Friday, December 19, 2014

On this day seventy years ago, December 19,1944 I became a prisoner of war.  Our attempt  to escape encirclement failed and both the 422nd regiment and 433rd regiment of the 106th division were surrounded by the Germans and surrendered by their respective commanders.
The two days we remained at our original positions had cost us the opportunity to escape.  This was due to failure at higher command which was revealed only after the war was over.
A longer account of these events can be found on my website, under the title "The Battle of the Bulge, One Private's Story".

Thursday, December 18, 2014

 Seventy years ago today
On the morning of November 18, 1944 things at last began to happen.  An early arrival of a messenger  told us we were to leave the outpost, leaving our duffel bags,  taking only essentials in our pack and report to company headquarters as soon as possible.
At company headquarters we were given three K rations, ammo and hand grenades to add to our packs.  Here we rejoined the rest of Company B for the first time since arriving at the Ardennes eight days earlier.
Finally we were given the information that the Germans had made gains elsewhere and that we must move fast to keep from being surrounded.
We traveled all day on a muddy track through the forest halting once while some shelling took place in front of us.
We stopped at dark, which at this time of year was about 4:30 p.m., and told to remain quiet with no fires since the Germans were in position  on the other side of the hill and that in the morning we would attack.
I was wearing all the clothes I owned and the one blanket we were allowed in our packs.
We were given no orders to dig in but just lay quiet and sleep if possible.  It was a very cold night for spending out in the open with no shelter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dawn on November 17, 1944 showed overcast skies and colder temperatures which made sentry duty especially uncomfortable and trying with the need of staying fully alert during that night.
But at our outpost the seventeenth of December was just a copy of the16th.  One soldier brought us some K rations and a little bit of news.  One of our other platoons had been in a brief fire fight with some Germans and in this short skirmish our executive officer had been shot in the head and killed.  Our orders  were to continue manning  fox holes and report any unusual activity.
As it turned out there was nothing to report.  For me it was just another lonely day in a fox hole originally made for two soldiers.  However the man who was supposed to be with me had been wounded two days before by a shell burst and was now in hospital somewhere.
 The forest never looked more hostile with clouds and fog sometimes at tree top level. 
Of the German offensive we were told nothing. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seventy years ago on this day the Germans launched their attack in the Ardennes Forest that later became known as the Battle of the Bulge.
In the hours before dawn on December 16, 1944 a nineteen year old soldier was on sentry duty standing beside a tree, very cold and wondering when his relief would arrive.  I was that soldier.
What did arrive was the German canon bombardment that announced the beginning of the largest battle in U.S. Army history.
The silent forest suddenly erupted with noise and my four comrades, who shared this outpost with me, came out of the log covered dugout where they had been sleeping, in a rush.
Actually our outpost was so close to the German lines that none of the shells landed anywhere near, falling far behind us, one killing our battalion commander.
We had been manning this outpost for six days when the cannonade began after relieving members of the 28th division who had been its occupants earlier.
A short account of  what occurred that day and the four following days will appear on this blog.  The odds that nineteen year old sentry could be writing this seventy years later seem too large to contemplate.
Actually at our outpost nothing else happened that day.  We spent the whole day in our log roofed fox holes waiting for an enemy that never came. 
This story will continue tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I was having lunch with a friend I had not seen for some time.  We wanted a quiet restaurant with nice ambiance since we had a lot to talk about catching up on what had occurred recently in our respective lives.
We found the perfect place at the Tustin Ranch Golf Club.  Here each Sunday a spectacular brunch is served in a well appointed dining room that overlooks the greenery of the golf course.
We were already acquainted with the culinary talents of Master Chef Bert Agor who has created a new innovative cuisine at the Club.
Tustin Ranch, while open to the public, has continued to maintain the elegance, grace and style of a private country club.
 We opened with a glass of champagne and made a toast to the occasion.
The buffet was indeed fantastic.  We started at the seafood table which included fresh oysters on the half shell, Canadian snow crab, Tiger prawn served both cocktail style and breaded, Chef Agor's own breaded style calamari and smoked salmon.
Next I was drawn to the Santa Maria tri-tip being carved before my eyes.  With such a bountiful selection I decided to taste some of these rather that attempt portions.  These included the Carenesada tacos with achiote, chicken Marsala, and garlic crusted Alaskan cod.
There was,of course, the omletes made to order and traditional breakfast items of bacon, sausage and hash brown potatoes.
Orders for eggs benedict are taken at your table and served direct to you.
There was also full tables of fresh sliced fruits, bakery rolls  and salads.
The dessert tables were so tempting that we did not hold back and  tasted too many.
It was a Santa Ana Fall day in Tustin with the course greenery never looking better.  Our luncheon was leisurely, we had been pampered at table and the company delightful.  It had been a grand afternoon.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Being San Francisco born and raised I ate and liked Chinese food.  This was, of course, because my parents enjoyed Chinese cuisine, and with Chinese friends,  knew where the best restaurants in San Francisco's China Town were located.
But when I visited Chef Hung Taiwanese beef noodle restaurant in Irvine's Diamond Jamboree Center I was surprised on how different the offerings of the menu were compared to other oriental restaurants.
Our luncheon there proved to be a truly unique experience.  The noodles were unlike any in my experience as were the entrees in which they were featured.
Chef Hung and his restaurants are well known in Taiwan but most Southern Californians will find the restaurant and its cuisine a new and exciting experience.
In total there are eighteen noodle dishes on the menu as well as  twenty three side dishes and again some of these were unlike anything we had experienced before in Oriental restaurants.
Chef Hung is large with a decor of bamboo and other native woods on the walls and brightly lit to better display the elegant, colorful bowls filled with noodles and soups.
Chef Hung is located at Suite 117, adjacent to the Rotunda in the Diamond Jamboree Shopping Center, 2710 Alton Parkway, Irvine.  Telephone 949 756-0088.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Financial decisions can be difficult but nothing like one faces when visiting a bakery with showcases offering  delicious pastries.
We encountered this challenge once again when we visited 85C Bakery located in the Diamond Jamboree Center in Irvine.
There is a difference with 85C since it is part of a Taiwan company that has 230 stores in that country.
It started with promoting coffee drinks and quickly exploded in popularity with the addition of baked breads and pastries, all prepared fresh daily.
When entering the 85C store at Diamond Jamboree there is row on row of pastries ready to be whisked off onto the tray of eager customers.  Here you select your eye appealing treat with self service.  For cakes and larger items there are counters with attendants.  Many of these pastries are different and original from those found at most American bakeries.
There is both inside seating as well as tables on the outside patio.  As large as the selection of pastries is the list of coffees and other beverage. 
The 85C at Diamond Jamboree is one of two in Southern California. The second in Hacienda Heights.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It seems that living in Southern California offers a new adventure every day.  Just driving the 405 Freeway is an adventure.
But because of its size and its many communities and towns you can always find something new and different.  This time it was in Irvine. No one ever told me anything about a  place called the Diamond Jamboree Center located at Alton Parkway and Jamboree Road.
So when I arrived there on Tuesday I discovered a huge complex made up of businesses and restaurants, all with an Oriental theme.
One of the 21 restaurants  is called Urban Seoul.  From the outside and as you enter, it appears to be a typical American diner with an open kitchen, an eating counter and tables.  But not all is what it seems.
Urban Seoul is a fusion of Korean and Mexican food with two menus, one Urban Seoul and the second, Urban food.
Here you find tacos with a choice of pork belly or beef with kimchi.  Or perhaps a pancake quesadilla stuffed with chicken, kimchi and mozzarella cheese.  From the Seoul menu how about japchae mari with stir fried noodles wrapped in seaweed, then battered and fried in a spicy sauce.
Owner Bronnie Lee will greet you and explain how this unique restaurant happened.
Urban Seoul is located in Diamond Jamboree Center, Site 131 with free off street parking and open daily.
For more information call 949 553-0188.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kincaid's is the kind of restaurant you want for that special occasion.  From its location on a pier next to the Pacific Ocean, to its ambiance and decor, spaciousness for dining, and outstanding menu and wine list, this restaurant exists to please.
It had been some time since our last visit but we were eager to return.  And this visit reminded us how difficult it is to find a restaurant today where you can conduct quiet conversation over fine cuisine and superior service.
The view from your table is to the ocean.  The dining room so large that tables are spaced some distance apart.  No background music here or  wall mounted TV.
We opened with the Maytag blue cheese salad and Ahi Toro with sushi rice and we just had to taste the restaurant's famed New England clam chowder
Our entrees were Flat Iron Steak with Dungeness crab cake and Cedar Plank Salmon prepared and served in a traditional northwest style.
My dining partner and I shared everything ordered so we could truly appreciate the skills of Executive Chef Ramon Fernandez.
We liked  the efficient service of Matthew Sniedy , our waiter and met with General Manager Reggie Thomas to tell him how impressed we were with our dining experience.
The wine list is huge both for bottles and by the glass.
Kincaid's is located at 500 Fisherman's Wharf, Redondo Beach and open for luncheon and dinner seven days a week.  For more information or reservations call 310 318-6080.

