Thursday, July 31, 2008

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.

So here's how I roll, last week I was hangin' with stinky stormtroopers at the con. This week I am driving up next to Bentleys in Beverly Hills eating with the stars. My life. It's weird.

A friend flew in from Hawaii and CB came to town, all so they could eat at the one and only Cut by Wolfgang Puck. I've written about it before, in fact it was that very post that made them salivate and beg me to get a reservation. It wasn't easy, but we were set.

I straight up told the waiter, "I know this is a steakhouse, but I'm not ordering meat, please don't judge me." I felt bad, but I had eaten there before, and it was fantastic, but when it comes down to it, meat just isn't my first choice. Especially when it's $20 an ounce. Sometimes cow cupcakes are all I need.
But I was thrilled to sit back and watch these foodies eat to their heart's content. I knew CB was going to go to town, after all this is the girl that conquered the French Laundry. As always, CB did not let me down. She ordered Bone Marrow flan as a starter, served in an actual bone. >blech< I mean, fascinating! Then there was blue crab salad, potato tart tatin, fingerling potatoes with bacon, creamed spinach with poached egg, the wine, the coffee, the dessert Port, and the end all be all reason for their meal - the wagyu beef flown in from Japan. Mind you, I had...corn salad. I know. I am ashamed.

The desserts were worth waiting for though, chocolate souffle, strawberries and cream baked alaska, and my personal fave, the chocolate caramel Halsey tart. Sure my birthday isn't until next month, but you know me, I'll milk it as long as I can.What's the best part of this exquisite meal? A visit to the table by Wolfgang Puck himself. I have a feeling he saw our order ticket and thought, 'Man these people are real foodies. Except for that girl that just ordered corn." In any case, he was very friendly and CB was beyond thrilled. It was a great dinner that lasted...four hours. Yep. FOUR HOURS. As always, the company made the meal. I love eating out with friends, their enjoyment is pure entertainment. Me, I was happy with my corn.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shake it, don't break it, it took your momma 9 nine months to make it

When you grow up in Southern California they do earthquake drills in school, pack earthquake supply kits, all that crap. Earthquakes never really phased me, but now that I have kids, I admit I worry about them a little bit more since the kids aren't in my sight.

This one yesterday, while they said it was moderate, 5.4 is still pretty hefty if you ask me. If you were outside you didn't feel it as much, but in a high rise there is definitely some rollin' going on. I was getting lunch and everyone in the cafe just...looked at each other. You stand there, doubt yourself and think..should I do something? Or should I stand here? We all chose to stand there and stare at the giant glass chandelier above us, waiting for it to come crashing down and kill us all. Smart.

I was all the way on the west side, but some of my family actually lives IN Chino Hills. They said it was crazy strong over there. I remember the Whittier one in the 80s, my friends were walking to school and store windows started shattering, and the ground started to crack. The Northridge quake was in the middle of the night and my tv flew off the shelf and landed on top of me in bed. Now that one was harsh. We took tours of the damage for Arch school, and not to make light of the situation, but the damage was impressive. I had only seen things like that in movies. An entire building facade lying in the street, a parking garage split in two, amazing stuff.

Now we are more prepared structurally, and I hope my kids learn not to panic, and that earthquakes are just a part of life here in SoCal. I've said this before, but my biggest fear is being Lois Lane and getting trapped in my car during the big quake and having dirt in my mouth. Worst. Quake. Ever.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You proceeded to eat it cause you was in the mood, but homes you did not read it was a can of dog food!

SDCC was very successful for me and I made lots of new contacts which was even better. I had the best table on earth cause I was across from a bear with a gun. Freakin' awesome. Of course I brought tons of junk home for the kids since I missed them so, and must fill the void by buying their love. I am an excellent mother.The Kid got Lego Indiana Jones and the Baby got a big 'ol plush Godzilla. Here I am muttering to myself every night that there are 'too many goddam stuffed animals for me to clean up' and hello, it's me that is buying them, of course. The Baby is really into dinos, and since I had 12 hours a day alone at my table, I sketched and planned out a super cool dino-theme birthday party f0r November. Watch him hate dinosaurs by next week. DAMMIT. Still, he loved the Godzilla and now walks around doing an impression of him, destroying the poor Kid's train tracks by stomping on them and attacking us with his 'tiny t-rex arms'. Crazy.
The minute I came back from the con I was in the kitchen. I missed not baking for a whole week. Of course the entire pantry was empty, but I made some super quick spice dough which was perfect since I had no eggs. I've had this recipe for a long time, and I've altered it, of course. But I couldn't remember where I got it originally. Then I searched the internet and UGH - it's a Rachael Ray recipe. WHAT. Even though I've changed it over time to suit myself, but still. I feel sickened and depressed.

