Monday, September 18, 2017

Dance the night away

Downey International Food and Drink Festival

There were three stages for music performances at the Downey International Food and Music Festival this year. At each one, people were dancing and swaying to the music (in this case, The Little Mermaid's Under the Sea).

Downey International Food and Drink FestivalAnd it wasn't just the crowd enjoying the music. The musicians also looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Photo ops

Downey International Food and Music Festival photo op

Today was the Downey International Food and Music Festival. Preparations go on all day for the food trucks, live music, festival attractions, face painters, and a beer and wine garden.

One of the popular attractions is the photo op with the D-O-W-N-E-Y letters, where everyone enjoys having their picture taken.

Downey International Food and Music Festival signDowney International Food and Music Festival flags

Friday, September 15, 2017

"The Boat"

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Tonight, dinner was at La Barca Cantina and Grill. I had chicken in mole sauce, it was quite yummy.

20170915_192030_001The patio dining was much improved over the previous outdoor setting. The experience was a little loud with a live band and roaming musicians. But for me, it is all about the food.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”
~ Luciano Pavarotti

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Humans of Downey - Ernesto

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"When I was younger, actually in middle school, I had a passion to serve, to help others. Sometimes it was fixing someone's bicycle or washing a car. Whatever the situation was that someone needed help, I wanted to be the one that helped them. I think I have a servant's heart. That translates into customer service. This cafe gives me the opportunity to serve Downey, to give back to my hometown.

"I think my parents were my model for helping others. My parents helped me to become more social. To be able to talk to a stranger and make them feel like I was their friend. They helped me see school as a positive thing and to get out of my social shell. They had multiple lunch trucks and I got to see them enjoy serving others. The look on their faces when they made others happy by meeting their needs was an inspiration to me. I wanted to smile because I had met someone's need."

~ Ernesto

DSC_0542PS Ernesto and his wife are owners of the newly opened Chocolate Covered Cafe here in Downey, 12250 Paramount Blvd. This is one of their creations, a S'more shake.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A blue wall

Blue Wall

My wife and I were out for our nightly walk on August 11 when we noticed this message being projected onto a wall of Downey City Hall. We inquired about Corporal Hano at the police station. They told us he was injured in an electrical explosion during a training exercise in South Gate. You can read about it here. The picture in the article is of Corporal Hano receiving an award for saving the life of a child that had fallen into a pool. You can read about that here. I haven't heard how his recovery is going. But having worked in a hospital, I know that burn injuries can take some time to recover. I'll investigate and let you know later.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Skylight

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Somehow the mix of clouds, light, and sunset or sunrise just amazes me. It gives you such a powerful sense of the impact of light on everything. It changes how you perceive the world around you.

20170911_064831-1"May the blessing of Light be on you, light without and light within..."
~ Irish blessing

Monday, September 11, 2017

Elep-ilable

Elephant Bar in Downey Landing

The Elephant Bar restaurant was one of the original restaurants in Downey Landing when the shopping center opened in 2006. It recently closed, a victim of its parent company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. All that's left of its name is "ELEP," partially showing through the banner advertising the site's availability.

Here's hoping for a classy new restaurant to take its place.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Misty mountains

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I recently went to the Great Smoky Mountains and one of the things I loved about it was the layers of mountains you could see as you looked out over the distance. Last week when I was taking some overview pictures from the Embassy Suites in Downey, I noticed these beautiful layers of foothills off in the distance. It made me think just a little bit about the Smoky Mountains.

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. ... There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Friday, September 8, 2017

Take me home?

Petsmart Adoption Center

Whenever I shop at Petsmart, I wander by the cat adoption center (just in case, you know...I've adopted two cats from Petsmart over the years).

The adoption center is part of Petsmart Charities, which helps local animal welfare groups find homes for homeless cats and dogs. As the sign below shows, they've found homes for over seven million cats. The Downey store works with Zazzy Cats, a local organization whose goal is to rescue high risk cats from shelters in the Los Angeles area. (For example, one of the cats there tonight is missing one eye.)

