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Windmill Food Hall

At the Palomar Airport Road offramp on the 5 freeway in Carlsbad, there is a large windmill that has been a local landmark since the early 80s. It was originally Pea Soup Anderson’s Southern California location. Then it was TGI Fridays until 2016. It became Windmill Food Hall in the summer of 2018 with a dozen individual restaurant concepts.

My granddaughter opted for Mediterranean.

I chose Italian.

They don’t skimp with the serving sizes here. I would be amazed if you didn’t find something you liked. There seemed to be vegan, gluten free, dairy free (flavor free?) options available.

The Other Thing – So many places to go, so many things to see, so much food I have yet to taste!! But I’m working on it.

A Stroke of Serendipity

I was in Westcliff Plaza yesterday for my weekly visit to Ace Hardware. I’m on a very minor home-improvement kick. On a whim, I decided to stop at Pandor Bakery for a little snack. I sat at a outside table and was immediately drawn to a conversation at the table next to mine. A lovely grey-haired lady was very animated in a discussion with a white-haired gentleman. Subjects were everything from politics to world travel. The fact that they didn’t always see eye to eye made it all the more interesting.

I tried to outstay them as my eavesdropping skills were in full swing. I didn’t want to miss anything. I walked over and confessed my curiosity. Karin (a name that has gotten a bad rap lately) and Bob (my ex-husband’s name but I won’t hold that against him) asked me to join them. I did linger for a few minutes, and mentioned briefly that I was retired. Karin said that she isn’t really retired because, with all her experiences her travels, she never had one career long enough from which to be retired.

I needed to be home by 4pm so I gave her my card. This morning I received an email from her which revealed many common interests. The comment she made about retirement has stuck with me.

Retirement to me means no longer getting paid for what I do. However, I have not had too many quiet days since – even if it is just knitting scarves for a craft fair or fundraiser. So what have I done since 2006?

I have lived in Costa Mesa since 1960 and have gotten to know the community well. I participated in The Citizen Police and Fire Academies, joined the Historical Society and Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries. I served as President of the Costa Mesa Library Foundation which finally brought a new state-of-the-art library to Costa Mesa in 2019. I was a volunteer and assistant to the curator of the Coastline College Art Gallery. Through Coastline, I attended a one-month Study Abroad program in Florence in 2010. I was on the City’s Cultural Arts Committee and created e a membership brochure for them.

I am coasting this year. I currently serve on the City’s Historical Preservation Committee. I belong to PEO which is a women’s organization that provides grants and scholarships for women entering college. I am on the program committee.

I’m sure I lost most of my readers three paragraphs ago,. but the words kept coming and I couldn’t stop myself.

The Other Thing – I think I made a new friend yesterday. Her name is Karin.

I’m 80? Part 2

Apparently there is more revelry to be re-experienced from this fabulous birthday celebration. So, by popular demand, here are more selfies.

The Other Thing – Just looking at these photos again brings me joy. I love you my dear friends.

I’m 80??

Yes, at 11:45am on June 26, 1941 I became me. To celebrate the occasion 80 years later, my kind and loving family decided to throw a party in my honor. It turned out to be the birthday celebration to end all birthday celebrations!! It was held at The Winery at The District in Tustin.

Many many friends were in attendance, and it was wonderful to be able to hug and mingle mask-less. The restaurant staff was very accomplished and efficient. Not one request was left unanswered. The food was excellent. I’ll get that out of the way before I continue with the merriment.

There was a buffet table filled with charcuterie and veggie platters. Waiters also passed caprese skewers, two different kinds of flatbread, beef and mushroom sliders and port belly bites (these were yummy boneless barbecued rib lollipops). Of course, there was also free flowing prosecco, red and white wine. If that was not someone’s beverage of choice, that was soon rectified. All this topped off, of course, with my granddaughter’s Dough & Arrow cookies.

From 5 to 9 pm, there was a lot of fun going on, and selfie frames must have been quite a hit because everyone wanted to be in one. Rather than overload this blog post, I will just show a sample of my peeps being silly.

