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Archive for the ‘PLACES + PRODUCTS’ Category

Apple’s Release of iPad 2 HD and the Latest iPhone

A report publiched by Joshua Topolsky at This is my next says that Apple is preparing the release of iPad 2 HD by the last quarter.  With this release is the new iPhone model that would be named either “iPhone 5” or “iPhone 4S”.  Grapevine tells about a major redesign of the next iPhone model that talks about a bit of a hardware refresh from the existing iPhone 4 design, and that Apple is secretly testing the iPhone 5 components inside an iPhone 4 case.  This leads to a public conclusion that a new iPhone model would be released. Speculations say that the next model would be thinner, with a radically different design, or a bit similar and in the line of the latest iPhone 4 but equipped with better cameras.  Some also say that the iPhone 5 would feature a “tear drop” case design and a 3.7-inch screen, slightly bigger than the current iPhone model.  Reports from Verizon’s CFO last April also say that the new iPhone 5 would have a different Home button and world phone capabilities for CDMA/GSM compatibility.  Apple is likely to switch to new industrial design as the current design is considered as “out of favor” by the company’s executives.

 

In connection with the iPhone reports, a second iPad model will be released late this year.  Apple may announce the release of the new iPad HD.  The iPad 2 HD would be a better high-definition version of the current iPad 2 series.  It would have a higher screen resolution for better photos and videos.  The company is prepping versions of Aperture and Final Cut that will take advantage of the new iPad’s improved resolution that would be double that of iPad 1 and 2 at around 2048 x 1536.  The increase in resolution of the new iPad would allow developers to rewrite apps including 2x assets.  This new iPad version is aimed at a higher end market.  It will be considered “pro” device for people who work in video and photo industry.

 

Written by:

Arnel Guiang

Image Source


 

Q & A With Govind Armstrong: Post & Beam, His New L.A. Restaurant, Why 8oz. Closed + Coming Home

Govind Armstrong has a long history in this town, dating back to when he worked as a 13 year-old apprentice for Wolfgang Puck in Spago‘s kitchen. Armstrong, who is still maybe younger than you are, went from Spago to City to Campanile, with time spent time in European kitchens, including Juan Mari Arzak’s in Spain, before opening Chadwick withBen Ford. Armstrong opened Table 8 in 2003, which was reinvented as 8oz. in 2008, and closed permanently a few months ago. Add appearances on Top Chef and Iron Chef, and it’s no wonder that the man might want to get off a plane and come home.

Which is just what Armstrong has done. The chef and business partner Brad Johnson are opening Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills in a month, maybe two. The new restaurant is going into the Baldwin Hills Plaza, along with the chef himself and his staff from 8oz. The location, which is still under construction, will seat 100 (“on paper,” says Armstrong, “once the furniture comes in, maybe about 80″) in a 2100 square foot space that was once a Golden Bird. For more details on Armstrong’s new project, the kind of food he’ll be cooking, and why he wanted to come home, turn the page.

Squid Ink: What’s up? You’re back in town.

Govind Armstrong: I’ve been back for awhile, I’m happy to say. I’m definitely spending a lot more time and focused attention in L.A. I’ve been bouncing around for several years. L.A.’s always been the base, always been home, but with all the other projects–I was living in New York for a long time, spending a lot of time in Miami and getting back to L.A. only every other month or so. People think it’s this glamorous life, but it really is not. It’s brutal.

I’ve been looking forward to getting settled back in LA. All my family’s here: my mom, all my sisters, and my girlfriend. I’m happy to be home and putting my time and creative focus into developments here.

SI: When did you close 8oz.?

GA: Very unfortunately, we were forced to close 8oz. on Melrose about 2 1/2 to 3 months ago now. There were a number of reasons for that, which ultimately came down to inoperable issues with the lease that we signed almost 9 years ago. We had great success in that location with the original Table 8 and then with 8oz.; we had a successful business and the community really loved it. I loved it. We tried renegotiating, but it was just one thing after the next. It became really frustrating, as we but it just wasn’t going to work out any longer in that space. It was tough – but we are moving on.

SI: You have other 8oz.’s.

GA: Yes, two currently — one in Louisiana, one in Miami. And 3 locations are currently under construction — one in north Miami, and here in L.A., the first of which will be at LAX.

SI: When is that going to open?