Friday, November 14, 2014

JETRO, short for Japan External Trade Organization invited us to a  showcase of their products conducted at the New School of Cooking located in Culver City.
The New School of Cooking has been teaching culinary arts courses for fifteen years and adjacent is the New School of Cooking Cafe which is a coffee bar and pastry shop offering bistro style breakfast and lunches with the pastries baked each day by students.
Guest chef Carol Cotner Thompson prepared the showcase Japanese  specialties that were presented for food professionals and members of the press.
The first was a grilled Mackerel with Japanese flavors and warm Onigiri.  The strong flavors of Mackerel were smoothed to the palate with a marinade, grilled and then placed atop a warm onigiri.  This rice includes Sushinoko,  a Japanese vinegar which gives the rice a most pleasant aroma and taste.  Our beverage, Soju Shiranami, a wine made from sweet potatoes and rice.
Next presented was the Oyster Po Boy which included a fried oyster with a Wasabi sauce on a slider roll smoothed with finely chopped Dakon pickle.  Our wine Soyu Kuroshiranand.
A surprise ending was a wonderful Fall gingerbread cake prepared by the school's pastry students.
This  was the first in a new series of events by JETRO to showcase Japanese products

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Spain's wine Denominations of Origin, D.O., were highlighted at a seminar and tasting held this week at The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Beverly Hills.
Entitled "Spain's Great Match Wine and Food" it began with a seminar followed by a tasting with 25 wineries taking part.  The seminar entitled "Verdejo MeetsTempranillo" was conducted by Stevin Olson.
There are sixty nine D.O.'s in Spain, many with wines made from that country's native varietals.
For us the enjoyment of the event was exploring some of these native varietals like Albarino, Godello, Maceabeo, Mencia and Monastrell.
D.O. Rueda, which was founded in 1980, is a region that grows Verdejo, a native white grape that is considered Spain's favorite white wine. The Verdejo grape has been grown in Spain for over a millennium and offers unique aromas and flavors.
Appetizers that matched the wines were served at the event.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The group was Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenphiles, W.I.N.O.  The leader, Jeanne Bartlett, now guiding the group for over three decades.  The place Cafe Zack, one of Ventura's finest restaurants. The wines, of LangeTwins Winery and Vineyards of Clarksburg appellation of Lodi, California.
Once again Owners Hector Gomez and Alvonso Bello showed an outstanding menu that perfectly matched the LangeTwins wines
Representing LangeWines and explaining them was Casey Chandlier, regional sales manager.
Dinner opened with Shrimp spring rolls with a spicy seafood sauce, the wine a 2013 Estate Sauvignon Blanc.
TwinLangs have 7,000 acres of vineyards and grow 21 different varietals so all  wines are from their own estate.
Next course was White sea bass with a roasted garlic, sage creme sauce with a 2012 Chardonnay.
A well structured, true to the varietal 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was a perfect match for the Beef short ribs with a red sauce over mashed potatoes.
And still the food arrived, now a Rack of Lamb in a fresh figs-port wine reduction.  The wine a 2011 Zinfandel which we thought excellent.
Our dessert was Berry Medley Cobbler with a 2012 Estate Petite Syrah/Petite Verdot blend,  the only blended wine served.
Cafe Zack is located at 1095 East Thompson Blvd., Ventura.  Telephone 805 643-9445.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Not only is the Golden Dragon in Costa Mesa habit forming, it sets the standard on what a Chinese restaurant should be.  Unlike most oriental restaurants it offers a comfortable bar and lounge, a large dining room with both tables and booths as well as a formal banquet room for private events.
As for the cuisine it is classic Mandarin with a large selection of chef specialties. So it is no surprise that the Golden Dragon has been consistently awarded five stars for a full decade by the Southern California Restaurant Writers .
Consistentency is a hallmark at the Golden Dragon.  The staff always friendly and competent.  The kitchen never fails to deliver its shrimp with toasted walnuts with the same wonderful flavors that you remembered from an earlier visit.  Here the egg rolls are unique and much more than just an appetizer.
The Golden Dragon is located at 2023 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa with free off street parking.  It is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.  Telephone 949 642-7162.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

One of our wine tour stops  on our  Solvang junket was Rusack Vineyards where we enjoyed an al fresco luncheon on their oak shaded patio.
Our hostess Georgia Hunter, while serving our wines, also had a remarkable story to relate to us.
This was about the 2012 Zinfandel we tasted which was truly an outstanding vintage.
On Santa Cruz Island in the late 19th century there was a cattle ranch and also a small vineyard.  A few years ago while looking through that vineyard old zinfandel vines were discovered.  Cuttings were made and planted in one of Rusack's  vineyards and we were tasting the first wine made from these replanted vines.
Rusack has also established a vineyard on Catalina Island and is already producing wines from these grapes.
It is called Santa Catalina Vineyards.  We were able to taste two of these wines on our visit to Catalina earlier this year.

Friday, November 7, 2014

We were  pleased with our accommodations at the Hotel Corque which bills itself as a 'premier boutique hotel'  We thought it just that and more.  Our room included a balcony with table and seating for two and a view overlooking the pool and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains.  We watched the sun rise from the mountains each morning.
From the hotel you can walk to anywhere in Solvang and the Mission is located just behind the hotel.  We walked the Mission grounds each day as a place for solitary reflection and admiration of the views of the Valley and distant mountains.
We found the staff most friendly and helpful and always ready with a smile.
Adjacent is the Root 246 restaurant for fine dining.  We will review the restaurant at a later date.
The Hotel is owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and there is a regular shuttle for those who wish to visit the Casino only a few miles distant.
Hotel Corque is located at 400 Alisal Road, Solvang, ca.  Telephone 805 688-8000, web

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is a legend in its own time.  A working cattle ranch it became a resort in 1946 and has been hosting people in private surroundings ever since.  Many families have used it for  gatherings year after year.
It was our good fortune to attend a luncheon at the Alisal RiverTerrace which overlooks the Alisal River Golf Course.  This took place on the patio styled terrace with a perfect clear autumn day that offered views of the golf course and the surrounding mountains.
Our lunch at the River Grill opened with Alisal Tortilla soup complete with diced chicken, cheddar cheese,cilantro and tortilla chips.
I selected the Albacore Tuna  Salad sandwich, other choices were Turkey Ciabatta sandwich or California Cobb Salad.
Our dessert pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap; cruse and carmel topping.
The Resort offers golf, tennis, fishing, spa services and fine dining with its luxurious accommodations.
The Alisal River Terrace is new and reserved for private events and perfect for weddings.
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is located at 1054 Alisal Road in Solvang.  Phone 805 688-6411. Web www.alisal com.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We discovered that Solvang was the perfect hub for our latest explorations of Santa Barbara wine country.
Our stay at Hotel Corque was very special with outstanding accommodations and a great location for wandering around Solvang on foot.  This is a town where you can park your car and forget it for a few days since everything in Solvang is within easy walking distance.
The autumn weather was perfect for our planned outdoor activities and the last two days both our luncheons were al fresco, one in the vineyards the other overlooking a golf course and surrounding mountains.
In Solvang dining can be very special since it has 28 restaurants, all with individual owners and featuring a huge variety of ethnic cuisine.
For those wanting to taste wines Solvang just added its 19th tasting room, all within easy walking distance.
It is a great way to cut travel time when it comes to wine touring.
We will have a lot more to say about our latest trip.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Each year the Southern California Restaurant Writers present awards not only to restaurants but also to individuals in the industry.  We had the opportunity to journey to Dolce Eatery, Drinkery and Bakery recently to present the Pastry Chef of the Year medallion to Newton Shin. 
The moment we stepped inside Dolce we knew why he won the award.  The bakery is the ultimate in temptation, at least it was for us.  Cakes, cookies, goodies of all kinds were on display and all seemed to demand "take me".
Dolce is unique in what it has to offer.  We had lunch there and our burger called, classic, was just that with sides and done as ordered.  The restaurant has a huge breakfast menu and appetizers and hot entrees for later in the day.
The beverage list includes seventeen draft beers as well as wines and espresso.
As for those bakery items we had to try the strawberry cake with cream and again knew why Newton won his award.
Dolce is located at 8821 Central Avenue in Montclair.  Closed Mondays.  For more information on hours call 909 399-3426, on the web at

Friday, October 31, 2014

We learned some years ago how much San Bernardino County Museum has to offer in the natural sciences.  So when we read about the new Fossils Underfoot exhibit at the Museum another visit was a must for us.
What sets this new exhibit apart is that the title is literally true.  For much of the material in the exhibits was actually found in diggings conducted in the desert areas of San Bernardino County.
Fossils Underfoot opened in late September and will continue until January 4, 2015.  To be seen are paleontology collections, as well as restorations of dinosaurs, ancient fish and three-toes horses.  Real dinosaur trackways found in the Mojave desert are the only ever discovered in California.
More numerous in California are Ice Age fossils including mastodons and a 15 million year old peccary.
Stand up reproductions of early horses are also to be seen.
San Bernardino County Museum is located at 2024 Orange Tree Lane in Redlands just off the 10 freeway.  It is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Telephone 909 307-2669, web

