Archive for the ‘California retro, vintage’ Category

Since today is our wedding anniversary (9 years!) I was reminiscing about ways we had celebrated this day in years past when it occurred to me to share one of the most fab ways – at the wonderfully cool Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, CA. We spent a glorious long weekend at this historic Hollywood hotel and will never forget it!

Chateau Marmont Entrance


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The recently renovated Tonga Room, an historic tiki fixture in the basement of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel since the 1920’s is slated for demolition now that the building has gone condo- not cool! If you’re in the SF area and want to lend your voice to saving this slice of history, there’s a meeting at Smuggler’s Cove on March 23. Here are the details as I found’em on that fabulous tiki resource, Tiki Central!


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – To all concerned San Franciscans, Tiki freaks, Dionysians and Sybarites, mid century fans, and rum aficionados; come one and come all to a gathering at Smuggler’s Cove (650 Gough St. San Francisco, CA 94102) on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 starting at 5:00PM to sign a petition opposing the demolition of the Tonga Room to make way for a parking garage and yet more luxury condominiums. ( Mod Betty says, “the thought makes my heart sink!”

After you sign the petition, stay a while and enjoy a fantastic rum cocktail or two while you mix and mingle with like-minded people and listen to Exotica under the soft glow of Tiki torches and beachcomber lamps. Around 6:00 PM, Chris VerPlanck and Erica Schultz of S.O.S. Tonga will provide a brief update on efforts to save the Tonga Room and exhort you to contact your local supervisors and the president of the Historic Preservation Commission, urging them to designate the Tonga Room as a local San Francisco Landmark. Mahalo!

Located at The Fairmont San Francisco, The Tonga Room has delighted guests with its tropical décor, decadent libations and Asian cuisine since 1945.

If you want to help but can’t make the meeting, also consider becoming a fan of Save The Tonga Room on Facebook.

I’m putting The Tonga Room on the Retro Roadmap as we speak and hope, with the input of concerned citizens it gets to stay there for a very long time!

The Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel
950 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94108-6000
(415) 772-5278

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This post- on a restaurant I’ve never been to, on the total opposite side of the country- began with a less than satisfying visit to a diner (I won’t get into it but will just say it wasn’t Retro Roadmap-worthy). As I drove away with a weight in my tummy, I began to question myself, “What IS Retro Roadmap worthy? Exterior? Interior? Food? Ambiance? Why do some places make the cut, and others don’t cut it?”

As I was trying to articulate this in my head, to myself, a story came on the radio about Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood California. The restaurant has just had its 90th birthday and is going stronger than ever (you can listen to the story yourself, on NPR right here )

(thanks to daisylind  on flickr for the use of her fabulous photo!)

Suddenly I was hearing phrases like:

Musso’s has thrived by remaining faithful to its traditions.

Step into this red leather and mahogany interior, and you step into another world, another era.

You walk into Musso’s, and it embraces you. Musso’s is historical serenity.

It was then I realized that I was hearing some of the definitions of Retro Roadmap worthiness coming out of my very own car radio, as if a voice from another sphere knew what I wanted to hear!

I  knew at that moment I had to get on the Retro Roadmap hotline to our West Coast Correspondent Anna B, who has been a fan of “Musso’s” since she has lived in L.A. From her new digs in San Fran she was kind enough to articulate in her own way what makes this place so wonderful: (more…)

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Dear pal and ace reporter Anna Borg brings us her first missive from LA LA Land, Los Angeles California. Anna has got her finger on the pulse of all things cool and vintage on the West Coast, and this is just one of many posts sure to follow on her beat, detailing what is hip and happening over on the other side of the country!

Los Angeles is a town of reinvention, so finding a juicy vintage gem is rare.  After a few disappointments, I learned to temper my expectations and look at the positives in the vintage joints while allowing for some deviation from authenticity.

Crouched in the shadow of the legendary, perfectly restored, Wayne McAllister designed Bob’s Big Boy, is a sweet little place called Papoo’s Hot Dog Show.  Who is Papoo?  What is a Hot Dog Show?  The answers to these questions remain lost to the ages, but they were no doubt inspired by the popularity of theme restaurants in the late 1940s.


The whimsical sign out front shows a wiener dog with wings flying inside a brightly colored stage.  Appetizing?  Not quite, but amusing and curious?  Absolutely!


Papoo’s has been located on the same busy Burbank corner for 60 years and they have a small, but loyal clientele.  In a town where everything seems super sized and on the go, Papoo’s is a place to grab a heart-backed soda fountain seat and enjoy a Hoffy brand hot dog, a Showburger, or a solid breakfast.  Look closer at the menu and you will find a real, old-fashioned egg cream (rare on the West coast,) and assorted dinner platters and salads.  Most items are made from scratch and priced very reasonably.


(note the thrifty prices from the 1949 menu!)

For my first meal at Papoo’s, I had to have a hot dog, show or no show!  I settled on the melted cheese dog after seeing it listed on one of the original framed 1949 menus on the wall. Two small sides are included, so I tried the house made coleslaw and the “famous” baked beans.


I loved sitting at my little Formica table, using the ancient napkin dispenser.  Each table had a dispenser from a different era, so it was like a “Napkin Dispensers Through The Ages” exhibit.

The floor is classic black and white linoleum and the counter stools are a mix of old wooden and restored chrome.


Continuing the trip through the decades, you can settle in for a game of Ms. Pac Man, play a cd on the juke box, or watch one of the brand new plasma screen TVs set up on the walls.  This unfortunate intrusion into the vintage cuteness of Papoo’s is a necessity in the age of 24-hour sports monitoring.  One way to avoid the TVs is to sit on the adorable enclosed patio.

There is a decent sized parking lot behind the restaurant and the restrooms are in a separate building, another common feature of older joints.


All in all, Papoo’s is a fun, bright place to grab a snack while supporting a local, independently owned business.

Papoo’s Hot Dog Show
4300 Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 846-1511

Papoo's Hot Dog Show on Urbanspoon

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Tiki Oasis – August 13-16 2009 – San Diego CA

Hey all you Hodads and Surf Betties- don’t miss Tiki Oasis the only tiki event of its kind on the west coast!


Brought to you by the husband and wife team behind Tiki News Magazine, it aims to honor historic sites and celebrate all aspects of tiki style, including:

All-night Beach Parties!
Live music!
Burlesque & Go Go dancers!
Surf flicks!
Woodie Car show!
DJ’s spinning vintage vinyl!
Symposiums & Book Signings!
Poolside bazaar and Artist Alley!

Live tiki carving!

And so much more!

Indulge in the island atmosphere of lush tropical foliage, pounding waterfalls, and serene lava rock Koi ponds where a tropical cocktail is always within arms reach- sounds good to me!

Tiki Oasis 9
The Crown Plaza Hotel
2270 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA 92108

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