New Eatery!

We just announced the name of Mark’s new eatery: Bombo! bombo This will be his first ever fast casual concept after a lifetime of winning praise and awards in the fine dining realm.  After Campanile closed.. or as Rex calls it,  “your cooking job”, we talked at length about what he wanted to do and how it needed to work with our life as a family.  Our dearly departed Tar Pit was a cocktail driven place so the hours were terrible for a family with young kids.

We also felt strongly that fine dining while not completely over was played out.  In post recession America even if you have money most don’t want to flaunt it.. at least not in a restaurant.  Even if people in LA still spend $100 on dinner they want it to be in a relaxed environment while they were jeans.  A few strong fine dining places can withstand this Age of Casual, but not a lot. They’ve been dropping like flies.

Plus it was played out for Mark.  He wants to cook.  He likes cooking for people, not necessarily rich people or having the artifice and overhead that goes with a ‘fancy’ place.  So in my capacity as his business development manager I started thinking locations.  Areas of town, and then where within those areas.  Eventually our search landed at Grand Central Market in downtown LA.  Built in 1917 it’s been getting a lot of press lately as they revamp it.  It combines many elements of LA’s culture.  Latin, Asian and now celebrity chef driven.  Bombo is going to emphasize seafood, but not just seafood.  There aren’t many places in LA that you can get reasonably priced seafood outside of  a sushi joint in a mini mall.   Mark was keen to work with steel jacketed steam kettles.

something like this

something like this

They are pretty and will be prominent in our design.  They will allow him to cook things quickly using his 4 broths as his base. Cut to a montage of financing, design, approval for permits, negotiations and now we arrive at the moment where we have announced the name.  It’s inspired by the kettles as Bombo is Spanish for bass drum, as well as used loosely to indicate a kind of musical energy, excitement.  Also, we liked how it sounded.

So I’ve been setting up pop up nights for Mark where he can try out his new dishes on real people, not just me in our kitchen.  It’s great for focusing him and I like it because a couple of times there was a critique  I wanted in a dish, and the public backed me up.  Hurumph.  But, really he is making some tasty dishes, reasonably priced, but still flavor packed like his food at Campanile was.  Tonight he starts a trio of Tuesday nights at our neighborhood favorite, Rascal.  If you are in the area come by.

Our friend Eric, Mayor of LA, stops by our pop up in Nov.

Our friend Eric, Mayor of LA, stops by our pop up in Nov.

After a couple of under eventful work years both of our projects are debuting roughly around the same time.  If “Daphne Dishes” gets a second season maybe I can make something at Bombo for the show. It’s been a great partnership, we both assist and advise each other.  Almost ten years of marriage and it all seems to be working well. (knock wood)mark peel daphne brogdon

Ben’s balloons

Last year I did 3 events at The Tar Pit, our now shuttered bar and restaurant, called Cocktails and Crayons. An especially big hit on mother’s day it featured great food and drink for all ages, and the best balloon artist I have ever seen. Ben Gordon is a sweet heart. He is a tall young man who is really skilled with balloons. My mom remarked that his creations would make great centerpieces.
At the Tar Pit events after he had doled out characters to the kids adults would would ask if he would come to their table and do something for them. Perhaps part of my fascination is that this takes the kind of crafty, spatial arrangement skills I was not born with. He is very patient with kids, and adults who have had a few drinks.

I asked him to make a house call for Rex and be interviewed in the studio.

Ben is available for parties- young or old—and if you are in the LA area I highly recommend him. If you mention coolmom he will give you a discount to boot. Check out his FB pager after the vid.

LA girl Now

Frequent Cool Mom Player Carole Brogdon, my sister, has a blog of her own called lagirlnow. Now most of the content and information on this site will be of greatest interest to those in the Greater LA Metro area I think anyone can appreciate her writing.  I’ve long told her that she has a distinct voice in her writing.  Witty, lively.  Her letters cracked me up long before the web came along. She is an active stay at home mom who somehow manages to keep up on cultural happening in our city.  I don’t know how she does that so I do pop over to her site for the lowdown on what’s going on.   Here is a one recent post she did.  Yes, she did mention one my favorite eateries as well ( well, I co own it), but Brogdon girls promote each other. That’s how we (blog) roll.


Art ~ Vivian Maier at Merry Karnovsky Gallery

Don’t miss this exhibition entitled, Vivian Maier A Life Discovered, the opening night reception is this Saturday at the Merry Karnovsky Gallery. If you haven’t read about this hertofore unknown nanny who spent her life taking vivid black and white images on the streets of Chicago, it is quite a story. During her lifetime Vivian Maier was not recognized as the astute chronicler of people that she was. Her vast cache of negatives were found after her death and they are compelling pictures that should be seen. Post picture viewing just scoot up La Brea to The Tar Pit Restaurant for a perfect cocktail and dinner.

The Tar Pit Opens

I’ve decided to skip any bad/sad/challenging news for as long as possible. So, let me highlight one way in which 2009 ended very well. The opening of the Tar Pit. This is the cocktail bar and eatery my husband Mark Peel (and by extension in a community property state me as well) and partners have been working on for a long time. As you can imagine, to try to open an establishment and get investors during the crash of ’08 (and our own personal crash) was a CHALLENGE. To see people in it now is like watching a baby be born that I carried for close to three years. If only babies made a Gin Gin Mule like this one does!

Many food blogs have said this and that and the LA Times just ran a review so glowing I looked for my name in the byline (bless!). If you are ever in the area please come and check it out. It really is a pretty place. Of course it’s important to our family that it does well, but I do think it’s a great drinking/dining experience. Also, though it is a risk to start a business these days, I feel really good about how by taking this risk we have created jobs for people. And it’s a great crew.

I feel so much camaraderie with other small business owners. Most people are just trying to pay their bills. Very few businesses are going to have a huge payday. They just need to keep going and support the people who run them.  Here’s to 2010 being a good year for all small business folk.

I’ll drink to that!