Saturday, December 31, 2016

Vintage Fire Museum

It's New Year's Eve, and I'm spending the day with my great-nephew, Robbie. I surprised him with an outing to the Vintage Fire Museum in Jeffersonville. We were both blown-away with what we learned from this super-cool museum!

Things like how a bucket-brigade works, and how "black balled" come from a fraternal organization, like a fire or police station, anonymously voting for prospects using white and black marbles, are two examples of our take-aways. I don't want to share all the stories, as you'll have to visit yourself to hear them all.

You will be impressed with the quantity and quality of the equipment. All the engines actually work, and they are polished, maintained, and parade-ready at any time. This particular engine floated through New Albany on a barge in the 1937 flood. It don't look like much when they tracked down the chassis, as you can see from the photo at the side when you visit. This is what love and passion for restoration did for the engine.

You'll also see a variety of trumpets, extinguishers, uniforms, toys, and fire alarm relay systems that show how technology evolved. Pretty cool stuff that was interesting to a 10-year-old and his aunt with some vintage of her own!

Click here for their website, and definitely go!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Emery's Ice Cream

Emery's Ice Cream is a fabulous mom-and-pop shop a block from the Corydon Square. (My other fave, Butt Drugs, is another block away. Click here for that post.)

You can't miss Emery's with its Pee-wee's Playhouse-esq storefront, especially the striped "eyelids" and smiling "mouth" porch. I love it!!

And then there's the premium ice cream. Up top is their Buckeye Fever, a tasty blend of chocolate and peanut butter that can't be beat. I haven't had this particular flavor before, and I'm sure I'll have it again! Buckeye candy shows up at the holidays, so it was great to have this tasty reminder of things to come.

In addition to the shakes, floats, and other treats, they have a terrific assortment of salt water taffy, plus root beer barrels, cow tails, and lots of old-timey candies. Just go!!

Click here for Emery's website.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Royals Hot Chicken

Yes, more chicken!! Royals Hot Chicken is one of my new faves on Market Street in downtown Louisville. Royals is tapping into the Nashville Hot craze, where the fried chicken can be crazy-spicy hot. They have a thermometer for your heat selection, from Classic Fried (Mildness) to Gonzo (Madness). My friend and I settled on middle-of-the-pack Medium and Hot versions, so we could compare and contrast. I'll attest that Hot was plenty hot, but I'm open to taking it up a notch on my next meal. Who's with me?!

Sides were flavorful, too. We each ended up with a baked sweet potato (although I think one was supposed to be the black eyed pea salad), and shared the cole slaw and pimento cheese grits. YUMMY!

Click here for Royals website.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Claudia Sanders Dinner House

This post can be filed under "when in Rome…" I'm driving through Shelbyville, KY, on my way to a bagpipe festival. Afterward, I've already planned a stop at Claudia Sanders Dinner House. Yes, Mrs. Colonel Sanders! 

The story goes that the front building was Colonel and Claudia's home starting in 1958, and the back building was the headquarters for Kentucky Fried Chicken once they outgrew the house. The big space is now hone for The Dinner House, which originally opened in 1968 as The Colonel's Lady.

After a half-basket of delicious rolls, my chicken breast dinner with green beans - note the bacon chunks! - and mashed taters came out. Sooo much tastier than what comes in the red and white striped boxes from KFC now!

However, it was this slice of Derby Pie that really shot me over the moon. Set your taste buds for pecan pie with chocolate chips, and you are somewhere in the neighborhood of this baby!

So, when you have a taste for local history, and some really good food, make go see the folks serving it up in the Colonel and Claudia's honor in their old stomping grounds.

Click here for the website.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Stephenson's General Store

I’m heading to Leavenworth, IN, (about 20 miles from downtown Corydon) with my sister for a program at the Library. Afterward, she steered us to Stephenson’s General Store for lunch. What a blast that turned out to be!

Here you see our sandwiches; we narrowed it down to two hoagies and split them. We went with the “Officer” with turkey, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and “top secret Russian spy sauce” on the left, and “Ranger Bob” with bologna, pepper jack, onions, jalapeno, and banana pepper on the right. The dill pickle chips added another delicious flavor to our palates. YUMMM!

If you haven’t been to Stephenson’s, it has many components: grocery store section with canning jars and school supplies, canned foods, fresh produce, refrigerated and frozen foods, rubber boots, potholders and kitchen linens. The bathroom is marked as Embalming Room.

