Tag Archives: Travel

Ascentive Around the Other City: 5 Great Old-School Los Angeles Restaurants

Rena and Erica get to share their favorite spots in Philadelphia every week, but as the only Californian on the team I’ve been feeling a little left out. With this post I’m changing all that! This is Ascentive around the other city: Los Angeles.

Visiting Los Angeles? Sure, you might visit the Zoo, Griffith Park Observatory, Dodger Stadium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, or the Santa Monica Pier. But what if you’re after some good eats, and maybe even some history? To make the most out of your Los Angeles adventure, check out these classic destinations for great food and great atmosphere.

Casa Bianca

Casa Bianca Pizza
Since: 1955
1650 Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(323) 256 – 9617
Casa Bianca is sometimes difficult to plan for– it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays, and only opens at 4pm on the other days. But boy, do they have great pizza, along with the usual Italian pasta and dessert offerings. As any L.A. transplant can tell you, California doesn’t really know how to do pizza—and don’t even mention California Pizza Kitchen, please! Casa Bianca does Los Angeles proud, though.

Canter's Deli

Canter’s Deli
Since: 1948
419 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
(323) 651 – 2030
Located in West Hollywood, Canter’s Deli has definitely achieved landmark status, and for good reason. This is an old-school Jewish deli par excellence. It has a full delicatessen and bakery, and it has one of those “they have everything” menus, including deli standards like the Canter’s Fairfax: pastrami and corned beef sandwich, piled insanely high, with coleslaw. The deli is also open 24 hours—unfortunately, a rarity in Los Angeles—which has made it a popular hangout for celebs and artistic types.

Barney's Beanery

Barney’s Beanery
Since: 1920
8447 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood
(323) 654 – 2287
There are a few Barney’s around, but go to the original and best on Santa Monica. Like Canter’s, Barney’s has a neverending menu, including a huge breakfast menu. They’re famous for chili, foot-long hot dogs, and a rather generous selection of draft beers. And the atmosphere is priceless—they were plastering stuff on their walls way before Applebee’s was. The crowd of bikers and bohemians might get a little rough for some, particularly on the weekends, but hey, that’s Hollywood, baby!

Smoke House

Smoke House
Since: 1946
4420 West Lakeside Drive, Burbank
(818) 845 – 3731
Given its proximity to the Warner Brothers soundstages, the Smoke House has long been a hangout for movie executives and Hollywood luminaries. Its moody, dark interior sets the perfect stage: walking into Smoke House is like walking into a time machine. They still have a “camera girl” snapping pictures at tables, a practice that would seem to have disappeared decades ago. Definitely worth checking out. Try their famous garlic cheese bread!

Musso & Frank Grill

Musso & Frank Grill
Since: 1919
6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
(323) 467 – 7788
This is the old school of the old school. Surrounded by the blight of tattoo parlors and cheesy knickknack shops following Hollywood’s decline and tourist trap transformation, Musso & Frank Grill literally has not changed. The waiters have been doing their thing for 25 years, and the booths are probably the same ones that Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, and Greta Garbo used. Musso & Frank has no interest in frou-frou modern cuisine: here it’s best to order steak, potatoes, and very dry martinis.

Did I miss any of your favorite L.A. eats? Or disagree with my CA taste? Let me know in the comments! I’m always up for taking a bite out of new spots in the L.A. food scene so feel free to leave your recommendations as well!


Ascentive Around the City- The Ben Franklin Bridge

Erica from Ascentive shares photos from around the city

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge is crosses the Delaware river from Philadelphia, PA to Camden, NJ.   The bridge was completed on July 1, 1926 and held the title of World’s Longest Suspension Bridge until 1929.  The bridge is 533 meters long and accommodates passenger motor vehicles, railway trains, and pedestrians.

Here is a view of the Ben Franklin from the Ascentive offices!  Such a pretty view to see everyday.

A view of the city skyline from the Pedestrian Walkway headed into Camden, NJ.  It’s amazing to be able to turn around and see the skyline.

A picture along the walkway.  This is a popular route for runners and biking enthusiasts.  It’s also just a nice walk

A final view as we turned around to head off the bridge in Philadelphia.  I highly recommend taking the opportunity to walk across this massive bridge.  It does get pretty windy though!

The bridge also dedicates it’s lighting to specific causes at any given time.  On  June 1-5 it will have blue lighting to support the annual Badges of Honor 5K Run and Walk.  For more information, click here


Ascentive Around the City- Fonthill Castle

Erica from Ascentive shares pictures of one of her favorite places, Fonthill Castle and Museum

Fonthill was built between 1908-1912 as the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930).  Mercer was an archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar and antiquarian.  He built Fonthill both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints.  Fonthill is located in Doylestown, PA and is about 20 minutes from the city.

This is the view as you drive onto the castle grounds.  It’s been raining all week in the Philadelphia area so these pictures were taken in March of this year.  As you can imagine, the greenery this time of year makes this view even more spectacular.

This is the view looking at the front of Fonthill.  The castle was designed completely by Mercer himself, he hand picked all of the materials used and architectural style.  The building is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles.

Fonthill does not allow pictures to be taken from inside the castle (unfortunate, I know).  As you step out onto one of the balconies, you can clearly see that the entire castle is built using poured reinforced concrete.  Inside, many pieces of furniture such as bookcases and desks were also built using concrete.  Mercer was big on using recycled materials, he may have even been one of our earliest “green” living advocates.

The balcony above the second story is the same balcony that the previous picture was taken from.  The view of this castle from almost any angle is just amazing.

Fonthill offers tours of the castle and it’s grounds 7 days a week.  For more information about Fonthill or visiting the castle, click here.



Ascentive Around the City: University City Continued…

Rena from Ascentive shares more pictures of University City

St. Mary’s Church on Locust Walk in University City.  The church was founded in 1827 and offers beautiful architecture.

This group of bike racks is just down the street from the church on Locust Walk.  It’s amazing how many bikes there are.

The Kelly Family Gates on Penn’s campus at the Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall.  All the hands are using different tools for art, I really love this photo.

A close up of the hands on the Kelly Family Gates.  The 56 bronze hands are done in great detail, each hand holds tools relating to the making of art.

If you would like more information about St. Mary’s, click here

If you would like more information about The Kelly Family Gates, check out this article


Ascentive Around the City: Penn University

Rena from Ascentive takes a look around the University Of Penn, in West Philadelphia.

Penn is a huge sprawling campus, that takes up most of what is called the University City part of West Philly.

Penn was the brain child of Ben Franklin. Above is a picture of Ben hanging out on a park bench in the middle of Penn’s campus.

Penn’s campus is a mixture of Modern structures and old brick and stone buildings.

Above is one of the many older buildings which are old and very regal looking.

One of my favorite things to do on Penn’s campus is to walk down the Locust walk. It is a really beautiful walk, one which always makes me feel smarter (must be all the learning that is happening).

I’ve got plenty of more pictures of Penn, so I’ll share more of them next week.

Check out Penn here.