"The site selected for the pueblo of Los Angeles was picturesque and romantic. From where Alameda street now is to the eastern bank of the river the land was covered with a dense growth of willows, cottonwoods and alders; while here and there, rising above the swampy copse, towered a giant aliso (sycamore). Wild grape vines festooned the branches of the trees and wild roses bloomed in profusion. Behind the narrow shelf of mesa land where the pueblo was located rose the brown hills, and in the distance towered the lofty Sierra Madre Mountains."
"Jean Louis Vignes came to Los Angeles in 1829, and set out the Aliso Vineyard of one hundred and four acres which derived its name, as did the street, from a previous and incorrect application of the Castilian aliso, meaning alder, to the sycamore tree, a big specimen of which stood on the place. This tree, possibly a couple of hundred years old, long shaded Vignes' wine-cellars, and was finally cut down a few years ago to make room for the Philadelphia Brew House."
"In 1853, free-and-easy customs were in vogue in Los Angeles, permitting people in the ordinary affairs of life to do practically as they pleased. There were few if any restrictions; and if circumscribing City ordinances existed — except, perhaps, those of 1850 which, while licensing gaming places, forbade the playing of cards on the street — I do not remember what they were."
"The California Indians had a drink, the pispibata, which was so strong and deleterious that the padres would not allow them use it. It was made of powdered calcined shells, wild tobacco juice and wild cherries, powdered, shaken and ground, water being added until its consistency was almost a solid. Sometimes maize or fruit of easy fermentation was used. It was a powerful decoction, equal to a mixture of rum, tobacco juice and opium — if one can imagine what that would be."
"There were no wine presses and the grapes were placed in huge shallow vats placed near the 'zanja' or water ditch. The Indians were made to bathe their feet in the zanja and then step into the vats where they trod rhythmically up and down in the grapes to press out the juice. The juice was drained off into larger vats where it was left to stand until fermentation. Then it was clarified, aged and bottled or barreled."