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Pacific Dining Car Interior

My wife and I spent the evening with a couple friends recently and I told them about my Yesteryear Remembered blog. Well, immediately after hearing this, the husband started thinking of different ideas to suggest for my blog. He mentioned a few things, but I told him that those were already in the blog, then he chimed in again, “what about the Pacific Dining Car”. I paused for a second, then said, I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never been there before and added the purpose of my blog is to document things from my past, so unfortunately, I can’t use it.

Our evening was winding down, and the husband said we’ll take you to the Pacific Dining Car, that way you can say you’ve been there, and write about it in your blog. We all agreed, and set a date and time to get together for dinner and then ended our evening.

The date arrived when we were to meet with our friends for dinner at the Pacific Dining Car. We picked them up and drove to Los Angeles to the restaurant. The restaurant sits on the corner of the street behind a white picket fence and has a very unusual sign with two, 3 dimensional cows mounted on the pole below it. Pacific Dining Car Sign

When you first walk through the front door, you are entering the original part of the restaurant which is an actual train dining car. All of the other rooms that branch off from there, were added on later to accommodate the growing number of clientele. The interior decor takes you back to the old days of high class train travel. The walls were clad in green paint with wood trim throughout and the lighting was warm and subdued.

The four of us sat in one of the side rooms which was similarly appointed to match the decor of the main entrance. We were handed our menus which had a variety of steaks (which they are known for), seafood and other side dishes. Our waiter was a great source of entertainment all throughout the evening. He was from Nicaragua, but he spoke fluent Japanese to one of our friends, who in turn spoke fluent Japanese back. All evening we tried throwing different languages at him, like Spanish, Korean, Italian, Chinese and Thai. Mind you, these were only simple greetings or very short phrases that we picked up, but he always had a longer reply in that language (which of course we didn’t understand). We found out later that evening that his hobby is learning different languages.

We were all served our respective meals and the overall consensus was, the food was delicious, a bit pricey, but delicious. I had the baseball steak which was excellent! Would I go back again–yes!!!

You can visit the Pacific Dining Car website at the link below:
http://www.pacificdiningcar.com/index.html

Animaniacs PogsThe name “POG” originated from a brand of juice made from Passionfruit, Orange and Guava. I didn’t know this little fact when the Pogs game first appeared in the United States. The Pogs were fashioned after vintage milk bottle caps. They were made of stiff cardboard and usually printed with the dairies name on it.Vintage Milk Bottle Caps

A bit of history about the Pogs game:

- The game of Pogs possibly originated in Hawaii in the 1920′s or 1930′s
- It’s also possible that the game had originated from a Japanese card game called Menko which existed since the 17th century
- Pogs returned to popularity when the World POG Federation and the Canada Games Company reintroduced them to the public in the 1990′s
- The Pog fad soared and peaked in the mid 1990′s before rapidly fading out
- Pogs were played on the Hawaiian island of Maui as early as 1927, but the 1990′s revival is credited to Blossom Galbiso, a teacher and guidance counselor who taught at Waialua Elementary School in Oahu. In 1991, Galbiso introduced the game she had played as a little girl to a new generation of students, soon incorporating Pogs into her fifth grade curriculum as a way of teaching math.
- Pogs spread from Hawaii to California, Texas, Oregan and Washington, before spreading to the rest of the country
- 1993 Pogs played throughout the world

Here is wikipedia.com’s description of how the game is played:
Rules may vary among players, but the game variants generally have common gameplay features. Each player has their own collection of Pogs and a slammer (a heavier game piece). Before the game, players decide whether to play ‘for keeps’, or not. ‘For keeps’ implies that the players keep the POGs that they win and forfeit those that have been won by other players. The game can then begin as follows:

1. The players each contribute an equal number of pogs to build a stack with the pieces facing down, which will be used during the game.
2. The players take turns throwing their slammer down onto the top of the stack, causing it to spring up and the pogs to scatter. Each player keeps any pogs that land ‘face up’ after their throw.
3. After each throw, the pogs which have landed ‘face down’ are then re-stacked for the next player.
4. When no pogs remain in the stack, the player with the most pogs is the ‘winner’.

Pogs were so popular at one point, that major corporations were jumping on the band wagon to cash in on their popularity.
7 Eleven PogMcDonalds Pog

Check out wikipedia.com for more details:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogs

Whoa! Not sure what happened, but I had writers block while writing this post. I just could not get the words to flow. Hopefully I will get back on track again soon.

Far East Cafe ExteriorSo, how ‘Far East’ would I go for a restaurant? Well, from my childhood home in Los Angeles to the ‘Far East’ Cafe in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles, it was about 7 miles, so, not too far.

The Far East Cafe first opened it’s doors in the 1930′s and is housed in an 1890′s Beaux-Arts building in the Little Tokyo Historic District of Downtown Los Angeles.

Beaux-Arts is a heavily classical style taught at the L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in the 19th century. The terms “Beaux Arts” is the approximate English equivalent of “Fine Arts.”

Back in the 1960′s, I recall my parents always saying let’s go out for “China Meshi”. This is the Japanese way of saying Chinese Food or more literally, China Meal, whenever they were talking about going out for Chinese food. There was a couple places that we use to go for Chinese food back then and Far East Cafe was one that we went to on occasion. When I first walked into the Far East Cafe, I couldn’t help but notice the dark colored wood panels that divided each of the eating booths. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other restaurant with that type of interior design, either back in those days or even today.Far East Cafe interior shot

The food was good, and I remember I had a few favorites that I requested, every time we went there. Mmmm, Chashu (BBQ pork), Almond Duck and Pakai (sweet & sour pork), which is still one of my favorites today. Anybody hungry?

On Saturday, June 7, 2008, the Far East Cafe hosted a reunion to celebrate the life of Gim Suey Chong, who was a long time waiter at the restaurant from 1950 to 1974, and the legacy of the famous Far East Cafe with relatives and new friends.Gim Suey Chong

Well, the Far East Cafe name is no more, the restaurant has changed it’s name to the Chop Suey Cafe. I can’t speak about the restaurant or the food as it is today, so if anyone has been there recently, leave me a comment. Thanks!

Wikipedia.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Tokyo,_Los_Angeles

The following links tell in much more detail about the history of the Far East Cafe:
http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/article/2771/

http://chsscorg.blogspot.com/2010/01/far-east-cafe-reunion-by-raymond-chong.html

http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2006/08/appreciating_the_far_east.php

One persons memories of the Far East Cafe:
http://www.kuidaosumi.com/TOwriting/w-chinameshi.html

Holiday Bowl in the Crenshaw district in Los Angeles. was founded back in 1958 by five Japanese-Americans. In the ’60s as a kid, my dad use to take me to Holiday Bowl, every Wednesday night. He use to bowl in a league back then and I just tagged along to watch him bowl and eat french fries. When I grew to high school age, Holiday Bowl was one of the places to congregate before or after a dance or other event to eat in their restaurant. I’m sure I must have had other things to eat the many times that I had been there, but the only dish I could remember was Chashu (BBQ Pork) fried rice. They filled a bowl with the fried rice, packed it in, then turned it over on a plate and removed the bowl, so it was served as a half round mound of rice. Sooo Good! The bowling alley is long gone, but the restaurant structure is still there, but is now the home of a Starbucks coffee shop. The building was declared a historical landmark and still possesses the exterior of the original restaurant and even some of the detailing has been preserved inside the building. More information can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holiday_Bowl_(building)

StarbucksStarbucks Interior-1Starbucks Interior-2