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This, That, and The Other Thing

Old Town Seal Beach

The rain cooperated just enough to allow Julie and me to stroll down Main Street a bit, just for the chance of a leisurely visit to some of the stores. One of the pleasure of these few blocks is the variety of goods being offered – everything from vintage to the unique, a little something for every taste. This is a great place to shops for gifts.

We ate lunch at The Abbey – a fixture in Old Town for many years. Food is pretty basic but quite good. The soup of the day was Cream of Potato. It contained some chicken and veggies and was a real treat. My Black and Blue Salmon BLT was open face because it would be impossible to pick it up. The Salmon fillet could easily be served as a dinner entrée – it was that large. It was nicely seasoned and totally delicious. Anything that includes blue cheese is fine by me. Julie’s soup and sandwich combination included a turkey sandwich that looked like an entire pound of turkey  was between those pieces of sourdough. By the way, it was Wine Wednesday.  How could we let that go by unobserved.

On to Crema Artisan Bakery for some dessert. Just about the best brownie I ever tasted was followed by a fairly yummy Champagne Cake Ball. I haven’t tried the lemon ginger cookies yet. Julie’s blueberry muffin was “ok”. That is the kiss of death when referring to food. She bough some macaroons for her granddaughter. The jury is still out on them.

I noticed that Javatinis was still there. The gimmick is their cold coffee drinks served in martini glasses. Not much call for them in this weather but I had to try the espresso with vanilla and cream – oh boy!! That was more of a dessert that our goodies from the bakery. And they roast their own beans!

The Other Thing – One of the last of the local newspapers is still be printed on Main Street. I wonder how much longer the little guys will survive. It’s too bad!!

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Bluegold

My first blog of the new year was lunch with my foodie friend Debbie at Pacific City in Huntington Beach .There are so many places from which to choose. Bluegold is on the upper level with a great view of the ocean.

 

Debbie’s Cioppino looked good enough to eat, so she did – loving every bite. My, choice the Thursday special, was Pork Schnitzel. With two large cutlets on a bed of warm German potato salad with olive oil, it was almost perfection!  The little frisee salad on top was also quite good.

 

It doesn’t take much to talk us into dessert, so we shared the Key Lime Pie.  Jeff said, “I’m from Florida so I know about key limes. They fly these in “.

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The Other Thing – I took one cutlet in a doggie bag for later. When I looked in the bag, Jeff had written on the box, “Enjoy dinner” and added a little smiley face. How cool was that!!

 

“An Americano Supper”

My first Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School demonstration class today was presented by Joanna Chun, Culinary Studio Manager for Macy’s. Classes are held at Macy’s Home Store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.  Complimentary coffee, tea, and water were served during the class. We enjoyed generous servings of each dish – it was not just a tasting. Joanna’s Sous Chef  for this session was Susan Carter who will also be presenting cooking demonstrations in the coming weeks.

Chef Joanna Chun joins the Macy’s team with an impressive resume. Trained at the International Culinary Center in New York, she has worked in the kitchen at Jean-Georges and was pastry chef at Le Cirque. Her focus at Stonewall Kitchen is to offer unique cooking methods and fixes for cooking mistakes as well as detailed food preparation and presentation.

Today’s  4-course menu consisted of Mixed Greens with Orange Supreme, Hazelnuts and Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette – Roasted Eggplant Risotto with Capers and Basil – Honey Roasted Carrots – Coffee and Chili Rubbed Ribeye Steak – Malted Chocolate Espresso Cake.

Chef Chun showed us step by step preparation for each dish and encouraged questions. Detailed recipes were given to the attendees as well as suggestions on where certain ingredients could be purchased locally.

It was a delightful hour and a half, and I came away with a full and contented tummy!     I look forward to more of these demonstrations.

A few kinks need to be work out, but this promises to be a popular and useful attraction at Macy’s. It will surely draw new customers. The Stonewall Kitchen Café is open daily from 11am-3pm. I ate there on opening day. The food is good and the Wild Maine Blueberry Lemonade is a delight!!

The Other Thing:  Tip of the Day – “Black Dust” spice mix from Savory Spice Shop in OC Mart Mix at SoCo Collection as a pre-mixed dry rub for the steak.

 

Crescent City Christmas – Part 4

We returned to Tartine for our last breakfast. Kaitlynn had her favorite tartine with butter, brie and fig jam on a fresh baked baguette. I had the house smoked turkey  sandwich with gruyere, avocado and roasted garlic aioli on multi-grain brioche. Soup of the day was creamy sweet potato.

It is amazing what  delicious food 4 people working in that tiny kitchen can produce.

Our new very favorite restaurant which is across the street and down a block from Kaitlynn’s apartment is a wonder. Every single item on the menu at Chais Delachaise sounds incredible!!

