Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Panic! At The Depot

Yesterday afternoon, some douchetard thought it would be funny to phone in a bomb threat at the adjacent Santa Ana Train Depot.

You can read the full story here, but let me ask you–what kind of piece of crap thinks a shenanigan like this is funny, especially around the holidays?

Douchetards, that's who.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Santa Ana Pub Crawl ♥'s Yelp

Tomorrow night marks the last Pub Crawl for 2008 and my new friends at Yelp are helping me take it to a whole, nutha, level with prizes to be given out throughout the Crawl. If you haven't been on a Pub Crawl yet, attend this one. Below is a list of some of the specials for tomorrow night.

    • $2 beers and ½ price appetizers at Original Mike's

    • Awesome happy hour prices (until 9PM) at Memphis

    • $15 pitcher of beer and a giant plate of nachos (or a monster quesadilla) at The Gypsy Den

    • Sweet food and drink prices all night at Tommy Pastrami

    • $3.00 Bottled Mojitos, $5.00 Cosmos, $15.00 Pitchers of Spaten, Moretti, Heffeweissen, Flying Dog Pale Ale and $2.00 Tacos (Fish, Carne Asada & Enchilada) at Jason's Restaurant

    • Various Pub Crawl specials at Proof Bar

    • Half-priced shots at Bistro 400
For more information as to what Yelp is bringing to the event, click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chalk Another One Up For The Speedway

Another accident took place this morning on The Santa Ana Speedway shortly after 8:30AM. Luckily, it didn't look like anyone was injured in this accident.

I didn't notice it at the time, but after close examination of image, it looks as if both cars are the same make (Toyota), model (Corolla) AND color.

What are the odds of that?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

AdSense Update (11/26/08)

Stuck in the office today while everyone else remembered to schedule the day off, leaving you to man the fort? Why not click though a couple thousand ads on the Santiago Street Loft blog and help raise money for my furry friends down at Pet Pro Life.

As some of you may know, all funds collected from ads on this website go directly to this wonderful non-profit organization–the very same where the wife and I adopted our furry bundle of joy.

So if you have nothing to do on this day before we give thanks by stuffing our guts until we succumb to food coma, please click away!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Art Walk and soundDowntown–This Weekend in Santa Ana

Once again, our little community will be putting on our monthly Art Walk this Saturday, drawing in people from all over to witness for themselves some of the wonderful things coming to Santa Ana, not to mention some pretty sweet local art.

One of the exhibits that I'm excited to check out is The Art of City Building II: Mixed-Income Housing & Transit Oriented Development, presented by Galeria Tufiño.

This exhibit takes a closer look at Santa Ana's current state of housing, and the enormous potential that can come to our city with responsible and creative development.

For more information regarding this exhibit, please check out this page on the Galeria Tufiño website.

More information about the Santiago Art District Art Walk is available here.

Another event that's catching a lot of buzz and will hopefully draw people into Santa Ana is soundDowntown (yes, that's how they chose to spell it).

Details from the website:
soundDowntown 2008 is a one-day music festival on Saturday, November 15, featuring a lineup of over 50 locally and nationally recognized bands, DJ's and performing artists at various venues throughout the Artist's Village of downtown Santa Ana.

soundDowntown runs from Saturday, November 15th starting at 2PM and wraps up Sunday the 16th at 2AM.

More information available here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Patchwork Sunday (11/09)

Today from 11AM-5PM, The Road Less Traveled Store is hosting Patchwork–a semiannual indie arts and crafts festival that showcases emerging crafters, delicious food (including one of my personal favorites Memphis), and local music.

From The Road Less Traveled website:
Come celebrate the best in locally produced, hand-made & creative goods at our bi-annual fair. Local foods, music, art and goods from over 60 vendors. DIY stations from Harveys & American Apparel. Join the hand-made movement!

You can read more about the Patchwork movement here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Liberty For All

Santiago Street Loft resident and galley owner Liberty Dickinson will be exhibiting this excellent rendering of our local gem restaurant La Chiquita at The Lucky Own Gallery located in the City Place Lofts tonight.

This piece is part of a collection by various artists called Santa Ana: The Urban Landscape.

Aside from the gallery opening, City Place is also hosting their First Friday tonight (my lovely, but often nerdy wife points out: tonight is one of those rare nights where a first Friday falls just before the second Saturday [Pub Crawl]).

Lucky Owl is located at 103 E. City Place Drive, Santa Ana, CA (across from Main Place shopping center).

First Friday and the gallery exhibit both start tonight at 7PM, and run until 10PM.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote for Lando Calrissian

It always seems to come down to either a giant douche or a turd sandwich, doesn't it? Don't forget to vote today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

"For A Better Santa Ana"

Six months ago I began a little pet project known as the Santa Ana Pub Crawl–A little sociological experiment designed to change the perception of Santa Ana in the eyes of those who have never stepped foot in our town, while at the same time, boosting restaurant sales from the hours of 5PM through 8PM. In essence, a self-funded public relations campaign for the city of Santa Ana and free advertising for the downtown restaurants.