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cables is your favorite neighborhood dining establishment ready to provide  with a quality, modestly priced breakfast, lunch or dinner.  The menu is down home American and a place where breakfast is served all day.  Here you can still find old favorites like liver and onions or a meatloaf sandwich.
The menu is extensive and always with a list of daily specials.  Service is professional and the restaurant has received attention in the past for employes with many years at Cables.
Our first visit to Cables occurred last week.  The restaurant is only about a 10 minute ride from where we live.  So close that we never thought to stop there.  We have probably passed the restaurant a thousand times through the years.
Our visit proved that we have been missing something.  The restaurant is large with tables, booths and a counter for quick service.  The menu offers a large selection suitable for any time of day or night.  We will be back soon.
Cables is located at 20929 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills with off street parking.  Telephone 818 347-2437.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Anaheim White House is the kind of restaurant where you expect the best in both cuisine and service and are never disappointed.  Which explains the perennial five star rating the restaurant earns year after year.
Proprietor Bruno Serato has amassed awards, not only for his outstanding restaurant but also national recognition for his charity work with children and low income families.
Our recent visit to the White House was to explore the new Tapas additions to the menu.  Both Bruno and his chef de cuisine Eddie Meza are quick to move with new trends and  often lead the way with culinary originals
We tasted four of the new creative Tapas and were most impressed.  They are an innovative addition to a menu that mixes Italian specialties with meats like Venison, Bison and Wagyu/
The Anaheim White House is located at 887 S Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim.  Call 714 772-1381 for information and reservations. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Some claim that globalization is shrinking our planet.  But the world of wine continues to expand at a rapid rate.
There were two recent examples of this expansion in west Los Angeles recently.  The first, held at Mr. C's in Beverly Hills, was conducted by the Italian Trade Commission and presented foods and wines from southern Italy and Sicilia.  Unfortunately for this Writer it took place just two days after my eye surgery so I could not attend.
The second took place yesterday at the Wine House in west Los Angeles where Catalan wines from northern Spain were presented with some of the leading vintners and wine makers of the region personally on hand to talk about and present their wines.
I attended this event which included a seminar conducted by Dean Medeiros who explained Catalonia's place and importance in Spain and especially Barcelona as the center and heartland of the region.  Also attending was Javier Vallaure, Consul General of Spain in Los Angeles.
 Barcelona, Spain's second largest city, has in the last quarter century expanded in industry, technology and  finance as well in the arts.
Vineyards and wines have been in place in Catalonia since Roman times and now includes eleven appellations.  Wineries in the region has kept pace with new wine making methods as well as planting of  varietals with new popularity like Tempranilio,  Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cava, a sparkling wine, has been identified with Catalan for over one hundred years.  It is produced from three local white grape varieties--Xarel-lo, Macebeo and Parellada
Local red varietals still appear in some of the reds like Cannena, Grenache,  Carignan and Marselan. These almost always as part of a blend
Twelve Catalan wineries were represented at the Wine House event.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It has been ten years since the release of the Movie "Sideways" which was the story of two guys who on a wine tour of the central coast propagated a theme of down playing the merits of Merlot and the wonders of Pinot  Noir.  It also played on the joys and pitfalls of over doing wine tasting. 
This movie proved to be a real vine shaking event, not only for the central coast, but national sales of Pinot Noir.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Sideways movie many of the communities in the region from Oxnard, where the wine adventure opens, to Santa Maria where it ends are featuring showing of the movie as well as promotions by many  wineries and restaurants.
We have a CD of the movie, dusted it off, and looked at it  again.   We were not particularly impressed with the film on first viewing it and the rerun viewing in our den last week did nothing to change that original opinion.
However we were impressed on how well "Sideways" promoted not only the Pinot Noir varietal but also the wine industry as a whole. The movie also added to the popularity of wine tours and wine roads.    The 10th anniversary promotions show the impact still exists. 
Oxnard is using the movie as a promotion on how much the City has changed in a single decade with local wineries, restaurants and hotels involved in special pricing of wines, lodging and restaurant fare.  More on the Oxnard promotions can be learned by contacting the Oxnard Visitors Bureau at 805 395-7545, web at
Many  of the central coast wineries are using their wine clubs for special "Sideways" promotions.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Last evening we dined along the shore of the eastern Mediterranean enjoying the cuisine of Lebanon.
Actually we were at Phoenicia Restaurant in Glendale once again enjoying the delights of this restaurant which offers the finest of an age old classic cuisine.
We opened  with appetizers that included Hommos; Labni, Lebanese cream cheese served with garlic; Warak Enab, grape leaves stuffed with rice, oil and vegetables, cooked in lemon juice and olive oil, and Tabbouleh, chopped parsley, crushed wheat, tomatoes and onions.   Some hot appetizers we tasted included Kibbeh Makli, beef dumpling stuffed with ground beef; Bourghoul , onions and pine nuts as well as San Bousek, freshly prepared dough with ground beef and pine nuts and Rekakat, a selection of Lebanese cheese baked in a pastry dough.
Our samplers of entree selections included Beef Kafta, ground beef, onions, parsley and spices, grilled on skewers.  This is one of our favorites and arrived with  lamb chops marinated with spices and grilled.  Also chicken breast kabob, perfectly prepared rice and the best french fries we have had in a long time.
 This is a restaurant where everything is done well and most professionally and consistently earns five stars both for its cuisine and wine list.  
Phoenicia is  located at 343 North Central Avenue in Glendale with  off street parking.  It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. except on weekends when there is live entertainment with a 2 a.m. closing time.  For more information or reservations call 818 956-7800. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Its no secret that we are addicated to Chinese Dim Sum.  Indeed we are a Dim Sum aficionado.  In the San Fernando Valley where we reside the place to go for Dim Sum is the A & W Seafood Restaurant located at 9306 Reseda Blvd. in Northridge.
As usual all my favorites were present like Shrimp Har Gow, Pork Siu Mai, Scallop Gow and steamed BBQ Pork Bao.
We were there with long time friends and had much catching up to do on our current activities.  Dim Sum is the perfect fit for meeting friends over a leisurely lunch.  The waitress with the cart keeps passing by so one more Shrimp Shia Mai is always available as appetites continue to expand.
At A & W Dim Sum is available seven days a week at noon.
For more information call 818 882-6668.  Off street free parking available.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Surgery for a cataract has kept me close to home but it all went well so with my sons we were off  for a day in the mountains.  This time it was Frazier Mountain located off I 5 north of Gorman.  The town of Frazier Park lies at the foot of Frazier Mountain and a road climbs to its summit at 8005 feet.  Here there is a fire lookout tower now shabby with disuse.
However the views in every direction are rewarding and it was a great place to escape the heat wave in the Los Angeles basin.
After admiring the views we found a delightful place for a tailgate lunch where we munched and then wandered about admiring the Jeffrey pine forest with some of the trees hundreds of years old.
All too soon it was time to get back into the car for the one and three fourth hours it took us to return to the San Fernando Valley where it was still over 100 degrees.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Colonel Allen Allensworth State Historic Park captures a unique social experiment that took place in the San Joaquin Valley in the early 20th century.
The Park has restored an Black American community that was founded by Colonel Allensworth whose personal history  makes remarkable reading.
 He was born a slave in Louisville, Kentucky in 1842.  Despite laws that prohibited the education of slaves he learned to read and write and during the Civil War joined the U.S. Navy and left it as a Petty Officer.  After the war he completed his education and became a minister and then joined the U.S. Army as chaplain for the 24th Infantry,  the Black Buffalo Soldiers.  He retired as a Lt. Colonel the first Black American to achieve that rank.
So he founded Allensworth in 1906 by purchasing 800 acres along the railroad in San Joaquin Valley.  At first the town prospered but a steadily dropping water table resulted in a serious water shortage which then worsened when arsenic was discovered as well.  So people moved away.
The State Park was established in the last 1970s to restore and preserve the buildings of the town.
This demanded investigation by this Writer while en route to Northern California.  We took Highway 43 from I 5 and soon arrived at the Park.
There we met Jerelyn Oliveira, a State Park Ranger who is interpreter for the District.  She pointed out some of the restored buildings which include the school, church, hotel, library, restaurant, barber shop, retail stores and individual homes.
The Park also includes  a campground and picnic area.
For more information on the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park call 661 849-3433, on the web at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last year Pinnacles National Monument became a National Park, a name change that has already increased visitor interest.  This was our first visit with Pinnacles new name adding it to over 400 U.S. national parks.
But over the years we have enjoyed frequent visits to this interesting region of long ago volcanic activity and geographic turmoil thanks to its location where two tectonic plates collide, the North American plate and the Pacific Plate.
There are entrances at both east and west sides of Park but if you wish to camp or learn about activities at the Visitor Center you must use the East entrance from State Highway 25.
On this visit, which was short, we talked with Ranger Mike Brindeiro and enjoyed a picnic lunch at the day use area.
For more information on Pinnacles National Park call 831-389-4455, on the web at

