Posts Tagged ‘Nino’s Italian Restaurant’

Summer Spectacles in the So-cal Sun!

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Salutations sagacious soul-mates! It’s your servant of super-herodom the Knolls Ranger! And I’m happier than a bajillion june-bugs this July! Why? Because of yet another one of Mama’s masterful First Fridays that’s why!  We’re talking free bike bells handed out at our favorite fix-it spot The Workshop!  A Tatoo-athon and Lucha-libre-Soda-pop-party at the Long Beach Clothing Company!  A flag retirement ceremony conducted by the Boy Scouts of America!  Plus classic cars, face paintings, a big brass band, live clay work, student musical recitals, the Big Red Bus and of course, yours truly the inimitable weirdo ranger!  Has art and commerce ever been so deliciously melded?!  Check it out!

Local musicians provide a groovy backbeat for DVD repairmen outside the Autometric Laboratory!

The Jarritos luchadore took any nay-sayers of the Mexican soda co. to the ring!  But he didn’t un-mask this ranger, who likes a Tamrind pop every so often!  (Provided there’s no Sarsparilla in sight).

Troop 29 retired tattered or soiled Betsy Ross’s to the purging flames of respect out back of Nino’s Italian Restaurant.  (Have you tried their new Chef Ramsey approved menu yet?  Simply divine)

Can’t wait to see you all next month for another rip-roaring first fridays!  Au revoir!

The Knolls Ranger Works on his Beach Body!

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

The duties of a neighborhood super-hero are sundry and legion.  One day they might be cleaning the streets of crime; the next,  cleaning out the clothing rack at a Marshalls discount sale.  But no matter what day it is, chomping on snacks, cakes, goodies, and sweet stuff from the local dining establishments is always  a ranger requisite.  Be those snacks a hoagie from Philly Steak & Subs (4141 Long Beach Boulevard) a Manhatten black & white from Alsace Lorraine Fine Pastries (4334 Atlantic Avenue), or any number of delectable dishes from Sunny Donuts & Terriyaki (3408 Long Beach Boulevard).  The citizens know just how protected they are by how much their masked mascot had to eat.  Yum!

All in a Day's Work Bixby Knolls!

But all this voracious eating has added girth to the ranger’s heroic form and hindered his ability to fit into his summer bathing suit.  So what is a flabby justice fighter to do but catch a wave over to the Commit 2 Fit Athletic Club on 4354 Atlantic and shave a few layers off his Gluteus Maximus!


The trainers in Commit 2 Fit work to give you the work-out you need, gently pushing you to get the exercises you desire while never stepping over into drill instructor territory.  They are as hard on you as you want them to be and the facility has dozens of weight training machines to choose from.

After a solid five minutes spent wailing on my biceps and pectorals I felt ike a new ranger and was ready to go back out and have a baker’s dozen Angel Food Donuts.  Thank you Bixby Knolls!

Commit 2 Fit is located on 4354 Atlantic Avenue Long Beach, CA 90807.  You can reach them by phone at (562) 427-8663.  Tell them the ranger sent you!

Kickin’ it with Kapn’ Kula

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Originally used to describe any sort of nautical ne’er-do-well from antiquity, the pirate has made a cultural metamorphosis into the rum-swigging, peg-leg wearing, Jolly Roger flag waving, ill-mannered darling of our collective imaginations.  You can blame the mouse house with their multi-billion dollar movies and “yo-ho-ho”-ing robots in Anaheim if you’d like.  Or the masterful musings of literary icons like J.M. Barrie, and Robert Louis Stevenson.  You could blame Gilbert & Sullivan or Hallowe’en costume companies.  You could even blame that team of bat-and-ball fellers down Pittsburgh way.  But in the end, no matter who the culprit is (what are we going to do to them anyway?  Make them walk the plank?) the fact remains that the booze-stinkin’, lice-ridden, pirate replete with greasy beard, smelly eye hole, and Capn’ Crunch style bicorne hat, is here to stay.  And if said pirates are in everything from Saturday Morning Cartoons to internet memes than you’d better believe that Bixby Knolls, in all it’s splendor, has some too.

