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History of DaDa

Going back to look at these original guides is a trip. I can't find a date, but the second edition has a disclaimer about the confusion over the introduction of the 310 area code. I didn't google it, but does anyone know when that was? Another thing that really struck me is how much I would love to have something of this caliber on my website.

Dada Chabungla
Good Food

Is the complete title. It was born out of a need to keep track of all the restaurants I ate at, looked at, cruised by, was told about when I first moved to the greater Los Angeles area around 1983. Then I had to make a decent interactive environment to distribute these findings.

I hate Zagat and always have. Don't get me wrong, I take the free issue (If you fill out there stupid form every year, they send you a free copy. the stupid form is all they use to create their "guide". When I first arrived in Los Angeles I spent most of my time driving the endless roads and in doing so discovered many hidden pockets of food. To this day it has been proven time and time again that some the best, most authentic cuisine resides at your local pod mall. Just see my most recent Dada entry entitled Simpang Asia, off a hot tip from Jonathan Gold. And this is not to suggest that Dada was restrictive. I love Musso and Franks and pine for the long gone Mongolian BBQ on Hollywood Blvd.

Food and travel and guides have always been a real attraction to me. My pal Chris O. and I drove across the country three times eating almost exclusively from Jane and Michael Stern tomes, Good, Food, Road Food and Eat Your Way Across The USA respectively. On one of those trips we stayed off all intestates except for one unavoidable 100 mile stretch of route 80 somewhere west of the Rockies. Those trips had a real impact on me and my desire to stay in touch with what is now referred to as "slow food". Each night as we pulled into some new forgotten decrepit old town, the first thing we did before finding the Best Western breaking out the scotch and Battleship was to go into the oldest part of town and see if there was anything resembling a decent breakfast joint. There is probably nothing less appetizing than being forced to eat at a Denny's first thing in the morning.

In going over some photos (there are thousands from these trips) I captured these two which really exemplify the wondrous culinary experiences we had. This "Pie Shop" was hardly on the beaten track. Somewhere 100 from Nashville along a secondary highway, and to get to the actual "shop", you had to cross through someone's back yard, could not even see it from the road. there was no one else there but us. One table in the shed where the cute little pies were made. The owner/baker was as surprised to see us as we were to see her.

The pie? Well, just look at it!

Anyway, beside being smitten by the regional cuisine I had discovered on my trans continental trips, I also happened on to the "Access" series of travel guides invented by Richard Saul Wurman. I say invented because in the beginning they were genius. Every aspect was color coded, cross referenced and indexed exactly the way I would have designed guide. Wurman is this fascinating elusive creative person that among other things hosted a high end seminar boot camp for the most interesting people in technology markets. Look at it this way, Steve Jobs went to them every year. (They were called TED which stands for Technology Entertainment Design) Wurman no longer is a part of it, as with everything else he lays his golden hands on it has been passed along. His current website is worth a gander with topics like: Understanding the USA.

So Wurman makes the guide I think is the only one even close to what I want from a travel guide (They have gone way down hill since he sold the whole sha-bang to Harper Collins many years ago). I live in LA, I am eating out every night, I am making too much money in the film business, I go to EVERY restaurant I can. So I need to keep track. And that is how DaDa came about.

Dada was my own attempt to marry the regionally of my LA travels with a highly functional, easy to use guide.

It was fairly successful given the following:

Dada 1
The original Dada was made before I even owned a computer. If memory serves I actually wanted a computer mostly becasue I realized how much easier creating DaDa would be. Number 1 was typed out in long hand and then laboriously cut and pasted at what was then I think the first Kinkos in LA. Somewhere around Melrose and Fairfax. I mean it felt so cool that I could go to one place and use scissors, xerox, glue sticks, etc. I was living in about fifteen miles away, that's how big a deal it was. I think I made 15-20 copies. I still have two, the one that traveled in my car has all the hand written additions and changes for what would become Dada 2.

Dada 2
Was indeed made on my first computer. A Mac SE30 with 2 megs of ram and a 20 meg hard drive. It cost me just under $4000 at some special deal I got through UCLA and a friend who was a student there. To this day it is the most expensive computer I have ever purchased. Along with a copy of Aldus Pagemaker (Quark was not even in existence and actually I think Photoshop was not either) I hammered out a streamlined, fully cool-ized update. I still have all the files on my computer, that is how crazy I am about back ups.

Dada 3
Your reading it. I want to have a decent databases online so that at the very least I have a place to go and remember where exactly my favorite Mexican market is. If things really work out I hope to have all my restaurant notes online in some sort of a searchable database. But even though I spend way too much time working on these pages here at interactivehank, I still don't know enough to do what I want.



I particularly like how "up to date" the origianl DaDa was. Even after going to press, I was obliged to disclose new information about the "Tic Tock Restaurant".


Oh what I wouldn't give for a dish of there fried chicken today.



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