Life Style, Charm, Culture, Majesty of Nature and the Built Environment- by Gary S. Smolker

In Fast Paced Societies Some People Think Sleep Is A Symptom of Caffeine Deficiency

I love coffee.

I find coffee to be highly stimulating.

  • Coffee/caffeine turns on, activates, stimulates and fires up sections of my brain.
  • Drinking coffee makes me more alert, makes me better able to concentrate, makes me better able to think, makes me feel energetic and energizes me.
  • Without a doubt, coffee/caffeine is a psychoactive substance.


  • I drink coffee to keep awake, to make me more alert, to energize me and to make me energetic.
  • I drink coffee every morning because coffee makes my brain function better.
  • Coffee makes me become alert and energetic.
  • I love to meet strangers in coffee houses while they are purchasing a cup of coffee.
  • I love to sip coffee while talking to people.
  • I am a “social coffee drinker:”
  • For me: Coffee houses are a place where I can talk to strangers and a place where I can meet people “for a coffee.”
  • I have met new people, complete strangers, in coffeehouses.
  • For me coffee houses are a place of refuge: I enjoy reading a book alone while in a coffeehouse while
  • I “love” breathing in the smell of coffee, looking at “sweets for sale”, looking at people entering and exiting the coffeehouse.
  • I enjoy listening to strangers talking to one another in the background while I am in a coffeehouse.  Sometimes I ask for permission to join them in their conversations.
  • I love to look at signs posted in coffeehouses.
  • I love “dream come true” success stories.


  • Creme Caramel LA is an inspirational business success story.  So is The Daily Grind.
  • The owners of Creme Caramel LA began their business in 2010 selling pies they made from scratch at a rented booth in a Farmers Market.
  • Within three years later they were selling pies they made from scratch in booths they rented in ten different Farmers Markets — from Silver Lake (an area of Los Angeles) to Northridge (another area in Los Angeles.
  • In 2013 they opened their Creme Caramel LA store described below.


  • On July 3, 2016, I walked from my apartment to a hole in the hole in the wall Creme Caramel LA store I had driven by (without stopping) on my way to work for more than one year.
  • At least five days a week for over one year, as I drove by the glass entry door to that store I was always fascinated by a sign on the front door stating “I am not a cupcake.”
  • IMG_8869
  • But I never stopped to go in.
  • On July 3, I decided to walk to that store to find out what was behind the front door, what is behind that “I am not a cupcake” sign.
  • Once inside, I immediately saw a sign which states “Stressed Is Just Desserts Spelled Backwards.”

Below is a photograph of that sign which I saw as I walked through the front door into the Creme Caramel LA store.


Growth Phase

  • Creme Caramel LA is no longer a “start-up” business.
  • It is now in its growth phase.
  • The owner-operators bake and sell their own original recipe creme caramels, custards, upside down pies, bread puddings, quiches, and tea sandwiches on the premises.
  • Creme Caramel LA specializes in creme caramels, upside down pies, custards, bread puddings and serves a variety of coffee drinks and sweets and savories for onsite consumption.
  • Inside is a table against a wall with three chairs to sit on located on the wall to the right of you as you walk into the store and to the left of you is a display case  containing pies and cakes and other savories for sale.  A coffee pot and espresso machine are located behind the display case counter.  Further back is the kitchen “Where The Magic Happens.”  Outside the front door, on the sidewalk, are two tables to sit at with a few chairs to sit on.  While there I bought and ate a lemon bar and I bought and drank a coffee.
  • For your information: Creme Caramel LA is located at 14849 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA. 91411.
  • Creme Caramel LA is located near the intersection of Kester Ave and Burbank Blvd., about a ten minute walk from where I live on Burbank Blvd. in Van Nuys, California.

Creme Caramel LA

I liked the lemon bar and coffee I had on Sunday (July 3) so much that I walked there again from my home on July 4 to have breakfast.

For breakfast (on July 4), I bought a Strada  and drank two Salted Caramel Lattes.

See pictures below of my breakfast, the Strada I ate for breakfast.



The Creme Caramel LA’s Strata I ate was a savory bread pudding with jack cheese, cheddar cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and longinisa.  Longinisa is a Filipino pork sausage.

Below are two close up pictures of the Strata I ate for breakfast Monday morning (July 4) at Creme Caramel LA— taken after I had taken a few bites of it and cut off a small piece.




