Wednesday, December 30, 2015

5 Line Tavern

I'm running errands to prepare for New Year's Eve. I invited some friends over to check out the Rose Parade floats that line up on Orange Grove, and I need sparkling cider and other snackies to celebrate 2016. (Click here for my 2013 post.) After a Target run, I was driving home on Colorado when the hunger pangs hit. Today was the day to try out 5 Line Tavern.

It was during the lunch specials time, and I ordered a pizza and salad, assuming the portions would be small. This is what I got, both full orders! A $7 Kale Caesar Salad, with shaved parmesan cheese, focaccia croutons, and yummy dressing, and an $8 Italian Sausage Pizza, with fennel sausage, Italian sausage links, green bell peppers, and fresh basil. WOW, quite a spread for $15!! I plowed through the delicious salad, had two slices of the pizza, and took the rest of the pizza home for a second meal.

For sports fans, there were I think six big screens playing different games: football, basketball, golf, and poker matches. If I was a drinker, I'm sure I'd find plenty of beverages to sample. Instead, I look forward to working my way through the food.

Click here for 5 Line Tavern's website.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

San Fran Vacay - Day 3

It's my last day in San Fran. Did I mention it was Santa Con weekend? Hundreds of Santas ho-ho-hoing it up all around town! This cluster of Santas was spotted by the huge tree at Union Square.

After a pop-in at Macy's, we headed to Chinatown.

I loved the fantastic lamp posts!

These are my dim sum choices from Great Eastern Restaurant: string beans and deep fried pumpkin and egg-yolk ball. The pumpkin balls were a close tie with the broiled grapefruit for San Fran favorite taste sensation! Soooo good!! With seven of us making selections, the lazy Susan was filled with all kinds of dumplings, pot stickers, soups, and noodles. It was fun to share and sample all the tasty dishes.

Click here for Great Eastern Restaurant's website.

After dim sum, it was time to head back to the airport to return to LA. Such fun times!! "Til we eat again, all my new friends!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

San Fran Vacay - Day 2

Day two, and we have some big plans. Well, right after breakfast!!

Across from the hotel, Sears Fine Food comes highly recommended on my fave resource Sears is upscale old-school, if you get my drift. Comfort food with a higher price tag. This is Al's Special with scrambled eggs, hash browns, corned beef hash, and nine little pancakes. What you don't see is my broiled grapefruit, which was the highlight of my meal, although the corned beef hash was quite delish!

Click here for Sears Fine Food's website.

While we are having our breakfast, the final two guests were landing; two sisters from Alaska completed the party!!

While the Alaska sisters regrouped, and the New Mexico guest chilled, the rest of us jumped on a hop-on, hop-off bus and took a ride around the city.

We got off at Pier 39 (recognize Alcatraz in the background?!), took a looksie at the sea lions, chowed on some taffy and chocolate, and rode the two-level carousel.

Click here for Pier 39's website.

Woohooooo!! Back on the bus, we headed to Golden Gate Park and the Conservatory of Flowers.

This is my new favorite place! I didn't know the Conservatory of Flowers existed, although it dates back to 1879. I love the architecture and the serene vibes inside.

Oh, and the cool variety of pitcher plants!

Click here for the Conservatory of Flowers' website.

The birthday celebration was held at the famous Cliff House. We were seated by floor-to-ceiling windows to watch the waves crash on the rocks. Here's my choice for dinner: bacon-crusted Scottish salmon with potato puree and whole grain mustard sauce. WOW!!

Click here for Cliff House's website.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

San Fran Vacay - Day 1

I'm off to San Francisco to celebrate one of my bestie's birthday. I connected at the airport with our friend from Hong Kong (who joined me in New Orleans for my birthday), so let the games begin!
We meet our birthday girl at her hotel in South San Francisco close to the airport, and we are soon off to Ed's Diner for the Mickey Mouse pancakes and other old-school specialties. As we had time to kill before checking into our hotel rooms at Union Square and big breakfasts to digest, we wandered through the nearby thrift stores and a quinceanera shop before finding a thoroughly clean bakery. 

Ed's Diner does not have a website. Street address is 348 Grand Avenue. Phone is (650) 624-9166.

Seriously, the canopy outside says Galli's Sanitary Bakery. Indeed, it was spotless inside! The gingerbread man was delish, too!!

Our hotel at Union Square was conveniently close to some good shopping, from Marshall's to Neiman Marcus. We were waiting for our New Mexico friend to arrive before heading out to dinner.