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

     It was a delight to be back at Tasso's Old House Restaurant in Gilroy.  We had first experienced its outstanding Continental cuisine some years before and now we were back
     Tassos and Maria Perakis are long time restaurateurs and while the menu features Greek cuisine it also includes excellent Italian and American entrees.  Located in a vintage Gilroy home it offers the ambiance for a fine dining experience.  There is a full bar and an exceptionally good selection of wines, some from local Santa Clara wineries.
     This time our dinner opened with some wonderful fried calamari, tender and served with both red and white dipping sauces.  At our table entrees included pasta with salmon, lamb shank and my red snap;per grilled in olive oil Greek style.  We were all so satisfied with this repast we had to take our dessert home with us.
     Tasso's is located at 383 First Street in Gilroy with off street parking.  For more information call 408 847-7527, web

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When you live in the San Fernando Valley and the temperature reaches 100 degrees it is time to sound retreat and point the car to the beach, fortunately only about a 45  minute ride on I 101.
That is exactly what we did yesterday with our goal Phumb Line, The Sunset Restaurant overlooking the fishing boat marina in Ventura.  We had heard of this restaurant from friends and now it was the perfect day for a leisurely luncheon.  The temperature at dock side was a pleasant 77 degrees.
My dining partner and I were soon seated in a booth with a full view of the marina just steps away and studied the lunch menu which offers several seafood items as well as a large selection of sandwiches and salads.
Service was excellent as we both decided on the fish and chips. When the plates arrived we felt truly challenged with the huge amount of food on each plate.  Heaped were several huge slices of battered fish, quarter cut french fries, cold slaw and both cocktail and tartar sauce dips.
We both knew there was no way we were going to clean these plates at one sitting.   However we had lots of time and when we were finished the waitress prepared carry out packages for both of us.
Rhumb Line is located at 1510 Anchors Way Dr. in Ventura with free offstreet parking.  For more information call 805 642-1200, web

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our visit to San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park revealed a little known chapter of California history.
At this site on December 6, 1846 U.S. Army units commanded by General Stephen Kearny were confronted by a force of Californians led by General Andrea Pico.
In this battle the Americans were defeated by the Mexicans.  With superior horses the Californians used their horsemanship and lances with deadly effect.  Later the survivors were relieved by American forces from San
The Park has a fine museum which not only describes the battle but also exhibits the life of the native Americans who lived in the Valley for many centuries.  There is also a video presentation of the Mexican-American War and how it ended.
The Park is  a fine place for a picnic with overhead shaded tables, rest rooms and drinking water.
San Pasqual Park is only open on weekends.  It is located eight miles east of Escondido on Highway 78.
Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 760 737-2201 for information.

Monday, July 21, 2014

One of our summer pleasures is attending a Thornton Winery Champagne Jazz concert.  So we were in Temecula to listen to Jesse Cook perform with a most talented group of musicians.  As usual at these concerts, which occur almost every weekend from May to October at the Winery , Jesse and his guitar played to a sellout crowd.
We chatted with John Thornton asking on how he arranges to bring such outstanding talent to the concert series which is now in its 26th season.  He explained that the concerts, and the way they are presented, has given Thornton a national  reputation for being among the premiere venues for this type of jazz.
The dinner that accompanied Jesse Cook did Executive Chef Steve Pickel proud once again.  We opened with a sweet white corn bisque, then pan roasted wild Chilean sea bass and chocolate Mousse for dessert.
Our Thornton wines were a Brut Reserve Sparkling for starters, then a choice of an award winning 2013 Chardonnay or 2011 Estate Syrah.   With dessert Thornton Milk Chocolate Kiss.
This year the Jazz series will continue until October 19.  For more information call 951 699-3021.  Thornton Winery is located at 32575 Rancho California Road in Temecula.

Friday, July 11, 2014

When we stepped into  Phoenicia Restaurant we left Glendale for the shores of the Mediterranean to enjoy a cuisine that dates back to Biblical times.  Here we leisurely settled into the delightful patio of the restaurant to savor the classic foods of Lebanon.
We opened with a tray of cold mezza which included Hommos, those tasty stuffed grape leaves called Warak Enab as well as our favorite, Baba Ghanouj, roasted eggplant with tomatoes and onions. Then a salad of Tabbouleh,  a mixture of fresh chopped Italian parsley with tomatoes, onion and olive oil.
Our entrees included chicken and beef Kebab as well as marinated Lamb chops from the grill served with rice and seasoned pita bread.
The patio has been enlarged and with its old world look and decor is perfect for summer evenings.
Phoenicia is located at 343 North Central Avenue in Glendale.  On Friday and Saturday evenings there is live entertainment with a belly dance show to enjoy with dinner.  For more details call 818 956-7800. On the  web at

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

With a Sommelier who is knowledgeable in wines from many countries the Renaissance Restaurant in Hollywood is able to present a unusual and different style of winemaker dinner each month.
The Sommelier is Gerald Marini, French born, and here the monthly winemaker dinners are spread over two evenings with no fixed time of arrival for guests and the wines of an entire region or country are featured.
 Then Sommelier Marini and Chef Phil Christodoulou combine their considerable talents to match the wines with the food.
This format is possible  since the Renaissance has one of the best wine lists in West Los Angeles.  There are 300 labels and fourteen pages of vintages.
On our recent winemaker event the wines were from France with many of the vintages from the Loire Valley.
These gourmet wine din ners are held on Thursdays and Fridays, generally the last week of the month.  Another interesting feature is that diners who do not want to participate in the wine dinners are also welcome those evenings.
The Renaissance is located at the Manor Hotel, 5930 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood.  Call 323 960-3222.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Obviously Griffith Observatory is one of the most visited places in Los Angeles.  Certainly that was our experience when, on the spur of the moment, we decided to make  use of a few hours while spending a day in Hollywood.
What we did not know that seemingly everyone else had the same idea on the same day.  The result was lots of cars with too few parking places.  Our eventual parking spot left us with about a quarter mile, all uphill,  from the Observatory.
We might add that we had about a half century more age than anyone else we saw that day.  So on our hike uphill we stopped ostensibly to admire the view, but really to catch our breath and chant "to rest is not to conquer" before moving on.  Not to say that the view was not worthwhile.  Actually on this day much of the City of  Angels was spread out before us.
Yes, the gift that Griffith J. Griffith gave to the people of many generations is truly worth seeing.  And since 1935 when the Observatory opened it has been visited by 75 million people.
We enjoyed  the exhibits and the people who were obviously pleased with the day and experience.
Fortunately for us the route back to our far off car was all downhill.

Friday, June 27, 2014

1919 was an exciting year in America.  The victorious Doughboys were coming home from Europe and the United States was taking its place as a world power for the first time.
Hollywood was already becoming synonymous with cinema and movie making.  And an interesting restaurant had opened on Hollywood Blvd. called The Musso & Frank Grill.  Now its 2014 and this amazing restaurant remains one of the best in the City.
James Woodin and I, representing the Southern California Restaurant Writers, were there to present Sergio Gonzales with his medal for being named Server of the Year in recognition of his 42 years of service with Musso & Frank.  We add that longevity of staff abounds at this restaurant and serving our lunch was a waiter with 30 years at the restaurant.
Musso & Frank Grill is located at 6667 Hollywood Blvd, in  Hollywood and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  On the web at

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The outdoors are my comfort zone.  Whether seashore, mountains or desert they all offer a special appeal to this Writer.  Yesterday I was once again at one of my favorite mountain retreats.  It is Cerro Noroeste Peak located in the San Emigdio range.
At its plateau summit, elevation 8313 feet, there is a campground which for us has been a perfect place for camping in earlier years and now for one day picnics.
With me were my two sons who have been coming to this mountain since they were pre teens.
The forest here is mostly Jeffrey Pines, many hundreds of years old.  Near the camp is one tree that has a massive cross carved into its trunk.  It could have been carved by Francisco Garces, a Franciscan Padre who was the first European to cross these mountains and discover the San Joaquin Valley in 1776.
I took a photo of the cross and then hiked to an outcropping where a view opens to a huge amount of country including parts of Carrizo Plain National Monument.
The weather was perfect, cool under the shade of the pine trees and warm in the sun.  It was a good picnic lunch too.

