SICK OF DRIVING?--Have you ever found yourself in Santa Monica wanting to run errands, but were afraid to lose your parking space? Or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic restless out of your mind? The Santa Monica Breeze Bike Share program is the perfect solution to run errands around town, with the Metro Expo line in at our backyard; Bike Share provides short-range transportation to and from the train station and buses. Commuter biking is a great way to enjoy our So Cal weather sunshine.

TRY A SMART BIKE--These smart bikes are super cool, painted bright neon green with a bold HULU logo and stocked with advanced technology such as a GPS location device to lock, unlock and track the bike’s location. The system is integrated with the “social bicycles” app to be downloaded on your smartphone. Through socialbicycles.com, you can reserve a bike in advance, get an annual or monthly membership, and rent a bike daily or hourly at a specific station. If you do not have a smartphone, many of these services can be done at the kiosk at the bike station. 

Besides the fancy technology, the bikes have adjustable seats, kickstands, a bell and basket. Making it perfect to get around town to run errands. BYOH-There is no helmet rental yet, for now at least, so don’t forget to bring your own. 

SUPPORT--The SM Breeze smart bike program seems to be getting a lot of support since it rolled out in November 2015. The City of Santa Monica budgeted $1.2 million per year to keep this program running, with Hulu has contributing $675,000 annually for the next five years, and $2 million in grant funding to get started. With over 800 bikes in use daily, and 76 bike stations with an additional 8 being added over the next few months. Residents want the bike share system to work out as an alternate mode of transportation. In addition, the city is adding or has added bike lanes and paths to many streets to accommodate more cyclists. 

DEBBIE DOWNER NEEDS TO BE PATIENT--All residents are not exactly thrilled about all of this. The streets are already extremely congested and there is so much construction at any given time. But we all need to be patient to give this program an opportunity to catch on. After all, this pilot program is the first of its kind in LA County. 

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST--There are three basic plans: 

MONTHLY PLAN: $25/month includes 90 minutes daily riding time 

ANNUAL PLAN: $99/year, promotional rate for the month of August 2016 only

Includes 90 minutes daily ride time. 

STUDENT RATE: $7 includes 90 minutes of daily ride time, must sign up through .edu email 

Additional charges:

  • Overtime rates by the minute
  • Return bike to a non-Breeze hub location within the system area, $2
  • Leave bike out of the system area, $20
  • Return “out of hub” bike to hub location, $1 credit  

DEAL OF THE YEAR 

  • Imagine being able to use the bikes everyday for 90 minutes at a time. Seriously, I have had three bikes stolen after being locked up near my home. This is a so easy to use, a great value and convenience. The annual membership is only $99!!!
  • Also many employers are offering memberships to their employees to promote good health and exercise – so you many want to ask.
  • There are several low-income options for SM residents, so you may want to ask the Breeze Bike Share office.   

CONTACTS 

Website:     www.breezebikeshare.com - Check out the website from time to time as terms are subject to change. 

Link:          http://www.smgov.net/Departments/PCD/Programs/Santa-Monica-Bike-Share/ 

Twitter:      @breezebikeshare 

Contact:     Kyle Kozar, SM Bike Share Coordinator, or Bike Share hotline (310) 458-8341 

 

SO EVERYONE, LET’S GO RIDE A BIKE! SAVE SOME MONEY AND THE ENVIRONMENT!

(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)

-cw

DEALS & DISCOUNTS--The Wilshire Vista neighborhood has it going on. There are several theaters, a few dispensaries and some really sweet boutique retail shops for clothing, gifts and stationery. From San Vicente to Pico and from Fairfax to Hauser, the community is full of fun loving types who even organize a great spring mixer each year in June. 

Just one block east of this boundary is a taco joint you really don’t want to miss. As their website says, “Some people call it Mexican food with a splash of soul. Others say it’s Southwestern meets Louisiana.” Whatever you want to call it, Sky’s Gourmet Tacos will hook you up for breakfast lunch or dinner and they’ve been doing it for 22 years. Folks love their signature shrimp tacos. They’ve also got filet mignon, lobster, mahi mahi and tilapia tacos galore. 

For breakfast, you can naturally get breakfast tacos and burritos of assorted types. You can also chow down on some double-dipped French toast or and omelet. All meals come with Sky’s own recipe for Southern sautéed apples. 

For myself, I love it that this taco spot is not the least bit short on mouth-watering veggie options. You can get your traditional veggie with either black or pinto bean or vegan meat. They’ve got a tofu taco that’s mighty tasty. Then we get to the really unique stuff. The potato taco is outta this world! They’ve got a wild rice and yam taco I honestly have not tried yet. 

The reason why: I can hardly pull myself away from always ordering MY FAVORITE: the shitake mushroom taco. THESE MUSHROOMS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND! 

Then you can treat your taste buds to one of Sky’s homemade sorrel lemonades. They’re loaded with hibiscus and infinitely delicious! 

If you’re in the mood for dessert, they made their very own plain, caramel crunch, mango and pineapple cheesecakes right there in the kitchen so watch out! 

You can tell by the veggie selections that Sky’s is health conscious and you should keep it in mind that all of the creations are made without trans fat, lard, artificial additives or preservatives. 

Let me know what you think of Sky’s and fill me in on your favorite places to get excellent tacos in LA. 

Let’s taco ‘bout it some more! 

 

NEED TO KNOW: 

Sky’s Tacos

5408 West Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles

Phone: 323-932-6253

 

Hours: 

Mon-Sat 9am – 9pm

Sun 9am – 7pm 

www.skysgourmettacos.com 

 

(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at www.RecessionCafe.wordpress.com is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at recessioncafe@yahoo.com.  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifercald - Twitter: @checkingthegate ... And her website: jenniferhcaldwell.com)  

-cw

DEALS & DISCOUNTS--These days, All I want to eat is tacos! 

