Friday, January 28, 2011

My Look Back: 1953

My grandparents have been married for 58 years this month, and in honor of the year they were married, I'm doing a look back to 1953.
  • The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2nd, even though her grandmother, Queen Mary, passed away in March of that year (the picture above is of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip after their wedding on November 20, 1947).
  • On January 19th over 70% of all of the television sets in the United States were tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy Ricardo give birth (The real Lucille Ball gave birth to Desi Arnaz Jr. that same day).
  • Peter Pan (Walt Disney Productions, 1953) premiered.
  • Pat Benatar, Chaka Khan, Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, Alfred Molina, Pierce Brosnan, and Tim Gunn were born.
  • The Crucible made its premiere on Broadway.
  • Playboy Magazine was published for the first time in December, with Marilyn Monroe on the cover.
  • TV Guide also made it's debut in April.
  • The Greatest Show on Earth (Paramount Pictures, 1952), starring Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton and James Stewart, won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • A gallon of gas cost about $0.20 cents and the average home cost $9,550.00.
  • The first color television sets started selling in the United States for $1,175.00!!
  • Popular songs of the year included That's Amore by Dean Martin, Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes by Perry Como, and I've Got the World on a String by Frank Sinatra.
  • The movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Twentieth Century Fox, 1953) was released (one of my favorites).

RCA's first color television set, Model CT-100

Follow Friday: Too Cool for School

Being that I'm pretty new on the blogging scene, I'm very happy to participate in Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee so that I can make new friends in the blogosphere.

This week's question is:

What is/was your favorite subject in school?

Well, I've always loved history.  Music was also a favorite of mine, but history has a little bit of everything.  I know some find it boring, but I'm fascinated by it, especially stories of intrigue and life stories of celebrities, musicians, and other public figures.  You can always learn something from the past, and inevitably, it will repeat itself.  So what is/was your favorite subject?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let's Eat!

Ok, so here is a bucket list of sorts for very vintage and nostalgic restaurants right here in Los Angeles that I have yet to try.  Each one is steeped with history, famous clientele, fabulous menus, and in some cases infamous happenings.  I am going to try my darndest to get to each one, hopefully in this new year (and I will post Yelp reviews, so they will appear on the blog's sidebar once I do).

Musso and Frank Grill (opened in 1919)
6667 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA
Photo from
Touted as the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, Musso and Frank Grill has been catering to celebrities and celebrity spotters for over ninety years.  Some of the famous faces that ate at the restaurant include Rudolph Valentino, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charlie Chaplin, to name a few.  Classic (and I do mean classic) menu items include prime rib, pork chops, pommes lyonnaise, and corned beef and cabbage.  The eatery was named after original owners Joseph Musso and Frank Toulet.

aka: Cole's
118 E. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA
Photo from
Another eatery that has a claim to fame, and in this case it is "originator of the french dip" (don't tell Phillipe's) and the oldest restaurant and bar in the city of Los Angeles.  Now, I have actually stepped foot in Cole's, but only because I was on my way to The Varnish (the not-so-secret secret bar inside Cole's), but I have heard that they also have some mean drinks and of course some great sandwiches.  I'll have to be the judge of that one of these days.  The restaurant was founded by Henry Cole and it is located on the ground floor level of the Pacific Electric Building (hence the name).

Clifton's Cafeteria (this location opened in 1935)
648 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA
Photo from
This cafeteria was the second location opened by Clifford Clinton in 1935.  Like many of his other restaurants and cafeterias, the location on Broadway had a theme, which was a lodge, complete with waterfalls, faux redwood trees, and a mural depicting a life-size forest.  Every day Clifton's offers up hundreds of choices in food, beverage and dessert, including navy bean soup, Texas toast, brisket, baked halibut, lemon rice, macaroni and cheese, their famous apple pie and a special "Treasure Tray" for kids which is a cafeteria version of a happy meal.  I honestly can't wait to try Clifton's, if only to see the kitschy decor and stand in the cafeteria line.

Formosa Café (opened in 1934)
7156 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
Photo from
The Formosa Café used to be a trolley car, and that alone is enough to entice me.  However, it is also the place where Frank Sinatra allegedly spent many a night pining over Ava Gardner.  Other famous folks that dined at the Formosa include James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley and Judy Garland.  Besides cocktails (they do have a bar), you can also venture to try some of their menu items (although many Yelp reviewers warn against it).  Some of these include lobster mac and cheese, calamari, kung pao chicken, and pad thai (it seems their menu is a bit of Asian and a bit of American food).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Giveaway 2011!!

