Saturday, October 31, 2009


Zombiethon was a fantastic Halloween event that accomplished something amazing: awareness about brain cancer.

LA's best running store A Runner's Circle (hey, I live in South Pasadena and there are two stores within five miles, yet I drive to Silver Lake for ARC!) posted that they were participating in Zombiethon, a fundraiser for brain cancer research, on Halloween afternoon. Zombies contributing to brain cancer research on the scariest and/or cheesiest of all days? How cool was that!

Participants paid $10 to register, and the idea was everyone in Zombie attire did a lap around the Silver Lake Reservoir. Along the route were devilish signs like "We ❤ Brains" and "Caution Zombies Ahead" for inspiration. You didn't have Zombie make-up skills? No problem. For a $5 donation, professional make-up artists made you Zombielicious on the spot. Some of my faves: the Zombie bride, the Zombie family and the Zombie runner with the shredded track suit. Good times were had by all, and it seems like a nice collection of funds were raised for the cause. George Romero would be proud!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Sing-A-Long at the Music Center

This was a new one for me: a Halloween Sing-
on the plaza at the Music Center. Here you can see we were in the shadow of City Hall and the Peace on Earth sculpture, rocking out to some familiar tunes.

Seated in a circle with the costumed band in the center, and with lyric sheets provide by Music Center staff, we sang the classics like "Purple People Eater" and "Monster Mash," to Broadway tunes like "The Phantom of the Opera" theme (note the Phantom mask and she's dressed as Christine!) and "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked" (my favorite!), to "Witchcraft," "Devil Inside" and "Bad Moon Rising." The variation seemed to hit all generations. There was audience participation, too. One lucky lady got to play the cow bell for "Don't Fear the Reaper." We were all jealous!

They are doing a Christmas Sing-A-Long on December 18th. See you there?!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Peach Cafe

Peach Cafe in Monrovia is another one of those places I get a hankering for, as I can't get one of their specialties anywhere else.

At Peach Cafe, it is their hickory-maple waffle, with the bacon crumbles and syrup sealed inside during cooking, then sprinkled with powdered sugar and strawberries. Each mouthful is a surprise: will this bite have a bacon chunk or will the syrupy goodness dominate? Either way, it is a winning forkful! This is the half order with a side of fruit. Fruit = pretending I'm going to eat healthy.

Peach Cafe has a full lunch menu in addition to the breakfast options. Today, they offered a "peasant lunch" with soup, cheddar cheese wedges and cornbread. YUM!! One of these day's I'll venture to the other dishes, but for now, I'm sticking with my hickory-maple waffle!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fosselman's Ice Cream - Revisited!

Back in July, I did a post on Fosselman's Ice Cream and talked about my fave flavor combination: black licorice and pumpkin. Now is the time to give your taste buds a chance to experience the sensation! The black licorice is only made at Halloween, so that clock is ticking already. The pumpkin has a longer season, but you won't want to miss out on stirring the two together and savoring that taste!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Corn Maze in Mission Hills

When was the last time you played in a cornfield? For me, it was childhood, at Granny and Grampa's farm in the Hoosierland. My siblings, cousins and whoever else was around would play hide-and-seek in the cornfield. We did lots of seeking, as you literally couldn't see the next row over.

Flash forward to 2009, to Forneris Farms in Mission Hills, and I'm home again in the cornfield with their fabulous maze. The gist is simple: follow the map to make your way through the pattern in the corn. Note in the picture, you start in the brim of the farmer's hat and wander through until you exit at the words Forneris Farms. Landmarks, such as the smile and the blades of the windmill, confirm you're on the right track. I was pretty much lost until I realized I was looping the zeros in 2009, then I jammed! Along the way, there are CORNundrums, which are "corny" riddles you answer for prizes such as jumbo pumpkins or cash. I am pleased to say I completed the maze in about 30 minutes, although I came up short on my CORNundrums. I even went back through to look for them. Dang, they were hidden well!

By the way, this cornfield is four acres, about the size of four football fields. During my visit, it was me, a boyfriend/girlfriend couple, and a mother and son traipsing through the acreage. I could occasionally hear them, especially when the couple "whipperwilled" to locate each other, and only saw them when we ran into each other. But not to worry, on the map is a help phone line just in case you can't find your way out.

So take your sense of adventure, your sense of humor, and your sense of direction to the corn maze! It closes November 1st.

Click here to go to their Web site.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pasadena Museum of California Art

Block printing is one of my most appreciated art techniques. The Pasadena Museum of California Art has an awesome exhibit through the end of January. Behold the Day: The Color Block Prints of Frances Gearhart is a beautiful display of this artform.

There are two segments to the show, first Gearhart's children's book and then her landscapes. For the children's book "Let's Play," there are 19 prints of kids - you guessed it - playing plus a progressive set where you see the seven layers of color used to build an image.

Before I could really grasp that whole process, the landscape portion starts, and I was further blown away. The landscapes are stunning! I counted more than 70 prints of California coastlines, mountain scenes, trees, and rock formations in watercolors. Then I began thinking about the layers of colors to create these images, and my head was spinning. In this picture (taken of the lobby signage as photography isn't allowed in the gallery) the blue, green, orange, purple, and black had to be planned in reverse and cut out individually to make this image.