So come on by, and see if one of them catches your eye, and your heart.

Petsmart Adoption CenterPetsmart Adoption Center

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Humans of Downey - Ramon #2

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"The worst thing that has happened to me in a car is that I got in an accident in my '63 C10 truck. When I bought this truck I was so ecstatic. I had finally gotten the truck I had always wanted. It was the truck that my grandfather had when I was growing up. Actually, his was an Apache but the only difference was the windshield. They had the same engine, although my truck has a Corvette engine installed. I was so happy. I drove my truck every day.

"A few months after I bought it, I got careless. I sideswiped another vehicle. After that, I lost all the joy of driving it. It just drained me. It wasn't that I was afraid. As a fire fighter and medic, my whole core is to do no harm but to protect others, but here I am causing an accident. It made me want to sell the truck. But thankfully my grandfather talked me out of it. He said, 'No, this is what you've always wanted, you've been talking about this truck for years, you've been fixing it up. Just find joy in it.' And little by little the joy has been coming back. But I'll never forget that accident. It's the only car accident I've ever been in since I've been driving, some 15 years."

~ Ramon

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Humans of Downey - Ramon #1

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"This is a 1963 Chevy C10 Fleetside long-bed truck. It has a Corvette 350 cubic inch engine. I've had it for a couple of years. I also have a Mazda II which I call my "gopher" vehicle. I've driven it over a wide range of areas in the US and also in Canada. The car is so nimble and agile that I decided to sign up for SCCA, Sports Car Club of America. They support autocross racing. I entered my Mazda but when people saw it they said, 'Oh that little car won't do anything.' But I showed them. I ended up coming in 2nd in the nationals for my class.

"That race goes along with my career and what I've been told all my life. I'm not a big guy, only 5 feet 5 inches. I've always been told that I can't do that, you're too small, you're not strong enough. People have always underestimated me. My response has always been, 'Well, I'll show you.'

"One—I was told I couldn't join the military because I was too small. So I joined the navy right after 9/11.

"Two—While I was in the navy, I tried to join the Crash and Salvage program, which deals with fires on an aircraft carrier. I was told, 'No', I was too little. Well, again, I'll show you. In 2008, I joined the Fire Academy. From there I became a fire fighter.

"Three—Once again people told me 'You can't do that, you're too little.' Well guess what? Now I'm an engineer for Edward's Fire Department and I drive the fire trucks.

"Four—Now, I'm going back to college to get my degree in Fire Science and Safety Risk Management because some day I want to be a fire chief and I'll need that degree."

~Ramon

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cityscape view

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When it is clear out, we have a great view of downtown LA from Downey. This view is taken from the Embassy Suites, which we haven't done in a while. It was a nice day and it was late in the afternoon. The city seems so appealing from my view...

"Towered cities please us then, and the busy hum of men." 
~ John Milton

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Village Walk

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It almost seemed as if I was not in Downey...to me it felt a little like Santa Barbara. These beautiful, new Spanish-style three-level homes on La Reina look like they are soon to be available.

"Active living in the heart of town"... sounds perfect!

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Vintage aircraft and diners

Ruby's Diner Promenade

Ruby's Diner, at the Promenade, is built on the site of the old Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation. Their decor, with its models and posters of vintage aircraft, pays tribute to the site's aeronautical heritage.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Ice cream chemistry

Creamistry

And we're back! Last week, while DDP was still on vacation, a new shop opened up in downtown Downey. It's called Creamistry. It's similar to Coldstone Creamery, in that you choose exactly what you want to go into your ice cream. The difference is that, at Creamistry, you watch your ingredients be frozen right in front of you, in a process that uses liquid nitrogen to create a rich and smooth (and ice particle-free) concoction.

I love ice cream, but I hate crowds more, so I'm still waiting to try this out myself. Be sure and let us know what you think!