Thursday, March 3, 2011

headshots nyc

headshots nyc acting headshots new york city

a little post about headshots in new york city. thanks to mr greene.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Round out the scene please...

I have had several conversations lately about the "coffee scene" in Los Angeles, and all have come back to the idea that more competition breeds better results.

So on that topic I offer this suggestion:
If you are/own or work at a restaurant in Los Angeles that takes its' food seriously step up to the plate and do the same with your coffee.

This town is damn expensive to start a small business in and therefore new coffee spots opening are few and far between(corps or chains not included). Therefore, businesses already open and sustaining themselves are the obvious choice for new coffee contenders. This serves a double function as most restaurants in this town serve some seriously bad coffee already.

Intelligentsia would be an obvious starting point for said restaurants, but I challenge others to come to town and give them a run for their money in the roasting/training game. We need more espresso flavor options and that will come from more roaster competition.

ok get to it LA.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

State of the Bean - LA

When this blog began I was in desperate need of a good coffee shop. There was nothing good to be found in the giant sneeze of a city, and definitely nothing on the east side where I live and hang.

Well not long after I started this thing outta frustration on both my part and those around me who got sick of hearing me bitch, the coffee scene changed abruptly. First we got Jeff Johnsen's Choke @ Virgil & Normal. Shortly after Kyle and the Intelli crew dropped on the scene and changed Sunset Junction completely. After that came LA Mill on Silverlake Blvd. I have heard through the grapevine about others soon to follow and even some restaurants stepping up their coffee game (about fucking time).
So where does that leave the demanding coffee lover? Well if you live in or near Silverlake, things are pretty good right now. 3 solid choices in a short distance, all with their charms and downfalls. Each catering to a different socioeconomic Angelino. Intelli gets my business most often because they are convenient, consistent and the crew of people I know there are friendly. Choke is my "variety stop" now that Jules (former Intelli superheroine) is running the game. If you read this blog you might remember that she was the first person I met at the Intelli open night shindig. Jules knows and loves coffee, in a very organic and not overly-academic way. As a result she is bringing some different beans and mixing things up a bit.
Now to be honest, I am not that into LA Mill. I keep going back and will continue to especially now that I going to be living right down the street. I wanna be won over by this place, even if it is just for variety in bean and presentation. However, when I go there I have the same sensation every time. Let me explain...
On my street growing up there was this kid who could never come out and play with us when we needed another to make teams even. Why? Because his mom had him polishing furniture and helping her position something again, cuz it wasn't right the first 10 times! The few times I actually went in to his house, it was like a museum of death. Cold, sterile and lifeless.
Anyways, the place ain't winning any charm awards. The cannelle are good and I hear the food is good. I don't wanna be in there long enough to find out. But as they say, that is why not everybody drives a Ford. Choices!
Next Phase? Well of course more spots to open and each to offer their own researched espresso and coffee. I do not want a town full of Black Cat. Even when I stop in Intelli lately, I have been drinking the single origin espresso they are offering right now. Good stuff! 
There are a lot of different types of folks in this town and the east side at it's best is ethnically and financially diverse. So should the eating and drinking options for it's inhabitants. For every Cliff's Edge or Stella there is Joseph's Best Fish Taco's in Ensenada. For every Rustic Inn there is a Tantra or 4100 bar.
Keep it diverse and keep the new joints coming. Change is good people and in a city with this much money and in-flux of new consumers, we can handle the turnover. 

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Patina - Disney Hall - Downtown

You go to a nice restaurant that is known for the its' food preparation and you order an espresso or perhaps cappuccino. The server brings you the drink in a nice cup with a saucer and a hefty silver spoon. He sets down a silver bowl-thing with an assortment of sugars and its' substitutes. Things look good, unless you actually look at the drink (a cappuccino in this case). This is what you get:
Hot ass coffee, and I do mean HOT. That is wasn't still boiling was amazing.
About an inch to inch and a half of soap foam with no flavor at all...not surprising since it is mostly air.
Once the lava cooled and I could begin to drink I discovered little flavor or satisfaction.

