May 28, 2009

Flying Monkeys

50 years ago today, two little monkonauts took to space for NASA and came home alive which was a first for any of the monkey missions. Miss Baker, a Peruvian-born squirrel monkey, and Miss Able, her Rhesus monkey shuttle mate from Independence, Kansas, blasted off in a Jupiter-AM 18 rocket to test the effects of weightlessness and acceleration so that future astronauts could visit the skies. During their trip, Able and Baker sailed through their button-pushing tests all while experiencing zero gravity and landed safely in the Caribbean 15 minutes later. Upon return, the girls were heralded as little heroes and were placed on the June 15 cover of Life magazine. Unfortunately, Miss Able died a few days after the trip as a result of an operation to remove an electrode implanted in her body. The Smithsonian acquired her and she is now on display in the capsule that took her on her space journey. Miss Baker, on the other hand, lived another 25 years and is now buried at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama where her grave is visited by fans from all over the globe. Thankfully, NASA stopped sending animals to space.

To honor these two little monkeys, here is a list of many things monkey in Los Angeles.

Banana Bungalow, 5920 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Funky hostel located in Hollywood with cheap rooms and a Tiki Bar. The stay comes with access to various amenities like a basketball court and a BBQ pit, plus a karaoke stage and free breakfast.

Singapore's Banana Leaf, 6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles
Located in the Farmer's Market, this popular Malaysian/Southeast Asian joint has a wide menu and apparently the Mee Goreng and Roti Paratha are the best around.

Tiki Ti Cocktail Lounge, 4427 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
In honor of Baker and Able, head to this kitschy 48-year-old bar for the Space Pilot (rum, juice and a Dark Jamaican top) or any other fruity concoction by Ray Buher, the legendary owner of Tiki Ti.

Cake Monkey Bakery, 877-640-CAKE
With the most delicious menu for your sweet tooth, Lisa and Elizabeth are worth calling up for any occasion. Need a sugar fix on a Tuesday? What about a mini Almond Orangutan or a Vanilla Gorilla cake? Someone's birthday? Send them over a box of Inside Out S'Mores. If you're out in Los Angeles, you can find their treats at Silverlake Wine, Umami Burger or Gelato Bar.

Red Monkey Designs, 341 W. Mira Loma Ave., Glendale
Known for their innovative leather accessories and long celebrity client list, these artists are hand-crafting one-of-a-kind pieces right here in Los Angeles. With everything from watches to dog collars, Red Monkey has come a long wayfrom where they originally started and their designs can now be found in stores as far away as Japan.

Back in 2007, Jennifer Stenhauer went on the quest for Los Angeles' best banana cream pie. Her picks? Two retro eateries with Pasadena's Pie-n-Burger (913 East California Boulevard, Pasadena) in first place and The Apple Pan (10801 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles) in a close second.

1 comment:

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