Monday, June 27, 2016

It is probably fortunate that the west San Fernando Valley is a long freeway ride to Tustin in Sunday  Highway 5 traffic
For each Sunday Tustin Ranch Golf Club has  the best  brunch we have ever experienced.  Only the distance keeps us from enjoying it more often.
However we were there yesterday, met with charming Sous Chef  Sara Guccione, settled in at a table overlooking a picturesque scene that included parts of the golf course, and after a glass of champagne moved  to the many  delicacies.
We love seafood and here we found all that we could desire.  Our plate soon was loaded with oysters on the half shell, crab legs, large cocktail shrimp, lox, calamari and butterfly shrimp.
We almost felt guilty going back to see what else was on the menu that day.  There was Santa Barbara BBQed tri-tip, lamb medallions, and a Brit styled mac and cheese.
Another table had all the making of a traditional breakfast with bacon, sausage and hash browns. Another table stacked with salads.
After our shameful attack on the seafood we only sampled some of the above described tasties but after sighting the huge display of desserts we were back once more and confess to one chocolate cream eclair and an originally prepared Brownie.
Tustin Ranch Golf Club, while open to the public, has all the facilities and ambiance of a private golf club.
It is located at 12442 Tustin Ranch Road in Tustin.  For more information call 714 734-2111, on the web at

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The place to enjoy live concerts and musicals in Phoenix is the Arizona Broadway Theatre and we were there one evening for the dinner show that included Rock of Ages themed on the musical world of the 1980s.
The theatre is completely equipped for serving quality cocktails and  dinners with tables and chairs on every level. all with an open view to the stage.
We enjoyed a leisurely dinner with a Italian wedding soup followed by an entree of boneless chicken breast layered with cherry wood smoked bacon and mozzarella cheese. 
The show that followed is set on Los Angeles Sunset Strip where a boy and girl arrive to become famous while falling in love.
We found this amusing since during the 1980s era of the show our office was located just a few blocks from the Strip.The result was we spent a good deal of time relaxing from hard work  in some of the famous watering holes on the Strip.
The songs were from classic rock bands of the 1980s as the plot moves along at a leisurely pace.
This is the eleventh season for the Broadway Theatre and some of the  shows include Shrek the Musical, West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.  There is also a large concert series.
We thought our dinner excellent and noticed the courtesy and efficiency of the wait staff.
Arizona Broadway Theatre is located at 7701 W. Paradise Lane in Peoria, Arizona.  Web at, Telephone 623 776-8400.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The two museums we wanted to visit in Phoenix were the MIM, Musical Instrument museum and the Heard which is devoted to the art and culture of the native Americans.  The Heard is eighty years old and has twelve galleries devoted to many of the individual tribes that have lived in the southwest for centuries.
We were much interested the a special exhibit that shows the impact the Santa Fe Railroad and the Fred Harvey Company had in attracting people to the southwest in the late 19th century.
The promotions these companies conducted brought many thousands of 'easterners' to see the southwest Indian country.
Little known is the fact that the Federal Government forced Indian children to attend residential boarding schools often far from the home reservations.  And then insisted that the learn English and abandon their native language and culture.  There is a dramatic exhibit that tells this story at the Heard.
Heard Museum is located in downtown Phoenix and open seven days a week at 2301 N. Central Avenue.
Call 602 252-8840 for information or the web at
There is nothing like the MIM,Musical Instrument Museum anywhere else in the world.  It exhibits the musical instruments used everywhere on the globe.  There are separate exhibition halls for Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia.
We loved the the audio and video equipment that allows each visitor to hear the instruments on exhibit playing by just walking up to a sign.
The U.S. is especially well covered with separate exhibits for jazz, blues, country, hip hop and many others.
Asia is has separate exhibits for south, east and southeast parts of the continent.
The MIM Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. Phoenix. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information the web at, telephone 480 478-6000.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

One morning we had breakfast at the Lone Spur Cafe in Peoria, Arizona.  We loved the place with its decor and ambiance dedicated to the time of the cowboy and an earlier era of the southwest.   The walls are covered with western art, cowboy fixtures and artifacts.
As for the menu the conclusion is that cowboys had really healthy appetites.  Here are items like pork chops and eggs, cowboy size jumbo breakfast Burrito, corned beef hash and eggs  or a hand cut top sirloin steak and eggs.
We had the opportunity to meet Owner  Cory Farley and he explained that Lone Spur was new to Peoria being open six months.  The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch every day but dinner only on Friday evening.
The Lone Spur Cafe is located at 9780 W Northern Avenue in Peoria.  Telephone 623 773-7338.
Later in the day we visited the Heard Museum which is world famous for how it presents the lives and way of life of the native  southwest American people.  There are exhibits on the history and culture of each tribe and much of their art as well.
We were much interested in a current special exhibition which tells the story of the Santa Fe Railroad and the Fred Harvey Company and how they  gave millions of people their first introduction to Arizona and the southwest
The Heard Museum is open daily and located at 2301 North Central Avenue in Phoenix.  Telephone 602 252-8840, web

