Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wino Wednesday

So an early day brought me home to chill out from the past few weeks of utter craziness. Holiday breaks always come just at my breaking point.
Braving the L.A. traffic home we made our way down the street for two pizzas from Hosteria de Picollo. One with heirloom tomatoes and olives, the other with sausage and olives. Both on homemade thin crust pizza dough.

Being that its Wino Wednesday I grabbed a bottle from our teeny tiny wine rack. Problem is SB and I can't remember where we purchased it. However that isn't stopping me from talking about it.

Vina Ecoyen Reserva Navarra
Product of Spain

My Tasting notes: Cherry and Vanilla, oak lingering flavor. Its not a heavy wine, very light Cherry taste.

Here is what the bottle says:
This Reserva, has been aged in American and French barriques for 24 months, before being bottled and held for a further 12 months prior to release. The resulting wine is crammed with red cherry and black fruit, mellowed by the creamy vanilla as a result of the oak aging. It still continues to mature well in bottle and will be at its best by the end of 2010. Perfect with hearty stews and casseroles.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lemon Pistachio Cake

At Intelligentsia in Venice. Made by Cake Monkey. Delicious with my cappuccino this morning.

Love to see a busy Entertainment executive with passion for cakes make it a business, that's the origin of Cake Monkey. I think I need to turn my passions into something tangible.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wurstkuche Venice

A month ago I was driving down Lincoln Blvd which is the main vein on the Westside that gets you from North to South.  I saw this huge line of people outside a building that once was called Air Conditioned (Supper Dance Club).  I've seen this place a million times, but never have gone in.  It use to be a pretty seedy place many moons ago.  But this day the building had a new facade.  I quickly took down the name and Googled it on my iPhone.  To my surprise this was the opening day of a hot dog, I mean exotic sausage place that had it's birth in downtown L.A.  I know I'm a bit slow, but I never get downtown much these days.  So I talked a few friends into going one Sunday afternoon.

When you first walk in the center, near the wood striped massive sliding doors, your not sure what to expect.  It's pretty small upfront, a display case of every imaginable sausage and a draft beer counter all stainless steel with brick walls behind.

This is what you see when you first walk in.  Exotic sausages of all kinds.  Classics (Bratwurst, Hot Italian, Veggie) Gourmet (Mango & Jalapeno, Apricot & Ginger, Chicken Apple & Spices) and Exotic (Duck & Bacon with Jalapeno Peppers, Rabbit, Veal & Pork with White Wine, Alligator & Pork, Rattlesnake & Rabbit)
Draft beers range from Belgian, German, North America.  Bottle beers include the same with one English Cider.

I had heard the space was cool so before I even ordered I snaked my way around the backside of the front people down a very dark hall into an amazing light room with textured brick walls, long warm wood beer tables, a sleek bar and cool lighting from the windows (it was afternoon) and inventive modern chandelier light bulbs.  

I was in, so were my friends, we ran up front and quickly ordered.  I just wanted a normal bratwurst, double fried Belgium fries and a Chimay beer.  You get to pick two sausage toppings and two dipping sauces for the fries.  I went basic, sauerkraut for the dog and curry ketchup and bacon bleu cheese for the fries.  This place is cool, I can't wait to take SB back, they even have Veggie sausages so with beer, I know he'll be in.  The space is awesome.  I hear party coming to this place soon.


 Belgian Fires (Double dipped fries).

Mustards on the table.

Here's the menu  Take a peek at this great place.

Venice location
623 Lincoln Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Balloon Fiesta - Albuquerque

When I was a little girl living in Albuquerque I use to go to the balloon fiesta with my grandmother.
We would park on the side of the road and run in the dirt to meet the balloonist. Grandma had an autograph book she kept for years. After the balloons took off we would jump in her car and chase them to wherever they would land, which would be in the mesas, driving down dirt roads.

