Aloha Apartments – Gardena, CA


While I was on my merry way to devour some loco moco at Bruddah’s Hawaiian Foods, I serendipitously drove by this neat apartment complex on Gardena’s Vermont Blvd. I made a u-turn to make sure I got a pic.

I figured it would be chronicled in Tiki Road Trip, and indeed, it was. This is what James Teitelbaum had to say about it:

“Nicely maintained vintage building with few Tikis; worth a trip, or just move in!”

Hmm, I probably would if I had a job at the Hustler Casino down the street! But I don’t…so I guess I won’t.

I didn’t see any of the aforementioned tikis, but I also didn’t sneak around too much. That would have been a little creepy. Looks like I may have a ways to go in my pursuit of being a budding urban archaeologist.


Animal Restaurant – Los Angeles (Loco Moco)


After completing phase one of “Loco for Loco Moco: No Joke-o” (me at Bruddah’s Hawaiian Foods, and the Gastronomer at somewhere I’m not sure because she hasn’t blogged about it yet), it was time to try the luxe loco moco at Animal, a restaurant with the same name as my favorite Muppet, no less. It’s on Fairfax, right across from the ill-fated Largo, and unless you know what you’re looking for you might fly right past it since it’s unmarked, that’s how you know it’s hip.


After asking if it was our first visit (it was), our server went through the menu describing dishes and pointing out her favorites. (The loco moco was notably not on that list. For a second time, I wondered what we were in for.)


The foie gras loco moco ($35) came with stubby Carolina Gold rice, Niman Ranch hamburger, Spam and a big slab of seared foie gras (that’s mostly what you see in that photo) topped with a fried quail egg. The gravy element of the moco was substituted with teriyaki sauce and dots of Sriracha, which made it less comfort food-y. The foie was great, but it definitely took center stage in the dish and it made it a little hard to discern all the flavors in each forkful. It was pretty ridiculous!

If you want to hear about the rest of the meal, there are more photos…after the jump!

Continue reading

Darth Vader Helmet by Shag


I know this may come as a shock to some of you…but I must confess that I’m a nerd. (I’ll give you a moment to compose yourselves.) Yes, in the summer of 2007, I did indeed attend a Star Wars convention (although they prefer the term “Celebration”). It was an epic event, even just in terms of pure people-watching (see above).


One of my favorites was “The Vader Project,” an exhibit of one hundred Darth Vader helmets re-imagined, embellished and customized by artists. (The show is currently in Pittsburgh at the Andy Warhol Museum, which is fitting.) All lined up, they looked like giant Pez dispensers!


The show featured designs from folks like Tokidoki, Paul Frank, The Pizz, Amanda Visell, and… Shag!

His was entitled “Darth Tipua,” a name which calls for a little Māori mythology lesson. Lieut.-Col. Gudgeon wrote this explanation in the Journal of the Polynesian Society in 1906:

“The word ‘tipua’ may sometimes be translated by our word ‘demon,’ for it does occasionally bear that signification, but more often it would be better rendered by the expression ‘uncanny thing.’ All that is out of the common or that would be seem to possess unaccountable powers or virtues may justly be dubbed a ‘tipua’; and under this heading may be included stones, trees, or even fish—provided always that the appearance of the thing in question is sufficiently curious.”

Sounds vaguely Vader-ish.


I think the shell necklace was an especially nice touch. It makes it look like Vader just came back from doing some souvenir shopping at Hilo Hattie’s.


More interesting, thought-provoking and truly terrifying Darth Vader helmets after the jump!

Continue reading