And then we were four! We chose Daily Grill for its variety and easy walking distance from the hotel. Here you see the day's special blackberry-grilled pork chop with decorative onion ring, tasty fries and steamed veggies. YUM!! 

Par-tay-er number five is on her way to the hotel from Alabama as we are wrapping up dinner.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Punjabi Tandoor

Today's food adventure centered on a run to the OC, specifically Santa Ana, to look at an apartment my niece from New Hampshire wants to rent. Afterward, I decided to take the scenic route back after hearing about some crazy traffic clogs on the 5 Freeway. Lunch would be spontaneous and based upon whatever floated the proverbial boat.

After some meandering, I ended up in Anaheim. You know me and my Indian food, and the sign for Punjabi Tandoor was all it took for me to pull over.

Although the lunch buffet looked like a great option, I went with the regular menu. This is my special combination of matar paneer (peas and cheese!) and chicken tikka masala. Yowza, it was good and spicy! The naan was warm, and the rice pudding was cool to balance out the temperatures and flavors. I will look out for them next time I make this trip!

Click here for Punjabi Tandoor's website.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Big Fat Pita

I'm having a flashback night: dinner at Century City Mall and a show at the Troubadour. I'm feeling soo 1995!
Century City Mall is completely different from when I worked across Avenue of the Stars from 1994 to 1997. My chums and I would head over after work on Friday nights, grab dinner, and see a movie. Or, we would meet there and see a band (usually Brother, my onetime fave Australian bagpipers) at the Troubadour. Tonight, I'm seeing Yuna at the Troubadour, a sweet Malaysian singer I've seen perform several times over the last few years. Before the show, I stopped by Century City Mall for some dinner, and I scored on Big Fat Pita in the food court.
Here you see my classic gyro pita wrap on whole wheat with tzatziki sauce, with a side of dolmades. Delish!! Everything seemed really fresh, and I will keep Big Fat Pita in mind the next time I'm in the 'hood.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Clifton's Reopening

Clifton's has reopened after too-many years of renovations! (Click here for my 2009 post.) I avoided the first rush of looky-loos, and finally ventured down before seeing "Dawn of the Dead" at the Million Dollar Theater. Old-school kind of night, indeed.

As you can see from my tray, Clifton's menu has stayed pretty much the same. Well, fruited jello instead of confetti jello, but it is still early in the relaunch. The roasted ham dinner with stuffing and mac and cheese sides was delicious, and the greens with ham was a tasty addition. I will say that it felt more like a buffet with different stations than the traditional cafeteria style of making selections.

The grandest change with the renovation is this huge tree that reaches three floors. Some sections of Clifton's are more bar than restaurant, although people were eating in all the spaces. There are multiple taxidermied species scattered about for good measure, such as a bear, a bison, a lion, and a peacock. Moving forward, the valet parking option out front will definitely take some getting used to.

But, I will be back. Who wants to give the new Clifton's a spin with me?! Fingers crossed my confetti jello is available next time!

Click here for their website.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mediterranean Delight

I started today's food adventure at the DSW in Pasadena after seeing a cute pair of shoes on their website. I wanted to try them on, since I'm generally between two sizes on the desired BOC brand. Pasadena did not have them in stock, but the Glendale store on Brand Boulevard did. The associate called ahead, and both sizes were waiting for me.

I raced over, and the size winner was clear within seconds. Check show purchase off the list, and it was time for dinner.

Mediterranean Delight started as a convenient choice, being right around the corner from DSW, and it turned into an awesome choice! This is my lamb kabob plate with super tender chunks alternating with grilled veggies. The side salad had lots of tomatoes and cucumbers, and a sprinkling of feta. YUM!!

Click here for Mediterranean Delight's website.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ventura Piping Competition 2015

I'm back in Ventura for another piping competition, my final attempt at glory for this year. (Click here for last year's post.) This time, I have a craving for some mom-and-pop Mexican food, so I took a drive a few blocks off the Main Street drag to seek some tasty chow. I totally scored on Corrales  Mexican Food on Thompson Avenue. I joined the line and went with the fish tacos plate, plus chips and salsa. It looked like a mess when I opened the takeout box, but I hungrily dove in. The corn tortillas were soooooo gooooood that I ended up eating them covered with the refried beans and salsa, and pushed the fish to the side. WOW! I imagined someone's grandmother hand-patting the tortillas back in the kitchen. I actually was bummed that I couldn't finish them all, and I had to offer the extras to the trash container. Tasty as it was, it probably would not make for a good pre-competition breakfast. Sigh, but nice to know another fabulous Ventura meal.

