Search

This, That, and The Other Thing

Author

myotherthingblog

Knott’s Boysenberry Festival

Food tasting at Knotts Berry Farm with all food options to include something boysenberry. Sounds weird, doesn’t it, but it works surprisingly well. I enjoyed a fun day with my daughter and granddaughter. For the 3 of us, the cost of our admission included 15 tastes. Without exception, all the tastes could easily be shared, so we were stuffed by the end of our “three-hour tour” (Only you old folks would get that reference).

We didn’t want to waste one of our tastes on the Boysenberry Basil Lemonade, so I purchased that separately – $25.85 for three. It’s a good thing they were tasty. First stop was Funnel Cake with Boysenberry Ice Cream, Lemon Drizzle and White Chocolate Sprinkles and Boysenberry, and the Lemon and Almond Loaf. That was breakfast.

Next was the Boysenberry BBQ Carne Asada Pizza and Beer Cheese Soup in Bread Bowl with Boysenberry Drizzle and Brown Butter Croutons. The pizza was extra good!!

All this took place inside the park where the rides and other attractions would normally be going on. It was beautifully laid out with lots of signage, a map of the tasting stations and all Covid protocols in place.

Now, on to the Apple and Chicken Sausage with Boysenberry Mustard on Boysenberry Bun, the BBQ Brisket Mac & Cheese (pretty yummy) and Beyond Meatballs with Boysenberry BBQ Sauce over Cauliflower Cilantro Rice (some more yumminess).

Boysenberry Meatloaf with Scalloped Potatoes, Pastrami Sandwich on Pretzel Bun with Provolone Cheese and Boysenberry Mustard (pastrami a little too thick and chewy), and Mac & Cheese Bites over French Fries with Boysenberry Siracha Ketchup.

We were getting to the point where we were wondering if our stomachs could hold much more – actually we were past that point! There was a coffin in Ghost Town with my name on it. Epitaph to read “The last bite was just too much!”.

We managed to taste the Mexican Street Corn Chowder with Boysenberry Tortilla Strips and a couple bites of the Boysenberry Balsamic Brussel Sprouts. Thank goodness for a heads up on taking to-go containers because we just could not eat one more bit of anything more. We took home –

Salmon and Orzo Salad with Boysenberry on Spinach with Cucumber and Pineapple Aqua Fresca, a Boysenberry Key Lime Tart, and the Turkey Sandwich on Hawaiian Bun, with Brie Cheese, Mixed Greens, Boysenberry Cranberry Relish.

We agreed that this is something that we might do again. Knott’s has several of these during the year. It would be interesting to see just how many foods can be combined with boysenberries. Alcohol is also served, but we were wise enough not to imbibe.

The Other Thing – Food Critique is called for here. Consensus was that our favorites were the Carne Asada Pizza, Meatballs with Cauliflower Cilantro Rice, and the BBQ Brisket Mac & Cheese. Mac and Cheese was probably from a box but tasted good with how it was presented. My daughter’s Brussel sprouts are far better than Knott’s. Hers are nicely charred and crisp with right amount of balsamic. The Salmon and Orzo salad was pretty good. I ate my share of that at home later when I wasn’t so full.

Knott’s Boysenberry Festival

Food tasting at Knotts Berry Farm with all food options to include something boysenberry. Sounds weird, doesn’t it, but it works surprisingly well. I enjoyed a fun day with my daughter and granddaughter. For the 3 of us, the cost of our admission included 15 tastes. Without exception, all the tastes could easily be shared, so we were stuffed by the end of our “three-hour tour” (Only you old folks would get that reference).

We didn’t want to waste one of our tastes on the Boysenberry Basil Lemonade, so I purchased that separately – $25.85 for three. It’s a good thing they were tasty. First stop was Funnel Cake with Boysenberry Ice Cream, Lemon Drizzle and White Chocolate Sprinkles and Boysenberry, and the Lemon and Almond Loaf. That was breakfast.

Next was the Boysenberry BBQ Carne Asada Pizza and Beer Cheese Soup in Bread Bowl with Boysenberry Drizzle and Brown Butter Croutons. The pizza was extra good!!

