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."
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
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.
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
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.