The Kosher Burrito once stood on 1st Street between Los Angeles City Hall and Little Tokyo. (Yep, that’s the New Otani in the background.) I snapped this shot with my old 2 1/4 Spartus in the 90’s before it was gone for good in 2002.
Picture a simple lunch counter/ burger stand with a few stools that offered up a cross between Mexican and deli food such as the famed Kosher Burrito which was filled with pastrami, mustard, chili, pickles and onions. Word has it they had pretty good burgers too.
All in the backdrop of Little Tokyo. Only in Los Angeles. Just archive it in the ever expanding file of terrific things that aren’t here anymore.
We are still left with a few “Mexicatessens” around town– joints that serve Mexican food and hamburger style grub. While amusing and promising in name, the reality is a far cry from the Kosher Burrito.
Over 5 years ago, we challenged ourselves to track down and watch every film noir made back in the day when noir was noir. It’s been a fun yet bumpy ride mapping our way through cross referenced lists to find rare cinematic gems and plain old lemons. We’ve scoured public libraries, the internet, local video stores, and film noir fests. Now we’re closing in on completing the list.
But thankfully, there’s always unexpected noirs popping up like weeds wanting their day in the sun. So the challenge continues. At this point, it would be heartbreaking to take a powder on the nightly noir habit.
Luckily, we’ve amassed quite a DVD collection for the dry spells. It was that tippy stack of DVDs that inspired the making of a worthy home for them. We found a couple discarded noir-ish LP covers and worked up a plan for a dapper homemade DVD Case. Over time, we perfected the construction and began selling the one-of-a-kind Upcycled DVD Holder Books.
Recently, we came across this album cover which inspired the making of our latest 52 DVD Holder Book to hit the Etsy shop.
Inside pocket pages are sewn from repurposed card stock printed with original photography, street art imagery and graphics in keeping with the noir theme.
Now you too can stylishly tote your film noir library through life’s mean streets.
Meanwhile, we’re hoping to cross a couple more noirs off the list at the San Francisco Noir City 2016, taking us one step closer to wrapping up our challenge… or maybe just a couple films deeper into the shadows.
Several decades before the reinvention of downtown Los Angeles into a loftified art walk circus, the place was dead at night. Dead and scary with zombie crack addicts and also sad and lonely with one of America’s most populated tent city homeless encampments. Today every classic joint has been purchased and reinvented by well-oiled club magnates and skid row is planted with 8am-midnight parking meters. But back then, few ventured downtown at night. There was Al’s Bar, a spotty arts district and Gorky’s. Gorky’s, a 24 hour restaurant serving hardy eastern European soul food and their own brew. Craft beer in the heart of downtown LA decades before the term craft beer was even thought of my a few yuppie entrepreneurs. But downtown Los Angeles got a lot worse before it got better and Gorky’s didn’t make the cut. All the facts are contained in a long ago published article in the LA Times that’s still available if you follow this link.
Sometimes I wonder if Gorky’s even existed. But then I found this shot hidden away in an old box of negatives. Someone wearing a Gorky’s tee shirt. That sight inspired a mind’s eye vision of visiting Gorky’s late one night for the stew. It was freezing outside, my breath a frozen cloud in front of my face. Long Live Gorky’s! Long Live deserted downtown LA, where the produce market bar rocked and rolled every morning until 9am. Now that was some good time.
We now only have memories of San Francisco’s Original Joe’s dim bar & massive plates of spaghetti, drowning in red sauce or clams. Damn the fire bugs that destroyed it and mourn the loss of the joint’s brick facade and its dark, musty bar, site of a thousand cocktails and glasses of red wine long before the age of the mixologist.