a visit to Schindler's El Pueblo Ribera Court (and an inside tour!)

So a friend of mine from Lampasas has found herself is the unbelievably fortunate spot of living in a Schindler, specifically an apartment in El Pueblo Ribera Court. A San Diego dentist commissioned R.M. Schindler to build a complex of beach-side rental units in La Jolla that would draw attention yet be southwestern. For the project, Schindler tapped into his visit to New Mexico; the concrete construction he had been experimenting with his builder, Clyde Chace; his own house; and Modernism. Designed and built between 1923 and 1925, Schindler designed each unit to be open to the outdoors, have views of the ocean, yet maintain privacy between units. The result has been described as "Pueblo Revival" (Gebhard 1972) and "a masterpiece of early California Modernism" (Dirk Sutro as quoted in Shess 2006).

The unit with (presumably) Schindler's roof-top addition.

I've visited the Court several times to gawk at exteriors, but on this trip I was able to see the interior of one of the units. All of the units have been substantially altered. Once burned to the ground as has been replaced with a Schindler-puebloesque structure, another burned as has been rebuilt into an almost unidentifiable building, and the rest have been modified, the most common being closing the rooftop deck (one of which Schindler himself closed in [which subsequent closures seem to have drawn their inspiration from]). One unit, picture above, appears to have been restored back to its original splendor (a unit that I would eat Trump's toenails to see...).

The unit I visited has also been heavily modified, yet the spirit and charm of Schindler's vision remains.

Post stolen from my other blog.

Full references available at The (R.M.) Schindler List.

Photos of other units:

Some serious deterioration here...

A "replacement" unit (neo_Schindler)

An overgrown unit

This unit burned down, but if you look closely at the bottom, it appears they worked in the concrete from the original in the rebuild.

Same unit as the previous photo

Scenes form the hood:

Fell in love with this cat...

This message of the day really pissed me off.

Termites are an issue in La Jolla

Looking down the street from in front of the pueblos.


dining on daugherty: Be More Pacific--Filipino Kitchen and Bar

The one, the only: Longganisa Tots!

The haiku review:

I will dream of you
frolicking in the rice bowl:
hot banana sauce...

The Philippines—in case you didn’t know—is an archipelago in Southeast Asia consisting of 7,641 islands. After being “discovered” by Ferdinand Magellan in 1541, the Philippines—named after King Philip II—became a Spanish colony for the next 333 years. The islands came under US rule in 1898 as a concession after the Spanish-American War (which immediately resulted in the Philippine-American War). The US ruled the Philippines until 1942 when Japan invaded during World War II. Japan held the islands for three years before the US regained control. On July 4, 1946, the US recognized the Philippines as an independent country.

Having been a United States territory, there are almost as many Filipinos in the US as there are Chinese and many more than Indians, Koreans, Japanese, Thais, and Vietnamese. So it’s surprising that there aren’t more Filipino restaurants in the US.

Seeking to address this culinary imbalance is Austin’s Be More Pacific. Starting out as a trailer six years ago, first generation Filipinos Mark Pascual and Giovan Cuchapin have graduated to brick and mortar in Allandale at the previous location of Rebel Pizza above Suzi’s China Grill (not to worry, trailer food fans: the mobiles will remain in operation). 

Filipino food is fusion of the country’s diverse past mixed into the broth of its Austronesian roots with a large dollop of Spanish cooking and tea-to-tablespoons of Chinese, Indian, and American cuisine. There’s rice, there’s bananas, there’s coconut, and there’s adobo (the unofficial dish of the country). Filipinos tend to pair sweet with salty/savory, so the food is rich and flavorful.

And rich and flavorful is a perfect description of Be More Pacific. Chefs Salvador Melgarejo and Tony Dominguez have assembled a blissfully simple menu (one page!) of culinary adventure that further fuses Filipino and American fares.

