Archive for the 'Lifestyle and Travel' Category

27
Nov
19

The 42nd Occasional Doo Dah Parade

The 42nd Doo Dah Parade on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena California on Novemebr 24, 2019.

On November 24th, a glorious Sunday in East Pasadena, folks gathered with expectations in street clothes and ludicrous costumes. They were standing or setting in anticipation of the 42nd running of The Pasadena Occasional Doo Dah Parade. These people were a mixture of participants, spectators, young, old and most specifically counter-culture in nature ready for a day of shenanigans and mischief.

The lure of the Occasional Doo Dah Parade is partially the irreverent unexpected combined with a spark of color, oddly innovative creativity, the mockery, and satire of the soon approaching Rose Bowl Parade. So much like other parades, there is a Queen that presides over the Parade and the day’s events. This year Queen Jesselynn Desmond held court over all the zany insanity.

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Royalty from previous years (Doo Dah Queens and Kings) set at the judges’ table mildly judging or simply being amused as the cavalcade of carnivalesque participants pass by. The parade proved to be one of the most entertaining in recent memory. If you can imagine it you can be it at the Doo Hah Parade. After the parade, there were more celebrations and after-parties to send everyone off in fine fashion for Sunday with another year of Doo Dah as a glorious memory made.

There is a photo gallery here for your enjoyment but if you want to get the full effect of all 189 images for the parade please follow this link to my Flickr Doo Dah Parade Album. They are big beautiful pictures in radian color!

10
Nov
19

Preux and Proper “The South’s Best Fried Chicken”

Sammy and Josh at the South City Fried Chicken Lunchtime Pop-up at Preux & Proper. All Photos ©Billy Bennight

We all gathered for an afternoon feast with some 20ish media folks, upstairs at Preux & Proper, to explore the “Southside Fried Chicken” Pop-up menu introducing the new Preux and Proper’s lunchtime menu option in a glorious way.

The new menu picks up its references from all the goodness from “Southside Fried Chicken” inside the charming atmosphere of Preux and Proper. It is the celebration of all things that are “Fried Chicken” and then some.

The Austin

Joshua Kopel and Samuel Monsour were both on hand to introduce, serve and share the food and their ideas about the “Southside Fried Chicken” menu. what soon followed a mixed dazzling blitzkrieg of marvelous chicken options. All of these options were served up with Preux and Propers Fried Pickles and Mac & Cheese. The sandwiches offered were the Austin, the Nashville, the Greenville, the New Orleans, and the Chapel Hill. The chicken plates and salads all delivered in glorious fashion along with the sandwiches that included Chicken & Waffles, Nashville Hot, Whole Fired Game Hen, Louisville Slugger, Crispy Dr. Pepper Wings, Chicken Bacon Cobb, and Pop’s Chop. It was a delirious hour and a half to eat all of these tantalizing takes on fried chicken and the race was on!

All of the food was exquisitely plated and was a treat for the eyes. The sandwiches were bigger than life and portioned to satiate the hungriest of souls. All these menu options were amazing but for me, I found the Austin, Nashville, Chapel Hill, Crispy Dr. Pepper Chicken Wings, the Chicken & Waffles, Whole Fired Game Hen and the Chicken Bacon Cobb salad eyeball rolling good.

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Sammy and Josh during quieter moments shared their processes of sustainability and locally sourced ingredients from family farms that are the backbone of Preux and Proper’s ethical process in meal preparation. Sammy has started an herb garden upstairs that can be easily accessed to optimally use fresh ingredients in his culinary creations. They dry and pickle their own fruit and vegetables. They make their own chicken bacon on-premises too. When Sammy spoke he referenced their approach to diminishing their carbon footprint. In the last 2 years, they have reduced the restaurant’s waste by 80% by composting by. Josh believes is an ethical workplace for the workers by offering discounts for their workers and families while making healthcare a priority for those who invest their time in Preux and Proper’s dreams. Josh expressed he and Sammy want a great restaurant but they want their restaurant to be a great place to work at too.

