Monday, February 28, 2011


I know some Starbucks locations serve hot sandwiches, but imagine my surprise when I learned that heroes are on the menu at the Starbucks on the Warner Bros. lot. The sign above the Baristas reads "Recharge with a Trenta" and features The Green Lantern popping out of a Starbucks cup. No doubt they use The Joker to promote the Apple Fritters ...!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


A funny thing happened at the Starbucks at 15th and Montana today. There I was, reading through some material for work, when in walked the Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief, known for stealing newspapers from the Starbucks at 7th and Montana. For years, I've thwarted his thievery and, for years, he's pedaled away for dear life on his getaway bike. But now, I guess the truth can finally be told: When he leaves 7th Street empty-handed, he just pedals over to the Starbucks at 15th Street where, if today was any indication, he thinks he can ply his trade unnoticed. He boldly walked through the front door, sat right next to me and grabbed a newspaper from the stack in front of us. He casually opened it -- as if to say "aren't I nonchalant?" -- then carefully looked all around him. And that's when all Hell broke loose. He saw me sitting next to him and the eyes nearly popped out of his head. "Howdy," I said, with a friendly wave. His jaw dropped, and then so did the newspaper as he flung it back where it belonged and ran out the door. Ironically, I had no intention of interfering with his theft -- just a few days ago I vowed to look the other way -- but I guess after all these years the mere sight of me is enough to spoil his fun. Either that, or the long arm of the law stretches to 15th Street ...!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


It was back to business this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks as I made the scene fresh from my recent trek through the cafes of Montana. So, after eight days, eight pastries and more coffee than you can shake a stirrer at, what I have learned? Montana Ave. is filled with great coffee houses. I promised to reveal my "favorite" and here it is: Our Favorite Starbucks. To me, it's all about the people and the folks at 7th and Montana are as good a group as you'll find anywhere. The coffee isn't the greatest and the pastry is the pits but the people -- both the customers and employees -- more than make up for it. For the best coffee: I recommend Peet's and Cafe Luxxe. For pastry, I'd say it was a three-way tie between Cafe Luxxe, Valen Dolce and Sweet Lady Jane.
Where does this leave my blog? I'm back to the grind but with a twist. I've enjoyed my visits elsewhere, and will continue making the rounds on an ongoing basis. As for the notion that I'm prohibited by Starbucks policy from taking photos inside, this simply isn't true. Starbucks corporate policy has been communicated widely to the public here and it's the same policy that every other cafe on Montana follows. The "Average Joe" is allowed to take photos ... professional media need to get permission. One Anonymous Commenter told me to "show some respect" and she's right. I'll try to be both more discreet and respectful moving forward. Otherwise, I'm back in business. Speaking of backs, an Attractive Fashionista wowed the crowd this morning with a Picture Perfect Plunging T-Shirt that made her look ready for the runway ...!

Friday, February 25, 2011


It was a tale of three Starbucks today as I decided to put the pastry to the test at all three of the Starbucks on Montana. Yes, friends, it’s true, there are three different Starbucks locations in a ten block radius on Montana … and each has its own personality. I started at 7th and Montana. “I’m going to surprise you today,” I told Barista Nada, “Hit me with an Apple Fritter!” She was shocked, but handed me a Fritter nevertheless. I quickly removed it from the store (in order to photograph it in peace), then took a deep breath and bit into it. It was cloyingly sweet, a dense and greasy mass covered in a thick, shimmering layer of sticky icing. My parents had a saying when I was growing up: “In our family we’d eat a sugar coated dreck log if it was put in front of us.” I guess you could say I’ve come a long way because I couldn’t quite bring myself to finish the Fritter. It wasn’t terrible. It was just filling. Besides, I had other fish to fry.

Next up was the Starbucks at Lincoln and Montana, just a block away from 7th Street. Truth be told, this is just a Kiosk in the Pavilions Supermarket, but I still wanted to check it out. “Smile and Say Cheese Danish!,” I called to the Barista as I waived my Spycam in her direction. She didn't laugh. And there weren't any Cheese Danish in her display case, either. I decided to move on.