All this took place inside the park where the rides and other attractions would normally be going on. It was beautifully laid out with lots of signage, a map of the tasting stations and all Covid protocols in place.

Now, on to the Apple and Chicken Sausage with Boysenberry Mustard on Boysenberry Bun, the BBQ Brisket Mac & Cheese (pretty yummy) and Beyond Meatballs with Boysenberry BBQ Sauce over Cauliflower Cilantro Rice (some more yumminess).

Boysenberry Meatloaf with Scalloped Potatoes, Pastrami Sandwich on Pretzel Bun with Provolone Cheese and Boysenberry Mustard (pastrami a little too thick and chewy), and Mac & Cheese Bites over French Fries with Boysenberry Siracha Ketchup.

We were getting to the point where we were wondering if our stomachs could hold much more – actually we were past that point! There was a coffin in Ghost Town with my name on it. Epitaph to read “The last bite was just too much!”.

We managed to taste the Mexican Street Corn Chowder with Boysenberry Tortilla Strips and a couple bites of the Boysenberry Balsamic Brussel Sprouts. Thank goodness for a heads up on taking to-go containers because we just could not eat one more bit of anything more. We took home –

Salmon and Orzo Salad with Boysenberry on Spinach with Cucumber and Pineapple Aqua Fresca, a Boysenberry Key Lime Tart, and the Turkey Sandwich on Hawaiian Bun, with Brie Cheese, Mixed Greens, Boysenberry Cranberry Relish.

We agreed that this is something that we might do again. Knott’s has several of these during the year. It would be interesting to see just how many foods can be combined with boysenberries. Alcohol is also served, but we were wise enough not to imbibe.

The Other Thing – Food Critique is called for here. Consensus was that our favorites were the Carne Asada Pizza, Meatballs with Cauliflower Cilantro Rice, and the BBQ Brisket Mac & Cheese. Mac and Cheese was probably from a box but tasted good with how it was presented. My daughter’s Brussel sprouts are far better than Knott’s. Hers are nicely charred and crisp with right amount of balsamic. The Salmon and Orzo salad was pretty good. I ate my share of that at home later when I wasn’t so full.

My Book Favs

I started a Reader’s Log in 1997 and as of March, 2021, I have read 1,040 books. I think all written word has a degree of relevance, but some are worth mentioning to my readers who share my love of books. If you’re not much a reader, you can can exit now and go on with your day. Reader Alert for those continuing out of curiosity, there are no photos in this blog.

In the early 90s, I joined my first book club – at Barnes & Noble at Marina Pacifica Mall in Long Beach. I was looking for a non-fiction group but it met on a night I was unavailable. That is how I became a fan of mysteries. First novel in my Log was “Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey.

“The Poet” was the fifth mystery novel by Michael Connelly and probably my favorite in the crime/mystery genre. Plot is about the supposed suicide of the main character’s brother – it kept me guessing. I like not being able to figure out the ending. I don’t care for the obvious.

“We Were the Mulvaneys” by Joyce Carol Oates is a story of how one tragic event affects the lives of everyone in this small town family. You really care for these characters.

“Black Water” by Robert B. Parker is the last Spencer novel before the author’s death.

“The Stand” and “11-22-63” are my two favorite of Stephen King’s 85 novels. I have read them all. No gore and creepy stuff in these. Even if you don’t like King, you might actually like these.

I read Larry McMurphy’s Pulitzer prize winning “Lonesome Dove” in 1987. I was dating a cowboy at the time, and this was his favorite book. My friends called him the Marlboro Man, and he really was quite yummy – but I digress – on with the book recommendations.

“Hitchhiker’s Gide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams and “The 5 People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albon are interesting reads.

Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood has been made into a Hulu series

“The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck is a classic worth reading again.

“Black Dahlia” by James Elroy is based on the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles. Crime was never solved.

“1 for the Money” to “Tantalizing 27” by Janet Evanovich writes about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, and are easy and fun reads when you are bored with nothing else to do. I have read them all so I must have been bored quite a lot!!

