Friday, April 22, 2011

Slater's 50/50

I'd been hearing about these awesome burgers in the OC, Slater's 50/50 - Burgers by Design to be exact. It is Good Friday, and about to be a better Friday, as my two friends raving about Slater's are both off and up for a roadtrip. Let the games begin!

Just so I'm clear, the 50/50 part of Slater's is their signature burger blend of 50% ground bacon and 50% ground beef. The Burgers by Design part is that you select from a busload of options to build your custom burger. They do have some standards, including a very tempting Peanut Butter and Jellousy (see Mo's Foggybottom post from last October), but we were there to make our own.

Make sure you're in decision-making mode when you go. First you decide on your burger meat: 50/50, beef, turkey, chicken or veggie; then how huge: 1/3, 2/3 or a full pound; then brioche, focaccia or honey wheat bun, or lettuce wrapped; then a fromagerie selection from the list of 13 cheeses; then one of the 19 sauces; then four of the 21 toppings; and finally, any Over the Top toppings like a fried egg, stuffing or fried pickle chips.

My creation is the 50/50 burger on brioche, with havarti cheese and sage mayonnaise, then topped with grilled onions, grilled pineapple, roasted peppers and baby greens. From here on, this is know as the Cruise Director burger. I love the knife speared in, serving as both form and function for full burger enjoyment!

Do I have to tell you how fabulous it was? The bacon in the burger surpassed any bacon on the burger by a gazillion miles.

Slater's is in a strip mall in Anaheim Hills, next to a Curves. What a cruel situation for the ladies doing their express workouts! We waddled out after our burgers, past the Curves, and thought about naps. Well, and the next time we could get back to the OC for another 50/50!

Click here to go to Slater's 50/50's Web site.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Palermo Italian Restaurant

Last month, I showed a similar plate of spaghetti for my LA Marathon carb loading. The race turned out miserably, as the rain started before we did, and it only got wet and wetter, windy and windier, flooded and more flooded for the 26.2 miles. LA Monsoon is the more appropriate notation on the medal!

Although I think I've finally had enough fun with marathoning, I've obviously not given up on spaghetti!

Here you see the classic dish with a meatball from Palermo Italian Restaurant on Vermont near Franklin. Delish! What you don't see is the baby slice of thick-crust house pizza they serve up while you ponder the menu, or the huge caprese salad and garlic bread appetizer, or the minestrone soup that came with the pasta. And, note that this is the small order of spaghetti. You definitely won't walk away hungry.

Palermo is an old school Italian joint with red tablecloths, fresco paintings covering the walls, lots of displayed wine bottles, Bella Italia placemats and a Juliette balcony. I'm sure there were some straw-basketed chianti bottles with dripping candles somewhere. Note that this specific style of wine bottle is called a fiasco, for flask. Fiasco is also a nice way to describe the monsoon marathon!

Click here to go to Palermo's Web site.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

George Gershwin Alone at Pasadena Playhouse

You think you know a man, then you go see his play. The story behind George Gershwin Alone at Pasadena Playhouse was a combination of familiar and new information. Yes, we all recognize "Rhapsody in Blue," (even if it is just from the United Airline commercials) and can hum along to "I Got Rhythm," but, for instance, did you know George died at 38 from a brain tumor?

The teacher to the schooling was Hershey Felder, who portrays George, his parents, Ira and the other siblings, and various collaborators. And not only is Felder acting as George, but he's playing the piano as George. Sometimes playing with one hand while turned away from the piano to speak to the audience. Amazing!

After "the music dies" with George's death, Felder comes back onstage as himself to talk about George. It was fun to hear that after a formal concert, George would race across town to meet his friends to perform informally, sing-along style. We even got a taste of it, as Felder invited audience members to shout out their favorite Gershwin songs. We then sang together to "Embraceable You," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Swanee," and Summertime."

In addition to the great performance, it was great to see the Pasadena Playhouse back up and running. It closed for about a year under Chapter 11. It's a good reminder that we shouldn't assume "the State Theater of California" will always be open for business. Welcome back, Pasadena Playhouse!

Click here to go to Pasadena Playhouse's Web site.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Vegan

Spoiler alert: I went to my first vegan restaurant and really liked it!

I've passed by My Vegan a gazillion times. It's in a strip mall on Arroyo in Pasadena, with a donut shop and Japanese restaurant next door. Today I was dining with my vegetarian friend, and she recommended the local vegan joint. (Don't rely on me for all the technicalities, but vegans do not eat any animal product; vegetarians don't eat animal flesh, but may eat some product such as eggs, milk, honey, etc.)