Anyway, I let the kids roll out the dough themselves, and I avoided the drama that would be icing the cookies, and just told them to decorate with sprinkles as they pleased. This cookie is so tasty you don't need frosting anyway. This recipe was quick, and did it's job - that is, make the kids forget that I was gone for a week, and fill them with sugary love.
Since finding out that it was originally a Rachael Ray recipe, I feel like I should burn it and start all over again. Especially since she now makes DOG FOOD. Good lord.

Spice cut out cookies recipe
more SDCC photos here

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Stay classy, San Diego

Home from the con. I can't believe the week went by so fast. For the first time ever I feel completely stress free. That week was really relaxing - I didn't think about work once. And for the first time in months I didn't get a migraine. Ah, stress free.

I was really glad to have a table this year. When I usually just go as a fan it's exhausting. My feet ache, my back hurts, but this time, lots o' sittin'. Also, since I had to be at my table everyone came to ME. Ha. Me = lazy. I saw so many friends I never get to spend time with, it's sad that everyone lives so far away. AND I got to eat the best tacos ever. San Diego, you rock the tacos.

I also got MANY visits by blog readers (who I won't name since they probably want to be anonymous like me) who came out of the woodwork. They shyly approach the table and ask 'Are you Jenn?' Um... That's what it says on the sign...why, are you going to hand me a summons? Turns out they were all blog readers. As much as I joke that I am scared of being internet stabbed, it was awesome to get to talk to people who read everyday and even cook my recipes. Cool. That still amazes me.

I made 50+ Burger Bites for the weekend and gave them out to friends. (A lot of people I forgot to give them to - sorry!) As I was handing one over someone yelled, "OH MY GOD THOSE ARE THE COOKIES FROM THAT SHOWER INVITATION I SAW ON THE INTERNET!" Doh. That and the fact that I got my picture taken for a magazine? I guess my whole 'being anonymous on the internet' plan has gone down the toilet.

It's nice to be home, I think the kids missed me, but I doubt it. Let's just say they will be back on my healthy home-cooked meals diet, asap. Sorry kids, no more crappy box mac 'n' cheese or happy meals, MOMMY'S HOME. Poor monkeys.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

My girl likes to party all the time

This is another one of my top viewed flickr pics, at 2,750 views. Damn people, that's crazy. It's a picture of the buffet table that I did when I threw CB's wedding shower, aka 'The Best Shower Evvvahh'.
I think people like to favorite it because of the different colors on the table, which was the bright happy look that I was going for. It was definitely a challenge to pull that menu off, the whole shower was extremely planned out. You can go to here to see how I attempted, at least, to make it the best shower ever.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Cake or death?

Yes. Still in San Diego. Can you tell these posts are pre-written? Ha! I was looking through my pictures of cupcakes I've made to post and man, I've made A LOT just this past year alone. In my set? 85 pictures. VHAT. See them all here.

Pink Lemon Heart Cupcakes

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

You ever have that feeling where you're not sure if you're awake or still dreaming?

Guess who's got a panel at the con this year to promote the Day the Earth Stood Still - Keanu Reeves!! And I can't go. Son of a. Oh well. I will have to live vicariously...through myself? Sounds like the Matrix.

Read about me and O.G. meeting him way back in...2005. Whoa.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

But I'm outta my head when you're not around

I am in San Diego for the con. I always find it so much fun. I don't know why people complain about it - sure it's crowded. And nerdy. And hot. You know I hate the heat, but there is so much to do and it's always a good time.

