Friday, April 30, 2010

Foxy's Restaurant













So, a diabetic, a longtime vegetarian now dabbling in meat for protein's sake, a modern day hunter-gatherer and someone who eats just about anything but tracks the Weight Watchers points (guess which one is me) walk into a restaurant. I know, it sounds like the intro to a joke! But this was a real situation after a long afternoon exploring the Griffith Observatory. The stars and space are great, and you know I love that planetary costume jewelry timeline. It's all good right up to the time the empty space in four tumtums started screaming. We needed something quick, budget friendly and accommodating to the diverse meal plans. Foxy's Restaurant over by the Glendale Galleria came through with shining stars!

This delightful dish is called the Leaning Tower of Mexico, which layer by layer stacks up this way: tortilla #1, rice with carrots and peas, tortilla #2, black beans, tortilla #3, fried egg with avocado slices, then enchilada sauce and cheese. The three other plates included a salmon wrap, a patty melt and a spinach salad. I'll let you decide who had what, but we all had happy, content smiles on our faces. I'm looking forward to my next exploration of that menu!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poppy Reserve

It seems like I have to go to the nether regions of Los Angeles County to see expansive fields of greenery. Remember the Corn Maze in October, and my roadtrip to Mission Hills? This time I was seeking acres of orangery in the form of poppies, and it required a ride to Lancaster.

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is the place to be right now. The poppies are glorious! You can see the orange washes of color on the hills as you're driving out, and the Reserve has seven miles of trails to hike around and through the flowers. Note that the poppies are tempermental, meaning no one can predict how long they'll stick around this season. When they're gone, they're gone until next year. Or, even worse, until another good season.

And, a quick step up to my soapbox: just pay the $8 per car to enter the Reserve. Yes, you can pull over on the side of the road and take your poppy pictures, but our parks in California are on the verge of collapse. Paying the fee provides operating dollars for rangers and other staff, as well as demonstrates that the public wants and needs the open space. Support a California park today with your dollars. The Poppy Reserve is a great choice for a visit as the blooms will disappear in the next few weeks. Don't miss them!

Click here to go to the Poppy Reserve's Web site.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

India Jones Chow Truck


















I started a new job today! And, if that wasn't enough to celebrate, the new gig is on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile district, with boatloads of food trucks at the ready each day for lunch.

I've dabbled in the food truck craze with more tacos than I could count and some Coolhaus ice cream, and I just posted about the hot dogs from the Let's Be Frank cart. But, I never had to choose between food trucks. New job, new decision to make! Of the eight options lined up, I went with India Jones Chow Truck for some Indian food.

Then, my taste buds led me to the veggie curry option which was saag dal, or spinach and lentils. I like the way it was packaged in the little to-go plastic container as you can see here as opposed to styrofoam. I also had some grilled naan and an orange San Pellagrino. Yum!

Stay tuned for further food truck explorations, as you know this girl's gonna eat!

Click here to go to India Jones Chow Truck's Web site.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's Be Frank Hot Dogs

I've been craving a "street dog," which is one of those hot dogs wrapped in bacon with the onions and peppers and grilled on the rolly carts. I saw tons of them in Expo Park for the USC games. They tend to not have the necessary permits to sell on the state's property. Tasty, yes; health department approved, big fat no!

Let's Be Frank was a perfectly healthy alternative to fulfill my hot dog need. Here you see their mobile cart parked in the Helms Bakery lot with the ├╝ber-healthy and spicy "Hot" Dog dappled with the sizzling Devil Sauce. All their dogs are made with no nitrites, nitrates, hormones or antibiotics. The "Hot" Dog and the Brat Dog are made from family-farmed pork, the Frank Dog is 100% local grass-fed beef, and the Bird Dog is family-farmed, pasture-raised turkey. How can you say no?! I certainly didn't!

Click here for their Web site.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

First Congregational Church Pipe Organ
















As I've mentioned several times throughout this blog, I'm a huge pipe organ fan! When I have time Thursday noonish, I go to the First Congregational Church on Wilshire for their free midday organ recital. First Congregational has the largest church pipe organ in the world, and it is always an ear-opening experience!

I wish you could hear it, but this is the console for the organ where all the awesome sounds are produced. What you're seeing on either side of the keyboards are the stops, as in "pulling out all the stops." Stops control the pipes, so when they're pulled the pipes are playing. Underneath the seat is the foot board where the organist is manipulating all the levers below. I love watching their feet "dance" as they're playing away! There's a lot going on, and my eyes are just as engaged as my ears.

My first intro to First Congregational was on Halloween several years ago. They were screening the silent "Phantom of the Opera" movie with live organ accompaniment, for free I believe. Dang! The pews were literally vibrating from some of the notes. That's where I found out about the Thursday recitals, and I've been going since. Now that you know, I'll keep an eye out for you!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Museum of Jurassic Technology




















As a museum junkie (and former Natural History Museum employee), I thought I'd seen it all when comes to museums. But, no, the Museum of Jurassic Technology really threw me for a loop!

Located on Venice Boulevard in Culver City, next door to a floor paneling shop, MJT is quite a different museum experience. I started my adventure watching a video about the early approach to museum collections coming from personal "curiosity cupboards." So far, so good, and I entered the exhibits. The layout was a bit maze-like and the galleries were very dark. I'm still not sure I saw everything. What I did see included: the mouse open-faced sandwich (for medicinal purposes), model home/trailer park miniature models, Soviet space dog portrait paintings, Wilson Observatory letters, microscopic artwork using the scales of butterfly wings, and a pincushion collection. Shown here is a fancy version that Miss Home Economics would be proud to use.