Here you see me taking one for the team. This is their spicy basil noodle dish. YUM! With those fatty noodles, basil, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and tofu, I did not miss out on anything. I'll be back to try their orange "chicken" next, which may be more of a taste and texture challenge. Who's with me?!

Click here to go to My Vegan's Web site.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Diamond Bakery

The lines were being drawn in the sand: Diamond Bakery on Fairfax versus Beverlywood Bakery on Pico. Passionate voices supported each side, with "the best ever" and other accolades being proclaimed. Something had to give...

I used to live at Pico and Doheny, so I was quite familiar with the goods at Beverlywood. However, I was meeting friends on Fairfax, and I needed some pastry for a work breakfast. I had to give Diamond a shot.

And, I'm pleased to say, Diamond was awesome! No pretensions, just a mellow bakery with amazing scents. Lots of samples to tease the taste buds. From my picture you can see some of the take: mini rugelach and hamantashin sold by the pound, chocolate chip danish, a black and white cookie (you may remember my fondness for the black and whites at Billy's in Glendale posted back in August), and a marble cake loaf. What you don't see is pastry ring drizzled in chocolate. I loved that it was tied with string; it is still knotted here because once that string broke I knew the pastry would be devoured. All this for less than $25!

To be fair, I'll need to revisit Beverlywood. Stay tuned for how this (b&w) cookie crumbles!

Diamond Bakery does not have a Web site. Street address is 335 N. Fairfax, and phone is 323-655-0534.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Heart of India Cafe

I last posted about Indian food in June 2010 and my trip to Little India; I raved about my fave matar paneer, or peas and cheese.

A little closer, and available on a lunch buffet, is Heart of India Cafe and their palek paneer, or spinach and cheese. As mentioned, usually I'm not a huge fan, but their version was delish! Here you see a cornucopia of Indian fare starting at 3 o'clock and going clockwise: a samosa, daal, peas and mushrooms, stewed veggies, chicken tikka masala, tandori chicken legs, and the forementioned spinach and cheese, all sitting atop basmati rice. And, as if that wasn't filling enough, there was also naan, plus rice pudding and the little cheese balls in syrup. All this for like $8! Want to meet me there for lunch?!

Click here to go to Heart of India Cafe's Web site.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yummy Cupcakes

In case you didn't know, it's National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Since I regularly enjoy a good PB&J sandwich, I took it a step further today: a PB&J cupcake!

Here you see two yummy cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes. I'm at the Brentwood location, across from the Brentwood Country Mart. (And you know I was on the lookout for the TMZ crew on the lookout for celebs!) Of the 20 or so options, I honored the day with a PB&J and their version of the Hostess CupCake with the curlique ribbon icing and cream filling. They call it the Old School.

Speaking of school, I will publicly admit here that I didn't take PB&Js in my sack lunches. I took jelly sandwiches. Oh well, I'll continue making up for those lost years however I can!

Click here to go to Yummy Cupcakes' Web site.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Adamson House

I seem to be on a roll as a lookie-loo in other people's houses. (Never mind that's one of the bigger appeals of going to estate sales!) I've recently been to Hearst Castle and the Magic Castle, both private homes at one time. Today, it's all about the Adamson House in Malibu.

The beautiful tile on the sign on PCH sets the tone. The relevance is that Rhoda Adamson was May Rindge's daughter; May was the force behind Malibu Pottery in the late 20s and early 30s.

The house is stunning! As it was used as a tile showroom as well as being the Adamson's home, the variety of tile throughout the house is dazzling. Because it is the property of California State Parks, it was explained that photography is prohibited. That means you'll have to see for yourself the tile "Oriental rug," the wonderfully tiled bathrooms, and all the forward-thinking details built into this home. It was fun to hear about the foot-buzzer in the dining room to alert the kitchen staff about food needs, and then to see the little kitchenette upstairs for the Adamson family's use. It seems that they were banned from their own kitchen. Hidden bookshelves and drop-down desks add to the allure. The location right on the Malibu Lagoon shoreline multiples the beauty!

Note that on the first Friday of the month, they also do a 10 a.m. garden tour. Dang, I missed that boat by a few hours today, but I got a tease during the house tour. I'll need to get a pep in the step next time I'm in the 'bu!

Click here to go to Adamson House's Web site.