Monday, February 27, 2017

Oscar Party 2017

My brother and I were lucky to have been invited to the Elton John Oscar Viewing Party last year. This year we didn't get any invitations but it's just as well since the Oscars are now more of a democratic convention than just awards for acting.

We had our own party at my house. The venue was supposed to be at Sandi's house but she ended up getting sick and didn't want to spread her germs. We started with the usual hors d' oeuvres of cheeses, chips and dips with some La Montina Champagne. We then graduated to Chinese Chicken Salad, Teriyaki Chicken, Potato Macaroni Salad, and even some Veggies. These were all from Island Hut which is always good. Sujata brought the best Samosas. It came with 2 sauces, mint and a sweet sauce that had a bit of a kick. We all preferred that one. The mint was too spicy but not for Sujata.

Sujata also brought a huge box of Blue Star Donuts. There were different flavors; Lemon Meyer Key Lime, Bacon Maple, Tiramisu, Hard Apple Cider Fritter, Chocolate Almond Ganache, Green Tea. We all loved the lemon Meyer keylime. It was a bit tart. The bacon maple was good but not as good as Cafe Dulce's. The chocolate almond ganache was great except for the almonds on top ( I don't like almonds). After the donuts, we had mango, chocolate and green tea mochis form Trader Joe's which were delicious.

Though last year was a lot of fun, dressing up and going on a limo and having dinner catered by Gordon Ramsey, this year was just as fun and a lot more comfortable and cozy. Nothing can beat good champagne, food and comfy pajamas with the best of friends.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Feast at Lawry's The Prime Rib

I had friends from Boston this past week and when I suggested Lawry's for dinner, there were no objections because where else can you find the best prime rib and creamed corn but Lawry's. We got there early as usual to take advantage of the meatballs but more important to me are their homemade potato chips. This time I was prepared and brought along some salt since it isn't salty enough for my taste.

There were 9 of us. Not everyone ordered prime rib though most of us did. Ross ordered the Rib-eye which looked wonderful with the fried onion rings. Alma had the Trout, David had the Salmon which people have raved about and Trinity had the Lobster Tails which I love since it is always cooked to perfection. Our server Kim Kurek was delightful. She's worked there for more than 20 years. Most servers have worked there a long time. Lawry's must do something right because you can tell that the employees love what they do. 

I've spoken to the General Manager Mr. Aniel Chopra before but never met him in person. I finally had the pleasure of meeting him; a very pleasant and charming man. He came to our table and told us he would send something to the table for dessert. The something turned out to be an array of delicious desserts and champagne. I was not even aware they had so many desserts in the menu. Now I know! They were all quite edible, even the one on a diet ended up attacking them. 

Everyone had a great time. I thank Mr. Chopra for his generosity. We were all too full and pleasantly stuffed. 

Lawry's  The Prime Rib is located at 100 N. La Cienega in Beverly Hills, California.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


We went to Kagura for dinner last night. We were there at 5:30 p.m. when they had just opened so it was quite empty at that time. 

I read about this restaurant but I couldn't remember what their specialty was so I asked our server as she pointed to the Millefeuille Katsu Gozen and the Millefeuille Shiso Cheese Katsu Gozen. The only Mille-feuille I know of is a Napoleon, the French dessert made with multiple layers of thin and flaky puff pastry with custard in between them. I am familiar with Tonkatsu which is a breaded deep fried pork cutlet which is often dry. 

Sandi ordered the Millefeuille Katsu Gozen and I had the Millefeuille Shiso Cheese Katsu Gozen. Piero wanted to be good and not order anything fried so he ordered the Grilled Salmon marinated in natural salt. Before our entrees arrived, we had some Edamame which we all enjoyed. The cabbage salad that they served looked a bit sad but the dressing was very good.

Piero's Grilled Salmon was not grilled. It was smoked even if the menu stated "grilled". The salmon had to go back. If my entree wasn't humongous, I would have eaten the salmon. He ended up ordering the Millefeuille Katsu.  I loved my Millefeuille Shiso Cheese Katsu. It had multiple slices of black pork loin cutlet with shiso leaf and cheese. The pork was tender and juicy and the melted cheese made it even taste better with the crunchy and very light shell. I have never had anything like it. I dipped each slice in the katsu sauce with a bit of the spicy mustard. 

I did not know what black pork loin was so I looked it up. Another name for this is Kurobuta which is a black hog which comes from the famed Berkshire pig. This smaller hog has more fat than the regular pig therefore juicier. Why is it that fat is almost always good?

Kagura is located at 1652 Cabrillo Ave. in Torrance, California. They are open for lunch and dinner everyday.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Red Car Brewery

Three of us were at the Old Torrance last Monday. We were to take lessons but the instructor didn't show up so at 4:45 p.m. we wondered where to go. Sandi suggested the Red Car Brewery though she hasn't been there in ages. We drove a very short distance and found it. It looked cute from the outside.