Friday, June 20, 2014

While I went to the California Science Center to view the Pompeii Exhibition I also took the opportunity of viewing the Space Shuttle Endeavor while there.  A ticket to the Pompeii exhibit also allows one to visit the Samuel Oschin Space Center  where the Endeavor sits in splendor.
Like almost everyone in Southern California I was glued to the television watching the Endeavor make its arrival in Los Angeles.  And at the Oschin Center I looked at a video program that showed it once again.
Besides the Endeavor one of its rocket engines is on display as well.
Another video program takes one through some of Endeavor's missions in space including the one to repair the optics on the Hubble Telescope. This involved replacing faulty lens with ones that cleared the telescopes images.  This proved to be a great success allowing all the wonderful photographs which we view now from Hubble.
In all Endeavor made 25 missions to space.  It bears a noble name since the original Endeavor was the name of famed English explorer James Cook's ship in the 17th century.
For more information on what are the best times for viewing Endeavor at the California Science Center call 213 744-2019, on the web at

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On a trip to Italy some years ago I did include a tour of Pompeii where on one day in August 79 A.D. the city and its people disappeared following an eruption on nearby Mount Vesuvius.  I found it a memorable experience.
So when I learned that the California Science Center was holding an exhibition on Pompeii and the aftermath of the disaster seeing it was a must for this Writer.
The Exhibition opened in May and will continue through the rest of the year and is a most worthwhile experience for all ages.
Actually I learned more about Pompeii, its people and their way of life from this exhibition than I did from the tour taken on site years before.
There are exhibits  on foods produced and consumed, cooking utensils of the time,  dining habits, entertainment from Gladiators to Brothels. and public baths.   Fast food is not new, Pompeii had hundreds of street stalls and eateries to serve its 20,000 inhabitants.
There is one exhibit which simulates the events as they occurred on the day of the disaster with earthquakes, explosions and finally the covering of ash and debris
For more information about viewing Pompeii, The Exhibition at the California Science Center call 323 Science, on the web at  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A restaurant must be outstanding to remain in business for a quarter century.  Which explains Yves' Restaurant & Wine Bar located in Anaheim Hills. We had lunch there a few days ago and wished we had discovered the restaurant years sooner.
We met with Proprietor Yves Massquefa and were impressed both with the man and his restaurant which offers a home like decor and ambiance designed for a relaxed, comfortable dining experience. 
To go with this ambiance there is a most interesting menu highlighted with Continental favorites.
We opened with French onion soup, then shared a delicious  Calamari Fritti with my dining partner and  enjoyed Nouille Roulet, a pasta plate that is a signature dish at the restaurant.
Yves' Restaurant & Wine Bar is located at 5753 A E. Santa Ana Canyon Road in Anaheim Hill, just off the 91 Freeway at Imperial Blvd.
The restaurant is open seven days a week, for lunch and dinner Monday thru Saturday, dinner only on Sunday.  There is live music Thursday thru Saturday.  Telephone 714 637-3733, web

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Il Barone Ristorante in Newport Beach is a consistent five star restaurant showing an exquisite Italian cuisine.  Now another generation of the family has opened IL Barone Pizza e Pasta, a much more casual eatery located at 705 E. Balboa Blvd., one block from The Pavilion.
Jonathan Barone shows a carefully crafted variety of Italian favorites with seven pizzas and ten pasta dishes.
There are also house specials like calamari fritti and a Folcaccia \sandwich with tuna.
The desserts follow the family tradition with Cannoli Siciliani and Tartufo di Cioccolato con gelato as well as our favorite Tiramisu.
What impressed us the most with this new enterprise was the most modest prices.  If it were not so far away from where we live Jonathan would have a regular customer with this Writer who always loves a bargain when he sees one.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The past met the present when the Anaheim Packing House opened it doors once again, this time as a new entity for a collection of unusual dining and beverage shops.  The Packing House first opened in 1919 when Anaheim was the the collection point for miles of surrounding orange and lemon groves.  Here the farmers harvest was gathered and then shipped by railroad across the country.
Now restored, the building still maintains the ambiance of its former years but with the facilities that offer a contemporary gathering place for people of all ages
We attending the press opening last evening and were briefed about the restoration of the building and the long list of showplace eating and drinking places it will house.  Explaining how all this came about was Shaheen Sadeghi, President and CEO of  Lab, the firm responsible for the Packing House rebirth.
Some exciting sample plates were offered to show the wide variety of cuisines that will be available at the Packing House.  Adya showed us some interesting Indian street food    Some wonderful sushi was on our plate from Orange Tei which was the work of Shigetoshi Nakamura.
We chatted with Gretchen Shoemaker whose Georgie's will showcase a full menu of southern soul food.
Our bun sandwiches of beef and pork from The Kroft were so good that it hard to say no more.
In all there will be 28 food stalls featuring many different cuisines.
The Packing House is located 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., in historic downtown Anaheim.  Open daily.

Monday, May 26, 2014

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Santa Cruz Island aboard Island Packers Catamaran "Islander"  We chose the open upper deck which offered views in every direction.  The crew were polite and most knowledgeable and the Captain explained what we might see.
When we sighted a large pod of dolphins he slowed the ship so everyone could look and take photos.
And this was repeated when we sighted a group of whales and here we stayed some time as the whales surfaced, then dived and sprouts of misty water would show them again.
The trip from Ventura harbor to Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island is about 20 miles and takes one hour.  Many on the Islander were backpackers planning on spending some days on the Island.  We were among the day trippers.  We had about four and one half hours on the island before getting back to the pier at 3:45 p.m. for the return to Ventura.
There is a second landing place on Santa Cruz Island at Prisoner Cove and we plan to make a return visit, this time to see this other location.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

We first met the Moreno family when they operated a restaurant in Port Hueneme.  Now we met Cathie Moreno once again as Proprietor of The Kitchen located in downtown Oxnard.
In three and one half years since opening, The Kitchen has achieved fame for its outstanding presentation of craft beers to match its American menu.
Currently there are twelve draught and one hundred bottled beers.  We admire the talents of those that come up with the brand names for some of these brews.  A few that caught our eye were Heretic, Mother Earth, Dogfish Head and Magic Hat.
Our tasting of three draught brews included Mission Blend, an ale, Hod City's Barking Squirrel, a malt and a stout named Peanut Butter.  Cathie passed around some wonderful appetizers with the tasting.
The Kitchen is located at 529 South A Street in Oxnard and open seven days a week from 11 a.m.  For more information call 805 355-8980, on the web at

Saturday, May 24, 2014

One of the highlights of our stay at Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard was our dinner prepared for us by Tim Hulbert, Executive Chef, at this showplace Embassy Suites hotel.
First to arrive were a selection of southwest themed appetizers including Chicken Quesadilla, Baja spring rolls, Latin styles chicken wings and tamale stuffed rolls.
Our starter was a memorable lobster bisque.  Our entree a New York strip steak with roasted potatoes.
Others at our table with entrees like Linguini Primavera with chicken or Simply Fish.  The fish in this dish changes with what is currently in season and fresh.
Oxnard is the center of a large agriculture region famous for its fresh vegetables and Chef Hulbert takes full advantage of this by using the freshest seasonal ingredients in his cooking.
Then we were able to preview a new dessert featured at the Coastal Bar & Grill.  This is a metal rack offering several different desserts in small sizes including Molten cake, Creme Brulee, Key Lime Pie,  Banana Split and rockside Brownies.
Also special for Mandalay guests is the complimentary breakfast buffet with a full menu including to order omelets.
Mandalay Beach Resort is located at 2101 Mandalay Beach Road in Oxnard.  For reservations call 805 984-2500.  On the web at

Friday, May 23, 2014

Viva Italiano.  In Oxnard one evening our culinary experiences centered around Italian cuisine.  As one stop on a progressive dinner we discovered The Italian Job  Cafe.  It is located on the always popular Channels Islands Marina.
We met with General Manager Susan Smith who briefed us on the history of this delightful  dining establishment with both indoor and patio seating.
This was the last stop on our dining tour that evening which meant desserts,  all Italian and all made on premise.  These were presented to our group family style and included Tustin pie, Tarts, mousse cake and puff pastries stuffed with vanilla and chocolate cream.
There was also Gelato and Sorbetti.  There is no question that this restaurant presents authenic Italian cuisine.
The Italian Job Cafe is located at 2810 Harbor Blvd., Channel Islands Harbor.  It is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with free off street parking.  For more information call 805 832-4945, on the web at

Thursday, May 22, 2014

We have enjoyed a long relationship with La Dolce Vita Restorante located in Oxnard's picturesque Heritage Square.  It is owned by Michelle Kenney whose family has operated restaurants in Oxnard for two generations
Besides its classic Italian and Mediterranean  fusion cuisine the original house dates back to 1901 offering a serene traditional dining experience.
Our dinner opened with a crispy fried calamari which we savored to the last bite.  Our entree a port loin stuffed with gorgonzola atop  roasted garlic mashed potatoes in a port wine reduction.  The portion was so generous we took half of it with us for further enjoyment later.  Our wine was a Santa Barbara Rancho Soquoc 2013 Sauvignon Blanc.
The menu is large and there are daily specials. There is a special lunch menu and the bar lounge offers a tapas menu and entertainment Thursday through Saturday with a daily Happy Hour.
La Dolce Vita is located at 740 South B Street in Heritage Square.  For more information call 805 486-6878, on the web at

