It may not seem like a big deal, but nothing is more comforting to me than a glass of wine and a grilled cheese sandwich. If you add an overcast sky to the equation, a crunchy homemade pickle, and a bowl of tomato soup— just stick a fork in me, I’m done.

Lucky for me, my friend dragged me to Cole’s for lunch today. We sat at the tables outside, where you could look through the glass window front into main part of the restaurant pub. There I saw a woman sitting by herself, enjoying a glass of white wine and a grilled cheese sandwich with a side of tomato soup. I almost clapped my hands with joy.

Actually, the soup was tomato and red pepper, and the sandwich had both Swiss and cheddar cheese on it. I already knew what I wanted, but went ahead and perused the rest of the brief menu that advertised atomic pickles for .50 cents and French Dip sandwiches with a variety of interchangeable meats and cheeses to choose from. Continue reading Cole’s

Bottega Louie

If you’re reading downtownster you might already have a feel for our style—we’re not a news blog, meaning that we don’t run around and look to break the latest greatest story in less than six hundred words. Frankly we leave that to Ed and Eric at blogdowntown. No, our mission at downtownster is to find stories and get involved in them—we’re storytellers, each with our own unique voice / point of view. And as of the time of this blog I’m pleased to say there are now fifteen downtownster writers working on stories.

            That being said, David Kean (The Realtor) mentioned to me this morning that Bottega Louie was doing a soft opening today, the official opening being next week. Three years in the making all the usual words have been written. I did however want to stop by to see if Bottega Louie belonged on the downtownster story list, so here I sit—literally. Am I breaking a story and the downtownster mission? Yeah. Funny thing that I can’t even not break my own rules.

            Why? I walked into the space and ran right into Leslie, formerly of Roy’s fame; the tour began immediately. Words and phrases came to my mind with blistering rapidity. Continue reading Bottega Louie

Hello Wine Lovers

Hello Wine lovers. California being a temperate climate for growing wine grapes allows us to mimic many varietals from the French growing regions. Tonight we will taste the Rhone Valley style wines. Syrah and Grenache and Mouvedre are a few red varietals that are common.  For a white wine there are three types. Marsanne Roussane and Viognier.  These six wines consist of the bulk of what is produced in the Rhone. The valley is divided between the northern region and the southern region along the Rhone River. It might seem strange to taste such velvety white wine in such early Spring, but this wine really delivers a great value and quality all in one. Tonight is Tuesday and at 5pm until 8om At Ralphs we will explore the Region of France known as the Rhone Valley. Continue reading Hello Wine Lovers

Downtown’s Queen of Green

I noticed Minh-Son Dang  within the first few days of moving into my building on 4th and Main.  I’d see her riding her bike to and from the building, standing on a corner in conversation with a fellow downtownster, always mid-laugh or mid-smile, and always wearing green glasses.  What I noticed most was that everyone seemed to like her, and everyone seemed to know her. 

After sitting down and having a chat with her at the Old Bank’s Banquette Café I now know why. Continue reading Downtown’s Queen of Green


Foreword: I started posting Downtown Oliver Brown on blogdowntown, a mostly news blog, back in 2008. It took just a few weeks for me to realize that  Downtown Oliver Brown needed a home like downtownster and so did a lot of other writers. And in 2009 downtownster was born. So now with downtownster up and running here is the first Downtown Oliver Brown written exclusively for downtownster:

Kristen, in public relations, could not believe such a matter could have fallen on her shoulders. Thousands of employees at the nicest resort casino in the world and it was her walking into the spa…to do the unthinkable.

            “Hi Danny, I need to speak to Mr. Wynn right away.”

            “He’s in the middle of a massage.”

            “It can’t wait, take me back there.”

            “Are you crazy?”

            “No, I just happened to stay late and be the only one in the office,” she said forcing a smile. “Lucky me,” she thought to herself.

            “This better be good,” said Steve Wynn, the legendary hotel and casino owner.

            “It’s all how you define good Mr. Wynn. If you mean good news…”

            “I mean good enough to interrupt my massage.”

            “Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s exactly that kind of good.”

