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This, That, and The Other Thing

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Paris Shopping!!

 

This place is not to be believed. It is not a shopping mall – it is a shopping city. It consists of three 6-story buildings. If you cannot find it here, it is not to be found anywhere. This is not an exaggeration!

Each floor in each building has a specialty. The Le Gourmet building has everthing you need for preparation, cooking tools and cookware spices, fresh produce, fruits, chocolates and their famous macarons. It was a dizzying array of everything to tempt your pocketbook.

There was a lovely wine and food bar where we had a glass of Puissy Fume and shared pasta with truffles – need I say how tasty that was?!!!

The piece de resistance is the dome ceiling in one of the buildings. When you go to the 6th floor, you are outside with an incredible of the Paris sights.

I now know the meaning of shop til you drop. We Ubered with our bags back to the hotel to pack for tomorrow. We fly to Marseilles to start our river cruise.

Nightime on the Seine

Le Marais

This fashionable district is filled with boutiques, galleries and bars. It once was the City’s Jewish quarter, and there are still numerous kosher restaurants. The grassy Place des Vosges with its beautiful fountains has elegant arcades, is home to Musee Victor Hugo where the writer lived.

Next on the list was this three story building which opened in 1985 and holds the world’s largest collection of Pablo Picasso’s work. It encompasses all artistic movements and themes of his work and explores his creative process through drawings and sketches.

We had lunch at Gribouille, an outdoor café where I had my along awaited Croque Monsieur – a little disappointing but the French fries sure were tasty!!

Final stop in Le Marais was the Pompidou Centre which opened in 1977 to great fanfare. It is certainly different – a little too odd architecturally even for me. It does house the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. There are programs and activities for all ages. Kathy and I were excited to see such a large exhibition of Kandinsky.

This was a long and busy day. The traffic and the crowds were overwhelming. The view from the 6th floor of the Pompidou Centre was gorgeous though – with great views of Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame (sad).

Too tired to go out to dinner – ordered room service.

Montmartre

This was one of my must-go to-places in Paris. Here between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, famous artists gathered at local cafes and bars to bemoan the fact that were not rich and famous – artists like Delacroix, Gericault, Cortot, and impressionists like Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissaro, Cezanne, Gaugin, Lautrec and Van-Gogh.

In the 19th century came the cabarets –  Moulin Rouge and Le Lapin Agile. They are till here. The Moulin Rouge was destroyed by fire in 1916 and was reopened in 1926 with such artists as Josephine Baker and Maurice Chevalier.

The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur is one of the most visited monuments in Paris. At 430 feet, it is Paris’ highest natural point. It took the Catholics from 1876 to 1910 to built it. In The Roman-Byzantine style, it was penance for how the surrounding neighborhood had become so rebellious and sinful. It offers a widespread view of the city. There was a wine festival going on today, and thousands of people made it impossible for us to go inside. Very disappointing!!

Along the Seine

After a lovely buffet breakfast at our hotel,

We took a stroll along the Seine which is only 3 block away.

 

 

France At Last!

 

Planning this for a long time, and it’s finally here. My friend Kathy and I flew Air France from LAX to Charles DeGaulle and arrived one hour early. The new international airport is very fancy. How about that Champagne and Caviar bar to enjoy while waiting for your flight.

The flight was pretty bumpy but the food was pretty good — Chicken with Balsamic Cream, Polenta with Spinach. The chocolate brownie was actually pretty moist. But  adding my two glasses of champagne made it all perfect!! We woke up to breakfast, not realizing that it was already daylight, and we were an hour early landing in Paris. When does that ever happen! We barely had time to eat our feta and Spinach Fritata, Chicken Sausage with Mushrooms and Potato Croquettes, when we had to prepare for landing.

We had to wait almost one hour for our driver to take us to our hotel. It was a comdedy or errors and ending up being very annoying. By the time we got to our hotel, it was time for check-in. Even though the plane arrived early, waiting for our driver ate up our extra tourist time.

 

Melia Vendome is a pretty hotel but the rooms are small. It wouldn’t be so bad thought if two women didn’t pack so darn much stuff.

Kathy’s daughter-in-law Carla came to our hotel and brought us museum passes and metro rail passes for our stay in Paris. We then treated her to dinner at Frnchie’s Wine Bar. What a treat!

 

More champagne for me, and then we shared small plates of  Four Cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy (Dorstone Pasturized Goat’s Milk, Lincolnshire Poacher Cheddar, Durras Pasturized Cow’s Milk  and Calston Bassert Stilton), Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes, and Raviolis with Butternut Squash and Smoked Sage.

 

After this culinary adventure, we literally wandered the streets, looking in store windows.

 

If it takes as long to blog as this first one did, I may not be doing it everyday.

