Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Full Value Food Review: Red Brick Pizza in Temecula

By: Bill Gould

While browsing the interwebs this morning, I came across an ad for Red Brick Pizza in Temecula California and that they had Gluten Free pizza. I have to eat gluten free due to a severe allergy, not as some fad diet, so when a restaurant advertises 'Gluten Free' I am always a bit suspicious.

That being said, I decided to take the risk of eating at a new place and put my physical well being in the hands of some folks at a restaurant I have never met. Scary. Yes, I said scary. Ill admit it sounds kinda snarky, but it is real - cross contamination sucks and is often painful for days with other undesired consequences not fit for print in a food review.

So off I went...

When I entered, I was greeted by a man named George, he appeared to be the owner. He was pleasant and clearly understood what 'gluten-free' food was. He did however make the restaurant sin of actually telling me he wasn't very busy today. That always sets off a red flag, as in 'why are they not busy? is the food that bad?'

Thank goodness the food was good, they should be busier!

I ordered a gluten free Margarita Pizza and a bottle of water. The water came in a glass bottle and was cold and refreshing. The pizza came out hot, looking good and tasted great. The tomatoes were fresh cut, as was the basil. They offered red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese and a sea salt grinder. Yummy. They even offer real metal forks! For people interested, they have a full array of pizza, salad and gelato (ice cream). As for the cross-contamination; it is very minimal, they have separated pizza stones and utensils. I wrote this article 8 hours later and feel fine. I would recommend this place as a great option for football sundays take out and lunch, however do to the small seating area, it is not a place for sports teams to gather after a game. My meal was a lunch and my total bill was under $10, so the price is 'on the money', a definite thumbs up.

Go in and tell em Bill at TemeculaCalendar.com sent you!

Red Brick Pizza
32195 Temecula Parkway
Temecula California 92592



Hollywood, CA – On an almost balmy fall evening in Los Angeles after covering the historic endorsement for YES on 37 (Label GMOs) by Mayor AnVil and his courageous city council earlier that day in downtown LA, my [Occupy LA] friend Jeff and I headed back for a repeat ride on the Rock City Railroad, one of the many wonders located in the array of antiques housed in several connected store dwellings on Hollywood Blvd.
This night, however, we weren’t there to scope out antiques; this night as a rep for Prop 37 and a MMJ activist/patient I was there in Hollywood to transgender causes by speaking of how Prop 37 passage is important to medical marijuana patients. Though it sounds simple, crossing another’s wake in rhetoric waters is as difficult as in real waters. Not everyone who boats, plays well with others.

This being a LLWAP adventure, I should add the full flavor. The Rock City Railroad is the multi-gauge model railroad layout belonging to a man named Ruben, who besides the antiques and trains, is also the publisher of JEMM magazine. As such, the LA chapter of NORML [National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws] was meeting at Ruben’s shops; in the room closest to Hollywood Blvd. Refreshments were available before and after the meeting in another room area atop Elvis Presley’s large oval Gold Las Vegas dining table.
The meeting started with some distinguished figures of the MMJ scene in attendance. One such person was the founder of NORML, attorney Bruce M. Margolin, who looked exactly like his picture. To be honest, folks, when you meet someone that you’ve only read about a hundred times, plus peeped why they feel the way they do to have the courage to publicly stand by their convictions, well, you turn into a bit of a ‘fanboy’ on the inside, because we all know, “in Hollywood, you never let them see you sweat.”
Also in Hollywood, it is the power of the ‘smooze’, a term coined to illustrate the ability to cross-talk and network in a gentile, civil fashion. As it turned out, I needed all the ‘smooze’ I could muster since the chapter leader resembled a live action Fowler[Chicken Run] and ran a loose scripted meeting with a tight set of Robert’s Rules.
Last on the agenda and with the introduction of “And now, I don’t know who he is but…”, I started my spiel about YES on 37, successfully defending my right to impose my cause on their agenda. Having politely deferred a 420 invite prior to the meeting to stay focused, I rolled out my message, barely recalling the words as they left my mouth.
Condensed into concise vocal bullet power points were all the food panel, pamphlet, John Diaz, and ‘No vote’ rebuttals, to make my arguments for a ‘YES’ vote on Prop 37. At the end of a short seven minute speech, the position and message of Prop 37 drew applause. I was surprised by the enthusiastic reaction and gladdened by it as well.
Earlier that evening something else had surprised me. Another dignitary of sorts at the meeting was someone that I have come to know from his many pictures in JEMM, his time at Occupy LA, and his presence in the medical marijuana cause. His name is Richard Eastman, a Hollywood political activist since ’76, a friend of [the late] Harvey Milk’s, and JEMM’s photo editor. Eastman is running for LA city council, DISTRICT 13HOLLYWOOD, in the March 5, 2013 election.
Already there are 20 other registered candidates in the Hollywood district race who have raised collectively $700,000. Eastman is trying to raise his first $300 just to get the ball rolling. This may sound like a very daunting task but for a man who is HIV positive [in the Magic Johnson way], openly gay in a butch YMCA style with a booming voice, and has smoked pot ‘since Hack was a pup’, I think Eastman, though no Eastwood, is used to pushing elephants up the stairs. Perhaps because of his involvement with Occupy LA, he may also be feeling lucky, punk! For more info or how to help, 323-474-4602
Stay tuned, this is a developing story. 

