Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The mystery of the secret tunnel, and other Hot Glendale gossip from the locals.

There is this thing called Facebook, and The Cave has a page on FB that has been broken for three months.  I can post, but I can't access the feed.  Ergo, the many interests we share - beer, wine, historical buildings, and all things local - have been inaccessible.

So instead I've been trolling other FB bits of interest, and this is from the group "Growing up in Glendale in the 60's and 70's."  (There is also a group called Vintage Glendale which we will do another time.)  I scrolled back through to the beginning of this group, and this post is about what bits of interest were found.  But first, The Mystery of the Secret Tunnel, which has taken me three months to solve...or is it?  Solved?

It begins with this, posted July 2013.

She later insists:

We get our first clues:

We get an attempt of reason:

And it's true, The Silver Room was here in the basement of the old hotel.  But does that negate the original claim? The mystery is ON.  Stop 1, The Tattoo Parlor.  Why? Because The Cave was built in 1982, so if there were a secret tunnel down here, it's behind lockers. Also, the matter is easily resolved based on one thing: is there a basement in the building across the street.

That's Body Shop Tattoo, behind the tree and wedged between the pawn shop and Dave's.  (Hey, not every corner in Glendale can be Caruso Affiliated.)

I asked the guy, "Is there a basement in this building?" 
Not to his knowledge.
"Did this used to be a barber shop?"

He suggested I try Dave's. Dave's was not the barber shop because Dave's is the oldest bar in Glendale.  I went to Dave's.  I asked the guy, "Is there a basement in this building?" Not to his knowledge.  I asked if there might be one that has since been locked up, inaccessible.  He suggested I try the owner who was on vacation.  I left The Cave contact info.  The woman sitting on the bar stool chimed in that the tunnel was actually a sewer pipe and it was filled in when they re-paved Broadway in the eighties.  The possibly sotted plot thickens!

While waiting to hear from the owner of Dave's, I emailed some people who were affiliated with this building for many years, during the time period in question. Broadway-Glendale Co. bought the building in 1975.  The basement was virtually untouched, the original restaurant, its horseshoe bar, intact.  If there were a tunnel, it would be evident then.  Was it?  The answer was no, that there was no memory of a tunnel.

After a few weeks I went back to Dave's.  "Not to his knowledge," the guy told me, though the owner has only been around a certain time and may not know.  This time, I was given the number of the management company for the block.  I called.

"Is there a basement in that building."  I told the woman who got stuck with me and my query that I thought no one wanted to tell me because they thought I might be a terrorist.  SHE told me: that there actually IS, not so much a basement as a small storage area. But not under the tattoo parlor - nee - barber shop. 

So there was no secret tunnel running from the once barber shop, under Broadway, to The Hotel Glendale basement during prohibition or ever.

HOWEVER.  There are other possibilities, very real ones, and the plot thickens.  Stay with me here:
1. There is a barber shop:

This is the current barber shop on the retail level of the old Hotel, Sevak Haircut Store.

And this is...Sevak?  No, Mike.  Sevak is his son. When Mike took over the space 27 years ago, he changed the name to Sevak which means there has been a barber shop in this space a really long time, if not forever.  There seems to be a barber pole on the building in old photos, but it's not clear enough to be sure.   Mike has been cutting hair 55 years.  He was born in Iran, then lived in Armenia, and then Glendale.  He's been to 80 countries, he tells me. He loves to travel.

2. There is a stairway to the basement:  Once upon a time, the main stairwell of the lobby indeed continued down to the basement, a sweeping entrance into the restaurant and social room. That stairwell was closed off when not only The Cave was built, but when the rest of the basement was made into offices during the Broadway-Glendale Co. era.  The defunct restaurant into which it swept - though I've never seen nor read about how it looked - may well indeed have had the red booths and black and white tile so vividly remembered.

BUT. The barber shop does not connect to the lobby.

3. There are other stairs to the basement: 

Some of the retail spaces on the Glendale Avenue side of the building do have stairways that lead down to the basement for restroom access.  NONE of the retail spaces on the Broadway side have them.

SO ... could there have once been a stairway from Sevak's that has since been removed to make space for other enterprises?

I scanned the original blueprints and was unable to identify stairs.  Also, the barber shop has no "footprint" of a once existing stairway, though both that floor and the basement ceiling have been covered over. 

SO ... the possibility exists, not of the tunnel, but that the barber shop in the Hotel Glendale once had a stairway the led down to the defunct restaurant/social room where remained red booths and black and white tiles floor. If that is not the case, it may be a confusion of memory with the main stairwell down to the basement.  If THAT is not the case, it is the stuff of pure fun and fiction.  Or maybe there was a tunnel that was paved over in the 'eighties, who knows.