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

First stop on our visit to Oxnard was the California Welcome Center, newly located at The Collection, the city's new enclave of retail stores, restaurants and entertainment facilities.
It is one of 17 Welcome Centers spaced the length of California.  It is unique in that it is the first to offer wine tasting from the local wineries.  The wineries represented are from Ventura County.
It is also the place to start if you wish to follow the Ventura County Wine Trail.  This trail now includes 16 wineries most located in Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura and nearby Ojai.  Maps and othe rinformation about the Trail can be found at the Center.
Also the Center offers a unique tasting experience with the choice of wines,white and red, from eight of the local wineries.  Here we tasted two white wines and two red wines.
The California Welcome Center is located at 2786 Seagrass Way, Oxnard.  Telephone 805 385-7545.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Our delivering culinary arts scholarships for the Southern California  Restaurant Writers 'Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund, continued yesterday when we visited Riverside Community College.  There we met with Bob Moghaddam, director of the school's culinary arts program to present him with a check for student scholarships.
The college culinary arts program includes a cafe at the school manned completely by students both in the kitchen and dining room.
The cafe is open for breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday thru Friday.  It is open to the public.
Jim Woodin, president of the Writers, and I enjoyed an excellent lunch while meeting with Chef Bob. I opened with a very good tortilla soup, then  the baked cod with creamed spinach and oven browned potatoes.  And raspberry pie for dessert.  Prices are most modest and the quality and service outstanding.
The Cafe is located at 1155 Spruce Street in Riverside with free off street parking.  For more information call 951 955-2271.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

It is always a pleasure to visit Valentino Restaurant in Santa Monica.  This restaurant has earned five stars as long as we can remember and is currently celebrating a 40th anniversary.  This visit was to attend the Vino California Grand Tasting which featured wines from some of Italy's most prominent vintners.
The wines represented many regions from north to south.  But for us it was an opportunity to direct our attention to the wines of Sicily.
Some of these wines now have the DOC Sicila label. It marks the 23rd DOC designation in Italy.  Our interest is somewhat proprietary since my maternal grandparents were from Sicily.
Valentino owner Piero Selvaggio was on hand to personally supervise the buffet of Italian specialties that was featured along with the many vintages.

Friday, May 9, 2014

It was a brief note in a news bulletin of Lucus & Lewellen Winery that alerted me to the opening of an exhibit at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society Museum & Carriage House.  This new exhibit told the story of the early beginnings and growth of the wine industry in Santa Barbara County.
That was all the information we needed to arrange a visit with Chris Bashforth, director of the Museum.
The exhibit is entitled "Uncorked-- Evolution of Wine in the Santa Ynez Valley" and takes the visitor through the plantings of the first vineyards in the late 1800s to its huge presence today with 16,000 acres of vineyards and the many wineries with famous names.
Besides this exhibit we were awed with the scope of this museum and its other exhibits including the best collection of stagecoaches, buggies, wagons and carriages from the late 1800s that we have ever seen.  These are in the well named Carriage House.
The Museum is located at 3596 Saguntgo Street in Santa Ynez and is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.  Admission $4 for adults and free for children under 16.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It is the season for me to present culinary arts student scholarships to community colleges in Southern California.  These scholarships are by the Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund of the Southern California Restaurant Writers.
These culinary arts scholarships have been presented by the Writers throughout its 40 year history.  Currently I am scholarship chairman for the Writers.
Yesterday I attended a Donor Appreciation Reception at San Bernardino Valley College at which time I presented this year's scholarship check.  Here I met Dr. Gloria Fisher, College Foundation president as well as Executive Chef Stacy Meyer who heads the culinary arts program at the college.
The college culinary arts program started eight years ago with less than a dozen students but has expanded to now having 350 students enrolled in the program.
The Writers, with scholarships, has supported this program since its inception.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

One of the things we look for each Spring is a visit to the poppy fields that suddenly appear over much of the western part of the Antelope Valley.  Here is located the Antelope Valley State Calilfornia Poppy Preserve but those golden fields of poppies extend far beyond the Preserve itself.
Not all springs are productive for the poppies.  Much depends on the amount of winter and spring rainfall.  This year a three inch rain storm saved the day and the result was the best show of poppies in three years.
Our visit was one day after the annual Poppy Festival but we were not alone as we stopped to frolic among the fields and take lots of photos.
Close by is the Arthur Ripley Woodland State Park which has been preserved to show how the Antelope Valley looked before being cleared for farming.
It  is one of our favorite sites for a relaxing picnic lunch. There is a trail to wander through the woodland with Joshua and Juniper trees as well as blue sage and cacti.  In the spring there are wild flowers to be seen as well and  we took photos with the Tehachapi as a backdrop still showing patches of snow.. 
Here we enjoyed our picnic lunch and  continued our trip through the Valley, then Highway 14 for home.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Once again we attended a meeting of the Ventura Chapter of Wine Investigation For Novices and Oenphiles, WINO, for short.  This is the 39th year Jeanne Bartlett has guided the group that meets with an individual winery and joins with an outstanding chef in presenting a menu to match food with wine.
Last evening we were at the Residence Inn in Oxnard with Executive Chef James Smith showing us a menu that matched the wines of Folie A Deux Winery in Sonoma County.
This winery, established in 1981, uses \almost every region of Sonoma County in selecting a vineyard for each of its varietals.
We opened with a wild Arugula salad matched with  Folie A Deux 2012 Chardonnay which was from the Russian River Valley.  Next up a French onion soup with Gruyre cheese accompanied by 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley.  With our Coq au Vin the wine was 2011 Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley.
The Sonoma Coast region was the source of the 2011 Pinot Noir that was served with the Beef Bourgugnon.  Flourless chocolate cake with dark forest berry compote was the dessert with 2011 Alexander Valley Merlot.
It proved to be yet another successful evening for this almost legendary gathering of wine groupies.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ever wonder how a restaurant achieves a five star rating?  Our dinner last evening at Renaissance, located at the Manor Hotel in Hollywood, showed once again why this restaurant consistently earns this five star award
The ambiance is outstanding with diners offered a view of the perfectly cared for gardens of the hotel.  The staff is well trained and professional in their work.
Most important is the skill of the chef, in this instance Phil Christodoulou who shows amazing talents in using a huge variety of vegetables and herbs in preparing  appetizers and entrees.
The same care given the cuisine is displayed in the wine list under the watchful eye of Maitre d' and Sommelier Gerard Marini.  The Renaissance has one of the best stocked wine cellars in the west end of the city.
The menu here is large, two poster sized pages long.
We opened with the Sashimi Yellow Fin Tuna with shaved Fennel, marinated in tomato water with soy, wasabi and micro greens.  Next to arrive Confit Duck Risotto, confit duck with reggiano parmigiano portobello mushrooms and risotto.
Entree was pan fried Chilean sea bass on a bed of sauteed spinach with portobello mushrooms with white wine butter sauce.
The menu includes a full range of steaks all prepared and served with specially prepared sauces or vegetables.  We have never seen a menu with as many side vegetables and sauces as that displayed by Chef Phil. Twenty different items by count.
Desserts are memorable at this restaurant thanks to the skill of Pastry Chef Christian Boinard.
Renaissance is located at  5930 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles.  As restaurant for the Manor Hotel it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.  For more information call 323 960-3100.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ever wonder how your favorite wine choices fit in with the general population.
According to the Wine Institute, in retail sales, the most popular wine types were Chardonnay (20% share), Cabernet Sauvignon (13%), Merlot (9%), Red Blends/Sweet Reds (9%) and Pinot Grigio (9%), followed by Moscato (6%), White Zinfandel (5%), Pinot Noir (4%), and Sauvignon Blanc (4%). Moscato, Malbec and Red blends experienced double digit growth, while after that, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir exhibited the next strongest upward trends.
No need to worry about a shortage of your favorite California wine.  The state enjoyed back to back record wine grape harvests in 2012 and 2013.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

We were meeting friends in Santa Barbara and chose Marmalade Cafe for our luncheon.  This is a small chain of four restaurants, all located in Southern California.
Marmalade has achieved a reputation for showing a very contemporary menu that is upbeat and with frequent entree changes.
I chose the seared Ahi with Napa slaw and was delighted with my plate when it arrived.  Another at our table ordered the chicken tacos which arrived on a platter with rice, and  black beans.  We noted that the menu showed some most interesting entree salads like poached salmon Nicoise.
There were also flat breads and unusual pastas like artichoke ravoli.
The service matched the food in excellence so it proved to be a very nice event.
Marmalade Cafe in Santa Barbara is located at 3825 State Street with both inside and patio dining and free off street parking.  Tele. 1 805 682-5246.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Before leaving Yuma we had to see  two places that are a must for every visitor interested in history.  They are the Territorial Prison and the Quartermaster Depot.  Because of the importance of the Yuma Crossing of the Colorado River the U. S. Army established a base there to supply its Forts stretched over a large portion of the southwest.
The Base  proved to be of vast importance to the early pioneers who planned to settle and farm in the region.  Also to those moving on west to the California Gold Rush.
The Territorial Prison was established shortly after the railroad reached Yuma.  It was opened in 1876 and the first prisoners were put to work in its construction.
When first opened it was a grim place indeed but over the years as it expanded  a hospital, library and recreational activities were provided for the inmates.  It closed in 1909.
Both the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park are open every day for visitors with tours available.

