We’re hoping to catch a moment with one of our favorite Masa servers tonight as we take the family out for a pre-Thanksgiving meal. We’re  saying goodbye to awesome Masa server Manny Ramirez because he’s leaving the Echo Park restaurant after seven years – for good! But also for good reasons.

Manny has been working at Masa since the beginning, so he became a friendly face and great conversation while we did the laundromat-Masa night every couple of weeks. In the latest Masa newsletter, he explains his reasons for leaving: “I’m ready to do some of that traveling so many of you have told to do while I’m still young.” After Thanksgiving, he’ll be hitting up the Southern States, including Alabama, and crossing the border to Mexico for a holiday with the family. Then he’ll be shipped off – literally – since he joined the U.S. Navy.

It’s kind of sad saying goodbye to Manny, an end of an era. But we know owners Rhonda and Rob will especially miss him. As they wrote in the newsletter: “In 2004 when we opened the doors to Masa, our ‘second’ home in Echo Park, Manny came with us and charmed you with his vast trivia knowledge, endearing smile and incomprehensible politeness! We realize there comes a time in every family when the kids will leave the nest. As ‘parents’ we couldn’t be prouder of our Manny now, and all that he has yet to accomplish in the future.”

Good luck, Manny! You will be missed. Thanks for making this little pocket of Los Angeles feel like an intimate and great neighborhood!

If you’re out an about tonight in Echo Park, stop by Stories Books & Cafe for its third year anniversary party! (Happppy Anniversary!)

The pre-Thanksgiving celebration includes complimentary turkey chili and “other surprises.” Tonight only (Wednesday, November 23) starting at 7:30 pm.

If you miss it tonight, swing by stories on Saturday, November 26 at 7:00 pm for live music by Graham Lindsay and Daniel Ahearn.

Also on Tuesday, November 29 at 7:30 pm, on hand will be Joseph Mattson, James Greer and Jerry Stahl (The Speed Chronicles) and Gary Phillips, Jervey Tervalon and Susan Straight (The Cocaine Chronicles). Susan Straight is one of our favorite LA writers, so we’re looking forward to the event! Click here for the info.

Stories is located at 1716 West Sunset Boulevard.

This adorable pup came up on the Echo Elysian Neighborhood Council forum today – he’s so cute his temporary name is Cutie, and we just had to share his story with the hopes he’ll find a permanent home. Here’s the story of how Cutie was found:

I rescued this sweet young boy last Monday night in Echo Park. He was emaciated, starving and scared. He’s been at the shelter and no one has come to claim him. I’ve been visiting him everyday so now he recognizes my voice. He’s young (1-2 years old), healthy, super affectionate and sweet, and a quick learner! The staff are taking good care of him, giving him extra food and being very gentle with him.

This poor boy needs a home! His only draw back is that he is not leashed trained. But, I’ve been working with him, and he’s getting the hang of it. He wants to please, he wants affection – he loves to snuggle, get hugs, and he gives the sweetest kisses.

I’m going out of the country this Friday and I’m terrified that this cutie will be killed while I’m away.

Cutie is currently at the North Central Animal Shelter located at 3201 Lacy Street.

For more information about Cutie, all you need to do is visit www.laanimalservices.com and click on “ADOPT.” Enter his animal ID number, A1264972.

For the week of Monday, November 21 through Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Chain Gang of 1974, Lesands, Tic Tic Boom, Kflay @ Echo
M31, The Tleilaxu Music Machine, So Wrong, Creepy Marbles @ Pehrspace
Rock & Roll Dance Party @ Lot 1 Cafe
Little Hurricane, The Peach Kings, Rachael Cantu, The Janks @ Bootleg Bar

A House for Lions, Torches, Dandelo @ Echo
Raw Geronimo @ Origami Vinyl
Francisco the Man, We Are the Pilots & Heflin Fox @ Lot 1 Cafe
The Cooling Time, The Chromium Heart, Square On Square @ Bootleg Bar

