Amoeblog

National Salad Week & the Brown Derby's Culinary Input

Posted by Whitmore, July 27, 2009 08:23pm | Post a Comment

July 25 to 31 is National Salad Week. And don’t forget the salad dressing. According to a recent consumer survey conducted by Synovate, 95 percent of Americans consume salads, or at least lettuce, at least three times per week. Not only do most Americans eat salads regularly, but they perceive other salad eaters as healthier, happier and, according to the Atlanta-based Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS, a national trade association representing the manufacturers of salad dressings and condiment sauces), salad lovers are thought to be sexier. In other words, if you want to impress, eat a salad, though you might want to avoid the onions...
 
One of the most popular salad concoctions was invented here in Los Angeles, just around the corner from Amoeba, in glamorous old Hollywood at 1628 North Vine Street; the former location of the Hollywood Brown Derby. That delicious meal in a bowl would be none other then the Cobb Salad.
 
But first: The Brown Derby was a chain of four restaurants in Los Angeles. The first and the most iconic of these was located at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard. Shaped like a man's derby hat, its diameter was 28 ft and it stood was just under 18 feet tall. The restaurant was started by Bob Cobb, eventual owner of the Hollywood Stars baseball team of the Pacific Coast League and Herbert Somborn, the former husband of the screen siren Gloria Swanson. Opened in 1926, the building was moved to 3347 Wilshire Boulevard in 1937 and after being sold and renovated in 1975, it was quickly euthanized in 1980 by a strip mall known as the Brown Derby Plaza. The doomed domed structure was incorporated into the third floor of the building where there is supposed to be a cafe, but to be perfectly honest, its dignity and splendor is long gone.
 
Designed to catch the eye of passing motorists, the architectural inspiration, according to one story, was the hat worn by New York governor and the perennial Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith, who was a good friend of Somborn’s. Another version has Somborn playing with the idea that a great restauranteur could serve food anywhere, even out of a hat, and still be successful.
 
The second Brown Derby opened on Vine Street on Valentine's Day in 1929. Close to the studios like Paramount and RKO, it was here that the Derby legend was made; the Hollywood elite would wine and dine, wheel and deal, meet to compete. It didn’t hurt that legendary gossip columnists Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper plied their trade and rivalries at the Vine Street location, setting up shop to play their wicked little games. Unfortunately most of the building was destroyed by a fire in 1987. A small portion of the restaurant's original facade remains and is being incorporated into the new W Hotel and Condo development, project completion is set for the fall of this year.
 
The third Brown Derby was built in 1931 near Rodeo drive at 9537 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills; it resembled the Hollywood branch in its Spanish Mission style. It was closed down and demolished in 1983. The fourth location at 4500 Los Feliz Blvd is the last remaining original Derby standing. Cecil B. De Mille, legendary director and producer and a part owner of the Wilshire Blvd restaurant, bought at auction a restaurant named Willard's, converting it into a Brown Derby in 1940. Willard's was a country inn serving "Far Famed Chicken Steak Dinners," and its dome shaped roof design actually had a function. Water was pumped to the top of the dome and then run down the sides into a trough, creating one of the first "air conditioned" buildings in Los Angeles. Willard's also kept live poultry in cages on the grounds; they had the slogan: "chickens whose feet never touch the ground.” Sounds yummy ... and humane! The Los Feliz Brown Derby became one of the first restaurants to combine both high class upscale food and a 24 hour drive-in, perfect for the burgeoning So-Cal car culture. The restaurant closed its doors in 1960 and became Michaels of Los Feliz. In 1992 the building was transformed once again, this time into a nightclub, The Derby, and a restaurant; Louisa’s Trattoria. But in 2004, the Los Feliz property was purchased by Hillhurst/Los Feliz LLC with an idea to raze the structure and build a condominium/retail complex. An independent coalition called "Save the Derby" fought to prevent its demolition, and on May 19, 2006, the Los Angeles City Counsel voted unanimously to designate the structure as an official Historic Cultural Monument.
 