My former Cubicle Neighbor, who is a scientific illustrator and artist extraordinaire, patiently explained to me the painstaking process of making the individual layers and assuring they fit together. Now when I see shows like this, I am even more astonished by the output. Thanks, CN, for adding immensely to my appreciation of this artwork!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Long Beach Cafe

Long Beach Cafe
is a once-a-year treat. For the last three years, LBC and its Longshoreman Special has been my recovery meal following the Long Beach Marathon. The last two years, I ran the half, got my medal, and rushed off to meet friends for a Longshoreman. This year I cheered on my teammates. I'm going on record to say it is easier to do the race than stand around cheering on others, but that's another story. In any event, I was exhausted and needed food.

The Longshoreman Special is all about bulk: three eggs, four sausage links and four bacon strips, and either pancakes or potatoes. I'm not even showing the rye toast that also came with the meal to add to the starchfest. I'm not sure if the longshoremen eat this before, during or after their shift, because I know I would not have been at my prime if I was going to work after this meal.

For the inquiring minds holding the Cruise Director versus Food scorecard, I polished off the pancakes and sausage, since those are both so tasty plunged into syrup. I took home half the eggs, most of the bacon and the toast. I'm feeling a BLT on the horizon. Eggs will probably end up tossed out, but that's OK. I crossed the LBC finish line happy and content!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dave's Chillin'-N-Grillin'

Dave's Chillin'-N-Grillin'
is a funky sandwich shop in Eagle Rock. Funky because it is a sandwich shop/smoothie joint with a coffee house/your cool best friend's basement feel. I'll break it down.

A new friend from a training program had Dave's meatball sub one day at lunch, and she was just ooohing and aaahing over the sandwiches. She was a regular. I knew I had to give it a try. I had the delish French Dip, which you can see in the picture. The perfect combination of crusty bread that's soft on the inside was an ideal foundation for the au jus sauce. The filling was tender grilled beef with provolone and horseradish mayo. Yes, I'm becoming all about the flavored mayo these days.

They also serve a variety of smoothies and shakes. Next time I'll give one of those a spin as they sounded very tasty. And, I could probably pretend the smoothies are low cal with all the fruit options.

But, the inside is a hoot all on it's own. I counted six tables, along with an upright piano against the back wall and several easy chairs facing a TV with some old school video game components nearby. Various kids' toys are scattered about, and random art is on the walls. I felt comfortable and welcome. Too bad I had to get back to those training sessions, or I could've hung out for the rest of the afternoon.

Closing hours are not set; they are "open 'til the bread runs out." Apparently, the specials go quickly, too, so get there as close to 11A as possible. And, don't be surprised if you find yourself there on a regular basis.

Click here to go to their Web site.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heritage Square

You've driven by it if you've taken the 110. There on the side of the road. You've probably noticed the colorful Victorian house and the big white church. It is Heritage Square, a living history museum with eight Victorian-era structures saved from wrecking balls. Of the eight, there's a train depot, the church, a carriage house, and five homes representing the different economic levels of their residents.

These buildings were all moved here as part of a preservation plan. Think about those logistics as you exit Avenue 43 and drive down the narrow Homer Street toward Heritage Square.

Shown here is the Hale House, built in 1887. You definitely spot this one from the freeway due to it's flashy colors. Inside, the house is styled with appropriate furnishings. This one even has some of the furniture that belonged to the Hale family.

The rarest is the Octagon House, being one of only a few surviving homes of this layout in Southern California. I was surprised to find that the rooms are all squares! That means some jumbo sized closets and storage areas to fill the home's eight sides.

The volunteer tour guides are both knowledgeable and entertaining. My guide shared that the grassy space between the church and the carriage house may one day accommodate a vintage pharmacy. And, just in time for Halloween, she suggested cool-sounding mourning tours with a look at how Victorian folks handled death.

Click here to go to their Web site.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Versailles Cuban Restaurant

I had a meeting this morning in the LAX area, then an afternoon birthday party for a 4-year-old in Culver City. Between the two, I knew I would need to power up. And by power up, today I meant Versailles for some liver and onions.

I'm a long-time fan of liver and onions, since the first time my Mom gave me a "you won't like it" response to my youthful question about what was sizzling in the cast iron skillet. Ever since that "I'll show you" bite followed by the iron-induced power surge throughout my body, I've been hooked.

Versailles has a magical way of preparing the liver - marinaded in a lemony-garlic sauce called "Mojo." Their sauce is sooo good that I even sop my plantains in it. The beans and rice serve as a pacer in the meal, even though the beans are quite delish on their own. And for all my years of eating there, I've barely cracked the menu. It's always been liver and onions, unless - egads! - they've already run out. Then I'll go for the pork in the Mojo sauce and schedule a return visit. Or, buy a bottle of Mojo and drink it in the car. Decide for yourself if I'm joking or not!

There are five Versailles locations: Venice/Motor, Pico/Robertson, Ventura Boulevard in Encino, Universal City Walk and Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach. I've been to them all, and all are equally fabulous for the pursuit - or excuse - of powering up.

Click here to go to their Web site.