Monday, June 20, 2016

With our arrival in Phoenix our first destination was the Wigwam, Arizona Resort in Litchfield Park.  Over many years this resort has earned a five star rating and soon after our arrival we had no reason to question that.
After registering a guide in a golf course told us to follow him in our car and so led us to our room and parking spot.  Our room was the size of a small cottage with a front door adjacent to a private patio with table and chairs as well as a back door just steps away from our car.
Inside the room included two queen size  beds, a huge bath with both walk in shower and huge tub, a walk in closet as well as a bar with counter, sink and refrigerator.
The architecture and decor of Wigwam is early Spanish southwest and this theme is carried on to room decor as well with open beamed ceilings.
The next thing we learned about Wigwam was its huge size when with golf course appears to take up a good portion of Litchfield Park which is principally a high end residential area of Phoenix.
The purpose of our trip to Phoenix was to, in a few days, visit and learn about just what the Greater Phoenix area has to offer the visitor.
Once past the usual heavy traffic getting out of the Los Angeles area our drive on Interstate 10 was easy and with much to admire in the immense desert landscape we passed.
From the San Fernando Valley where we live the trip took just six and one half hours.
More about our visit tomorrow.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

With the 'Mummies of the World' exhibition Bowers Museum has done it again.  This Museum has a long tradition of exhibiting the world's greatest cultural art.  Its own collection includes art of China, New Guinea and the South Sea Islands.
Most of the mummies in the current exhibition were not buried with mummification as a purpose.  Rather they have been preserved by a unique set of natural circumstances.  Sometimes  it was a dry climate or a natural freeze-dry process took place.  The ones shown are from Europe, Asia and South America.
Previously we have written about Bowers exhibitions that included China's Terry Cotta warriors, Mummies of ancient Egypt and Secrets of the Silk Road.
The current Mummies exhibition will continue until October 2016.
Bowers Museum is located at 2002 North Main Street in Santa Ana just off Interstate 5.  It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  On Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  For more information call 714 567-3600.  On the web at