Next in our GMO series, Prop 37, What The Fates Say/A Visit To Mo’s Diner.

Sunday, October 21, 2012



Orange, CA – On an otherwise typical Friday afternoon in perfect southern California weather under non geo-engineered, cough, chem trails, skies (Woohoo!), a crew of about 20 volunteer activists marched around the circle park at the heart of downtown in the city of Orange, CA. The group, led by a tall, angular, silver-haired Pied Piper named John Diaz, was there to raise awareness for the YES On Prop 37 position, a stab at the status quo, in a food panel discussion being held at the prodigious Chapman University, a heavy hitter in the city of Orange. Before this 22-hour day was done, I would experience 3 LLWAP* moments. I would gleam the moment of truth on the matter, find my story titles, and have my own Big Bang Theory moment. It happened like this…
As stated before, Occupy LA took me out of my Temecula comfort zone and toughened me up as far as traveling outside the valley on public transportation. However this time I had a mandate of my own: to return to T-Town in time to judge at The Vault’s Battle of The Bands finale on Saturday. I could not meander in my usual ‘war correspondent’ fashion as this magical valley closes off outside public transportation at 8:36PM Friday night. But as I learned from OLA, it all shakes out when ‘the force’ is with you.
This story is complex, so to make it easier, I’ll go ‘the fly on the wall’ analysis.

The Media: Though the mainstream news was sent notice, I saw no Channels 2, 4, 5, 7, or 9. Very lamestream. Telemundo Univision was not on the list, sorry.
Chapman U. has a kind of West Coast Ivy League rep to it and the university’s independent news media outlets of video and print were enthusiastic and professional in their coverage of all the participants. Grade, A

The Man: Orange County has recently had its share of ‘police-community relations’ hiccups, i.e. the summer riot in Santa Ana, and you can’t be in Orange long before you see the police there run a tight ship. After arriving at the circular park with benches and pathways, we set out our signs and started hawking at the people in the passing traffic, receiving a number of honks/waves from those aware of the election initiative’s passage importance. Not long after our impromptu pep rally started, two ‘boys in blue’ circled the park on motorcycles, checked us out, parked their bikes at a corner and called it in.
They then walked over to talk to John who had been talking through a mega phone supplied by a volunteer. Connie, a local activist that I met on the Mother’s Market/GMO petition drive and most recently Tustin Tiller Days, expressed a concern at the two officer presence but I quoted to her from the Junior Woodchucks Guide on Revolutions, “Don’t panic till you see the whites of their eyes.”
When our numbers had almost grown to full strength two more police officers, this time on pedal bikes, joined the command post corner group. The black with silver lettered Chapman campus security car rolled past us several times but didn’t loop.
Leaving The Circle and taking our line of sign-carrying volunteers on the three block sidewalk route over to Beckman Hall, we again hawked cars/passengers with our slogans, and received a first class safety escort by the officers. John reported to me later that the police who talked to him were not hostile or antagonistic but expressed genuine interest in our Label GMO POV. This observation also drew positive comments from one of our number who had seen the storm trooper wall of tactical assault officers that ringed Occupy Wall Street. I shared my OLA memories/observations of LA’s finest with the young OWS alum. OPD from ‘gonzo’ POV, organized and courteous, grade, A.
The Mission: At the Circle, few were jerks; awareness was raised as many eyes darted to read the various signage we displayed. Verdict: successful