The 7 books in the “Outlander” series by Diana Galbaldon are favorites of mine. It involves time travel and the consequences of going back and forth in time. Very compelling and habit forming.

“Touch” by Elmore Leonard was rejected several times until published. Some consider it his best.

Author John Krakauer was actually on this Everest climb in “Into Thin Air”.

“I, The Jury” by Mickey Spillane is a classic gumshoe introducing PI Mike Hammer.

“Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tam

“The Four Agreements” by Don Manuel Ruiz

“The Ice House” first novel by Minette Walters

The Onion Field” the first and my favorite of Joseph Wambaugh’s 20+ novels

Burro Genius” is author Victor Villasenor’s story of going to school in the 1940s Orange County, and how his lack of English presented challenges. Teachers felt he was stupid and lazy – how he overcame racism to become a successful writer.

“Galadria Trilogy” by Miguel Lopez DeLeon is young adult fantasy. I am an old adult, and I love them. Read these first three, and you will want to read the rest. Number 8 will be out soon.

Repairman Jack is the main character in a series of novels by F. Paul Wilson.. To relate Jack’s adventures, he uses realistic thriller-like situations to tell a story with a supernatural theme.

The Other Thing – As a 1970s housewife, “The Flame and the Flower” by Kathleen Woodiwiss was a fun escape. Romance novels like this (aka bodice rippers) were improper in every sense, but oh such fun.

Afternoon Delight

To those of you who are old enough to recognize this song title, it is not anywhere near what you think. On this particular afternoon, it was my delight to be spending it with my granddaughter, Kaitlynn – the love of my life! Off to the Tustin Marketplace – first stop, as always, was finding a place to eat. Snooze was closed so next door was Hopdoddy.

What followed was the best burger I’ve every had, served with large bucket of truffle parmesan fries. Who knew. It was our first time at Hopdaddy, but certainly not the last.

Kaitlynn spied a Dairy Queen nearby. She had never been in one so that called for a quick visit and a small cup of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard.

Now for the most important reason for our visit to the Tustin Marketplace – The Good Feet Store. It is quite an experience. We entered, and I could hear Kaitlynn’s toes crying “Help us, please help us!!”

After a thorough consultation, measuring, foot-printing, two hours and very many dollars later, two happy feet walked out the door. A very satisfying afternoon and always a pleasure and treat to spend time with my beautiful and talented granddaughter. Now all the hours she spends on her feet creating cookies as Head Baker (aka my Cookie Queen) at Dough and Arrow, will be so much easier. All those toes are now saying,”Thank you, thank you so much!”

The Other Thing – The Classic Burger at Hopdaddyis is now my favorite burger. My favorite sandwich is still the #19 at Langer’s Deli.

Harbor Day

Today was a beautiful day for me, myself and I to go for a little drive down the coast to Dana Point Harbor. I walked 2-1/2 miles around the marina according to my Fitbit, so that called for some celebration.

This would be my first restaurant visit in almost one year. Harpoon Henry’s patio was expanded and all tables were many feet apart. The hostess led me to a table that was at least 12 feet away on all sides. I felt quite safe. I have, by the way, had both my Covid vaccinations.

I don’t know if it was because I had only tasted my own cooking for months, or if it was just that good! The clam chowder was loaded with clams, and the crab cakes were barely breaded so I could really taste those tender pieces of crab. Tons of refills on my Arnold Palmer – a friendly chat with three ladies across the patio who were obviously having a very very good time.

I was pretty full but couldn’t resist the call of the ice ream shop next door. My single cone was $5.00 but the blueberry cheesecake ice cream (I thought she had given me 2 scoops) was worth it!!

The Other Thing – The wrapper on the cone totally descries my afternoon in Dana Point.

The Coffee King

Mike Sheldrake opened Polly’s Gourmet Coffee in 1976 at the end of Second Street in Belmont Shore. Forty-four years later, he is still roasting coffee beans every morning in the same location. Mike bought the coffee part of the business from Polly’s Pies in 1989 after having worked there since high school. He wanted to learn the business from roots to roasting, and the result was Polly’s Gourmet Coffee.

