Monthly Archives: August 2012

Business N Beer at Sophie\’s Place, Redondo Beach

These photos are from our eighth Business & Beer event which was held last night at Sophie\’s Place in the Riviera Village portion of Redondo Beach. Sophie\’s Place is arguably the best gastropub in Redondo Beach. It seems hard to believe that we only became familiar with Sophie\’s in the middle of July. We always feel so welcome there that I sometimes feel like we have been long time patrons. Besides the friendly atmosphere and the nice variety of food offerings, the thing I like most is their ever rotating taps. While they may only offer eight taps, the beers change frequently and are not brews that you will find just anywhere. In addition to the draft beers, they offer about 50 different craft beers in bottles. One could spend a long time in Sophie\’s Place and still not get through all the options.

We had another nice group last night, with a mixture of returnees and a couple first timers. Since I am a big proponent of experimenting with craft beers I was pleased to see the number of flights that people were ordering. Some might let our server come up with the selections while others decided to create their own flights; either way, it is cool to see people expanding their palates and realizing that there is a big beer world out there. Besides the beer, there was business being discussed and that is what the networking is all about. The beer is just icing on the cake.

Next week we return to Monkish Brewing in Torrance. Monkish is a microbrewery that specializes in Belgian style ales and beer. I know that after our last visit to Monkish in July I saw several of the attendees returning on their own. Monkish\’s ales have a way of pulling you back in. Do not forget to Like our Facebook page and sign up to our mailing list so you can keep informed of our upcoming schedule. Continue reading

TACC Chairman of the Board: Less than .5% of membership are complaining

Since this is part two of my saga with the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC); and some may not have read part one, I will summarize to bring you up to speed. I photograph everything. I use the photos to promote people and places. We joined the TACC last December. I photographed many TACC events, gave free publicity to local businesses that are Chamber members, promoted non-profits and shot an event at the request of the TACC President and CEO, Donna Duperron. On August 9, Donna told me camera was no longer allowed at Chamber events, even though other cameras were. On August 21, Donna said she wanted me to come to her office to meet with her and the TACC Chairman of the Board, Aaron Aalcides. If you want to read it all, please go to

I brought Tanya with me to my meeting with Donna and Aaron because the company that is the Chamber of Commerce member is hers. When we were seated in Donna\’s office I could not help but notice that it seemed Aaron had compiled a dossier on us. At the top of the stack of papers was a print out of the Synergy-DTI home page. His first question was why do I take so many photos? I started to explain how we use them to do Internet marketing, SEO and branding but I could tell he was not getting it. I also mentioned how I am a CNN iReporter and a restaurant reviewer for and the photos were used there as well. It did not matter. \"TACC Continue reading

Alpine Village Bier fest coming September 1

Alpine Village in Torrance, CA, home of Southern California\’s largest and oldest Oktoberfest (45 years), is spreading their wings so to speak by holding their first ever Bier fest. While Oktoberfest is unmistakably German, Bier fest is German in name only. Otto Radtke, the General Manager of Alpine Village is a big beer fan and he is proving it with the selection of American craft micro breweries that will be represented at his inaugural event. Local brewers and hosts to several of our Business N Beer events, The Brewery at Abigaile, Strand Brewing, El Segundo Brewing and Monkish Brewing will all be represented. At the time of my writing this, there were more than 35 brewers lined up providing more than 100 different beers! \"Bier

Stone Brewing will be bringing eight or nine different brews themselves, including the 16th Anniversary, Smoked Porter w/Vanilla, ’10 Imperial Russian Stout and Double Dry Hopped Ruination. Not to be outdone, Firestone will be there with several of their own, including some of my personal favorites; Double Jack, Wookie Jack and union Jack. Other brewers in attendance will include Ballast Point, New Belgium, Heretic Brewing and Hangar 24. The Bier fest slogan of \”Focusing on hard-to-find, one-of-a-kind and out-of-your-mind bier!\” is being lived up to as I heard a rumor that a run to Oregon is being made to bring back some brews not normally available here. If you are a craft beer fan, this is an event you will want to be sure to attend. You can see the latest updated list of the brewers and what they are bringing on Alpine Village\’s website. Continue reading

