RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


Eating in the rain

 La Grande Orange Cafe


Some friends and I had planned to meet for lunch at La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena. Because of the flooding in my building I wasn’t sure if I could make it. Fortunately that was squared away in the morning and I was able to catch the Expo Line train to the Red Line and join some of the others at Union Station. From there we took the Gold Line to the Del Mar station where we met up with another friend.

I just love how we can all come from different areas in Greater Los Angeles and travel by train to our destination!

The cafe is part of the Del Mar station so we only had to walk a few footsteps in the rain once we debarked the train.

I asked G jokingly if we were going to ask for an outside table. The rain was really coming down at that point. The joke was on me. The restaurant was so crowded inside they seated us in the outdoor patio. I told the waitress the table had better be right under a heat lamp. It was. The waitress had to wipe the rain off our chairs before we could be seated!

La Grande Orange Cafe

Our table was sandwiched between the fireplace protected by a glass screen (photo above) and a heat lamp.  You can see one of the heat lamps in the photo at top.

The patio is under canopies but the precipitation managed to sneak through and every once in a while the rain spat on us… but in a very friendly way!

la grande orange cafe

My Bloody Mary and Huevos Rancheros more than made up for any bad weather. They were both excellent.

I am always happy when I decide to go out and do something as opposed to staying curled up on the sofa, which I easily could have done!

Back in Culver City the rain was coming down in Velociraptors and Tyrannosauruses as I left the train station. I thought about waiting for the bus but decided to take a chance on walking. I did a lot of puddle hopping but as the bus never passed me in the entire walk home I obviously made the right decision not to get soaked standing at the bus stop. Better to get soaked walking. And I did. Get soaked.

We have at least another day of rain. But by Wednesday the sun should be back and we’ll have a few dry days. I hope this isn’t the end of the wet stuff but it will be nice to have a chance to dry out.

Oh, and our flood… it was still a flood when I got home but the pump is doing a pretty good job… so we may get lucky and it won’t seep into the garages this time. Fingers crossed.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Belated birthday bash

union station

Looks like the original ticketing area is being renovated. In the station’s previous hey day each of those window openings would have lines of people purchasing tickets. Now tickets are purchased in a less glamorous location… or mostly online!!!

It’s good to have the computer up and running again. Still haven’t re-installed all my programs or properly recalibrated my monitor but I’m slowly working on it… and I have my fingers crossed!

On Saturday my friend B and I visited Union Station… my favorite building in all of Los Angeles. B and I met a couple of decades ago when we were neighbors. She stayed put. I moved. But only about 1.5 miles away, so we are still almost neighbors!

Union Station

Looking through the waiting area to the trains at the end.

Her birthday is in June, mine in May. For several years we have been talking about taking the Expo and Red Lines to Union Station and eating at Traxx Restaurant to celebrate our mutual birthdays. Although we meet for dinner at least once a month, we never seemed to be able to make it to Traxx.

Union Station

To make a longer story short, we couldn’t get a reservation at Traxx Restaurant for the day we wanted. So we decided to take the train to Union Station anyway and improvise. Turned out to be a better situation than getting a reservation. The bar opened at 11:30 (ish) and we were the first customers!

Union Station

B suggested a Bloody Mary which sounded good to me! Tasted delicious so we ordered a second round. Well, we were celebrating our birthdays! To balance out the alcohol we shared shrimp tacos and chicken quesadilla. Perfect.

We sat there for a couple of hours people watching and gazing at the beautiful architecture. This is just how I had imagined it.

union station

In the waiting room there is a piano that anybody is invited to play. This guy was obviously a professional as (fortunately) his playing was definitely melodious. I imagined he was a studio musician having his moment in the spotlight!



Just looking around at the walls and ceiling from where we were sitting.

Los Angeles Plaza

It was hard to leave Union Station. Really I could have sat there all afternoon. But we needed to move on. We walked across the street to the Plaza area where people were dancing to a Latin beat.

Los Angeles Plaza

Then we watched as a group performed traditional Indian dances.

Methodist church

I’ve never been able to see inside the Plaza Methodist Church before. This was built in the 1920s. I learned that the Methodist church was the founding agent in Southern California for Goodwill Industries (where most of my unwanted “stuff” ends up).

We ambled through Olvera Street looking at the stalls and the stores. I’m always fascinated and intrigued by the Mexican goods available on this tourist street. No need to drive all the way to Tijuana!

Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles

We stepped across the street to Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles (Our Lady Queen of the Angels), the oldest existing church in LA, founded in 1781. The first Europeans, the Spanish, arrived in 1769. Everything changed!

Nuestra Senora

We couldn’t get into the main church. The door with the sign “Always Open” was locked. But I think the little chapel is much more interesting anyway.

Union Station

View of Union Station from La Plaza across the street

wilshire grand

The new Wilshire Grand which was “topped out” in March. It will replace the US Bank Building (Library Tower) as the tallest building West of Chicago. I’m sad about that but it had to happen one day.

I always appreciate the opportunity to show friends living in Los Angeles or visitors from faraway lands everything there is to see in this city. I have to say, it always amazes me how people who have lived here for decades, or were even born here, know so little about Los Angeles. But then it makes it so much more fun for me!