I walked away thinking about my curiosities - mainly the snowglobes and aluminum grease containers - and feeling pretty confident that they, too, could be deemed museum-worthy.

Click here to go to their Web site.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Santa Anita Race Track
















As Kentucky Derby approaches in the homeland, I was in the mood to see the ponies run. For many years in my youth, my Dad worked at Churchill Downs, so I went pretty regularly to see the races. My Mom would take my little brother and me, and she would let us pick the horses then make our bets. We went with the coolest names and usually did fairly well.

Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia is a closer alternative than Louisville, and it was good to be back at the track. Because it was a “Free Friday” promotion, admission and box seats were free. That meant I was in the hoity-toity seats in the shade, with the monitor to watch the races up close and personally. Dad always got us into the boxes, but the monitor was a new feature!

Being a low-risk taker with my limited funds, I went with $2 bets to show. My “winners” were Ida of March, Sea Rascal, Magic Lantern, and Dark Islander, all selected by their names. My only “loser” was Uncle Jeep – inspired by my red Liberty – but my winnings covered that loss.

Between races, it was cool to walk the grounds and see the Seabiscuit statue, take a looksie at the horses and jockeys gearing up for the next race, and check out the crowd. It was also interesting to watch the logistics of the races. In the picture you see they're running on the grass, which was a totally different set-up than running on the regular track. That's Dark Islander pulling off the second place finish on the grass. Yes, entertainment in all directions.

And they’re off! Sorry for the short notice, but Santa Anita’s season ends on April 18, then Hollywood Park in Inglewood kicks off on April 23. Pick your track and pick your horse, because it’s a guaranteed good time!

Click here to go to Santa Anita's Web site.

Click here to go to Hollywood Park's Web site.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lucky Boy

I've had a fabulously productive day already, and it's only 1 o'clock! I got up at the crack of dawn and went for a long hike with a friend in Monrovia's Canyon Park. While I was in that 'hood I had to hit Walmart for a stock-up, which added another hour or so to my tootsies. On the drive back, I was exhausted and ravenous. Where to eat, where to eat? My first thought was Lucky Boy on Arroyo in Pasadena for a breakfast burrito. Then I started thinking: have I ever ordered anything else at Lucky Boy? Well, today was going to be the day to venture away from the breakfast burrito!

Instead, I went with the fish burrito. OK, so it was not too far of a stray, but the fish burrito had serious pieces of fish and had good shredded lettuce and chunky tomato salsa, which you would not find in the breakfast burrito. Yes, some fruit and vegetables to check off today's list. Otherwise, the fish burrito was just as yummy, just as huge, and just as charmingly served in the cardboard box as the breakfast burrito. And I now know I have options at Lucky Boy. What else do they have on the menu? Who wants to go explore with me?!

Click here to go to Lucky Boy's Web site.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Twohey's Restaurant
















I've driven by Twohey's (pronounced 2EE's) in Alhambra about a zillion times. It's located at that bizarre intersection of Huntington, Atlantic and Garfield - and South Pasadena, Pasadena and Alhambra - right beside the In-N-Out Burger. After hearing about the tasty diner food from folks as far away as Santa Barbara, today was the day to join the "Stink-O" club. Stink-O is the mascot with the clothes pin on his nose, named after a comment made about a very oniony burger back in 1943 when the restaurant opened.

I was doing the estate and garage sale circuit in the area this morning, and Twohey's was calling out to me. It was 11 a.m.-ish, and I was on the fence deciding between breakfast and lunch. What toppled my choice? The little informational nugget that they were offering specials for their 66th birthday: a mini-sundae, a Stink-O slider, a float or a soda for 66 cents! The bittersweet chocolate sundae was highly recommended, so I went with the burger option to lay the base. This is the Dutch Style burger, with grilled onions and cole slaw. Can I tell you how tasty the carmelized onions and tangy slaw melded with the burger on the toasted bun? And, yes, those are sweet potato fries on the side. The mini-sundae was a perfect post-burger treat with an incredibly high return on investment.

By the way, their anniversary specials roll on. They handed out mystery certificates good May 1 to June 30, with discounts of 10%, 25% or 100%. Who wants to toss the dice with me to see how much we can save?

Click here to go to Twohey's Web site.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Julienne's

There's no fooling you! Julienne's is not my usual breakfast joint. Located in uppercrust San Marino, Julienne's tables are dressed with cloth napkins, and there are stag mounts on the walls, antler chandeliers and a library-themed room for dining. And here I sit without my pearls!

As I was invited out to breakfast, I got my manners in line and prepared for some fancy-schmancy food. When the waiter sat the little plate of toasted rosemary currant bread in front of me, I did not shove the whole piece in my mouth instantly, although I really wanted to. It was that scrumptious! Everything looked fabulous on the menu, and I went with the French ham, grilled asparagus and poached eggs with Parmesan garnish over brioche French toast, surprisingly served in this little cast iron skillet. I almost forgot about the French toast hidden under the ham, asparagus and eggs, although the poked poached egg coated the toast nicely once I uncovered it.

The lunch menu also looked awesome, and I know I will be back. I'll be better prepared for Julienne's next time! They also have a delightful attached market, with sandwiches and salads to go, plus a wonderful variety of pastries and baked goods. Don't be fooled by appearances; it's all good at Julienne's!

Click here to go to Julienne's Web site.