Dub Club Meets Angel City Soul Club @ Echo & Echoplex
Pyramid Vritra @ Origami Vinyl
Blac Jesus & The Exps Residency with Audia & Karma The Mirror @ Lot 1 Cafe
Red Circle Underground, Franco Near Death, Programmed For Pleasure @ Bootleg Bar
Live Jazz Every Wednesday Night at 7:00 pm @ Downbeat Café
Morse Code, Killer Cam, Dirty Dave, Mark Mareclo, Partytime@ The Short Stop

Closed for Gobble Gobble Give 2011 – Help feed the Homeless on Thanksgiving Day @ Echo
Yo Mammas House Thanksgiving Spectacular with DJs Velocity B & Nate Day @ The Short Stop

Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Crooked Fingers, Strand Of Oaks, Graham Lindsey @ Echo
Leftovers @ Lot 1 Cafe

Funky Sole @ Echo
Ghiant and Friends @ Taix Lounge
Hello Echo, The Californian, The Dead Ships, Heroes And Heroines @ Bootleg Bar

Melt Banana, 400 Blows, Retox @ Echoplex
Part Time Punks Minimal Synth, Coldwave Nite with The Present Moment, Continues @ Echo
Wreck of The Zephyr, Greenhorse, Nathan Flom @ Bootleg Bar
Super Soul Sunday @ The Short Stop

Visit the venue websites for more information on the cost and times of shows. Feel free to add more events in the comment section. All events listed are subject to change at any time, and new events announced for the week after this posting may not be included.

John Sweredoski helps customers at the Farmers' Market

The Echo Park Farmers’ Market is an important errand for most Fridays, but today is especially important – next week is Thanksgiving, and we want to make sure everyone stocks up fresh, local ingredients for Turkey Day.

The most important item: Herbs! These are typically very expensive in the standard grocery store if you’re buying fresh, so forget Vons or even Whole Foods and stop by booths like Sweredoski Farms (pictured) for Rosemary, Lemon Basil (they grow the best!), Tarragon, Bay Leaves, and Chives.

Don’t forget the basics at any of the oter booths: Onions, lemons, shallots, apples, celery, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, garlic, yams and eggs (especially those eggs – incredibly fresh, organic and inexpensive!).

For the Acorn Squash and other heirloom squash, I always go to the booth on the same side as the soy candle guy. While I don’t recall the name, they have some of the best squash I’ve ever had! They all carry fresh salad mix, so keep your eyes peeled.

If Soledad Goats is there, be sure to pick up our favorite goat cheese appetizer to lay out while the meal is cooking: Either the hand-rolled soft cheese in the jar with olive oil & spices ($8-10) and/or the herbed hard cheese (about $1 per ounce).

Make sure to chat with the farmers – find out where they are located, and if what you’re buying is organic (doesn’t matter if it’s certified or not). If you miss out on today’s Farmers’ Market in Echo Park, you might also find many of the same vendors at the Silver Lake Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm, and the Atwater Village Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

The Echo Park Farmers’ Market takes place every Friday from 3-7:00 pm in parking lot #663 (half a block south of Sunset Blvd. off Logan Street).

Related Articles:

Figgy Pudding. Photo courtesy of AYC.

Allston Yacht Club recently won a bit of a battle with the City of Los Angeles – a permit hearing on Thursday, October 27, 2011 ended in the restaurant’s favor, granting it an exemption from the city’s strict parking requirements. This means you won’t find a valet posted out front, and while you might have to look for your own parking, there’s usually plenty of it around.

In addition to the change in parking conditions, they also received a conditional use permit to serve food on the patio, extend hours to 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday, legalize happy hour and the advertisement of alcoholic beverages, and limited entertainment inside the restaurant.

But not a whole lot will change around AYC just yet (they are still tying up some loose ends), except of course for its new fall menu. We missed the holiday cocktail tasting, but LAist got a stab at the libations, which included the Accursed Fruitcake (Applejack, ginger beer, apple cider and “inebriated fruits”), Hot Spiced Cider (two types of rum, Canton Liquer) and the Figgy Pudding (fig infused bourbon, egg white, egg nog, cinnamon simple syrup, nutmeg). If you don’t get a chance to try these before the holidays, you might impress some Turkey day guests by trying some recipes AYC provided last year.

We’ve also heard on the grapevine that they’ll be expanding their beer selections, which seems natural as there’s a lot of beer competition in Echo Park these days.

