Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Farewell to Lillian

Lillian is Sandi's mom who just passed away last week. We decided to celebrate her life before she succumbed to her illness.

It was only natural to invite Sandi's closest friends and all came except for Mertz since she was in Chicago working. She was there in spirit. Talk about spirit, I think Lillian came to visit, as she did not want to miss the party. Two people heard a knock on the front door and as I went to investigate, there was no one there!

Lillian's favorite flowers were "forget-me-not's" so I thought it was appropriate to send people home with some forget-me-not's to plant.

Sue brought a shrimp salad with yellow peppers and mango. Amy made some asparagus wrapped with teriyaki beef and brought these cake like truffles made into flowers (only the center was edible). Sandi made her famous meatballs. I ordered teriyaki chicken and macaroni-potato salad and rice. Ana furnished the wonderful cheesecake with the most incredible crust with strawberry puree. Gary brought some macarons from "lette.

We toasted to Lillian's life here on earth and felt blessed and happy that she is definitely in a much better place reunited with her husband. As the guests drank more champagne, the party got livelier. Everyone had fun and I am sure Lillian was looking down on us thinking "what a crazy bunch of people". Lillian loved to host and attend parties. She was a party girl....so here's to Lillian.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Chez Melange

My friend Mertz invited a few friends for my birthday. She brought the champagne and the best party favors....she gave us all a bar of Vosges chocolate bar with uncured smoked bacon which if you haven't tried, I strongly suggest you do especially if you love bacon.

She ordered truffle fries for appetizer. We've all had them on our last dinner at this restaurant and everyone enjoyed them so it was just appropriate to have a repeat performance. Before the fries came, we had a toast to the birthday celebrant, that was me. Mertz started with: "You'll always be older than me." I guess "age" was the theme of the toast. Sandi said: "I will always be in between" since she was not the oldest. Amy, the oldest and the wise one said: " Always hang around younger people" to which everyone felt great. The last toast and the best was from Ana, the youngest in our group: "I will always be younger than you  hags" to which there was a sudden uncontrolled outburst from all of us. I was thankful we were not thrown out of the restaurant!

Back to the food; no one wanted a whole salad so we ordered 2 salad to share among the 5 of us. The Friend Chicken Salad and the Beet Salad. Both were good and the portions were perfect. One of the Chez's specialties is the Pancho Burger which is a burger with bacon and avocado topped with a chile relleno. I was determined to order that since I loved it the last time. Everyone hopped on the bandwagon and ordered that too. It was deeelicious.

They presented me with a dessert called Posset which is like a lemon pudding. It was refreshing after the burger. The others wanted to try the English Trifle so Mertz ordered one to share and Bread Pudding with fruit and white chocolate chips. That was good but a bit too sweet. The trifle was also good and I especially liked the crust.

Mertz could not make a previous dinner with us at Lawry's so she thought we needed to celebrate again. It was a fun evening of close friends and that's what a birthday is all about. Thank you Mertzy. Chez Melange is located on Catalina Ave. in Redondo Beach, California.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mari Vanna

I bought a voucher to this Russian restaurant because the ambiance looked interesting from the pictures. It was also a great deal; dinner for 2 which included cocktails for each, a cold and warm appetizer to share, an entree each and dessert for two.

We fell in love with the place. From the entrance to the patio and inside the restaurant; it was quaint and you immediately had the feeling of wanting to dine there. Even their menu's were impressive even if they were just glued on cardboard.

We started with a Raspberry Martini (healthy since it was made with fruit). Our first course was a Vinegret Salad which was chopped beets dressed with sunflower oil. It was refreshing and delicious. They also gave us an extra salad which had potatoes, hard boiled eggs and chicken. That too was very good. This was followed by some Blini with Red Caviar. These were crepes; Russian style with salmon roe and sour cream. Sandi had a bite or two then decided to give me the rest as I "seemed to enjoy it more" (those were her words). I absolutely loved it!

For our entree, we had picked the Beef Stroganoff but unfortunately, they didn't have it. We settled for the Chicken Kiev; fried and oven baked lightly breaded served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. This was the best chicken Kiev we ever had. As soon as I made the first cut, a pool of butter came rushing out. That might freak some people out (the health nuts) but let me tell you, it didn't freak these people out. Sandi and I loved the juicy,crispy chicken.

Sandi could not finish her meal. She ended up taking it home (my home). I on the other hand did not have any problems. My plate was clear of any evidence of anything edible. The dessert to be shared was a Napoleon. We had our doubts, we were almost sure it would not be good. Although, Alexander, our server told us it was very good. Alexander was right on. It was flaky and delicious. He was the perfect server.  He informed us that last night was their last night! We both thought we misunderstood but he confirmed that the restaurant was closing it's doors. He has been working there since it opened and even served Barbara Streisand at one time.

It is unfortunate that we can no longer go back as Sandi and I knew our friends would love the place. I hope another good restaurant can take over as the ambiance adds a lot to the dining experience.Thanks to Alexander for a memorable evening and we hope you find another job soon. Mari Vanna was at 8475 Melrose Place in Los Angeles.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Champagne & Oysters

Yesterday I had to do some running around and had to buy gift cards from Osteria Mozza, Terrine, Lawry's and Trump National Golf Club. I started out at 11:00 a.m. and by 2:30 p.m. I was on my last stop, at the beautiful Trump National Golf Club. After I purchased the gift card from the golf store, I decided to stop at the bar.

There were a few people still having their lunch. It was not busy by that time and the bar was empty. I was starving but didn't want anything heavy. I have had the fresh oysters from their Sunday Brunch in the past and it was always delicious. I have never been in a bar by myself; of course it was the middle of the afternoon and there were no men trying to hit on anyone since there was no one. It's funny, it felt like a "Samantha moment" from "Sex in the City". Ha! not that I look like a Samantha.... I can only wish! 

I ordered a glass of sparkling wine (which was the Trump house special) with a dozen fresh oysters. Those oysters were so fresh and super delicious with the juicy lemon and a bit of sauce. The juice of the oysters were equally wonderful with the taste of the sea. I think I could have eaten a dozen but was glad I didn't order a dozen because the whole thing cost $30 including the tip. 


Ambiance, service and good food....it's nice to indulge and do something out of the ordinary once in a while. CHEERS!!! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lawry's April Special

Who can pass a great deal, especially April's special at Lawry's Prime Rib. Dinner for two for $99.00 includes the spinning salad, a 6 oz. California cut prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, choice of side which for me always has to be the creamed corn, a bottle of their private reserve (Cabernet or Merlot) both very good wine. All that plus their new dessert; a chocolate cart with chocolate, fruit and cream enough for 2 people.

Before the meal, we all indulged on the meatballs and homemade potato chips. I keep meaning to pack some salt as the chips are really quite good but lacks salt. Oh well....we ate them anyway.

There were 19 of us. Everyone had the prime rib except for our one vegetarian friend. She was very happy with her salmon. The prime rib was cooked to every one's satisfaction. The 6 oz.cut was big enough for everyone. It was delicious as ever with the creamed horseradish and the Yorkshire pudding which swept our plates to absorb the aus jus. The creamed corn was pure heaven!

Dessert was a chocolate cart just like stainless steel cart that keeps the prime rib warm. It was good but hard to eat. If you use a knife to cut it to pieces, you can almost guarantee to witness a scene from a movie wherein the food flies off the plate.

The evening was a nice celebration of friends and family getting together; something we must all do more often and what better place to celebrate than Lawry's in Beverly Hills.

Little Maisie can't wait to have her share of prime rib!