The food panel discussion: Room 404, was seated to capacity on a RSVP-first basis, as a number of interested people who hadn’t a reservation turned out for the Food Science event. The Food Science staff was organized and professional without being cold and uncompromising. The GMO panel discussion event, which has been occurring at various campuses, is held to present both points of view on the validity of Prop 37, the voters’ bill to label when GMOs are in California food. 
It should be noted here that these halls of higher education, like Chapman, are the very bastions for the companies fighting passage of Prop 37. Folks, like JC & his boys, we’re not the home team because we are rattling the cage of the status quo. A tee shirt purchased at the event says it all and provided three-fourths of the story title. On the shirt’s back listed food stuffs like ‘potatoes’, ‘veggies’, and ‘spinach’ contrast to much larger font words like ‘corn’ [83% GMO], ‘high fructose corn syrup’ [100% GMO and suspected link to rising obesity], and BHT. Think of being in the house of Clark Griswold’s occupation, food science.
Judging by the sound of applause and non-applause, the people in favor of passage cheered when they heard a point rebutted successfully while the majority came to hear points on both sides explained or defended more fully. Verdict: successful.

The Opponents: The lawyer and the lobbyist. One balding and one breaded. At one of California’s most expensive universities, the lawyer was there to plead for the hardship labeling GMOs would place on the ‘poorest families’ food budget by all the ‘shakedown’ lawsuits a YES On 37 victory would bring. Additional tactics included an attack on the ‘trial lawyer’ the initiative proponents approached to draft the language by this panelist who was himself a trial lawyer. At first ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ approach seemed to mesmerize the curious. What can be said about the lobbyist is summed up by the movie, Thank You For Smoking.

The Yes Men: Besides telling you that John wore the same pair of cowboy boots he got married in seventeen years ago, in his own words, smiling, “Hey, I clean up pretty well, don’t I?” sums it up if you have been following John and my adventures from OLA where we met. John Diaz lives in Orange.
Dave ‘The Big Dude From Iowa’ Murphy is a board member of the Iowa Organic Association and the founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of more than 300,000 American farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming policies relating to food, agriculture and the environment. In 2006, Murphy moved back to Iowa to help stop a factory farm from being built near his sister’s farm. After seeing the lossof basic democratic rights of rural Iowans, he decided to stay in Iowa to fight to regain those rights, expose the flaws of industrial agriculture and help create a more sustainable future for rural America.
In 2007, he organized the Food and Family Farm Presidential Summit to help save family farm agriculture. Previously, he has worked as an environmental and food policy lobbyist and political strategist. His writing has appeared in The Nation, The Hill, Huffington Post and the New York Times. Big Dave was in the house, and folks, he really is big. Iowa oak tree big.