There’s not a lot you can say about the Starbucks at 14th and Montana. It’s been recently renovated so it fits the Starbucks mold a lot more than Our Favorite Starbucks, but it doesn’t have the same personality or cast of characters. The pastry selection was identical to every other Starbucks I’ve seen in the area and I couldn’t help wondering whether that might be Starbucks' problem. Perhaps in an effort to maintain consistency, Starbucks has standardized its pastry menu whereas others, like Peet’s, pick and choose from a variety of popular local bakeries or contract with local master pastry chefs. Anyhow, I decided – on the advice of the Barista -- to order the Petite Vanilla Bean Scone ($.85). It was Petite, alright … basically just a single bite. But after the Fritter, that’s all I wanted. It wasn’t bad. Not too dry, with just the right touch of Vanilla, but the sugary icing was too much. “Is that all you want?,” asked the Barista, “Usually people order three of those.” “No thanks,” I said, “They say bad things happen in threes!” Speaking of which, I have three slices of Apple Fritter left if anyone's interested ...!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." Mae West uttered those words decades ago, but it's also the motto at Sweet Lady Jane (1631 Montana), one of the newest cafes in town. Sweet Lady Jane (otherwise known as Jane Lockhart) might be new to Santa Monica but she's been providing Hollywood's elite with mouth-watering goodies for years out of her original location on Melrose Ave. The menu in both locations is pretty similar: Cakes (28 flavors ranging from Almond Roca to Triple Berry Shortcake); Specialties (such as Chocolate Tacos); Pies (chock-full of fruit); Cheesecakes (including Hazelnut and Chocolate Vanilla Swirl) and Tarts (including Bananas and Cream and Apple). Given that I made the scene extra early this morning, I played it safe by ordering an Oatmeal Date Bar ($2.00) and a small coffee ($1.50). The Date Bar is a perfect way to start the day. It's thick, with a generous layer of moist, date filling and a semi-sweet crust. The oatmeal topping gives the whole thing a healthy appearance. As for the cakes, well, no one ever accused Mae West of being too thin. Here are a few of my favorites:

Old Fashion Chocolate;

Seven Layer Chocolate;