And the winner is.... YA Reader from A Book a Day. Stay tuned for another giveaway later this month.

Wow my first giveaway! I'm so excited.  I'm giving away the three books pictured above: Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick (Simon Pulse, 2010), It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han (Simon and Schuster, 2010), and Elixir by Hilary Duff and Elise Allen (Simon and Schuster, 2010).  This is what you have to do to win: (Winners will be picked at random)
  • Comment to this blog post with your name and valid e-mail address
  • +1 Show some blog love and follow me
  • +1 Like The Nostalgic Librarian Facebook page
  • +1 Tweet the following: "RT @msbibliotecaria is giving away YA books on Please RT!"
  • +1 Share this on your Facebook, Twitter or Blog
  • +5 Place The Nostalgic Librarian Widget on your Blog or website (find it on the front page of my blog)
    (Each point is worth an extra entry)
The deadline for this giveaway is January 30th, 2011 at 12:59pm (PST).  Winner will be announced on February 4th.  Good luck!! :) 

Stylish Blogger Award

I am thrilled to announce that I have received my 1st blogger award (twice)! I got the Stylish Blogger Award from Chloe Booklover at YA Booklover and from Liz at That's What Liz Read.  Thank you very much ladies!!

Stylish Blogger Award
Now on to the award.
These are the rules if you get the award:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell us 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 super stylish bloggers this award.
4. Contact those bloggers and let them know they have won.

I will start with 7 things about myself:
  1. Even though they just changed the Horoscope signs and I'm now supposed to be a Virgo, I will always and forever be a Libra.
  2. My favorite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany's and I can watch it over and over and over again.
  3. I secretly like the smell of skunk (OK, so it's not a secret anymore).
  4. It really annoys me when Giada on the Food Network says "parmegghano".  You aren't speaking Italian, so drop the Italian pronunciation on all of the "Italian" words. Por favoré.
  5. I have two dogs named Frida and Che (named after Frida Kahlo and Ché Guevara).
  6. My goal this year is to read 100 books, I've already read 4.
  7. I am addicted to the Smurfs' Village game on my iPhone.

Here are the 15 bloggers I am awarding the Stylish Blogger Award to:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 1

Photo from
I have an idea for a book that marries my love for reading to my love for cocktails.  So starting with the New Year I'm introducing one book paired with one cocktail recipe the first Friday of every month.  I'm hoping that I can come up with 25 pairings total.  Now, I'm not a mixologist, a bartender or anything like that, but I can mix a pretty good cocktail, and this will give me a chance to experiment (and have fun while I'm at it!).  As far as the books, I'm choosing books that I enjoy.  I know they will tend to go on the "chick lit" side, and I know there is much debate as to this label, but all in all I'm just going with what I know, what I've read, and what I've enjoyed.  As for the drinks I'm going to focus on using ingredients that are accessible to most everyone and can be found in most grocery stores.  Also ingredients that you can make yourself, like infused simple syrups, waters, and teas.  I'm going to be using all of the standard liquors, but I'm warning you now, I tend to gravitate towards vodkaMy first pairing is White Oleander by Janet Fitch and my cocktail The White Astrid.  For this cocktail I wanted the overall result to be white, so I had to think of ingredients that would produce that white milkiness, without using milk (I didn't want a heavy drink tasting of milk).  The end result was a martini made with vanilla vodka, coconut milk, simple syrup and anise extract.  I chose anise because it reminded me of the darkness, turmoils, and betrayals found in the story of Astrid and her enigmatic mom Ingrid.  Overall the drink does have that enigmatic quality because of the hint of licorice, but it is also sweet, creamy but not heavy, and a bit exotic.

The White Astrid
1 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Coconut milk (I used Polar brand coconut milk)
1 oz. Simple syrup (make your own* or use Starbucks Classic Syrup)
1 drop of Pure anise extract
How to: In a cocktail shaker mix ice, vodka, coconut milk, simple syrup and anise.  Shake for at least 30 seconds.  Serve in a chilled martini glass. *To make the simple syrup, take 1/2 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of water and cook over medium heat (watching it and stirring every so often).  When the sugar has dissolved, take the syrup off the heat and let it cool.  Store in a glass jar and refrigerate.