The general store has a wacky range of wind chimes, Lodge cast iron cookware, marbles by the bag or by the pound, Mr. Bill and Gumby toys, squirrel and bird feeders, metal signs, t-shirts, and games. Don't pass by the live bait or turkey calls if you have that need.

Then the lunch counter in the back, with a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and pizzas. Plus ice cream and chocolate-covered cherries and other candies in the chillers.

And prepare to step back in time as you walk to the cash register. Not only is there a cooler with sodas on ice, there is a huge selection of candies from childhood.

Who wants to experience Stephenson’s with me?!

Stephenson's does not have  a website. Address is 618 W Old State Road 62, Leavenworth. Phone is 812-739-4242. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Transitioning to Cruise Director Louisville Area

With this post, I will now be writing primarily from the Southern Indiana/Louisville, Kentucky area. I'll expect to have lots of adventures, since Indianapolis, Evansville, Cincinnati, and Lexington are all within the 100-mile zone. That means lots of daytrips on the horizon. I hope you'll stick with me for the new adventures!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Grand Central Market revisited

I'm due for a final dash around Grand Central Market before packing up and heading east later this month. The Market is going through a major transformation (like me!), and the vendors are not as familiar as they were on earlier visits. My last documented visit is three years ago (click here for that Roast To Go post), and things are definitely changing. I met a friend to catch up while exploring the new food options.

Eggslut is one of the newbies, and they are creating quite a buzz with their cheeky name and bold foods. This is the Gaucho sandwich, with tri-tip steak, over-easy egg, chimichurri, red onions, and arugula on a brioche bun. YUM!! It's a can't-put-it-down sandwich, both because it is a bit messy and super delicious!

For dessert, we lapped around a few stalls, and I spotted this strawberry-rhubarb pie from Valerie. I scored on the corner slice! I almost got another to take home; it was that good. Her chocolates are supposed to be quite famous, but I'll have to imagine that flavor.

It was great fun catching up with a good friend and with what's happening at the Market. Take a stroll yourself to see what all is going on there.

Click here for Grand Central Market's website.

Click here for Eggslut's website.

Click her for Valerie's website.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Bel-Air

My Farewell Food Tour is well under way! I've been really enjoying all the comfort foods as I'm revisiting my favorites, but it was super refreshing to actually have a salad today at a new place.

This is Susan's Favorite from The Bel-Air on Sepulveda.  It is kale, romaine, red quinoa, avocado, and radishes tossed with citrus vinaigrette, with the side of grilled salmon. Wow, such a wonderful melange of flavors! Too bad I didn't discover this place earlier, since the burger and fried green tomato caprese appetizer both sound quite amazing.

Here's to new experiences, both near and far!

Click here for The Bel-Air's website.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Johnnie's Pastrami

I've been to Johnnie's Pastrami a gazillion times, but I've never posted on it. Better late than never, as they say! I went with a friend for a last hoorah lunch as one of my last suppers in Los Angeles.

You have to tip your hat to Johnnie's. They offer a half sandwich option, which gives you an excuse to share the basket of onion rings! Woohoo! And, of course, it was a delicious meal as always. Their pickles are worth a spot at any table at any time.

Johnnie's is a classic, dating back to 1952. Out on the patio, we heard conversations about multi-generational meals that continue to this day. Families were posing by the colorful wall logo for photos to capture the fun. What a treat to be a part of that history!

Click here for Johnnie's website.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Aquarium of the Pacific's Seahorses and Seadragons

The Aquarium of the Pacific has some new critters: seahorses and seadragons! I was lucky to get an invitation to tonight's preview before the opening to the public later this week. What a treat to visit afterhours when it is not so crowded. I found myself mesmerized by these amazing creatures!

This is a leafy seadragon, camouflaged by leaf-like appendages. It's definitely my favorite of the group! These guys are probably 10-12" long. We also saw miniature seahorses maybe 1" long. Other members of this classification are pipefish and razorfish, with various colors and sizes. Attendees learned that although the males in this group are responsible for incubating eggs and giving birth, not all of species carry the eggs in a pouch. Yes, seahorses do, but seadragons carry the eggs on their tails!

And, if you haven't yet seen the sea jellies, go! I give you official permission to log off this post and head down to Long Beach. If you have been, I think you'll be surprised by the number and variety of jellies now on display.

This is a white-spotted jelly, and there are at least nine other specimens, each as amazing as the next. Jellies also range in size from tiny to dinner-plate size; some are even bioluminescent, meaning they produce light!

Click here for the Aquarium's website.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Good Girl Dinette revisited

Another most-stop on my farewell food tour was Good Girl Dinette. You may remember the 2011 post about the pot pie? (Click here.) YUM!! And today's meal was just as spectacular!!