GA: I’m not sure exactly; sometime next summer. It’s a big development project and partnership with HMS Host, and you know how that goes. I’m excited about it — it’s an interesting partnership and looks to be a pretty amazing project.

SI: You grew up here?

GA: Yeah, yeah. Born here in Inglewood. I spent some time in Costa Rica; that’s where my mother’s from. Then came back and we lived in the Valley for awhile, been around. But L.A. is definitely home.

SI: So what are you planning on doing?

GA: Ahhh, well, I’m definitely now in full “doing” of what I’ve been planning for several months — and I’m really excited about it. I’ve partnered with Brad Johnson to open a new restaurant in the heart and soul of L.A. in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. I was born right down the road there. It’s a very interesting community that’s currently undergoing a major revitalization. We hope to create a destination restaurant that is the centerpiece for the community. I haven’t been this excited about a project in a long time. It’s brilliant to be a part of such refreshing developments — bridging the lines of L.A.’s vast landscape — dining and otherwise. You know, the more I talk to people in the community, they’re just excited to have a place to call their own.

SI: What was the space originally?

GA: It was a Golden Bird actually. Golden Bird was an old fried chicken institution, a big chain back in the day, and this location was one of the first. It had very interesting architecture. We basically stripped it down to the studs and some of the load-bearing walls.

SI: Roy Choi’s place went into an IHoP.

GA: It’s kind of like that. It’s not a huge restaurant, very humble. We tried to retain as much of the original post and beam style of structure as we could. But the more you dig, you find stuff, and the more you dig…

SI: So why Post & Beam?

GA: It’s sort of an homage to the neighborhood. A lot of the homes in Baldwin Hills have that old post and beam architecture. It’s definitely something that’s very reminiscent of the era, when it was in its prime in the 50s and 60s.
It’s a perfect little venue: we have a fair amount of outdoor space, where we’re planting an herb and vegetable garden.

I’m not bringing in any “hallelujah” anything, it’s a straightforward, familiar kind of spot — a cool neighborhood restaurant with broad sensibilities and local character.

SI: So do you have a rough target date?

GA: Ha. It is a moving target. But we’re getting closer and closer. It looks like mid-September.

 

Everything else I’ve been working on, I’ll still go and set up shop. But I just really want to be back in the kitchen and spending more time cooking. As opposed to managing, which can be fun and it’s obviously doing both at the same time, but I really miss it.

SI: You always wonder about chefs who have reached a certain point in their careers who spend less and less time in the kitchen. You’re running around your empire: don’t you miss the kitchen? At what point do you want to go back?

GA: You miss it. I’ve been cooking at home a lot. I think I’ve destroyed my Viking range.

SI: Then you need a restaurant, I guess.

GA: I do. It’s fun to cook at home, but it’s more like recipe testing — as the 6 people who follow me on Twitter can attest. Now I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with L.A. diners — it was always great to be in the kitchen and on the floor at 8oz. — 8oz. is something that I’m very proud of… and making the personal connection with friends and guests that filled the restaurant every night is what it is all about. We built an open kitchen at Post & Beam for that very reason.

SI: But you’re not going to open another 8oz. here? Other than the one at LAX.

GA: Not on Melrose, I’ll tell you that much. There are still a few that are in the works, but my focus is on this. I still crave a great burger.

SI: Will you have a burger on the menu on the new place?

GA: No, not at the moment. I say that now… But then I say that I won’t put things on menus, and then learn otherwise. I’m still playing with the menu.

SI: It sounds like what you started doing in the first place. Farm-to-table.

GA: Exactly. And that’s what I have been doing. Getting out to some interesting farms. I’ve been dying to get out there, but when you’re caught up in everything, it’s hard to focus and do those things that you really want to do that mean a lot to you. Post & Beam is definitely allowing me to do that and then some, which I hope will be evident in the overall experience.

The restaurant and the menu celebrates locality, from the growers and purveyors, to Los Angeles — the people and the food, and California in style and cuisine. It’s seasonal ingredient-driven, open hearth cooking, with a focus on sustainability, whole animal utilization, definitely — no Fear Factor approach — it just needs to make sense.

I can’t complain. If anything it’s been a fun ride and I’ve met some great people.

SI: Oprah!