The bar had the big vats of beer; after all, it was a brewery. None of us are beer drinkers but I was adventurous and wanted to order one but had no idea what to order. No one else wanted to share my adventurism so I settled for a glass of Pinot Noir.

The menu was extensive; they had pizza, salads, sandwiches, fish and chips, burgers, chicken and salmon. The Margherita Pizza looked good so we had that to share. It was even better than it looked. The crust was thin and the cheese tasted so good and so did the fresh tomatoes. Sandi ordered the hamburger which was also delicious. She only ate half of it and the other half was split between me and Piero. 

Piero had the Very Spicy Pad Thai. He loved it and he confirmed that it truly was spicy. I don't know if he meant it or he just didn't want to share. I had the Fish and Chips which was good. The fish was light, tender and crunchy outside. The French fries took the cake. It was great. They had a sauce which went well with the fish and the chips. 

We were not planning to order dessert since we were all full. Our server, Theresa brought us a surprise brownie with ice cream dessert. We asked what it was for and she said: "Since it's your first time here at the restaurant". We all thought that was very nice of her. 

Red Car Brewery is located at 1266 Sartori Ave. in Torrance, California.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

Most people associate Valentine's Day with a significant other. This Valentine's Day, I thought it would be nice to celebrate friendship, after all one might have a significant other but that other isn't always there or you cannot always count on the"other". These friends of mine are real friends who would do anything for each other and that's why I love them.

We dismissed going out to a restaurant since most of them would be very busy and you can almost count on bad service. We got together for hors d'oeuvres at Sandi's house. A chocolate cherry cheese, rum raisin cheese, regular Brie and some chicken wings were on the menu. That with a couple of bottles of Rose Champagne made for such an enjoyable evening.

While some husbands stayed home or were clueless to Valentine's Day, we made our own Valentine's Day. I think we will start this tradition. To many more Valentine's Day.......

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Busy Bee Market

Sandi and I were in San Pedro today buying our first pair of tap shoes. My second thought after the shoes was where to go for lunch. The lady at the store gave us 3 names. One was supposed to be a healthy place so we immediately discarded that idea. Then she mentioned Busy Bee in which Sandi replied that she's had their sandwich at one time and that her plumbers used to drive all the way to San Pedro from Rosecrans to have their food.

O.K. Google: "Where's Busy Bee Market?" in which google gave us directions from where we were; seven minutes away. Close to the market were 2 vans parked in the street and workmen devouring their sandwiches. We finally got to the small market with a counter in the back with all sorts of meat.  As soon as you walk in the market, you inhale all the deliciousness in the air.

We were 4th in line but by the time it was our turn, there was a long line behind us. It was our lucky day! Sandi ordered the Roast Pork with cheese and I had the Meatball with cheese sandwich. They were humongous and messy. We were planning to eat them in the car but it was impossible. We ended up having them at my house. We shared both and left 1/2 of each for later as we were stuffed. They were both unbelievably delicious. I very rarely get excited over any sandwich and this was truly excitable! The pictures below does not show the full size of the sandwich; just wanted to take closeups to show the meat.

Busy Bee Market is located at 2413 South Walker Street in San Pedro, California.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Birthday at Chez Melange

It was that time to pass the traveling balloon to the next birthday girl. It was Mertz's birthday. We were all there except for Amy who got sick and was unable to attend and our friend Ana who we dearly miss.

We started with the Truffle Parmesan Fries and the Brussels Sprouts; kung pao style, shitake mushrooms, peanuts, chile, garlic, bell pepper and onion. We all commented that we would have been very happy with just those 2 items with our champagne but Mertz insisted we order more food, preferably an entree and so we did. Cindy and Sujata wanted to order the Petrale Sole but the server told them they were already out of it. Cindy and Sandi decided on the Nicoise Braise with artichokes, fennel, pancetta onion, garlic, thyme, butternut squash ravioli and parmesan cheese. Sujata settled on the Dayboat Sea Scallops, pan seared to medium with corn sauce, broccolini in an orange reduction. Everyone seemed to be happy with their food.

Mertz and I ordered the Rib Eye Steak; grilled with horseradish cream, Tuscan black kale, butter beans, garlic and olive oil. We were both more than happy; in fact we were a lot happier than the 3 ladies. The steak had a lot of flavor and was just delicious. I finished mine. Mertz took a small portion home.

Our server brought a birthday cake for Mertz. She didn't want us to sing and so we did sing "Happy Birthday". Her cake was so good that we ordered another slice for us to share. They also ordered a hot apple tart which did not interest me since it was hot. I like my apple pie cold and I'm not the only one that likes it cold.

When all the food was gone, we decided it was time to leave but not before finishing our second bottle of champagne. It was a fun birthday celebration. Cheers to Mertz!