The Grand Finale: With Dave arriving slightly late and no chance to collaborate with John who had his ‘wall up’, the ‘green team’ started off slow to a hostile/lukewarm audience. TV, radio, and internet ads by the opponents (No on 37) are as plentiful as $50,000,000 can make them. Slick and well written, the Bad Guys seek to sow the seeds of confusion among the 98% still caught in the grips of commercial mainstream propaganda that’s broadcast to them.
After the early rounds of the sides battling, the moderator who was a lot more Candy and a lot less Lehrer, asked questions written by the audience, and it was here that [IMHO] the green team scored points. Despite the attempt to keep any disparaging news from the debate, John brought out the fact that the Russians have just cancelled all grain imports from the United States beginning LAST MONTH. This international action came about from the released French two-year study of rats fed from birth to death a diet of only GMO corn, GMO corn rinsed with Roundup, and non-GMO feed with a Roundup water chaser. This also happened last month. Both reports are posted on the Calendar.
The ‘No’ side tried to counter both points but their arguments were weak. That’s when I sensed the audience that we were there to speak to, ‘blinked’. When Dave made the common sense point that over 50 countries around the world have labeled GMOs with no big whoops, the NO side said California is no country!”
Well, Sports Fans, that’s when the bear shit in the buckwheat, as they say around Walcott or in the Quads.
Before John could finish the stats [California is the 8thlargest World economy and 34th in ‘country’ size], the majority of the audience was cheering as Californians.

The Wrap-up: As stated above, for my vantage point the room swayed during the audience questionnaire portion and those who weren’t convinced to vote ‘yes’, I think, I feel, were intrigued enough to do their own research, which is a victory. “The truth is out there” is more than a TV series tagline. Google ‘Operation Paperclip’ or Monsanto.

The Moment of Truth: After the panel was over, the lawyer was asked privately, “If you had two identical foods, one organic and one GMO’d, both costing the same price, which one would you choose?”

The Big Bang Theory Moment: Because of this adventure, like Leonard Hofstadter I now have an Indian friend named Raj, hah!

At the end of the event gift bags were handed out that were supplied by Whole Foods.
Next in our GMO series – 'Meet the Bad Guys/When Your Friends Try To Kill You, Et Tu Whole Foods?' This is a developing story.

(* - Long time readers know what LLWAP means, new readers, 'stay tuned for the sequel, Rocky')

Friday, October 19, 2012


Temecula, CA – As you read today’s news story about cancer and the environment ask yourself how many people do you know have cancer, had cancer, are sick from cancer, or died from cancer. I’m guessing that you know at least one in each column. I do. In 2009 alone, approximately 1.5 million American men, women, and children were diagnosed with cancer, and 562,000 died from the disease. What may surprise you, Dear Reader, is that only 5% of the cancers you can get are hereditary. 95% of existing cancers are environmentally caused!  
With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action.

With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread and promoted. Most of these chemicals and the genetic engineering aftermath is unstudied/understudied and largely unregulated. What this means is that for all intents and purposes, cancer, whether breast, lung, prostate, brain, skin, and all other exotic cancers, is caused by
what we eat, drink and breathe

The President’s Cancer Panel goes into a lot more detail, which you can read via the live link below, but cutting to the chase, the panel advises everyone to “seize” control of their own health. You see Sports Fans, the government knows they are out of control, so they are, perhaps Freudian-ly, warning people to look out for themselves and be your own activist, in the ‘What We Can Do Now’ sublet.
National Institutes of Health, and the National Cancer Institute

The President's Cancer Panel Report

Coming next is the report on the GMO Chapman College food debate [10/19] in Orange, CA, see previous story.

Thursday, October 18, 2012



Temecula, CA – With my bopping around southern California covering both Occupy events and now balls-to-the-wall coverage of the Label GMO/YES on 37 fight up in Orange County, I haven’t had much time to devote to anything local. So to make amends, here’s some inside information for parents with small children heading to one of the local pumpkin patch set-ups around town. The pumpkin patch at the corner of Winchesterand Hot Springs roads offers a Happy Hour from 5PM to 7PM, Mon-Thurs. Unlimited rides and slides for $10.00 with the exception of the hi-bounce bungee. That can be a savings of $15 in just an hour with a normally active youngster [a mole spent $25 in just an hour in preparation for this report]. At press time there is no word as to whether any of the other patches around town offer such a deal.

Lee Koch, who last made news here and around town by being a contestant on The Voice, and left us music fans with a burning question of whether he would continue pursuing a music career [vs. banking, ewww] seems to at least put his ‘0ne Percent’ flirting on hold. The now married Temecula Music Fest alumnus will be playing 3 shows in the Temecula area beginning Sun October 21 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM at the Down Syndrome Awareness Fundraiser, Falkner Winery.
The second show is the Galway Downs Spring Horse Trials, Galway Downs, Fri November 2 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM. Other information can be found here.



