Philippe, The Original French Dipped Sandwich | Los Angeles, CA

A few months ago, Dana and I headed up to LA to catch a Dodger game with my cousin and her fiance.  Now, growing up the son of a guy that grew up in LA, I was a Dodger fan when I was a little kid.  There was nothing better than a Saturday afternoon watching the Dodger game, listening to the best announcer in baseball, Vin Scully.  The teams of the mid-late 80’s were the best.  Of course, once I realized that Angel stadium was about 20 minutes from where I lived, I quickly dropped the Dodgers as my team.  It just didn’t make sense.  Anyways, back to our trip up to LA.

We decided to head up early enough to wander around Chinatown, Olvera Street and Union Station.  All of them are great places for photos and people watching.  I knew I wanted to head over to Philippe’s for a French Dip. I had never been there before, but was told it was the best.  And it was.  My friend, Franjo, told me to get “lamb, double dipped”.  I did, and it was off the hook.  I’ll be sure to make it a stop the next time I’m up in the area.

Of course, there is some dispute over who actually invented the French Dip first.  My friend, Paul, was up there a few weeks ago and looked it up.  This is what he sent me, “Cole’s is the competitor….f*** them, we roll with the Phillipe crew!”

Straight up.

Empire State Building from 5th Ave.

I was recently watching the new Anthony Bourdain show, The Layover.  He was spending about 30 hours in New York City showing places to eat and places to check out.  In between his segments they had very short interviews with the locals.  One woman comes on and says, “You can always tell the tourists, they are always looking up.”  Ok, you got me there.  I mean, how could you not?  It’s NYC.  Everything is built up, and the Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the world, seems to be an anchor point and an easy place to figure out where you are in the city.

The next time I show the Empire State Building, you’ll get a slightly different vantage point.

Algiers Ferry Abstract #1 | New Orleans

As I mentioned a few posts back, I’ve been to New Orleans six times now, over the past 12 years and on this last trip was the first time I rode on the Algiers ferry across the Mississippi River.  Not sure why I’ve never done it.  It’s free, you get a great view looking back at the New Orleans skyline, and it doesn’t take all that long to get back and forth across the river.  Something I found interesting was the amount of rust and peeling paint all over the ferryboat.  I guess sitting on the river for years will do that.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve been shooting a lot of more abstract pictures lately. Maybe I’ve been doing it for awhile, but this was the first trip that I really took notice.  I loaded all the pics up in Lightroom, started to edit things down and noticed a bit of a pattern in a few of them.  Kind of minimalist, generally some color, and some interesting textures.  Not sure where this is going, but I’m gonna be on the lookout for more.

Union Station skylight, Los Angeles

I first shot this skylight about 15 years ago when I was freshly out of school.  Of course, back then, it was shot with my old 4×5 camera that I had to put on a tripod in order to shoot.  It was the first time I had ever really been thrown out of a place for taking pictures.  Apparently you need to have a permit in order to set up a tripod and take pictures at Union Station.  Regardless, I found it was easier to play dumb and keep shooting while arguing with the security guard.

This time was much easier.  No tripod, no permit.  Just shoot and go.  Union Station is still one of the best places in Los Angeles to shoot in.  The lighting is always interesting and the people much more so.

I’ll take one, provalone, wit. | Geno’s Steaks Philadelphia

Near the end of out 10 day working vacation that took us from shooting a wedding in State College, Pa to Philly to NYC, and back again, we finally got to spend a day wandering around Philly.  We got to see the Liberty Bell, downtown Philly and headed over to Fishtown to find a really good beer garden that would make an ideal spot to hang out on a Saturday afternoon. The weather was a lot nicer than when we were back there about 10 years ago for Christmas.  That day, we rolled down to Geno’s so I could have my first legit cheesesteak.  It was freezing cold, easily in the low 20’s, plus the windchill that probably dropped it another 10-15 degrees.  All I remember was my first cheese fry tasting incredible and the second one had hardened to a gelatinous brick.

Now, about 180 degrees from where I took this picture is Pat’s, King of Steaks.  Both places claim to have the best cheesesteak.  We decided to have some fun with it, and got one from each place.  Not surprisingly, it was a split decision.  Dana was all about Geno’s and I was all about Pat’s.  Pat’s seemed to be a little greasier and the bread a little fresher.  Not that Geno’s was bad, in any sense, just different.