And what better way to lure people into Santa Ana than to offer food and drinks at great prices on a Saturday? When I approached each of the participating businesses with idea of a Pub Crawl, I only asked three things of them:

1. Offer drink/food specials one Saturday a month

2. Distribute, stamp and collect the Pub Crawl Cards

3. Contribute a prize to make the event more exciting

Over the next several Pub Crawls, someone in our "Crawl Group" would run into someone who has never set foot in Santa Ana's downtown. After saying how much fun they are having, they usually follow up with something to the likes of "Wow, I never knew Santa Ana was this cool" or "This is nothing like what I thought Santa Ana was like".

Mission accomplished. Well, kinda. No matter how many good things people like myself try to do for this city, the OC Register still sits in our backyard spewing fuel for brown hatred and ignorant stereotypes, but I digress.

Last week, I decided to extend the experiment and tie it into The Broken Window Theory. In the spirit of the election season, I created a handful of signs reading "Ben Dayhoe: For A Better Santa" with the Pub Crawl URL listed below the tagline. Under the cover of darkness, we set out to stake them around town (example below).

With the help of two awesome neighbors, we successfully "politically vandalized" the city of Santa Ana in an effort to promote the Pub Crawl to residents of Santa Ana, and maybe get a laugh or two (bonus points for offending).
What I found to be interesting was that the signs that I placed adjacent to official candidate and proposition signs remained untouched (with the exception of the sign we placed on the SW corner of Sycamore and Main that was mysteriously removed and replaced with yet another "Michele Martinez for Mayor"), and the signs that were placed on Broadway and E. Seventeenth Street where no other campaign signs resided were quickly removed.

Does the removal of my signs prove the Broken Window Theory? Not at all (but it does make me wonder how much "political graffiti" will remain post-November 4th). But I did notice that once political signs were removed, they were very slow to come back in that very same location.

David Hastie, the General Manager down at Memphis thinks that someone may have actually stolen my some of my signs. He told me in an email last week that people were actually running out into the center median and to take pictures with my signs. How rad is that?

Stolen or not, I'm very flattered. In my six+ years as a professional designer, NO ONE has ever taken a picture with anything I've created, let alone stolen my work. I say awesome–awesome to the max!

This Wednesday, I'm hoping to meet with the Downtown Business Council in hopes to receive funding to further promote the Pub Crawls. It's been a fun and humbling experience for me and I hope that the Pub Crawl continues to grow, chipping away at the stigma that's associated with our great city of Santa Ana.

The next Pub Crawl is this Saturday, November 8th. I hope you'll join me for a drink.

One last note, I'd like to thank my neighbors Dallas, Chris and Krissy for letting me "politicize" your front yards, as well as "Lando" and "El Diablo Blanco" for helping plant the signs.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween (2008)

Today marks our third Halloween at the Santiago Street Lofts and I'm hoping to break our record of the two trick-or-treaters that came to our door last year.

Our first year here back in 2006, my wife and I waited patiently downstairs as the night went by without a single trick-or-treater. Still to this day, my wife and I are trying to work off the weight we gained from all of the leftover candy from that night.

I've always seen Halloween as one of the best holidays of the year. It's a day where people can showcase their creativity, kids get to stay out late collecting candy (or pennies which always sucked), and a man can walk outside in the middle of the day dressed in full drag and the mailman wants to take a photo with him.

So if you're hunting for a good haunting later tonight, look no further than Downtown Santa Ana as Bistro 400, Tommy Pastrami, Memphis and Proof Bar will each be hosting unique Halloween parties.

Maybe I'll see you there :)

I leave you with theses videos in the spirit of the holiday.

This one's also fun, though I'm not sure it's a good idea to try this in Santa Ana ;)

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hello to you Suzanne Broughton and Family!

Thank you for putting together this awesome clip :)

Original post here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Art Walk This Saturday (10/18)

Tomorrow night marks the third Saturday of the month, which means it's Art Walk time at the Santiago Street Lofts!

In recent months, I've noticed a rise in elected city officials attending the Art Walks which means we're on their radar. Though, the true measure of our success will be whether or not we can get them to come back in December.

If you missed last month's Art Walk, check out some photos I snapped here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making It Really "Work"

Live, Work, Play.

That was one of the marketing slogans that original sold me on the Santiago Street Lofts.

Three years later, I Live here, I (sometimes) Work here, and if you're a reader of this blog, you sure as hell know I Play here.

The "Live, Work, Play" slogan dreams big for this community, but has still yet to be fully realized. With the Renaissance Plan on the back burner until election season is over, and any developments that were headed our way postponed until the next real estate cycle, I figured in the mean time, the Work element was something that could use some fine tuning.

As someone who runs a part-time business out of their store front, I've witnessed firsthand how difficult it is to do so. On several occasions, my clients were unable to find a suitable parking space nearby. With gas prices on the rise, even the parking lot at the train depot can be packed with increased ridership. Also, it doesn't help that the city of Santa Ana previously designated ALL parking around the Santiago Street Lofts as No Parking/Stopping.

Currently, the city is looking the other direction and not enforcing the No Parking on Poinsettia Street until construction is completed here at the lofts. But once the construction crew is out at the end of the year, the plan was to make that entire block No Parking/Stopping.

