Monday, August 26, 2013

Monte Carlo Deli and Pinocchio Restaurant

It's blazing hot in the SGV, and I'm looking for some relief. Some friends invited me to Monte Carlo Deli and Pinocchio Restaurant in Burbank for some cool gelato. Here you see my salted caramel as the base and chocolate hazelnut, AKA Nutella, on top. Deeeeelicious!!

Gelato generally has less fat than ice cream, so I say scoop up!

Now that I know about this place. I'm looking forward to picking up some delicacies from the Monte Carlo side, or a meatball sub from Pinocchio. They are side-by-side with delicious options on both sides.

Click here for Monte Carlo/Pinocchio's Web site.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Charles Phoenix and LA Architecture

Chalk up another hilarious Charles Phoenix slide show! Themed to the Natural History Museum's new Becoming Los Angeles exhibition (which I haven't yet seen), this time Charles took on LA Architecture in his typical wacky way.

We learned about, and laughed about, LA's perfection of buildings shaped like what they were selling; drive-through dairies and donut shops (see November, 2009's Donut Hole post); mid-century design that still looks cool today (see February, 2012's Encounter post); and general over-the-topness (see February, 2011's Madonna Inn) in our built surroundings. Car washes, bowling alleys, houses shaped like potatoes - treasures are everywhere! And, all were described in Charles' 1,000-situp wacky way.

I definitely added new Cruise Director LA adventures to the list! Who wants to join me for an eye-opening outing?!

Click here for Charles' Web site.

Click here for NHM's Web site.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus

Did you know that B.B. King is 87 years old? When I saw that he was on the lineup with Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus at the Greek Theater, I knew I had to see him one more time.

B.B. is still the maestro! His playing was awesome, and he was sharp and funny in his chatter. Dang, I hope I still know what music is when I get to be 87, let alone play it! Peter Frampton joined him onstage for "The Thrill Is Gone," and that interplay was incredible.

When it was Peter's turn, he also wowed the crowd! The Guitar Circus features different guitarists at each stop, and we got to see and hear Dean DeLeo from Stone Temple Pilots, and Andy Summers from the Police. Woohoo!! Peter did the mouth tube-whawha-words played through the guitar-thingy (actually called a TalkBox) for "Show Me The Way" plus Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" (no Chris Cornell, though) for some good fun. Dean and Andy joined Peter for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for the grand finale. Rock on, guys! I hope the Guitar Circus makes another stop soon.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sena on Myrtle

Short ribs are my chosen protein this month. This time, it's short ribs tacos from Sena on Myrtle in Monrovia.

Presented in a round cake pan with wax paper, two hearty braised beef tacos with caramelized onions, fontina cheese, avocado, cilantro and pepper crema sauce with crescent-shaped chips and saucy salsa hit all the taste buds. YUM!!

Sena is across from the Krikorian Theater in the Old Town strip which seems to be changing all the time. I hope they stick around awhile, because I want to choose their Crabcake Sliders and Grilled Salmon & Arugula Salad, too.

Click here for Sena's Web site.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Central Park Restaurant

I know! Everywhere I go now, it seems like my food has - no, is - a happy face!

Here you see my Braised Short Rib Hash Benedict with bernaise sauce and fruit from Central Park Restaurant in Pasadena, unintentionally shaped into eyes and a smile. Or was it?! Maybe my reputation proceeds me.

Either way, it was delish, and I had a big smile on my face. The short ribs hash was a super surprise! Central Park Restaurant is across Fair Oaks from the actual park. I hope you depart happy, too!

Click here for Central Park's Web site.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

Remember my Carmagettaway posts from July, 2011? I took advantage of the 405 freeway closure to meet up with midwest chums in Vegas, then we headed off to Zion and Bryce National Parks. In the last two years, my Chicago friend got married and moved to Hong Kong. I know!! She was back in the states with her new husband for a tournament has was repping. It was a perfect opportunity for the three amigas to ride again!

After driving across the desert and picking up my Milwaukee friend at the airport, the first stop was the Golden Nugget on Fremont where we were staying. We had several hours to fill before connecting with our other friend, and we were both starving. The Chart House inside the GN served up the first fabulous meal of the adventure, next to its 75,000 gallon tropical fish aquarium. Wow! This is the East Meets West Tuna (zesty tuna tartare drizzled with wasabi cream paired with seared peppered tuna and avocado, with kim chee slaw and plantain chips) and some fishies seemingly joining us. A great base for the decadence on the horizon! (Note that the GN also has a shark tank at the pool if you're needing to see more fishies.) After some Judge Judy slots, strolling Fremont and chilling inside the AC to beat the 100 degrees outside, it was time to hit the Strip and meet our newly international friend.

