Monday, November 28, 2011

The Counter

You know about the one burger a month plan, right? Well, that one better be really good! Although I generally steer clear of franchises and chains for meals, The Counter is a tasty way to stray when I'm going to do it.

In case you've missed out, The Counter is a build-your-own-burger joint (similar to Slater's 50/50 post from April). They give you a clipboard with a gazillion options to checkoff so you can "have it your way." Or, if you are decisioned-out for the day, there is a list of signature burgers with pre-selected fixin's like this Counter Burger with crispy onions strings, sauteed mushrooms and tomato topped with provolone. Not a bad way to go at all!

I'm thinking I would like to expand this concept to The Boyfriend Counter, where you can order-up your own Dream Date. Ask anyone, I really am this immature! Okay, single ladies, I'll lead with these two categories that immediately come to mind: Sense of humor (sarcastic, bawdy, Far Side?) and Willingness to wear a kilt: (nonexistant, as needed, always?). Offer up some suggestions for our Dream Date men-u!

Click here to go to The Counter's Web site.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Scottish Heritage Center at the Queen Mary

Have I shared that I'm taking bagpipe lessons (again)? If not, I'm (re)diving into the world of circular breathing into a bag, then squeezing that air through three pipes and the chanter where the notes are played. As my (new) instructor has pointed out, there are only nine notes, how hard can it be?!

Of all the instruments I could pick, why bagpipes, you ask? They're yet another of my Hoosierland influences. My high school's mascot was the Highlander. Pipers played in the marching band. I was on the journalism track, so I wrote for "The Bagpiper" school newspaper and our "Bartizan" yearbook. (Bartizans are castle turrets and are part of Scottish Baronial style architecture.) Bagpipe music and the accompanying men in kilts were just slices of normal for me.

Once again, it was the move to NYC to shake that reality. On my first trip there - spring break during senior year of college - I was registering at a job placement agency. It happened to be St. Patrick's Day, and there was a parade in the street. The whole office stopped upon hearing the skirl of the pipes and rushed to the open window. Once the pipe band passed, everyone went back to work as if nothing happened. I was definitely not in Indiana anymore!

Since then, I've taken classes and actually learned to play the pipes. Woohoo! I bought my pipes from my high school, so that connection continues. But that was 14 years ago, and I'm starting over. My biggest challenge so far is unlearning old instructions and relearning new techniques. Oy! Luckily, I have some resources in the process, including the Scottish Heritage Center at the Queen Mary. As you may imagine, bagpiping supply outlets are pretty few and far between. There aren't that many options for instant gratification for bag seasoning, as an example. The folks at the Scottish Heritage Center totally hooked me up! And, their location on the Queen Mary is very cool, indeed.

Stay tuned for my latest adventures with the pipes. The Scottish Heritage Center sponsors the Long Beach Scottish Festival in February, so I'll be looking forward to that. Fingers are crossed that I'll be blowing my pipes by then!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I'm checking in on some friends' place in North Hollywood while they're away on vacation. Woohoo, satellite TV at my disposal! They suggested I try and post on Mofongos, a Puerto Rican restaurant on Lankershim and Hatteras, so off I went.

I'll apologize here to all my PR chums for my naivete or inaccuracies. From what I have discovered, the classic dish mofongo is fried green plantains which are then mashed with garlic, olive oil, and bacon or pork rinds, then shaped into a ball or ring. You can see it surrounding the plastic cup with the broth. Meat is then heaped on top, with the broth poured over it all. Comfort food, PR style!

Here you see the fixings for Mofongo de Pernil with pork shoulder roast, with salty tostones (fried flattened green plantains) in the back. It is much more festively served in the restaurant than in this to-go box. Note that the mofongo is definitely starchy as opposed to sweet if you're trying to imagine how it all works together.

Mofongos is the only restaurant in Los Angeles that serves a full PR menu. Who wants to join me?

Click here to go to Mofongos' Web site.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Diner on Main

I'm accomplishing errands in Alhambra, which includes new passport photos (and the photographer asking me "don't you want to fix your hair?" Lady, this is fixed!), some Rossing, and a Target run. Betwixt and between these stops on Main Street, food was needed. I've been eyeing the Googie-style Diner on Main for many years, and today was the day!

As we're approaching Thanksgiving, I went with this Turkey Dinner Sandwich. YUM! I'll break it down: toasted sourdough bread, cranberry sauce, sauteed spinach, sage-y dressing, turkey breast, more cranberry sauce. Now there's no need for gorging on Turkey Day, especially after pumpkin pie in the form of ice cream - with a bonus scoop of my favorite black licorice and surprisingly available after Halloween - at Fosselman's!

Diner on Main was designed by Armet and Davis, the architectural firm that gave us Pann's (see February 2011 post), Johnie's Coffee Shop (sadly closed since 2000) and the Hollywood Bowl. Give it a try when you're in the 'hood!

Click here to go to Diner on Main's Web site.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simon's Cafe

Yet another reason to dig Sherman Oaks: Simon's Cafe on Sepulveda, just south of Ventura. I've now hit 16 months at the Skirball; in that time, I've spent uncountable hours driving in and around the area while passing Simon's a gazillion times. Finally, I ventured in, and I'll definitely be back for more!

Here you see Simon's penne with freshly grilled eggplant. The smokiness of the aubergine combined with the chunky tomatoes was delicious! What you don't see are the internationally-inspired bookends to the entree: the borscht soup and the baklava dessert. Additionally, Simon has a whole Moroccan-side to his menu, and I'm salivating over the lamb dishes already. Who's on the road to Morocco with me?

Click here to go to Simon's Web site.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain

Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain in Old Town Orange is the third installment in my old-fashioned ice cream series. You may recall accolades about Butt Drugs (June 2011) and Fair Oaks Pharmacy (June 2009), and now we can add Watson's to the list.

Here you see three classic soda fountain specialties: (Diet) Coke Float at the far end, Chocolate Malt to the left and my mountainous Chocolate Ice Cream Soda front and center. I can't vouch for my chums' choices in the taste department, but mine was delish and quite the sight! Can you see the chocolate foam under all that whipped cream?! Or, the scoop of ice cream precariously hanging over the edge?! Wow, another reason to visit the OC every now and then.

Click here for Watson's Web site.