Click here for Corrales Mexican Food's website.

The competition went fine, thanks for asking. It was about 9,000 degrees, so I can add another weather challenge to my growing list. My reward for toughing it out and doing my best was The Full Monty plate from The Welsh Baker booth. On the left is dark chocolate dipped raspberry welsh cakes (!!) for the sweet, and my fave Scotch egg and Irish cheese for the savory, with a lemonade to wash it all down. YUM!! I will definitely seek them out as I make the competition rounds next season!

Click here for The Welsh Baker's website.

It was fun to catch up with some friends at the festival, and I'm also meeting friends in Newberry Park on my way out of town so I have to put a pep in the step. I'll be back Ventura!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tam O'Shanter

I went with two friends to the Tam O'Shanter tonight. YUM, it was a wonderfully tasty return after too many years away. This is the Tam O'Shanter prime rib cut with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potato and gravy, and creamed spinach. There was plenty to take home because I started with:

these Devils on Horseback, which are cream cheese filled dates wrapped in bacon. Do I have to elaborate how incredibly decadent they were?! It seems like we also polished off a chocolate lava cake and a sticky toffee pudding, too. Sadly, no photos exist but the taste sensation still lingers.

If your don't know about Tam O'Shanter, it dates back to 1922, and it is the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles at the same location and owned by the same family. It is part of the Lawry family dynasty. A Scottish theme is carried out in tartan wall coverings and paintings and menu choices. Who wants to have a food coma with me?!

Click here for Tam O'Shanter's website.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Harvest Moon Festival at USC Pacific Asia Museum

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never been to the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, even though I've lived in the area for 14+ years. Until tonight, that is. I came for the Harvest Moon Festival and was blown away by the celebration in the courtyard.

I thoroughly enjoyed several traditional Chinese dances, sampled moon cakes and tea, and heard musical instruments I'd never experienced before. The children there were making Vietnamese lanterns out of recycled water bottles. Everyone seemed to be having a great time!

The galleries were also open, and I definitely need to plan some time to take a more in-depth look around. I especially liked their hands-on children's space, and I learned quite a bit about trade along the Silk Road. It was my first visit, but definitely not my last!

Click here for their website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

She Had to Leave Los Angeles Roadtrip: Holbrook, AZ, back to Los Angeles

Yes, Holbrook, AZ, and the wigwams! You may remember my post from five years ago about staying at the wigwam in Rialto, CA. (Click here for post.) Holbrook is pretty much the same super-fun drill, except for the whole Cars movie connection with Mater here.

Two wigwams down, so just one to go. Mammoth Cave, KY, you are on my list!! Seeing those storm clouds coming at me, I decided to hit the road.

My final serving of kitsch on this trip came from Delgadillo's Snow Cap in Seligman, AZ. It is a wacky 1953 burger joint smack-dab on Route 66, with a "sorry, we're open" sign in the window, Christmas decorations year-round, and a cool collection of old cars.

Love the smiley-face potato cake to go with my cheese burger and onion rings! Happy way to end this adventure on return to reality in Los Angeles.

Click here for the Wigwam Motel's website.

Monday, September 14, 2015

She Had to Leave Los Angeles Roadtrip: Denver to Holbrook, AZ

Today was mostly a driving day. I had reservations in Holbrook, AZ, in the wigwams (!), so I couldn't dilly-dally too much.

However when you see stunning vistas like this one in Pagosa, CO, you take the time to pull off the road. WOW!!

And the adorable little town of Saguache, CO, where I was feeling the BLT vibe as soon as I pulled up.

Delish, and homemade whole grain bread, too! The apple pie I got to-go was out of this world tasty!!

After some shopping at Antiques, Etc. - I bought a vintage sweater guard with matching screw-back earrings, although I really wanted a 3-piece sectional couch - I hit the road for the long drive to Holbrook. You'll have to stick with me to see the wigwams in the daylight!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

She Had to Leave Los Angeles Roadtrip: Competition Day and Rocky Mountain National Park

Competition Day is here! I headed to the fairgrounds early to meet Cameron from Blandford's for some high-altitude tuning. Thank goodness! Then I began the challenge (this applies at any altitude) of "keeping the pipes warm (to keep them in tune)" while not exhausting myself. During this time, another Denver friend - who I haven't seen in 18 years - joined the fun. Now I had two friends to socialize with plus keeping my pipes warm and not exhausting myself.