Fortunately, I've found quite a few places where excellent tacos are on hand. I thought it would be fun to write up a "Let's Taco Bout It" series all about the wonderful places where a person can get some dang good tacos. First on my list is Trejos Tacos. 

If you're wondering if the joint is named so because it has something to do with the actor, Danny Trejo, you would be correct. Danny has started up the place over on the east side of La Brea, just south of Olympic. So far, I've been there three Times and haven't seen hide nor hair of the "Sons of Anarchy" star but that hasn't stopped me from having me some excellent tacos as well as some other tasty grub at the establishment. 

They've got plenty of meat tacos, which I hear are grand, but I'm a vegetarian and I love the Black pepper tofu tacos with carmelized onions. Delicioso! This place has also got their own brew - Trejos Lager, which is one of my new favorite beers. They serve up decent wine and other craft beers too. 

We also sampled the cheesy bean dip which was great and the guacamole, served in a way I've never seen, with a garnish of cilantro and pistachios. This is really addictive. They've got an outdoor patio where you can sit and enjoy and help yourself to the salsas and infused waters they make there. 

Directors and producers will often treat the cast and crew to the Coolhaus ice cream truck, and that was how I was introduced to their amazing ice cream sandwiches such as Mintmalism with double chocolate cookies and dirty mint ice cream or chocolate chip cookies with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. Ruff! 

I guess ole Danny must have figured folks might like those for dessert cause they've got 'em, and they are just as tasty as they are off the truck. 

The staff at Trejos is super friendly and more than happy to fill you in on the way everything they've got going is made from local and sustainable ingredients - a real plus in these times. The prices are not exactly cheap, but DEFINITELY A DEAL for the quality put in to these mouth-watering morsels. 

A chicken, pork or beef brisket, tofu or veggie taco will cost you $4 and the salmon is $6. That amazing guacamole is $7, the cheesy bean dip is $5 and they've got a dynamite chili toreado for $3. Chili toreado stands for a beer battered Fresno chile with cashew cream, micro cilantro, shallots, white corn and pico de gallo. Folks from the 505 to the 805 will love these taste bud delights! 

BONUS: Kombucha on tap, various cane sodas and tea from The Art of Tea! 

I can't wait to give y'all the scoop on my next find for outstanding tacos. Be sure and send me your ideas too! Just type 'me up in the comments section below. I'd love to hear about your discoveries. Let's taco bout it! 

NEED TO KNOW: 

Trejos Tacos

1048 S. La Brea

Los Angeles 90019

323-938-TACO

 

COMING SOON TO: 

1556 N. Cahuenga

Hollywood, CA 90028 

www.trejostacos.com   

 

(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at www.RecessionCafe.wordpress.com is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at recessioncafe@yahoo.com.  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifercald - Twitter: @checkingthegate ... And her website: jenniferhcaldwell.com)  

-cw

DEALS & DISCOUNTS--Lights, camera, action! 

Like many actors, I got the bug early in life. As a very young girl, I would round up visiting cousins and friends and enlist them in the idea of presenting a play for the grownups. It was always a barrel of monkeys to stretch our young imaginations and try out new character roles for a chance to see into another perspective and make other people laugh or cry. 

All the world's a stage and there's nothing more fun for kids than to get creative with their minds, bodies and voices all at the same time. The craft of acting exercises all of these creative muscles and lots of kids of all ages love to do it. 

As a parent of either a budding young star or a child who wants to experiment, it can be a challenge to identify the best place in Tinseltown to get your youngster going with the tools (s)he needs to make it all happen. 

Have I got a tip for you! 

Elise Robertson is an award winning actress, director and all around artist extraordinaire! She's won Garland awards for her stage direction in Hollywood, five star reviews for her Edinburgh Fringe show and a Northern California Emmy for her directing on the PBS series, "The Adventures of Konga Roddy," featuring actors, puppets and full sized suited characters. At PBS, she also won numerous awards, including the Cine-Golden Eagle award for her adaptation of "King of the Bingo Game" in their "American Storytellers" series. 

Summer break is the perfect time for youngsters to get creative and you're in luck because enrollment is now open for Elise's summer classes for kids. Theater Games for Young Kids (ages 5-7); Improvisation (ages 8-12); and Acting 101 (ages 8-12) are all on offer with both weekday and weekend options. 

ALSO COMING IN AUGUST IS "FILMMAKING FOR KIDS" WITH SIBLING DISCOUNTS! 

The regular price is right, coming in at just $250 for 12 WEEKS OF SUMMERTIME FUN! 

The classes take place in the heart of Highland Park at Twinkle Toes Dance Studios, so all you Highland/Echo Park/Silverlake/Eaglerock types are right down the road! 

I studied with Elise myself at her adult pro class on Tuesday nights and I can tell you that she has an uncanny eye for the right role to try on for both comfort and stretch. She's also an outstanding human being who gives wholly and generously in the creative process. Just think, when little Cheyenne wins an Oscar someday, she could be thanking you for the summer of 2016, when she first got the bug. 

NEED TO KNOW: 

When: Sunday afternoons for all three classes; Thursdays time TBD

Dates: next session begins mid-August

Where: Twinkletoes Dance Studio

5917 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 90042 (in the heart of Highland Park)

Cost: $250 for 12 week session 

Send an email of interest to: elise@EliseRobertson.com or call 323-496-6659 

You can also find examples of loads of Elise's work, including her needlepoint, woodwork and prints at www.EliseRobertson.com    

BREAK A LEG!

(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at www.RecessionCafe.wordpress.com is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at recessioncafe@yahoo.com.  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifercald - Twitter: @checkingthegate) 

-cw

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