Our pirates are none other than Kaptain Ray Kula and his crew of crooning cut-throats!  The good Kaptn. is the front-man of a band that plays on authentic hundred year-old mandolins, accordions, and ukuleles and will throw you a Calypso or Hawaiian beat just to get your attention before growling into a 300 year old shantie about man’s love for manatees.  They play all over the sea’s of Southern CA mind you entertaining in cruise ships, watering holes, and private parties.  They’ve been honored to perform before the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at their 2004 National Conference and alongside the Hollywood elite during Disney’s red carpet premier’s of Pirate’s 2,3, & 4.  They’re also frequent guests to Bixby Knolls and First Fridays, filling the night with their raucous cries and merry music!  With their odd looks and demeanor they fit right in with Bixby’s eclectic crew of characters which includes your’s truly: the official super-hero/greeter/pod-person, Annie the beloved English Bull-dog, the ever-classy Duke and Duchess, and Mike Mora of the beard coalition (we can’t get enough of it!).

I recently sat down with Kaptn. Kula over a delicious Blair’s special pizza at one of my favorite fine dining establishment, Nino’s Italian Restaurant to ask him a few questions about life at sea and what makes him tick.

Knolls Ranger:  Howdy ho Kapn’ Kula!

Kaptn. Kula:  ARRRRR me matey!

Ranger:  What wonderful Nino’s menu item are you devouring today Kaptn.?

Kula:  I’m having the Chicken PARRRRRRmigian.

Ranger:  Heavenly.  Now most people don’t know this about you, but in addition to being a dreaded pirate you are also a fan of the stage, what is one of your favorite plays?

Kula:  I’d have to say ARRRRRsenic and Old Lace.

Ranger:  Hahaha, and your favorite 1970’s folk song?

Kula:  PARRRRRsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme by Simon and GARRRRRRfunkle.

Ranger:  Favorite Greek Mathematician?

Kula:  ARRRRRRRchimedes.

Ranger:  Beloved Don Knotts television character?

Kula:  BARRRRRRRney Fife.

Ranger:  Favorite Tuscany province in Italy?

Kula:  The eastern province of ARRRRRRRRRezzo.

Ranger:  Former Bodybuilding State Governor recently under fire for adulterous child fathering?

Kula:  Listen, do we have to keep doing this?  The ARRRRR jokes?  It’s a little demeaning, I mean I may be a pirate but I’m not just a simple, monosyllabic archetype.

Ranger:  Not just a what?  I’m sorry.

Kula:  An archetype.

Ranger:  Gee, I still couldn’t make that out.  Could you speak up a little.

Kula:  (Sighs) An ARRRRRchetype.

Ranger:  Ohhhhhh, an ARRRRRchetype!  Hehehe, Kula you crazy.

And then we danced

You can catch performances of Kula and his crew coming up at the Fun Draiser birthday show for Alive Theatre company members, Jasper Oliver and Aurea Tomeski on June 10th at The Farm, 555 E. 3rd St., Long Beach, CA, 90802.

The Sights and Sounds of First Fridays

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Kapn' Kula's Pyrat Party & The Knolls Ranger:  Together at Last

Howdy Ho Bixby Brethren!  The Knolls Ranger here, happy to report on the successful mounting of yet another first friday festivity!  For those of you still unawares First Fridays is a monthly art & music event occurring in Bixby Knolls!  Businesses along the northern Atlantic Cooridor extend their hours of operation, offering special deals to patrons, as well as giving local artists a venue where they can display their work.  The event is one part music festival, one part art walk, one part farmer’s market, and all parts fun!  Here’s a look at what August had to offer!

The Magic Bullet Theory

Jazz Jam band The Magic Bullet Theory injected Nino’s Italian Restaurant with pure rhythm and soul!