Now if you have read any of my other posts you know that other than Choke and Coffee Intelligentsia this is the standard Los Angeles coffee experience. The thing I still cannot get over is that it happens at all these restaurants that focus so much attention on all these OTHER details. Again, maybe this is because the public does not demand more from them in terms of coffee, so they do not rise to meet anything but the lowest standard. To me this is something like going to one of the finer restaurants here in Los Angeles and they server your food with plastic utensils?!?

So I am not gonna bother with more than this for the review. They didn't, and neither am I.

Step up Los Angeles!

You are the kid who grows in size faster than the other kids and therefore appears to be an adult. However, underneath you are still an ignorant and uncultured child.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kings Road Cafe - Beverly Blvd & Kings Road

Kings Road Cafe

8361 Beverly Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90048-2633
Phone: (323) 655-9044

In general, I like this place. The location is good and the magazine stand around the corner is very convenient. I like wondering over there, picking up a magazine and grabbing a seat for a bite or relaxing coffee. Which I did last weekend on Sunday. Fortunately for me, the place was not packed and I got a spot outside with my new Fader and Sound on Sound magazines to read (music geek much). I opted for the usual single cappuccino. A reasonable amount of time later the waiter brought out a larger-than-necessary cup full of foam (steamed milk, according to Jules) and coffee. The steamed milk looked good, micro bubbles and plenty of it. I let it cool a bit, read some more about devendra banhart and then dug in.

- Review -

- Coffee -

This is really the place where things went wrong. The coffee first tasted of chemicals. If it had been a cup of drip or pressed coffee, I would have thought the grounds were overexposed to the water. I do not know what was going on in that cup. Maybe I should grab a scientist from Intelligentsia and have them analyze it. Nah, that would be mean. Cuz I am fare, I will mention that I have had better coffee here before. However, you are only as good as your last gig in this town...So watch the quality control folks.

- Foam -


Micro bubbles - check.
Flavor - check-ish.
Balance with the coffee - no hope, due to the coffee's impenetrable flavor assault.

- Presentation -


Cup was attractive, but too big for my tastes.
Steamed Milk/Foam looked good.

Presented to me with the usual cafe drop-off.

- Overall -

Read enough of my ranting on this blog and one thing becomes clear. To me, bigger is definitely not better. The small tasteful house that is well designed and has all of its square footage used frequently wins over the giant-ass mansion with rooms that rarely see a human. And so it goes with all foods, including coffee. Get it right, make it the best you can and serve an appropriately sized portion. Don't overcompensate and play to America's inflated need for more and more and more and more(see what I mean). You want volume and excess, go shop at Costco.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Coffee Intelligentsia - Sunset Junction

Intelligentsia Sunset Junction
3922 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029

...and so we arrive at the opening of the much anticipated Coffee Intelligentsia location here in Los Angeles.
The big opening party was last night and the turn out was fantastic. Lines of people waiting for their first tastes of the Coffee New Wave. There was gelato from a certain place I have reviewed across the street, there was a DJ spinning mostly old school grooves, and of course wine and beer. It was a good party and everyone enjoyed themselves.

I met various members of the Intelli-team, including Kyle, the man in charge of the local operation. Very cool people, very coffee-committed people. One woman in particular, Jules, helped me select a new coffee to try in my press at home. This young lady is very serious about coffee and probably well represents for the Intelli-team in terms of training and mindset. She had a long coffee background and plenty of 411 on the different coffees, where they came from and what intelli's Direct Trade program was all about. As I listened to her explain and inform, a thought began to form in my head. America is about many things to many people, but one trait in particular comes to mind.
Bigger, better, faster, more productive. We take things very seriously. We may be perceived by some as rednecks to the world or dramatic cowboys, but what we really know well is how to "improve" on something. In this case take the Italians, our contemporaries and inspiration for the coffee elite. These folks are seriously chill in comparison. They like coffee and take it seriously, but I cannot imagine having any of the conversations I had last night at Caffe Trieste. In America, we take something that is based on tradition and derives its mystique from the aesthetic and standards to which it is created, and we science the hell out of it. you could almost say we are the science to the rest of the worlds religion or faith. Explaining every aspect of something that never needed explaining before. Now I am as much a geek (or more) than the next guy, but this thought did come to mind during the course of my coffee-intensive evening.
To now concluded this aside and get to the review...Chill out America! Look around at your neighbors on the planet and calm the fuck down. This is NOT a race and if it were, we might be in first, but we are definitely not winning. Know the details, fine. Research the shit outta whatever you want. Ok. But remember that there is always a bigger picture and often it is the appreciation of that, which matters most.