Since I will be gone, I'll be pre-posting, this is one of my top viewed photos on flickr, I think I carved this pumpkin...two years ago? It's been viewed 2,957 times. Yikes. People like Batman. Or pumpkins.

(This next week's worth o' posts are prewritten. I am a computer. Beep. Boop.)

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Jim: I'll talk to Angela and we're gonna see what we can do about a pie.
Creed: Tell her it's for Creed. She'll know what that means.

I am packing for San Diego and so when I saw this, I cracked up. I also 'draw' my packing lists. I sketch out all the clothes/outfits I need to take. Maybe this is something all artists do, but it was funny to see that I was not alone. Also on the packing list, I made a bunch of Vegan Oatmeal Pumpkin cookies. I always make these before a trip because they keep so well and fit in my purse quite easily.

Since I am going out of town, you know what that means. The MIL is back. Within 10 mins of picking her up at the airport she already insulted my haircut. Oddly enough, someone in my office loved my haircut so much she went and got the EXACT SAME CUT. Ha! She told me she was going to, but I didn't believe it til I walked into the office. Hilarious.

Although my MIL and I don't always see eye to eye, she is doing me a favor and I try to do everything I can for her. I buy her things, take her places, and most of all, cook all the things she likes to eat. She says she's the Queen of Pie and makes the "best pumpkin pie in the world". Then yesterday she told me her recipe was from the back of the can. VHAT. How that makes her the best pumpkin pie maker in the world, I don't get it. So yesterday I meekly made pie, using my own special pumpkin pie recipe that I've developed over the years, and shoved it her way for dessert last night.
Instead of one giant pie, I made tiny individual ones, using 5" tart pans. I used pre-made TJ's crust - usually I stay away from that stuff like the plague - but this is the best pre-made pie dough I have found. I always keep it in freezer in case of emergencies, emergencies being trying to placate your MIL.

They came out really well, better than a full on pie if you ask me. And the Queen of Pie? She said it was great. Wow, so delicious! (Well it didn't come from the back of a can, for one.) I guess I can overlook the hair insult, as long as I get pie compliments, it's all good with me.I don't have time to post the recipe now, but if anyone wants it, let me know and I'll post it when I get back from the trip.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Take. These broken wings.

The rsvps are pouring in. Lots of them have super nice things to say about the invitation design, now I really have to pull off a good party. Zoiks. I am pretty sure I have gotten in over my head with the favors too, but that's how I roll. What's the point of a party if it's not a memorable experience for the guests?

I am thinking hard about my dessert table as well. And the heat. Things that melt = no fun. Summer is the hardest - planning a party with regards to food and weather. I am thinking about one of my most popular recipes - one that always gets emails, links back, etc- Broken Glass Jello. It's the purty colors that make it great for parties. Guests are always like, "How did you...do that?"Here it is again, in case you missed it the first time.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

I vant to suck your blood.

The Baby has taken to feigning disbelief. It's always, 'WHAT.' Whenever anyone says something. What, period. Not only that, he has developed some weird Transylvanian accent lately so now everything is, VHAT . 'I see Elmo on tv.' VHAT. 'We're having chicken for dinner.' VHAT. It's really annoying. So here's my list of 'VHAT's, cause some things, I just can't believe either.

1. When you send someone an email and they take forever to write you back, or don't even write you back period!
VHAT.
Especially when it's a stranger who you don't even know, rude! True, I sometimes take a while to email back but that's usually yahoo's spam filter's fault. Just don't subject mail to me: "Enlarge your penis now, justJenn" and we should be fine.

2. People who think their babies are the cutest babies on earth.
VHAT.
Hey, we all think that about our own, I don't need to hear about yours all day.

3. My boss telling me that I have to drive to Santa Monica, then Glendale, then downtown. Starting at 1pm.
VHAT.
Terrible, but I pawned it off on someone else. There's no way I could do all that and get home to pick up my kids on time. I'm sure there is a random blog post floating around somewhere: "Can you believe my coworker made me drive from Santa Monica, to Glendale, to downtown?? VHAT??"

4. Internet haters.
VHAT.
I always threaten that I'm going to shut down this blog someday, and it's mostly because people are just straight up rude and judgemental and feel like it's ok to talk crap about someone they don't even know. Why can't they just passive aggressively hate in silence like the rest of us? I'd go Amish and give up the internet, but the outfits are horrible.