Below is a photograph of a list of the hot coffee drinks served which I took inside the Creme Caramel LA
store on July 4, 2016.


Below are two photographs I took inside the Creme Caramel LA store of the list of custards and confections created/served at Creme Caramel LA.




Below is a photograph of the sign inside the store advertising the prices of sandwiches and Spanish Tortilla made and sold in the store.


Below is a photograph (taken by me) of the message on the front door of Creme Caramel LA sign stating “I am not a cupcake.” f


I wanted to know what does “I’m Not A Cupcake!” meant.

When I walked into the store I quickly found out.

  • Among the various savories served at Creme Caramel LA  is “Unicorn Poop” (Meringue Cookies).


  • Individual portion sized sweet “bar cookies” available to for customers to buy, to have with their coffee or other drink or to take home.
  • The “bar cookie” in the top right hand corner of the picture below is a S’Mores Bar consisting of marshmallow on top of a chocolate chip cookie.


On Sunday morning (July 2, 2016), I ate a lemon bar cookie, like the one in the picture above beneath the S’Mores Bar.

Inside Creme Caramel LA there is only one table with four chairs for customers to sit on while they drink their coffee.  See picture below.


Above the door leading to the kitchen where all pastries are made (from scratch) is a sign which says “Where the Magic Happens.”


Outside are two tables with a few chairs for people to sit on while they drink coffee and eat pastries.

Below is a picture I took directly across the street (Burbank Blvd.) of the Creme Caramel LA storefront and of the two tables with chairs in front of the entry door.


Below is a close up picture of the front (entry) door to Creme Caramel LA — which as you an see, is hard to see as you drive (on Burbank Blvd) past the front door of the Creme Caramel LA store.


By the way, Creme Caramel LA is a dog friendly place.

Below is a picture I took of a dog drinking water out of a bowl in front of the store.


The Creme Caramel LA story proves that Los Angeles is a place where dreams can come true.

My Worldwide Search

I am on a worldwide search/quest to find, savor and enjoy fully the best of everything, including t

  • he best books,
  • the best bookstores,
  • the best movies,
  • the best coffeehouses,
  • the best coffees,
  • the best chocolate,
  • the best confections,
  • the best sweets,
  • the most picturesque places
  • the most magnificent places and,
  • the most charming places in the world.

I found such a place, in June, 2016: a coffeehouse in Pullman, Washington, The Daily Grind.

The Daily Grind’s address is: 230 Main Street, Pullman, Washington 99163.  Phone: 509-334-3380.

The Daily Grind is the best coffeehouse I have found on my worldwide quest to find the best coffeehouse.


  • Pullman is in the Palouse Region of Eastern Washington.
  • Pullman is a “small town.”
  • Washington State University is located in Pullman.
  • Pullman is a farm town, a town surrounded by farms growing crops on rolling hills.
  • People hunt deer on those farms.
  • You have to watch out for deer when you drive on the meandering roads that come into and go out from Pullman into the countryside.
  • I walked up and down Main Street in Pullman – which was about a one or two or at most three blocks long walk.
  • Crops grown in the countryside surrounding Pullman are shipped by trucks, trains and by barges out to customers/consumers all over the world.

Below are photographs I took of crops and wildflowers growing on farms in the countryside around Pullman, a barn, the Palouse River, a railroad track (partially covered by a wooden structure) on a bridge over the Palouse River and of a sign on one farmer’s property telling people to “keep out”/”no trespassing.”





















The Palouse Region of Eastern Washington

The Palouse region of Eastern Washington consists of rolling fields covered with growing crops, endless miles of gravel roads, scenic vistas, unpaved trails and pathways for walking, paved non-motorized trails for biking strolling and running, and is teaming with many species of birds plants and wildlife and has many unique points of interest.

Three examples:

  1. The Pullman Parks and Recreation trail system, for example, consists of almost 8 miles of paths.
  2. The Kamiak Butte area of the Palouse, for example, has over 130 species of birds, 170 species of plants and 30 species of mammals for wildlife viewing.
  3. Just off Main Street in downtown Colfax – which is an extremely small town in the Palouse Region of Eastern Washington – stands the tallest chainsaw carved structure in the world, the Codger Pole.  The Codger Pole was built to commemorate a football game between Colfax and the town of St. John played in 1938 and replayed in 1988 by those still around 50 years later.  It is 65 feet tall.

