Friday, December 19, 2008

New Mexico Bound

So we're leaving to New Mexico next week. I can't wait, it's been almost 2 years since we last visited. I have most of my family there and am looking forward to the "weather" as we hardly get any here in California. We look forward to the long road trip and then endless sky's and puffy clouds. Most of all I look forward to eating the yummy food my family makes. This week they are making it a family affair to work on homemade ravioli's. Yummy. Everyone is asking what does SB like, does he like Posole (a very New Mexican dish), does he eat meat, will he like such and such. Seriously they care more about what he likes then me. I'm not bitter just anxious. Pictures soon to come.

Friday, December 12, 2008

If These Walls Could Talk

So this past week I went on a video shoot for a few TV commercials. Sounds glamorous, it's usually not. But the best part, besides the craft service table, usually is the locations. This one was in an old newspaper publishing building in downtown Los Angeles.
Lots of art deco style treatments and old style lounges.
CC had been here before and showed me this old style ladies lounge. The bathrooms themselves were newer but what a great room this is.
I especially loved the tufts on these peach velvet chairs. I actually set up shop in the Ladies Lounge at some point so I could get a few calls done and do some work other than watching the video screen and listening on the head sets to make sure we record all the lines in the script.
Vanity light fixture that glowed in the evening.

Light fixtures like none other that I have ever seen.
Lovely couch for the faint of heart.
Beaded flower arrangement.

If these walls could talk, you could just imagine a 20's or 30's style era where everyone at this newspaper was getting the scoop on the latest story, each executive dressed in a fedora hat with a secretary sitting just outside the door, a cocktail bar on the credenza and some sordid tale. It was straight out of Mad Men only a couple of decades earlier.
At one point we set up shop in the cafeteria...I think it looks more like a disco lounge.

As the U.S. doesn't have as much history as some countries we relish these old style art deco buildings and a bit of our own culture. Oh and the view is pure modern genius. Gotta love the "City of Angels."
Disney Hall

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Suzanne's at Ojai

Every few years we have the privilege of being invited by dear friends to dine with them up in Ojai (oh-hi) Valley a quaint town with an artsy, hippie flair. Ojai also can boast to one of the best spas in California, Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. This year we were invited to dine with them at Suzannes's Cuisine. Coming to Suzanne's you almost feel like your having a nice dinner at a friends house. The staff is friendly and the atmosphere is homey but elegant. SB and I drove just over an hour to dine with our friends and promptly ordered a vodka tonic and gin and tonic to refresh us after a lovely drive up the coast with views of a breath taking sunset.Suzanne's was quick about getting ready for the season as the entire place was decorated with snowflakes, twinkle lights and evergreens.Everything served from Suzanne's kitchen is the freshest and best ingredients. I shared the an arugala salad with pancetta and blue cheese stuffed figs. For my main course I and order the pork medallions with a slice of pear and a sliver of gorgonzola. Also served with roasted potatoes, baby carrots and asparagus.
Dessert for the children consisted of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, that were so decandent and rich that I'm sure they were jumping up and down when they returned to their hotel. For dessert I had Café Liegeois De La Maison , which is Suzanne's version of an ice cream sundae. Coffee ice cream, fresh whipped cream chocolate sauce and Kahlua. I figured we had a long drive home I might as well get well caffeinated for the ride home.My favorite comment of the evening was from my friends oldest boy, only 7. He was playing with the silverware making all kinds of words and such. He made this lovely interpretation and tapped me on the arm, telling me "hey look, the 405." Seriously this kid is an L.A. boy thru and thru. He's already aware that the 405 freeway is consistently jammed and commonly referenced by Angelino's as a "parking lot."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vanity Fair

For a couple of years my friends and I would make these list of things to do, places to go, restaurants to try, exhibits to see. This list would come in handy when we had visitors but most of all give us a chance to explore this city. As L.A. daily can drain you, but if you search around there are some really cools things to do here. It also a chance for us to explore LaLa land other than the 405, 10, 101, 90, 110. We use to have time to make lists and go on what I would call an L.A. adventure, life gets in the way of fun. We would pick a few places that were relatively close together so we wouldn't have to take the 405, 10, 101, 90, 110 to get from one place to another. Today came together VERY last minute, but ended up being a lovely adventure. All of us wanted to see the photography exhibit at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). So with connections, yes it's WHO you know in this town, we were able to go for free.


Of course you can't take photo's of the photographs but I did take a few of the outside entrance.
The Vanity Fair photographs are amazing, every well-known photographer, actor, musician, writer, director, politician has a photograph for this magazine. Here is a list of a few favorites: Did you know that Fred Astaire had a sister named Adele that he would dance with before Ginger? She married a Lord and became a Lady, but the photograph that captured these siblings was fantastic she had the best outfit on with wide sleeves and amazing details on the edges. C found a picture of an author, none of us could remember, but she loved the hair cut and is vowing to mimic that look.

Sculpture BW


New sculpture at the entrance of LACMA was pretty amazing and made for some cool photos.