And Red Velvet. But what really took the cake this morning was a Sweet Little Old Lady who sat at the table next to mine with her Poodle, Rex, a pampered pooch if there ever was one. Rex, a registered "service animal," ran circles around the woman's legs and sniffed continuously at the base of the table until the woman finally got the message. "Goodness," she said, "It looks like Rex needs to take a walk. Would you mind watching my purse?" She disappeared for about five minutes, leaving her purse in full view. I guess when you're in a place called Sweet Lady Jane, it's hard to imagine anything bad happening ...!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Well, folks, I’m about midway through my culinary tour of Montana Avenue and thought this was as good a time as any to address some of the comments and questions I’ve been getting so far. Interestingly enough, a lot of the questions seem to be about Peet’s, so I went back there this morning to get a few answers. During my first visit, a friendly debate erupted between the Barista and the man standing behind me in line over which pastry I should order. I went with the Triple Berry Scone, but the Barista recommended the Almond Croissant. Paula commented that the Almond Croissant sounded good to her. Well, Paula, you’re right. It is good. There’s a certain subtlety to it that appealed to me: It’s not too flaky, not too buttery and not too sweet … with just the right hint of almond flavoring to make it all worthwhile. If you can believe it, when I arrived this morning, another Friendly Pastry Debate was in progress. The woman standing in front of me was waxing poetic about the Cherry Almond Scone, demanding that the Barista tell her exactly who baked it. In case you’re wondering, Peet’s gets its Cherry Almond Scones from La Provence. The Almond Croissant ($2.85) comes from La Brea Bakery. An Anonymous Reader assumed correctly that I was ordering the same-sized cup of coffee both at Starbucks and Peet’s and asked me how the prices compare. For my order, a small (or what Starbucks calls Grande) drip coffee, the price was the same at both locations: $1.95. Emikk wanted to know whether Peet’s offers any Apple Fritters. Sadly, Emikk, they don’t. One thing they do have, though, is an interesting sense of community. By complete coincidence, the same woman who offered me a seat at her table on Saturday joined me again today. I told her about my blog and she was quick to point out that an eclectic bunch of folks hangs out regularly at Peet’s, just like they do at 7th and Montana. “Oh,” she laughed, “We have our share of loons around here, too!” Granted, I’ve only been there twice, but I didn’t hear any Opera Singers belting out tunes in the bathroom; there weren’t any “zombies” sitting statue-like by the condiments bar; and there weren’t any cross dressers (at least as far as I could tell). Another Anonymous Reader asked: “How many coffee houses are there on Montana Ave.? I hope you tell us which one you like best.” There are eight coffee houses between 7th and 17th Streets and I’m planning to hit each one. When I’m done, I’ll let you know which one I like best. And finally, I got a noteworthy e-mail from Gary, the Co-Owner and Creative Director at Caffe Luxxe. He saw my blog and wanted me to let you know that they’ll be introducing “a very fun Peanut Butter and Jelly Macaron very soon.” Yum …!
Meanwhile, back at 7th and Montana, work continued on the vacant space formerly occupied by Blockbuster Video. The fact that the work crew removed all the unsightly blue tiles from the building’s exterior means we might be in for a major overhaul. According to the Local Scuttlebutt, Chase Bank will be moving in, but, who knows … maybe we’ll end up with yet another Coffee House!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Café Boulangerie (804 Montana) is unlike any of the other coffee spots on Montana. It doesn’t have a fancy theme. It’s not part of a huge chain. It doesn’t offer anything you couldn’t find anywhere else. But what it does do, it does very well. It churns out tray after tray of tasty, fresh-baked breads, cakes, danish, and muffins all day, every day. And when you consider the fact that it shares a small space with a mediocre Chinese takeout restaurant (Panda’s Kitchen), that’s quite an accomplishment. I went there this morning intent on trying something new. “Tell me,” I said to the Friendly Pastry Maven behind the counter, “What do you recommend?” “How about a Cappuccino Muffin?,” she replied, “They’re very popular!” “I can see why,” I said, “Mind if I take some photos for my blog?” “Of course not!,” she said, “Feel fee!” As far as muffins go, this one – at $2.10 – was above average. It was moist, sweet and still warm from the oven. But people don’t linger at Cafe Boulangerie. They grab it and go … and that’s what I did.

Speaking of quick getaways, the Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief has been having a field day lately at 7th and Montana. Known for stealing copies of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times when he thinks no one is looking, then peddling away at warp speed on his getaway bike, the Newspaper Thief has become the stuff of local legend. Only one thing seems to keep him in check: a camera phone pointed squarely in his direction. Three of us have taken turns over the years doing the honors, but I – for one – will no longer play Van Helsing to his Dracula. I’ll focus, instead, on his daring escapes (see below). While we’re on the subject of ‘hot news,’ Barista Tyler reminded me today of something he did recently which in my opinion goes above and beyond the call of duty. A photo of me ran in Daily Variety after an industry event, but I was out of town and didn’t get a copy. He drove all the way to the Variety offices in Hollywood, picked-up a copy as a surprise and posted it on the bulletin board at Our Favorite Starbucks. Can you imagine anyone else at any other café in town doing the same thing? It’s that kind of spirit that keeps me coming back … !