Friday, April 18, 2014

With the City of Yuma currently celebrating its 100 year Centennial many special events and activities have been scheduled, some while we were there. 
The history of the Yuma crossing of the Colorado River extends back many centuries before the City existed and became chartered.  It was one of the few places the River could be forded when it was large and with fast water.  It was where the Indians crossed, then the first Spanish explorers followed by the many Americans who went west to California during the 1849 gold rush.
The Colorado River was tamed with several dams but its importance is still great as the water source for all the agricultural development that has taken place in the area with Yuma as its hub.
The 2014 Taco Festival was one of the events we attended.  It took place at the Fairgrounds and was a part of Music Fest.  Fifty eight local food outlets took part in featuring their own version of this southwest tasty..  Twenty eight took part in a Taco cookoff with a whole team of judges on hand to select the best taco.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The historic downtown area of Yuma has much to offer.  First thing was to take a photo of the sign that reads "Welcome, Yuma-Gateway to the Great Southwest".
We visited Desert Olive Farms located at 224 Main Street.  Grace Benson Edgar, managing partner, greeted us and explained that the store is relatively new but that interest in planting olive groves in the region is expanding.  We did taste  the extra virgin olive oils, some plain others flavored with herbs and spices.
Wine Shops are a magnet for this Writer so we made a quick visit to Old Town Wine Cellar located at 265 Main Street.  Mike Shelhamer is proprietor and his store is well stocked with wines from many regions and countries
When we stepped into Lutes Casino for lunch we immediately knew this was our kind of place. Lutes is an institution in Yuma as a favored watering hole and bistro and has been so for fifty years.  We met and chatted with Bob and Nancy Lutes, a brother and sister team, who operate it with Bob's son, Michael.  The bar and restaurant is decorated from floor to ceiling with an amazing collection of memorabilia and artifacts.  But most important is that the food was outstanding and our tri tip sandwich memorable.  The menu is large and the service excellent.  Lutes Casino is located at 221 Main Street.   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This day in Yuma, among other adventures, we learned more about the birds and the bees thanks to David Mansheim, manager of the Bard Date Company.  We went to a date palm grove to learn how they are grown and produce their fruit.  There are male and female palm trees.  The male trees provide the pollen that seed the dates which only grow on the female trees.  In the grove we visited there were hundreds of trees with only one male tree for fifty female trees.
The bees hang out in the male trees.  Palm  trees grow an average of a foot a year and produce one crop a year with harvest in September.
That evening we journeyed to the Quechan Casino & Resort located west of Yuma just off Interstate 8.  It is a very large, lush complex of casino, 166 guest rooms, a huge patio with heated pool and unique Lazy River for floating about.
We were there to dine at the upscale Ironwood Steakhouse and were not disappointed.  The ambiance excellent, the cuisine memorable and the staff most professional. 
It capped a most interesting day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Off for Yuma, Arizona to take part in the City's Centennial Celebration.  I have a golden rule for travel. It is to always know in advance were you are going to spend that night.
It was no problem this trip.  I was staying at the Best Western Coronado Motor Hotel.  When I travel an automobile is my security blanket.  The closer I stay to my wheels the better.  Which explains why I like motor hotels like the Coronado.  Parked two steps from my door the car is always available, necessary for me, since it is my closet, office and snack bar when I am traveling.
After the 300 mile drive I was happy to settle in my room.  Who could ask for more--a comfortable sofa, a desk just right for my computer, a refrigerator for cooling my water bottles, a micro wave oven, flat screen TV and best of all that king size bed.
So when I stepped into my room at the Coronado it was with the smug satisfaction that comes with clever advance planning.
Much more to follow on Yuma.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Last night I was one of the hosts when the Southern California Restaurant Writers staged their 40th Annual Awards Banquet.  The most interesting Astor Classics Museum and Events Center was the place where some of the regions top restaurateurs received their awards.
Named Restaurateur of theYear was Andrew Silber of the Whale & Tail in San Pedro.  Chef of the Year was Stefan Weck of the Highland Springs Resort.  In all some 528 restaurants received awards this year.
They ranged from five stars to two stars and were grouped in their own category.
The Southern California Restaurant Writers are a non profit organization and any proceeds from events are for culinary arts students scholarships.  Also individuals and restaurants donate to the program.  These are awarded in the name of the Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund each year to students at Harbor, Glendale and Orange Coast Community Colleges.  Also to culinary arts students are Riverside City College and San Bernardino Community College.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica proved to be the perfect location for the wine tasting of the Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux.  The Cercle Rive Droite was established in 2002 and then Cercle Rive Gauche  followed in 2013. Now combined the Grand Cercle showcases some 200 Bordeaux wines from both banks of the Gironde Estuary.
We met with Alain Raynaud, president and founder of Grand Cercle, who explained that the thirty nine wineries represented at the tasting included almost every region of both the right and left bank of the Gironde River.
Most of the winery tables were hosted by the winery owners and we had most interesting conversations with some of them while tasting their excellent vintages.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Courses in culinary arts are very popular in Southern California Community Colleges.  Today I was at Los Angeles Harbor College to look in, once again, on their culinary arts program. As part of the program there is AM Harbor Bistro, a cafe where the staff are all students.  It is open for lunch Monday thru Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  On Thursday evenings a five course dinner is served starting at 5:30 p.m.
We were at the College to have lunch with Giovanni DelRosario who is director of the school's program.
And to present him a check of $1000 for student culinary arts scholarships.  The Southern California Restaurant Writers have had a scholarship fund almost since the organization was founded 40 years ago.  It is named the Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund in honor of the woman who founded the Writers group
Harbor College is one of five Southern California schools that will receive checks for students in culinary arts programs.
We enjoyed an excellent lunch which opened with onion soup, Potato Crusted Cod with Chive Butter Sauce and Asparagus, finishing with a chocolate brownie cake for dessert.  It was all excellent showing that the students are well on their way for culinary careers.
As Scholarship Chairman for the So. Calif. Writers I will be busy in the next two months visiting the other schools that are part of the program, presenting scholarships and attending graduations.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Web has made exploring foreign places in ways unknown just a quarter century ago.  My Father was a subscriber to the National Geographic Magazine which was a great way for such armchair explorations in an earlier time.   From my earliest memories  I read every issue and then became a subscriber on my own  to this very day.
Which probably explains my consistently seeking wines from other parts of the world.  My recent exposure to some wines from Uruguay required further investigation.  In South America Uruguay ranks fourth in the wine producing countries which include Argentine, Chile and Brazil.
In Uruguay the ranking varietal is Tannat which Basque immigrants brought with them.  It is native to southwest France and parts of Spain.  In California there are only small vineyards of this varietal and these planted just  a few years ago.
 Tannat has a reputation of being difficult for the winemaker because of high tannins and so  is usually used for blending with other varietals.
The wines I tasted were blends of Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat with Syrah.  I found them interesting, quite distinctive and enjoyable.  The Winery was Tanterra from the San  Jose region in Uruguay and the wines well aged in both oak barrels and bottle.
Uruguayan wines are not easy to find in California, but I though, worth the effort.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nothing is harder to find in Southern California that a true underground cellar, and this is especially true if it involves a restaurant.  So when The Federal in Long Beach unveiled its new underground entertainment venue earlier this year it was really news.
We got our first view of it yesterday when we attended the "Let's Do Launch" event which celebrated Long Beach's first restaurant week.
This took place at The Federal's new Underground located at First and Pine Street.  Taking part was a live broadcast of the SoCal Restaurant Show on Angels Radio AM 830.
Then there were the culinary tasties provided by The Federal, La Strada Italiano, US Foods, and Choctal.
And of course we spent some time talking with Kara P:otthast, sales exec of Kiwi Distributing Co., importers of some very exciting wines.  We particularly liked the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from New Zealand.  The grapes were from Wairau Valley known for producing excellent white wines.
We also were impressed with Robertson Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.  We already knew that South Africa makes outstanding wines and this vintage proved that once again.
The International Food, Wine & Travel Writers were well represented at this event with Linda Kissam, IFW vice president, Roger Paige, IFW Executive Secretary.  and members Andrew Harris, who was one of the trio broadcasting live on Angels Radio AM 830, and this Writer 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Private country clubs are just that.  But if you want to enjoy all the facilities and amenities of a private country club you can do just that at the Tustin Ranch Golf Club which is open to the public.
We were there one day last week to meet with Executive Chef Bert Agor who has been responsible for creating a new culinary scene at the Club.  Since taking over as Executive Chef Agor, besides fine dining in a casual style, there are now winemaker and craft brew dinners, cooking classes and in summer 'music under the stars', outdoor dining with live music.
The Sunday Brunch has received immediate fame for its lavish variety.  In the restaurant there is the Featured Specials menu which changes weekly.  Also there is the Pine Creek BBQ Patio for special events and The Players Lounge with its own bar and open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a full menu.
The Tustin Ranch Golf Club is located at 12442 Tustin Ranch Road in Tustin,   For more information call 714 734-2106.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cafe Camellia in Bellflower has long been a leader in the quality of the wine list and the skill Owner-Executive Chef Richard Alm shows in blending his Asian fusion cuisine with French fare.  It had been much too long since our last visit but Richard was on hand to greet us.
We were there with Jim Woodin's Academy of Culinary Professionals and were served a seven course, Tapas styled dinner which can only be described as memorable.
This restaurant, rates four stars each year, has long been a leader in the quality of the wine list and the skill Richard Alm always displays in matching the food with the wines. And once again we were not disappointed.
Five wines were served with the tapas starting with a Sonoma Brut sparkling wine and finishing with a 1999 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. 
Cafe Camellia, with full bar and lounge, is located at 16916 Bellflower Blvd. in Bellflower.  Off street free parking is available.Telephone 562 866-2824.  It is open for lunch Monday thru Friday and for dinner six nights, closed Sundays.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our visit to Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas was most instructive as it gave us the opportunity to experience true Neapolitan Pizza.  Naples, Italy is the home of pizza which is about 300 years old.
In 1984 makers of pizza in Naples decided to form an organization that would safeguard the making of true Naples pizza. 
Officially approved Vera Pizza Napoletana is now being made almost world wide.
The official base for this product, in the USA and Canada,  is located at 4040 Del Rey Avenue in Marina Del Rey where classes are conducted on how to prepare authentic Pizza.
We were given a quick seminar on how true Napoletana is prepared and best of all were allowed to consume some of the delicious pizzas.  The basic ingredients are flour, tomato and buffalo Mozzarella.
What impressed us the most was the wonderful crust, the best we have ever tasted in a pizza.
To learn more about VPA and the classes at Marina Del Rey call 323 653-5792.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It has been some time since we had visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  The time for this visit was most appropriate as the Aquarium is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.
We were amazed at how many changes had taken place since we were last there.  The exhibits have been created to match the geography and life of separate parts of the Pacific Ocean.
First is the Southern California and Baja Coast, then the North Pacific coast Gallery and the Tropical Pacific Gallery which, with its beautiful corals, was new to us.
We started with the Ocean Exploration gallery which provides a history how man's exploration of our water planet has progressed through the centuries.
It was a busy day at the Aquarium with hosts of small children, others in large groups being chaperoned by harried adults.  It was most interesting to watch the children, enjoy their wonder and excitement as they  studied each exhibit.  There was much for them to see with the live seal, penguin and sea otter exhibitions.
One thing we did learn that it is impossible to truly experience the Aquarium in just one visit.
We will have much to add to this visit with our story in the Summer issue of Vittles.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

