Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The 2008 Tustin Chili Cook-Off

If you're a glutton for punishment (both receiving and giving) like I am, then chili should rank as one of your top dishes. Lucky for you and me (and unlucky for the folks standing behind you), our day is near.

The Tustin Street Fair and Chili Cookoff will take to the streets of Old Town Tustin on June 1, 2008 - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This 24th annual event features the Chili Cookoff, craft booths, non-profit food vendors, entertainment, kids carnival, music and much more. Admission is free.

Here's some random YouTube footage of last year's event and what to expect this year.

Now where are my chili boots?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Anomaly

On a brick wall facing an abandoned home just west of the Santiago Street Lofts is where I first spotted this rare find several months ago.

Normally, this abandoned lot is highly inaccessible to foot traffic due to multiple layers of chain link fences. But with the "mini-circus" that came to town during Cinco de Mayo weekend and used an empty adjacent lot for vehicle storage, I had one less fence to jump and was able to snap this photo.

Oh my goodness! Did someone actually take the time to plan a mini-mural in Santa Ana? Bravo!

This piece is an anomaly for the city of Santa Ana being that it is a strong departure from the mundane chicken scratch that can be seen all over town. Granted, it doesn't hold a candle to the work done in Los Angeles, or even Vancouver for that matter, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Strangers in a Strange Land

I’m a huge fan of mass transportation when I’m not in Southern California, so when my good friend/neighbor suggested we take a Sunday day trip to Los Angeles via the Metrolink, the wannabe New Yorker inside of me jumped for joy.

Even though downtown Los Angeles is only 35 miles away from the Santiago Lofts; I personally can count the times I’ve been there on one hand.

Perhaps it’s been the dreaded (potential) 2-hour crawl up the 5 freeway that makes me turn the other way and drive to my hometown of sunny San Diego.

But, with a train station in our backyard, and gas prices running at an all time high, it would be foolish to not take advantage of the Metrolink.

A weekend roundtrip ticket to Union Station and back runs you $11.50. Being that most cars average around 25mpg, not to mention the reduced stress of not having to drive on California’s dangerous cell phone-plagued freeways, this price is a steal.

Our trip began with the 10:49AM train departing the Santa Ana station–which if you don’t know, is a Nerf football’s throw from the loft sales office on Santiago Street.

The hour-long trip passed quickly and in no time our train arrived on time at Union Station at 11:50AM. From there we stopped for lunch at Philippe’s for some delicious sandwiches (you can read Elmo Monster’s wonderful review of the restaurant/adventure here) just a few minutes walk from the train depot.

Are you taking notes here City of Santa Ana?

After lunch, we headed back to Union Station and took the Red Line Subway (free with the Metrolink ticket, though no one ever stopped to check us) to 7th Street and walked a few blocks until we arrived at the South Park Flea Market.

Unfortunately, the flea market was just a small showing of vendors so what we thought would be an all-day event ended up being thirty minutes, at most.

So we headed back to the 7th Street Station where we reversed course and took the Red Line back to Union Station where we walked across the street to check out historic Olvera Street.

The piazza had live music that packed in many spectators and the street (cart) vendors were out in full force. It seemed like this was business as usual and weekend events held at Olvera Street are wonderful tourist traps–something our own Fiesta Marketplace could learn a lot from.

After some quick shopping, the Santiago gang ventured up Cesar E Chavez Avenue where we eventually found ourselves in Chinatown.

Our group ventured into the middle building pictured above to pick up some delicious "snackies" while escaping the 90-degree weather.

Afterward, we decided it was time to head back to Union Station where we caught the 4:30PM train back home, arriving promptly in Santa Ana at 5:20PM.

The simplicity, comfort and convenience or the Metrolink is one of those luxuries I’m hoping to take advantage of more often. Though I don’t think I’ll ever be able to 100% do away with my car in California, it’s definitely a goal worth trying.

California’s car-culture has a tendency to make us forget that some of life’s best adventures aren’t always the destination, but the journey itself.

If you're thinking of planning a car-free weekend trip, check out the Metrolink schedule here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

May Art Walk

Tomorrow night marks the third Saturday of the month and you know what that means–The Santiago Art District Art Walk!

Visit the Santiago Art District website for more information and links to the gallery websites.

