Thursday, June 29, 2006

Travelin' Mojo

Along the roads traveled I've accumulated my own crop of Mojo.
Beginning with Africa in 1991. The beaded bracelets are from a Maasai village in Kenya. When we first entered the village I felt uncomfortable, like I was intruding. But the people were welcoming and seemed very interested in our little group of 4. There was a young girl that looked to be in her teens and she was watching me shyly as I skirted the perimeter of the blankets laid out in a circle on the ground, displaying their beadwork. There was a light in her eyes and they followed me as I made my way around the circle to her blanket, brimming with beaded bracelets. And she smiled and said "caribou" (welcome). And I bought so many, some given to freinds, but many more lie in my jewelry cabinet until I can take them out and hit the road again.

And there is the other half of the pair of beaded leather wristbands bought for my new husband and I from a shop in the Kenya airport. I told the lady at the counter that is was my honeymoon and she wished me happiness and a good life.

There also on my wrist is a piece that my husband bought for me on my birthday on a lovely day at the Ashes and Snow exhibit in Santa Monica, CA.
The globe is taking it's first trip. Except for the journey from my Brother and Lynda's house in Reno (Sun Valley) to my mailbox last Christmas. It will hang off my pack strap on the roads ahead.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Garden in June

Watering the garden this late Saturday morning. The cats are all outside rolling in the dirt or off somewhere playing poker and drinking beer. Shadow is curled up under the palm tree. All the fans are on circulating the air as the summer breeze blows in through the open doors and windows. I’ll have to batten down soon. Before it gets too hot. There’s a lazy summer day on the horizon, out there in the heat waves. It sure would be a good day for some Foster’s Freeze ice cream.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mangos and Magnolias

I am totally in love with Mangos right now. Look at how beautiful they are. I buy them by the crate from the street-corner vendor, and with our mango splitter they are a joy. Lovin' the mangos. I'm gunna Google me a recipe for Mango Salsa right now.

And before we went for our walk this morning, which led us to the Back Door Cafe for a mid-morning breakfast and iced coffee, I walked out to get a view of the commotion the hawk was casuing up in the palm tree
when I spied this beauty.

Burgers on the Grill

They say the secret to grilling burgers is to resist the urge to press them, 'cause you just press all the juiciness out of them, and to let them adequately sear on one side (at least 4 minutes) before you turn them, and then turn them only once. I mixed the lean ground beef with minced onion and garlic and a generous dollop of PickaPeppa Sauce. Accompanied by the usual condiments; dill pickle, thick slices of tomato, sliced onion, romaine lettuce leaves, catsup, mayo and mustard. So, with a split ear of corn on the grill with the buns and burgers, Will resisted the urge to press on them and flip them over again once already flipped, and by jimmeny the results were two perfectly seared, juicy and whole burgers.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Divine Dinner to Cap a Divine Year

For our Paper Anniversary yesterday we celebrated with a return to Edendale Grill for dinner. We began the especially warm evening with a couple of tall Mojitos at the bar then were guided to a table for two on the patio. Our waiter was a very pleasant and on the ball young man who made good recommendations throughout our meal, starting with a Pinot Grigio that was simply perfect.
Since reading last week'’s Food section in the Times all about Crab Cakes, I had a longing for the tasty bundles so there was no other choice of a starter for me, and they came three with a delicious Aioli dipping sauce. Will ordered the Fried Calamari drizzled in a smoky hollandaise-y type sauce and they were both divine.
Next I chose the Goat Cheese and Arugula salad with Hazelnuts, while Will'’s selection of the Fried Green Tomato Salad received a "good choice"” nod from our affable waiter. My salad was certainly yummy, but man those fried green tomatoes were incredible.
For our main dish I had the Seared Tuna with Cherry Tomatoes, Asparagus, Kalamata Olives and Pancetta, and Will ordered the Steak Medallion with Spinach atop a pillow of Gratin Potatoes.
We capped our night with a shared Molten Chocolate desert and coffee.

When I think about the first year with my husband I realize we've done so much. I love my husband so much. I feel incredibly lucky to have met him and to love him. He gets me, and he loves my quirks, as I love his. He is aware of me and he understands my needs. We share so much, as well as a respect for each other's individual space.
We have rediscovered the joys of the seasons; picking out a Christmas tree, Hydrangeas and Magnolias in bloom, the drippy goodness of a Foster's ice cream cone dipped in chocolate, carving pumpkins. He shares my love of animals as well as the undeniable beauty of nature. He has awaken in me the memory of how wonderful it feels to sleep under the stars and to smell the pines. He shares my adventurous spirit and passion for travel. From our journey to the forests of Africa in search of Mountain Gorillas, to the local hikes in our own majestic mountains, we've come home exhausted and happy from adventures near and far.