And why are there so many streets designated “No Parking/Stopping” around the lofts? For years, the Logan neighborhood has battled irresponsible overflow parking from some of the neighboring businesses, which prompted the city to act with their usual kill a fly with a shotgun method by restricting parking on entire blocks.

While this method has prevented trash and tow trucks from taking up residence on nearby public streets, it has also put a stranglehold on many who've decided to run a business from within their unit.

This dilemma prompted me back in January (2008) to approach the city of Santa Ana with a plan to install parking meters around the Santiago Street Lofts–allowing guests and clients easy access during normal business hours to the businesses residing in the lofts. These meters would only be enforced Monday through Friday, 9AM-6PM.

After speaking with countless individuals and getting the runaround several times over, I called Scott Kutner of the Community Development Agency for Santa Ana and he was able to put me in touch with Frank Orellana, a Senior Engineer with the city of Santa Ana's Public Works department. Frank had just recently been assigned to identify options to improve on-street parking in our area due to upcoming developments with the Santa Ana Street Car plan.

Though we're currently not in an area that allows (is zoned) for metered parking, Frank and I worked out a plan that will now allow non-metered 1-hour parking in the green areas, indicated in the graphic below. This 1-hour rule will be in effect Monday through Friday from 9AM-6PM.

But why metered/1- hour parking at all you ask? That's a great question. The plan is to prevent long-term parking on the loft-side of the street from adjacent businesses, as well as overflow from the depot parking lot–a problem that has crept into our own "visitor parking" stalls here at the lofts. The goal is to create circulation, and not stunt businesses. Not to mention, preventing any future issues with abandoned cars near the lofts.

If things go well, Frank said there’s a good possibility that the 1-hour limit can be increased to a maximum of two hours. The ultimate goal of this pet project is achieve metered parking around the lofts, but with the city of Santa Ana, it's always baby steps. But hey, it's a start.

The debate on whether or not parking should be allowed on Civic Center Drive (loft side) is still going on being that the "Go-Local" streetcar scheduled for completion in a few years would just end up taking any allotted spaces away from that side of the street.

In the mean time, these added parking spaces should help out not only the daytime businesses that are blossoming in our community, but nighttime activities including our monthly Art Walk, which, by the way, is this Saturday.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Santa Ana Pub Crawl-This Saturday! (10/11)

Someone once told me that during rough economic times, alcohol sales go through the roof. If that's true, then this Saturday's Pub Crawl should be off the hook.

Last month Original Mike's and Tommy Pastrami joined The Crawl and took care of guests with amazing specials. Seriously, it's worth the "trek" to Original Mike's–trust me.

Don't forget to fill out a Crawler Card for a chance at some seriously sweet prizes–like $50 gift cards and more!

For more information about the Pub Crawl, visit the website!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Here We Go Again

Almost ten months ago to the day, this exact window was etched by one of Santa Ana's "scratchitti artists". Today, this window once again became the target our newest enemy.

Being that our Association has taken a lax position on glass etching removal, and the city of Santa Ana offers no solutions by way of removal assistance, this problem will only continue to get worse.

There is fine line where graffiti could be considered art, but this recent act of vandalism holds no artistic merit and pisses me off.

During next month's Association meeting, I'm going to move that our Association give homeowners the option of replacing the window pane within three days, or to have the Association pay for someone to buff out the glass–a solution that yields questionable results, but at least removes the eyesore.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Art Walk Photos: 09/20/08

Art from the HiveArt from the Hive (street view)
Candid Art
Curbside Gallery
J. Lewis Gallery
Liberty Fine Arts
Salu Gallery
Sipho's Gallery
Galeria Tufiño
Strong Island Designs

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Planting a Seed in Hopes of a Tree

Every Monday night, friends, family and neighbors gather at Tommy Pastrami on Fourth Street in downtown Santa Ana to celebrate the end of another Monday while enjoying the last football game of the week.

As I was chaining my bike to a puny birch tree, one that was just recently planted out front of Tommy Pastrami blocking their $8,000 sign, I wondered if the city of Santa Ana would ever install bike racks, or if myself and other bikers will forever be chaining our bikes up to fences, light posts and trees.

It was that moment that I remembered reading about the Bike Tree–a solar powered, medium capacity bike rack that safely stores bicycles above ground, protected from the elements and away from those looking for a “free ride”.

From Treehugger.com: Rather than hitching your bike to a post at street level, swipe a smart card, enter your PIN, and your cycle is taken up the “trunk” of the tree to a dome that protects it from thieves and the elements. The tree’s footprint is minimal, which helps keep space open for pedestrians (and the dome shields them from rain, too).

In a recent conversation I had with Mayor Pulido, he stated that he wants Santa Ana to keep looking for ways to be a Greener City. If that were truly the case, one would think that bike racks would be a good start; Bike Trees an even better one.

David Hastie, the general manager of Memphis Café and fellow biker once told me that Santa Ana did indeed at one time have bike racks throughout the downtown, but being constant targets of graffiti, not to mention bicycle thefts, prompted the city to remove them all together. “A typical solution of the city by throwing the baby out with the bathwater”, he stated.

David has lobbied the city to allow him to install a single bike rack in front of Memphis, and has even offered to have the restaurant pay for it. No word yet on whether or not the city will permit this crazy idea.

