Friday, February 23, 2018

What's Online May Not Come To Your Plate

Yesterday was our dear friend "D"s birthday.  He's finally legal, none of these embarrassing situations where he gets carded at the bar and we sit there ignored.  Stings a bit.

The Birthday Person gets to choose the dining venture and we then sally forth.  "D"s choice was Abigaile's, Hermosa Beach.  Once that decision had been announced, I pulled up their menu.  I don't like surprises at the dinner table.  I want a little anticipation time to mentally drool over whatever I picked out on that menu.

Ah hah!  Seared Scallops with Peach Salsa Verde, Curry, Carrot-Ginger Puree, Linguini and Cilantro
My taste buds shifted their weight in anticipation.

A With-Our-Drinks item appealed and that is their Brazilian version of a cheese puff.  It's listed as Pao de Queijo and I had to point at it - whereupon our lovely server trilled something that sounded like "pow d' kaycho."  

The four of us (Mouton rounded out our party) agreed they would be acceptable with our opening gun drinks - two dirty gin martinis, one gin and tonic, one glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The were a golden brown sphere, bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball.  Crusty exterior and unlike gougiers they had not dried out in the oven to make a hollow shell ready for filling.  Theirs was more of a very chewy, dense sensation.

The menu says spiced honey and butter, but it was spiced butter (something kind of allspice-y or nutmeg-y?) and plain honey.  Any road, they met in our tummies, so (shrug.)

Then having polished those off in fine style (and our drinks) it was time to order.  The scallops I was looking forward to now came with tomato salsa.  Gone were the goodies - peach, curry, ginger, cilantro ...

I mentioned gently my disappointment to our server and remarked that it would be good if their online menu and in-house menus matched.  She agreed energetically remarking that she'd volunteered to do it because, out on the floor, talking to disappointed customers was sometimes difficult(possibly due to the number of pre-dinner drinks consumed by that customer.) 

Instead, I had the P.I.G. Pop Tarts for the novelty of the thing which did look like a PopTart (the eating kind, not Brittany Spears) and were unremarkable in every way.  Pork pot pie perhaps.  But the pastry shell was well done.  (If you can't say anything nice ...)

The Brazilian puffs intrigued me and sure enough I found numerous recipes online along with an incidental hit on what Peach Salsa Verde could be - tomatillos.

Call what you will -
PAO de QUIEJO  (Kachow Puffs?)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil which I consider a vegetable)
2 large eggs
2 cups tapioca flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups Parmesan

Pre-heat the oven at 450
Boil the milk and vegetable oil together until it makes big bubbles.  Certainly subjective and not very helpful ...
Add flour and beat the eggs in, one by one.  Beat in the cheese.  When the mixture is cool enough not to burn your hands, shape into spheres and put on a parchment or SilPat covered baking sheet, turn the oven down to 350 and bake for 15 minutes.  About halfway through turn the front of the cookie sheet to the back.   Bake until they are a lovely golden brown.

Serve with honey on the side and whatever kind of jazzed-up butter you decided upon. Good eating or whatever the expression is in Brazil.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

G'Day, Mate - In Hermosa Beach???

We have passed The Gum Tree, 238 Pier Avenue, Hermos Beach  many times, but never explored it.  Even from street side it looked ... a little twee, if you will.

And then we got sandbagged into lunch there.  Of the eight of us from French class attending, six were all for it.  I clipped my mouth shut and smiled nicely as we got a big table on the patio out front.  The wind was coming in from the sea and menus and napkins had to be weighted down.  I might mention in passing that it was a strong wind.

Just as I thought.  The menu was heavy on "health foods."  Kale Caesar salad.  Quinoa this; vegetarian/vegan that.  One sandwich had a British touch - aged cheddar, Vegemite and tomato.  An attempt had been made to serve French foods such as a chunk of baguette with Brie and apricot jam.  Croissant sandwiches.  The only thing that appealed to me (or was recognizable as something worth eating) was a BLT with chipotle oil and an optional avocado (+ $1)

Richie had prosciutto on a baguette and remarked it was the only time he ate a sandwich and flossed his teeth at the same time.  My BLT - hold the lettuce, use avocado instead - was quite tasty except that the bacon was semi-toasted, not fried and crisp - and had what must have been a half handful of salt.  Salting bacon does not seem healthy to me.  And not crisping it is just begging for a bad cholesterol score that would appall Fatty Arbuckle.

The prices were reasonable (I seem to remember that a lot of presentations were $12 and they all came with an additional disco lettuce salad or a generous serving of chunked mango, white and purple grapes, apple chunks and some blue berries.

The name "gum tree" seemed ... off to me.  I visualized a tall tree with blobs of chewed bright pink Double Bubble gum for flowers.  Come to find out (this morning) the gum tree comes from Australia where the tallest one is 327 feet.  We call gum trees "eucalyptus."

Will and Lori Ford are the proprietors.  He is a native of Australia; she's from Manhattan Beach.

They met in New York when he stopped off to see his brother and wife there on his way to India.  He never got there; he liked NY too well.  She was pursuing a design career there.  They opened a restaurant called Eight Mile Creek which was an instant success.  But when the children started coming, they wanted to return to beach country.

A friend told them that a 1911 beach bungalow was for sale on the main drag and viola!  The Gun Tree which also sells cute stuff and odds and ends.  One of the items is a slate with a raffia ribbon for a cheese board.  Ralph's (supermarket) has them and if I were in the market for a cheese board, I'd price shop.

I would go back with these stipulations ... bacon well-done and no salt on it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Good News! (For Me)

Yesterday I had an appt. with the neuro who sent me for an MRI of my brain to hear the results.  He was barely into the exam room when he said, "Your brain is fine!"  He went on to say that he hadn't expected anything and I concurred with that.