The 15-kilo Probat Coffee Roaster made in Germany is still in use today. Why mess with a good thing? The emphasis has always been the fact that customers can literally get the freshest coffee possible every single day.

There has been a lot of competition over the years, the greatest coming from Starbucks, which opened 2 shops on Second Street alone. A clever marketing ad Mike ran weekly in the local community newspaper reminded everyone that Polly’s was “Down the street from ordinary” and “Friends don’t let friends drink ordinary coffee”. Not only did he retain his faithful customers, he got some Starbucks coverts (me being one). After all, how can coffee beans roasted in Seattle and shipped to California compare with beans roasted right here every day!!

Mike has always been open to new marketing ideas, and for a few years in the early 2000s, is where I came in. When I was living in The Shore, I walked into Polly’s one morning, told the barista what I had always ordered at Starbucks – and what would the equivalent drink at Polly’s. One cup was all it took to make a change in my morning beverage routine. I had given Mike my card, and he actually called me a few days later. Would I be interested in talking to him about some marketing ideas? What follows here is partially a result of that conversation.

The side wall at Polly’s was a giant mass of white stucco. What about a mural showing customers lined up to buy coffee? How about a contest where customers could bid to have their “mug on the wall”? The three highest bidders would have that honor, with their bid money going to the charity of their choice. We raised $2,000, the press was on hand to record the event, and the representatives of the three charities were delighted to receive these unexpected donations. Local Artist Roy Herwick created a masterpiece colorfully depicting the winners in vivid detail. A few years later, the artist painted himself with Mike on the small wall by the side entry. It is disconcerting when you walk up to that door. At a quick first glance, it looks like Mike is standing there!

Polly’s Gourmet Coffee’s 25th anniversary (September 2001) was worth a special celebration. Creative Cakery donated a fancy cake and Long Beach may Beverly O’Neil cut the first slice. You can never have too much publicity

Periodically, Mike would give informal talks which included History from Bean to Cup, Roasting & Brewing and Espresso Drinks. Of course, there was plenty of coffee tasting. The talks were held in the store so there was standing room only if you didn’t get there early. At Cal State Long Beach, Mike has been a guest lecturer since 1997 for the “History of Food” course — part of the college’s Hospitality Administration and Management program. This is a true testament to the value of Mike’s knowledge for all things coffee.

Always thinking of way to give back to the community, different months of the year were dedicated to one of the local schools. Ten percent of total sales for that month would be donated to the school’s programs and activities. A newsletter kept customers informed of all the happenings at Polly’s.

2005 was one of many banner years for Mike and Polly’s Gourmet Coffee. The History Channel’s Modern Marvels, Season 12, episode 51 was devoted to The History of Coffee. Mike Sheldrake was prominently featured in this segment. AND The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SPCAA) in recognizing independent coffee roaster and retailers, awarded Polly’s Gourmet Coffee their highest honor – TOPS Award for Excellence in Coffee Retailing.

Mike also opened a kiosk at Long Beach Airport in 2005. What a great way for out-of-towners to have the ultimate coffee experience. After all, Polly’s does have a website, and orders can be shipped anywhere.

The experience of working with Mike was most rewarding and just plain fun. The best marketing tool, however, is Mike himself. He is available almost every day to call his customers by name, chat about their families, and tell his ever-popular jokes. He creates a comfortable atmosphere and a friendly place to gather.

NOW FOR THE BIG NEWS!! As of October 1, 2020, Polly’s Gourmet Coffee became Sheldrake Coffee Roasting. It is exactly the same operation – only the name has changed. In this time of Covid 19, restaurants have been suffering, and in-person visits are down. So many people who had been acquainting Polly’s Coffee with Polly’s Pies restaurants were sending Mike condolences. Now was the time to rebrand. Since the main focus had always been the roasting, this name change was natural and more fitting with Mike’s operation. New building signs, new graphics, new logo (the wonderful vintage coffee roaster) have appeared. The very popular Polly’s Blend of Mexican and Colombian beans is still the same – now called Mike’s Blend. It’s a new day!

