Saturday, September 15, 2012

Here we go.....

               So hit or miss trip so far. The hotel, as interesting and cool as it was, was in a REALLY bad neighborhood. The rent a car screwed us hard so we had to scramble to do some things we wanted to do. Also the rent a car fiasco cost me a chance to reconnect with friends I really wanted to see, but I do suppose if they really wanted to see me they could have come my way. Any way onto good stuff.
               The hotel was actually a (questionable) international hostel. Cool atmosphere and interesting people watching. The place had a pool, bar, and restaurant that they kept in a constant state of party. I swear at two am I went down to get a vending machine treat and people were engaged in sexual congress in the pool. Interesting.
               Due to lack of rental car we had to bus to Exposition Park, and our time there was more limited than I would have liked. Still we managed to see the Rose Garden, some of USC, The California Science Center, and The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The highlight by far being the extensive gem and mineral collection at the LACNHM. It was too extensive to describe and I saw many beautiful things.
               The next day we were rescued from the evil hostel area by my dear friend Kitsune. We were spirited away to beautiful Anaheim. We walked Downtown Disney and I cooked us a good grilled meal (veggies and pork chops!) We made that an early night as the next day we were bound for the happiest place on earth.
               We awoke to clouded and cooled weather. We arrived and were ushered in to the Disneyland Park. Kitsune had a friend that managed to get us into the park for free as well which was more amazing than I could have hoped. We got pins and commenced trading with the awesome cast members. The park was a good time. Not a lot of people thanks to the time of year, we didn’t wait more than 25 minutes for any ride. The weather stayed cool and it was a good day. Let’s see am I forgetting anything? Hmmm…Oh yeah…I surprised the hell out of Danger by proposing in the magic castle in the middle of Disneyland. She said yes. It was cool. Oh yeah, and Captain Eo is back. It was lame.
               We spent the next two days recuperating from Disneyland at my parents’ house I the 7th level of hell, I mean The Valley. A trip to The Getty was spoiled by a massive brush fire. No huge thing but I do enjoy The Getty and I am sorry Danger won’t see it.  As I write this we sit in a movie theater waiting to see the entire Indiana jones movie collection (awesome) as the end to our trip. We fly back tomorrow and I am looking forward to the day of nothing before a new work week. More food later and then at the end I will post a blog naming and locating all the places I ate at. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


               Second on my food before and after blog entry is a place called Michael’s.
Michael’s is a family diner. Very short order grill, they do burgers, fries, sandwiches, and gyros. Oh the gyros. My memory of this place as a kid was good. Fantastic food, always having it delivered and eating as a treat with family. I figured that was going to be the key to this place’s down fall in my memory. As a kid my family always ordered from this place as a treat. We didn’t have a whole lot of money growing up so when we ate out it was a real reward to us. And Michael’s was one of the go to celebratory meals.
It bears mentioning as well that when I say we ordered from this place when I was a kid, I mean it. This place has been in business for longer than I have been alive. The owner operator is still there too, the titular Michael himself. As a matter of fact he was the one who took our order and helped cook our meal, and he recognized me too. It gives me hope to see businesses like that, hope that I may have a successful business too someday, but I digress.
So when my mom suggested we go there I was all for it. The Gyros were still the best I have ever had. Flavorful met, veggies, and of course the tangy and creamy Tzatziki sauce. All still as good as my memory. I also remembered my favorite side dish of theirs, fried zucchini sticks. I remember them being flavorful and crisp. I don’t know if I just got a bad batch or what, but mine weren’t very good this time around. Mushy and bland, they really were terrible. A far cry from the tasty bits I used to look forward too.
So, Michael’s still has the best Gyros I have ever had. That says a lot because it is one of my favorite dishes ever. Some of their other dishes have gone downhill a bit. 

That's What a Memory Is All About....

