Est. 1941

Rose Bowl Flea Market • Pasadena, CA

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Date: 12-09-12
Location: Pasadena, CA.
Photography by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

As a kid, I dreaded going to antique malls and flea markets with my parents. Back then, it was boring - who wanted to look through a bunch of old junk when there was a new video game out? It's interesting that as a child, you are typically entranced with the new, but as you grow and mature you begin to become fascinated with the old. That's how it panned out for me, anyway. These days, I prefer things that have withstood the test of time - that goes for clothing styles and cars, as well as music. I like things that take you to a different time period while still relating to modern-day life.

After I graduated from adolescence, one of my favorite things to do in my spare time became shopping at flea markets and antique stores. Sure, it's become trendy over the past couple of years, but for me, rummaging through old and forgotten items has long been a means through which I put things into perspective. It shows that some things are only lost because they are waiting to be found. It shows that one man's trash really can be another man's treasure, and some things really do get better with age. It shows that what goes around, comes around; if it's good enough, it will either come back into style or be a key influence on a new trend. It shows that what once was new may now be old and outdated, but there is beauty in that. There is beauty in re-discovery. There is beauty in new and continued life.

I try to make it to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, CA every month. Each time I do, I seem to find and learn something new. Life is a game of separating the real from the fake. Whether it be sorting through old items, visiting a historic landmark, reading an article about the past or listening to a song written 50 years ago, taking time to appreciate things that have been around longer than social media, modern technology and even myself help me escape from the present and think about the forever.

Cafe Grumpy • New York, NY

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Date: 11-09-12
Location: New York, NY.
Photography by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: M.L. Morris & Luis Valdizon

It was a chilly afternoon in Manhattan and my first time visiting SoHo. David, Bill and I were traveling to Cafe Grumpy to meet their long-time friend Elizabeth, who runs a superb site called The Coffee Experiment that I've coincidentally been following from my hometown of Vancouver. She's one of the most elegant and incredibly talented people I have had the privilege of being introduced to via David. Our meeting at Cafe Grumpy was her idea and although I knew very little about the cafe, I couldn't help but be excited. She is constantly visiting some of the most prestigious coffee establishments across the globe, so I knew we were in for a treat. We ordered cappuccinos made from a batch of espresso beans from El Salvador, if my memory serves me correct. All except for Bill, who ordered his usual: a black drip coffee. We sat down, sipped our drinks and took in the ambience of Grumpy's private outdoor patio. The cold didn't seem to bother any of us. At some point amidst our conversations, Elizabeth debuted her beautiful engagement ring to us, which has since been worn with a white dress and received a gold companion. Moments like this paired with excellent coffee, autumn colors, crisp air and the New York City backdrop are ones I'll never forget. I couldn't have asked for a more picturesque afternoon.

Seattle, WA • The Pancake Chef

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Date: 07-07-13
Location: Seattle, WA.
Photography by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: M.L. Morris & Luis Valdizon

When in search of true local culture and people in an American city, diners are always a safe bet. They're also very convenient because they tend to stay open 24 hours or lift their locks extremely early in the morning, which typically equals extremely late at night for us. While on tour, we frequent them often, usually opting for the breakfast fare no matter what time of day it is--it just feels right.

Aside from only being open from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. most days, The Pancake Chef is a quintessential American diner: the menu sprawls all three meal groups at all times, the food is as greasy and sweet as you want it to be, the coffee is decent, and the hospitality and service are incredible. But as you probably presumed from its name, the specialty of this local Seattle fixture is their pancakes. The wide variety they offer includes Applejack Pancakes, Golden Pumpkin Pancakes, Michigan Black Cherry Pancakes, Gluten-Free Pancakes and even Potato Pancakes. Basically, any type of pancakes you can imagine, they have. For those looking for something a bit less fluffy, the omelettes and breakfast platters are solid choices as well. Just make sure to try a glass of their fresh-squeezed orange juice to go along with whatever you choose--many thanks to our generous waiter for that recommendation.

Personally, I love the American diner experience because of the people, and The Pancake Chef was no exception. Destinations like this are akin to time capsules. When you step foot inside, it's almost as if you're transported back to simpler times. The pace is slow, the food is comforting and people-watching the regulars and locals is always a fun past time. It's amazing what you can learn by observing and listening to people authentically live out their lives while chowing down on a triple-stack of flapjacks.