Friday, June 10, 2016

We have long recognized that Wang Tcheng is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Anaheim and our dining experience last evening did nothing to change that opinion.
Adding to the excellent cuisine of Chef and Owner Lance Wang, which continues to show both Chinese classics and his own house specialties, the decor and ambiance is very special here.
This thanks to Penny, co-owner and wife of Chef Wang who brought her background as a fashion designer to make dining here a warm, relaxing and serene experience.
This is a large restaurant and often hosts large parties and gatherings and has rooms and divided areas to make these events truly private affairs.
Careful attention shows everywhere here.  The service staff is elegantly attired in orange shirts, black slacks with black tie to match and one is always greeted with a smile.
Unlike the typical Chinese restaurant there is an intimate bar and lounge away from the dining areas.
Chef Wang offers a very large menu.  We opened with Szechwan shrimp, clams with black bean sauce and sauteed sea cucumber.  Then a deep fried pork loin with eggplant in garlic sauce. Also  deep fried white chicken meat in a green onion, black pepper and jalapino sauce.  We always must have Lo Mein and here enjoyed it with veggies.
Wang Tcheng, with this kind of cuisine, has been delighting the folks of Anaheim since the day it opened eight years ago.
Wang Tcheng is located at 1199 N Euclid Street in Anaheim with free off street parking.  It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.  Banquet facilities are available and there is delivery for orders online at  Telephone 714 778-9988. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Palm Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was the place where a press event announced the coming of Palmer & Co. to the West coast.
This high end Champagne producer joined the ranks of France's champagne producers decades ago but only entered the U.S. market last year on the East coast.
.We were greeted by Raymond Ringeval, Export Manager for Palmer and Bill Rumbolz, western division manager for Gonzalez Byass Famila de Vino USA.
Raymond explained that Palmer was founded by a group of established growers in Avize, France.  These growers owned vineyards in two of the most respected regions of Champagne--La Coe deSezanne and La Vallee with most of the vineyards designated as Premier and Grand crus.
We tasted four wines starting with Champagne Palmer Brut Reserve which has four years aging on lees.  We thought  it elegant and wondered what was to come since it was in the lowest price range at $50.  Next was Champagne Palmer Brut Rose Reserve.  Enjoying the high end, price wise, was Amazone de Palmer Tete de Cuvee and this wine was truly memorable.
The three grape varietals  used in Palmer champagnes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier enjoy much aging in solera  before blending.
While we tasted four champagnes actually eight different cuvees will be available in the US.
The Palm Restaurant was the perfect place for this event and with the tasting of these champagnes we were able to match them with elegant appetizers and then a buffet of quality entrees that have given this restaurant much fame through the years.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Once again we attended the 'Bordeaux Under One Roof'' tasting now in its sixth year in Los Angeles. The quality of Bordeaux Chateau wines and high prices are often linked but this event is designed to demonstrate that this is not the case.
For at this event one hundred eleven wineries from both left and right bank of the Gironde River  showed affordable wines that ranged in price from $10 to $55. 
The event was well organized and took place at Hudson Loft in downtown Los Angeles conducted by the Bordeaux Wine Council.
For the media representative like this Writer with so many importers and wineries present it is only possible to single out a few for special attention.
We started by meeting Virginie Leveque, sales manager of Wine Book which represents six Chateau wineries all producing red wines.  All from different districts, Chateau Larrivaux from Haut-Medoc, Chateau La Bessane of  Margaux and Chateau Lafon-Rochet from Saint-Estephe to name a few.
Barton & Guestier wines have been an acquaintance of this writer for decades so we moved to that booth and chatted with Lara Sterling and tasted Chateau Magnol 2013 blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
We also met with Roberto Cardella who represents Golden State Wine Co. and tasted four excellent chateau wines all ranged between $10 and $20.
It proved to be a busy afternoon.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Our recent visit to the West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad appeared to be all about food.
En route there we stopped  at San Juan Capistrano and found Selma's Chicago Pizza.  Chicago Pizza was new to us.  We knew of New York pizza but the credit for pizza really belongs in Naples, Italy.
As it turned out Chicago Pizza is deep dish prepared and we were delighted with our order which came with Italian sausage added as a topping.
Selma's has a bar and many craft beers, all on tap.  The menu stays with Italian style sandwiches, wraps and salads.  Here breads and panini are house baked.  Also made in house are the meat balls from an old family recipe and the Italian sausage.
'Our service for one pizza' was a special of the day and ours was perfect for lunch.
Selma's is located at 31781 Camino Capistrano, one block from the train station in San Juan Capistrano.  Telephone 949 429-3599. Hours ll a.m. to 9 p.m. with a Happy Hour for drinks and appetizers 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The restaurants we write about always are a long way from where we live.  So when the chance came to visit a new place to eat just eight minutes from where we live our joy could hardly be contained.
Called Togo's Sandwiches it is part of Togo's Eateries which has locations in six western states. 
We met and had lunch at the new Togo's Chatsworth with Owner Tom Menik and Megan Olsen, Togo's regional marketing manager.
The day we were there the place was bustling with people ordering their favorite sandwich, wrap or salad.
Togo's has achieved fame for the freshness and quality of their sandwiches, especially their signature Pastrami and roast beef sandwiches which can be ordered hot or cold.
Soon our table was loaded with samples of what Togo Chatsworth has to offer  including the above and  favorites, the turkey & avocado sandwich and the bacon ranch chicken wrap.  Everything is made to order and there is a choice of four different breads for the sandwiches.
Located near a large commercial area Togo's also enjoys a large takeout clientele with ordered in advance box lunches and  catering for meetings and parties.
Togo's Chatsworth is located at 20790 Nordhoff Street in Chatsworth with plenty of off street parking.
It is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m .  Food can be ordered in advance by calling 747 202-9257 or on the web at Delivery is available in the local community.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

On our way home from Carlsbad we stopped in Oceanside to check out the Oceanside Broiler located in the Marina.  We were well acquainted with the two award winning restaurants in Newport Beach under the same ownership.
The location has been a landmark for decades but the Broiler underwent a complete renovation and now offers a completely new decor and ambiance.
The outdoor patio dining area places you just yards from the water and a sparkling Marine view. Inside there is a casual cocktail lounge and several dining rooms.
At the restaurant we met General Manager Warren Hyde as well as the Sous Chef Thomas Mellen who prepared some of the specialties on the menu we enjoyed that day.
First there was the New England clam chowder and chicken lettuce wraps  followed by an Appetizer Platter with fried calamari, coconut shrimp and, our favorite, ahi poke.  Our entrees included swordfish and filet mignon.
This restaurant shows an unusually large menu for both lunch and dinner.  The seafood selections are many and steak is offered with many choices.
There is free off street parking and the views offered 24 hours a day.
Oceanside Broiler is located at 1325 Harbor Drive North in Oceanside open seven days a week for lunch 11:30  to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Telephone 760 722-3474, web