GA: That was a couple years ago. That was really interesting, to say the least. It was a great time. I was on a radio show and she’s going through my book and she became obsessed with the grilled cheese and kind of snowballed from there. Two days later I was sitting on the stage with Oprah. The whole thing was so surreal. We made it and then we flew out to Chicago and I made a couple sandwiches. All my sisters and my mom flew out with me; they were ridiculously excited. They freaked out. It was just nuts. So much fun.

SI: So how long ago did you find the Baldwin Hills location? You’ve been under the radar.

GA: Brad showed me the property a long time ago, maybe a year and a half ago. We signed the lease maybe 8 months ago. We’ve stayed under the radar. I’m not hiding anything. I drive an old convertible. But who’s cruising around Baldwin Hills, you know what I mean? There’s no need for a lot of hoopla.

 

Written by:

Amy Scattergood

Photo:

Vanessa Stump


 

A Recipe For Freekeh Salad With Grilled Zucchini: A Freaking Good Salad

Bulgur and farro are great, but have you tasted that other wheat grain, freekeh? Freekeh (also frike or frikeh) is a fire-roasted green wheat that’s grown in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. With a distinct green color and a smoky, nutty flavor, freekeh makes the best grain salads, ever.

 

Freekeh’s toasty flavor comes from an elaborate roasting process where young, green wheat is harvested, allowed to dry briefly in the fields, and then set on fire. Because the wheat kernels are still immature and milky-moist, they smolder instead of burn. After the flavor imparting burn-roasting, the chaff is removed and the grains are left whole or cracked. The cracked kind is the tastier of the two, which is good, because it’s the easiest to find here. Look for the grain at Middle Eastern markets where it might be labeled freekeh, frike, frikeh or even freak. Alwadi is a very good brand that doesn’t need to be picked-over to remove tiny pebbles and sticks. A two-pound bag will set you back about six dollars.

Although freekeh is classically cooked into a pilaf, it’s as a salad that it really satisfies. The grain tastes quite good simply simmered in water with a bit of olive oil and salt, so when embellished with herbs and such, it really delights. As a salad base it’s versatile and adaptable. You can make a batch of freekeh and add what you fancy: green onions, cherry tomatoes, grilled zucchini, stone fruit, toasted nuts, cooked chicken, fresh herbs, toasted whole spices, diced cucumbers, a squeeze of lemon, crumbled goat or feta cheese. Another plus, freekeh salad can be made ahead, making it perfect to pack-up for your next concert-picnic or barbecue potluck.

Freekeh Salad with Grilled Zucchini
From: Jeanne Kelley
Note: This recipe is great as written, but you can swap-out or add ingredients to suit your tastes. Halved cherry tomatoes make a quick trade for the grilled zucchini. Dill, mint, basil or cilantro can be added in addition or in place of the parsley. Toasted nuts, about ½ cup of almonds, pistachios or pine nuts, add crunch and flavor–stir them into the salad just before serving it.
Makes: 8 servings

 

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing
2 cups freekeh
3 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ pounds zucchini, about 3 or 4, cut lengthwise into quarters
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
¾ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the freekeh and stir until the grains are coated with olive oil and lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the water and kosher salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the water is level with the freekeh and holes appear on the surface of the cooking grain, about 10 minutes. Cover and continue to simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed and the freekeh is tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the freekeh to a large bowl and fluff with a fork and cool.

2. Prepare the barbecue to medium high heat or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush all sides of the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and the cumin seeds. Grill the zucchini until it is well browned on all sides and tender, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a plate; cool slightly and cut it into ¾-inch pieces.

3. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl to blend. Add the dressing to the salad along with the zucchini, green onions and parsley. (The salad can be prepared 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate.)
Sprinkle the salad with feta cheese if desired and serve.

 

Written by:

Jeanne Kelley

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Jonathan Gold Reviews Starry Kitchen

Into the depths of California Plaza, crushed beneath giant towers, jammed into a space almost certainly configured for fast food, Starry Kitchen is as improbable as any restaurant in Los Angeles, an illegal backyard restaurant transformed into a pan-Asian office workers’ canteen with validated parking. It is a place of Taiwanese pork chops and Malaysian chicken and deep-fried tofu balls whose weekly menu changes seem designed to deprive customers of whatever they happen to like best, whose job postings specify that no former Subway employees need apply, and whose penchant for genital humor is so pervasive that ball jokes may as well be the restaurant’s reason for being.

