Once again, the months have flown by and we find ourselves facing the oncoming rush of the holiday season. In the last two winters, my messages focused on finding comfort amid the disruption, uncertainty and complexity of our pandemic world. But this year, on the eve of Toluca Lake’s centennial in 2023, as we feel the familiar rhythms of community life stabilizing and strengthening, my focus is simple: joy and gratitude. I am so thankful for this wonderful neighborhood, for the people who live and work here, and for the opportunity to be a part of it all through Toluca Lake Magazine. I wish each of you blessings and good cheer throughout this festive season and beyond.
As big fans of local holiday customs, we’re continuing our own six-year tradition of bringing you an annual gift guide to inspire your wish list and support the merchants that play such an integral role in our community. No online emporium or big-box store can compare to the experience of taking a short stroll or drive to a small business that has unique offerings, personalized service and a real stake in the success of our neighborhood. Whether you want a host gift for a neighbor or a souvenir of Toluca Lake to send to someone who has the misfortune of living far away from our little patch of paradise, I urge you to keep your spending close to home — and we’ve got plenty of creative ideas to help you do that.
Among them is Random Acts of Breadness, whose very name and ethos is based on the concept of giving. In this issue, baker–owner Randall Michael Tobin tells us how learning to make sourdough at home for Christmas gifting launched him on the path to opening his own bakery that specializes in bread and everything that goes with it, giving customers the chance to compile their own delicious gift packages to delight their loved ones. Tobin also gives us a present of his own by sharing a simple, cozy bread-based recipe that’s just the thing for a cold winter evening.
While you’re busy wrapping gifts and decking the halls, we have the ideal companion for you — Media Path, a podcast hosted by our very own honorary mayor, Fritz Coleman, with fellow broadcast veteran Louise Palanker. We caught up with Fritz to find out why he made the pivot into podcasting, how it allows him to reveal a more personal side of himself, and why Toluca Lake residents are likely to be especially interested in the show’s approach and topics. (Hint: For one thing, there’s a Bob Hope connection!)
I want to give a special shout-out to Craig Strong for all of his help in connecting us with the perfect location for our cover shoot, and many thanks to all of our advertisers for their ongoing support of TLM. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Toluca Lake Holiday Open House in December and celebrating the 100th anniversary of this amazing community through all of next year!