Checking out Chaya

In the restaurant business, capturing a niche market can be very profitable. Among people I know, Chaya Venice is the place to go after work for a drink and a snack. The happy hour is so popular, in fact, that it now continues every day for at least five hours (is that five happy hours?), between 5 p.m. and at least 10 p.m. Any restaurant... Read more →


Taking the lead

Dear New Shrink, I was recently promoted into a management position within my corporation. This is a new opportunity for me, but I feel a little unprepared for this new venture. Part of my new responsibilities include running staff meetings with a staff of 20 professionals. My team represents administrative staff, technical specialists,... Read more →


Creating fond food memories

It’s almost as if it was a delayed April Fools’ joke. After all, the e-mail did literally appear in my in-box at 12:06 a.m. on April 2. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the heading, “Ebelskiver pan, our number one customer favorite.” It’s not that I thought the word “Ebelskiver” was some sort of... Read more →

Book Review

‘50 Amazing Years in the City of the Angels’

When we talk about basketball we all say Lakers. At least we do in Los Angeles. Everyone likes the story of a winner. When we say Lakers we think of the countless NBA championships and we admire that. Champions come from someplace and this table sized book takes us from 1960 to 2009 They haven’t always been on the winning end of the... Read more →


Staying awake for ‘The Wake’

“The Wake” is a play with a lot of p’s in it: politics, philosophy, polemics, passion, and pathos. And enough plot for two plays. In fact, “The Wake” is two plays. One is the love story: boy loves girl, girl thinks she loves boy, girl loves girl, boy waits it out, girl chooses, everybody loses. The other story is... Read more →


Preparing for next year’s marathon

Congratulations to those of you who ran the L.A. Marathon this past Sunday. You should feel very proud. Anyone who has ever run a marathon knows the grueling work and time commitment it takes to prepare for such an event. I certainly do. I was not a runner growing up. In fact, I never completed the timed one-mile run required for gym class. I... Read more →


Shenanigans at the World Bank

Alan Rosenberg is too charming to play a world-class villain. And so he makes neo-con Paul Wolfowitz almost likeable. The play is “Influence,” and it takes place during the time when Wolfowitz was head of the World Bank and was detested by almost everyone he worked with. Rosenberg plays him as not the shiniest nickel in the roll,... Read more →


My boss is a liar and a thief

Dear New Shrink, On several occasions my boss has taken wrongful ownership of projects I have developed by telling upper management that these are his own works. He does not acknowledge any of my work and, despite my five years at the company, he has still not acknowledged my request for a promotion. I have considered leaving the company... Read more →


Nothing to pho(ne) home about

I have had two restaurant experiences that were worth talking about in the last month, but for very different reasons. Let me get the bad news over with in the name of Pho Show on Sepulveda Boulevard in Culver City. This was recommended to me by fans on Yelp and I don’t know what they were thinking as the place has no redeeming... Read more →


Happy belated Steak & Beer Day

Last Sunday, March 14, was the official male version of Valentine’s Day. Because apparently the one we celebrate on Feb. 14 is strictly for the ladies. Hmm, who knew? I was reminded of this past holiday by Steven Breen, my former mailman and fellow contributing writer to SMDP. Steven writes under the heading, “Going Postal.”... Read more →


Don’t get caught in the middle

Dear New Shrink, My mom’s former best friend is a good friend of mine, although they parted ways years ago, not by my friend’s choice but by my mother’s. The reason that they are no longer friends is somewhat fuzzy but according to my mom, her friend embarrassed her by telling her off and contradicting her in front of... Read more →

Community Profiles

Familiar feeling

Sitting in Tel’s Barber Shop, there is a feeling of warmth and coziness that cannot be ignored. Tel Trujillo, his two sons and his grandson are the only barbers in the family-run shop, and it’s been that way since 1988. They each speak with smiles strewn across their faces, chatting comfortably with their customers whom they... Read more →


Mind if I borrow your network?

Dear New Shrink, I have been on the job hunt for a few months now and have really appreciated the support of my friends and former co-workers. One former colleague in particular has mentioned his great connections in the tech industry, which is where I hope to work. He has offered to help send out my resume and put me in touch with several of... Read more →


Cookies for a cause

I wanted that Girl Scout cookie reward patch so badly as a kid. Despite lugging cartons of Thin Mints around the neighborhood in my wagon and using my cute little brother for door-to-door sales, I always fell short. Now I will do my part to help our 250 local scouts by eating as many Samoas, Tagalongs and Trefoils as I can stomach until March... Read more →

Community Profiles

Pioneering care for rape victims

MID-CITY — As a patient arrived at the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, Gail Abarbanel, center founder and director, noted that it was the third patient of the day, and not even nightfall yet. She has seen the number of patients fluctuate since she established the center in 1974, but said the Rape Treatment... Read more →