The City of Colfax is situated between the Spokane Airport and the city of Pullman Washington.

I stopped in Colfax on my way from the Spokane Airport to Pullman Washington.

I had never seen anything like The Codger Pole before seeing it during my stop to get a bit to eat  in Colfax Washington as I was driving from the Spokane Airport to Pullman.

Below is a series of pictures I took of the Codger Pole, when I stopped on my way to Pullman, while I was in Colfax, Washington.





On my way to Pullman Washington from the Spokane Airport I drove through Colfax, Washington.

Below is a picture of a sign I saw on the sidewalk as I was driving through Colfax.


I stopped and went inside the “Top Notch Cafe.”

If I remember correctly there were about 10 chairs at a counter to sit on and four or five booths to sit in.

On a wall was posted a T-shirt shown below.


Of course, I ordered a hamburger with fries.

Below is a picture of the hamburger with fries served to me at the Top Notch Cafe.


Below is a picture of my hamburger sandwich which indeed contained two hamburger patties, a slice of ham, several slices of bacon, several slices of cheese, lettuce, pickle and tomato.


That sandwich was way too much for me to eat.

I couldn’t eat more than a third of it.

I was with two friends (Saeed Yadegar, MD and Grahame Elder) who shared my hamburger sandwich with me.

I think downtown Colfax consists of three blocks.

Charm, Charming Places and Charming People

Pullman is a very small city, and a “college town.” The main campus of Washington State University is located in Pullman.

Pullman, Washington is the most charming city I have found on my worldwide quest to find the most charming city in the world.

I came across The Daily Grind  as I walked along the one or two blocks on Main Street in Pullman.

The Daily Grind is the most charming coffeehouse I have found on my quest to find the best coffeehouse in the world.

The Daily Grind

Below is a picture of the sign I saw on the sidewalk on Main Street in Pullman.

This sign (on the sidewalk) is right in front of The Daily Grind.


Everything about The Daily Grind is charming, from napkin holders on the tables, to having comfortable chairs to sit in next to wooden tables to sit at while drinking coffee, to charming paintings, posters and signs hanging on the walls to a grand painting painted on a major brick wall.

The napkin holders on each of the tables are “decorated’ with clever messages.

Below is a picture of me in front of one of the napkin holders.


Below is a close up picture of that napkin holder.


Below are photographs I took of a few of the napkin holders I found on tables in The Daily Grind.




I don’t remember if the above picture is of a message on a napkin holder or a picture of a sign.

Below is a picture of a hand painted wall behind a table inside The Daily Grind


Below is a picture of the neon sign on the front window you pass as you enter The Daily Grind.


Below is a picture of the front of The Daily Grind I took from across the street.


Attached to the drinking areas (which have tables to sit at and a conference room) is a small kitchen that serves a limited menu of freshly made breakfast dishes and sandwiches) and an area that serves a huge variety of coffees.

A huge variety of coffee drinks are made and sold in The Daily Grind as well as unique “gifts”.

  1. Hand crafted soap made out of coffee beans.
  2. Signs with “value laden” messages.

See photographs below, of hand crafted soap made with coffee beans sold at The Daily Grind.



See photographs below of signs sold in The Daily Grind.





The Daily Grind is a one of a kind coffee house.

The Old European Restaurant

The Old European Restaurant is Kid Friendly,Warm and Welcoming


The owner operators of The Old European Restaurant, located at 455 South Grand Avenue in Pullman, Washington believe that dining should be a wonderful experience, not just a place to eat.  A welcoming sign inside their restaurant says:

“Gose w Dom, Bog w Dom”

“Guest in the house, God in the house!”


The owners of The Old European Restaurant proudly let you know “who is serving you.”

On each table is a book titled “Old Europe Story Book” which provides a brief resume of each one of their service staff and each member of their background crew.

Below are two examples:

Channing is our smiling girl who moved from NY to Pullman to study grizzly bears because she loves animals.  As it turned out, she will get her degree, and has worked herself into the challenging position of  training our new service staff members, and manages a mired of details, necessary if our operation is to offer the kind of service you should expect.  Channing is planning a wedding and is to be married in June!

Kevin.  Oh if we all had this young man’s grit and spirit!  He is working 3 jobs to keep out of loan debt, studying to become a neuro-biologist, and has survived 8 major bone surgeries.  The pain is there but you would never know if by the way he produces in our kitchen.  Pullman is his first home away from home, and we have the privilege of including him in on our staff.