But I digress, back to the whole point of today’s blog: Salad Week.
 
According to Hollywood myth it was a dark and stormy night ... actually, it was in 1936 or ’37, owner Bob Cobb hastily concocted a midnight snack for the famished and very powerful theatre owner Sid Grauman, owner of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Cobb grabbed a few leftovers and whatever he could find in the refrigerator; a head of lettuce, avocado, tomato, some cold chicken, a hard-boiled egg or two, a little bacon, and Roquefort cheese -- different versions of the story list different ingredients. He chopped everything into a fine dice, fancied it up a bit with some leafy lettuce, laying out each ingredient on top in a clean, straight row, added some French dressing. Viola! The next time Sid Grauman came in he asked for the salad; the Cobb salad was born and soon became the signature menu item. Bob Cobb may have passed away in 1970, but his name lives on in restaurants across the land.
 
But as I dug deeper, trying to separate fact from fiction, another version of the story emerged. This account claims the salad came about because Bob Cobb had had dental surgery and since the pain wouldn’t allow him to open his mouth very wide, his chef fixed him a salad, dicing each item into small bits. Sounds plausible, but personally I like the Sid Grauman story better. It’s more Hollywood-like; I see an unlikely hero and an unlikely, yet inevitable, happy ending. As the writer James Warner Bellah asserts in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, ''When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.''
 
Anyway, I’m heading out to dinner ... though I’m more in the mood for pizza.

Cold Cave: Love Comes Close to Perfection

Posted by Aaron Detroit, July 27, 2009 06:30pm | Post a Comment
cold cave
Wesley Eisold
has garnered cult status among many young malcontents for his work in hardcore/noise-punk groups like Give Up The Ghost and Some Girls. So to some it came as bit of a shock when Eisold unveiled his latest project: Cold Cave, a synth-heavy Pop-Industrial group also featuring the likes of Caralee McElroy of Indie-Pop-Noise Experimentalists Xiu Xiu and Noise/Power Electronics Guru Dominick Fernow, aka Prurient.

Early Cold Cave recordings (collected on the CD compilation Creamations, released earlier this year) feature Eisold, mostly solo, building the skeleton for the group. Those tracks lean more towards the noisy and atonal side of things. However, on two now-out-of-print 12" vinyl singles released in late 2008
(The Trees Grew Emotions and Died ) and May 2009 (Etsel & Ruby) the project slowly began to lift its more oppressive atmospheres and mine and expand its dark retro/futurist pop-scope as more members fell into its ranks.

out this week 7/14 & 7/21...dead weather...blue roses...fiery furnaces...the state on dvd!...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 27, 2009 04:40pm | Post a Comment

