Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seven Grand In Downtown L.A.

My Friday night started with a call from a cousin from the westside of L.A. (Mar Vista to be exact). He invited me out for a drink in his playground of Downtown L.A., which has had an enormous transformation since the days it was a place to never be at during the night.

We met outside the Seven Grand, located at 7th and Grand.

We were met at the door by a greeter (more bouncer-like) and ID's were check (I guess we're still young looking). We walk up a set of stairs to the second floor, everything seems dark and eerie, in an elegant mansion sort of way. Instantly we see 2 pool tables to our right and a very nice bar to our left.

As we approach the bar, a girl stops us and says, come over here for a whiskey tasting. So we're pulled aside to a side lounging area, where there are about another seven people standing in a circle. A man in a kilt begins explaining the Glenfiddich 12 year whiskey, and all the flavors it encloses. Followed by an explanation of the 18 year bottle. Flavors, palates, woods, cherry, oak, Europe, America, one is 86 proof, the other is etc. blah blah. He hands everyone 2 shot glasses, then has us all taste in unison the 12 year. Nice, but I didn't come here to drink whiskey, but it was pretty good. Next, the 18 year, i couldn't finish it, that was some strong stuff!

We now head to the bar where I originally wanted to be tasting some decent beer. But now I have this whiskey taste in my mouth and I'm needing a domestic light beer to wash it away. Well, there is no domestic on tap, at all. Closest thing I could get was a Hefeweizen. We had a few more, actually tried a few beers such as the 1903 and Telegraph, which we're pretty good beers.

The atmosphere was dark, and it felt like some kind of old english hunting lodge. Elks are all over the place on the walls, tables and lamps. The music was a bit strange but it sufficed. The staff was very nice and quick to help with anything. The crowd was also pretty decent, with no riff-raff really. It was funny to see a group by the pool table eating pizza that was brought by a pizza delivery guy. There's a pizza place you can order from literally called PIZZA NEXT DOOR.

Before we left, I did peek at an outside patio where you can step out for a nice cigar. They also have a place where you can purchase cigars. All in all, this is a very top notch bar and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to check out something unique in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.

Seven Grand
51 West 7th Street
2nd Floor
Downtown LA 90014

Click here for their website and more info

Friday, February 27, 2009

The City of Mont Claremona

Well, not really. It's 3 cities forming a "T". In Between the row of palm trees, you have the City of Pomona (left) and the City of Claremont (right). All while standing in the City of Montclair across the street. I'm also standing in another county to top it off. All in this little quiet spot that no one ever thinks about. Here's a tip to save money, shop for groceries on this side, the taxes are less than L.A. County, and will be even less after the new tax rate hits.
(Click picture to enlarge)

Stimulus Number Crunch

How easily we forget the original problem:

(click picture to enlarge image)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

She's Slowly Coming Back

I don't know what the future holds for me as far as living in Pomona. I moved here 6 years ago with the intention of staying here around 3-5 years. I would keep the house and rent it (as many people do). But one thing I am happy about is I did not make the mistake everyone else who is foreclosing did. I got a low rate 30 year fixed and never thought of my house as a piggy bank. No refinance, no funny loans, just the same payment for 30 years. I've already knocked out 7 years off my 30 year by paying a little extra when I can. So right now I'm sitting tight and trying to relax in my little corner of Pomona, making the best out of it.

I've got great neighbors, some who've been here as long as me, and many who have been here more than 30 years. But like any big city, every block has 'that house'. That is basically the only problem, if it even is. Other than that, renting anything now is more than my mortgage. Will I move? Perhaps, mainly due to needing more space. But for now, I've become very curious about Pomona and it's surrounding Valley. Driving to L.A. for everything has gotten old very quick! I love L.A. and it will always be a part of me. In fact, I still feel L.A. in Pomona, because we are still L.A. County! And the Staples center is a 30 mile drive, and at 6:30pm against traffic I am always there in 1/2 hour. That's all I need.

