California’s Gold

January 7, 2013

in los angeles area interests

One of the reasons I love LA is that although it’s a huge city, it can feel also feel like a small town. My ambassador to all the neighborhoods, the diverse culture, the hidden gems – was Huell Howser, host to several local PBS shows — who I’ve written about many times, since the beginning of this blog.

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Surreal that this text message about his death arrived from Abe while I was having some tea/candy and reading the Larchmont Chronicle, the local paper for the neighborhood I live in; where Huell Howser did as well.

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Here we are at the Farmer’s Market two years ago (he’s in the red sweatshirt at 11 o’ clock, talking to the Cheese Crisps vendor). I had Abe sneakily snap this photo because he’s like a celebrity to us. We actually met once – at The Bungalow – where I shook his hand and gushed like a teenager afterwards. And he often stopped to say hello to Julius during our walks.

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Huell not only showed me things about my own ‘hood, like the Christmas Cookie buffet at our dry cleaners…

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…he was my guide on trips like Catalina Island

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…and inspired some of my funnest food adventures, like the pickle tour of Kruegermann’s

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…and The Donut Man.

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He even helped me mourn the loss of my father, by introducing me to the Hazy Moon Zen Center.

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I could watch anything he hosted (and I pretty much have) but here are some of my favorite moments that come to mind:

  • Big Fish – Huell meets a guy in a pet store whose fish is too big for the tank. They go to Lake Shrine to set it free.
  • Ferndell – This may be the very first time I saw Huell. At first I was like, “Who is this Southern guy shoving his mic in everyone’s face?” Then I realized he was in my neighborhood, visited the beautiful park he was talking about, and fell in love with the genius!
  • Willie’s Shoe Shop – My friend Beth was on this episode. She didn’t know who he was, but I freaked out.
  • Musicians Institute – School of Rock, with Huell as Jack Black. The music video at the end…priceless.
  • Occidental College – Huell visits Barack Obama’s college dorm and interviews his former classmates.
  • The Bunny Museum – My friend Mayuka and I went here before Huell visited. I was so glad he seemed as weirded out by the whole thing as we were.
  • Cow Tongue – Huell makes some not-so-nice remarks about eating tongue, which prompts this culinary journey around Los Angeles.

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R.I.P.

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