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.