When it was still an underground restaurant, it had the highest Yelp rating of any Asian restaurant in town. Is Starry Kitchen open for dinner? Sometimes! If you are in the habit of visiting food events, you probably have seen the Starry Kitchen staff stalking the grounds dressed as storm troopers or wookiees, or at least spotted co-owner Nguyen Tran rocking his banana suit.

It’s hard to tell exactly what kind of niche Starry Kitchen has hacked out in the local food scene — after a year, the downtown space still feels like a squat — but it seems clear that it’s going to be around for a while.

Still, even the most jaded observer of the transient world of mini malls, trucks and pop-ups was surprised this summer when Starry Kitchen announced its alliance with Laurent Quenioux, the French chef who has been cooking in Los Angeles since the mid-1980s, when he followed Joachim Splichal as the chef at Seventh Street Bistro downtown. But Quenioux is perhaps not the most orthodox of French chefs. At his Bistro K, tucked into a former funeral parlor in South Pasadena, he was as well-known for his ant eggs and his tamales as he was for his traditional preparations of game. At Bistro LQ, he made salsas out of begonia blossoms and garnished his dishes with roasted duck hearts the way other chefs do with parsley. But Bistro LQ is gone, with the Silver Lake wine bar Barbrix preparing to move into the space. Quenioux’s consulting gig at Pasadena’s Vertical is no doubt consuming, and we all look forward to the return of cassoulet weather, but the tastes of a Pasadena wine-bar crowd probably are too conservative for the things like sauerkraut sushi, or warm veal feet with anchovies, that are at the heart of Quenioux’s repertory.

So there he is, LQ@SK, Sunday through Tuesday nights every other week, menus changing pretty much whenever he feels like it. And there they are, his faithful, having reserved well in advance through the Bistro LQ site, gripping bottles of Provencal rose, entry-level Bordeaux and New Zealand sauvignon blanc, brought from their cellars, or from the shelves of the wine shop Domaine L.A., whose proprietor Jill Bernheimer has designated wine pairings for Quenioux’s menus. It is all very glamorous.

I ended up at LQ@SK on an evening where the restaurant had been block-booked by a group called the Gastronauts, a dining club whose members live for offal-intensive monthly dinners that may revolve around Palestinian roast lamb, or Isaan Thai dinners featuring spare parts. Quenioux, no stranger to odd meats, was cooking things unfamiliar even to him. Starry Kitchen has a pretty rudimentary kitchen, with no gas fittings, making certain preparations all but impossible. And this was a tough crowd — youngish, largely from the entertainment industry, but nearly as multicomplected as Los Angeles; people who had not only tasted duck hearts but knew the difference between good duck hearts and bad.

So when the skewers of sauteed lamb sweetbreads came out, they instantly disappeared from the communal platters of crushed peanuts on which they were resting, and I noticed that nobody pushed the roasted duck gizzards and duck hearts away from the endive salad. There was a raw plate of cod eggs, thinly sliced poached monkfish liver, tongues of local uni and a raw quail yolk buried in its shell under fat salmon eggs. The composition was marred only by chewy wisps of undercooked sea cucumber. (Sea cucumber should be served either raw or cooked into full submission.) A stack of bone marrow, calves’ feet and rare, seared sea scallop tasted like a marine take on pieds et paquets, dominated by the softness and stickiness of the foot’s developed gelatin.

But nobody quite knew what to do with the main course — a Provencal-style daube of beaver leg and bear tenderloin simmered with spices and lots of red wine. Bear meat (legally and humanely sourced, we were assured) is difficult to cook, with a lot of gooey fat that needs to be trimmed, but almost no marbling. The early editions of Joy of Cooking that addressed bear meat basically told cooks they were on their own. Quenioux served the bear as medallions.

Beaver is also pretty low in fat, and was served alongside in winey shreds, the texture of the Mexican stew tinga. If nobody had told you what you were eating, you would have assumed it was beef. If nobody had pointed out which meat was bear and which was beaver, you wouldn’t have guessed. There was no wildness, no errant gaminess to the dish: It was a professionally made stew. And for that, I suppose, I was grateful.

Dessert was a vol au vent, a pastry case, filled with sweet pastry cream — and garnished with candied cockscombs, cooked to the consistency of rooster gummy bears, a dessert unlikely to show up on other local menus any time soon.

“You can tell that this dinner was planned by a woman,” said Gastronaut Helen Springhut, who had in fact planned the dinner. “Because it is probably the only way that beaver would ever come before cock.”