And I look forward to so many more.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Enchanted Evening

After Cole's my husband and I packed up some seat cushions, a blanky, and some vittles and headed into the canyon to the Theatricum Botanicum. Tonight's opening production was a racous rendition of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Sitting at a table for two under a canopy of trees, the sound of happily croaking frogs bouncing up from the creek, we drank our wine and nibbled on chicken salad and cherries and watched the people stream in. Sufficiently sated and with a little bit of a wine buzz we took our seats inside, and so began an enchanting evening.
The dramatis personae of the Theatricum Botanicum were truly dazzling and the surroundings became even more captivating as the sun settled and the full moon shed it’s light upon the forest. Simply wonderful!

Cole's P. E. Buffet

We'd been talking about Cole's for some time. Neither Will, a born and raised in L. A. kid, or his Mom, who emigrated here from the south in the movie picture business' heyday, had ever been to Cole's. It was even mentioned as a Mother's Day destination this year (last year we went to Philippe's to which we've all been many times over the years). So we took advantage of Mike's invite to meet at Cole's on Saturday for his 100th restaurant review, and asked Will's Mom, Casey, to come along. We ended up in a $10 parking lot (outrageous) and walked the few blocks to Cole's, passing storefronts spilling whatever Pink Panther velour blankets or sequin embellished hand bags they were hawking out of their shops onto the already crowded sidewalks of Los Angeles Street.
I had the Roast Beef Sandwich Plate with a side of Country Potatoes and Macaroni & Cheese. I had already eaten almost everything on my plate before I realized that I hadn't taken a photo. And although Will said his Corned Beef was tough and fatty, my Roast Beef was juicy and tender and the au jus very flavorful.
Mike and Maria were there with the adorable blogger baby, Evan, as well as Pat from, Eric from Bloggingdowntown, and Celia from 5th and Spring among others. And apparently the talk is true that the owners have sold the establishment and what lies ahead for Cole's is going to be interesting to see. I'm glad I got to experience the "before". It's so full of history and authentic pieces, but also a little rough around the edges from neglect.
I didn't realize that Cole's is sub street level which creates a cave like atmosphere that is usually a must for all qualifying dive bars, especially in the back room where there is no natural light coming in. The business at the bar was certainly picking up as we lingered in the dark back room, beyond which is the Game Room. The tables crafted from old signage and the tiffany glass fixtures are surely authentic. I found it's neglected nooks and dark corners enticing and comfortable,rough edges and all.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Suddenly Summer

With temps in the high 80s Foster's seemed like just the ticket to beat back this heat. We hit the derelict stand on Fletcher in Atwater in the heat of the day and ordered us a couple of chocolate dipped cones.

The trip to Foster's reminds me of childhood summer's. I can remember the hot smell of summer concrete sidewalks and the shade of the awning jutting from the side of the joint. Inside the fans are whirring loudly and the grill is hissing. Out of the square of sliding glass I am handed my ice cream cone. Already streaming with chocolate drips.
With cones in hand we sit on the old school bench slurping and dripping all over the place. Will's woebegone face is due to the fact that what was once a piled high swirl of vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate is no more than a fraction left in his mitt. We'll be going back again, baybee.

Summer is here!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Road Trip Ahead

This morning I woke up thinking about organizing the road trip materials. Making sure that I have all of the accommodations in order. We leave in about 4 weeks and if there are any adjustments that need to be made now'’s the time to do them. We'’re covering 8 states, 4 national parks, numerous scenic byways, with motels, hotels and lodges all along the way. Then I took a look at last weekend'’s photos again and thought about what a wonderfully simple excursion that was. We pulled up to the Charcoal Kilns at about 3:00. They are a wonder in symmetry and I find them very beautiful in their uniformity and beehive shapes, all 10 in a gently curving row.

We push on up the dirt road towards Mahogany Flats campground, and although 4x4 high clearance vehicles were recommended, it wasn'’t that difficult of a road. It'’s somewhat steep and a little wash boardy in a couple of spots, but doable with ease.
The campsite pickins were slim and we had to improvise a spot. Once selected we began popping open the tents and pulling out the box of wine and throwing steaks on the camp stove. At 8,133 feet once the sun slipped behind the mountain and the wind picked up it got really chilly and we continued putting on layers until we were covered sufficiently enough to keep the wind from piercing through us. Beanies pulled down over our ears we ate our steaks and beans and then found some straight sticks, poked a marshmallow on the end of it and roasted it over the camp fire. Heaven.