Mouth Painting

Averyboo Arts featured a display commemorating the work of quadriplegic Jean Cook (1932-1999) whose work was painted using her mouth.  In order to fully appreciate this difficult task FF attendees were able to use sanitary brushes to try the same thing.

The Conjugated Beliefs of Usallica

The Conjugated Beliefs of Usallica, a new world premier absurdist dystopia from the Long Beach Shakespeare Company performed to a packed house at the furniture Expo warehouse.

Former Mayor Beverly O'Neill, The Ranger, & Author Harry Saltzgaver

Former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill and author Harry Satlzgaver were at the Long Beach Historical Society as part of their book tour for,  “Passionately Positive: The Beverly O’Neill Story“.  We had to sneak a pic.


Everyone’s favorite one man band Timstrument was there!

Kaptain Kula's Pyrat Party

And Kaptain Kula’s Pyrat Party rocked the plank.

Hare Krishna Band

And Hare Krishna’s brought good cheer to Free Spirit Yoga.

Watch out Knolls Ranger!

You couldn’t miss the Big Red Bus!

Paul Forman

Some Long Beach dignitaries were pout and about such as Paul Forman…

Justin Rudd

…Justin Rudd…

And the Avon Ladies

…and the Avon ladies.


Big band Dixieland made big noise at The Factory.

Bixby Buckaroo's

And all of my favorite citizen’s were out.

Singing Karaoke

All in all it was a First Friday to remember.  Hope to see you in September!

Introducing…The Knolls Kegger!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Two Rangers?!

Hot hopping horned toads of Havana, the Ranger had a wonderful Wednesday!  It all started at 7 PM over at The Factory Gastrobar where residents of Bixby Knolls, local congressmen, and business leaders all gathered to talk bikes and sip brews!

The Ranger as Beer Keg

Bixby’s favorite music man, DJ Neon Hunter played the party hits we all wanted to here and Long Beach City Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy outlined his plans for transforming Long Beach into “the most bike friendly city in the United States.”  Yowza!

Gandy and the Ranger!

These plans included using $17 million in federal and state grants to improve the bike system in the city and painting twenty new miles of bikes lanes on all your favorite streets!  Also on the docket was the value of incentives to local cyclists such as the Lunch Breaks for Cyclists system already in place wherein bikers receive meal discounts from a plethora of Long Beach eateries for lunch on the first Friday of every month, including Bixby businesses like Nino’s Italian Restaurant!  (And speaking of First Fridays, please do click here to get in the know’lls)Bike Racks at High Schools!

Natalie of the Factory kept her patrons well fed during this Happy Hour of two-wheeled delight with the Gastrobar’s usual assortment of excellent free-range meats and organic vegetables!  And the New Belgium Brewing Company showed up with their own ranger to promote and serve their new brew: Ranger IPA!  Yee-ha!  I donned my beer keg duds for the special occasion!  We rangers need to stay together you know!

John Royce, Jim Hanson, The Beer Ranger, The Knolls Ranger, and Kim Peterson's Progeny all listen intently.

John Royce, Jim Hanson, The Beer Ranger, The Knolls Ranger, and Kim Peterson's Progeny all listen intently.

Only in Long Beach would you find a melding of minds this exciting and progressive!  And only in Long Beach would they be both discussing and actually enacting change on this large level.  It makes me proud to be a ranger.  Later that night The Factory continued the party with their weekly Wednesday open mic night!  Check them out at 4020 Atlantic Avenue, or call ahead for great bites: (562) 595-4020.

Motion Picture Innacurately Portrays Lifestyles of Everyday Super-heroes

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Totally Unrealistic The last decade, it seems to one ranger, has proved popular for the caped crime-fighter sub-genre of big budge Hollywood studio pics (those are my abreve’s, thank ye very much).  Every year a glut of the noxious noisemakers (now with 0 grams of trans fat!) cram their way into our theatre houses, televisions, bus stop insert ads, and collective unconsciousness.  Is it the zeitgeist of our times, a cleverly crafted bout of commercialism, or both that demands a consistent mainstream re-enactment of latent fantasies involving gamma rays and radioactive spiders?  The world may never know.

