L.A. Traffic? Elementary!

Traffic on our freeways is bad enough, but a myriad of other things obstruct what would otherwise be a beautiful drive through our coastal state. Brush fires jump across freeways due to flying embers, earthquakes rip up pavement and the occasional coyote will wander onto the road.

The rubberneckers are the worst, making you late for weddings and dinner parties just to see an Olive Garden manager get pulled over for speeding. My friend Rebecca gets so worked up over rubberneckers, she insists on zooming past the accident without a mere glance - even if the flames are leaping dangerously close to her paint job.

Sometimes I feel beaten down when Laurel Canyon gets congested, or when my peaceful San Diego roadtrip is marred by losers who still think a thumping bass is the key to coolness. But then I found truckspills.com, and I realize my lot isn't so bad. If not for the traffic, then for the thanks I have at not being one of the carcasses piled into the back of these trucks in the first place. They spill all sorts of business, such as...

...rotten wieners


...bees (notice the beekeeper suits)


...dead chicken

...cocaine (two accidents in one!)


The whole world on one table

Susan Feniger is officially the toast of the town, and not because she's on Top Chef Masters. Her now-famous restaurant Street showcases street food from around the world. Those who can't decide between Indian, Japanese or Russian now needn't have to. What's more, is that her street food comes out in tapas-style servings so everyone can try a piece.

L.A. Weekly's food critic Jonathan Gold (a.k.a. the guy with the coolest job in the world) calls it a "...hypercool, essential L.A. restaurant."

Even The New York Times caught wind of the phenomenon; "Sampling the wares of international street food vendors is sometimes not for the faint of heart or stomach. Susan Feniger's Street, the celebrated chef's first solo venture, serves up the exotic without the risk."

The Los Angeles Times encourages you to "Go ahead. Take a walk on the wild side."

I am not even taking into account all the raving going on in Gourmet magazine and countless T.V. features. I had had enough. It was high time I tasted the goods or consider myself white trash. I tend to set goals for myself to avoid looking at myself as white trash, such as seeing Europe. Thank goodness I crossed that off the list - being the only person in the circles I run in to not see Europe troubled me until my honeymoon at 30.

Dining at Street was next on my list of things to do to avoid being a rube. I ended up going two nights in a row. There were so many outlandish flavors and textures to conquer, I figured the tiny restaurant would still need a kitchen the size of a gymnasium. The first night I was seduced by the curry-rich paani puri, the sweet Moscow eggplant and spicy gumbo. I had to go the second evening just to sample the other treats, like the Arabic lamb kafta balls (as good as my mother's) the Argentinian ricotta cakes and ono sashimi.

I may never go to Burma or Malaysia, but at least I can get a taste. This is a hub for those with adventurous palettes, the well-traveled, the risk-takers. For all you who haven't seen Europe of the Orient, this place will make you feel a whole lot better about it.


Vintage Expo Hits Los Angeles

Long before Rachel Zoe, controversial stylist to the stars, praised the benefits of wearing vintage, I had been rummaging for hidden treasures for years. Zoe claims it is the only way to have unique pieces no one else has, and she is right.

When the Vintage Expo hit Santa Monica, it cost a whopping $20 to get in, (thank God for my press pass) and then hundreds and hundreds of dollars to get your hands on some good pieces. Stylists go for inspiration, fashionistas go for deals and the rich go to shop.

But $45 for a grease-stained cardigan? Cruising the Vintage Expo was like being in yet another overpriced boutique in Los Angeles. These things are perfect for wealthy people who don't have the patience to drive around to the best boutiques and dig through racks to find that one special piece. Here it's all in one place, hanging on organized racks and draped across mannequins.

But for me, part of the thrill is the steal; knowing you landed a remarkable garment for a fraction of it's worth. Recently, I scored a mint condition 100% silk cocktail dress a la Mad Men for only $6 at an estate sale (see photo to the right). That's what I get excited about. Of course, shopping for vintage in Los Angeles is a lot more involved than it is in other towns. If anyone goes to the Salvation Army, it's been picked over by boutique scouts, who clean the racks of beautiful finds. All that are left are faded, pilled up and stained relics of the 90's, like forest green ribbed turtlenecks from the Gap. How depressing. All the good pieces are spiked in price and sent to vintage boutiques where they sometimes cost twice as much as a new item made just as well. What's the thrill in that?

For the best in cheap vintage, you must drive a bit past city limits. I get up early, grab a white mocha and head East. That's all I will say, for fear that the boutique vultures will descend upon the place with their Hefty lawn bags and toss everything in for the vintage shops in Los Feliz and on Abbott Kinney.

The Expo had stunning pieces of art, like this:

But this, this was NOT okay, not even in an ironic way: