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This, That, and The Other Thing

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.

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.

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