Photos from the Cookin\’ Stuff grand opening

Today is the Grand Opening for the new location of Cookin\’ Stuff, in Torrance, CA. Cookin\’ Stuff is not exactly new to Torrance, in fact, they were at their previous location in the Southwood Shopping Center for close to 25 years. Today, they officially opened their new location at 2722 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505. They actually moved here a couple weeks ago, but today is their Grand Opening celebration. All day long (until 6:00 PM) they will be having raffles, treats and demos for anyone that stops in.

Although I am not in the kitchen much, I have shopped at Cookin\’ Stuff, and that is where I picked up my food dehydrator for making my special cereal. It was perfect for what I needed and the price was fair. Today as I walked around the store I could not help but notice that they had some pretty cool stuff. The homemade churros kit definitely caught my eye. There were a couple of items that were being demonstrated that I may end up having to go back with Tanya to see if she wants one. Their motto is, \”If we don\’t have it you don\’t need it.\” After looking around, it would be difficult to argue with them.

Congratulations, Cookin\’ Stuff on your new location. Continue reading

Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce: We never asked for free exposure

I am going to preface this story by saying I intentionally did not start writing this yesterday because I did not want my anger to get in the way of my words. To be honest, I could have started writing this back on August 9 when this all started. The writing was on the wall, the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) President/CEO and Chairman of the Board just wanted to make it official. I also want to say that I have met some very nice people at TACC and if I speak negatively about the TACC it is based solely on the actions of Donna Duperron and Aaron Aalcides. Additionally, I am not asking anyone to get involved. I am just telling my story. If you want to get involved, share this story. Let people make their own decisions. As most of you have no idea what I am talking about; I will start at the beginning.

\"IndianThose that know me and anyone that has read this blog a while knows that I do event photography and photograph everything I see and do. I frequently use the photos to give publicity to the location; whether it is a restaurant or a National Park. It is free advertising, most of the time. I have yet to run into a restaurant, bar, bakery, curio shop or any other brick and mortar business owner that ever turned down free press. I get invited to the back rooms of stores and shops to see what they have that is too cool for public display. At the beginning of the year I decided I was going to start promoting local businesses and events more than I have in the past. In December, Tanya and I had joined the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce Continue reading

Business N Beer at Alpine Inn, Torrance

Last night Business N Beer met at Alpine Inn located at the world famous, Alpine Village in Torrance, CA. Alpine Village is home to Southern California\’s largest and oldest Oktoberfest. This year will be their 45th Annual, and if you have never been, you should check it out sometime. I got reintroduced to the Alpine Village back in March when we went to Alpine Inn for a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The food reminded me a lot of some of my childhood meals but what really caught my attention was their beer board when we were walking out. I knew I had to return to check the bar out more closely. After a couple subsequent visits, it was decided that we should add them to the Business N Beer rotation. It was a great idea.

We had close to 15 people show up, which was pretty good considering the distance. I am sure the attendance level was higher due in part to the fact that Alpine Inn serves food and one of our regular attendees, Todd, works there. I could not help but notice that there seemed to be more experimenting with the various brews available which included several from Europe. It was fun comparing American craft beers to the European versions. As it turns out, Alpine Inn had three live bands playing last night, so we had musical entertainment, even if it did minimize the conversations slightly.

Next week we will be meeting at Sophie\’s Place in Redondo Beach\’s Riviera Village. Sophie\’s is definitely a gastropub, with very good food. They have eight rotating taps and offer many bottled craft beers as well as wine and a full bar. The parking meters stop at 6:00 PM in the Riviera Village and there is a large parking lot about one block east of the location. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more details and sign up to be on our mailing list so you can keep up. We are currently booked up through September; so keep your Thursdays free. Continue reading

Redondo Beach Chamber Regional Mixer at Seaside Lagoon

Last night, I headed over to the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Annual Regional Mixer at the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach. While it would be easy for me to just write off the Chamber of Commerce based on my treatment by the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) I refuse to do so. I have found a lot of value in attending the various regional mixers that local chambers put on, because most of them [and their members] understand the value of free exposure. As a matter of fact, being named the official photographer for the Palos Verdes Street Fair was due to my attending the Palos Verdes Chamber Mixer back in February.

