Monday, August 18, 2014

Corona del Mar-Let's go to the movies at the Port Theater

The Port Theater on Coast Highway used to be a movie theater where you could bring your own food and tickets cost $1.49.  Imagine $1.49 to go to a movie!

In 1949, Ted and Peggy Jones of the Western amusement Company opened the Port Theater.  In 1950, the theater featured "The Greatest show on Earth" and there was a live elephant on stage.  From 1975-1985, the theater featured French, Italian and Japanese films.  In 1985, a couple got married on stage.  From 1989 to 1998, the building was an Art House featuring Indie documentaries and foreign films.

Unfortunately, in 1998, Port Theater close due to a combination of newly built multiplexes and a lack of public parking.  The Port remained closed for over a decade.  It went through multiple owners and was nearly remodeled into office space and shops.  Local residents formed a group called "Save the Port" in an attempt to raise money and reopen the Port, but the lack of profit and financial cost of renovating the worn down theater were too high for most investors to consider.  In 2007, the former owner obtained a permit for demolition.  Fortunately, the demolition was cancelled, wen an investor saw the potential and assumed the responsibility of reviving its name and transformed the building into a modern day theater unlike any other.

The theater reopened in 2012.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Corona del Mar-an historical place to eat-Five Crowns, a place to walk-Goldenrod Footbridge and cupcakes at Sprinkles

Now that you have explored Corona del Mar, I will introduce you to a place to eat with ghosts; a place to walk with history and a place to get something sweet to eat.

Five Crowns is an elegant restaurant with a ghostly history. I have been to this restaurant a few times and never seen anything.   The ghosts usually come out during the holidays.  Rose Stone, a manager at the the article was written in the "Corona del Mar Today" stated that she saw a man in black holding onto a string of colored lights, but the bulbs between his out-stretched hands were dark and then he disappeared.

Other employees have seen faces in the powder room mirrors, wine glasses shatter for no reason, while sitting on trolleys and have seen a ghostly lady in the garden area during dinner service.

A young couple were sitting on the patio and saw a vision of two people across the garden.  After seeing the vision, they paid their bill and left in a hurry.  One of  the chefs was locked mysteriously inside a walk-in freezer.  The wine captain was locked out of his wine room.  While the wine room was locked, he heard a knocking and when police arrived to open the door, no one was there.

Other strange things that happen are that lights go on suddenly, the eyes of a portrait seem to follow you around the room, things move and images have been reported in the garden, the kitchen and the upstairs ladies room.  There are thumps and bumps heard all over the place.  The strange things that happen are not evil; just friendly and mischievous.

According to company sources, Five Crowns was built in 1936 and was modeled after an old English inn, known as Ye Olde Bell at Hurley-On-thames.  A mother and daughter lived there for four years.  In 1940, two Los Angeles business men leased the building for use as a restaurant, but Corona del Mar was so remote and the partners disagreed about permitting diners to gamble, that after three years, the restaurant closed and the mother and daughter returned and opened the building as Hurley Bell Inn.  In the mid-1940's, the inn became a hideaway for Hollywood stars.

In 1948, the mother passed away and the daughter leased the building.  The Hurley Bell began to attain a dubious reputation and in 1964 the building was purchased by Lawry's Restaurant Company and Five Crowns opened in April, 1965.  The daughter passed away in 1990.

Some recent ghost happenings include the manager being in an upstairs dining area preferred by the lady ghost.  There were no fans or air conditioning blowing and a table cloth was moving like a water flowing.  Another happening was when the manager was upstairs in an employees area, when there were knocks from an outside wall, where there is a roof.  The Side Door's manager has reported feeling someone patting her hair during the evenings, just gently smoothing it down.

Go enjoy a Corona del Mar landmark with friends!

Now that you have had a nice meal at Five Crowns, let's go take a walk.  There is a 1.72 mile walking trail that I found on Corona del Mar walking trails that includes several of the streets in Corona del Mar and an historical bridge called the Goldenrod Footbridge.  The Goldenrod Footbridge was built in August, 1928 to provide easier access to the beach.  The 243 foot bridge stretches over Bayside Drive and is flower covered.

Now let's go get dessert at Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes and Ice Cream is located in a shopping center at the corner of MacArthur Blvd. and Coast Highway.

In 2002, Candace and her husband Charles Nelson visited Candace's sister in New York and tried cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery.  Candace decided it was time for cupcakes to come out of the shadows of a cake and become something that people could eat every day, rather than just for special occasions.    Candace had started a custom cake business after attending Tante Marie's Pastry Program in San Francisco.

The Nelson's pursued their dream; even though a cupcake bakery was a "high risk" venture and the bakery business was in a four year "no carb" decline.  the store was designed by an architect from Vienna and was sleek and minimalistic.  The logo and packaging was created by a former Martha Stewart employee.  On April 13, 2005, the first Sprinkles store opened on Little Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills.  The first day, the cupcakes sold out in three hours, and 2000 cupcakes were sold the first week.

There are 12 locations throughout the United States and plans to open 15 more are in the works; including London and Tokyo.  In 2013, a branch was opened in Kuwait.

There is a traveling "Sprinklesmobile" and in 2007 the company developed a line of cupcake mixes, which sell in their stores and William-Sonoma stores in the United States and Canada.  In February, 2011, Sprinkles released an iPhone app that features free cupcakes and virtual gifting.

On March 6, 2012, Sprinkles Cupcakes opened a cupcake ATM in Beverly Hills.  Then one was opened in Chicago and one in Dallas.  You can get cupcakes and doggie cupcakes 24 hours a day.  the machine is restocked throughout the day and holds up to 600 cupcakes at a time.

On May 24, 2012, Sprinkles opened Sprinkles Ice Cream in Beverly Hills and in 2013, they opened the store in Corona del Mar and Dallas.  The shop serves unique flavors and carries a cookie line with a modern twist on traditional flavors.

Sprinkles offers nationwide shopping and have a traveling ice cream cart.