She did her research and found the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and its decadent buffet. What makes the Wicked Spoon so unique is that lots of their food is served pre-portioned. Here you see some of my selections: figs, watermelon salad, roasted beet salad, caprese salad and gnocchi in little serving dishes, then lamb panini, ribs, udon noodles and bok choy. YUM! I'm not embarrassing myself by showing or detailing my dessert choices, but let me tell you it was all delicious!

Saturday morning, and it's a pancake face! This edition is courtesy of Du-par's at the Golden Gate, and so different from my February, 2010 Du-Par's standard pancake post. Can't forget this is Vegas, baby! My server was especially proud of this amped-up breakfast special with artfully arranged fruit.

After the smiley-face breakfast, it was time to meet the driver to be rock-star transported to our spa treatments. We headed to the Green Valley Ranch outside the city for further decadence. I had the Orange Oasis scrub and massage. Ahhhhh!!

Back at the Golden Nugget, we had to celebrate National S'mores Day, and we certainly enjoyed these torched versions from the Chocolate Box inside the hotel.

After more laughing, remembering the times, and trading stories, it's dinner time. We're off to the Peppermill for some classic Las Vegas chow. There, we got to meet the lucky man who whisked our friend to the other side of the world. The Peppermill has been serving up overflowing platters of food for more than 40 years. The interior is a trip! Mirrored tile ceiling, pink and purple tubed lighting, random silk plants and flowers, flamingo-decorated light covers over the tables. This is the Peppermill Burger, the flagship burger featuring a half-pound all-beef patty broiled to order, served on grilled Parmesan sourdough with diner fries. You know that was a good meal!

For our entertainment that night, we saw the Lost 80's Live show at the Beach at Mandalay Bay. Bow Wow Wow, Animotion, When in Rome, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung and Flock of Seagulls played their one or two hits, and the next band hit the stage. Everybody was Wang Chunging and singing the lyrics and having a great time!

Sunday morning, and Milwaukee friend has already headed to the airport for her return to reality. Hong Kong friend was staying at the Paris Hotel and recommended the Sugar Factory for breakfast. This is a Fat Elvis Waffle - with bacon-infused batter, more bacon, whipped peanut butter and caramelized bananas. YUMMY!! I styled the waffle face myself, as the parts were begging to be connected. We then did some more shopping before she went to the pool and I left to get my mobster on.

The Mob Museum was designed by the same folks who did the Spy Museum (see October, 2011post) that I loved so much! The Mob version's home is a 1933 courthouse and the location of some of the Kefauver hearings investigating organized crime. In 1950, these trials were broadcast live, and America got it's first taste of the mob's operations. The Museum exhibits are situated on three themed floors: Birth of the Mob (including St. Valentine's Day Massacre brick wall as a highlight, plus insights into the Mob's role in prohibition, prostitution, sports and betting, and Hollywood), Las Vegas Mob (connection to casinos and gambling), and Fighting Back (interaction of the FBI, Interpol, and other agencies). I hope I'm not spoiling this for anyone, but it's pretty grisly with lots of photos of dead guys in pools of blood.

Finally, I accept that it's time to head home. I encountered the usual creep-along drive and stopped in Baker for some sustenance. I enjoyed a gyro at The Mad Greek Cafe before downing this delicious fresh strawberry milkshake. Yes, my kind of fruity drink with an umbrella! I understand the tournament my friend's husband is repping is in Italy next year. Sounds like a great opportunity for tre amiche to gather again!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pageant of the Masters

Have you been to a Pageant of the Masters performance? If you have, this season is unlike any other! Disco balls, confetti and Ferris Bueller are just a few of the differences.

If you haven't been to a POM, let me try to set the stage. Using make-up, costumes, props, scenery, film clips and lighting, plus live orchestra and voice overs, they create and freeze-frame famous works of art, and this time they included movies. It's only when the characters move that you realize what's going on! One of my favorite parts is the dissecting of a piece - this time a Remington painting - to see how the magic is accomplished.

The Big Picture featured a number of movies, including the silent "Safety Last!" with Harold Lloyd. You probably know the iconic image of Lloyd hanging off the arms of a skyscraper's clock. Now imagine that scene recreated on a stage, where Lloyd's character holds completely still in position until, on cue, his hat tumbles off! They also utilized a number of silhouette treatments to tell a story, including some Charlie Chaplin and a steam train, and Norman Bates' "mother" wielding a knife. The disco ball and confetti accompanied a starlet's entrance in a classic sedan and her walk on stage to accept an Oscar.

If you remember "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," Ferris and chums skip school, and one of their adventures is checking out the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago. We get to see them strolling the galleries, with the artwork coming to life before our eyes. Super fun to relive the 1986 flick this way! I won't ruin it for you with the complete rundown, but there are lots of surprises. Just trust me and make the drive to Laguna Beach before August 31st!

Click here for POM's Web site.