In my humble opinion, the Bike Tree coupled with Thomas Gordon’s notion of bringing bike sharing to our town would be a bold statement about our town to the rest of the county, and could truly set the pace for a greener, more pedestrian/biker-friendly and multi-transit Santa Ana.

Check out the Bike Tree in action below.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pub Crawl and Fiestas Patrias This Weekend

Hopefully you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes for the fun-filled packed weekend Santa Ana has in store for you.

First off, we've got the monthly Pub Crawl taking place this Saturday, September 13th starting at 5PM. Since last month's Pub Crawl, we've added the swankiest joint in Santa Ana, Tommy Pastrami, not to mention Original Mike's asked to join the party this past week. That makes 8 locations to hit before you complete your crawl, and a chance at some really sweet prizes–good luck suckas!

Also this weekend, Santa Ana celebrates Fiestas Patrias–a festival celebrating the Independence Day of Mexico (as well as other Latin American countries). The festival will take place on Flower Street, between Civic Center Drive and Santa Ana Blvd, in front of Santa Ana Stadium.

On a final note, those of you looking to get a double-dose of booze on Saturday, sorry to say, but you won't find any at the Patrias Festival (I'm bummed too).

Monday, September 8, 2008


Can Minnesota's Adrian Peterson be as explosive this season as he was last season?

Will Aaron Rodgers be able to fill the void of a Favre-less Packer squad?

Denver or Oakland–which AFC West team will suck less this season?

Join me tonight in downtown Santa Ana's best place for Monday Night Football: Tommy Pastrami | 410 W. 4th Street | Santa Ana, 92701

Kickoff at 4 and 7:15PM.

Full 2008 NFL Schedule here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Santa Ana Speedway

The speed limit on Santa Ana Boulevard is a clearly posted 35mph, but rarely do those that drive on it observe it. I personally think it should be lowered to 25mph, and for good reason.

Over the past two years, I’ve seen a good amount of traffic accidents occurring within 100 yards of my front door. I attribute these frequent incidents to two things:

  1. Most people don’t know how to drive

  2. Drivers see the Boulevard as a Speedway

With that said, another accident occurred on East Santa Ana Boulevard yesterday around 6:30PM–this one involving a teenage kid on a bike and an OCTA bus.

This accident marks roughly the fifth accident that I’ve seen since on the “raceway” since July of this year, and it was probably the most nerve rattling one I’ve seen in a while. There’s no sound, doesn’t matter what language you speak, like the sound of a mother screaming out “Mi Niño, Mi Niño" (my boy, my boy)!

(And though some of you may think that I’m a sadistic ghoul for taking photos at accident scenes, these photographs will be instrumental in convincing city engineers, police, traffic departments and council members that steps will need to be taken to facilitate a reduction in speed on Santa Ana Boulevard. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.)

A few months back after this accident, I put a call into SAPD requesting an officer to sit out on Poinsettia Street and do nothing but write tickets in an effort to control the speeds that go unchecked in our neighborhood.

No response.

In addition, a recent request to speak with a city engineer about many of my traffic and parking concerns around the Santiago Street Lofts continues to go unanswered. Go figure.

Hopefully, an upcoming pow-wow with our most-elusive mayor will yield better results–it is an election year after all.

So just how fast are these commuters driving down Santa Ana Boulevard? Well, according to my very affordable and quite accurate Hot Wheels radar gun, a decent amount of the drivers are obeying the speed limit, but the majority of people I've tracked using this gun were driving an average of 40mph, but some have exceeded that number by an additional 20mph!

Just this morning, I stepped out to grab some readings during the off-peak hours. The slowest speed I captured was 39mph as these drivers darted west into the high-density neighborhood that borders the Speedway.

Even now as I write this post, commuters are making their mad dash from downtown as the mass exodus of Santa Ana begins.

It’s only a matter of time until one of these drivers ends up crashing through my front door.

"..you need to pump your brakes and drive slow homie".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


One of the best things about living on Santa Ana Boulevard is the convenience of being able to spark a conversation with any of the many pedestrians that pass through here daily.

People who’ve lived in this area of Santa Ana are happy to see something as nice as our lofts finally come to their neighborhood. Joggers and dog walkers are popping up everywhere and it's great!

Having spoken with several high school students that transverse these sidewalks (upwards of ten times a school week), these lofts represent what these students could achieve should they choose to continue on their paths for higher education–in other words, these lofts represent hope.

In a city touting an “Education First” motto, but only supporting a painfully low 56% graduation rate among high school students (source: Civic for Civic Innovation), hope is something this town and these students desperately need.

And what of the 56% of students that do graduate from high school and move on to pursue a four-year degree? Do you think that Santa Ana has what it takes to retain these educated individuals once college is done?

No. They end up moving to real cities with real downtowns such as Los Angeles, San Diego or Long Beach.

The remaining 44% of students who don’t graduate from high school statistically end up in low-wage jobs, with very few options or ways out of this city.

Having spoken with a friend that once worked at Latino Health Access, 8 out of 10 teenage females will get pregnant in the city of Santa Ana.

As a good friend put it, Santa Ana has created a wonderful system of dependency.