5. Being fat.
VHAT.
I have been watching crap tv Denise Richard's and Kimora Lee Simmon's reality shows at night lately and both have been going through an 'I am fat phase' and man, I can relate. I am not a celebrity mom, but I do have two kids and no time, and I know what it's like when your body just ain't what it was pre-kids. sigh.

6. Getting a wedding invite with no rsvp envelope.
VHAT.
Oh, there was an rsvp CARD, but no envelope. Hey you cheap bastard, pony up the 42 cent stamp. That's just bad etiquette.

I'm sure you guys have some VHATs, too. Believe me, you'll have VHAT stuck in your head all day now. Thanks, Baby.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Holly: It was a good company but I couldn't see a future there. It was easy to get in but impossible to rise up.
Michael Scott: That's what she...

I quit my job today. Sadly, it didn't stick. After much crying and accusations and anger, I was talked into staying. So the cycle of abuse continues. sigh. Is there any wonder why architecture majors have the highest dropout rate? Because they don't want to deal with this crap as their future job.

I came home and do what I always do to relieve stress. Cook. A LOT. The Kid has been asking for Chicken Soup with Rice ever since my mom bought him the Really Rosie soundtrack. Hello, suddenly she thinks it's 1975 again.

So I made up a recipe - it's SUPER quick. You have no excuse to not make it, that's how quick it is. So I made up a huge pot of Chicken Soup with Rice. Then I made some cornbread muffins. Now I'm thinking cupcakes. This is how stressed I am, I CANNOT STOP. Want me to come over? I'll cook you a five course meal. RIGHT. NOW. Good lord, I need help.

Chicken Soup with Rice, recipe.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

That ain't no Etch A Sketch. This is one doodle that can't be undid, Homeskillet...

So here's how the design process works. When I first told Nanette that I'd throw her baby shower, I had a design concept in mind. Since we are both bakers and fans of baked goods, I thought I'd make an invite that was a play on the old saying, "Bun in the Oven." But of course, I couldn't make it that simple. I had to do something to make it go above and beyond.

I knew pink and green were her wedding colors and I wanted to incorporate that since it was the next phase in their lives. (See, my designs have a purpose. ~wink~) Also she was having a girl and was all about the pink, so it was nice to run with it. Sometimes non-gender specific colors can get boring. I made a 'holder' for the actual invite that said, 'Guess who's got a...' and then when you open it: '...bun in the oven!' I drew an oven, but just an outline, as a background, because the plan was to put an actual cookie that looked like a bun, 'in' the oven, and I wanted it to stand out. Get it? BUN. In the oven?? GET IT? Ugh. I am so lame it's exhausting. Anyway, I was going to bake something bun-like in miniature form, but since the Burger Bites are super easy and look nice wrapped up, and they are - after all, buns, I went with those.

I thought it was a great idea until I found out that she needed 50 invites. Yikes. I wanted them to be a surprise, but I started to wonder if I should scale back and think about a redesign. Could I actual execute this complicated design for FIFTY invites? Good lord.

But once I had a design concept in my head, it was hard to turn back. I figured I could do it if I planned it out right. I mean, back when I did custom wedding invitations I once did an 8 piece invitation (each invite had eight individual components) and the bride needed 250 of them. That was 2000 individual hand stamped, cut and folded pieces. So this...er...this should be a...cinch?

It was. It all worked out well and hopefully the guests were surprised and pleased. I'm guessing some arrived crushed but I'm totally blaming that on the post office. Ha. The point was, I wanted to design something that would tie together the invites, favors and dessert table. (That's all I'm responsible for, her mom and MIL are doing the rest.) I hope it makes the guests look forward to a sugary, sweet, happy shower. Now...on to the favors...

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Monday, July 14, 2008

It was all yellow.

Ok, fine. I couldn't stay away. The chocolate+green tea ice cream cupcakes came out so well, I decided to give 'em another run. This time I used vanilla ice cream and frosted it with a simple buttercream. The Baby, who has become WAY too demanding lately, chose the color of the frosting. "YELLO. I WAN YELLO." Easy kid, chill out.