Monday, February 21, 2011


Luxe means “luxury; elegance; sumptuousness” and that’s exactly what you get at Caffé Luxxe. Located at 925 Montana, Café Luxe is just two blocks from Our Favorite Starbucks but anyone who’s been there will tell you it’s a world away. I made the scene there this afternoon, intent on seeing whether the Luxxe lives up to its reputation … and I wasn’t disappointed. I ordered the Cappuccino ($3.75) along with a Macaron ($2.00 ). The cappuccino was a work of art, the perfect balance of foam and coffee swirled into a design so tasteful it would make the Monks of Capuchin weep. The Macaron was just as good. The Luxxe is known for its Authentic French Macarons, which are baked daily by a local master pastry chef and come in a variety of flavors ranging from Vanilla to Passion Fruit. I ordered Sweet Almond and can’t imagine a better choice. It was so light it melted on my tongue and the almond filling was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. The service was friendly and efficient … and, of course, Manager Nathaniel had no problems with the fact that I took photos inside using my cell phone. My only complaint about Caffé Luxxe was that it was so crowded it took a while to find a seat. People arrive in throngs before 3:00 p.m. and run a tab.
Meanwhile, moving from Luxxe to Luxor, the crowd at 7th and Montana breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday on news that Neighbor Steven and his wife made it out of Egypt safe and sound. As fate would have it, they were in Luxor when the revolution began. After spending a few tense days in “lock down” mode in their hotel, they were airlifted out of Egypt just as all Hell broke loose. Thank God they got home safely. As for the revolution in Egypt, it seems historic on so many levels. Some experts call it a “victory for the people.” Others worry about what happens next. One thing that amazed me in watching the story unfold was the extent to which Hosni Mubarak’s regime tried to silence its own people, to control the flow of information. They actually “shut off Internet access” to try to prevent folks from sharing their photos and video with the outside world. It didn’t work. One thing’s clear: Whether you’re a despicable dictator or just a well-intentioned but misguided Barista, if you try to control what the average Joe does on the Internet, you’re shit out of Luxor …

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Today’s travels brought me to Valen Dolce, a new café that just opened last month at 1426 Montana … and what a treat. I went in expecting to find a typical upscale café and instead found something entirely different: a French Patisserie with a Japanese influence. Their chef, who was trained in France and worked in Japan, combines the flair of the French with the refinement of the Japanese. The result is a selection of pastries where you can taste each flavor separately … and everything looks like a work of art. I ordered one of their specialties – a Kahlua Mousse Cake ($4.60) – and wasn’t disappointed. Each layer – from the espresso to the chocolate mousse and the agave-sweetened sponge cake in between – was a taste sensation. The coffee I ordered – an Americano ($2.50) – gives the competition a real run for the money. Valen Dolce specializes in both Tea and Coffee and you can’t leave without sampling their selection of rare teas, including “Prosperity Dreams,” a delicate blend made with Silver Needle Jasmine that actually blooms when you drop it in hot water. Valen Dolce offers free wireless and is open every night until 10:00 p.m. (perfect for the evening Scrabble set). As for the service, they couldn’t be nicer. When the man behind the counter, Howard, saw me taking notes, he asked what I was doing. “Well,” I explained, “It’s just for a local blog I write, nothing serious or professional. Do you mind if I take a photo?” “Of course not!,” he replied, “Blog me … Blog me!” So I walked around taking pictures to my heart’s content – including the one above of Barista Maria holding a decadent cake and a glass of blossoming tea and the one below of my Kahlua Mousse Cake. Both were picture perfect!
Speaking of pictures, the shutterbugs were out in full force this morning at 7th and Montana … which was especially helpful given that I’ve refrained from taking photos inside in recent days. Today’s main topics were an Anonymous Fashion Victim wearing multicolored short shorts with a skin tight clashing Lycra shirt and a skull cap; and a Beautiful Blonde Woman wearing Pajamas. Ironically, the woman in pajamas at one point whipped out her Spycam to take photos of her fellow Fashion Victim. First of all, a big “thank you” to everyone who has been quietly taking and sending me their photos. Keep up the good work. I promise to use them in the near future. Meanwhile, the nice folks at Valen Dolce have extended us an invitation. If I print our 7th and Montana photos out, they’re happy to host a viewing party next Saturday afternoon …!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