Kaitlynn just got paid, so dinner was her treat. We began with a charcuterie tray with gouda and sharp  cheddar, then the Oysters and Brie for me with Applewood smoked bacon on a bed of sautéed spinach. For Kaitlynn, North African Meatballs Moroccan spice, saffron tomato sauce over Israeli couscous. It was all so very, very good, but the potato, leek and fennel soup was to die for.

The Other Thing –  Lemon Chicken at Maple Street Café,  yummy grits at Waffles on Maple,  beverages at Boulangerie on Magazine Street and the daily fresh baked sourdough at the Maple Street Patisserie – all making my latest visit to New Orleans another culinary delight.

 

 

 

Crescent City Christmas – Part 3

You can’t spend any time in New Orleans without eating your way through town. Blogging about food is my favorite pastime, so here is the latest dining experiences.

Emeril’s NOLA in the French Quarter has been renovated since my last visit there (just 2 months before Katrina). An inside elevator leads to 2nd and 3rd floor dining rooms. Because of the neon lights in the ceiling, my food photos do not look at all appealing. The food was quite good, so a little description will have to suffice.
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We ordered shared plates. Cheddar Cheese Popovers as an appetizer with my glass of prosecco and Kaitlynn’s  Shirley Temple made with blackberry nectar. Then turtle soup. I have never really known if there is actually turtle in it, but it was creamy and tasty. Next was fried oysters with fennel, ravigote, pecorino romano on a bed of arugula with a yummy vinaigrette based dressing. Dessert was  Sweet Potato Cake Donuts with blood orange curd and café brulee sauce and Dulce de Leche Crème Brulee in a chocolate shell, Mexican chocolate shortbread and sea salt.

Then a little walk through the French Quarter and Fulton Alley……

 

 

 

 

Crescent City Christmas – Part 2

The annual neon light display in City Park is called “Celebration in the Oaks”. It is quite exciting if you are a child, but I guess as we grow older we are much more difficult to impress. It was nice but we were expecting something more spectacular. We can at least say we had the experience.

City Park was so crowded that getting in and out by car was frustrating. When we were ready to leave it took 2 calls to get an Uber. The first driver gave up and went back to his home base. The line was so long to get in that it was much easier to walk to our driver  than to wait for the driver to get to us.

 

Crescent City Christmas – Part 1

I have been to New Orleans many times but never in the winter. How heavenly to bundle up in scarves and gloves and experience some cold weather at Christmas time. When I arrived, I put on my Rudolph glasses and walked into Starbucks where my granddaughter Kaitlynn works. I asked if they served reindeer. Everyone laughed, and my slightly embarrassed granddaughter said, “That’s my grandmother”.

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I arrived for 11 days of holiday fun with Kaitlynn before heading back home together for Christmas.

We saw the New Orleans Ballet Company’s version of The Nutcracker at the Orpheum Theater. It was a lighter and more humorous version, closer to the original story. The Orpheum was built in 1921, beautiful architecture including the narrow aisles and steep tiered seats. Getting to our seats was quite an adventure.

Roosevelt Hotel across the street with a beautifully decorated lobby. Took a few pics and then beat out of there. Never saw so many people in a hotel lobby in my entire life!

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Part 2 –  In City Park for  “Celebrations in the Oaks”.

Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School & Cafe

On November 28th, I attended the ribbon cutting for Macy’s South Coast Plaza new café and cooking school. Located in Macy’s Home Store on Bear Street, the new space is quite nice and very spacious. The café waitstaff passed out samples of one of the sandwiches on their menu as well as sips of their Wild Main Blueberry Lemonade. Both were quite tasty.

Many ingredients from the food listed on their menu are sold there in a little retail area in front of the café. I went back later and had lunch because I wanted more than samples. The lemonade is so good. The manager said they use their Wilde Main Blueberry Jam mixed right into the lemonade. So, you can buy the jam and make it at home. The sandwich was the Ham, Fig & Brie served on a ciabatta roll. The brie is melted just enough, and with thinly sliced apple-glazed uncured ham and prosciutto, it was heavenly! I opted for a side of their homemade chips – large and crispy.

The first Stonewall Kitchen School demonstration classes began November 28th and run through December 29th. Some of the titles are “Harvest Luncheon in Italia”, “Date Night in December”, “Seasonal Comforts”, “An American Supper” and “Casual Dining”. There will be generous food sampling, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, and recipes to take home. These first 90-minute classes range from $50 to $60. This culinary experience will definitely be on my calendar for next year.

The Other Thing – Everyone at Macy’s involved with this new café and cooking school are very friendly and efficient. They even remembered my name when I went back for lunch.

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.

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