The building on the left and on the top right are The Maryland Hotel, on the corner of Maryland and Wilson. The two remaining photos are of The Hotel Glendale.

Though the old Hotel has had its storied past, and there is across the street two pawn shops and a tattoo parlor and a bar, look what the new owners have done to it:  Glendale Flats.

The milk doors are still there.

Sadly, the basement door with the original KIEV radio signs has been recently removed.

Mmmm, Rhinegold beer, my favorite. It exquisitely  pairs with Pall Malls.   Glendale Flats is attracting many young urban professionals, or as they are now called, Millennials.  There is here a really nice mix of culture, age, and languages.

The Cave Wine Storage is still there, also known as HERE.

My AC service tech and I have been together eight years and only discovered his last visit that we both think one of the rooms here entirely creepy and haunted.

Now that the bricks are exposed post-renovation, I'll also be thinking of the great grandfather and others whose hands laid them.

The service elevator was an afterthought.  The Hotel was built without one, considered only one of the Hotel's many failures.  If you stand  on Glendale Ave. north of the building and look up, you'll see a line of windows covered over.  They took out a swath of the building to add the elevator.  I once lived in an apartment under the motor of that elevator and it was the bane of my existence.  Now I know who to blame.

I messaged Sherry Phelps Holt in hopes of getting more stories from her about the Hotel during her tenure, but I've not heard back.

If you have any stories or old family photos of the old Hotel Glendale, please do share.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Oh no, we're nominated, how did THAT happen?


Don't read this blog, you'll run screaming.

Just VOTE for us here.

DEADLINE: June 13.

Thank you for your support.

Wine storage ... exciting stuff!  Seemingly a blog predominate of low-lights, The Cave is really an old library filled with dusty tomes and  personal stories. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to glimpse a few, share in them, and on a good day celebrate alongside.  I once realized, wrote, "I am the keeper of the stories."  Yep.

Here are some recent Cave stories.
Wine Sunday.
Winos Past.
Sipping Summer.  
The Deanster Cometh .
The Hotel Glendale in Valleyvalley California.
The 24-case locker fully realized.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

What we're drinking.

Not that much, actually.  Sometimes life requires you to show up.  Fortunately, I found my way through this cast of characters.  Not all at one sitting. And lots of it was exactly great.

While at Whole Foods recently, I was looking to see if there were a juice box version of wine.  Well, I was looking to see one could enjoy a glass of wine the way one can enjoy a beer. 

Look at Sake, single servings.  BEAUTIFUL. Simple glass, classic lines, great design, great labels, artwork - everything about it beautiful.

Wine? UGH. Or UGHly. Most likely plasticware.  Most likely less than par wine. One of those single serve sake's up there is almost $300, the others between $13 and $20. 

This? A four-pack is around $10.  The wine must be GREAT.

But I would pay $8 for one decent wine in a well-designed container.  Maybe $10.

Thus, beer it often is.

Over the course of one weekend, both of these went down. Of course the Yeti Imperial Stout is a big bit of deliciousness, but Alchemist Brewery's Heady Topper was a revelation.  Partial to stouts, this IPA (difficult to get, only available in Vermont, I'm well-connected, thank you David) was too darn GOOD.  I don't know enough about beer or hops or anything, really, when you get down to it.  But this stuff was good above and beyond the idea of beer.  It transcended beerness.  That's how good it was. 

I picked this stuff up at Glendale's own Topline, home of the world's worst website.  Why do they have a website at all?  Just GO there and when you walk in, Michael the Younger will put something in your hands with emphatic confidence that you will love it.  I was really impressed by this while enjoying this because he's always been right.  He knows my price range. If I've selected something on my own he'll send me to a better wine at the same price. He often says, If you want to spend a few dollars more try this one, it's so much better (which I've done, he's so emphatically convincing). I have no idea what this stuff is. Michael handed it to me, it was within my budget, and it was good.

Then one of those The Cave moments, maybe, I'm not sure, I didn't see anything.

That Thomas Hardy Ale?  1987!  All these kids who've "discovered" microbrews?  Some guy put this in his locker before they were born.  BOOM!

It was, you know, really sublime. An ale that acquired depth and weight, like it was aged in an old bourbon barrel. Zero fizz. 

The Old Crustacean, also zero fizz, also a barley wine, 1995 and brewed in Oregon, fell open for comparison sake. Science. Completely opposite the Thomas Hardy. Still bright and fruity.  A really interesting study of one idea with two results.

 Which brings us to this weekend.  Around Wednesday, I declared, out loud, THERE WILL BE WINE THIS WEEKEND.  Then Friday, the gentleman said to me, Are you up for and experiment?  He went on to say there was a 60% chance this wine, a 2004, would be spent.  I countered that I'm so ignorant to these sorts of things I wouldn't know the difference. 