Reserve for the next round of dinners atbistrolq.com/LQ/Insiders/List

 

Written by:

Jonathan Gold

Photo by:

Anne Fishbein

 

 

 

2010′s SEMA show and highlights; a forecast on what to expect this year

Here’s good news to people who loves gadgets and cars. Nowadays, automobile manufacturers are not just making automatic cars but also electronic. At the beginning of this year, the Las Vegas Convention Center held an auto show as car makers put their gadget-laden automobile inventions on display.

Almost 100,000 visitors came to the exhibit. The auto show was participated by different car manufacturers with each car model and electronic invention. Here is a descriptive picture of what each company presented:

Audi – Audi invented a car with an in-car touch pad so driver where driver can write instead of type. They also included a night-vision which used “thermal imaging camera” so they could avoid pedestrian accidents at night.

Hyundai – Hyundai was able to develop a system that could slow down a car when stolen. It’s called the Blue Link system which also had geofencing, a feature that enables the stolen car to send phone text messages if it’s taken outside its boundaries.

Ford – Ford is expecting to release a car model this year which has their top of the line invention, the MyKey technology. This technology limits the car’s driving speed when the driver is 17 years old below.

Toyota – Toyota’s EnTune service is their latest technology. EnTune enables the driver to access movie tickets on the go. They also created a new rear-view mirror that has satellite-based OnStar communication system.

The exhibit was also participated by electronic companies such as Pioneer and mobile phone carriers such as Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. Each presented their own invention that can be added in an automobile as special features.

 

Written by:

Arnel Guiang

Image Source

 

Los Angeles and E-Waste

 

Electronic equipment nowadays can easily go out of date. People change gadgets and other electronic products so fast like changing everyday clothes. Other people recycle these equipment, others throw it away. The tossing away of electronic gadget in the garbage gave rise to this new term, “e-waste.”

E-waste is the short cut term for “electronic waste.” Without proper knowledge, people could easily toss in the trash their unwanted gadgets and equipment. But the truth is, we shouldn’t do this. A cell phone charger should not be disposed like a candy wrapper. Why? Because of the components that are glued inside in order for it to function effectively are hazardous. It may pollute the environment.

In California, a law has been made regarding the disposal of electronic equipments. The law “prohibits televisions and computer monitors from being disposed in the trash and subsequently land-filled or incinerated.” Los Angeles, in particular, practices proper disposal of electronic equipments. They hold events such as Household Hazardous/Electronics Waste Collection Events where e-wastes are freely collected and operate many S.A.F.E. (Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics) centers.

 

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Written by:

Arnel Guiang

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The Find: Café Glacé’s Persian pizza is a cheesy delight

The sign in Café Glacé’s all-glass storefront says “Persian pizza.” Now, if you were a canny Los Angeles food explorer, you’d probably suspect that this was an awkward translation of some traditional Persian dish. Maybe, you’d think, you will discover some exciting-flavored flatbread or a topped pita — some ancient Persian treasure hiding behind the Western name.

But you’d be wrong, because this is an honest-to-God, full-blooded, American-style pizza, with bell peppers and melted cheese and everything. But this is also pizza freed of any obligations of authenticity. It’s not authentically New York, nor authentically Neapolitan, nor is it trying to be. It’s made by Iranians for Iranians, guided by a distinctive, charmingly un-Italian aesthetic.

The crust is half-crisp, half-soft, a thickish, sort of spongy affair. Somebody searching for a more flash description might call it “focaccia-like,” but let’s be honest: If it’s like anything, it’s like a supermarket frozen pizza — a Celeste, maybe. But it’s also fantastic: fresh, abundant, texturally complicated, made lovingly and painstakingly. It feels like some brilliant Persian cook had a frozen supermarket pizza and liked the basic idea but was inspired to make it better, to remake it and remake it again, until it became this: a tiny, pita-sized, spongy-crusted, adorable jot of a pizza, piled high with carefully cubed toppings and soft melted cheese.

This is pizza like you’d find all over the streets of Tehran, explains owner Sam Alishahi. There’s no tomato sauce, just the slightest touch of ketchup — it’s the Persian style, says Alishahi. The cheese is fresh and white and just on the cusp between juicy and oily. The top is intensely brown with a baked cheese crust; little, intense streaks of oregano peer out from beneath the brown cheese-crackle.