Temecula, CA – Coming just a scant five days after the story, Why Monsanto Does Not Allow Outside Testing of GMOs, Russia [joined France] in suspending corn imports from US farmers, showing in ‘real life’ who it is that really hurts farmers. After the jump please read the story report from Natasha Lennard dated September 26, 2012. Skip the high-priced slick ‘no on 37’ by grant-induced scientists and tenure seeking professors. Do the internet legwork and Vote YES on 37 because…

 ‘Russia has suspended imports of Monsanto’s genetically-modified corn in light of a French study which linked the crops to cancer.

Agence France-Presse reports:

    “Russia’s consumer-rights regulator Rospotrebnadzor asked scientists at the country’s Institute of Nutrition to review the study. The watchdog has also contacted to European Commission’s Directorate General for Health & Consumers to explain the EU’s position on GM corn.”

As Salon [and Temecula Calendar] noted last week, the study found that rats fed Monsanto’s GMO corn, or exposed to its popular herbicide, Roundup, developed tumors and organ damage, often dying younger than control group rats.
[Tests done by Monsanto were performed on mature rats who were later killed; tests were performed for 90 days BUT the French study showed tumor growth occurring after 120 days – “Figures don’t lie but liars can figure” – Jim Clark]
Some [industry] experts and commentators have viewed the findings skeptically, noting that the lead researcher has long been an outspoken critic of the biotech giant. Steven Salzberg wrote at Forbes that “the study was designed to fail” and was flawed from methodology through analysis. Interestingly and perhaps ironically, Mr. Salzberg admits the truth in an offhand blasé fashion when he states, after making fun of the author’s grammar structure, that rats fed only non-sprayed GMO corn died at a higher rate.
    “Interestingly, in the groups of animals fed with the NK603 [Roundup Ready corn] without R[oundup] application, similar effects with respect to enhanced tumor incidence and mortality rates were observed.” – French study

This tortured English is their way of admitting that rats did worse (“similar effects”) when fed GM corn that was grown without Roundup.  They don’t want to admit that this result contradicts their central hypothesis. Hey Fruit Loops, that’s the point of the study. Plus no one ever said that GMO kills you outright. GMOs poison the food chain over time exactly like the way overall results from DDT weren’t seen for years.

However, as Russia’s move illustrates, the study has fueled long-held concerns over GMO crops. A spokesperson from Monsanto announced that business would not be greatly hurt by the Russian suspension, as the country imports only a small amount of grain from the U.S. However, the multinational corporation might feel a sting if more nations follow in Russia’s wake. France has announced it will uphold a ban on GMO crops, while activists and farmers in California and elsewhere in the U.S. are pushing for GMO foods to be labeled in stores and for the government to further investigate the health impact of Monsanto’s products.
(The original article appears in full here; all emphasis – Ed)

Paige Brady with Whole Foods Markets blogged “As American consumers, we have a right to know what we are eating. One of the important choices anyone can make is whether or not to eat foods containing GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms, also called genetically engineeredingredients). Because GMOs are pervasive in our food supply, many familiar foods we sell may contain them. And because food manufacturers are not required to label them, many Americans are not even aware that GMOs are in many of their favoritefoods.

As America’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, Whole Foods Market® is proud to support GMO choice and transparency, such as supporting labeling efforts like Proposition 37 in California and also by providing our customers with the most Non-GMO and organic products available anywhere. And we are really excited to announce that all Whole Foods Market® stores in the US and Canada will have hundreds of Non-GMO Project Verified products on sale this weekend, from Friday, October 19 through Sunday, October 21.

We’ve supported mandatory product labeling measures over the years, most recently California’s Proposition 37 and Washington State’s Initiative Measure 522, with the hope that these state efforts will lead to one federal standard. We also work one-on-one with hundreds of our supplier partners to encourage them to get their ingredients from Non-GMO sources.

Meanwhile foodie voters have a long memory.