Fabulous Food

The food served there is fabulous.

For breakfast on Friday (June 10, 2016) I had the “Scandinavian Cake Plate” at The Old European Restaurant which consisted of:

  • 2 Mini Buttermilk Hotcakes
  • 1 Strawberry Swedish Crepe with sweet cream filling (the crepes have fresh squeezed orange juice in the batter)
  • 3 Seasoned Sausage and Havarti Cheese Aebelskivers Buttermilk Hotcakes
  • 1 German Potato Pancake (with bits of spicy German sausage and onions in the batter) with applesauce and  sour cream

On the Menu under “Scandinavian Cake Plate” appears the following information: “The story goes that a waiter in the City of Paris, who was preparing desert for the Prince of Wales and his entourage, accidentally spilled the orange liquor on the desert and it caught on fire.  The Prince was impressed so the waiter tried to name it after him.  The Prince declined, but asked that it be named after Suzette, a lady in the party, and now we have “Crepe Suzettes.”

Additionally, I drank a cup or two of Organic Shade grown coffee — which is discussed and described on the menu as follows: “Save the rain forest and your health!  Enjoy this rich, mellow roast, full of antioxidants without pesticides or chemical treatments.  A portion of our sales is returned to support the farmers who grew the beans in Central America. We serve a fresh dark blend in your individual French Press.

“In the Old Country, coffee was not easy to afford and was often unavailable for purchase. To many folks who had left Europe’s hopeless economics for a chance of a better life in America, a hot cup of coffee at the crack of dawn (made from the grounds that weren’t used the day before that) before doing the chores in the fields, became symbolic of achieving a better life!  Such was the case of our grandparents Pedersen.  To them, that early morning quiet ten minute cup of coffee together before the day began meant everything.  When grandpa became old and unhealthy, the Doctor said, ‘No more coffee.’  Eventually, grandpa completely lost his memory and was put in a nursing home.  Grandma visited him, but he did not know her.  One day grandma came to visit him and brought her coffee pot along.  She proceeded to brew coffee just like she always had, only there she had to shoo away the well meaning nurses.  That day became a very special moment of life.  The coffee brought back grandpa’s memory for a couple of hours.  Grandma and grandpa talked about the past, the family, the farm and all the special things they had shared together.  The following day, grandpa passed away.”

Charming Signs in the Cougar Land Motel in Pullman, Washington

Below are pictures of signs I took in the lobby of  the motel I stayed in while I was in Pullman, Washington.




Washington State University is located in Pullman Washington.

Below is a sign of the wall of the motel where I stayed in while in Pullman, Washington.



Rico’s Pub

Below is a sign on the window of Rico’s Pub.

Rico’s Pub is located on the same block on the same side of the street and a few doors away from The Daily Grind.


Below is a sign on the side walk in front of Ricos.


Ricos has been a neighborhood pub serving the Pullman community since 1909.

According to its official history:

In 1909 Rico’s primarily provided tobacco products.  However, beverages and meals were available for the nearly all-male clientele who gathered for a game or two of pool or cards.

Rico’s survived both Prohibition and the Depression that followed Black Thursday on the strength of the its house specialty, “Smokehouse Milkshakes,” which literally sold by the thousands.

Below are pictures of fresh flowers growing in the flower boxes on the patio on the sidewalk in front of Ricos.






Other Businesses in the Neighborhood

Below is a sign in the window of a Eco-friendly spa, located a block away from The Daily Grind.


Below is a picture of of a sign on the window of a mortgage company located a block away from The Daily Grind.


Below are photographs of  signage/signs on a book store located directly across the street from The Daily Grill.





And a sign requesting people to not park their bicycle in front of the door.



Historical and Present Thoughts About Coffee

I have a lot to say about coffee and chocolate, and so do other people.

I took the photograph below while I was having coffee back in Los Angeles, at my local Starbucks, in Van Nuys, California, this morning.


In Times “Past”, Coffee Houses Were Shut Down because Their Customers Discussed Political Issues.

On 29 December 1675, Charles II promulgated his “Proclamation for the Suppression of Coffee Houses”, which he described as places of license and seditious libel.

From now on, said Charles II, it would be forbidden “to keep any Public Coffee House, or sell by retail, in his, or her or their house or houses (to be spent and consumed within the same) any Coffee, Chocolate, Sherbet or Tea.”