Grandma told me a story once of her running in the mesas to meet the balloonist and tripping over s lava rock, there are lots out there.
As she fell to her knees the balloonist looked down and grandma looked up and said, "will you marry me?" He laughed heartily. Gotta love a granny with a sense of humor.

I came back a few other times when I lived in California. Still there was dirt, and you could still park on the side if the road. However, there aren't as many mesas open with the building boom that happened here in the 90's.

Then back again a few years later and there was a balloon park with a museum. Now 40 years later, no dirt just beautiful grass and balloons of every size and shape. Finally SB gets to see it first hand.

We got up at 430am, drank coffee and made it down to the field before 530. They have it very organized and there were about 15 balloons already blowing up.
Since it was dark still they glowed in the early morning dark blue sky. I had never seen this part up close.
It was exciting. If you followed my tweets that morning you probably saw many of the pictures below, which included a Darth Vadar balloon with Storm Trooper crew, and yes I was humming the dark side theme of Star Wars.

I will have more to share from our real digital camera, SB got some awesome shots. He got really close, he was determined to get in the belly of the balloons, so much that they had to tell him to back away.

Monday, October 3, 2011

On the road again

It's that time of year where we hit the road to New Mexico. Here are a few images from our twelve hour journey.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Areaware iPhone Clock

I HEART my new iPhone clock.  A great anniversary gift from SB.  It's super cool, sleek and a great place to charge my iPhone.  I'm still figuring out all the bells and whistles on this phone, it's a bit bright at night so I do turn it away from me and the alarm is, well, ALARMING. But despite that I love this new clock.  You can buy it here.  And check out all their other cool design ware.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moving Furniture

For the past few weeks we've been packing our entire apartment that we've lived in for 16 years.
Wow do you accumulate a lot of STUFF.  Seriously I had no idea, well I think I did, but was just in denial, at what a pack rat I've become.  Not a hoarder, a pack rat.  So I have turned off my sentimental meter and really gone to town, tossing, donating, selling, not even looking at stuff, but just getting rid of it.

We're having our carpet torn out and new faux hard wood flooring put in.  Renting a U-Haul to store our stuff and begging good friends to help us move.  In the process we're turning SB's office into an office/guest room.  I'll have some before and after photos to show soon.  Hopefully it will be a nice minimal transformation.  I don't think we've thrown away nearly enough stuff, it's just overwhelming.

I think one should do this every few years to give yourself a reality check.  It will certainly help you to think twice about buying that tchotchke or keeping that old Angelina Jolie Vanity Fair, really who needs it.  On top of that life couldn't be busier for us with all our outside responsibilities and preparing to go to New Mexico to see family.  When it rains it pours. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Figs & Honey

Figs & Honey who wouldn't like this combo.  My co-worker Julia, not Childs, gave me this recipe from the NY Times so I tried it tonight.  I bought the above figs from Trader Joes.
I put 2 Tbsp of butter in a cast iron skillet and tossed in a few fresh thyme leaves for flavor.
I sliced the figs in half and drizzled them with 3 Tbsp of Clover Honey.

Then I put them cut side down in the butter and thyme to caramelize for about 5 minutes.  I then flipped them and let them simmer for 1 more minute.  Afterwards I set the figs aside and simmered the butter and caramelized honey with a few tablespoons of water. Then for the best part, pour all the delicious honey and butter on the figs and drizzle them with creme fraiche.  I sprinkled a few thyme leaves and then went to town, slurping up all the juices.  I seriously wanted to lick the plate.
And the final product, with my Nikon above and on my couch with my iPhone below.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wino Wednesday

So I'm a slacker...what can I say.  I've tasted lots of wines lately and have a wonderful array of Wino Wednesday's to share.  This particular wine was from, you guessed it, Trader Joes.  I heard about this wine through a co-worker, who tasted it and said it was a nice Spanish Wine.  When she went back to TJ's and bought another $3.99 bottle, the guy at the register asked her how she know about this wine.  She said she tried it and liked it.  Apparently this is one of those underground goodies and it's a pretty good wine being sold and TJ's for next to nothing. 