When I first started working here, the same gentleman pulled two identical bottles from his locker, one given to me.  I thought it was terrible, over, undrinkable.  He thought it was great.  Sine then I've never trusted my understanding of any thing wine. Over the years I've two or three times had a wine that was similar, and been forced to confess my ignorance in sophistication and palate to the most generous donor. 

So, what do I know about wine and these matter?  (Nothing.)  The first night this wine was good, alive and intact but there was a sweetness to it that was separate from everything else and also dominant.  The second night this had integrated.  We spent six, chill, slow hours together, and the wine just got better and better, gentler, more elegant as it went along. Gorgeous.

I'm sure I've mentioned this more than once, Max and I one day talking about the few things in life, the necessary things in life, that restore us to ourselves.  It is a clearly defined moment, having spent a week with my family a few years ago, and thinking towards the end there, I really just want a good glass of wine.  The necessary thing that can restore a sense of civility while navigating the sometimes rocky terrain.

Minus the one plonk, these were all donations to the cause.  As always, what a curious and generous Cave I inhabit.  Cheers.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The mother, the son, The Silver Room.

There are the stories that you find. 

Fifty-seven years lapsed between the opening of The Hotel Glendale and the opening of The Cave. We know most of The Hotel's story, its momentary peak and long, steady decline.  But there is little information on the story of our beloved basement quarters.  How long did the restaurant that is now the Napa Room serve  food?  Was the Social Room that is now the Bordeaux Room always hopping?  Information is scarce. 

Then I stumbled onto something (I'm afraid I didn't bookmark) referring to The Silver Room in the basement of the Hotel Glendale.  A little further digging gave me this story.

This is Beryl Deane Harrell, and this photo of her is from the website Hillbilly Music. There you can read the story of Beryl and her steel guitar. 

In the 'thirties and 'forties she was in a series of bands with names like the Hula Bluettes, Sweethearts of the Air, the Saddle Dusters.  But it would be Eva Harpster and her Four Co-Eds Orchestra that would play a "record breaking engagement of 26 weeks in the Silver Room of the Glendale Hotel in Glendale, California."

Poking around various steel guitar forums, there are two recordings, "Goofus" and "Dragging the Steel." Sadly, both have been removed from Youtube for copyright infringement.  

Ms. Harrell's story is mostly via her son, Don Triolo. He was born in Glendale.  He is her legacy and tells her story with affectionate and vivid memory.  It is that affection, and a deep and enduring sadness, that resounds when you read his annual remembrances posted on her Find-a-Grave site.   

Beryl ended her own life in 1977.  It was in researching this, though, that I see her son Don also recently died unexpectedly.   About a year ago this was the last message posted on Beryl's wall:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

When you know these are the days.

Jay takes care of us all. 

Jay works for the AC company that has serviced The Cave for a very long time.  I call, they answer.  They answer very early in the day.  Yesterday Jay got here at 6:30 am.  He left around 1:30, giving me just enough time to take a shower so I could be back here until after 7 pm.  Many, many hours at The Cave, I hope I like it here.

Oh, right, I do.  After all these years, still.  The key is to remember what "here" is, and then to pay homage to that sometimes.  Some people's "here," sadly, is a drab office that was once a drabber office.  Mine is a Cave that was once maybe a speakeasy during Prohibition.  Good gig!

Before Jay left yesterday, this was on my desk.  Maybe there is an occasional trade amongst us, my memory is faulty. 

 For today I'd coordinated two guys to come in, one who seemed to need a smaller locker and one who definitely needed a larger locker.  Today was The Great Locker Swap.  Then, to add to the fun, R. came in.  A keen and seasoned troglodyte, this was instantly recognized as That Cave Moment, and then this happened, I think, I don't remember.  I'm sure if I tried it I'd have thought it seriously and unusually delicious.  Big grapefruit stuff, acidic and bright, like a sour but actually drinkable.  (Sorry, sour lovers, and that's everyone but me.)

While this was or was not happening, I did a bit of poking around on the stuff and it turns out to be an absolutely appropriate homage to the rumor that is us (hopheads aside).

 A lovely and lively afternoon here at The Cave.  These are the good days, and everyone left with a better resolution to their evolving habits.

 Homage is swell stuff. 


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Great Cave Flood of 2016

Today, The Cave is completely dry. 

It's been two weeks since I could say that.  A series of broken pipes affected over 30 lockers, though not before taking out a few apartments in magnificent style and also affecting three store fronts.