               The first in my before and after food blog series is here. Celebrate….I said CELEBRATE!!! Thank you.
               The first is In & Out. For those who live under a rock at the bottom of the ocean, In & Out does burgers. They do burgers, fries, and shakes. That’s it. My memories of this place are good ones. I remember Friday nights with friends in The Valley (The San Fernando Valley, as if there was any other). Most of all I remember the food. Fresh meat for burger patties (never frozen if the commercials are to be believed), fries that were potatoes a few seconds prior to touching oil, and delicious chocolate shakes.
               My training in culinary has given me certain bias towards fast food. Terrible food at cheap prices, manufactured with no artistry by high school drop outs, etcetera, etcetera. So I was actually hesitant to go back least my good memories of food and friends be destroyed. I need not worry. The food is good and fresh. Grilled onions and, fresh vegetable stand atop a good burger. The fries, good as they were are not my favorite. In order to make fries extra crispy most places give them a soak in water to expunge extra starches. Because their fries are potatoes seconds before In & Out doesn’t do this (at least I don’t think they do, forgive me if I am wrong). The result is a slightly soggy fry that has a crunchy coating.
               With the fries though I will chalk it up to personal taste. The flavor was good and I ate everyone, but the texture wasn’t what I like anymore. I have clear memories of inhaling these fries by the ton and loving them, for those very qualities I am denouncing now. So, yeah, personal taste shift.
               Over all I love this place and can’t wait to eat their again. I think as far as fast food goes In & Out stands as a king among their kind.   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Down in The Valley.....

Welcome to Los Angeles. Our trip started with a trial of follies. We arrived at the airport well ahead of our flight. By three hours actually, only to find out that the planes takeoff time was moved from 1150am to 450pm. We waited about 7 hours at the airport and lost an evening in LA.
I am angry about the situation, yet Danger is not. I want to make phone calls (to Allegiant Air, the airline in question) and ream the company, because we also were not notified that our return flight was moved as well. Oh well. On to LA. The flight was fine if late. No more bumpy than other more well-known Airlines, and I felt I was actually more comfortable than the last time I flew (which was on Southwest or Alaska, I can’t remember).
Finally we arrive in Los Angeles. The air is cleaner than I remember. I seem to have a memory of chewing air the last time I got off the plane. My parents were waiting for us and ushered us straight to the San Fernando Valley. I grew up here I have some very fine memories. It is the 7th level of hell. It is at least fifteen degrees hotter than any  other place in LA. It is more over crowded than any other place in LA. It’s just not good. We had a good time with my parents; we had some good food, and a few good drinks (mostly vodka).  We went on a driving tour of the old neighborhood. Saw my old high school, saw my old hang outs and haunts. It was interesting. I have decided though that although I feel I can live in LA again, I would avoid the valley like the plague.
From there to my sister’s house. I was never close to my sister after we went our separate ways. However my sister has been the highlight of the trip. They have a beautiful house in a beautiful (non valley) little town. I cooked a great meal for my entire family and we hung out. I played rock band with Danger my sister and her fiancée.
The next day (the day I post this) we did a walk down Venice Blvd, and Santa Monica Pier. It was fun, sun, and lots of bikini clad ladies. Ice cream on the pier, breakfast at the Venice Sidewalk Café, It was good. Maybe we over did it in the sun.
As I type this we sit in our hotel room. The Adventurer. It’s an interesting place. The rooms are really nice, on site pool and bar. We are waiting for Chinese food delivery and resting. It’s been a good trip so far. Tomorrow, the Getty Center, Picnic, and Sushi….In that order.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hello? can I come back now???

Hello faithful readers. I am back and re-lauching my blog [(as if anyone cares!!) Shut up evil voice in the back of my head]. In the coming days I will post a couple of blogs.

The first will be a travel log of my trip to Los Angeles. I am spending ten days and nine nights in The City of Angels, and plan on writing about it.  Our adventures, our fun, our destinations will be chronicled all in excruciatingly accurate detail. All except the sex…..for that we will have pictures.

The second will be an experiment of sorts. The last time I spent any major amount of time in Los Angeles was prior to becoming the world renowned chef I am today [(delusional much?) Bite me voice!]. I want to blog about a couple of the restaurants I used to visit. I want to detail my memories of the places, the food the atmosphere and the service and such. Then I want to eat again at these places. I want to compare my memories of a place with my new culinary prowess and knowledge and see how my favorite old haunts stack up.

The third, well the third is a surprise of such. A work of fiction, short as it will be that I hope you will enjoy.

Thanks for reading as I attempt to fight my way back into the Blogosphere!!!