Apparently these were good. I gave one to the kids to share, then carted off the rest to work. I know. My poor starving children. Anyway, in the office freezer - I went to see if there were any left and what I found were a half a dozen, all with post-it notes on them with people staking their claim. Hilarious. I should have taken a picture but I'm sure my boss would be like WTF.

I am planning on making Burger Bites down to SDCC to give to blog readers/friends who stop by the booth. I was thinking of baking something else too, but I don't know what. These obviously won't make it in the heat.

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Can't stop now don't you know I ain't never gonna let you go, don't go

When I was a kid I had a little bear doll that was bald. I nicknamed him Vince. After Vince Clarke. Vince Clarke just happens to be the founding member of not only Yaz, but Depeche Mode, and Erasure. So maybe it's not synth pop that I love so much as it's just Vince that I love.

Friday night, after 20 years, Yaz reunited at the Orpheum in downtown Los Angeles. The Orpheum is a great old theater, with wonderful architectural elements. I used to do historic preservation of buildings, and the detailing on that place is fantastic. I wish I had brought my camera, normally at shows they don't allow it, but here people were snapping away.

Los Angeles is devout in it's adoration of 80s synth pop. For instance, when Depeche Mode comes to town it's like the second coming of Jesus. Fans know every lyric. Recreate every dance move. So there was no doubt that this show would be sold out and filled with the same fans. It's also one of the only things that could get me out of the house on a Friday night.

Going out at night takes a lot of coordination with babysitters and the like, and Friday night I was just plain tired. It was a horrible week at work and the last thing I wanted to do was go out. But I'm glad I did. The show was great. Honestly, Alison Moyet's voice is as strong as it was 28 years ago. (DOH. That's a long time.) Parts of it were very 'performance art' but that's what I liked about it.

And just who opens up for Yaz's first reunion in 20+ years? Why a dj whose set includes Roxy Music, Pet Shop Boys and...Limahl's Neverending Story. As if my love of Yaz wasn't strong already, the fact that their biggest hit, 'Only You,' was used in series finale of my fave show, the BBC's the Office - pretty much solidified it. Tim & Dawn = the original Jim + Pam. Aw. True love.

(go to the 7:50 mark)

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

If it's a temporary lull, why'm I bored right outta my skull?

So the craft show did not go so well. The organizers did a great job and were enthusiastic, it was just...slow. The diversity of the crafters they had was really great too. But in my 8+ years of doing this - I've never had sales that poor. CB, who I conned into sitting with me all day said, "Wow, I've never seen your table this slow. Ever." Yeah. Oh well. Thank god for internet sales is all I can say.

Just because sales were poor doesn't mean I didn't shop. ~Ha! I walked away with this sweet ring that I love looking at all day long. I like her little eyebrows and tiny lips.

The show wasn't a total bust, CB and I got to sit around for 5 hours and talk about restaurants we want to go to and plan trips that we can't afford to take. Soon on our agenda, we are going to Cut in a couple of weeks when another friend comes from out of town. Seeing as how she loves meat, I think she will be starving herself for a week prior, just to get ready for the meal.

I came home exhausted...from doing nothing, apparently. Then I got to work and was mired in this:
When I bought them from the store, the checkout gal said, "WOW. Someone loves peppermint patties." I told her I was making cookies with them but then I was thinking, what the heck does she think I am going to do with them? I should have told her, 'Yep, it's just me, a couch, 4 giant bags of peppermint patties, and crap tv for the next four hours." Good lord. Then again...that sounds fantastic.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pancakes

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Shazbot!

So I watched some of that horrible summer show, "I Survived a Japanese Game Show." Ok. It's entertaining as hell. But here's the question, who the hell signs a contract to be a on a show where they have no clue that they will be whisked halfway across the world? I mean, how dumb - people will do anything to be on tv. I'm glad the contestants are adapting more since they started off looking like horrible Americans. But you know the Japanese, they crayzay too. They come up with some crazy useless junk. For instance I saw these Japanese egg molds and jumped for joy at the pure cute/uselessness of them.