harry potter and the half-blood prince
My personal goal for about a year now has been to watch all the Harry Potter movies. I had resisted for a while and since I missed the first couple in the theater, I felt like I could never catch up in time. But when the Half-Blood Prince got delayed, I figured I finally had a chance to watch the first 5 so I could see the sixth one in the theater. Of course, the months went by and all of a sudden it was July and I only had a couple of weeks to watch them all -- still, I knew I could do it. I was not sure if I was going to become obsessed with the movies like everyone else had, but I figured I would at least enjoy them. I did probably have time to read all the books as well, but I have been reading about 5 books the last couple of months all at the same time, so I didn't think I could both read the books and see the movies. I also thought I might enjoy the movies more without reading the books. It has been very rare to actually end up liking a movie version of one of my favorite harry potter and the order of the phoenixbooks. I get really attached to the characters in the book and how I feel they should be portrayed. And turning a long book into a 2 hour movie is always hard. You always have to cut stuff out, it is just impossible not to. So I ended up having the benefit of going into the films not really knowing much about them or having any interest in how the books or characters were portrayed. I knew Harry Potter was some sort of magical British wizard that went to some boarding school type school for young wizards. Other than that I really didn't know what to expect. I sort of have a weird dislike for British children in movies, and I wasn't really excited to see them flying around with capes and wands, which is part of the reason I had stayed away from the series...But I couldn't resist any longer. It was too big a piece of pop culture for me to miss out on. 
harry potter
So I finally sat down and watched all 5 movies in about 7 days and ended the run by seeing the sixth movie in the theater last week. I watched them with a big fan of the books and the movies and I tried to find out what happened in the movies before it actually happened but he wouldn't tell me and left me in suspense. It was nice to have someone there to fill in the blanks when I tried to figure out what had just happened after the movies ended. The last couple of movies were my favorites. I like when they started to get darker and I loved the introduction of Helena Bonham Carter's character, Bellatrix. Almost every British actor seems to pop up in one of the movies, and there are a lot of my favorites. I love Gary Oldman, who plays Sirius Black, and Emma Thompson, who plays Sybil Trelawney.  Miranda Richardson is also brilliant as always, as Rita Skeeter. And of course, Maggie Smith is perfect as Minerva McGonagall. The best thing about these movies is really the cast. It really is a perfect cast in all the movies. Two of my favorites of the younger cast are Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood, and Shirley Henderson, who plays Moaning Myrtle. I wouldn't say that I am now an obsessive Harry Potter fan, but I am for sure a fan. The movies are really fun for people of all ages. I wouldn't mind going back and reading all the books at some point. I have heard they are really fun to read. Maybe my goal can be to regrace jones hollywood bowlad all the books before the last 2 movies come out in 2010 and 2011. I think I can find the time.

Continue reading...

New 12" Electronic Releases at Amoeba Hollywood - 07/31/09

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, July 27, 2009 03:46pm | Post a Comment
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:

bop clear your mind
Bop 
CLEAR YOUR MIND D12"
MEDIC15

This includes 5 of the most hypnotizing, enchanting songs from the full length CD of the same name. Icey, minimal IDM with a certain glitched out beauty, the tracks included are "ATARAXIA," "CLEAR YOUR MIND," "ROVOR," "NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE," and "CHAOSMOS."
flying lotus
Flying Lotus
SHHH REMIX EP 12"
FLY001  

Ultra rare 6 track EP of six previously unreleased remixes of MR OIZO, RJD2, NELLY FURTADO, MADVILLIAN, and J DILLA. Groove
dis says "He flips these tracks 360 degrees and creates something totally new and unrecognizable."

The Wisdom of Teeth: Part III

Posted by Job O Brother, July 27, 2009 11:54am | Post a Comment

America's Next Top Model

Hello, everybody. Today is my second full day without Vicodin, and my first full week without my bottom two wisdom teeth. (The surgeon decided, after slicing my upper gums, that the teeth there could and should stay put, leading me to ask, what did he see in there that wasn't on the x-ray that changed his mind? Did my upper teeth have protection from the Insane Popes?)

As my legions of readers know, I was excited to realize my life-long dream of being put under general anesthesia; I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed.

I was led into the operating room – a tiny, square space, entirely colored in the lightest shade of grey and almost exactly what I picture when I contemplate what Hell might look like, though without the constant re-looping of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” piped in, which I have decided will be the soundtrack to my eternal damnation.
dentist
I relaxed back into the chair and the surgeon and his nurse went to work prepping the scene. I stared at the fluorescent lighting, noting that sticker tags were still inside the fixtures, which struck me – I imagined that, if I were to have an office building of my very own, I wouldn’t want ugly manufacturing stickers glued willy-nilly over my establishment. Did these practitioners of dental artistry have no pride? Or were they so focused on peering into dark depths of mucosal tissue and alveolar bones that they never thought to cast their gaze upwards into the blinding brilliance of tubes of excited mercury vapor that adorned their ceiling and lit their paths? I mean, you guys – kind of tacky, okay?

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