However I forgot to ask and he didn't bring it up, but I am still wondering about whether or not my brain is nicely wrinkled up (said to indicate great intelligence) or as slick as a cue ball.  Despite being the host of this brain, apparently it would be wiser to just leave the whole subject alone.  So be it.

But:  of possible interest to you.  If you suffer leg cramps in your sleep from time to time, the neuro recommended a small glass of DIET tonic water per day.  He said that quinine was an old remedy and some 10 years ago its use for leg cramps was banned, but then the matter got researched thoroughly and now diet tonic is recommended.    Diet tonic has more quinine than non-diet.  And, I would add, fewer calories.

Especially if you add a hefty slug of gin to your drink.  He also recommended a wedge of lime in the naked tonic.  Vitamin C and quinine!  Here's lookin' at'chew good health!   Pass me the gin!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Anderson Cooper's Mommie Is 94 Today

Mommie being the redoubtable Gloria Vanderbilt whose fame started early with a custody case between her mother and her aunt that was headline news.

Her much publicized credits include writer, painter, dress designer and stage appearances.  Let us explore these various occupations in order of their appearance ...

1948 - She began exhibiting her paintings which I would call half Pointillist and half high school art class.

1954 - She starred in a summer theatre number called "The Swan."  Guess who was the swan?

1955 - Wrote a book of poetry cleverly entitled "Love Poems."

1976 - the Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.  The back pocket trim widened a size 0 ass.  Imagine a 10 or 12.

1988 - Son Carter, somewhat disturbed, took a flyer off the 14th floor of their mansion.  She saw him do it which in fairness would be enough to put anyone in a quiet place for a very long time.

1995 - Sold her seven-bedroom Southampton estate and the five story Manhattan townhouse to pay back taxes.

1996 - by then she was ready to capitalize on Carter's death and wrote "A Mother's Story."

2002 - sells her clothing empire for $138 million.

2004 - writes a "romance memoir"

2007 - one-woman show of her paintings in a Vermont gallery.  No offense, Manchester, but you are not the Metropolitan Museum.

2009 - at age 85 she wrote "Obsession:  an Erotic Tale" (porn?  age 85?  Go, Gloria!)

2012 - "The World of Gloria Vanderbilt" which featured dream boxes, collages ... basically cut and paste jobs.  

If nothing else (insert meow here) she deserves credit for at least trying to do something instead of sitting on her fanny counting her money.  On the other hand, it is rather sad that she sold crap on the basis of the Vanderbilt name pretty much alone.

Anyhow, happy birthday!  Maybe a Gloria V candles line?  100 to a box, sold in pink only? 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Where, Where Shall I Spend It?

Occasionally I remember to check the numbers on my book "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth."  Today was one of them.

I now have $19.20 in royalties.

If I chipped in 80 cents, I would have a whole $20.  Which would buy:

a large Valentino's plain cheese pizza and tip.

A round of Stella's at Suzy's Bar and Grill - of note - Sunday afternoons are blues and jazz except for the first Sunday of the month when Gospel is featured.

Five bouquets of flowers at the Redondo or Hermosa Beach Farmer's Markets

A box of See's Sampler chocolates except I wouldn't - it's mostly walnut cream with dark and milk chocolate.  Since it's one-third those chocolates, it's not fair to have named them "sample."  Get even with your billfold and don't buy them.

This is a paltry sample indeed.  Four things?  But then again, $19.20 is a paltry amount of money.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Toughest Guy In Virginia?

He survived WW2 AND the Korean War.
Served as Secretary of the navy from 1972 to 1974
Was a Senator, R, from 1979 to 2009.

So much for war stories.

He was clever enough to marry Catherine Mellon, daughter of famed (and insanely rich) art collector Paul Mellon with whom he had three kids.  Even if he doesn't inherit, the kids are taken care of for the foreseeable future.

He married Jeanne Varder in 2003 and she is his current spouse.  She is a widowed real estate agent.

But this  is where greatness comes in - he was married to Elzabeth Taylor from 1976 to 1982 and was her sixth husband.  This was the period in her life when she fattened up like a shoat and was rarely seen on the political hustings with him without a fried chicken leg in one hand and a drink (alcoholic) in the other.  I don't remember a lot of stories about her generosity to others; conversely I do remember the Burton jewelry, chartered planes to bring her Chasen's chili wherever she happened to be in the world... what would be known in farming circles as "a hard keeper."  But ... look who is 91 and who isn't...

                                          HAPPY 91st BIRTHDAY JOHN WARNER!
                                             February 18, 1927 - February 18, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Collateral Damage or Uber Takes a Hit

I thought it was unfortunate that many of the accounts of the Florida shooter mentioned - in passing, true - that the killer had been driven to the high school via Uber.  This is about the worst kind of PR Uber could get despite what the Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said, and this is a direct quote:  "At this point the driver is not complicit in any way, shape or form.  The driver just simply picked up a fare and dropped a fare at Stoneman Douglas."

This is not the first time though that Uber has been cited because the driver DID do something bad.  There is an interesting site that lists offenses by Uber and Flyte.

Another source reminded us all that crimes against the person in an Uber or a Flyte or a YellowCab are not listed on the police incident report by specific car firm, but by location - "Corner of 180th and Fitzgerald Street" instead.

The next thing to probably emerge will be a report from Uber  to the police of just how many rides were taken, to destinations and how often this criminally insane person used Uber.  Credit card statements will tell the tale.

But poor Uber.  Birds of a feather do NOT nest together.