They say a picture's worth a thousand words ... and nowhere is that more true than the pastry case at Peet's Coffee & Tea at the corner of 14th and Montana. I made my way there this afternoon, intent on sampling some of the baked goods, and I wasn't disappointed. "It all looks so good," I said to the Barista-on-Duty, "I was thinking of getting the Triple Berry Scone. Would you recommend that?" "Well, it's all good ... our baked goods are fresh, artisan-made and delivered daily," he answered, "The Triple Berry Scone is OK, but if I were you I'd go for the Almond Croissant." "Nonsense," interrupted a Friendly Pastry Samaritan who was standing behind me, "Go for the scone ... I get it all the time and it's fantastic." I took his advice and wasn't disappointed. The Triple Berry Scone is basically like a berry sandwich, a luscious combination of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries wedged between two moist layers of pastry ... just sweet enough to be satisfying. "My compliments to the chef," I said, "I can see why you're so crowded!" The Barista laughed. "It never seems to quiet down around here," he said.
In related news, it was also a hotbed of activity this morning at 7th and Montana: A Frugal Fannie made the scene and -- when she thought no one was looking -- she quietly pulled copies of The Los Angeles Times out of the sales rack, removed the coupons from them, then slipped them back on display; and An Anonymous Loon blew soap bubbles into the crowd on 7th Street. Too bad he didn't bring the soap into the rest room. Something tells me it could use a little freshening-up ...!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Controversy was brewing along with the coffee this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks. It seems that my blog has rubbed the "Powers that Be" the wrong way. "Corporate Policy is that we don't allow photographs to be taken inside Starbucks," said Barista X, who requested anonymity, "You can take as many photographs as you want outside, but photographs inside are not allowed by Starbucks." I was flabbergasted. Can it be that Starbucks on a corporate level is so controlling that they have a policy prohibiting customers from taking photographs inside any of their locations? If so, how can such a policy be enforced? I mentioned my encounter with Barista X to several friends and it didn't take long for one of them to send me information regarding Starbucks' approach when it came to another blog, In that case, Melody, the author of the blog, actually contacted the press office at Starbucks headquarters to inquire about the policy and she received the following statement from them in reply: "Customers may take photographs for personal use while in our stores. Members of the media may not take photographs or film in the store without permission from Starbucks Media Relations." According to Melody, at one time Starbucks had a strict policy against anyone taking any photographs in their stores, but that policy recently changed ... and rightly so, in my opinion. Controlling any photographs that an amateur photographer or blogger like me might take in any Starbucks location anywhere around the world would be like trying to control the tide. You simply can't do it and why would you want to? A quick online search of "Starbucks interior photos" yields close to a million photographs on Google, alone, many of them from blogs like mine. Professional media, of course, are a different breed entirely and it only makes sense that Starbucks -- like other businesses -- would require them to go through formal channels before allowing them to film or shoot photos. So, where does that leave us? It would appear that Barista X might be wrong given that my blog is not a professional or commercial media outlet, but I am going to abide by the request just the same. Who am I to argue with a Barista about Official Starbucks Policy? However, starting today, I'm adopting a new Policy of my own. One-by-one, I'll start visiting the various cafes up and down Montana in order to compare and contrast them with Starbucks. I'll continue stopping by 7th and Montana to get the daily scoop and my usual grande half caff, but I'll also start visiting the competition regularly to broaden my horizons. Granted, visits to multiple cafes might start to get expensive, but that's no problem. I'll simply spend a lot less money at Starbucks to make up the difference!
To start the ball rolling, I paid a brief visit today to Peet's Coffee & Tea at 14th and Montana ... and what a pleasure it was. "Welcome," said the Barista who was taking advance orders from the many happy customers in line, "How can I help you?" For the second time this morning, I was flabbergasted. Such a smile, such a winning personality, such poise. It was as if an angel had descended from the heavens, just to stand in line with me and take my order. I kept it simple. "I'll have a small coffee, please," I said. Minutes later, I was drinking the smoothest house blend imaginable, without a trace of the bitter aftertaste or coffee grinds one occasionally finds elsewhere. "Finally," I said, "Now I know what the nectar of the Gods tastes like!" As for the ambiance, between the wood-paneled walls, the squeaky clean floor and the granite tabletops, I thought I was in heaven. "I just can't get over it," I said, "Everything is so pristine!" I was so impressed that I asked one of the Baristas to take a photo for me using my Spycam ... and he happily obliged. Refreshing, eh? Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of Peet's extraordinary pastry collection ...!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Tax Season is fast approaching and you know what that means: The Accountant -- known for spreading out his confidential client paperwork all over Our Favorite Starbucks -- is working overtime. This morning he could be found sinking his teeth into an especially interesting set of W-2 forms, which I guess is only natural. But in my experience, doing taxes is more like pulling teeth ...!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana this morning as word spread that the retail space across from Our Favorite Starbucks is finally getting a facelift. Vacant since Blockbuster Video flew the coop in October 2009, the space has long been a source of neighborhood speculation. Some want a book store, others want a Halfway House for Wayward Loons. It's gotten to the point where you practically need ESP to figure out what's going on. Fortunately, ESP -- a "wellness center" -- quietly moved into the space upstairs several months ago ...!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It's been more than 24 hours since the men in white coats whisked our Friendly Neighborhood Zombie away and -- boy, howdy -- what a difference a day makes. The ZIT (Zombie-in-Training) changed tables today, assuming the Zombie's usual position by the condiments bar. But can he fill the Zombie's shoes? Something tells me he'll pop under pressure. Meanwhile, as for the Zombie, rumor has it the authorities are performing a DNA analysis on his bright, blue dress. It's about time someone ran some tests on all those blood stains ...!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Cupid's Arrow missed its mark at 7th and Montana this morning as the Zombie -- known for sitting in the same chair, in the same position for hours on end and for his bizarre taste in women's clothing -- chose Valentine's Day to pop a cog. Shortly after 7:00 a.m., he rose from his chair, waved his fists wildly and started shouting obscenities at the clientele. But not to worry: The Baristas have the men in white coats on speed dial. All it took was one quick call from Barista Tyler and ten minutes later the authorities were dragging the Zombie away, kicking and screaming. "What are we going to do now?," I asked, "Place an ad on Help Wanted: One Zombie ... Experience Preferred ...?!?" Of course, I wasn't serious. Everyone knows we've had a ZIT (zombie-in-training) waiting in the wings for weeks. The newcomer, pictured above, also sits in the same chair, in the same position, for hours on end. Every day he wears the same Pajama Bottoms (green with smiling monsters on them) and a black t-shirt. He might not be as colorful as his predecessor, but give it time I always say ...!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as a couple of Vesparados made the scene in a vintage Vespa 150 scooter. Actually, they were riding in the sidecar. One, a Bull Terrier named Muffin, lounged across the front seat, while the other, an English Bulldog named Cuddles, rode shotgun in the back. They were both wearing flight goggles. "Now I've seen everything," I said, "Let's just hope one of them has a Driver's License ...!"