The latest tights-and-spandex spectacle claims originality for it’s realistic reflections of the actions, motives, angst, and lifestyles of actual super-heroes, were they to really exist in our modern day.  Well, being an actual, existing, real-life masked man myself I decided to catch a viewing of said celluloid and see for me.  The movie in question is, of course, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze.

(Wait, no, strike that.  That’s not right.  Actually TMNT2 hit the nail on the proverbial head in many ways, no, the movie I’m actually referring to is Kick-Butt [title here altered to maintain family friendliness]) So yeah; Kick-Butt; movie; Lionsgate Films; honest-to-goodness, run-of-the-mill, joe-schmoe, everyday superheroes.  And what do these average superheroes do, you might ask?

Punchin' in Profiles the Super Way!

Engage in orgiastic bloodletting bouts, and make frequent espousal of the c word apparently.  (Not cran-apple although that’s a good guess) Well I cry foul (I also cry “fowl!”  When I’m ordering a scrumptious chicken teriyaki bowl from the Golden Bowl Burger at 3967 Atlantic.  Mmmm hmmm)

A typical day for me is not only less violent, it’s much less eventful.  I wake up everyday promptly at 7 am and wander around my top-secret Bixby Knolls lair for an hour-and-a-half cleaning up the bat guano.  Then I do my Tae Bo program for thirty minutes.  At Nine it’s time for me to enter the Bixby Knolls streets, greet the neighbors, and accidentally make small children cry.  I get breakfast from somewhere delicious like Arnold’s Family Restaurant or George’s 50′s Diner.  I pose for pictures, I contemplate my place in the cosmos and I help old ladies cross the street.  Sometimes I go over to Averyboo Arts and meet up with Avery and his friends and we express ourselves artistically.

That desk never knew what hit it

For lunch I’ll choose a fine dining establishment like Nino’s, Il Poggio, IHOP, or Trani’s.  Then I’ll type silly things into my website for hours on end and enjoy my fan mail (Thank you for your concern Billy Preston from Milwaukee I’m sure my horse is safe by now and well over the Bering Strait.)  As you can see this leaves me no time at all to wade knee deep through grimy pools of human viscera as this film posits I would surely do.

But the assumption Kick Butt makes which most irks me is that masked crime fighters in fact, don’t exist in the real world (at least not until the fantasy of this movie came out).  Oh yeah?  Tell that to Captain Jackson, a former cop who makes arrests, repaints old gentrified theatres, and helps out his community in Jackson, Michigan all the while wearing his favorite tights and cape!

Real Superhero Captain Jackson

Real Superhero Captain Jackson

Tell that to Superbarrio, a laborer from Mexico City who organizes petitions and rallies for the rights of the common man in his red vinyl suit and luchadore mask!

Superbarrio- A real life Super-hero from Mexico City

Superbarrio- A real life Super-hero from Mexico City

Angle Grinder Man

Angle Grinder Man

Then there’s Angle-Grinder Man!  A Londoner who cuts cars free from their wheel clamps in the United Kingdom!  And whose gold and blue suit is the envy of heroes everywhere! And let’s not forget Terrifica!  A New Yorker who patrols bars and parties and ensures that inebriated women are not taken advantage of!

Thank You Terrifica

Thank You Terrifica

To posit that no such heroes exist is to wipe away the consistent concerted efforts of masked do-gooders like these and myself!  Not that we ask for any reward for our actions.  Simply knowing that the streets are safer, or that a bears claw can be obtained from Yummy Donuts at 4466 California Place is reward enough!

But I called "Shotgun!" guys!

But I called "Shotgun!" guys!