Eagle Rock Brewery

Ξ December 23rd, 2009 | → 3 Comments | ∇ 90065, Drinks, Glassell Park |

Solidarity and Manifesto

Solidarity and Manifesto

After negotiating bureaucratic red tape for what seems like forever, Eagle Rock Brewery is finally open and selling beer.  We’ve been waiting for the city’s first brewery in nearly 60 years with bated breath, and considering Sothern California’s strong place in the craft-beer movement, our expectations were high, maybe unattainably high.  My initial reaction to Eagle Rock Brewery’s debut is that they haven’t fulfilled their promise…yet. As someone who’s done some pretty disastrous home brewing myself, I know that a beer’s potential is rarely fulfilled on the first try.  Still, two separate samplings of their Solidarity, a mild black ale, and the Manifesto, a wit bier, have left me longing for something more flavorful.  (Warning: Potentially self-absorbed description of flavors ahead.  Skip to the next paragraph if reading this annoys you as much as reading other people’s description of taste can annoy me. ) First, both beers had a slightly bitter metallic aftertaste that is usually a result of improperly stored malts.  This aftertaste was most noticeable in the Manifesto, which I was hoping would contain more fruitiness that the brew is known for.  I know that ERB intentionally uses less coriander and orange peel than your typical wit bier, (think Hoegarden), but instead of a light “dessert beer”, the result was much heavier and yeastier.  As for the Solidarity, I’m not a big fan of black ale’s, but ERB should be commended for attempting something a bit scarcer in this part of the world. Chocolate and coffee was slightly noticeable on the first sip, but that taste was lost for the rest of the pint.  They’ll be releasing an X IPA soon that I’m hoping will fill the gaps in their current two-beer menu.

The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room

Now that I’m done sounding like an asshole, their tasting room has been designed very nicely.  Marble countertops, bench seating with throw pillows, and an unobstructed view of the brewery make this a welcoming spot to talk to the father and son who run the brewery about their craft.  The only catch?  You need to email ahead if you want to sample the wares (for about $4 per pint) or take a free brewery tour.  If that’s too much forethought to put into your drinking, you can currently find the Solidarity on tap at Verdugo and Pure Luck, while you can grab a pint of the Manifesto at Blue Palms.

No one wants to see this brewery succeed more than we do (besides probably the father and son who’ve dedicated years and untold sums of cash in this endeavor).  We’ll definitely be back rooting for ERB to improve their subsequent batches.


Gwyneth Paltrow Knows Highland Park Exists!

Ξ December 15th, 2009 | → 18 Comments | ∇ 90042, Food, Highland Park, Press |


Unfortunately she confuses us with Eagle Rock and moves us about 16 miles southeast.  On her lifestyle blog, GOOP.com, the actress reports on the best places to dine in Los Angeles.  Among the usual list of popular restaurants is the Tacos La Estrella on Colorado and Highland View with this added note:

A little off the map in Highland Park (it’s east of East LA) La Estrella offers some of the best al pastor tacos.  Worth a little drive after the trip to the Griffith Park or a Dodger’s Game.

There’s so much wrong here that my sense of indignation is about to cause me to have a conniption.  Is it possible that the editorial staff at GOOP, by which I of course mean Gwyneth, simply copied this erroneous entry in the LA Times’ Guide?  In any event, maybe Mrs. Martin can afford a map with her proceeds from Iron Man 2.  Therefore, on behalf of every neighborhood east of La Brea, I would like to formally invite Gwyneth and Apple to have a taco al pastor in Highland Park.  I’ll even stop at Cinnamon to pick up some vegan tamales for Chris.


Poverty Tourism?

Ξ December 14th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ 90065, Beyond Northeast, Glassell Park, Politics, Press |

An article in the LA Times last week has been sitting uncomfortably in my inbox, and while it isn’t specifically related to Northeast Los Angeles, I’m troubled at the precedent it sets for our neighborhood. LA Gang Tours, a nonprofit, will lead bus tours beginning in January from the Los Angeles River through South Los Angeles for tourists or locals interested in the exact opposite of the Hollywood-based stars’ homes tours.  Led by a reformed Florencia 13 member, the tour has brokered an understanding with local gangs and plans to showcase the areas criminal history. (Crips, Bloods, and 18th Street oh my!)  While the tour’s backers seem to have the best of intentions, I’m personally very uncomfortable with turning the inner-city into a zoo where the bourgeois and foreigners can project their romanticized images of Colors, Boyz n the Hood, and Training Day.  In Rio de Janeiro, tourists can pay to take a bus ride through the favelas, exoticized in 2002′s City of God.  While no neighborhood in Los Angeles approaches that level of crime and poverty, the spirit of gawking at the poor goes back at least to tours of London’s Eastenders at the beginning of the 19th century, and I worry that the motivation for those who would pay for these tours is not born of philanthropy or education.  Instead, I imagine customers signing up for a sense of adventure and urban exploration that ends regaling his or her friends with stories of surviving the ‘hood over PBRs that night.  (Don’t believe me?  Just read any post about going to East Los Angeles on Yelp.)  LA Gang Tours is reportedly already looking to expand their trips to include Westlake, which leads to my concern that Highland Park, Glassell Park, and Cypress Park won’t be far behind.  If the residents of South L.A. think that these tours will bring an influx of jobs, money, and knowledge into their community, then it’s not my business to tell them what is in their best interest.  However, I will be justifiably furious if open-topped vans start cruising down my street oohing and aahing over murder scenes and gang tags.  (“HxP means Highland Park!”)

Fortunately, I have a suggestion for those who want to help those in need without exploiting or stigmatizing the poor as something “other”.  This Wednesday, a bevy of charity groups are hosting a Glassell Park Neighborhood Posada from 4-6 PM at Juntos Park, 3145 Drew Street.  Traditionally, a Posada involves viewing nativity scenes but since the flyer wishes us “Happy Holidays”, and various city departments are sponsoring the event, I’m not sure how much religious imagery to expect in a public park.  Still, kids can get free piñatas, adults can drink free champurrado, and if you’re so inclined, you can find a way to get involved in gang-prevention and social work without stigmatizing the poor.  You’re even allowed to get a little thrill from being in the barrio.

How quaint... (Courtesty franklinhills.org)

How quaint... (Courtesty franklinhills.org)


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