For appetizers, we’ve tried the lumpia (spring rolls with the geometry of taquitos stuffed with either veggies and tofu or pork and shrimp) and Longganisa Tots (fried potatoes with white queso, homemade longganisa [Filipino-Spanish sausage], spicy banana sauce, and green onions. Being spring rollish, the lumpia is familiar territory, but the tots (a further fusion) are from another planet where the spicy banana sauce wonderfully counterpoints a zippy spice.

For entrees, we’ve tried the Tosilog (sweet and savory pork, garlic rice, green onion garnish, and egg), the sweet garlic fried rice (chicken or tofu, garlic rice, bean sprouts, carrots, onions, green onion garnish, with sweet garlic sauce), and the bacon fried rice (bacon, garlic rice, onions, green onion garnish;I got mine with a slice of homemade [wait for it...] SPAM!). 

The Tosilog was rich and wonderful, but a little too sweet for my taste (I’m trying to lay off that death powder called "sugar"...). I preferred the sweet garlic fried rice since it leaned far more savory than sweety (although a squirt of that magical spicy banana sauce allows you to sweeten the pot as needed). The bacon fried rice came in solidly on the salty and savory side (where’s that dang banana sauce?).

We haven’t tried dessert yet (see earlier comment on death powder...), but a neighboring table had the Ube Ice Cream (purple yam swirled with specially-made Amy’s) that looked fantastic.

In all cases—appetizer, entree, dessert—the portions are enormous. Dishes are sharable or, in our case, doggie baggable (we've scramble the leftovers with eggs for a next-day brunch). Be More Pacific has a bar with beer, wine, and Philippines-inspired beverages of a tropical bent, but oddly does not post their mixology (or prices for anything) on their website. Hopefully this is only an opening oversight and we can expect to see everything soon. I had a spicy drink garnished with a cube of cheese (not sure about that, but enjoyed the intent), and the bride had a sweet. Both were complicated and delicious, just what we look for in mixology.

Missing from the menu are Filipino stalwarts such as camaro (field crickets cooked in soy sauce, salt, and vinegar), papaitan (stew made of goat or beef innards flavored with bile), and Soup No. 5 (made with Rocky Mountain oysters). Perhaps future menu updates with rectify these oversights ;-).

So what’s my overall review? In the immortal words of General MacArthur as he retreated from Japanese forces in the Philippines: “I shall return!”

Be More Pacific

7858 Shoal Creek Blvd., (512) 814-RICE, http://www.bemorepacifickitchenandbar.com, Lunch Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Dinner Tuesday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 5 pm to 11 pm, and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm (and stay tuned for Sunday brunch soon).

That cheesy drink!



Sweet garlic fried rice!

Bacon fried rice (with homemade SPAM!!!)!


graffiti walk: detroit, michigan

Over the past few years, Detroit has put together a nice collection of street art in its Eastern Market just east of downtown. There are things to see in other parts of town, but the Market is where you can stroll about the street and be greeted by one mural after another. Amazingly, murals painted three years ago remain untouched. The Market is a food district sporting a large farmers market, streets of butchers and produce sellers, mostly catering to the city's building food scene. There's also a sprinkling of bars and restaurants so you can make a full day of it (if that's your thing). I'd say it took me about eight hours of strolling over two days to see "everything". A map is available via Murals in the Market, but I prefer to be surprised!

It's worth strolling around downtown as well, although non-sanctioned street art is militantly monitored and prosecuted. Even Shepard Fairey, in town to paint a giant mural on a downtown building, was charged with a felony for a bit of freelance work he (cough-cough) allegedly did in the area (some of which is still available). You'll also want to stop in at The Z Lot, a muraled parking garage, and, in the alley next door, is The Belt, sporting a great collection of sanctioned street art by Hush, Vhils, Fairey, Tristan Eaton, Faile, and others.

And then, just randomly wandering about town (I accidentally found a Swoon on the north side of Detroit while investigating the transition from urban blight to suburban might) you can see wonderful work.

Well worth the visit!

(I waited 40 minutes for a 10-second gap to catch that mural without a large truck parked in front of it!)