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Valentines Day came early at 7th and Montana yesterday as a TV crew and news reporter made the scene, handing out roses to everyone, wishing them Happy Valentines Day and filming their reactions. While they were no doubt shooting a segment for Monday, everyone -- including Hunter and Baby Bryce (pictured above) -- seemed to appreciate gesture. Everyone, that is, except for a certain Irascible Killjoy who took one look at the rose and said, "F-ck you and your manufactured holiday, you c-nt! And you can go ahead and put that sentiment on a mint for all I care!" Who exactly was this Irascible Killjoy? My lips are sealed, but in the immortal words of Shakespeare, a rose by any other name would be Screenwriter Rob ...!


If you're wondering what's hot on the Internet, just ask Kathy. Her new web series, Stacks, the Sci-Fi story of one woman's journey into the Library of Truth -- was just named "pick of the week" by Indie Intertube, the source of "all things hot and streaming" on the Internet. Before you get too excited, Indie Intertube promotes itself as the source of all things and and "hot and streaming," not "hot and steaming" ...!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Ladies and Gentlemen, there's a Servite in our midst. At least, I think there is. An Anonymous Newcomer made the scene at 7th and Montana wearing a t-shirt with the word "Servite" on it. "Maybe he's really service-oriented," I speculated, but further research suggests that he might just be a member of a group known as the Servites, a strict religious order of Friars which takes vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Then, again, what would I know about an order of Friars? I've always preferred Onion Rings ...!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


It was another day, another fashion victim at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Newcomer made the scene wearing black socks festooned with neon pink, orange and blue polka dots and stars. The socks alone weren't that odd, but the fact that she wore them with a black trench coat and clogs made her look like a refugee from the Wizard of Oz. "Don't bother calling the Fashion Police on this one," said one insider, "It's not worth their while." I guess I agree. But still, it would be nice to know whether this woman is on the list of Registered Sox Offenders.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana this morning as the Dignified Walking Lady, known for wearing Arctic Attire in 80-degree heat, made the scene after a hiatus of nearly a year. She hasn't changed much: Same wool sweater and skirt, same walking stick, same scarf tied tightly around her head. She was, however, wearing a new pair of Nike Air Max running shoes. I tell you, we should all be so quick on our feet at her age ...!