Growing up, I didn’t have much, but I did see a lot of wonderful things happening in downtown San Diego that aspired me to continue on with my education.

Though the Broadway One tower (terrible website design) is riddled with controversy and shenanigans, I welcome that development in that it too brings hope. Once built, the tower will not only bring in new faces to Santa Ana, but also large corporations that could help retain the educated students who would normally make an exodus from this town.

Currently, downtown Santa Ana does not allow standard (R2) residential living. As stated in the Renaissance Plan, this restriction would be lifted offering new living options to current residents and outsiders seeking the urban lifestyle.

Anyone who knows me personally has probably heard my rant as to how important this zoning change is to this city. With such limiting restrictions on residential developments, our downtown currently operates as a dismal 10-hour downtown when it could easily be an 18-hour downtown full of restaurants, activities and a wondrous nightlife.

Employment opportunities will blossom from every corner. Restaurants such as Memphis, Jason’s and Tommy Pastrami could support a full 7-day schedule with the influx of hungry urbanites. County workers that normally stampede out of the city come five o'clock now have a reason to hang out and spend some time and money in our fabulous downtown. The increased foot traffic would create a better sense of security for those who before, would never step foot in Santa Ana, and now would do anything to be here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August Art Walk

Last month we had a great turnout for our July art walk. Local restaurants Bistro 400 and Jason's Downtown Restaurant pitched in with much some needed refreshments and treats for our guests.

This Saturday, August 16th brings yet another art walk full of good times and then some.

Even with the help of the downtown restaurants, it's hard to predict how busy art walk nights will be. In recent months, our community has worked extra hard as a unified team to promote this monthly event. Why? Because we can't wait for the city to bring the fun–just ask the downtown loft residents who've been here 5 years and counting.

And though the success of our art walk is due to many factors like our residents, I'd like to take the time to thank some of the websites that helped get us on the map:

OC Now
The OC Art Blog
The City of Santa Ana Calendar
The French Park Website
Yelp (thanks Brian!) - taco lady does rock

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Who's Up For Another Round?

Looking at the stack of completed Crawler Cards from last month's Pub Crawl is a great sign of its success. People from all over came to experience what Downtown Orange County has to offer and they loved it.

All of the participating locations ran fantastic food and drink specials throughout the night, though I feel that The Gypsy Den had the best deal–a plate of nachos and a pitcher of Sierra Nevada for $15–Yum!

That's why it shouldn't be a surprise that this Saturday, August 9th (starting at 5PM), we'll be doing it once again!

Jim Kendrick, owner of Rags has also gotten into the Pub Crawl mood by offering all Crawlers 10% off purchases $10 or more (excluding cigarettes). Why not pick something up that night that you can read during your recovery on Sunday?

Visit the Santa Ana Pub Crawl website for more information, or visit the gallery of photos from last month's event to see what you missed.

Thank you to Jason Nguyen and Julie Shen for those hilarious photos.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Time for Some Campaignin'

Though it's only a mayoral race, I think a Santa Ana version of Time for Some Campaignin' would be an instant classic.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Poo and Starbucks

Coffee aside, the second most disgusting thing at Starbucks are their outdoor patio tables. Come to think of it, I have actually never seen anyone buying his or her coffee at the Starbucks on the corner of 4th and Broadway and bring it outside to drink–and for good reason.

On several occasions, I’ve noticed things that take place on the tables that have a way of making your upper lip uncontrollably snarl in disgust, revealing the top row of my teeth, and sometimes my gums.

Here’s my top 5 list of disgusting things happening (or not happening) on Starbuck's tables:

5. Kids in their teens putting their feet on the table as if it were a raised ottoman

4. People placing their small, dirty mangy-looking dogs on the table

3. The fact that I’ve never seen anyone clean those tables

2. A homeless guy that smelled like the walking dead sleeping at the table

1. A baby being changed with nothing between it and the table

Can anyone top my list?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Big July Art Walk

Tomorrow night kicks off the first event of our three-part summer art walk series: "Summer Groove".

There will be a live band jamming in the courtyard, DJs spinning on the streets, and drinks being served from our downtown friends Bistro 400.

Art Walk starts at 7PM. For more information, visit the newly updated (thanks Mrs. Dayhoe) Santiago Art District website for more information and links to the gallery websites.

Download our Summer Flyer here.

Sacré Bleu

Did Lennar get a deal on blue paint or what?

Not that I have anything against the blue buildings, but seven buildings out of 20 total use the color blue in their palette. That's a little much if you ask me. Not to mention that blue and tan urban dwelling are about five years out of vogue.

A Lennar sales representative once told me that the blue and tan buildings were in fact the hardest ones to move. Hence, there were to be no more blue buildings in the final phases.

So what happens five to ten years down the road when a blue and tan homeowner tries to sell their unit? Hopefully there are enough interesting things sprouting up around the loft community in the next few years to help these future sellers.

Originally, this tan and blue building on the corner of Poinsettia Street and Santa Ana Boulevard was slated to be the Greenwich Village facade–the green and brick stone one. But I guess the interior furnishings weren't the only things Lennar cheapened out on.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Did Someone Say Pastrami?