Panilonco "Chief of Lions"
D O Colchagua Valley, Chille
2010 Reserve
Tasting Notes:  Blackberries and smokey oak
Color:  Deep purple, like a combination of crush blackberries and blueberries.
What I ate with this:  Cheese, bread first time.  Second time Spaghetti with homemade meatballs, salad and garlic bread.  Was perfect combination.

For $3.99 this is a steal and was noted on an underground wine newsletter.  Go now, while it lasts.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Bars

So this last week was a whirlwind.  Book swap party, 30th wedding anniversary party and children books party for a baby to come.   Pheww.  For the book swap party, which was given by "My Life At Playtime," I volunteered to make a dessert.  While surfing Pinterest I found a gorgeous peanut butter bar and I was determined to make it for this party.  For the recipe go hereOnly comment on the recipe is that I would put the pan in the refrigerator right after you put the second layer of peanut butter on.  It needs to harden a bit before you smear the last layer of chocolate.  

Since this was a book swapping party I took one of my old college books that I wouldn't will on anyone, Plato's Last Days of Socrates.  I cut up strips, wrapped them around the cold bars and tied them with twine.  This made up for the fact that cutting these bars was a hot mess.  These are decadent, very rich, I saw people cutting them in half, but well they came back for the other half too.

As for the books I chose, well I only wanted one and I took three, sorry SB, I couldn't help myself.  I chose The Help, The Hunger, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  That last one has my name written all over it.  I'll tell you how I feel about them once I get them read.  I have SOoooo many books right now.  

One last thing, I have to say I'm liking my iPhone photos better than my expensive camera, go figure.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gjelina Take Away (GTA)

I haven't been addicted to a new place like this in forever....maybe ever.
It's a local place in Venice called Gjelina Take Away otherwise known as GTA.

It's an offshoot of Gjelina, which is right next door.  Gjelina is the brain child of Travis Lett, to read more about him go here: LA Times article.  Gjelina has gotten very popular, lots of press, Bon Appetit recently wrote it up too.  On any given day, and night, there are a dozen people standing outside waiting up to an hour to get a table, inside or outside, patio is very nice, they do have communal tables as well.  Once you get a seat you'll be super happy, great waiters, helpful staff all around, well except the hostesses.  No fun having the hostess job and let's just say they aren't the friendliest gals.

But skip all that, go to GTA, right next door, 
it opens up at 7am and this past weekend I went back three times.  

 Seriously I'm working my way through the menu, even making SB sample a few vittles.

So far my favorite has been the jamon on toast, aka ham on toast.  They smear a bit of tomato on the toast and delicately lay a few nice layers of the best jamon on a crunchy piece of bread.  Today I ate two of them in between sampling the mixed berry turnover.

Also delish is the salmon on crunchy toast with capers, peppers and a nice hard-boiled egg on top.  Over the weekend we tried the egg breakfast sandwich,  this was good, with Gruyere, bacon, kale, and tomatoes, very messy, the kale was nutritious but hard to bite in and the whole leaf came out at once, but worth a try.

The biscuits and jam make my friend C think of her grandmother's biscuit.  Their smeared with butter and strawberry jam.  No latte's here, but you can get a Cordona or Cortona, what is it with L.A. and our coffee names.  It's basically a very small cup of double espresso with a bit of milk.  I personally LOVE it, strong and just the right amount of cream.  C thinks it needs more milk, so it's really your preference.

Next up, an evening trying out the pizza's.  I love the ones next door and they have a wood-burning oven here too.  A co-worker was a bit disappointed by the pizza's initially as they were undercooked in the middle, but that was a few weeks into their opening, so hopefully they've figured this out.

Drop by and hang out with all the hipster parents and their pets for a quick, Italian style breakfast.  Makes me think of running into a cafe in the other Venice, Italy that is, to get a cappuccino in the early morning.

Gjelina Take Away (GTA)
1429 Abbot Kinney
Venice Beach, CA 90291


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