Any/Every wine storage has potential for events that could ultimately affect your product, natural (earthquake) or accidental (plumbing, etc).  Here are some ways to minimize the effects of these events.
Water.  Most-not-all lockers have a false floor, a piece of wood laid across the bottom, resting on 2x2's.  Almost all the potential water damage was via water on the floor seeping under lockers.  Every locker that had wood across the bottom was unaffected.  Every locker that did not have wood, where the boxes or crates were sitting directly on the floor, were affected. Those lockers were emptied, boxes replaced, wet bottles dried, and wood laid down.  The lockers that were affected from above:  again, what was in boxes became wet boxes and no wine was lost.  Lockers that had individual bottles at the very top with no protection had damaged labels.  Lockers have steel mesh on top to allow for air circulation.  If you are apt to break your bottles out for a quick grab-n-go, you may want to consider rotating the bottles so the label is facing at least sideways, and also laying some cardboard across them as an added layer of protection.  As long as the corks remain unhindered, you can even lay plastic across the bottles. 

Earthquake.  Many people opt for a series of smaller lockers over a walk-in precisely to keep their wine safe in case of earthquake. The lesser lockers allow you to pack boxes into a snug fit.  If you have a walk-in that has floor space, the potential exists that all your wine can tumble into the middle of that space.

Air Conditioning. One of the great benefits to having your wine underground is what can happen to it if the AC goes out: very little.  Though The Cave does not have a back up system, repairs are within 24 - (absolute worst-case) 36 hours. Ambient temperature fluctuation during this period is in the 5 - 7 degree range.  By the time your wine reacts, the AC is repaired.

Insure your product.  The Cave lease is a standard California Self-Storage lease, and bears no burden of insurance for damaged product.  It is up to you to insure your own wine. Some people do this through existing homeowners insurance and some get specific wine insurance.  Others opt to not insure at all.  I have no definitive suggestion on this.  I have heard that insurance is no guarantee you will recoup total losses; you need receipts, proofs of value, etc.  Be sure to ask about that when shopping.

Let's look at your locker!  Just so you know, the persons belonging to every locker in the water zone was notified and every necessary step was taken to rectify vulnerabilities. Let's keep doing that. On a visit, soon, when you have the time to do so, come in and we'll look at your locker to see if and how we might adjust it to better protect your product.  

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Holiday libations.

It's always been curious to me that New Years produces a surprising lack of foot traffic.  One suggestion offered was it could depend on which day of the week a particular holiday falls.  Another suggested that when people come in for their Christmas wine, they also tend to their New Years plans.  Now that you mention it, Christmas is also pretty low-key.   A possible illusion, the frenzy that is the combination  Shipping Season/Thanksgiving could warp the perspective.

This year the trend changed and all holidays were rather lively around here.  The Wednesday before New Year six people were here at once, with ten the first hour.  In wine storage time, these are hopping numbers. It was very exciting!

One stunning wine and one Champagne were enjoyed over the holiday, both contributions way more generous than even the season invites.  One day I'll need to get many, many people here free psychiatric evaluations.  In the meantime:
1998 Joseph Phelps Napa valley Cabernet
When this was handed to me, the gentleman said, "This is probably dead. Just pour it down the sink."  I looked at it and thought, no way, it's probably drinking amazingly.  It was.  It could have hung out for a few more years but what made it so good now was how intact the fruit was.  Most of the older California Cabs, the early 'nineties, the fruit is way more faded.  Still good, mind you, it's just that it was really pleasant to have such a showing of fruit with the other benefits of aging, is all.   This was really good.

Pierre Peters "Cuvee de Reserves" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne.
Okay, so, here it is:  I don't really get Champagne, or its necessity on earth.  I know, I'm sorry, and there are so many people here who love the stuff. I do happen to recall one Champagne I had that I really liked though I don't know what it was.  I read once that most people don't like it because their first Champagne experience is at a wedding where it is paired with wedding cake, a grande culinary faux pas that has the power to turn you off to the stuff forever!  It is best paired with salty foods, which is why, in The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe claimed Champagne and potato chips "crazy!"  ("Good!")

Of course this Champagne is Good! because the guy who gave it to me doesn't have anything less than. I mean I knew I was drinking good Champagne but it was still Champagne.  It was pleasant, I enjoyed it.   Then I decided to try it, it turns out, as god intended it to be enjoyed.  It was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I've never had any food - wine combo where the one folded into the other so seamlessly.  Which of course winos do all the time, it's the whole point and what separates the genteel from the troglodyte. I'm not sure I'm a newly-hatched Champagne person, but the experience of wine-done-right was a revelation.

The holidays are over and now we all get to hibernate for the winter. If the Joseph Phelps cab or the Pierre Peters Champagne are any indication, that's a pretty good way to spend it.  Cheers