Tommy Pastrami on 4th Street in Downtown Santa Ana is now open for business!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Association Meeting Thursday (07/17) @ 6PM

When: July 17/6:00PM
Where: Santiago Street Loft Sales Office

Landscaping, lighting and window washing to be discussed.
I'm hoping that Lennar will make a graceful exit once they've completed the final phase with a courtesy window washing.

Can't make the meeting but have an issue with our Association?
Go ahead and leave a comment on this thread or the community Google Group and it will be addressed.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Santa Ana Pub Crawl - 07/12

Didn't get enough partying in this 4th of July weekend? No worries. This Saturday starting at 5PM, the downtown restaurants and bars will be hosting the Santa Ana Pub Crawl.

Stop off at any of the participating locations and pick up a "Crawler Card" for a chance to win free prizes. All you need to do is visit all of the locations featured on the card that night and get it stamped by an employee. Once you've got all of the locations checked off on your card, turn it in (at any of the locations) and you’ll be entered into the raffle. That's it!

Visit the Pub Crawl website for more details and be sure to sign up on the mailing list for information updates.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tommy Pastrami Opens Today Next Week

Last Friday, the wife and I were very fortunate to get a sneak peak of the new Tommy Pastrami restaurant on 4th Street in Downtown Santa Ana as they hosted their soft-grand opening for invited guests, friends and family, though, we were neither.

On the night prior, we walked by the open doors of the restaurant as we were headed to Jason’s Downtown. There we saw the crew getting one of the several flat-screens ready for wall mounting. It really was amazing how much they got done in less than twenty-four hours (we honestly didn’t think that they’d be able to make today’s grand opening, let alone a soft one the next day).

Though you wouldn’t think that a joint with a menu consisting mainly of overstuffed sandwiches would be something to talk about, but this exciting addition to Santa Ana’s future restaurant row sports a very upscale décor; much like the neighboring Bistro 400 and Jason’s Downtown restaurants. If there's any place in Orange County that could be home to a New York-style deli, it's 4th street Santa Ana.

Food and drinks were on the house that night but I only got a chance to sample the regular pastrami sandwich and a small cup of chili. But from those few bites I can assure you that this place is going to be off the hook, much like the other new guys down at The Crosby.

The friendly staff was cool under the intense pressure of a loud house packed ass-to-ass as they made sure that all guests had a chance to cram their pie holes with the various free sandwiches being served that night.

With 6 wall-mounted flat screens located all over the restaurant, one can only hope pray that this restaurant is open on Sundays come football season (Go Chargers).

The hours for this Tommy Pastrami restaurant are listed here on their website, but I’ve heard that those times aren’t carved in stone as they will be feeling it out for the first couple of months (so go on weeknights folks).

Imagine–another restaurant in Downtown Santa Ana open late on a non-Friday weeknight? We might actually be earning that “Downtown Orange County” slogan that was just recently painted on the water tower.


Tommy Pastrami New York Delicatessen
Downtown Santa Ana
410 W. 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701

STORE HOURS (It's up to you Santa Ana if you want them to stay open later):
Monday - Thursday: 7am - 7pm
Friday: 7am - 10pm*
Saturday: 1pm - 10pm*
Sunday: ???

*If it's still busy, the doors stay open

Saturday, June 28, 2008

2008 Sunset at the Zoo

Passing on the goodness:

Pack up a picnic supper, a comfy chair, the kids, and a few friends to come out to the Santa Ana Zoo this summer for the annual "Sunset at the Zoo" Summer concert series. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in a lush park setting, listening to great jazz, looking at displays by artists from 2 local artist districts, checking out cool animals, enjoying coffee and sweets from Parties by Panache, or riding the Zoofari Express train around the Zoo.

This year, there will be 3 concerts: June 8, June 29, and July 20 from 5:30 - 7:30.

June 8 features The Vega Band, jazz artists from the Santa Barbara Area. Featured at the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival, and also the Temecula and Camarillo Jazz Festivals, this talented band performs smooth jazz with a funky flair.

June 29, look for a great show from the Fabulous Peggie Perkins and her trio. Peggie was an opener for last year’s Salt Lake City Jazz Festival. In addition to the jazz and standards in her show, you’ll get a few surprises as she puts her style and spin on your favorite songs (Peggie is releasing her newest CD at the Coach House just a few days earlier, so this is a great opportunity to see her before she goes on tour).

July 20 features perennial favorite The Ron Kobayashi Trio. The Trio is one of our headliners every year, and we’re proud to bring the band back again this year. Featuring original contemporary jazz and amazing takes on standards, this trio performs in the finest Jazz establishments in Orange County.

In addition to a great concert, all “Sunset” shows include an art exhibition by local artists and the Orange County Gourd Society, displays and exhibits to help show you how to lower your carbon footprint, a kids area with crafts and fun, free train rides and desserts, animal encounters, and much more!

Come early for a bonus Blues concert on the front lawn with The Mighty Mojo Prophets on June 8 and July 20, and Mother Road on June 29, free with the price of regular zoo admission. The Blues shows start at 3:00, before the “Sunset” concerts.

