Thursday, August 17, 2017

Besides its wonderful location there is much to like about Parkers' Lighthouse  . Its ambiance, besides its scenic location, offers a sense of Long Beach history with its many historic photographs that grace the walls of the dining room. Actually there are two distinct dining rooms with the Queens Room on the third level offering a decor and ambiance all its own.
We met with David Maskello, general manager,  who told us about the new executive chef Austin Harrel.  We opened wit a seafood platter that included calamari, fried shrimp, crab cake, lobster wraps of tortilla and guacamole. The crab cake was memorable, full of crab meat and no fillers, the calamari with a distinctive dipping sauce. Next we had a cup of clam chowder accompanied with a house baked cracker, the chowder thick with minced clams.
We then shared an entree of barbecued shrimp on sticks which came with asparagus in a buttery sauce.
Parkers' has received national recognition for its wine list with hundred of labels and a two story climate controlled wine room that graces the center of the restaurant.
We love looking at old photographs and so left our table to admire the many photographs of Long Beach's earlier times that surround the lower dining room. There are photos of The Pike, the seaside amusement park that achieved fame with World War ll sailors, bathing beauties of earlier eras, and much more.
Considering what the Lighthouse shows both in ambiance and cuisine and the quality of the wines we thought prices modest and Parkers' offering true value.
Parkers' Lighthouse is located at 435 Shoreline Village Drive #1, Long Beach, Telephone 562 432-6500, web www.parkerslighthouse.com. Open daily from 11 a.m.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sadly the number of Southern California restaurants featuring French cuisine has declined in recent years.  Younger people including millennials are more inclined to more casual dining and such things as pokies.
Fortunately those of us that  pine for French classics like "Cuisses de Grenouille", Frog Legs Provencale still have Taix Restaurant in Los Angeles.
As part of the 90th anniversary celebration at Taix French Restaurant Frog Legs Provencale are once again on the menu.  Owner Michael Taix announced that the popular menu item was back after being absent because of a shortage of smaller size legs.
Frog legs or "Cuisses de Grenouille" are a dish that originated and is traditional in the Dombes region of Southeastern France.  The Taix family was originally from the Hautes-Alpes in Southeastern France before moving to Los Angeles about 1870.
With   the Chef's Frog Legs Provencale back on the menu it did not take us long to decide on a return visit to Taix to dine on this savory French country dish once again. 
When our order arrived the plate was heaped with a large collection of delicate and tender small legs in a fantastic sauce. 
The sauce was a mix of herbs with a buttery texture and an aromatic white wine base.  Our Waiter, Joel Pena, saw to all our needs and especially the warm French bread which was just what was needed for dipping into that wonderful sauce.  Like many of the staff at Taix Joel Pena has enjoyed a long career at the restaurant, actually thirty four years.
At present Frog Legs Provencale are only featured on the dinner menu at Taix.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Our attendance at the opening of the new Whole Foods 365 Market in Santa Monica was a look into the future of grocery retail.  Besides the traditional sections for produce, meat and seafood, frozen and grocery there was a whole section devoted to fresh eats.  And tucked into two corners of the new facility was Asian Box  Street Food as well as a fountain style  shop featuring Groundwork coffees.
What truly caught our eye was the Delectable Kiosk located in the wine section.  The Kiosk takes all the guess work out of selecting a bottle of wine.  This allows the customer to search all in-store wines based on price, grape type, region of origin and more. 
Scanning a wine bottle instantly brings up reviews about the wine from other consumers.  It is now to be found in all the present and future 365 by Wold Foods Market stores.
For smart phone users there is the Delectable app. allowing the scanning of the wine label to share a review and see other tasting notes.  Already the Delectable has a strong following with Millennials.
The touchscreen kiosks are powered by Antonio Galloni's Vinous wine platform which already has enjoyed large success.
We met with James Forsyth, co-founder and executive vice president, who personally demonstrated the Kiosk to us
The opening for the media included tastings throughout the store  followed by  opportunity to sample the Asian street food of the adjourning Asian Box with its extensive patio.
The new Whole Foods 365 Market is located at 2121 Cloverfield Blvd. at Pico  in Santa Monica.