This was our day to visit the San Fernando Valley Relics Cultural Museum.  This Museum is the creative effort of one man, Tommy Gelinas, who collected artifacts and memorabilia  pertaining to the Valley, for  years before founding Valley Relics in 1997 as a non profit organization.
His collection, including cars, restaurant signs, and artifacts outgrew its original location so the Museum was opened six months ago at 21630 Marilla Street in Chatsworth.
As a long time resident of the San Fernando Valley many of the exhibits were familiar to me including some of the restaurants which I enjoyed for years as a customer
There is an interesting exhibit of the Hollywood and San Fernando Valley movie cowboys and western themed musical groups.
The collection of match book covers was a visit down memory lane for this Writer.  At some of the restaurants I had written reviews in the long distant past.
Tommy Gelinas has indeed captured a large part of San Fernando Valley history at his museum.
Valley Relics is open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Admission and parking are free.  For more information call 818  678-4934. on the web at

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

As we boarded the USS Iowa, berthed adjacent to the Cruise Terminal in San Pedro, our name was called as a military service veteran.  This is standard procedure aboard Iowa as it readies itself for inspection by people of all ages.
This battleship has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in serving the United States Navy and the country through three conflicts of the 20th century.  It took part in World War 2, the Korean War and the Cold War.
It had 20 years of active service, and 50 years in the Naval Reserve.
In 2011 it was presented to the Pacific Battleship Center and on July 7, 2012 opened at the Port of Los Angeles for public display and tours.
It was our first visit to a battleship and just looking at those 16 inch guns was breath taking.  When fired a projectile as tall as a man can hit a target 26 miles away.  Later the ship was  provided with Tomahawk Cruise Missiles that extended its firepower dramatically
Visiting the Iowa is delightfully easy.  Signs on the 110 freeway guide you to the huge parking lot that brings one just steps from the ticket office and ship.  Parking fees are most modest.  Once aboard docents are everywhere to answer questions and guide one through the ship.
We thought it a great experience.  It is open seven days a week for tours. For more information call 877 446-9261, on the web at  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

On Monday I had the opportunity to tour the Costa Deliziosa  and lunch aboard while it was docked at Los Angeles Harbor.  Costa is an European based cruise line which has been in business since 1948.  Currently it has fourteen ships in its fleet.
The Costa Deliziosa"s stopover was  a part of its 101 day globe circling cruise.  The Costa fleet usually cruise the Mediterranean with a very international guest list.  Generally a Costa cruise is made up of thirty per cent Italian, 30 per cent German, 30 per cent French and the remainder from many countries.
The Costa Deliziosa presents an artistic ambiance that is all its own with unusually large lounge and entertainment rooms.
Our luncheon was in the Restorante Abatros dining room.  The menu included Shrimps sauteed with mint,tomato and battered zucchini as the appetizer, our Pasta, Risotto with artichokes and parsley.  The entree was a choice of either grilled sea bass fillet dressed with oil and lemon and served with chateau potatoes or oven cooked Guinea fowl served with mashed potatoes, onions and sauteed bell peppers.
We selected the sea bass and were not disappointed.  Dessert was warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.
We did not want to leave Costa Deliziosa.  Next stop was San Francisco, then Honolulu, then Pago Pago, then Suva in Fiji, but why go on.
We cried all the way home.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I have been familiar with the Make a Wish Foundation which brings dreams to reality for children with health problems.  But now I will able to take an active part in the organization's fund raising wine and restaurant tasting event to be held at the Four Season Hotel in Westlake Village.
Place Friday March 14 on your calendar for this event which will include some 35 wineries and 20 restaurants with a background of live music for sipping and tasting.
Some one thousand people are expected to attend this event from the west San Fernando Valley and Ventura county communities. 
The event is being sponsored by Tesla.  More details will follow for this event.

Friday, January 31, 2014

I did bring my appetite with me on boarding Carnival Imagination.  Fortunately, since I have had some very special culinary experiences in the Pride Dining Room.
In the past year Carnival has made some major upgrades in its dinner menus and in the future a whole new menu  to be called American Feast will follow.
One evening we opened with Escargot Bordelaise, another dinner with stuffed mushrooms and a third with Asparagus Vichyssoise.  Some of our entrees included lobster tail with large grilled shrimp, one evening a flat iron steak, unbelievable in flavor and tenderness.
The menu is large and varies each day but some favorite entrees are always available. 
There is a different "did you ever try' item each evening and we usually ordered them.  A cured salmon we enjoyed one evening was memorable.  The French styled escargot excellent.
With its outstanding cuisine and superior service we had to give both dining rooms, Pride and Spirit, five stars.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Aboard Carnival Imagination to Mexico proved to be a delightful experience.  Imagination had just completed a 16 day cruise from Miami through the Panama Canal to reach Long Beach.  Now it will be making Carnival's very popular three and four day Mexico cruises throughout the summer.
Our Ensenada shore excursion was to  Valle de Guadalupe, Baja's premiere wine country.  We visited L A Cetto once again and our tasting reminded us just how good their wines are. 
New to us was La Casa de Dona Lupe which proved to be an experience that went far beyond a routine wine tasting.  We met with Dona Lupe and told her how much we loved her Mexican gardens and patio.
This winery also has a restaurant renown for its pizza and variety of fresh baked breads.  Her Son, Daniel is winemaker and dedicated to making organic wines.
More about all this in a future issue of Vittles Newsletter.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Pierpont Inn has been an attraction in Ventura since its founding in 1910.  With its classic bungalow style it is now one of the historic hotels of America.
We were there, once again, this time for lunch in the dining room named Austin's Restaurant.  Situated high on a bluff the Inn and restaurant offer wondrous views of the adjacent Pacific Coast.  This day there were a few high clouds but the clear air placed the Channel Islands in view on the horizon.
My dining partner selected the grilled chicken Panini with provoline cheese and a roasted red pepper sauce.
My entree was  wild mushroom ravioli with a brandy cream sauce.
Our table offered a perfect view of the ocean and both the fare and the service outstanding.
As part of the Inn Austin's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The Pierpont Inn is located at 550 Sanjon Road in Ventura just a few minutes from Highway 101.For more information call 805 643-6144.

Friday, January 3, 2014

It has been awhile since we visited Taix in Los Angeles but its classic country French cuisine beckoned once again.  And we found  that here at least the stars were still in their courses.
Recently the restaurant, now in its 86th year, has become very popular with the 25 to 40 year old hipster set that has made Echo Park and Silver Lake one of the trendiest part of the City.
The action in the bar and lounge does not get started until about 11 p.m. and then becomes busy indeed.  And from Wednesday thru the weekend the kitchen now stays open till 1 a.m.  We had to take the word of G.M Michael Taix for this since our bar hopping days are long gone.
We enjoyed a long, leisure luncheon and besides meeting Michael also congratulated two employes who have been with the restaurant for fifty years.
With its traditional French cuisine, caring wait service and most reasonable prices there is no mystery to its long time success.