Admission for the Sunset Concerts is only $10 ($5 for Zoo members)
The Blues concerts are free with your regular Zoo admission.
All proceeds go to help the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo (a 501 c3 non-profit) support summer programs, animal care and enrichment, and new animals and exhibits.

Save the dates now, and plan to be there for all 3 great shows!

Get info on the "Sunsets at the Zoo" Summer concert series at www.myspace.com/jazzoo

For all other Santa Ana Zoo events see the website at www.santaanazoo.org
or call (714) 953-8555 ext. 4

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ooh! The Colors!

About a month ago, this "peace" caught my eye as I was driving south in the car pool lane on the 55 freeway. To get a better look at the work, I had to pull off the freeway and backtrack being that it wasn't exactly facing the commuting traffic.

Graffiti of this caliber is rarely seen in Santa Ana. Luckily, I had my handy-dandy point-and-shoot cause I knew this one was a keeper.

The businesses along the 55 freeway are frequently subject to gawdawful "attempts" at graffiti art. The Pool Tables USA building alone (facing the southbound side of the 55 freeway) is often abused by graffiti of sub-par standards (at best), which are eventually painted over only to be a clean canvas for the next amateur waiting in the bushes.

Note: In the last two years, I've seen this building having been painted over several times. I wonder when the property owner will consider a wall-crawling vine to help reduce the all too frequent attacks and help cut back on his/her trips to the Home Depot paint department.

If the "KND" (Kings Never Die) signature on the top right looks/sounds familiar to you, then you probably remember the infamous "22 Tagger" who a few years back, terrorized CalTrans and the 22 freeway with his mark.

Now I'm not trying to justify whether or not this should be considered art (though I personally think it is), or whether "nicer" graffiti should be condoned, but rather wanted to share an interesting photo of true graffiti culture existing in Orange County.

I'm sure if this artist were to shift their talent onto a stretched canvas, they'd be able to make some serious money at our monthly Art Walk.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Get Gas, Get Tacos, Get Gas

Get two free tacos at Jack in the Box when you bring in any gas receipt on Thursday, June 26th.
Find the nearest "Jack in the Crack" here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye George Carlin

Video NSFW. Watch at your own discretion.
Gotta love the First Amendment–unless you're the FCC.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June Art Walk

If you're looking for something to do tonight, come stop by our Art Walk starting at 7PM–and don't forget that next month's Art Walk is going to be HUGE!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mil Jugos

One of Santa Ana’s best-kept secrets is tucked away on a one-way street that channels the five 0’clock mass exodus from the Ronald Regan Federal building.

Mil Jugos (translation: one thousand juices) is a colorful hole-in-the-wall restaurant owned by the friendly and always full of smiles Norah Briceño, seen pictured below (left) with her mother, Solange.

The vibrant walls are covered with various photos from Norah's hometown in Venezuela, as well as interesting handcrafted Venezuelan-style building façades.

As a rule of thumb when trying new restaurants, I always tell the server that it's our first visit. Not because I expect special treatment, but I like to get the back-story of the establishment while it buys me some extra time as I peruse the menu.

Luckily, our server just happened to be Norah and she sat right down with us at our table to help decipher the menu while sharing the story of the fruition of her dreams and the difficulties one faces when starting a restaurant in downtown Santa Ana.

Though the menu wasn't complicated, I did need a little handholding from Norah being that I've never eaten Venezuelan cuisine before. She seemed familiar with my cluelessness of Venezuelan dining as she proudly claimed to be "the only Venezuelan restaurant in town" (yeah, it even says that on her business card too).

After helping us pick out some of the restaurant favorites, she headed back into the kitchen where her mother immediately began preparing the forthcoming deliciousness.

First up were the Arepas–grilled cornbread stuffed with either chicken or seasoned meat. The size of an Arepa is hard to tell from these photos, but each one is about the size of a Jr. Whopper (my mouth was salivating as I Photoshopped these two photos together).

The cornbread was light and sweet with just the right amount of crispiness, adding texture to a mouthful of overflowing steamy goodness from either the seasoned meat or the flavorful chicken. The Arepas come out piping hot, but the amazing taste makes one a glutton for punishment as I couldn't resist to continue to chomp and chew away, burning the insides of my mouth rather waiting a few minutes for them to cool down.

Just as we finished up the Arepas, our Cachapas were being delivered to our table. What looks like a burned omelette is actually a folded sweet corn pancake stuffed with white cheese and seasoned meat.

Though it may look like breakfast, this bad boy could be served at anytime of the day, bringing me to my only complaint about this restaurant–the hours.

Mil Jugos is only open from 10AM-5PM Monday-Friday, and from 10:30AM-5PM on Saturday. Norah said that after 5PM, the downtown just seems to die giving her no reason to stay open, especially now in these tough economic times.

Hopefully, with my boys just around the corner at The Crosby "killin' it" on what should be a dead night like Mondays or Tuesdays, perhaps the nightlife will pick up downtown and we'll all soon have an opportunity to sear the insides of our mouths way after the street lights have come on.

Oh yeah, the juices were great, but that's kind of a given.