 

 

 

Fred’s

 

 

Fred’s is a Mexican Cafe at PCH and Main in Huntington Beach. Weird name but it has been around for years. That usually means the food is pretty good  — and the view!

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We were celebrating Julie’s birthday so it was crucial that we began with margaritas and chips with salsa and guacamole.

 

The Wedge specialty for me was a very tasty chicken taco and cheese enchilada with black beans and rice.  Julie had what would have been my second choice — the Chicken Tostada Salad with lime cilantro vinaigrette. It was piled high with grilled sliced breast and looked like a complete meal!!

 

It was an enjoyable time in a festive atmosphere in a place close enough to hear the ocean. I even appreciated the old time rock and roll playing on the sound system.

The other thing – I was surprised, however, at the $13.50 fee for 2 hours in the parking  garage!

Coastal Kitchen

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This restaurant at PCH and Blue Lantern in Dana Point is visually inviting as it provides an architecturally open space that is a pleasure to behold. The furniture and décor are bright and beach-breezy with blue accents that pop. We liked it before we even saw the menu.

As the birthday girl, Jennifer couldn’t have chosen a better place for our celebration. She is a caterer, Debbie is a chef and I love to eat. So what more appropriate friends to be my lunch companions. The menu at Coastal Kitchen is just the right size so it doesn’t take us forever to choose, even though everything sounded good.  We started with the Smoked Trout Dip served with toast points. I could have eaten it with a spoon – and I did!

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Jennifer ordered the Parmesan Fried Chicken BLT with Swiss Cheese, Smoked Bacon and Arugula. Debbie and I had the Cuban Sandwich – hers with Fries and mine with Slaw. I ordered mine protein style since I am trying to avoid carbs. (Imagine a foodie like me trying to avoid anything?) It was pretty messing eating that way, but was muy delicious.

Jennifer loves Coastal Kitchen’s key Lime Pie. It was delivered with a lit candle. Very  much yum!!    (Somehow I lost the pie pic)

The Other Thing – The service was great. Waiter was very friendly and helpful. Jennifer had been there several times. Debbie and I agreed that we like her taste. We will definitely be back.

 

It’s Been 60 Years?!

 

This blog is about my class reunion in July. If you didn’t go to Culver City High School or have never been to a reunion, you might want to stop reading now. I’m writing this for my own amusement so you might be bored to death. I’m in the middle of the fourth row – you know, the gorgeous girl with the necklace!

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I and my two high school besties, Jane and Sandra (They will always be Janie and Sandy to me) got rooms at the Ramada on Sepulveda in Culver City for the weekend. This city has changed a lot since 1959. The new Downtown on Culver Boulevard is quite the happening place. The old Culver Hotel is still there. MGM Studios is now Sony, and the cool Culver Theater art deco sign is still there above what is now the Kirk Douglas Playhouse.

So this is where we headed for Friday night dinner. We opted for The Wallace because there was no wait. That seemed like a bad sign on a weekend, but boy were we wrong! The food here was delicious and we had a yummy Italian waiter. Menu was shared plates, so we had Chicken Liver Mousse with balsamic onions and give spice – Asparagus with togarashi vinaigrette, Thai herbs, red onion, cashews, lemon – Walnut Salad with arugula, frisee, sliced apples, dried currants, blue cheese, honey dijon vinaigrette – Seared Scallops with labneh, chermoula, cranberry beans, lemon – sliced Duck Breast with watermelon tequila slaw, shishito blackberry vinaigrette.

With all these dishes so tasty, we had to have dessert. The Oreo Brownie Skillet and the Berry-Cardoman Crumb Pie with 3 spoons were perfect.

Reunion Picnic on Saturday was at Carlson Park at Barman and Motor. We didn’t want to lug food around so we ate a big breakfast at Cafe Laurent across the street from the municipal plunge where I spent the warm days of summer. It used to be called Dennison’s, a hamburger joint where I tasted my first Coca-Cola. It’s French food now and pretty good. Pain Perdu for Jane, Crepes for Sandy and Robby’s Chicken Hash for moi. Too busy eating for photos, but I did get one of my dish.

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Who were all the old people at the picnic? That couldn’t be my class, but alas it was. Many I didn’t recognize, some I did. It was fun catching up on the past 60 years!

Wanted to veg Saturday night. Johnnie’s Pastrami was still there on Sepulveda and only a block from our hotel. So it was a picnic in our room with a little wine to wash it all down.

Sunday buffet brunch was at The Warehouse in Marina Del Rey. There were only about 20 of us there which allowed for more intimate and interesting conversations. It was decided that if we waited another 10 years there might not be many left to celebrate. What a dreary thought!!!

The Other Thing – We did take some time to drive through our old neighborhood. My house on Farragut Drive looks very nice.

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