The Evacu-cation

The first sign that anything might be wrong came on a Thursday afternoon, driving my son Flynn to his baseball practice in Agoura Hills.

As we wound through Malibu Canyon, we spotted a large plume of smoke rising over approximately exactly where the baseball field was. “Uh, Dad…” said Flynn, pointing. We arrived to discover the fire was a ridge away, so practice proceeded as planned.

The next day we could see the smoke from our home, rising like a mushroom cloud over our drought-dry mountains. I was at an afternoon birthday party for a 7-year-old drinking wine when my wife pulled up unexpectedly. “Mandatory evacuation,” she said. She was on her way to our friends Bob and Shoba’s house in the San Fernando Valley. I went back home, gathered a few more photo albums and the important artworks, and descended on the valley to join her. More

The Nobufication of Malibu

We live next to Malibu, and between my son’s involvement in Malibu Little League, going to the beach and visiting various friends, we spend a fair amount of time there.

Flynn scores!

Flynn scores!

It used to be you couldn’t get anything decent to eat in the town, which was strange given its demographics. And then, 15 or 20 years ago, Nobu Matsuhisa moved in with his second restaurant after his flagship “Matsuhisa” on La Cienega. More

Pack 24

On the eve of departing for another Cub Scout camping trip near Joshua Tree, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect a simple fact: I love our Cub Scouts pack.

It took me awhile, but I came around. Being one who is, generally speaking, apprehensive with group activities, recited credos and the like, I was skeptical at first. But the boy wanted to do it, and this was about him, not me.

Tidepooling in Malibu

Tidepooling in Malibu

As with most things Topanga, I soon realized this was not a typical pack — that, despite the rules and formalities, I was among my tribe. More


For a lot of people, one of the best things about Thanksgiving is having leftovers. My stepfather loves to make sandwiches with leftover turkey and stuffing, which is just plain wrong in my opinion.

Turkey hand pie made with Thanksgiving leftovers

Turkey hand pie made with Thanksgiving leftovers

We received several invitations to “Leftover” dinners in the days after Thanksgiving. As I mentioned in my previous post, my friend, Vic, had the idea to do a gourmet-ish small plates dinner with Thanksgiving leftovers on Friday (which necessitated our regrets to a subsequent leftovers dinner invitation from our other friends, Bob and Shoba, for the same night). More

The Best Kind of Labor

While the rest of the Los Angeles swarmed the Labor Day weekend beaches to beat the heat, see the big waves and watch Laird Hamilton shoot the Malibu Pier, we elected to stay on the mountain, be satisfied with our Pacific breezes and almost-ocean views, and do what most people do for the holiday — barbecue.

The day's star attraction

The day’s star attraction

To be more precise, smoke. When I don my pit master hat, I usually default to one of two things — North Carolina pork shoulder or Texas brisket — or sometimes both. This weekend, it would be the latter. Like a morbid cartoon, I caught a particular pork shoulder winking at me from the meat aisle at the grocery store, and was smitten. More

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