Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Our latest visit to Taix Restaurant reminded us once again how much we enjoy French country cooking and cuisine.
The occasion was to take part in Taix's 90th year celebration continuing its title as the oldest family owned restaurant in Los Angeles.
This celebration which continues through the month of July co insides with two French holidays--Bastille Day and French Independence Day.
Taix is now operated by the third and fourth generation of the Taix family.  Included in the celebration is a special pre fixe three course dinner as well as a different special French wine that will be available each day of July.
Our dinner opened with the restaurant's famed baked French onion soup, followed by calamari and then a house special, oven braised ox tails.  Others at our table had the Escargots de Bourgogne, baked lamb chops and NY steak.
The classic French dessert Tart Tartin completed our wonderful evening.
Our waiter was Jose Fragoso who has been with Taix for 32 years.  We also met and chatted with Bernard Inchauspe who has been with the restaurant for 52 years.  Actually there are eleven members of the staff who have been with the restaurant for at least  25 years.
But it is the wonderful French cuisine that brings people back to Taix again and again including this Writer
Taix French Restaurant is located at 1911 W. Sunset Blvd. with off street valet parking.  Telephone 213 484-1265, web www.taixfrench.com.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The dedication ceremony that revealed the renovation of the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre proved a most interesting event.  The Ford has a long history, first built in 1920, then a fire required a rebuilt Ford in 1931.
The Ford now seats 1200 and new is The Zev, actually named Zev Yaroslavsky Terrace, which includes the Ford Terrace Cafe as well as new offices.  Crumble Catering will direct the Cafe operation.
The renovation included a new two tiered stage, expanded dressing rooms and new stone staircases.
The stage has been designed to look like the Gates of Jerusalem with new sound system and 522 new lighting fixtures.
An inaugural "Ignite@The Ford Series" will start a large summer series of concerts, shows and events.
The opening was well attended and included civic leaders, and those involved in the construction and renovation which started in 2012 and is now complete.  Also a large number of media were there.
Following dedication at the Theater all moved to the Zev Terrance for refreshments and luncheon prepared by Crumble. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Just as spectacular as our lodging at Pantai Inn were our culinary experiences in La Jolla.  One evening we were at the legendary Marine Room which has been entrancing diners since it first opened 75 years ago in 1941.
Literally  at surfside the dining room offers wonderful views of the beach and surf on the other side of their window view.
We met with Dexter Lacambacal, restaurant manager as well as Chef Ron Oliver.  My dining partner opened with the fennel roasted scallop with foie while I selected the signature lobster bisque.  Our entrees were the house specialty  turf and surf filet and lobster.  This restaurant has an award winning wine list and our selection was an Argentine Malbec
Just a block from Pantai Inn was Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar located in the Grande Colonial Hotel.  Here we met Summer Haines, director of food and beverage, who introduced us to Chef Jason Knibb.
I passed on what were a tempting list of appetizers saving my appetite for the sage crusted beef short ribs with arrived with artichoke and asparagus.  The short ribs were the best we had tasted in a long time.
My dining partner opened with the Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine followed by the roasted Colorado Lamb Loin.  Nine-Ten has on display a huge floor to ceiling wine rack with wines from around the world.
The Marine Room is located at 2000 Spindrift Drive in La Jolla.
Nine-Ten Restaurant at 910 Prospect Street in La Jolla.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

One of the places that we were determined to visit on this trip was the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Staying at Pantail Inn in La Jolla made this easy since it was only about a ten minute drive from the Hotel, pass  the lovely campus of UC San Diego,  to the Aquarium.  It enjoys a scenic location situated on a bluff overlooking a huge sweep of the Pacific Ocean below.
The Tode Hall of Fishes gallery starts with the Pacific Northwest Coast showing octopus, giant sun stars and  wolf eels.  Then a look at below the waves of San Diego Bay.  One exhibit shows a two story kelp forest and another some of the sea life in Mexican waters to the south.
Children enjoy the tide pools where they can actually touch some of the creatures
This is located on the plaza that also offers the majestic view of the Scripps facilities and long views of the sweeping rugged coast line of the ocean.
The Aquarium offers a full calendar of special summer events with special whale and wildlife cruises as well as a concert series.
We found the Birch Aquarium  educational but also a wonderful place to idle away some time on the serene patio with its wonderful overlooks.