We went on to see the William Randolph Hearst art collection which was a hodgepodge of stuff that a very rich man
purchases just because he has the means. Interesting but not that exciting. There was another exhibit of photographs from all the best, William Fox Talbot, Julia Margeret Cameron (Mrs. Subs that made me think of you), Alfred Stieglizt, Weston and Imogen Cunningham to name a few of my favorites. One thing that is amazing is that these people took pictures of their friends and then they or there friends or both became famous. So I figure either I or my friends have a 50/50 chance of this happening to us. Here's to you Zeff and L, we're bound to be famous now.
As you may have seen in an earlier post I love the Chris Burton public
installation. Tonight it lit up just as we were leaving the museum. After we illegally climb over everything and took lots of pictures the sun set and it was a gorgeous L.A. evening. I must admit, I think I'm rather obssessed with these lamps.

After this we took off to Sweet Lady Jane to enjoy dessert and hopefully the black ham and jarlsberg cheese sandwich. This place is a little bakery that absolutely has the best cakes, everyone who has ever lived in L.A. has to have this cake at least once. They are both tasty and beautiful. My favorite is the Triple Berry Shortcake as we have ordered that for a few parties before.
A new delicious cake just now found was the oreo cookie tiramisu....delish.

Of course everywhere in the world has to have their version of the red velvet cupcake, this was a good one to try. Love the cream cheese frosting.
They no longer serve sandwiches but that didn't stop us from some amazing desserts and a pot of French pressed coffee. It's been a long time since I've been here and this area of Melrose is covered with all the designer shops that we salivate for, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Herve Leger, all places I will never be able to afford to buy at, but window shopping is a rush.

There was a slight chill in the air when we left, finally. The fog had set in as we traveled back to the Westside. Since I missed out on my ham and jarlsberg cheese sandwich (I am such a Cuban) I ran to the local store and stocked up on the necessities and made my own version with a nice glass of Voigner and a comfortable evening at home with SB.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Coconut Macaroons

coconut mac 2
For the sweet and savory party I was able to make one dessert to contribute to this feast. I had a craving for coconut. So I went through a few cookbooks till I found a recipe I hadn't tried yet. The always reliable Ina Garten provide the recipe that seemed the easiest and most tasty.


And who doesn't love chocolate right. Ultimately these macaroons ended up with chocolate. I melted semi-sweet chocolate in a double broiler and then tried to decide if I was going to dip the top of each one or brush the bottoms. Bottoms one over at a suggestion from SB. These I have to say turned out delicious.

We had plenty to give everyone and took a few home ourselves. Next day over a cup of coffee was the best breakfast.

Here's Ina's recipe from her Barefoot Contessa Family Style.
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condesed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kocher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper (I tried to use my silapat cookie sheet liner on one sheet as I was short on parchment paper - this didn't work well as the sticky coconut stuck to it, even after cooling. So parchment paper is the way to go) using either a 1 1/4 inch diameter ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

If you choose to put chocolate on them follow instructions below.

Put semi-sweet chocolate chips (or your chocolate of choice) in a bowl set over boiling water in a sauce pan. Don't let the water hit the bowl. Once chocolate is melted used a icing spatula to spread chocolate evenly over the bottoms of each macaroon. Put macaroons on a baking sheet upside down and refrigerate to harden the chocolate about 30 minutes. Plate and serve.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sweet and Savory Evening


Last night a good friend who is an amazing host, cook, mother, decorator, gardener, baker this list goes on, had an evening of all appetizers, both sweet and savory.

I took a million pictures of everything that came out.

Chinese Chicken Salad crisps
Chinese Chicken Salad on crispy wontons.

Cheese platterbacon wrapped scallop
Cheese plate with Chipolte cheese, smoked gouda, brie a tasty platter of interesting flavors. Delicious bacon wrapped scallops.

mushroom bruschetta
Mushroom sausage bruschetta. This was my favorite as I could eat pounds and pounds of mushrooms. We wanted to stuff filo doughs with this but ran out of time so a couple of slices of bread toasted and then a dab of mushrooms was a welcomed and tasty alternative.

Shrimp cocktail

cocktail shot glasses
Shrimp and frozen ice shot glasses with cocktail sauce to go.

Filo dough cups with chicken, parsley pesto and olives.

Cucumber salmon cream cheese
Cucumber slices with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

TabouliPigs in the blanketTurkey dinner purses
Tabouli stuffed cucumbers, pigs in a blanket with savory sausage wrapped in the perfect pasty dough. Followed by a special turkey dinner purse with a cranberry surprise.

And dessert was fantastic. My favorite dessert that she makes are these crispy pavlova's with kiwi's and berries and a little passion fruit sauce to top it off.
Pavlova'sChocolate fountainFruit to dip
Chocolate Fountain followed with various fruits and cookies to dip. I loved watching the kids dip everything possible in this fountain. Poor little ones were left rolling on the floor with serious tummy aches.

Cheese cakeChampagne
Cheesecakes with dripping cherry sauce and Champagne to follow. This appetizer meals and array of desserts is my favorite way to eat a meal. I went back for seconds of the savory and forgot about the sweets coming next, but somehow I managed to find room for those as well. Seriously a night of good food, good wine and most of all good company. Bravo SS it was a night to remember.


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