If you’re hungry, AYC’s fall menu includes some delectable updates, including: Warm mushroom salad, double fried Korean style wings (pictured), Dashi whitefish stew, mussels and house made sausage with white wine and garlic. While we normally enjoy the Wicked Wednesday deal (plates are just $5), write this might require a little date night tonight!

Double Fried Korean Style Wings. Photo courtesy of AYC.

We’ve been following a story for quite some time now about a proposed 7-11 for the vacant storefront on the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Berkeley Avenue. The chain has been eyeing the space since the start of this year, having also applied for a license for the sale of beer and wine for the new store.

The possibility of the new 7-11 has raised many concern amongst residents. In addition to its close proximity to other existing convenience stores (just across the street is an AM/PM), a 7-11 already existing in Echo Park, and the sale of beer and wine (always a controversy), the space itself is a challenge. There are few parking spaces available, and the intersection is a disaster – with traffic consistently backed up on Berkeley as it is, a high-traffic store could contribute to the current traffic headaches of nearby residents.

Despite some pretty vocal opposition by residents, the Greater Elysian Echo Park Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) approved the 7-11 in late October (with conditions), but only serves as an advisory position to the city’s planning department. A recent zoning hearing with the city was postponed, but will be rescheduled likely for February of 2012.

The representatives of 7-11 seem optimistic and pretty open to neighborhood concerns – at last night’s neighborhood issues committee meeting of the Echo Park Improvement Association, representatives spoke about working with the current landlord on signage and lighting issues, and are in the process of developing design concepts that meet our concerns, amongst other issues. They’ve also limited the hours of beer and wine sales, along with banning the sale of single bottles and cans (also a condition recommended by GEPENC). Additionally, they’ll be cleaning up the parking lot, hoping to remove the unsightly brick wall, repainting/repaving the parking lot, and improving signage.

Which brings to mind: Also unfolding are the issues with the lot as a whole. This year the little flower/bike/tobacco kiosk was dismantled, the salon disappeared, and it looks like La Pizza Loca and the flower shop are vacating (no word on if it’s by choice) by the end of this month. The fate of the Tacos Mexico restaurant is also uncertain – and even the 7-11 reps admitted at last night’s meeting the strip mall is about 60% vacant. We’re a little worried that these places are being squeezed out because 7-11 is planning on making improvements (that little flower shop is amazing), and any new applicants will likely be paying much higher rents.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for that next zoning meeting with the city in early 2012. Otherwise, our crystal ball says 7-11 will likely be a new neighbor on Glendale Boulevard.

CD1 borders in Echo Park

Looks like we’ve got another candidate for the First District of the LA City Council – Gil Cedillo announced his aspirations two days ago in a press release to fill the seat of soon-to-be termed-out Ed Reyes in the 2013 elections, joining Reyes’ chief of staff Jose Gardea. Cedillo is currently our state assemblyman in the 45th district, a seat which he can’t run for again due to term limits.

Cedillo has a couple of good things going for him, including the California Dream Act, which was recently signed by the Governor. We also saw him rubbing elbows with the general public and press in September at a Northeast LA foreclosure fair. Mostly, we hope if he wins the election, he’ll be an involved and responsive representative of the First District, which includes parts of Echo Park, Elysian Park, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, and other surrounding neighborhoods (click here for a full map).

In the press release, Cedillo said he was running “because we need bold and experienced leadership to strengthen and protect the Los Angeles Dream.”

“Gil began his crusade for change and social justice over three decades ago as a young student leader right here in Los Angeles,” said El Centro del Pueblo Executive Director Sandra Figueroa in the press release. “Since those early days, Gil has remained one of the most effective and passionate progressive advocates in Los Angeles.  Now is exactly the time to bring Gil Cedillo’s determined and forceful leadership to City Hall on behalf of the diverse neighborhoods that comprise City Council District 1.”

Are you a karaoke fan? The Fun and Games Committee of the Echo Park Time Bank has organized a little Tuesday night social event at Home in Silver Lake. Everyone is invited to this free, all ages event full of karaoke, socializing, and snacks. Bring your friends!