The feasting continued for with a few additional dishes to taste and I/we sampled a few of the cocktails we missed on the last tasting for a little mid-day relaxation. When Sammy feeds you he goes big and leftovers were abundance. We boxed the goodies to dine later and to carry on the “Feel Goods” into the next day from this exciting “Southside Fried Chicken” lunch menu curtesy of Preux and Proper. Now you can kick your lunch game up a notch or two to make DTLA lunch more of an event!

Chicken and Waffles at South City Fried Chicken Lunchtime Pop-up at Preux & Proper.

01
Oct
19

Sammy’s Cookout Every Thursday at Pruex & Proper

Preux & Proper located on Spring Street in a unique DTLA spot at the end of LA’s Art District and at the beginning of the Fashion District, between 8th and 9th, and is known for offering NOLA inspired dining in a beautiful and cozy atmosphere reminiscent of a space you’d find in the Frech Quarter. Preux and Proper’s already impressive menu is expanding into a slightly new direction by offering something particularly inspired and delicious. Every Thursday Preux & Proper will feature Sammy’s Cookout that will be taking an elevated approach home-style cooking in wondrous eye-popping ways. “Sammy’s Cookout” will be offered every Thursday from 4 pm to 10 pm for your dining pleasure.

Our preview of Sammy’s Cookout orchestrated by Executive chef Sammy Monsour started with a variety of cocktails to wet the whistle and soothe the soul with libations like the Alabama Slammer and the Texas Two-Timer. Before the dinner was served I settled at the bar in the upper room but not before I ran into Joshua Kopel who was handling a sizzling pan of Marie’s Mac & Cheese. It was apparent he already engaged in the spirit of the evening’s festivities. After our brief conversation, I settled at the center of the bar. It’s a nice long bar with a comfortable view of the whole upstairs area. There’s plenty of dining space that overlooks both Spring and Main Streets from the top. Due to Preux & Proper architecture, it’s easy to walk from side to side to view either street at your leisure and looking south you can see both streets merge into the Los Angeles cityscape. The waite staff was fun and friendly as I slid in to sip on two Alabama Slammers. These concoctions were marvelous and have a considerable punch to them.

As the upstairs had filled with foodie influencers and journalists, we were all encouraged to find a place for the feast that laid before us. I had joined Elise  Thompson and Bob Lee for a bit of chitchat at the bar before we settled but it so happened someone had taken a key seat where we couldn’t dine together at a table. So I was flying solo. After I settled I noticed somethings were already laid out on the table when I returned to my spot.

The watermelon and cucumber salad, the Spam fries with spicy pineapple ketchup and Ritz crackers with pepper jelly and pimento cheese spread were waiting there for the taking. All beckoning to us in their colorful splendor. The watermelon cucumber salad was fresh and intoxicating with their light crispy textures. Both major elements (watermelon and cucumber) mingled in with the Thai basil, mint, cilantro, macadamia-coconut crumbles, California extra virgin olive oil, lime & smoked sea salt with ecstatic results. The watermelon didn’t dominate and the other elements made it a fresh and lively surprise. It was delicious guilt-free moment in eating. I was most curious about the spam fries because I’m not a big spam fan. I found that they had the consistency of potato fries and the sweet dipping sauce was very complimentary. They were kind of addictive when mixing them with the spicy pineapple ketchup given their light crunchy exterior and soft spammy interior. The Ritz crackers with pepper jam and pimento cheese were snacky madness at it’s best.

The next course, we were presented with the Cast Iron Cornbread (Kentucky sorghum, cracked white pepper, butter), Baked Mac & Cheese (orecchiette pasta, scallions, turbodog ale, Cabot extra sharp cheddar), and Colorado lamb ribs (Jamaican jerk, central barbecue’s sweet heat wing sauce, Nate’s pickled watermelon rind) were followed by the masterfully made 18-hour bone-in pork shoulder with 5 regionally distinct barbecue sauces. The 18-hour bone-in pork shoulder sat before us was the culinary ne plus ultra of the evening with its luminance steamy presence dominating the center of our table and my foodie desires.

Continue reading ‘Sammy’s Cookout Every Thursday at Pruex & Proper’

20
Aug
19

Maisel Day Expounded!