Alishahi’s father, Eddie Alishahi, advances toward you with two cafeteria squeeze bottles, which turn out to contain ketchup and ranch dressing. Ranch? Yup, ranch. He seems to think that a squirt of each will vastly improve the pizza, and you know what? He’s right.

Café Glacé, explains Sam Alishahi, is a casual place, a real sandwich shop. Witness chips o panir: Lay’s potato chips topped with toasty melted mozzarella, a snack food popular in Tehran. “You could call it Persian nachos,” says Alishahi. “It’s a late-night snack food; college students come and eat it all night long,” an indication of Café Glacé’s proximity to the UCLA campus.

Then there are the sandwiches. It’s not some dashed-together affair but a carefully thought out sandwich, an orchestrated sandwich. They’re designed by Parvin Peykani — Alishahi’s mother-in-law and the mistress of the kitchen. “In Tehran, she was a homemaker,” says Alishahi. “She cooked food every day, and everybody would come over and eat it. She’s a feeder. She loves to feed the whole family; she loves taking care of people.”

The kotlet sandwich is centered on a few flattened patties of potatoes and ground beef. It’s starchy and herbaceous and soft, and the sandwich is carefully arranged around it. First comes the bread, toasted and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. Then the lettuce — absolutely crisp. Then the tomatoes and kotlet — soft and soft. Then the Persian pickles — crisp again and zippy. Then the bread again, soft-crisp. It’s alternating layers of crisp-soft, crisp-soft, very consciously created.

If you get really lucky, Peykani will take a shine to you and steer you toward the olvieh sandwich.Olvieh is Persian potato salad, with a gently amped-up warmth and savor from shredded chicken breast. It’s an amazing sandwich — full of very fresh ingredients, cooked to preserve their distinctive textures, combined into a heart-warming gestalt. Peykani is obviously proud of her olvieh; she occasionally does a little dance of excitement when she brings you an olvieh sandwich.

There’s so much more. There’s the Iranian hot dog sandwiches, made with “real German hot dogs,” brags Peykani. There’s excellent fresh fruit juices and majoon, a shake made with bananas, dates, milk, ice cream and pistachios that satisfies and sticks to your ribs.

And now we have Persian pizza with ranch dressing and ketchup. Eat it up already.

 

Original Story

 

Written by:

C. Thi Nguyen

Photo:

Mariah Tauger, Los Angeles Times / August 4, 2011

At Angel Stadium: Peanuts, Cracker Jacks and Android tablets [Video]

Baseball, the great American pastime, is a sport of tradition.

For more than 100 years, people have sat in the sun on a summer’s day to catch a ballgame.

And over the years, grabbing a cold beer and a ballpark hot dog; bringing your glove to the stadium in the hopes of catching a fly ball or home run; standing and singing during the seventh-inning stretch about peanuts and Cracker Jacks have all become part of the experience of watching a game in person.

Now, T-Mobile and the Los Angeles Angels are in the middle of an experiment to see if they can add tablet computers to the culture of watching a live game.

T-Mobile is renting two tablets, the 7-inch-screen Samsung Galaxy Tab and the 8.9-inch-screen T-Mobile G-Slate (made by LG), at Angel Stadium for a reasonable $10 per game.

So why plunk down an Alexander Hamilton to get a tablet at a game, when your hands might already be full with the normal ballpark fare?

T-Mobile is hoping its the apps, and added entertainment value for kids, that will make this rental a compelling move.

Either tablet, both of which run Google’s Android mobile OS, come preloaded with apps that can make the game a bit more interesting.

Most notably, a game program is preloaded onto the tablets — so you can check out the rosters of each team on the field and read between (or during if the game is boring) innings about what players and the organization have been up to.

ESPN and Major League Baseball apps allow renters to checkout scores on other games and even watch video from other games — or the Angels’ game taking place at the time if it’s on ESPN. T-Mobile’s T-Mobile TV app can stream live TV shows as well.

Videogames are loaded onto the tablets too — Angry Birds, Need for Speed Shift and others — to keep kids and game-loving adults happy during a commercial break or during pitching changes.

And, of course, the Internet is readily available to settle any trivia questions one might have with friends during a game.

The tablets run on T-Mobile’s 3G and 4G networks, which are both speedy at Angel Stadium as T-Mobile installed cellular antennas in Angel Stadium itself during the off-season.

But despite all that, the tablet experience hasn’t yet reached its full potential.