Other chains have continued to target Belmont Shore over the years, but Mike Sheldrake has persevered with the philosophy, “Let others worry about the competition; I worry about the customers”.

The Other Thing – Even though I moved from Belmont Shore years ago, I still miss it and that enticing smell of freshly roasted coffee beans. I pop in when I can, for coffee and conversation with Mike.

“French Lessons”

This book is not about learning to speak French – it teaches us ABOUT the French. Author Peter Mayle is a Brit who moved with his wife and two dogs to the South of France. Ranging far from his adopted Provence, Mayle travels to every corner of the country to experience the pleasures of French dining.

Dining is a social event in France and is explained in infinite detail. Each chapter is devoted to dining and wine tasting experiences.

The participants in the Marathon du Medoc run through the great vineyards of Bordeaux while refreshing themselves en route with tastings of red wine (including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild!)

There is a memorable bouillabaisse in a beachside restaurant on the Cote Azur.

There is a Catholic mass in the village of Richerenches, a sacred event at which thanks is given to the mysterious and frightfully expensive black truffle.

There is a chapter devoted to the most pungent cheese in France (It’s in Normandy). Witness a debate over the perfect omelet.

The homage to exceptional chicken takes us to a fair in Bourg-en-Bresse.

Read about the largest and most delicious croissants, and more than you thought you wanted to know about escargot.

One highlight for me was learning about the history of the Michelin Guide. It began in 1900 and listed hotels only. Also included is the story of the 100 year old Hotel d’Europe in Avignon. Read about Madame Pierron and 3-star Michelin chef Paul Bocuse.

According to Mayle, no Frenchman or woman would ever complain about an excess of furniture, too much crystal or too may waiters! A little pomp is necessary, food is crucial and so are the surroundings. “Success in the kitchen must be reflected by the trappings of success in the dining room”.

The Other Thing – If you are Vegan, this book is not for you. But if you are a foodie and/or a wine connoisseur on some level, you will love “French Lessons”!!

The Lab Anti-mall

img_20200728_160959

Out of the visionary mind of real estate developer Shaheen Sadeghi came The Lab. Located on Bristol in Costa Mesa, it is promoted as an anti-mall. It is everything that a large mall isn’t – creative, visually appealing, and a little off-center – quirky and fun!! You enter from the parking lot through an arbor of shrubs and shiny CDs. I have never walked through this without encountering at least 2 or 3 other people taking selfies.

 

Immediately to the right is Habana, a delicious Cuban restaurant where the bartender mixes killer Mojitos. There area vintage stores, Nook Coffee Bar, The Den (with bohemian vibe), the vegan Seabird Kitchen, Buffalo Exchange, Urban Outfitters, small boutiques, and lots of space to gather together (maybe not right now) or sequester in a hidey hole with your computer.

 

This is a very welcoming place. Its bright and cheerful and caters to prospective tenants who offer something a little different.

 

Unusual art pieces from local artists is a unique addition – the latest being the Selfiesaurus featuring work from a recent poetry contest. The winner is a close friend and a true Renaissance woman, Charlene Ashendorf. I brag all the time that I know her.

 

The Other Thing – Across the streetĀ  from The Lab is The Camp. Also developed by Sadeghi, this is a blog for another time.

Covid-79 Birthday

I named the virus after me because it deliberately tried to ruin my 79th birthday celebration. But it failed – badly!!! I had a lovely day that began with my brother taking me on a drive 75 miles down the coast – passing Laguna Beach…

Then a picnic lunch in San Clemente….

Then on through old town Oceanside and Carlsbad.

We got on the freeway in Encinitas and scurried back home forĀ  wine, appetizers, and paella (from Sevilla’s) in my daughter’s spacious patio.

Birthday cookies baked by the Pastry Queen aka my granddaughter!

21750

I was a very full and fun day. Lots of birthday wishes from friends and family on Facebook and Instagram.

The Other Thing – This virus better be under control by next year at this time, because that birthday will call for a whoop-de-do celebration!!!!!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