Mil Jugos
318 W. 5th Street
714 836-4601

Need more convincing you say? Check out these fine reads:
OC Register
Washington Square Website

...and don't forget to check out The OC Weekly's review (like I did–sorry Gustavo ;)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The "One-Stop" Ticket

Whether you love him or hate him (or have no clue who he is), Don Cribb proposes the idea of a "One Stop" ticket between the Santa Ana and Orange stations in an article featured in the May/June 2008 edition of the Old Towne Orange Review.

The train depots in Orange and Santa Ana present exciting changes. Both areas are experiencing new residential loft development and new business and retail opportunities in these areas. Orange’s Depot Walk and Santa Ana’s Santiago Street Lofts have introduced fresh ideas and energy into established dynamics. In Orange, new loft development helps reinforce the importance of Chapman University’s growing role in the socio-economics of the area driven, in part, by its celebrated new film studio. The Orange Plaza is becoming a smaller version of “Westwood Village” near UCLA! In Santa Ana, the Santiago Street Lofts, one-hundred ten of them, with the launch of monthly art walks, have demonstrated the vitality and appeal of transient-oriented development and reinforces the role of the Downtown Artists Village as an urban interactive arts district. A new streetcar system is under review that would link the depot to the Artists Village, the Santa Ana public library and the Orange County Civic Center, where a new Court of Appeals is under construction.

What happens when these two depots better relate? New residents at Santiago Street Lofts soon discover that they have few restaurants and retail amenities nearby, even though Downtown Santa Ana has new cafes such as The Crosby at 4th & Broadway, an ultra-cool and tasty music cafe, and a stylish small development called “Art House,” a residential/professional address next to Chiarini Marble and Stone on Washington, as an example of new ideas moving into established, older areas. This said, it doesn’t take long for new buyers to recognize that a five-minute drive up Grand Avenue onto Glassell can lead to Gabbi’s, one of the best regional Mexican restaurants, or to a wealth of other good cafes and quality retail opportunities - in Orange!

The Orange and Santa Ana Depots have one important and unique feature they share; proximity! A special “One-Stop” ticket, created to encourage residents near either location to move easily back and forth by rail for educational, artistic or business benefit, would enable others to look at rail transportation more seriously in their daily lives. It means they could leave many cars at home!

Santa Ana is set to acquire county land near its depot. There have been discussions regarding more art, educational and residential development, near the depot. The first Artists Village boundaries included the Santa Ana depot and some land south of the depot reads “Artists Village influence” in terms of future development, to make use of light industrial properties.

Much as has been done in Orange. The two depots help to offer positive transportation consideration while discouraging automobile use. The more cars that enter Old Towne Orange and begin to congest the area, the less appealing the area becomes. No one wants to lessen the charm and attraction of Historic Old Towne Orange.

At a time when fuel costs are ever high and pollutants are becoming increasingly regulated, more MetroLink use could help ease vehicular demands! Much mutual benefit could be realized between two important Orange County cities with so much to share! They share a community college district, public school district boundaries and have city boundaries that move back and forth irregularly through neighborhoods and retail and office addresses. Both cities share so much! This relationship could become even more important when transportation opportunities become more important and are shared, too, to help preserve quality of life and ensure sustainable growth and maybe add a bit more interest and fun!

Don Cribb served on the Santa Ana planning commission for eight years, is currently sitting on the Environmental and Transportation Advisory Committee and is the President of the Santa Ana Council of Arts & Culture.

Would a "One-Stop" ticket encourage you to visit our neighbors to the north more frequently? If you haven’t been to Gabbi’s, my growing gut and I highly recommend.

Are there Any Depot Walk residents out there? Would this ticket encourage you to visit sunny, sometimes scary Santa Ana?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Look what arrived in the mail yesterday.
Goodbye social life :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Santa Ana Propaganda

You would never think that the Santa Ana featured in this clip is the same Santa Ana you read about in the OC Register. It’s amazing what good stock footage, editing using quick cuts, and super-saturating the footage can do for your city. Still, there's nowhere else in Orange County I'd rather live than here in Santa Ana.

Zapfino is arguably the worst typeface–EVER.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Thank you to all of the wonderful blog readers out there for helping me raise the first of many checks to be delivered to Pet Pro Life–the organization where I adopted my wonderful and loving doggie back in October of 2006.

By spending time on this blog, clicking on ads, or even buying something featured in one of the ads, you have helped raise this money to support a fantastic non-profit organization dedicated to helping furry friends find new homes.

Currently, animal shelters and rescue programs all across the nation are under great financial strain due to so many homeowners losing their homes and being forced to give up their pets in these tough economic times–as seen in this video featured on CNN.com.

Every penny counts and I couldn't have done it without you.
You guys ROCK–Happy Friday!

Save $25 at Lucky Owl Tonight

Passing on the goodness:

Come Join Us for our First Fridays event, this Friday June 6th from 7-10 pm, featuring Black and White Photography by Michal Pfeil. He will be showing and selling new work from his black and white architecture series. With a special performance from Violinist, Mathias Chaidez.

Lucky Owl will also be releasing it's latest Summer Line of tank tops. Be the first to purchase these HOT tank tops.

Stop by the City Place sales office to receive a $25.00 gift certificate for that night only. (while supplies last)

We look forward to seeing you!

Lucky Owl

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.