I've also formed a sense of neighborhood patrol around here. At least with a few neighbors. We all tell each other when we're on vacation and look out for one another. It's hard to form a neighborhood watch in Southern California mainly because that's just how it is. Everyone is moving so fast that there is no time, so the little time we have we try and enjoy our privacy. I've taken that concept and made it clear to everyone so we don't feel intruded on or anything when we want to be somewhat of a community. We can go a month or two without seeing each other and once in a while see how we're all doing. That alone is SOMETHING, and it helps. If more of us thought like this, things may change.

Encourage good friends and families to buy here in Pomona. My sister is looking into buying a foreclosed home on my street, by herself. When the previous owner packed 3 families into it and still could not afford it. That will help cleanup the streets a bit. Encourage good friends and families who are looking to buy their first home to move here. Pomona has so many distinct neighborhoods that you cannot label it all the same, believe me. I also have a friend who has a standard small ranch style in Claremont, but wants a big historic home in Pomona due to their low price. I mean, you can get the same historic house in Claremont for over $1 Million, while in Pomona the same house can go for about $600,000, with room to bargain. In fact, Pomona is the leader of Historic Homes rivaling Pasadena!

While it's a long stretch with a city this size and somewhat shady politicians (I yearn for George Hunter), it's my little part that I can do while I'm here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pasadena's Historic Trees To Be Destroyed!

I read over at Isaac's Blog that Pasadena is in the process of removing over a dozen of these large ficus trees around Colorado Boulevard. I've worked in Pasadena for many years and recall walking for lunch in our hot summers. These trees were a blessing! It's a shame because I'm sure this all comes down to money. Either the city is cutting back on maintenance or the businesses are using the trees as an excuse for not generating money. When we all know it's the economy in general. A shame, it's a part of history.

Click the picture for more killing scenes:

Around The Garden

This Spring will be 1 year since I planted this new Pride of Madeira to replace the old lanky one in my planter. It's looking good:

As I was bringing in the trash containers from the street, I snapped a shot under the carrotwood tree:

Two Shelves, Pick One

I'm up whisking the family away this morning (school/work). I hear a few choppers in a standstill up above which means as usual, an accident on the 10 fwy. Checked the SigAlert and sure enough, a 3 car mess at 6am on the westbound 10 near the Garey Avenue exit. Gave the wife the warning, the short route around and off they go.

What the hell does this have to do with anything? Nothing really, I have my hot cup of coffee next to me contemplating, what shall I blog about today?

Well, since I enjoy gardening and social drinking, I'm going to show you 2 different shelves in my house. I don't know how many people even read this blog, probably none, but feel free to tell me which one is your favorite. It might be hard for some, and easy for others to decide.

The Gardening Resource Center:

The Watering Resource Center:

And to answer your questions, YES, I am a Gardenholic, and NO, I am not an alcoholic, or else that shelf would be empty. I host alot of private parties and that's where the good stuff goes. No, smarty pants, the 'denial is the first step' does not apply. LOL.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recovering from The Press

It was a very cool Monday night yesterday at The Press for the release party of 'Shameless McDale', an Irish Red beer from Dale Bros Brewery.

It was nice to meet the actual Dale Brothers, and compliment them on their great beers (Especially Pomona Queen). The Kurt Ross Band was a rockin' too! Made the ambience very hip and cool.

I was also surprised and happy to meet fellow Pomona bloggers at The Press. I introduced myself to Tibbi from the Blurry Memoirs Blog. We talked up a storm and yes, he really did drink ALL their Stone IPA's! Also very nice to meet Meg and K from the M-M-M-My Pomona Blog. Thank you guys for not making me the lone Pomonan.

Before the opening:

The Kurt Ross Band:

The Bar and The Bartending Ghost Women:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dale Bros Brewery Spring Beer Launch Party!

My favorite local brewer, Dale Bros Brewery is coming down to Claremont tonight! The Spring Beer Launch party will be hosted by The Press Restaurant located at 129 Harvard Ave., Claremont, CA 91711 ~ Phone: 909-625-4808. It all begins at 8:00PM Sharp!

