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This, That, and The Other Thing

Hello, it’s me!!

I am starting my own blog because even though I am retired I feel I still have plenty to offer. I have a couple clues how to do this and I will make up the rest as I go along. I want my blog to reflect not only how I feel about three of my passions – books, art, and food, but also a little about this new chapter of my life.

I want this to be enjoyable for me to write and for anyone who happens to read it. Although I have to warn you, I have opinions, informed or otherwise, and look forward to expressing them.

In my blog posts, I will write about “this and that” and end the posts with “the other thing,” which is the unique element that enhances or detracts from my overall experience. I wanted to end this introduction with “I hope you enjoy my pithy bon mots,” but my son thought that sounded too pretentious, so I’ll leave it out. Happy reading!

Barbara

 

Featured post

A Little Nostalgia

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I went to Culver City High School with Tony Berlant. He was a creative, artistic type even back then, but a lot of kids thought he was just weird. It was the 50s – what did THEY know!! In the 1960s, Tony was part of the Pop Art Movement and hung out in New York and L.A.and was associated with artists Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Ed Moses, Robert Rauschenberg and Richard Diebenkorn. Even I, with my limited knowledge of the art scene, know these artists. He has produced an amazing body of work, in formats using painting and sculpture. It is difficult to label his work so I won’t try. He has exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. His work at Kohn Gallery in West Hollywood is a new direction his work has taken in the last couple of years. The space is vast, bright and open with stark white walls and polished concrete floors. It is the perfect backdrop for Tony’s work. My brother and I drove up to see it on Thursday. Entitled “Fast Forward”, my photos do not do justice to the pieces. They are magnificent!!

The image titled “Self” from 1960 is a photo of him taken by Andy Warhol.

Then off to Culver City and Johnnie’s Pastrami for lunch. Our dad used to take us there way back when. This is one of the places from my childhood which is actually still there!

The Other Thing – We ate our sandwiches under a tree in Veteran’s Memorial Park. We used to walk to the auditorium there for our school assemblies.

Party at the Mission Inn

Fortieth (obviously not mine) birthday celebration here. What a magnificient place to hold any event. There were at least five weddings last night, and a convention was in town.

A little walk around the grounds…..

There is a pedestrian promenade attached to the grounds that runs a couple blocks. There were some pre-Halloween celebrations going on. Stopped at Provbition (yes, that’s spelled correctly) for pre-dinner appetizers.

Dinner for eight in the Mission Inn courtyard. Weather was hot yesterday so it was a perfect evening outside. Dinner was good, nothing special, but the yummy cake made by Jennifer for Mickey’s 40th was over-the-top delicious!!

The Other Thing – Long drive but well worth it to spend time in this lovely place with people I love(you know who you are)!!

MAMA’S Comfort Food & Cocktails

I wasn’t going to blog about Mama’s. I was just going to enjoy a belated birthday lunch with my friend Julie. As soon as we walked in, I completely changed my mind. This place is a hoot!!

First of all, our waitress, Jennette, is now on my “10 Favorite Waitpersons” list. The menu is newspaper-style and fun to read. Their Taco Tuesday is on Monday, and the next day is “Where’s My Wife Wednesday”.

Julie had the Old Fashioned Grilled Cheese made with ham and 5 kinds of cheese. Any cheese sandwich with Havarti on it is super OK by me. I chose Cayla’s Vegan Sam-Wich with grilled chicken. Piled with arugula, avocado, basil aioli, red onion and tomato, this concoction was so full of flavor. My mouth was watering just looking at it! The parmesan garlic fries were nice and crispy.

We went to the Mama’s on Los Alamitos Boulevard, but their original restaurant is at Beach and Atlanta in Huntington Beach – much closer for me.

The Other Thing – They serve Thrifty ice cream! we shared a scoop of Cherry Chocolate Chip. I had forgotten just how yummy Thrifty ice cream is. It is not around much any more. I think there are some in the Rite Aid drug stores.

Two Left Forks

Located in Irvine, this restaurant replaced Lucca where my two besties and I used to meet regularly for lunch. We had the same table and the same waiter for several years. Those days are gone I am sad to say, but Two Left Forks was worth the visit.

Our waiter was very attentive (also quite cute) and gave us plenty of time to chit chat. After Jennifer’s and my usual iced tea order, we decided to split the Hazelnut Crusted Goat Cheese Croquettes. See yumminess below.

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Then we both opted for the Prime Rib Ciabatta. How could we not. Jen had French fries with it and I had the Caesar salad. (It made me feel like I was eating healthy!!)

The Other Thing – The menu is varied with dishes including items to share. This seems to be the current culinary fad. It all looked good, so a return visit may be warranted.

Hi(gh) Renaissance!

Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has a series of lectures entitled “Art in Context”. They cover various subjects about the history and appreciation of art and artists over the centuries.

This 6-part series is about the Masters of Italian Art during the High Renaissance in Rome, Florence and Venice. Guest lecturer is Dr. Lisa Boutin Vitela, Professor of Art History at Cerritos College. She is an expert on the Renaissance period.

A few photos of the museum grounds

Part One was October 3rd with a introduction and a study of the work of Leonardo da Vinci.

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October 10 – Part 2
Early Michelangelo

October 17 – Part 3
Raphael in Urbino, Florence and Rome

October 24 – Part 4
Bramante and High Renaissance Architecture

October 31 – Part 5
Titian and High Renaissance Art in Venice

November 7 – Part 6
Late Michelangelo

These lectures are entertaining and highly enlightening. Whatever you think you know, it’s only a fraction of what you will learn here.