The entire evening was so amazing and so far beyond what I was expecting. Jeff and Kathleen outdid themselves, and my brother David captured every moment on his camera. Feedback has been so gratifying – every comment from “the food was delicious” to “Your kids certainly know how to throw a party!” I am almost 100% positive that everyone had a great time. Kudos to Maureen for the beautiful centerpieces.

I am so grateful for this lovely celebration. It makes turning 80th fun!

The Other Thing – 77 years later – still cute??

Terrace by Mix Mix

Walk across The Bridge from South Cast Plaza and step into the Macys Home Store Wing and Terrace by Mix Mix. It is a haven from the mundane, and a perfect spot for weekend brunch.

Of course this occasion called for a white peach mimosa (aka Bellini) and a lovely plate of Goat Cheese Toast with pistachios, seasonal fruit, candied walnuts, herbs and saba vinegar. So delicious that we were anxious to see what the main menu had to offer.

It was the Salmon Benedict all around – Fried Egg, brioche, arugula with hollandaise and house potatoes. We ordered a little side salad to accompany the Benedict. Kudos on the salmon grilled perfectly, hollandaise light and used sparingly. Side salad was mixed greens arugula, baby tomatoes, cucumber, radish, crispy shallots, micro cilantro with a yuzu soy dressing.

The patio was full so we sat just inside near the patio, and that was fine. Our waiter was friendly and accommodating, and he had an extensive knowledge of the menu. He spoke highly of the Duck & French Toast with duck leg confit and blackberries. We are definitely coming back for that.

The Other Thing – There is only one small thing that keeps this restaurant from being a perfect 10 for me. The only condiment for the coffee is whole milk. With so many non-dairy options available now and so many health concerns, I think this was an oversight that could be corrected. That, of course, is only my opinion.

Celebration!

The big day for my granddaughter has finally arrived. Five classes from the Culinary Lab Pastry School were receiving their diplomas. Covid restrictions had delayed this for many months. Graduation was held in the patio of the 4th Street Market food hall in Santa Ana. Only 2 guests were allowed to attend in person. Other friends and relatives could watch the ceremony on Zoom (including Uncle Dave). Owner and chef Ryan Wagner started the festivities with congratulations and praise for his students.

Representatives from each class made a few remarks about their experiences in class and in what ways they are now involved in the industry after graduation. Lots of clapping and shouting as names were called. I think it was such a relief for the students to finally have their diplomas.

A reception followed with adult beverages, burritos, lots of hugs and photos all around. It was fun for Kaitlynn to see people she hadn’t seen in quite a while.

This event was held near the Santa Ana campus of Culinary. Kaitlynn actually attend the school in Tustin off 17th Street and the 55 Freeway.

Instead of burritos, we walked to Chapter One at Broadway and 2nd and enjoyed some yummy food . All our meals now seem to begin with wine and a charcuterie tray. This one contained prosciutto, spicy capicola, blue cheese, manchego cheese, gherkins, strawberry chipotle jam, dried apricots, and sourdough toast points.

I had the steak sandwich to end all steak sandwiches – culotte steak, blue cheese, carmelized onions, arugula, herb- garlic aioli on grilled sourdough toast.

The Pastry Queen had the Royale with Cheese (homage to Pulp Fiction(?) for those of you old enough to remember). The menu said grass-fed beef patty, secret sauce, American cheese, grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, pickles on a brioche bun. Kaitlynn ordered it her way, and she said it was delicious! All sandwiches are served with these thin very crispy fries – so good, but we had to stop eating all of them or we would be too full to get up from the table. Three doggie bags to go!

Some more photos of the event. You blog followers already know I am a picture-taking fool!

The Other Thing – So proud of my granddaughter. She is currently working as head baker at Dough and Arrow on Bristol in Costa Mesa. She is able to use her creativity to experiment with new cookie recipes. I should weigh a ton by now – those cookies are large and sooo good! She is a girl with a plan – today is only the beginning. Stayed tuned……..

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.

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