it up** and cook until brown all over (put the NO in trichinosis!). Drain off any excess fat and set aside to cool.

Those veggies? Slice them now and set them aside. They don't have to be paper thin. Just imagine the thickness you would usually see of vegetables on a pizza.... You HAVE had pizza before, right?

Right about now, you can turn on your oven and set it to the setting indicated on your pre-made dough.

Now take all the sauce ingredients EXCEPT the sausage and ricotta and throw them into a food processor. If you don't have one, cut the herbs up as finely as you can and mix it really well. When things are looking pretty uniform, add the sausage. Don't overblend this stuff, just get it kind of even looking. Pour the sauce into a separate bowl and mix in your ricotta. You now have a sauce to die for.

Sprinkle some flour out on a flat, clean surface. You know what? Just use the pizza pan. Your dough should be ready by now (unless you're Speed Racer or something), so roll it out until it looks like a pizza crust (round-like, or if you don't have a round pan, rectangular. It will probably take some extra flouring to get it to stretch out and not stick to everything it touches. Take your time. Once it looks like the base for a pizza, sprinkle some garlic salt around the edge to season the crusts up. Next, dump your sauce in the center and spread it out about an inch from the edge. Cover it with a generous layer of shredded mozzerella (it'll look like a lot but it'll cook down). Lay out your veggie slices according to your whimsy and cover it all with a light sprinkling of that pasta seasoning (it's a really good mix!). Maybe sprinkle one more handful of cheese over the top just to seal things down. Now, throw it--NO! Carefully place it lovingly in the oven. Set your timer to whatever the the dough package says (with TJ's dough, 18-20 minutes). If after that time it doesn't look quite as "done" as you like your pizza, put it in for a few more minutes at a time until it is exactly to your liking. You're the cook. You have the right. Food tyranny, friends!

Finally, when it is several slices of heaven waiting to be sliced, take it out and DEFINITELY let it cool. At least 5 minutes. Then cut it up, but you should still be careful when it comes to eating it. Pretty hot. In any case, enjoy. It'll probably go well with that cabernet you used or a light red wine like a chianti OR just about any good flavorful beer. Just none of that Bud/Miller crap. Food up!

*All measurements are rough estimates. If you want more of anything, go for it.
**If you don't have a food processor, break this up as finely as you can now. It's no biggie if it's still kind of chunky.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What's so great about Friday?

Last week was a heck of a week. Not in the respect that I had a lot of work or a lot of stress. I actually had a lot of fun. All week long. Now, when I tell my sister back home what I do for fun, she will oftentimes ask, aghast, "On a weeknight?"

Maybe this is a midwestern thing. I don't know.
But really, like those inane chain-restaurant commercials say, "Why should Friday have all the fun?"

Let's see. Let's start on Saturday. It's not a weekday, but who cares.

"But Dana, you just set up this whole thing about weekdays!"

Shut up! This is my page and I'm telling you what I did on Saturday., Saturday I went to see Spiderman 3 after having spent the previous 5 hours watching the first 2. It was rather disappointing but hell, any critic can tell you that. Plenty of people talking about Spiderman. I'm over it. You know what? Forget Saturday.

Sunday, I hit the premiere of the movie "Baby" at the Visual Communications Film Festival.

The lead is a buddy of mine, David Huynh, who I worked with on a yet-to-be-finished film last summer called POX. My fondest memories of David from that shoot involved him wearing a sailor-suit/leotard hybrid with male-enhancement padding... but let's save that for the tabloids. The film was great and it took home a couple of big awards including Special Jury Award Best Feature and the Special Jury Award for Best Emerging Actor went to David himself. Attaboy.

Monday was Harold Night at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre on Franklin in Hollywood.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, The Harold is a long-form improv style developed and popularized by Del Close, co-founder of the ImprovOlympic. If you want to learn about it, read Truth In Comedy, but if you'd rather just experience it then UCB's Harold Night is your destination. For five bucks, you get 2 groups of well-trained performers putting on a full Harold each. Or, if you're like me and feel the need to take classes there, you get in for free. Depending on how you look at it. I may just be attending the most expensive show in town... Hmmm... anyhow! It's a good time regardless and, in truth, the UCB is almost always a good choice for a cheap night of quality enteratainment.

Tuesday night I went to record audiobooks at Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. Some people might not consider this a night of grand entertainment, but I always have a good time. Plus, the other volunteers there (at least the ones at the Reseda branch) are fun, a little crazy, and smart as hell.

Wednesday I hit another comedy club. Don't worry, they don't beat you for cheating on the UCB! No, I went to the Groundlings Theater for the Crazy Uncle Joe show ($10). I had been hearing for months from a very reliable source that this was really the best show at the Groundlings. Not having seen any others, I will say this one impressed the pants off me. Really. I left with no pants. Sure, I walked in wearing a dress, but that's beside the point. They did 2 acts with a brief intermission and I swear I don't know how their heads didn't explode. Good stuff. Lousy parking though! Show up early!