Palisades Village – The Bay by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas on Amazon Prime Video’s “Maisel Day”. All Photos ©Billy Bennight

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been nominated for 20 Emmys and Amazon Prime Video has celebrated the momentous occasion of being the most Emmy nominated comedy for 2019. Amazon Prime Video has treated Los Angeles with “Maisel Day” where various retailers throughout the various communities in the city offered special 1959 pricing from a host of opportunities ranging from food to hotel rooms.

My Maisel Day started on Wednesday night as I dropped by The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to find out when I could book a room for $40.00 a night. My research yielded a 9 Am call to line up for a room. Following this research expedition, I ended up late to bed and an unfortunately early to rise.

In the morning my first priority was The Roosevelt. Walking up it was immediately apparent there was a line. That line ran all the way from the door of The Roosevelt to the corner and possibly beyond. I knew immediately I wasn’t going to be able to book a room.

It was time to continue to the next level of my Maisel Day’s plan. There were a lot of great places to experience on Maisel Day like Canter’s Deli or Starring by Ted Gibson. But considering the prospect of long lines and possible dubious outcomes, I set my sights on the Pacific Palisades.

I rarely visit the Pacific Palisades and didn’t realize how serendipitous my decision was until I found myself in Palisades Village where all the action was happening. My first move was securing an appointment at Gornik & Drucker for my $3.00 haircut.

See’s Candies

Felicia and Liz on Maisel Day 2019

Once this key part of my itinerary was secured, with a five hours plus wait laying in front of me, I moved quickly to get the most of my Maisel Day. I set my sights on the See’s Candies for $1.50 of candy which was a $21.00 value. While the idea of securing great values and bargains it is also exciting to imagine or internalize the mid-century world that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel inhabited. The See’s candy line was long but in the world of lines it proved to move speedily and I had my chance with the candies in about 45 minutes. Rick Caruso accompanied with a handful of other gentlemen passed us by coming from the See’s candy area when a man next to me called out to ask him how his day was going. Rick answered back with a salutation indicating his day is going fine. It’s unusual to spot the owner of The Grove and the Palisades Village, a billionaire publically strolling any mall but there he was checking out Maisel Day with the rest of us. A See’s employee who had been handing out candies came around to count us out. We made it but soon after the count supplies ran out. See’s Candies offered p their last supplies while I was at the register. From there people moved on to their day or sought a new line to take advantage for Maisel Day goodies. I had my eye set on the Rueben at Hank’s.

Continue reading ‘Maisel Day Expounded!’

06
Jul
19

A View of the Mighty Blue Whale

Photos of ©Billy Bennight for Extravagant Behavior

It is Blue Whale watching season with the return of the mighty Blue Whale to Southern California. Every year around this time Harbor Breeze Cruises and Aquarium of the Pacific sponsor a special media whale watching excursion out of Long Beach to explore the edge of Pacific Ocean’s waters off of San Pedro and Long Beach to view these mighty, majestic and beautiful creatures while they feed and navigate in these deep coastal waters filled with krill and other wonderful sea life.

On this excursion, we slipped through the foggy morning air far out into the Pacific Ocean. We eventually settled miles out running parallel with Palos Verdes near a research boat and skip busily tagging a young whale to study its habits and behaviors. The researcher motored over in their Zodiac Hurricane to our Harbor Breeze boat for a mid-water rendezvous where the scientist took the time to explain the process of tagging the whale and the information he was hoping to acquire from his work. It was a first on the many excursions I have taken and a welcome surprise.

After our meet up we continued further out crossing the path of a pod of dolphins until be happened on a large Blue Whale named “Kinko” feeding in the deep on krill. The Aquarium of the Pacific expert recognized the marking of the whale that indicated it was the whale researchers like to call Kinko. Every whale has distinctive markings that make them identifiable. We spent about an hour with Kinko as he would dive and surface in 12 to 15 minutes intervals. It was pretty much a regular day of whale watching and whale feeding as the fog was slowly burning off. Kinko fluked twice while we were there. Once everyone had had their time shooting video or taking pictures we were on way back returning to Rainbow Harbor and Shore Line Village.

Continue reading ‘A View of the Mighty Blue Whale’




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