Alongside all the other traditions of baseball mentioned, there have seemingly been fans in the stands with radios, listening to the play-by-play as long as portable radios have existed.

Tablets would be an ideal gadget to stream the play-by-play of the game and replace the AM/FM sets for many, but neither tablet comes preloaded with this ability — though an enterprising renter can hunt down the website for the radio feeds in a possible work-around. Regardless, headphones don’t come with the rental — that’d be a nice addition too.

And every game nowadays is available on TV (all too often cable TV) so streaming a game, would make sense to a tablet as well — another feature that is absent if the game isn’t on ESPN.

Of course, setting all that up would likely require new media contracts between radio and TV stations, the Angels and T-Mobile. But those additions, built-in and easy to use, could make tablets at a ballpark less of a novelty.

Another frustration is three radar-gun apps available in Google’s Android Market — none of which I could get working on the tablets. Maybe they weren’t designed for big-league ballparks, but it would be really cool to track just how fast a pitcher is throwing with a rented tablet.

As of now, T-Mobile and the Angels are simply testing the tablet-at-the-stadium idea out. If people rent the tablets and it’s a hit, T-Mobile says it’s something that could spread to other stadiums.

What do you think of the idea? Feel free to leave a comment.

Check out the video below to see the tablets at Angel Stadium in action.

 

<iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ykMhJUycN30″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

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Written by:

Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo:

A Los Angeles Angels game program on a Samsung Galaxy Tab at Angel Stadium. Credit: Armand Emamdjomeh / Los Angeles Times

 

Is it dumb to let a 2-year-old wield a smartphone?

GenY moms are starting ‘em out young: A third of their 2-year-olds are already at home with smartphones, laptops and even digital cameras.

Gen X moms — a little older, but also tech-savvy — are just a tad behind. Just under 30% of their offspring have used a laptop by age 2, and 18% and 20% are comfortable with a digital camera and smartphone, respectively.

These results were among the highlights of a joint study released this week by the BlogHer publishing network and Parenting magazine, and released as BlogHer holds its seventh annual conference. Of the 1,038 women polled, 90% have children under the age of 10. Questions drilled down on the use of technology in the lives of the women, and their children.

“The kids are not potty trained yet, but are using laptops, smartphones. Digital cameras as well. It’s just amazing to see the rate at which kids are being exposed to those devices at an early age, and what it’s doing and changing our role as parents,” said Lynne Fleck-Seitz of BlogHer, who moderated a panel held at the BlogHer annual conference Friday afternoon in San Diego titled, “The Tie that Binds Parent and Child.”

But even if it’s not a 2-year-old showing adults how to use an iPad, “our kids are plugged in at a much younger age,” Catherine McManus of The Parenting Group added.

 

 

The results fly in the face of recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends zero screen time for kids under 2. But that is just not a reality in today’s wired world, the panelists said.

What do you think? Is a 2-year-old too young to be wielding a smartphone?

Other highlights from the report:

– Facebook is the social medium of choice among those polled: 81% of the women surveyed turn to Facebook on a regular basis, with 46% checking in three or more times a day.

– While the media makes it seem like everyone and their mother is on Twitter, only 45% of the users polled use Twitter to interact with the world. Far more popular social media outlets among those surveyed: blogs (70%) and YouTube (66%).

– Women don’t need much — just the Internet, a computer and an old-fashioned cellphone, thank you very much. The women polled categorized those items as “necessities,” versus “luxuries” such as smartphones, iPads and even cable. “I could not function or exist without [my laptop],” said one woman.

– The survey also found that screen time is taking a different form. Roughly 40% of women surveyed said they only go a “few hours” without using the Internet, a cellphone or a smartphone, but about half that number said they could do without the TV. (By contrast, kids still love their TV, according to the survey.)

– It’s not just kids that need an unlimited texting plan. Of the moms polled, 81% said they rely on their phones to make phone calls, and 78% said they use it for texting.

– If stranded on a desert island with access to only one device, 43% of the women polled said they’d choose the laptop, while 29% said they’d choose a smartphone. Only 4% said they would want to unplug completely and leave all devices on the mainland.

– By contrast, the women polled said their kids would demand access to a TV and DVD on their desert island.

– Despite all the evidence that today’s moms and kids are wild over being wired, “Face to Face still trumps Facebook,” the survey found. About 90% of day-to-day communication between mother and child was done face-to-face, no screen necessary.

