Monday, March 28, 2011

Mad For Hats! at the Pasadena Museum of History

I missed out on the hats bandwagon. Yes, I had my embellished berets in the '80s, but since then the bucket hats to keep the sun off my face, and my running hat with the team's logo are merely functional. Nevertheless, it was great fun to go see Mad For Hats! at the Pasadena Museum of History, where it was all about form.

In some of the 100 vintage chapeaus displayed, dating from the 1860s to the 1960s, I imagined myself playing adult dress-up. How much fun it would be to be a lady who lunches while wearing little gloves and fashionable hats!

Go see for yourself, and let me know which is your favorite. Mine was a coral number with rubbery-bulby looking things dangling off of it. Seriously, it was adorable! You can be Mad for Hats! through June 12.

Click here to go to Pasadena Museum of History's Web site.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mix n' Munch Cereal and Grilled Cheese Cafe

It's one of those cold, rainy LA days (yes, it does happen!), and I'm out running my local errands and needing lunch. Like a flash of lightning, I remember that the Mix n' Munch Cereal and Grilled Cheese Cafe is finally open on Mission near the Gold Line Station, and grilled cheese would definitely hit the spot!

Mix n' Munch is a childhood meal dream come true. First there's the 25 or so cold cereal options, (I could've used them when I was craving the Crunch Berries a few weeks ago) that you can mix and match and combine with fresh fruits, circus animal crackers, marshmallows and sprinkles to your heart's and stomach's desire.

Not a cereal kind of day? Then, there's the grilled cheeses that you build yourself. Select a bread and cheese combo - I went with swiss and pepper jack shown here on the shepherds bread - then any extras like bacon, mushrooms or avocado. I did not need any extras, because I ordered the homemade tomato soup. It was more chunky marinara sauce-ish than slurpy soup and was a perfect plunge for the grilled cheese. Note that tater tots are also available, along with some other sides for reminiscing.

Next time, I'm going to venture to the grilled dessert sandwich section of their monster menu. They have Nutella, marshmallow fluff, apple slices and grape jelly to make a blood sugar spiking treat. My eyes zeroed on on The Elvis, with peanut butter, banana and bacon. YUM! Who's with me?!

Click here to go to Mix n' Munch's Web site.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

South Pasadena Firemen's Spaghetti Dinner

Tomorrow I'm running the Los Angeles Marathon, which means tonight is all about carb-loading. How convenient to have the South Pasadena Firemen's Spaghetti Dinner right around the corner?

If I haven't fully explained the Mayberry-ness about South Pasadena, this one will sum it up. The firemen are collaborating with the local Kiwanis club (yes, the same forces behind the July 4th Pancake Breakfasts!) to raise funds for fire safety at the local schools, burn survivors, and South Pas youth in general. How can you not support that on any day?!

Click here to go to South Pasadena Fire Department's Web site.
Click here to go to South Pasadena Kiwanis Club's Web site.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Magic Castle, Revisited

I posted on The Magic Castle in November of 2009, advising that you have to go any time you get a chance. Since we have the Houdini exhibition opening next month (remember, I work at the Skirball now), magic and The Magic Castle are front and center of everyone's mind. I was invited by my pal to "check out the talent" for some collaborative programs. As if I needed an excuse to go back!

This time, the idea was to attend Houdini's Seance. But before I elaborate on that, I got to participate in another magic show! In the Peller Project room, magician Jimmy H. literally pulled one over on me. He asked three audience members questions, and our answers: Turkey, Pizza, and my $5 million, plus my name (I know!!) appeared on the paper shown here that was INSIDE a sealed envelope! As my answer was last, I was invited up front to read the sheet to the group and got to keep it! Very cool!!

As for the Seance, it was a hoot! The Houdini Seance Room is full of the infamous memorabilia, such as a milk can, straitjacket and handcuffs, plus photos, posters and other ephemera. After an overview and "warm-up" with Leo Kostka, the resident medium, the seance began. It included Houdini's seance conductor Dr. Edward Saint's recorded voice coming out of a vintage radio, a levitating table, tinkling bells, pulsing lights and moving candles. I won't spill all the beans, as you should experience it for yourself!

Finally, our little group got a private card show with magician Micah Cover. Again, I touched a lot of those cards and can't figure out how he did those tricks! That's why I'll keep going back to The Magic Castle every chance I get!

Click here to go to The Magic Castle's Web site.
Click here to go to the Skirball's Houdini page.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Trails Cafe

Two non-intersecting groups of friends - the vegans/vegetarians and the hikers - have both been raving about Trails Cafe in my beloved Griffith Park.

After driving by a gazillion times on the way up and down Fern Dell to the Observatory, I finally stopped. And, trust me dear friends, I won't stop going back!

First of all, I won't even try to describe how amazing it smells at the approach. They bake their own pastries onsite, and I'll elaborate a little more on that in a second.

Here you see their veggie chili, my choice to lay a pre-pastry base. Yes, I am a chili fan, as multiple posts have described. This version looks a little soupy but was actually chock-full of two kinds of beans, carrots, corn and peppers. Delish!

At one side is a wedge of sage and blue corn skillet bread (was that what I was smelling?!), and some fresh-squeezed lemonade on the other. The dappled sunlight only added to the ambiance and wonderful experience of eating outside in the park.

And the pastry mentioned earlier? Choices included a variety of pies, by-the-slice or mini versions where you could eat the whole thing, plus lots of fresh, interesting cookies. I got a lavender shortbread to go. It was awesome!

Next time, I'm going for breakfast and a hike. See you there?!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Massis International Grill

Good mall food?! I found some! I was shopping at Macy's at the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square (not the Sherman Oaks Galleria for those of you who knew me from my "Valley Girl" high school days) and needed some food. Usually, mall food court options are limited: Sbarro, Panda Express, McDonald's. Remember, I like to support the Mom and Pop shops whenever possible. So, at SO Fashion Square, I found Massis International Grill, which fit the non-conglomerate bill for starters. Then, their vegetarian plate special with hummus, falafel and tabbouleh was delicious. The kabobs also looked tasty, and I love the grilled tomatoes served with other meal specials.

Add Massis to the good Mediterranean list in the SFV. Massis has another location in the Glendale Galleria, so my valley, the SGV. Yes, it is true, I'm still a Valley Girl!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nick's Cafe

I was catching up with two of my running friends, and of course we were going to eat. Due to scheduling challenges, it would have to be early. Nick's Cafe - over by Chinatown, the Homegirl Cafe (see May 2009 post) and LA Historic Park/Cornfields - came up after hearing KTLA morning anchor Michaela Pereira raving about Nick's as her favorite breakfast place.

Here you see what she was talking about. It's the eggs n corned beef hash (their wording, not mine!) with the country potatoes and a pancake. I know, can you believe all that for $8.50? The waitress also brought an order of the sourdough toast just in case I didn't have enough carbs. The hash was delish with lots of peppery flavor, and their homemade apple-blueberry jam was fantastic! I'll let you know how it reheats, as half the eggs, hash and potatoes are taunting me from the fridge.

Nick's is an old-school diner, with the U-shaped counter and stools. It reminded me of Chili John's in Burbank (see May 2010 post); Nick's could be the younger brother of John's, as Nick's opened in 1948, two years after John's. Check it out for yourself next time you're heading downtown. And, tell me about your favorite breakfast place. Maybe it will end up here!

Click here to go to Nick's Web site.