Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hollywood Trip - Part II

I originally wanted to begin the day early with a trip to Hollywood Forever Cemetery but it was a bit too late for that by the time Ben returned from surfing Topanga. I’ll have to make sure to go on the next trip.

We took the Metro to Hollywood Boulevard to have lunch at Miceli's. I cannot believe we have not gone here sooner! It was amazing! The sign boasts it is the oldest Italian restaurant in Hollywood, opened in 1949. We each ordered one of the lunch specials for only $10. I was already in awe of our surroundings when an older gentlemen came up to us and said he would be playing some piano music for us while we dine. I just about died! We were the only customers in there for a bit since we showed up not long after they opened for lunch so it was more of a private concert for at least a little while. We loved every inch of this place and highly recommend it!


I don't think there was a moment during lunch
I did not have a smile on my face...

After our fabulous lunch we continued the tradition of an early cocktail at the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, Musso and Frank Grill, made by our favorite bartender Manny Aguirre! If you are ever in the neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon, definitely stop in to see Manny at the bar. The best bit this time around was that he shared his scrapbook with us! Years ago he showed me some photos and articles but this had way more. Bartending in Hollywood since 1958, he has met so many celebrities. Some of the highlights of his scrapbook: a newspaper clipping of him in 1958 behind the bar at what was then the Mardi Gras and then there was a photo of him and guess who…Huell Howser! I wish I could have taken a photo of it but I felt it was his personal scrapbook and did not feel comfortable. So exciting to see yet another reminder of Huell on our trip. He also told us another story about when Drew Barrymore was in there as well as a film shot there recently with Jerry Lewis. Manny even showed us the photo on his camera of he and Jerry Lewis. I cannot express how much I love this place and all of the history that goes with it. And there is a lot of history since it opened in 1919 (same year as Tosca in San Francisco I believe).


Raymond Chandler has sat at this bar!

Manny took this photo of us

Even the bathrooms rule...

Boardners was closed but I'll have to check it out one of these days. 
A scene from L.A. Confidential was filmed there.

Need to check out the Egyptian theater sometime as well...

This place is starting to get a bit tacky on the
inside with all the TVs and everything...

After Musso and Frank’s I got sidetracked with a bit of shopping before we took the Metro back to our neck of the woods as we planned on revisiting Tiki Ti before finally going for the first time to El Cid. Finally some people ordered the Blood and Sand at Tiki Ti so I got to see the miniature mechanical bull go ‘round the bar. That never gets old! So darn cute!

Round two at the Ti!

Ray's good!

On the way to El Cid...

We have attempted in the past to check out El Cid but it was closed when we stopped by before. This time was a success! We did not make reservations for the famous flamenco show but rather had tapas and cocktails on the patio. We really enjoyed this place! It is beautiful! And even though we were not going to see the flamenco performance, we got to experience one of the guitarists warming up near the restrooms. I am in love with this place! Definitely going to make show reservations the next time we head down south.

Sangria & tapas...

My little friend on the stairs...

Sadly we had to head home Sunday. But before we left, we had brunch at the Cat and Fiddle on Sunset. We first went here years ago and I will admit, it was because I heard Morrissey would go here when he lived in the area (yes, I am obsessed). Brunch was lovely on the patio but made it that much more difficult to face the fact we would soon be sitting in the car heading down boring I-5. The Cat and Fiddle is in a beautiful building, bulit in 1929. Scenes from Casablanca were actually filmed in one of the rooms of the pub. Not totally sure though which one. Anyway, it was a fitting end to our trip.

Now on to our next adventure, Viva Las Vegas in 4 weeks!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hollywood Trip - Part I

We make a trip down to Hollywood at least once a year and just went over the holiday weekend. Stayed at our usual Travelodge on North Vermont in the Los Feliz area since most importantly from there we can walk to Tiki Ti. Rather than take our time down 101 with surf breaks along the way we raced down I-5 to save time. About 5 hours, not too bad. Makes me realize we should make this trip more than once a year! The weather was 78 degrees and sunny. We felt so spoiled and lucky to live in California!

First stop on Friday afternoon, Machos Tacos so we could get some food in us before heading to Tiki Ti. This place is so convenient and has saved us on a number of occasions. Apparently we had just missed some guy on PCP getting arrested out front. Never a dull moment! We enjoyed our lunch on the little patio and were ready to go!

On to Tiki Ti, finally! It had only been 8 months since our last visit but had felt like an eternity. I had a Rum, Gum & Lime followed by a Sumatra Kula while Ben had a Navy Grog followed by a “151” Rum Swizzle. As if it couldn’t get any better being at the Ti, they had the card that Huell Howser had written on up behind the bar on the cash register in a prominent spot. Cards with the names of long time regulars are all over the bar and I am sure after his death they wanted to make sure nothing happened to his. The bartender was nice enough to take a photo of it for me. We toasted to Huell and left after our second drink. From past experience we learned that we can do no more than 2 drinks there since they are so strong!
Almost there!


One of the old menus...

R.I.P. Huell Howser

Before our next destination I happened upon a vintage shop that I had never been to for some tiki drink fueled shopping, Replay Vintage. Thankfully I only found one item I had to have, this great purse with a beaded peacock on it! I spoke to the guy and he said they would be vending at Viva and have done so in the past so I am sure I’ve checked out their offerings before. Definitely worth a look.