Photo of Studio 904 courtesy of Costea Photography.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Trash Talk

Many residents struggle to fit their two 96-gallon trash/recycling bins into their garages here at the Santiago Street Lofts. Although Association rules state that the bins need to be stored within the garage on non-trash pick-up days, for one reason or another, some folks just can't make space for the two large bins.

If by trash day your 96-gallon bin is only half way full, you might want to consider downsizing to a 64 or 32 35-gallon receptacle.

To do so, contact Waste Management of Orange County's customer service at (714) 558-7761. On trash day, your bins will be swapped out for your chosen size.

Holiday Schedule
Waste collection does not occur on the following days:

• New Year's Day
• Memorial Day
• 4th of July
• Labor Day
• Thanksgiving Day
• Christmas Day

Our normal trash collection day is Friday, but during the week of the listed holidays, collection is on Saturday (unless the holiday falls on a Saturday).

Trash (maroon) Bin
Items that can be placed in trash containers:

• Disposable diapers
• Drinking glasses
• Pet-soiled paper
• Window glass
• Pet waste
• Auto glass
• Soiled/greasy paper plates or pizza boxes
• Mirrors
• Napkins
• Paint cans (empty)
• Waxed and coated paper
• Oil cans (empty)
• Aluminum foil
• Rubber/latex items
• Microwave dinner trays
• Plastic bags (grocery or dry cleaner)
• Butter tubs
• Taggers
• Potting containers
• Clothing
• Styrofoam
• Foam padding
• Toys
• Carpeting
• Steel items
• Ceramics
• Palm fronds

Recycling (gray) Bin
Items that can be placed in recycling containers:

• Glass bottles/jars (all colors)
• Cardboard
• Mixed papers
• Junk mail/magazines
• Newspapers
• Plastic bottles/jars (CRV# 1 & 2)
• Plastic milk containers
• Metal cans
• Plastic beverage bottles (CRV# 1-7)
• Frozen food boxes
• Cereal boxes (with plastic liner removed)
• Empty paper towel and bath tissue rolls

Items that should NOT be placed in recycling containers:

• Paper towels and tissues
• Plates and napkins
• Styrofoam
• Plastic/paper cups
• Aluminum foil
• Pizza boxes
• Cardboard milk containers

For more information, download this flyer or visit the Waste Management website here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Other Events This Weekend

May 2nd
Gustavo Arellano on Friday, May 2 will be in Santa Ana at Librería Martinez starting at 7PM to sign "Ask a Mexican!"—a series of essays dealing with misconceptions and myths about Mexican immigrants.

1110 N. Main St., Santa Ana
(714) 973-7900

May 3rd/4th
Cinco de Mayo Festivities
I haven't found anything online detailing the weekend event, but during my morning downtown coffee run, workers were blocking off several streets and were setting up vendor canopies on 4th street.

May 3rd
Downtown Santa Ana Artwalk
Orange County's hippest new neighborhood invites you to stroll down the four blocks of the 2nd Street Promenade from Broadway Avenue to Spurgeon Street on the First Saturday of EVERY month from 7:00pm - 10:00pm. Admission is FREE.

May 4th
The Bowers Museum
Courtesy of the Lockhart Family and a generous donation in the memory of Dorothy Goerl, the Bowers Museum is pleased to offer free admission to Santa Ana residents, with proof of residency (e.g., driver's license, utility bill, etc), on the first Sunday and third Tuesdays of every month.

2002 N. Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 567-3600

There is no reason to get in your car this weekend–unless you're watching Iron Man.

Indie Arts & Crafts Festival (05/04)

This Sunday, from 11AM-5PM, The Road Less Traveled Store is hosting Patchwork–a semiannual indie arts and crafts festival that showcases emerging crafters, delicious food and local music.

From The Road Less Traveled website:
Grab a one-of-a-kind handbag from Harveys while dining on the local fairs from OC's best eateries and shopping from over 50 independent artists. Raffles, music, art seminars and the most unique in the County's creativity. Buy Local & Shop Creative!

Items you might be interested include: home goods, clothing, paper goods, accessories and affordable art.

Be sure to say "Hi" to Delilah Snell while you are there–she's so nice.

City Place Event Tonight

Tonight and every first Friday of the month, business owners at City Place host an event where you can enjoy food, music and special events from 7-10 pm.

If you haven't yet been to City Place, first Fridays are a great time to check it out.