Who says you can't get something for nothing? Just ask the Attractive Young Woman who made the scene at 7th and Montana yesterday dangling a lost set of keys. "Hey everyone," she cried, "Has anyone lost a set of keys?" One of them seemed to be to a Porsche. Meanwhile, an Anonymous Loon was standing outside trying to get something for nothing from Veronica and Amanda. "Got any money?," he asked. When they told him they couldn't spare any change, he went ballistic. "You are the Devil's Spawn," he screamed so loudly he could be heard a block away, "Everyone here, all of you, are the Devil's Spawn!" He was last seen driving up Pacific Coast Highway in a Porsche ...!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Suspicions ran high at 7th and Montana yesterday as a man known among insiders as "The Jeweler" made the scene, intent on selling custom -- or was it costume? -- jewelry to passersby. "Beautiful jewels for beautiful ladies!," he cried, approaching two woman who were sitting at the bus stop on 7th Street. Without waiting for them to respond, he reached into a paper bag and pulled out a handful of necklaces. "Just look how they sparkle and shimmer," he said. At least he didn't show them his family jewels ...!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "The Vagabond," an anonymous newcomer who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with a beat-up guitar and a song in his heart. He didn't play any music, but he attracted a lot of attention nevertheless with his tie-dye tank top, black shorts and backwards baseball cap. "Quick, get your Spycam," said Neighbor Mel, "There's a live one over there." I didn't waste any time. Mel, a top TV executive, was quick to invent a back story. "He's starring in a new TV series," Mel joked. "Right," I said, keeping Mel's long list of classic TV credits in mind, "What'll we call this one: Mary Tyler Less ...?"

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The Fashion Police practically laughed in my face yesterday at 7th and Montana when I tried to report a young man wearing a headband. The man -- an otherwise well-dressed newcomer in his early twenties -- was wearing the kind of plastic headband one normally associates with Hillary Clinton ... 15 years ago. "But officer," I said, "Surely you should issue this guy a citation ... he looks even more ridiculous than Hillary!" But it was no good. I guess in a world filled with zombies in dresses, little old ladies in Lycra stretch pants and fitness nuts in unabomber jackets, a man wearing a plastic headband is hardly worth notice.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


It was bombs away at 7th and Montana this morning as Our Friendly Neighborhood Unabomber -- the man known for traipsing up and down 7th Street dressed like Rambo -- made the scene after a lengthy hiatus. And that's not all. He was sporting a whole, new look. Gone was the usual Tactical Assault Vest and in its place was a perfectly normal, red T-shirt. "Lookin' good!," I said as I walked by, but truth be told, I missed his Unabomber outfit. Were it not for the yards of silver duct tape still strapped to each hand, I hardly would have recognized him ...!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It was Groundhog Day at 7th and Montana today and you know what that means. While the rest of the country was busy waiting to see whether Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow, we at Our Favorite Starbucks were watching to see whether Rigolatte -- the Local Loon who locks himself in the bathroom and belts out opera tunes for hours on end -- would snag any artificial sweetener. There have been days when Rigolatte has stuffed at least 20 packets of Sweet n' Low down his shirt, but today wasn't one of them. He emerged from his lair at precisely 8:15, cast a tentative glance around him, and made a beeline for the condiments bar ... only to find me standing right next to the artificial sweetener with my Spycam pointed right at him. He giggled uncontrollably, then zipped out the door, empty-handed. So, my friends, there you have it. Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow today and Rigolatte didn't get any Sweet n' Low. That means it's going to be an early Spring ... and an endless Opera Season at 7th and Montana!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


It was a taste of Swan Lake at 7th and Montana this morning as a delightful, four-year old ballerina made the scene wearing a bright blue tutu. All eyes were on her as she pirouetted her way from the pastry case to the espresso bar and back again. Her biggest fan by far, however, appeared to be the Zombie, known for sitting in the same seat, in the same position for hours on end. He watched her tutu intently and seemed to be making mental notes. Something tells me he's about to raise the barre -- not to mention the hemline -- on his own attire!