I ordered the Rice Noodle Salad (rice noodles, spring greens, pickled daikon and carrots, bean sprouts, basil, toasted peanuts and shallots) with beets. I was only momentarily disappointed to hear that there were no beets today (GGD gets their produce from the Farmer's Market, so subject to availability), but there were fresh snap peas, served with lemongrass chili oil. Oh my goodness!! Everything was soooo fresh and tasty! I also had a house-made blood orange soda that was out of this world! And I'll even admit to the side of one amazing buttermilk pancake with ginger maple syrup. It is a farewell food tour, afterall!

Click here for Good Girl Dinette's website.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Merengue Bakery and Cafe revisited

My farewell food tour is underway! Since I've shared with friends about my upcoming departure from Los Angeles at the end of June, I've been treated to several "one more time" and bon voyage meals at some of my favorite places.

This is the Cuban-style Caprese sandwich from Merengue Bakery and Cafe in Monrovia. The pop of yellow is mariquitas - or plantain - chips. Thin, crispy ribbons with just a shake of salt are the perfect accompaniment to the mozzarella, tomato and basil. Yummm!

Click here for Merengue's website.

Click here for my 2009 post.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Clearman's Galley

Remember Clearman's North Woods Inn, with the fake snow on the roof and peanut shells on the floor? They also have a burger joint at the Rosemead Boulevard location - Clearman's Galley - just across the parking lot. My upstairs neighbor turned me on to the deliciousness of "the Boat," nicknamed due to the nautical theme inside and the tugboat outside. She has fond memories of going there with her parents. Back in '60s, the boat WAS the burger stand. She invited me to tag along with her adult son, so their family tradition continues of eating at Clearman's.

This is the same delicious purple cabbage and lettuce with blue cheese dressing from the Inn, sidled up to a chili burger. Deelish!! The Galley has TV screens scattered all around, and they were playing a variety of sports events. The next time I get a craving for that salad, I'll have two tasty options!

Click here for Clearman's Galley's website.

Click here for my Clearman's North Woods Inn's post.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bon Vivant Market and Cafe

I've catching up with one of my long-time friends (I won't age us, but we've been chums since seventh grade). We're both going to be on the move in June. I'm returning to Indiana to help out my family, and she's signing the papers with her husband on their new home.

We are celebrating our good living, and good taste, at Bon Vivant in Atwater Village. I totally scarfed down a burger and fries (there is no remaining evidence of my Kobe burger with grilled portabella, Vermont cheddar and bacon aioli, not even a licked-clean plate!), but I paused before devouring this sticky toffee brownie to capture the oh-my-goodness.

If you haven't been to the area recently, it is way past the midpoint of gentrification. However, it is worth the effort to find a parking spot and stroll the area. There are lots of fun shops and restaurants. I recommend the Bon Vivant approach to experiencing all that life has to offer!

Click here for Bon Vivant's website.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Monte Carlo Deli and Pinocchio Restaurant

I was shopping with a friend on Magnolia in Burbank. That area just gets cooler and cooler with vintage clothing, furniture shops, and a year-round Halloween store. FUN!! We were famished after some serious shopping. We ended up at Monte Carlo Deli/Pinocchio Restaurant. Nothing like a tasty Italian sandwich! This one was extra flavorful with the marinated tomatoes wow-ing up the meats and cheeses. Delish!

On the way in and out, you have to pass by a refrigerator case of gelato. You may remember my post from the 2013 Valley heatwave. (Click here to go to that post.) We skipped the gelato this time, but I'll happily go back for sweet or savory at any time!

Click her for Monte Carlo Deli/Pinocchio Restaurant's website. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pitchoun! Bakery

I'm volunteering again with the Los Angeles Conservancy on their Last Remaining Seats series. A committee meeting brought me to their offices down by Pershing Square, and, per usual drill, I needed some dinner beforehand. I totally scored on Pitchoun! Bakery, on the street level of the Conservancy's building, and I may never be the same!!

This is the Capri, c'est fini! special, with two huge chunks of burrata cheese, yummy tomato wedges, arugula salad, and toast points. WOW!! The cheese was soooo soft and creamy that it spread on those toast points, and the full basket of bread provided.

I got there just before closing time, and they were wrapping up the pastries. I only got a tease, instead of a taste, of the gorgeous baked goods. Next time I will know what I'm in for!

Click here for Pitchoun! Bakery's website.