We did not stay long as Tanya was not feeling well and I was not really in the groove as I had to spend too much effort intentionally not photographing any TACC board members, but it was a nice event. We met a few people from various chambers and introduced a few people to the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation and Business N Beer.

The participating chambers included Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Torrance, Harbor City/Harbor Gateway, Carson, El Segundo, Lomita and Gardena chambers. There were free food samples provided by Captain Kidd\’s, Corner Bakery, Isabella\’s Cookie Company (killer cookies, by the way), Silvio\’s, Ruby\’s and several others. There was a live band and door prizes. All in all, a nice event and it gave us some ideas on what local Chamber of Commerce we will join next. Continue reading

Del Amo Blvd extension opens between Maple and Crenshaw

The day that many Torrance and South Bay residents have been waiting for has finally arrived, the Del Amo Boulevard extension between Maple Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard is now open. This .7 mile stretch of road has been in the planning stages since sometime in the 70\’s, and for the last 15 years they have been trying to get the project funded and completed. $32 million later, the stretch was opened to traffic last night, August 22. Once people figure out that the roadway is now open, it is expected to reduce traffic fairly significantly on both Torrance Boulevard and 190th Street. I took a drive on it this morning and it appears that the news has yet to get to the people, so here it is.

I had another event to go to last night, so I could not stick around for the speeches and festivities, but I was able to capture a few photos of the antique cars that were the first public vehicles to be allowed to drive the length of the road. I now have a shortcut to get over to Monkish Brewing, so I am sure I will use the Del Amo extension at least a few times a month. Continue reading

BAM Fest returns to Santa Monica, October 6, 2012

The 18th Street Arts Center is holding its 3rd Annual Beer, Art and Music Festival, on October 6, 2012. Affectionately known as BAM Fest, this is a fundraiser for the 21 year old Santa Monica based non-profit. The 18th Street Arts Center has become a well-known and internationally respected alternative art space which has sponsored over 1,000 artists through their residency program, and BAM Fest is a great way to help them continue while enjoying some great beers, music and food.

BAM Fest will feature more than 25 craft breweries from around the country as well as local brewers such as Monkish Brewing, Strand Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company and The Brewery at Abigaile. Regular readers know that we are big fans of our local craft brewers and I am always willing to cover fundraisers for non-profits, so it was an easy decision to attend this event. In addition to all the good beer there will be several food trucks, four live bands and art exhibits including sculptures, videos, paintings and music. Continue reading

Cimzia: Is it working?

As an RAD Lovegiver, the most frustrating thing is watching the woman I love be in so much pain and not being able to do a damned thing about it. On top of that, the medical professionals seem to be guessing at what drug combinations to use to alleviate that pain. I guess that is why they call it practicing medicine. This past week or two has truly sucked. As an outsider, it appears to me that the drug combination Tanya is currently on is doing very little to benefit her. I have been looking through old photos of trips Tanya and I have taken over the years and I long to have her back in remission, but my hopes are definitely waning.

Back in July, Tanya\’s first LA rheumatologist (Dr. Forouzesh) put her on a new drug, Cimzia, because the Enbrel did not seem to be working. Dr. Forouzesh was pretty much gushing with praise on how well this drug worked. Just use it for a few months and feel better was the impression I was left with. As Tanya is prone to do, she investigated the drug and it appeared that many were having a lot of luck with it. We put our thoughts of stem cell therapy aside and placed our hopes on Cimzia. As it turned out, Dr. Forouzesh lost his free samples of Cimzia and with the loss of the free drugs, his enthusiasm seemed to dissipate. After a couple of weeks he decided it was not going to work; even though Tanya\’s research suggested it might take a few months. We decided to find a new rheumatologist.\"Cimzia Continue reading