            “Don’t tell me…”

            “I’m sorry Mr. Wynn, but it seems as though Downtown Oliver Brown is in the hotel with his friends…”

            “Tell me he’s not with Dave The Jew and Stan Peters Hollywood’s scummiest and most powerful producer—again.”

            “They’re with him.”


            “Whiskey Peet and fat Andy are too.”

            Steve Wynn rolled off of the table wrapped in the 1,000-thread-count sheet. “First a global financial meltdown and now this. Can’t a billionaire get a break these days? Please tell me they haven’t made it to the tables yet…”

            “They’re playing a million hand…”



            “I love this place!” I said, betting another million. Originally, as you might recall from earlier blogs, playing million dollar a hand poker had made me nervous, but after hanging around with Whiskey Peet, Dave The Jew, Fat Andy, and Stan Peters (Hollywood’s scummiest and most powerful producer) long enough I had somehow become acclimated to this totally irresponsible behavior – given that unlike my friends I have, at best, two cents to rub together and at the time of this story still owed about ten million give or take from my previous trip to Vegas.

            “My boy! My boy! Of course you love this place! You live in Laaas Angeleees with 34 million liberal fagooots! What’s with all the fruity butterflies? Shiiiit not one dead animal carcass on the walls to be found…We should have just played at my place!” He turned to Dave The Jew. “Did you check on the White Lightning before you left?”

            “Sure I did,” responded Dave, going all in. Continue reading DOWNTOWN OLIVER BROWN XS

The Other Team

It is nearly the end of the NBA regular season and it seems like no one is even mentioning Los Angeles. If we were to fast-forward a few weeks to April 18, the day playoffs begin, there would still be no mention of Los Angeles.

It seems that Southern California has forgotten all about … the Los Angeles Clippers. But, the rumors are true. LA’s other team is still part of the National Basketball League. Unfortunately, the love for the Lakers, who sit atop the Western Conference with a record of 58-14, trumps the fervor once exhibited for the Clippers, who boast a record of 18-56 and sit slightly above the league’s worst team from Sacramento. Continue reading The Other Team


Foreword by Stan Lerner: I wasn’t kidding when I said she won’t stop with the letters!

Guttentag Boss,

I’m currently writing to you from my quaint Berlin Hostel, which was chosen based on the fact that it boasts its own bar, complete with the stereotypically stoic East European bartender and lots of equally stereotypically cheerful Swedes.  You should actually feel pretty special  right now, given that I’m choosing to entertain you with my witty correspondence, rather than using this time more effectively, ie: Facebook stock my friends and exes, while updating my status to brag about how fabulous of a time I’m having in the city my guidebook referred to as “irreverent.” Continue reading A LETTER FROM MY INTERN II

THE LAB Gastropub – An Actual COLLEGE HANGOUT?!


If you’ve lived in downtown for the past five years, you’ve noticed what the rest of us have been noticing…sweatshops have turned into American Apparel factories. Dilapidated theatres are remodeled into hipster hangouts. And Sizzlers are converted into gastropubs. FINALLY, on Figueroa and McCarthy Way, or right next door to the Galen Center, USC Hospitality has opened a holy trinity of college hangouts. Hopefully the kids will bite.

For years, USC students have been lacking a college hangout. Continue reading THE LAB Gastropub – An Actual COLLEGE HANGOUT?!


Somehow your past always finds its way into your future – particularly if it’s something, shall we say, questionable, that you may have done or didn’t do.  And even moreso if it’s something from your youth.  Let’s face it.  When we’re young and in those angst-filled teen years, although at the time we think we know everything, we don’t, and quite often worry more about being labeled, branded, cast off, and not being “accepted” rather than doing what’s right or wrong, all of which provides us a valuable education in the future when the actions come up to bite you in the butt.  Such is the case with CHARLIE BANKS who gets the education of a lifetime during his freshman year of college; an education that is carefully crafted and examined thanks to the skill of first time feature director, Fred Durst (yep – THAT Fred Durst, frontman to Limp Bizkit). Continue reading THE EDUCATION OF CHARLIE BANKS