Echo Park Time Bank Holiday Social
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
@ HOME Silver Lake, at the corner of Riverside and Fletcher (not the one on Hillhurst!)

Gobble Gobble Give

This annual tradition brings lots and lots and lots of families in need out to The Echo for free turkey dinners, and they need lots of help. Bring a dish already heated (they’ll take any ‘giving sides but also need turkeys), five small toiletry kits, clothing and/or blankets on Thanksgiving Day starting at 8:00 am. Volunteers can show up starting at 7:30 am. Families in need start arriving at 10:00 am.

Go to gobblegobblegive.org for more information, or to donate just a few bucks to help buy turkey dinners for those in need.

A Place Called Home in South Central LA

Donate pies for the A Place Called Home Thanksgiving Dinner in South Central Los Angeles. Drop off pies on Tuesday, November 22 between 12:00 noon –  6:30 pm at 2830 South Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90011. Click here for info.

One Incredible Family in Playa Del Rey

Prepare and deliver meals for the homeless (along with other volunteer duties) at One Incredible Family in Playa Del Rey on Saturday, November 26. You can also volunteer to cook large turkeys the day before and deliver to the project site the day of. Click here for info.

Union Station Homeless Services

Thanksgiving Dinner-in-the-Park volunteers are needed both the day before and the date after Thanksgiving, at Union Station in Pasadena. Activities include event set-up, registration, food preparation, clean-up and more. For more information contact dinnerinthepark@unionstationhs.org. You can register online www.unionstationhs.org.

More opportunities

You can search for more volunteer opportunities on the LA Works website.

Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to add the information!

For the week of Monday, October 14 through Sunday, October 20, 2011

The Chain Gang of 1974, Races, Polaris at Noon @ Echo
Empires @ Origami Vinyl
The Basketball Jones Tour: Los Angeles @ Lot 1 Café

Son Ark, Daniel Ahearn and The Jones, Aaron Embry, Marcus Very Ordinary @ Echo
Y La Bamba, Death Songs, Teeth of Turquoise (feat. Hale May), Fiore @ Bootleg Theater/Bar

Dub Trio, Mast @ Echo
Dub Club Presents Ras Michael and The Sons Of Negus, Dubiterian The Dub Club Selectors @ Echoplex
White Murder @ Origami Vinyl
Champagne, Jokers of the Scene, Franki Chan, Nycpartyinfo @ Los Globos
Company of Thieves, Kissing Cousins, Motopony @ Bootleg Theater/Bar
Live Jazz Every Wednesday Night at 7:00 pm @ Downbeat Café
Blac Jesus, The Experimentalists @ Lot 1 Café
Carolina Chickadee Presents… @ Taix Lounge

LA Record & Echo present: Hunx & His Punx, Bleached, Fidlar @ Echo
Future Islands, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Xbxrx @ Echoplex
Batwings Catwings @ Origami Vinyl
Monster, Alyssa Graham, Kevin Earnest @ Bootleg Theater/Bar
Girls Night with Julia Holter, Emily Lacy, Dark Furs, Fishwives @ Lot 1 Café
Pine Mountain Casket Presents… @ Taix Lounge

Kimya Dawson, Your Heart Breaks @ Echo
Bearracuda @ Echoplex
The Static Jacks, Kitten @ Echo
United Ghosts @ Origami Vinyl
Interface LA feat. Lucky Dragons, Mike Gao and more @ Bootleg Theater/Bar
Sunshine Factory, Charmkin Rebellion @ Taix Lounge

Back To School: Digital Distribution, Media, Promotion (Blogs Blogs Blogs) @ The Echo
Hit+Run Presents “Repeat Offender 666″ With Live Performances by Cut Chemist, Dam Funk, Master Blazter, Mono/Poly, Zackey Force Funk, Jonwayne, Contact Field Orchestra, Tully, hosted by J-Logic, visuals By Strangeloop @ Echoplex
Funky Sole @ Echo
Bright Light Social Hour, Jones Street Station, with special appearances by Danny Pudi and Alison Brie of “Community,” Gaby Moreno @ Bootleg Theater/Bar
Artichoke, The Evil Twins @ Taix Lounge

Echo & Grand Ol’ Echo Present: Lucky Tubb Plus Guests @ Echo
Part Time Punks with Soft Metals, Animal Bodies, Feathers @ Echo
Bikos @ Origami Vinyl
Naama Kates, Valente @ Bootleg Theater/Bar
Sunken Ships, Holy Rolling Empire, Wires in the Walls @ Lot 1 Café

Visit the venue websites for more information on the cost and times of shows. Feel free to add more events in the comment section. All events listed are subject to change at any time, and new events announced for the week after this posting may not be included.