Here's the scoop straight from their website:

The Dale Brothers have created what may be the world's first green Irish Red beer - Irish Red in style, and green due to their using 100% organic grains. Come to The Press and be among the first to sample the new Dale Bros. Shameless McDale green Irish Red beer! We'll have coupons for $2 off your pint, while supplies last, and live entertainment will be provided by The Kurt Ross Band.

Special Thanks to Claremont Insider for the tip!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sleepy Village in Claremont

I have been to the new and old village many times in the afternoon weekend. A cool place to get some grub, shop, banking and coffee. In fact, it boasts some of the best local dining around here for lunch. But what is it with this nice little place once the evening sets in?

This is the 3rd attempt to go check out the night life, and we drove off again. We usually drive to the packing house about 9pm, and everything is mostly closed or EMPTY. The Hip Kitty is generally happening, but if you don't get off your car to check, you would never know. The wine tasting place is decent, but you have to be in the mood for it. The 21 Choices yogurt always has a line though, even in winter. But for a young group of people who want to see a bit more movement, this isn't the place, yet. Perhaps the fact that Claremont boasts such a large percentage in population of retirees, this place shuts down early due to lack of business.

We then bust a U-turn and head to the old downtown square and its the same thing. Maybe a bar or two with several people, but certainly not enough of a vibe to interest. Everything else is closed as well.

Still, the new village has a ton of potential and to be fair, it is still quite new. With time and the right situation, this can turn into a very cool place to hang out at night. Of course, we also are in bad economic times. But since most residents in Claremont probably aren't affected much, there's a better chance.


So to conclude, I still HIGHLY recommend the village on Saturday from 10am to 2pm. A great place to take your family and hangout! The night still needs some work, but I'm sure it'll kick off in time.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Morning Walk

Good morning everyone. My wife decided to take her camera for our morning walk through Pomona College in Claremont. There are so many things to take pictures of, but I told her to keep walking, I'm not stopping for every damn squirrel!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ahhh, Pomona Queen


I simply cannot wait until next Saturday for the Artwalk in Pomona. I've discovered this wonderful beer on tap for Valentine's Day 2009. It is a cross between a Newcastle and Sam Adams, yet so smooth and delicious. I'm no beer connoisseur, but my wife and I couldn't get enough at Joey's BBQ. Made in nearby Upland, CA by Dale Bros. Brewery. It is also sold all over the bars in downtown Claremont, CA (which ironically is walking distance from my house, while downtown Pomona is about 3 1/2 miles. Anyways, if you get a chance, ask for this one!

Rendition Fight Gear Logo Design

A while back while sitting around watching HDNet fights, I got this idea of coming up with a real quick fight gear t-shirt design. You know, those shirts that all the kids and young people wear in order to feel hip, or perhaps tough. Who knows... anyways, I got on photoshop and came up with this. It took me perhaps 30 minutes to do. Rendition is a company that doesn't exist, I just farted that name mentally. I think this would look cool splattered on a black shirt.

In fact, let me try and plop it on a shirt dummy.

Around The Garden

2 great pics taken last month in our garden when temps were 80+ degrees. I must admit this is my wife's 1st attempt at photography. She just received a $1000+ Nikon camera as a gift so I think she found a new hobby.

She is slowly figuring out settings, lighting, and all those complicated things that these cameras can do. I think she's doing pretty good so far...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New To This World, Please Excuse.

Thanks to the last 8 years of Bush Rule, I find myself with alot more time than ever now... (worked in the investment world, so that tells you what happened). I realized that I was constantly reading blogs, especially local blogs pertaining to Pomona and Los Angeles. I got tired of posting anonymously, and the only way to be someone was to register and have a blog. Well, here it is.

I will probably speak a bit about politics, local and general. Perhaps Gardening would also be a topic, as well as art, graphics and design. And History too, especially California and the Southwest. Add wine, beer and brinks to that list as well. Who knows, time will tell.