 

Written by:

Rene Lynch

Photo:

Wayan Vota via Flickr

 

Jonathan Gold Reviews Wako Donkasu

Korean pork again? Surely it’s too soon! Yet as the air grows still and hot, the days melt into languor and the Dodgers swoon toward the cellar, the pull of summer food becomes impossibly strong — yes, the grilled hot dogs, yes, the icy watermelon, but also the fried foods whose crunch, snap and salty, oily pleasure mark something finite amid the torpor of the afternoons. Late summer is the time for fried chicken, still bubbling from its bath in oil, and for communal fish fries, well-lubricated with cold beer.

It is also the time for tonkatsu, Japanese fried pork cutlet. With its crispness, relative lightness and inevitable accompaniments of dark fruit catsup and cool chopped cabbage,tonkatsu tastes like August. (Japanese have different ideas about hot weather — they celebrate the hottest day of the year by eating eel — but that’s another story.)

You find tonkatsu at many Japanese restaurants. Every izakaya and Japanese café features the dish, sometimes solo, sometimes bathed in thick curry sauce. The dish is a fairly recent addition to the cuisine, introduced by the Portuguese traders who were the first Westerners to trade with Japan: floured, dragged through an egg wash and rolled in jagged bread crumbs, creating a rugged surface with maximal crunch-enhancing surface area. Tonkatsu chefs fry specific cuts of the pig that showcase various qualities of the meat.

You can find one or two in the South Bay, and they are pretty good. But lately, I have been going quite a lot to Wako Donkasu in Koreatown instead — traditional Japanese tonkatsuwith an almost inexplicable Korean edge.

Is it the few grams of spicy radish kimchi that make it onto the table? Is it the chilled barley water? Is it the dark wood and wrought iron? Is it the generosity of the cutlets themselves, which bring to mind the pork tenderloin sandwiches you get at Main Street Iowa cafés? It’s hard to tell.

Wako Donkasu may have named itself for the most famous tonkatsu chain in Tokyo, and its food may be served in compartmentalized wooden boxes, but the vibe of the place, the brusque cheerfulness and big portions, are pretty much what you’d find at a Japanese restaurant in Seoul.

There are menus at Wako Donkasu, big, lavishly photographed documents, but it’s pretty much understood what you are going to order: fried pork cutlet, fried chicken cutlet, or fried, thin New York steak, with a bowl of udon noodles or cold soba if you’re in the mood. I’ve only seen the cheese cutlet in the menu picture, but it seems an odd and disconcerting beast, oozing its orange guts onto the plate, and I have often wondered if anybody has ever ordered the pork cutlet sandwiches, which look like the last hors d’oeuvres on the platter on bridge night. I have tried the orosi cutlet, fried pork onto which a 2-inch layer of grated daikon has been troweled, and I probably wouldn’t get it again.

The waiter brings out toasted sesame seeds in a ridged bowl of the sort Japanese use to grate taro, and she hands you a pestle. You grind the seeds into the ridges, either coarsely or into a powder. The fragrance is overpowering. Your first course, just as it might be at a palace of modernist cuisine like El Bulli, is a perfume, a promise of food that is almost filling if you think about it hard enough. You are almost disappointed when the waiter pourstonkatsu sauce into the bowls — you need to flavor your meat, but the fragrance fades away.

The food comes, fitted into compartments in a wooden container: cabbage salad lightly dressed with a squash-inflected dressing, a bowl of miso soup perhaps, and the pork cutlet, which is the size and shape of a deep-fried Zagat guide, perfectly crunchy, trimmed of most of its fat. The chicken cutlet is bigger, juicier — also presliced, although you wonder if it spurted like chicken Kiev at the first breach of the knife. The sauce is thick, dark, fruitier than its Japanese equivalent, also less pungent for some reason, and the memory of the sesame is stronger than its flavor in the final condiment. You are finished before you know it. You are happy. You look forward to the evening ahead.

WAKO DONKASU | 2904 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown | (213) 387-9256 | Open Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. | No alcohol | MC, V | Lot parking | A second branch, at 3377 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown, offers lunchtime delivery; (213) 381-9256 | Cutlet meals $9.95-$11.95; combo meals $12.95-$16.95 | Recommended dishes: pork cutlet, chicken cutlet

 

Written by:

Jonathan Gold

Photo:

Anne Fishbein

 

 

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