The Other Thing – The lectures are 11am until noon. Stay later and have lunch at Tangata – a little pricey but very good!

Durty Nelly’s

I have eaten here many times over the years but never really thought to blog about it until now. Located in the Stonemill Design Center on Redhill in Costa Mesa, you can always count on the food and service being good.

I usually order something Irish but opted for one of their gourmet pub burgers this time. Whether beef or turkey, it has the great old standby condiments — crisp lettuce, large slices of onion and tomato, and pickles with a slather of thousand island dressing. Served with a choice of sides, this burger is a three-napkin treat! It looked so yummy on the plate I forgot to take a photo. Nothing fancy at Durty Nelly’s – just a satisfying meal in a very casual atmosphere.

The Other Thing – As you can image, this place is especially fun and entertaining on St. Patrick’s Day. However, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, Bangers and Mash and Irish Stew are on the menu all year around.

Bishop Arts District in Dallas

Pictures worth a 1,000 words!!

The Big D

That ‘s D for Dallas and my trip to surprise my friend Shea for her birthday. Brandon and I had been planning this for a couple of months, so it was gratifying that she was very, very surprised!! It was a whirlwind trip full of food, fun and just being together after almost 4 years. Nine-month old Madeleine took to me right away, and she was such a joy. Brandon booked a lovely room for me at The Highland. Owned by the Hilton, I think it was the nicest and most comfortable hotel room I have stayed in for a long time.

Friday night dinner was at Meso Maya in the Lakewood area of Dallas. Queso Poblano for the table, Short Rib Relleno for Brandon, Mole Poblano with Chicken for me, and Ensalada Mercado with Salmon for Shea. Much yumminess all around. Some of the best Mexican food I have experienced lately.

Saturday morning, and we ate brunch Uptown at Bread Winners. This place is obviously very popular and the food is definitely the reason. My benedict was made with pulled pork. I opted out of the spicy hollandaise but their regular one was spectacular! Brandon’s BW Sandwich was not your average ham and egg on ciabatta.

This was our culture day with a trip to Meadows Museum on the Campus of SMU, located in the Highland Park district. They were playing Navy that day so football traffic made it quite a challenge for museum parking. It was worth the aggravation though because the Salvador Dali exhibition, “Poetics of the Small 1929-1936” was fascinating. I would call these works a little less surreal.

Saturday was also Shea’s birthday, and her wish was to have Brandon barbecue steaks. What a great idea!!! These filets were perfection due to the exceptional skills of the chef. A variety of roasted vegetables and a luscious bottle of red wine made it a perfect meal.

Late Sunday morning and a drive to Oak cliff and early lunch at Lockhart Smoke House in the Bishop’s Art District. This is Texas barbecue at its finest. It is consumed here in a very unusual way — no plates, food piled high on butcher paper. Brandon hit the condiment table full of spicy items that I did not try. You order at the counter and they cut the meat right there. We got a little of a lot of meat — ribs, brisket, chicken, turkey, quail, with sides of deviled eggs, mac and cheese and cole slaw – all with a southern kick.

Then we took a leisurely stroll through the Bishop’s Art District, browsed through a few shops and had cocktails while listening to some blues music at Whitehall Exchange.

Some R & R back at the Mayberry homestead before we set out for the DFW airport. They live near White Rock Lake which is a beautiful place to stroll (or jog if you are up for that), picnicking, fishing, and/or sail-boating. No swimming or motor boats allowed.

The neighborhoods, especially where Shea and Brandon live are so charming – lovely brick and stone, lots of green areas and TREES – so many beautiful trees!!

Our last meal together was some Tex-Mex at Mi Cocina. We ate pretty light. We were still full from all that barbecue earlier in the day. Chicken quesadilla, chicken and rice soup, a couple of salads suited us just fine. Note last item on the menu!

I had such a good time. The Mayberry family is very special. Baby Madeleine was an angel. She went with us everywhere and never made a fuss. What a good girl! I’m back home, and I miss them already.

The Other Thing – The little mosquitos in Dallas are mean!!!

Paris Baguette

 

Costa Mesa has experienced a glut of new eating establishments in the last year. A new café on 17th Street in Costa Mesa is called Paris Baguette, and with a name like that you would think that particular bread would be flakey and delicious. You would be correct.

Ordering and picking up your food is not a new concept (and not one of my favorite ways to enjoy a meal), but here it takes on a new meaning. There is no actual printed food menu or menu board. You choose by looking through the glass case at all the freshly prepared options. Not having my reading glasses with me, I randomly chose the “All Day Sandwich”.  I wanted something basic, and it looked a ham and cheese on a baguette. There was a small thinly sliced slab of cheese on the top. I ordered it warm so when it was presented to me, the cheese was lightly melted over the top of the baguette. It looked quite yummy but required eating with a knife and fork. No problem!
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My drink order was a small Chai Latte made with almond milk. “Would you like that hot or iced?” asked the cashier. “Hot please,” was my response. “OK, iced it is!” I was so flabbergasted that I just went with it. While gathering my flatware, I discovered the knife section empty. By the time one of the wait staff found more knives, I could have eaten two sandwiches. AND surprise, surprise! My sandwich also contained a fried egg – hence the name “All Day..”.
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This all sounds like I had an unpleasant experience but I was in one of those moods that nothing would have bothered me unless the food was inedible. The patio was enjoyable, even with 17th Street traffic zooming by.

The Other Thing – Paris Baguette shares a newly constructed building with another restaurant – Cava. The patio is large enough for the two to share. I think I’ll try Cava next time. The name reminds me of sparkling wine!!

 

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