Birch Aquarium is located at 9500 Gilman drive, La Jolla and road signs make it easy to find.  It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there is three hour complimentary parking.  For more information call 858 534-fish, on the web at www.aquarium.ucsd.edu.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Our stay here at Pantai Inn in La Jolla resulted in a loss of words, well not really, but we do want to describe this remarkable getaway in detail.
Once again we were refugees from the steaming, hot San Fernando Valley and  told that we might enjoy a stay at an ocean front getaway named Pantai Inn in La Jolla.
Relatively new Pantai, with its Balinese inspired decor, offers a wide choice of  accommodations.  Ours was a two bedroom cottage fronting on La Jolla's famed rugged coastline complete with outdoor patio perfect for viewing 1. the ocean and 2. the many people that thronged Coast Avenue for 16 hours each day.
Besides our living room with its above mentioned views there was a kitchen complete with sink, micro wave and frig.
The staff here is wonderful, always most friendly and devoted to making the guest's stay an unforgettable experience.
Ranked as one of La Jolla's top hotels Pantai Inn has thirty rooms, suites and cottages, each unique and some designed for families with children. 
For us it was the perfect base for our exploration of what La Jolla and surrounding north San Diego areas have to offer the visitor.
More to come on what we did each day on this getaway where the ocean breezes kept us cool for a welcome change from  S F Valley triple digit temperatures.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

It was Hollywood, California all the way.  An event attended by beautiful women and sauve men, some already recognized achievers and others on their way.
The location was perfect for a Los Angeles summer evening, the rooftop patio complete with swimming pool and views of a Hollywood whose world wide fame is everlasting.
The purpose was to introduce a new tequila, Volcan De Mi Tierra to be added to Moet Hennessy's world famous brands.
So while the party was all Hollywood the theme was South of the Border Mexico in both  entertainment, food and Volcan cocktails.
The Volcan brand is a joint venture with Mexico's Gallardo family's expertise and Moet Hennessy's world wide marketing style.
It all took place at the trendy Petit Ermitage Hotel and to say it was well attended is an understatement.
Lovely young ladies passed the Volcan tequila and a mix of original colorful margaritas. The music was inspired by cuisine from Guadalajara and the music by Trio Elias, an all women Latin-American  group
The Ermitage roof garden had been especially decorated for the occasion with Agave plants which are the principal ingredient in the making of tequila.
This Writer thought it  a most interesting way to introduce a new tequila to Hennessy's portfolio of brands
We tasted the cocktails, enjoyed the interesting appetizers and  admired the views both of the city and the fascinating people who were in attendance.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It is still possible to enjoy fine dining.  We knew this when we arrived at the Pacific Dining Car in Santa Monica.  In downtown Los Angeles the Pacific Dining Car has been famous for one hundred years.
In 1990 a second Pacific Dining Car was established in Santa Monica as almost a complete duplicate in decor and ambiance as the downtown location.
Here can be found the same elegant decor of etched glass panels, selection of intimate dining rooms, the club like bar and lounge and original paintings gracing the wall as downtown.
The menu is the same with the selection of beef steaks that were absolutely the best and the service staff, a legend in its own right, often with familiar faces. The unique concept of being open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year was maintained at the Santa Monica location as well.
Whatever the time of day the menus at both Pacific Dining Cars are large. The dinner menu opens with a list of appetizers.  All three of us this evening started with the lobster bisque which can only be described as memorable.
Besides the whole listing of the prime beef that the restaurant is famous for there were enticing chicken and seafood entrees. The menu also features some unique steak dishes that the restaurant has made famous through the years including the baseball steak, cowboy steak and Filet Oscar. One dining partner chose the baseball steak which arrived with fresh asparagus. The house special Baseball steak is so popular that it also appears on the late night menu. .  I chose the Catalina sand Dabs accompanied with fennel and Spinach.  Our third member chose the lamb chops which proved a hearty dish indeed with enough to go into a take home bag.
We enjoyed a very special wine with  dinner.  The Bordeaux red wine was memorable, a 2010 Roc Du Manoir from a winery alongside the Gironde River.  It was perfect companion to the steak and lamb chops.
Through the years the Pacific Dining Car added a wine cellar which is continually stocked with fine vintages from both California and European wine producing countries and now has a list of over 100 labels , most from premium domestic and foreign vintners.
The same family has owned Pacific Dining Car through four generations. In downtown Los Angeles Pacific Dining Car opened in 1921 and is located at 1310 West 6th Street.
The Pacific Dining Car in Santa Monica is located at 2700 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica with valet parking and open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Telephone 310 453-4000. It is now enjoying its 27th  year.