Thursday night was another nice cheap date. I hit a free screening of the surprisingly good 28 Weeks Later.

Thanks to the good people at LA Weekly and KROQ (not to mention my buddy Greg who couldn't use the tickets), I got to check out a sequel I had been more than a little leery about. Big fan of the original, you see. However, I was pleased to see that they neither A) tried to create a replica of the original or B) completely chucked everything that worked from the first one. While the scope of the movie was very different, this was still a horror movie with strong central characters that didn't forget the small-scale roots it came from. I liked Jeremy Renner as the one dissenting American soldier, and the opening where Robert Carlyle... no, I can't. It'll ruin it for you. I tell you, it may not be a must-see, but it's definitely a should-see.

Which brought me to Friday.
I had a really long week.
I had been running all over town.
I was tired. And running out of clean clothes.

So Friday night, I did laundry.
And it was good.

You know, the rest of the week really doesn't get enough credit.

Friday, May 4, 2007

So kid, what's with the name?

A brief explanation.

I don't want rumors circulating that I am a shut-in curmudgeon. I'm not! Honestly. I go to bars and see bands. I hit the occasional party or club. It's just that the clubs are generally of the comic variety and the parties are typically smaller than anything "on the scene".

You see, I'm not from these parts. Someone told me the other day that he knew for sure I wasn't from LA. I don't think it's written anywhere on my body so all I can come up with is that, essentially, I don't quite fit in.

Fine by me. Par for the course.

If you see me writing about something on here, chances are it's not hip, but it's fun. The restaurants I write about won't be star-magnets, but they'll be delicious and affordable. I'll give you tips on things you can do that neither break your budget nor boost your cred.

So don't listen to a word I say if you're hoping to rub Lindsay Lohan's elbow (or whatever else she's got out). But if you want to catch my rendition of "Under Pressure" at Rae's (don't worry, I'll tell you all about it), then take notes.

The weekend approaches! Live it up!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Why I'm afraid of Coachella

Every spring since I moved to LA, I get a certain uneasy feeling. Why? What is it?
Surely no ill fate awaits me, no foul play lurks around the corner.

Coachella is coming.

Every year, dozens of bands that I'd really like to see gather to play the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, California. This is a music event I had always heard amazing things about when I lived way-out-Midwest but, alas, could never attend. Then I moved. And I made a startling realization.

I'm afraid of Coachella.

But why? Why should this be? Artists I enjoy (Lily Allen! Amy Winehouse! Gogol Bordello!!) all gathering together in the same location to play 3 days of amazing music! How am I not flocking out there with the rest??

Here's the thing.
I don't "flock" so well.
I'm really not wild about "seas of humanity" and "crowds as far as the eye can see". Because with that many people around... you're gonna have a high incedence of douchebags. And let's face it, in southern California we have more than our fair share. I would love to go see all of these bands. I just wish all the douchebags didn't feel the same way.

Alright, I just found this Coachella DVD promo on their MySpace page.
Click here and check it out.

Go ahead, I can wait.


See! It looks really groovy and pleasant! How bad could the crowds be?
Well... it's not just the crowds.

How do I say this?
It takes place in a damn desert.

Sure, I live in the Valley. It gets hot here. That's NOTHING compared to the desert. It was 80-some degrees in Sherman Oaks today. Do you know what it was in Indio? 101! Tomorrow it's going to be 102 and on Sunday, 103. Oh, hell no.

COME ON! It's not even May yet! I can't handle that kind of heat until at least mid-July. I will completely own up and say, YES, I am too big a wuss to go to Coachella because it's really hot. Do you know what Wikipedia says on the matter?

"The Coachella Music Festival has a desert setting (the city of Indio is a part of the Colorado Desert), with daytime temperatures frequently rising to over 100°F (38°C). The festival enjoys little cloud cover or shade. The temperature drops drastically after sunset."

Please. Sure, that part about the temperature dropping is nice. But then again, think about this:
Do you like to bring a lot of stuff with you when you go to a concert?
No! Of course not! You want to be free and unfettered and to just enjoy the music without worrying whether you have all your stuff. If it's that hot during the day, you're definitely going to want to bring something to throw on later. Frickin desert.

And a lot of people camp there!
I, for one, really like my stuff and don't feel like hauling it out only to worry whether someone has gotten into it or not. I don't have that much stuff. I need all of it.

However, maybe all of this is stemming from one larger fear.
I'm not cool enough for Coachella.
I'm not particularly hard-core. I'm not a 100% free-wheeling hippie. I enjoy the music of the majority of the artists but on a fairly casual basis. I feel that the patrons of this music festival would see right through me to the nerd I am.

And that is why, Angelinos, on this first night of Coachella, I'm listening to the Arctic Monkeys on my computer instead of in person.

No, I'll bet you look good on the dance floor.

(Photos courtesy of