Click here for Los Angeles Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats' website.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Park Bench Grill

Happy Birthday to me!! I'm celebrating with awesome scores from a Hughes Estate Sale in Altadena: glass bead necklace with blue and pink birds and green leaves "beads," and bagpiping toy soldiers. Hey, we all have our things! In any event, while in the 'hood and still buzzing from my purchases, I had a craving for Park Bench Grill's catfish po-boy. I enjoyed that sandwich many times when I worked around the block about 10 years ago. I didn't even know if they were still open, but it was an adventure day so off I went.

And here it is: huge strips of cornmeal-crusted catfish - the kind where you have to eat a strip so that you can pick up the monstrosity - with cole slaw and spicy dressing on a hoagie roll. YUM!! Oh, and the bread pudding I took to go was a-maz-ing!! I'll make sure it's not another decade before I get back.

Park Bench Grill does not have a website. Address is 2740 N. Lake Avenue in Altadena. Phone is (626) 797-274. 

You'll have to find Hughes Estate Sales on your own, as I don't want you oogling my glass beads or bagpipers!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Playa Amor

 I'm letting you in on an amazing secret: Playa Amor in Long Beach is absolutely delicious!! Thomas Ortega's new restaurant is just launching, and their website is still in "Coming Soon" mode. But it is definitely worth the trip now before word gets out and it's soooo packed that you can't get in. 

My friend had eaten at another of Ortega's restaurants, Amor y Tacos, and she was raving about the food. She somehow found out about the soft opening at the Marina Pacifica complex on PCH. There was no signage; we felt like the cool kids going to an exclusive invitation-only party. Once inside, it was bustling, and lots of other people were in on the secret. 

Here's what we ordered to share, from bottom to top - and in my personal order of favorites - charred Brussels sprouts with a drool-worthy aioli sauce; famous tater tot mole poutine with mole negro, queso, crema, cilantro, and onion (wow!!), New Mexico Hatch chile spaghetti, and veggie tacos. 

When are we going back?! Anyone?!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Charlie's and Bob's at the Farmers Market

I just had blood work done at Cedars-Sinai, which means I haven't eaten yet today. My first thought is the Original Farmers Market for breakfast! I'll certainly find something good there! (Click here for my last post on the Farmers Market.)

This is a classic breakfast burrito from Charlie's Coffee Shop, with eggs, hashbrowns, bacon and cheese. And, a big glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice, with oranges probably from one of the vendors. YUMMY!!

Afterwards, I took several laps around the Farmers Market, and I stopped at Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts for a to-go treat. Bob's frequently shows up on "best of" lists, and I totally understand why. I went with a dinosaur glazed, and a Randy's-esque Boston cream long john! (Click here for the Randy's post.) Yummers!!

When is the last time you've been to the Farmers Market?!

Click here for Charlie's Coffee Shop's website.

Click here for Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts' website.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Eagle Rock Noodle and Grill

I'm driving home after work pondering dinner. Nothing unusual about that activity. But I remembered seeing a new noodle place by the Vons on Figueroa Boulevard, just south of Colorado. Decision made!

Here you see my tasty meal from Eagle Rock Noodle and Grill: pad thai (the gateway entree!), veggie spring rolls, and the most unusual drink: salted lemonade! It was as if salt replaced sugar, and it was refreshing and delicious! I would recommend sipping the lemonade rather than using the straw, as the salt settles in the bottom.

The space is stripmall from the outside, but inside is happening! The blue light that you see at the edge of my table rotates to other colors, and, luckily for me, not in a narcolepsy-flashing pace. The space was full, and both families, couples, and solos like me enjoyed their food.

Who wants to get a little adventurous with their expansive Vietnamese menu options?!

Click here for Eagle Rock Noodle & Grill's website.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Javier's Mexican Food

I'm at Pasadena City College to buy my textbooks. I'm enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Business certificate program at PCC to kick things off in my next chapter. Woohoo!

Although my primary sensation is shock - have you priced textbooks lately? - I'm also hungry. Luckily, restaurants near campus are varied and plentiful. Taunted by Javier's Mexican Food's banner proclaiming "Pasadena's best fish tacos," I took the bait.

Their fish tacos were pretty fabulous! The lightly-battered white fish serving was huge and delicious. Crema, avocado, salsa, cabbage, and squirts of lime completed the taco. Yummy!! In addition to traditional Mexican food, they also have Korean food on the menu. That should be fun to explore.

Here's to new adventures, both in learning and eating!

Javier's does not have a website. Street address is 1543 E. Colorado Boulevard, across from PCC. Phone is (626) 795-5878.