Friday, August 4, 2017

We had several good reasons for visiting the Getty Villa yesterday.  One, it is located adjacent to the beach just of Pacific Coast Highway and therefore at least 20 degrees cooler than where we live in the Valley.
Two, it is a museum filled with art, artifacts and cultures of  the Ancient Mediterranean World,  Three,  its gardens are extensive and perfect for leisurely strolling through them on a mild sunny day.  These gardens include a replica of an ancient fountain discovered in Pompeii as well as the Herb Garden planted with  hundreds of species from the Mediterranean.
The parking fee is the only one you pay here.  Entrance is free when you reserve an entrance ticket days in advance and set both date and time of your expected arrival.    Once parked you follow a  garden path surrounded by luxurious foliage.   Now you move back two thousand years to the grounds of a Roman country house named Villa dei Papiri and then to the building itself.  All of this thanks to the vision of one man, J. Paul Getty,  whose love of the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean world produced it.
Actually here the museum shows the art and culture of not only Romans but also the  Greek civilization that preceded it as well as that of the Etruscans who also occupied the European peninsulas now called Italy.
We started at the Museum theater where a film tells the story on how J. Paul Getty  acquired his fortune and how he devoted much of his later years to the collecting and preserving as much of the art and artifact of the ancient world as possible.  Also on how he directed the planning, architecture and construction of what is now Villa dei Papiri, this by consulting maps  and remains excavated  in the 19 century.  The original Roman country house  was buried by the eruption of  Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Adding much to our day was our dining experience at The Cafe at the Getty Villa.  The menu is Mediterranean and Italian with items like Greek Chicken Wrap or the Pepperoni and Sweet Italian Sausage Pizza which was our choice. The menu also offers antipasti for starters and sides like house made meat balls or Pita bread.   Our lunch was pure enjoyment as we sat outdoors overlooking the Villa and its gardens.  The Getty Villa is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesdays.  For information call 310 440-7300, on the web www.getty.edu.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The opportunity to see and experience the changes that have been made at 800 Degrees in Hollywood proved an exciting occasion.. 
It was in 2012 that 800 Degrees first appeared in Los Angeles  created by Chef Anthony Carron to present authentic Neapolitan style pizza. 
Now Chef Carron and CEO Tommy Lee were presenting a completely new decor and ambiance to 800 Degrees  located on Vine Street in the heart of Hollywood plus additions to the menu.  Noting that pizza and Rotisserie chicken had close ties in Naples, Italy Chef Carron has added the chicken to the menu.
So it was that at the occasion  that displayed this new 800 Degrees look and menu we had set before us a plate of  half Rotisserie chicken accompanied by Rotisserie roasted fingerling potatoes and the choice of six different sauces.
This after refreshments that included new wines and brews as well as cocktails from a bar that is also now part of the 800 Degrees scene.  The remake shows with new chairs and tables inside as well as an expanded outdoor patio that includes the new bar.
The addition of the Rotisserie chicken shows with new toppings for some of the pizzas as well as interesting new salads.
The sauces for the chicken include a middle eastern Tahini sauce, a spicy tomato sauce  and our favorite, the Piri Piri sauce.  The chicken can be ordered as quarter, half or whole, all with sides and sauces.
800 Degrees Hollywood is located at 1521 Vine Street in Hollywood.   Telephone 323 329-9656, on the web at www.800degreespizza.com.

Friday, July 28, 2017

We thought Malibu Burger Co. was a good fit for a beachside community.   It is the creation of a local who has lived in Malibu his whole life.  His name, Cisco Adler, and he called on another local citizen, Matt Winter, to come up with the casual design and ambiance of the restaurant.
Under the direction of Chef Aaron May the menu is strictly burgers that can be mixed with a variety of additional condiments.  There are also bun less burger bowls and quinoa burgers.
Beverages includes some local beers and wines.
The burgers are designed to be a meal and include one with fresh fish,  the type  changing each week.  It was salmon when we were there but the week before seabass and the week following halibut.
We  had the cheese burger which was huge and yes truly a meal.  We did add some most tasty french fries.
We chatted with Chef May who has enjoyed a long career in culinary and in many parts of the country.
We liked the ambiance of Malibu Burger which has wide windows which look out on the scenic creek front of Malibu Village.
The Village includes many types of businesses and Malibu Burger is just the newest.  It is located at 3822 Cross Creek road in Malibu.
Hours for Malibu Burger are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, 10 p.m. on weekends.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Our recent visit showed that Antonello Rerstorante in Santa Ana continues its reign as the best Italian restaurant in Orange County.
Since opening in 1979 this restaurant has consistently earned top awards from the Southern California Restaurant Writers. 
Owner Antonio Cagnolo has always moved forward both in the decor and ambiance of the restaurant but also in its Italian cuisine.
Latest example is the skirt steak which we enjoyed on our visit.  The beef is rolled and then sliced with table service.  This has been added to the menu that already is three pages long.  The traditional northern Italian dishes are to be found here but also specialties by Chefs Gino Buonanoce and Salvatore Ferrara.
We opened with Mamma Pina, miniature ravioli with Bolognese sauce followed by our wonderful flavored skirt steak that came with asparagus and baby whole carrots.
The wine list offers  world wide selection of vintages with emphasis on California and Italian labels.
On first arriving at the restaurant we stepped into Antonello Enoteca lounge with its club library decor and ambiance.  Here we enjoyed cocktails that included martinis and gibsons.  With dinner we had a 2014 Austerity Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles.
The service staff here is well trained, attentive and knowledgeable with the menu items.  Our table service was perfect.
Antonello Ristorante and  Enotec lounge are located at 1611 West Sunflower Ave. in Santa Ana.  Telephone 714 751-7153, on the web at www.antonelloristorante.com.  It is open for lunch and dinner six days a week, closed Sundays.
Luncheon served from 11:30 a..m to 2 p.m. and dinner Monday-Friday 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., on Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.