There was a tremendous outcry, and the monarch let them stay open another six months.  Thereafter, Charles futile decree was soon forgotten.

Many coffee-house customers thought about the cost of coffee: chocolate cost more than coffee, but tea was even more expensive.

Coffee provided the most stimulation for the least outlay, which is probably why these were “coffee houses” rather than “chocolate houses.”

Charles II unsuccessfully tried to suppress these establishments which he considered to be hotbeds of sedition.

The Old European Restaurant Serves Organic Coffee for Its Health Benefit Reasons

In a a book on each table of its tables, titled “Old Europe Story Book”, the Old European Restaurant reports:

Coffee beans are one of the most absorbent of the agricultural crops.

Pesticides can not be washed off or roasted out, they become part of the bean, and flow right into your steamy cup of coffee.

Pesticides such as endosulfan and carbofuran which are banned in the U.S.A. are not banned in other coffee producing/importing countries.

Fresh  chemical free coffee has more antioxidant activity than green tea, black tea or cocoa as it contains CHLOROGENIC ACID.  Reduces the absorption of new glucose that actually slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. May supply up to 70%  antioxidant requirements in one day.

The National Institute of Health discovered that organic, chemical free, cool roasted coffee beans extended life expectancy in case studies by 10%, 2-6 cups per day. Other benefits

  • mental alertness and over all physical performance
  • reduction of risk of diabetes
  • reduces symptoms of PMS
  • delays onset of Alzheimer’s and risk of
  • protects cells from DNA damage
  • benefits liver function

I don’t know if any of the above statements about pesticides or health benefits are true, but I now drink only organic coffee, whereas before I did not ask for organic coffee when I ordered a cup of coffee.

Do Not Underestimate the Effect Food Can Have on People

Chocolate Was/Is Thought to Increase Sex Drive

In ” The True History of Chocolate” Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe write that in the Secret Memoirs for the History of the Republic of Letters, the writer Louis Petit de Bachaumont relates a party reputed to have taken place in June 1772, given  by the marquis de Sade:

Friends write from Marseilles that M. le comte de Sade … gave a ball.

… Into the desert he slipped chocolate pastilles so good that a number of people devoured them.  There were lots of them, and no one failed to eat some, but he had mixed in some Spanish fly.  The virtue of the medicine is well known.  It proved to be so potent that those who ate the pastilles began to burn with unchaste ador and to carry on as if in the grip of the most amorous frenzy.  The ball degenerated into one those licentious orgies for which the Romans were renowned.  Even the most respectable women were unable to resist the uterine rage that stirred within them.  And so it was that M. de Sade enjoyed the favors of his sister-in-law, with whom he fled to avoid the punishment he deserves.  Several persons died of their frightful priapic excesses, and others are still quite sick.”

The Coes report:  Thereafter de Sade and his male servant (a Leporello type) were forced to flee to the estate of the King of Sardinia, who promptly had them arrested.  They escaped from the fortress in which they were locked up, but the parlement at Aix sentenced them to death in absentia, and executed them in effigy.

Do Not Underestimate the Effect the Majesty Nature Can Have on People

Below are photographs of a country side of rolling hills covered with growing crops [taken by my good friend Saeed Yadegar, MD] which Saeed and I saw as we drove through the countryside on our recent June 9 through June 12, 2016 trip to Pullman, Colfax and Palouse, Washington.





Upon seeing those photographs a friend of mine remarked: A busy soul rests looking at those photos.  Beautiful and very uplifting.

Time Passes

Below is a sign on the building indicating the name and products of the business which previously occupied the location and space now occupied by The Daily Grind.



The pace of life and attitude towards life, the built environment and natural environment, I experienced on my recent trip in Eastern Washington – in Pullman Washington and environs – was remarkably different  than the pace of life and attitude towards life and tremendously different than the built environment and natural environment I experience every day in Los Angeles.


We are all products of our environment and circumstances.

That is part of what it means to be human.


Is Eastern Washington the Land that Time Forgot?

I don’t think so.

Copyright © 2016 Gary S. Smolker, All Rights Reserved

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail

Posted on June 30, 2016, in creativity, Dog Friendly Custard Based Desert Shop, Dream Come True Businesses, Food Truck Fridays, The Best Coffeehouse in the World, The Most Charming City in the World, Unicorn Poop and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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