The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council is collecting canned foods for the Cathedral Center of St. Paul’s Food Bank program.

“The state of the economy has had a negative impact on the ability for many of our neighbors to provide basics, such as food, for their families during this holiday season,” GEPENC states in the flyer, “Please help us make this holiday season a little better for our neighbors in need here in Echo Park by dropping off any donated canned or non-perishable food items.”

You can drop off those items at the GEPENC office, located at 1572 Sunset Boulevard (behind the Bank of America). The office will take your donations on the following Saturdays:

November 12, 19  and 26 from 9:00 am -12:00 noon
December 3, 10, and 17 from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

For more information or to arrange for a pick-up of donated items, please contact Jose Sigala at (213) 308-2826 or by email at jose_sigala@yahoo.com

The Echo Park Farmers’ Market will be open today for Veterans Day! Shopping at the Farmers’ Market today means supporting some local Veterans. From the Farmers’ Market email blast:

We’d like to say thank you to the wonderful veterans that are a part of our market family: Jan Bruce of Frog Dog Herbs, Dexter Scott of Jazzy Sprouts, Oscar Rodriguez of Oscar’s Fresh Coffee, John Sweredoski of Sweredoski Farms, and Jack Balderama of Balderama Farms.

The Echo Park Farmers’ Market is located at Parking lot #663 , at 1146 Logan St. (half a block south of Sunset Blvd.). It runs every Friday from 3-7:00 pm.

If you haven’t checked out the new pilates studio on Echo Park Avenue, Pilates & Arts, now is your chance!

Join Echo Park resident and owner Tannis Kobrinsky, along with friends on Saturday, November 12 for a grand opening celebration. She’ll be hosting Pilates demos, a chance to “meet he machines,” Tarot readings, and an art exhibit with live music. Refreshments will be served and prizes give out!

The art show will feature “The Falling” group show, with live music by Little Red Lung and others.

Please RSVP to tannis@pilatesandarts.com or (323) 913-9460

Pilates & Arts Grand Opening
Saturday, November 12 · 4:00pm – 8:00pm
1844 Echo Park Avenue
Website, or check the Facebook page for detailed hours on classes, and costs.

Related links:

  • Time to get fit: Echo Park Avenue gets new Pilates studio. Echo Park Now, October 11, 2011.

Fellow Echo Parkian Adrian is having some problems with the Durbin Project construction lately – the condo project once known as “smurf village” at Chicken Corner on Echo Park Avenue and Delta (right by Chango). The blue treated wood that stood as the skeleton for a project that stopped dead in 2009 is now gone since D.R. Horton bought the property and started construction just recently.

Unfortunately for Adrian and his family, the new construction isn’t exactly a 100% a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Construction starts at 6:00 am despite city noise ordinances that require quiet hours for construction through 7:00 am. To make matters worse, Adrian has called the LAPD non-emergency line to complain, with promises to send officers left unfulfilled.

We’ve recommended to Adrian to call 311, or continue to call the LAPD non-emergency line (1-877-275-5273) and file a noise complaint if possible – and Adrian would like to invite all of his neighbors to do the same. “My family,” he told us in an email, “can’t be the only one in the area missing some much needed sleep.”

We also recommend contacting Council District 13, Eric Garcetti’s office, particularly because they should have direct contact with the developers and the project as a whole.

And, just for good measure, it doesn’t hurt making a complaint to the project manager on duty during those wee hours – who cares if you’re still in those PJs?


The Eastsider LA just reported the new, new name for the project will be “36 on Echo” (this is third name, third owner), and that the Senior Vice President of D.R. Horton said he’ll be looking into noise complaints.