- Review -

- Coffee -

Flavor of the coffee is perfectly balanced with the milk/foam. Good consistency and the temperature was perfect. I did not ask which of their coffees they were using for the espressos, but I am guessing is was their Black Cat (which was not available for purchase last night).

- Foam -
The way it should be. Thick and smooth with just a hint of sweetness from the milk. Again, well balanced with the coffee flavor. I believe they were using whole milk, or it looked like something of that weight and fat content.

- Presentation -
Saucer and spoon set out first...tension builds...the cup is set on the counter...she pours the frothed milk in very carefully and you see the magic of a cappuccino being to take shape. As she concludes the pour and nice little heart shape appears at the finish. Viola!
Nice porcelain from everyone's favorite ACF.

- Overall -
Jeff, your competition or comrades, depending on how you look at it, have arrived. We now have two locations on the east side for a real coffee experience. Thank you to the Shoguns of Coffee Intelligentsia in Chicago for sending trendy, lost and misguided little LA and beacon of hope and taste. Now the real challenge begins...teaching the numb and mislead people of LA that THIS is what it is supposed to taste like, not that crap you have been drinking everywhere else.
Oh yeah and Intelli-Team, go easy. Chill a little. It IS coffee and you and I take it probably too seriously most of the time. Next time you interact with the rest of the world, think of some super cool, laid back, old Italian guy in loafers and pressed pants serving up a coffee, right before he hops on his scooter and zips off to his lover, mid-afternoon, waving as he disappears into the sun...Ciao!

Thursday, August 9, 2007



4157 Normal Ave.
open Tuesday -Saturday
10 a.m.-7 p.m.
(323) 662-4653.

Today, I had the pleasure of enjoying two of my favorite things in succession. No, not hookers and an 8-ball. Fish or Shrimp tacos and a cappuccino to finish. First a quick shout out to the taco spot.

Best Fish Taco in Ensenada
1650 N. Hillhurst

Great tacos. Simple menu. cool owner and his mom works the register, so you better be honest with your taco count. You order them one at a time, because he wants you to eat them hot, and so do you, so be patient and enjoy. OK, back to the coffee.

Jeff at Choke has already been glowingly written up by some enamored writer from the LA Weekly, so I will stick to my opinions and leave out the back story. This guy has history with coffee outside of LA, which, like the rest of us, is how he knows about the good stuff. He has a water filtration and softening system and closely monitors the humidity in the air when determining his grounds. Get it? HE PAYS ATTENTION.
What that means to you and me and every other schmo who walks in the door is a great coffee, with little variation in the quality or flavor. I have been enough times to have tasted the variations in milk sweetness and coffee thickness, and I can tell you it's all good.

- Review -

- Coffee -
Distinct flavor. Perfect thickness. Bitterness is well balanced with the milk/foam
(hear from grapevine that Jeff is gonna start using Coffee Intelligentsia coffee soon...they are taking over!)

- Foam -
Jeff's foam is not so much the Trieste micro-bubbled, semi-caramelized kind, as the thick milk, creamy goodness kind. In the grading of a cappuccino, I believe it is how the components come together as whole that determines it's scoring. For this reason, his foam gets 3 stars.

- Presentation -
You get Latte art in a scooter shop. You know, the shit you see on the cooking channel and in magazines. Little leaves or hearts or whatever.
Sadly, I often get my coffee here in a white paper cup. (Parking really, really sucks in the Choke hood.)
I see porcelain on the machine and have seen others drinking from it, so this is my fault, not his.

- Overall -
If you are reading this blog, you are either a friend of mine or you like good coffee. In either case you should go to Choke and have a cappuccino. Then we have something we can talk about and/or you have a new standard of excellence in your coffee spectrum.