Saturday, May 31, 2014

Zombies from The Beyond

Yes, more zombies!! This time, zombies come courtesy of the Lex Theatre in Hollywood in a musical format. I know!!

Zombies from The Beyond is a hysterical satire of all the cheezy B-movies I love so much. It's 1955 in Milwaukee, and female zombies from another planet attack because they need some men. (Don't get me started!) Zombina's operatic singing turns red-blooded American men into zombies (you know they are zombies by the bulging eye goggles like you would wear in a tanning bed!). I won't be a plot spoiler, but the demise of Zombina involves teamwork, more singing and tap dancing.

Lex Theatre has about 50 seats, so the action took place almost - and for a few frontrowers, literally - in your lap. Props and sets were fantastic (reminding me of the Plan 9 from Outer Space show at the Maverick Theatre), with the space ship maneuvered with a fishing pole, sign boards promoting "Tru-Life 3rd Dimension" and "Zombie-Phonic Sound." Singing and dancing was accompanied by live keyboards and percussion to capture the mood. It will not disappoint the cheese-seeker in all of us!

ZFTB continues through July 20. Just go!

Click here for the Zombie from The Beyond's Web site.

Click here for Plan 9 from Outer Space's post.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Five Meals in Portland

I got a chance to visit Portland with my Milwaukee bestie. I'd never been, and it had been 10 or so years since she was there. After lots of research on both our parts, we finally realized that we only had five meals, plus snacks, in the short weekend trip. Let's get the weirdness going, Portland!!

We decided that this would be a tasting tour of Portland, meaning that we'd be trying lots of different dishes and finishing very few of them. Meal #1 on Saturday was Pine State Biscuits, and here you see the bounty: biscuits and sausage gravy, local apple cider and Hash Ups (hash browns with country ham, grilled onions, mushrooms and cheese) on top, and blueberry cornmeal pancakes and the Chatfield biscuit sandwich (with fried chicken breast, bacon and cheese) in the bottom picture! Wow! 

We chose the Alberta Arts District location, so we were able to shop and walk it off afterward. We both scored on vintage-inspired dresses with cute obi belts at Amelia. Shout out to Amelia staffer who recommended that we eat at the delicious Luc Lac for dinner, but then I'd be getting ahead of myself. During the stroll, we got to experience some of the famous Portland rain, popped into lots of great shops, and smelled lots of irises planted along the street. During this grand time, the lunch bell rang.

Actually, it was my phone, and my South Pas friends who moved to Portland almost a year ago called to say they were waiting it out at the Grilled Cheese Grill a few blocks away. Hello, is the Cheesus available? That's two grilled cheese sandwiches surrounding a 1/3 pound burger, in case you couldn't tell from the picture, for meal #2. And it was fantastic! Their schtick is childhood favorite foods, and you can eat it on a converted school bus. I only finished half of my Cheesus, because I knew there was much more food to come. We just had to backtrack a few blocks to get it.

This is a honey lavender ice cream in a freshly-baked waffle cone from Salt & Straw. Snack #1 was made of 17% butterfat (!!) and local ingredients to form an out-of-this-world taste sensation. Not sure about honey lavender? My two back-up sampled flavors were pear and bleu cheese, and strawberry balsamic. Incredible!! Note to my LA peeps: I see that they are opening a shop on Larchmont in August. I'll hold you a spot in line!!

After a short respite back at the hotel, it was time for meal #3 at the Amelia-staffer recommended Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen

We went all out! Here you see Garlic String Beans, Chicken Peanut Curry Stir Fry, and Coconut Prawns in the back, then Nem Nuong Pork Sausage Vermicelli in the middle, and Luc Lac Beef and Chicken Jade Noodles on the bottom. I didn't do the prawns, but everything else was spicy and tasty! And as if that wasn't enough food for the day, there was still a Portland tradition that we absolutely had to try.

Voodoo Doughnuts was a must stop! Here you see my selections: the Voodoo with raspberry filling in the body for a blood-like bite, maple bacon that is challenging the bracket held by SK's, and the Portland Cream with Bavarian instead of Boston cream, so Randy's Long John’s version is safe in that bracket. Wow! We lucked out, and the wait was only 30 minutes. Also in the pink box, we had the Memphis Mafia (think peanut butter, chocolate and banana), Butterfinger, Mexican Hot Chocolate and apple fritter. Voodoo on!! Sugar and fat crashes end a full day of eating. One more to go before heading back to LA.

Morning of day two, and I'm feeling a sugar hangover. I can only consider eating is fruit, yogurt and banana from Starbucks; I'm assuming the missed meal #4 will be made up later! We decide to walk it off and stroll through Chinatown to see this hilarious neon sign

before heading to the Portland Saturday Market. Yes, I know it's Sunday, and I don't know why they keep that name.

Here I scored on some fun magnets and a uber-soft shrug/shoulder sweater that will be great for an airplane ride, before heading to Powell's City of Books to be overwhelmed by the full city block of books, and finally Lardo for meal #5.

These are the dirty fries, with pork scraps, marinated peppers, fried herbs and parmesan. I know!! My sandwich was prosciutto, figs and gorgonzola on a baguette. I KNOW!! Lardo was the theme for the trip, and it was a fantastic last call before hitting the road!!

Thanks, Portland, for an incredible getaway! I look forward to getting weird with you again!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Amara Chocolate and Coffee

I'm in Old Town Pasadena to buy a music stand at Old Town Music Center. You can see it on the bench behind my delicious Caprese sandwich and salad from Amara Chocolate and Coffee. On my stroll back to the parking structure, I was drawn in to Amara by the chocolate and coffee scents wafting down the block. What a terrific surprise, and I was not disappointed!

As if the Caprese wasn't tasty enough, this chocolate was off the chart! The 1" square of delight is the Peanut Cream Temptation: creamy peanut butter layered with Venezuelan chocolate ganache and topped with crunchy rice pearls. A grown-up Reese's Cup/Crunch Bar hybrid, if you will. And, the drink? Ginger lemonade with spearmint and sweetened with organic blue Agave. WOW!!

Other guests were enjoying the chocolate fondue, but that would require better planning. Next time! I'm sure the coffee is a real treat, too. And, they do breakfast. I'll definitely be back!

Click here for Amara's Web site.