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.