Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hercules vs Vampires

Just another night at the opera! Imagine this: a cheezy sandals-and-swords movie silently running behind a chorus of operatic voices and a live orchestra at the classy Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up!

Our LA Opera pulled off Hercules vs Vampires in a most delightful way. Although no stuffy Italian librettos, it was great fun to see mythological good guys and evil villains on film with the performers singing the words to bring to life the re-imagined story. Can you tell it is still hard to describe what went down?!

It was a hoot, and a fantastic way to introduce a new generation to opera. Most of the audience was howling, laughing and clapping along; a few obviously didn't know what they were getting into. The movie had all the classic cheeze qualities: bad production values, improbable twists and turns, and my fave "us versus them" ending. The vampires were actually more zombie-like, but that just added to the appeal.

Go see it if you still can; the final showing is at 2 p.m. And be sure to let me know if you hear about any cheeze opportunities!

Click here for LA Opera's website.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Puchica!!! Guatemalan Food

Those exclamation points belong to them, not me. But I will say I'm pretty excited about the delicious fare at Puchica!!! This is the Chuleta de Puerco, which is a marinated, breaded and fried pork chop, served with beet salad, rice, beans and fried plantains, plus some cornmeal tortillas. It deserves three exclamation points! Since I loaded up on baskets of homemade chips and some amazing salsa beforehand, I had lots of extra food to take home for another meal. I imagine a little old lady in the back patting the tortillas with one hand and chopping up tomatoes and cilantro with the other. YUM!!

And their horchata is undeniably the best I've ever had. Who knew that sesame seeds could be added to the mixture? It was fabulous!

Puchica!!! is located on Sepulveda, just south of Ventura Boulevard. It is in the former location of the Indian place. Let's hope that Puchina!!! stays around for a very long time!

Click here for Puchica!!!'s website.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

24 Hours in Ventura

After two prior wonderful getaways to Ventura (see trip 1 here, and trip 2 here), my Denver friend is "stranded" there over Passover/Easter weekend due to work deadlines. Being the good friend that I am - and having Passover off - I drove up after work on Friday and shared a fantastic 24 hours in Ventura with her.

Our first dinner came from Beach House Fish on the Pier. This is one of their specialities, Smoked Fish Fried Green Tomato Stacks, which is two FGTs topped with smoked salmon, lemon dill cream and chives, and two FGTs topped with smoked albacore spread, red onions and capers. Soooo fresh and tasty!!

Click here for Beach House Fish's website.

Of course we hit McConnell's for some ice cream afterward, but shockingly I have no pictures. You'll have to relive the decadence via the trip 2 link.

Saturday morning, we decided to head into the Old Town district for breakfast/brunch. I had an immediate good vibe about Paradise Pantry, even before I saw the menu. Upfront is my Purple Haze salad, with goat cheese, greens, apples, strawberries and walnuts. YUM! And behind is our shared Pantry Plate with four artisan cheeses, fresh and dried fruit, and nuts, plus the Meat Sampler with two salamis and a cured meat. Oh my goodness!! Such a score!! They will definitely get another visit next time I'm in town.

Click here for Paradise Pantry's website.

As a bonus, there is a little market attached selling all kinds of great cheese. Coconut milk cheese, anyone?!

I really like that whole Old Town area, and it was fun to shop and stroll once again! We hit the olive oil store, bounced between thrift stores and high-end boutiques, and really had a grand time.

Oh, and I can't forget my good friend Trufflehound's! It is Easter tomorrow, and I'm happy to celebrate with my dark chocolate caramels. Thanks, Easter Bunny, bwak bwak!!

Afterward, we hopped in the car to head to Oxnard in pursuit of fresh strawberries. When in Rome, yes?!

But more food was required before we successfully completed that mission. These mahi mahi tacos with fresh avocado and salsa sure hit the spot! We found them at Sea Fresh on the Channel Island Harbor. It was so relaxing to watch the boats glide by while devouring this meal!

Click here for Sea Fresh's website.

And, success! I don't know who the roadside vendor was, but these strawberries were off the chart! I won't be able to swallow a strawberry from a plastic grocery-store box ever again.

And, I'm happy to note, the strawberries stayed in the back seat on my drive home, or else I might've polished them off!!

Ventura, I'll look forward to seeing you in October for competition if not before. Definitely 'til we eat again!