I’ve never trekked through the Amazon jungles or ridden a camel across the Saharan Desert, but I still consider myself to be an explorer. An urban explorer to be sure. But I certainly enjoy excavating every nook and cranny of my adopted city.

downtown los angeles

For those of you who know downtown, this is the newly re-opened The Bloc on 7th Street, across from the 7th Metro train hub, formerly the bricked-in enclave known as Macy’s Plaza

One interesting phenomena around Los Angeles these days is the redevelopment of the major shopping centers. At locations all over the city they are being transformed from closed-in fortresses to airy complexes open to the sky. What day did somebody wake up and say, hey, we have sunshine in LA, maybe customers could enjoy it while they are shopping!

Always worth peaking into Bottega Louie to salivate over the macaroons and other delightful pastries. No tasting now, just looking!

Our final destination in downtown this lovely afternoon was Clifton’s. As many times as I have been there since it’s re-opening, there is always one more soul who hasn’t visited yet. So I have to drag myself in there again.


We sat in the bar sipping an expensive glass of really bad Merlot. You don’t go there for the wine, evidently. But the ambience is definitely worth it as far as I am concerned. Another place I enjoy just sitting and people watching.

At this point B had a craving for apple pie à la mode. While I didn’t share that particular craving, we took the Expo Line back to Culver City and B drove her car over to the Marie Callender’s in West LA. As soon as I opened the menu my eyes were drawn to the tuna melt. The previous week with my other friend B (from England) I had a very disappointing tuna melt at what used to be my favorite restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. I can no longer recommend it. But this tuna melt more than made up for it.

It was a happy ending to a beautiful day with a very good friend. What more can you ask for in life than that?

(Photos brought to you by my faithful point & shoot Canon G16 camera).

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Walking with the Valley bikers

valley cicLAvia 2015

CicLAvia is a City of Los Angeles event where streets are closed to motorized vehicles allowing people to walk, bike and skate through the open streets that are usually clogged with traffic. CicLavia is a nonprofit organization formed to promote the awareness of riding bicycles and taking public transportation instead of driving around in cars.

The first Valley event (as in the San Fernando Valley) was held yesterday and I decided to join some friends who were planning to walk the route. valley ciclavia

I took the Expo Line to the Red Line to meet up with everybody at Universal Studios Station which is the penultimate stop on the Red Line. It was the perfect weather for walking or cycling as the temperature was in the low to mid 70s F (low to mid 20s C) and overcast. My kind of weather! The sun broke through early afternoon to brighten everything up but by then we were on the return leg so it worked out well.

CicLAvia Valley

Some nice bougainvillea along the way.

The City of Los Angeles is divided into two major land masses cut in two by the Santa Monica Mountains. South of the mountains is the LA Basin. North of the mountains lies the San Fernando Valley.

So the Red Line train travels under the mountains from the Hollywood and Highland Station to arrive at Universal Studios in North Hollywood.

CicLAvia Valley

Once I transferred to the Red Line it was obvious I was going in the right direction. The station platform was jammed with people and their bicycles all squeezing on to a train that was already jammed with people and their bicycles! As I had not eaten breakfast I decided to get off at Hollywood & Highland to grab a bagel. That set off a chain reaction of people having to move their bikes along the car to let me out!

valley cicLAvia

I don’t have any really stunning photos from yesterday. But it was cool to see so many bikes in place of cars on a major thoroughfare like Ventura Boulevard. Above is a photo of Chase Bank that was formerly a Home Savings. Millard Sheets is well known in Southern California as an artist and designer who designed a multitude of buildings for Home Savings. This is one of his many beautiful mosaics at the entrance.

valley cicLAvia

CicLAvia has been going since 2010, planned as an annual event but as the first one turned out to be so popular, in 2011 and 2012 there were two each year. In 2013 and 2014 there were three. And this year there will be four events.

The turnout for the Valley CicLAvia was estimated between 50,000 to 75,000 people. From what I understand, some of these events have attracted up to 100,000 participants. It would be fun to know how many Valley-ites actually took part as opposed to the number of people coming in from other areas. But not everybody wants to trek all the way out there!

valley cicLAvia

This was the turnaround point. We had walked about 3.5 miles by now. But don’t worry, we had stopped a couple of blocks earlier to refuel at Jerry’s Deli. I ordered a mushroom omelette and was ready for the walk back. Maybe you can tell from the photo that the sun was starting to peak through.

valley cicLAvia

We were entertained by this marching band. Many of the cyclists were giving them the thumbs up in appreciation as they rode by.

The route included Studio City, Universal City and North Hollywood. As we walked through Studio City I noticed the sidewalk was imbedded with plaques to commemorate the “B” movies made by Republic Pictures that had been located in that neighborhood, and also some TV shows filmed at the Studio City branch of CBS.

People coming from out of state always think of the LA district of “Hollywood” as being that magical place from where all movies and TV shows originate… but that could not be further from the truth as the studios and movie industry are spread out all over the Los Angeles area.

By the time we had turned around and reached our starting point we had walked seven miles. It was good to be back on the train and sitting down. I don’t have much reason to spend time in the Valley so it was nice to be out there walking around on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains! As LA is so vast one of the aims of CicLAvia is to get people out of their own neighborhoods to visit other parts of town.

I just found out that one of the 2015 CicLAvias will have its starting point in Culver City…. I am assuming at the Culver City Expo Line Station. The end point will be at the ocean in Venice. So I will be sure to take part in that one on August 9. Make your plans now and I’ll meet you at the station!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!