Next was another of our usual stops, The Dresden. We had some drinks and appetizers but unfortunately only stayed for a song or two from Marty and Elayne. It was just getting too crowded for us. More than usual probably since it was a holiday weekend.

Last stop of day one before turning in for the night was the Good Luck bar. Felt like it was meant to be as there were two stools at the bar waiting for us when we walked in. I had one of their specialty items from the menu. We usually end up here some point along the way. I love the décor. My only issue is that it is so dimly lit, I get oh so sleepy when I am there. I am one of those people that if it is dark, no matter the time, I will fall asleep.

Great looking barber shop we always pass by...

Framed mug shots of the barbers
are on display in the front window...

Enough of our first day…I’ll be following this up with another post about the remainder of our little trip.

Our Hollywood home away from home...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Turntable Matinee at Forbidden Island - This Sunday!

Well, since Morrissey just cancelled his Sunday gig in the city at Davies Symphony Hall for a second time (get well Moz!), I think I'll try and make it to this instead.  Maybe even use my ticket refund money for some new vinyl.

Records and tiki should cheer me right up!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Big Sandy & Deke Dickerson - Tomorrow @ the Elbo Room!

Tomorrow night we’ll be hitting up the Elbo Room for the first time in ages to see Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys as well as Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics. Very much looking forward to this. It will be like the old days of Speedy’s Wig City! Hope to see some familiar faces…

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Icebox Cake & Homemade Thin Mints

As just about anyone who knows me is aware, I do not cook so of course any time I make anything at all, no matter how easy, I am very proud of myself! I recently made two easy, no bake deserts and thought I’d share the simple recipes. 

Holding my Icebox Cake, beaming with pride!

I have made Icebox Cake before but it had been quite a while. It was my Great Grandmother’s signature dessert though I am sure she stole it from someone else back in the 40s. When searching the internet I see there are many varieties of Icebox Cake but I’ll stick to what I know when I make it again since it is just so darn good! This time making it was extra special as it was the first time I used my new to me, chrome Sunbeam Mixmaster that belonged to my friend’s grandmother who just passed away. Worked like a charm and my friend was very happy that I put it to good use!

The Homemade Thin Mint recipe I found in the last issue of Bust magazine that I bought. They reprinted it from Averie Cooks. So easy and so tasty! Who would have thought to use Ritz crackers! The people who I fed them to could not believe it.

So here are the recipes if anyone is interested...

Icebox Cake

 - 2 squares unsweetened bakers chocolate
 - 1 cube sweet unsalted butter
 - 3/4 cup powdered sugar
 - 4 eggs
 - 1 Tsp vanilla
 - Lady Fingers (I ended up using two packages)
 - 1 container cool whip

What to do with those ingredients:
 - Melt the squares of chocolate and let cool.
 - Cream soft butter and add melted chocolate.
 - Using a mixer, gradually add powdered sugar.
 - Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well each time.
 - Add vanilla, finish beating.
 - Line round cake pan with lady fingers standing on edge.
 - Fill in the bottom of the pan with pieces of lady fingers to cover completely.
 - Pour in chocolate mixture. Refrigerate overnight(or for a few hours), top with cool whip.

Homemade Thin Mints

 - 18 Ritz Crackers
 - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (to do these vegan, use Trader Joes chips)
 - 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
 - 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

What to do with those ingredients: 

 - Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.

 - In a shallow microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and shortening and heat for 1 minute on high power to melt. Stir and heat in 10 to 15 second bursts until chocolate can be stirred very smooth.

 - Add peppermint extract to the melted chocolate and stir. You can start with just ½ teaspoon of the extract and taste the chocolate first to see if that is already enough mint. I used the full ¾ teaspoon. Just be very careful not to get too much in your chocolate since the extract is extremely potent and too much can make your cookies taste like mouthwash.

 - Add 1 cracker to the chocolate and coat it. I used the suggestion from Bust magazine to use two forks so you can easily flip the cracker over to thoroughly coat both sides. Remove it by lightly scooping it up from the underside with a fork, allowing excess chocolate to drain off through fork tines. Place cracker on parchment and repeat with all remaining crackers.

 - If necessary, re-heat the chocolate in 10 to 15 second bursts if it starts getting too firm.

 - After all crackers have been dipped, place baking sheet in refrigerator.

 - Store extra Thin Mints in an airtight container in the refrigerator for many weeks. In the freezer, it is estimated that these could be kept for 3 to 6 months. These were so good though that they would never last that long in my house!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sailing in the San Francisco Bay

A couple of our friends own a boat that is docked here in town and I was lucky enough to get to go sailing with them recently. Unfortunately my other half could not go this time. So sad he missed out as it was a blast! Getting to sail around the bay and see so much from that point of view was amazing! We got to go under the Bay Bridge and see the new construction and we sailed right by Alcatraz. This is actually the closest I have ever been to Alcatraz. You know how it goes when you grow up in an area and take those things for granted. It was such a beautiful, clear day as well and not nearly as cold as I thought it would be. We were out there for hours and the time just flew by. Can’t wait for the next time!

Captain Jon & Gray

Puttering along through the estuary before we got to the bay...

The boat on the right is called the the Millenium Falcon!

Those famous cranes...

Bay Bridge - old and new

Under the new span of the bridge

Amy, Rick, and Zach

Amy and I after much wine-spo-dee-o-dee...

Recent damage caused by a cargo ship being repaired

This one just cracks me up!

I sure do love where we live!