Here I am chatting with the judge before the first of my two songs. In the end, I did okay. I didn't pass out or embarrass myself, which is still the goal at my stage of competitions.

The 3 Amigas!!

And, I finally earned my Scotch and Irish eggs! Regular readers know about my thing for Scotch eggs (click here for post), but Irish eggs were new. They had mashed potatoes as one of the layers, and were pretty tasty, too!

After hanging out a bit more at the festival, Denver friend #1 needed to head home. She was, afterall, hosting us for dinner later that evening. So, Denver friend #2 and I were off to Rocky Mountain National Park to see some of the sights.

I think were were looking at elk here. Hey, it had been a looooong day, and the elevation was catching up with me again!!

See the elevation? 11,796 feet again, just a bit higher than Boreas Pass. Another dose of Rocky Mountain High!!

Lava Beds and a bit of remaining snow.

Oh, and a happy 100th birthday to RMNP. Beautiful, huh?!

Click here for Rocky Mountain National Park's website.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

She Had to Leave Los Angeles Roadtrip: Day 2 Estes Park Festival

After a late morning of practicing, then yakking and laughing with my friend, we got a late start to the festival. Today was a lot like yesterday, however there were a few things of note.

Piper down! He's still playing while plunked on the ground, and his brother is pounding on the big drum. Kitchen sink piping is what they call it, and this guy won the wacky competition.

And sticky toffey pudding! I'd say it is in the spice cake family, and super-duper delish!

The biggest score was running into my chums from Blandford's out in Rancho Cucamonga (see post) where I got my sassy competition vest and sporran. They offered to help me get tuned up for the competition tomorrow morning. Rock on!!

Click here for Blandford's website for all your piping needs.

Friday, September 11, 2015

She Had to Leave Los Angeles Roadtrip: Day 1 Estes Park Festival

After some morning practice - and meeting my hotel neighbors who were very pro-pipes - I'm off to the fairgrounds for opening ceremony. Nothing quite like a bunch of kilted men playing bagpipes marching toward you! And can you believe that blue sky and puffy clouds?!

Some of the sights were familiar, like caber-tossing gigantic men, the celtic combo of haggis sided with peat-smoked pork BBQ, and beef bridie (like a meat pie), and the hourly firing of cannons.

This is something I had not seen before: jousting! This was a real competition, not some RenFaire demonstration. First was the light armor where the goal is to touch your opponent's shield at a specific spot. But this is the heavy armor, where the goal is to knock the other guy off the horse! Those of us in the stadium wanted to see an unhorsing, but it wasn't to be. I lucked out and sat by three ladies who knew the sport inside and out. I walked away knowing a lot more about jousting than when I came in.

Later that night, in the same stadium as the jousting, I saw the Tattoo. One of my Denver chums came up to festival to join the fun. She's taking the deep dive into celtic culture and hanging through Sunday. In case you don't know, a Tattoo is a parade of military bands, although this version included a steel drum band, a brass band, and a silent drill team. Oh, and more cannons. Fun, fun!!

Click here for the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival's website.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

She Had to Leave Los Angeles Roadtrip: Como to Estes Park, CO

After another attempt at blowing my pipes at almost 10,000 feet in Como, it was time to head to Estes Park to really acclimate.

I decided to take the scenic 285, as opposed to driving back through Breckenridge and taking the 70. Bonus - the Coney Island Hot Dog Stand was open! (It was buried in snow on my last trip.) Here you see me with my Rocky Dog with grilled onions and bell peppers, and topped with chopped tomatoes. YUM!! While I chowed, several other people stopped by, and I heard the "we ate here before it was in Bailey" stories, which would have been pre-2007. It dates back to 1966, with stops in Denver and Aspen Park, before landing here.

My next stop is Estes Park.

This is the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, which was Stephen King's inspiration for "The Shining." I have a 4 p.m. tour reservation, and I'm looking forward to getting spooked!

They TOTALLY play it up, including this chocolate bar.

Here's the not-as-scary version of the hedge maze.

The tour was information and fun, and I'm glad I was able to squeeze it in my busy Estes Park visit!

Coney Island Hot Dog Stand does not have a website. Street address is 10 Old Stagecoach Road in Bailey, CO.

Click here for the Stanley's website.