It just so happened that O.G. just bought me this ridiculous stupid egg cooker that is, of course, shaped like an egg. What. Suddenly she thinks she's Mork from Ork. The thing doesn't work for sh*t. Next time I will just boil them the old fashioned way. In any case, I boiled some eggs, and while they were still warm, pressed them into the molds and stuck them in the fridge. The kids were all excited to see the eggs shaped into a car and a fishy.

The Kid munched his up but the Baby, as usual, was put off by the fact that - 'Wait a minute, THIS AIN'T A CAR...IT'S AN EGG!" Cue hysteria. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's a question of not letting what we've built up crumble to dust

Why?
Am I so excited? Because Thomas Keller is opening an 11,000 sf restaurant/bakery in Beverly Hills. Bring. It. On.

Why?
Does my co-worker only come to my desk when I happen to be eating, which is rarely. To which he says, "Why are you always eating?" Rude.

Why?
Am I so lame? In my big post office haul of orders, I accidentally sent my friend her birthday present one month early. Yes, I was trying to be highly organized by packing it up at the same time as other things, but it wasn't supposed to go out. This is what I get for being anal.

Why?
Do I want to barf after reading that this woman bakes cookies in her car? I'm all about multi-tasking, but come on.

Why?
Do I groan everytime I sign in to daycare? Because there is always a new "Your child has been exposed to..." notice. Today the winner is, HEAD LICE!

Why?
Did I not go to yoga last night? Because I had a salad with beans and onions for lunch. Gassy foods and a room full of strangers seems like trouble.

Why?
Do I not own a pair of Marty McFly tennis shoes?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I was feeling cold and tired, yeah kinda sad and uninspired

Attention people of the O.C. This weekend, I will be at an Orange Curtain institution, and be at Handmade Brigade - the very first indie craft show hosted at the Tall Mouse store in Cerritos. You know Tall Mouse - old skool, right? Noooo, not anymore. This is indie, baby.

Saturday, July 12
11am - 5pm
13233 E. South Street, Cerritos
Sponsored by the one and only Craft magazine, the first 50 people get a grab bag. There will be lots of cool vendors there, stop by and say hi!

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I wish I was in Tijuana, eating BBQ iguana

The other night I dreamt that I was eating pins. Like sewing pins. Ugh. I woke up with a start, sick to my stomach. My dreams are vivid, almost real. What did it mean? Was I hungry? Do I need to sew more? I'm thinking it's just stress manifesting itself, yet again.

The stress of the kids, tons of stuff I have to do this month, that and the world's most stressful job is all catching up to me. Pre-kids my job in architecture landed me in the hospital more than once. Now that I am older and wiser, it is supposed to be different. But the tides are turning. And once again I am not managing my stress well. As you can tell I bake a lot when I'm stressed, obviously, every other post is something I've whipped up that day. (For those of you who could care less about my life, there will be a recipe at the end of this, I promise.) Besides baking, I practice yoga every morning, and have been doing so on my own for years, but I thought I had better get back into the studio for some professional help, before this stress takes control of me.

So I went to a new fancy schmancy new studio, and in the middle of it, I was lying there thinking, 'Why the hell am I paying to lie here on the floor?' Then it hit me. The quiet. 60 minutes of pure silence. No boss yelling for plans. No kids fighting. No traffic. No birds chirping. (*shakes fist* Shut up birds!) Just...silence. I could feel the stress melting away. It was liberating. And worth 20 bucks.In addition to my new found silence, of course comfort foods = stress relief. Nothing is more comforting than Mexican Hot Chocolate. Why Mexican? Well, it's the cinnamon. The sweet and spicy combo of cinnamonand chocolate just makes it rich and wonderful and just WOW. So I took those flavors and made mini cupcakes, what else? My brother said these were so good I should sell them. Not gonna happen, but here is the recipe. Hopefully I will no longer dream of pins and just dream of mini cupcakes. Sweet, sweet, stress-less dreams.

Mini Mexican Cocoa Cupcakes recipe

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Harris: Some of these buildings are over TWENTY years old.

I love downtown, however I find myself there way more than I'd like. What I mean is, if I'm there, I'm down there on business. I'd rather be there on my own time, just for kicks. There are so many great parts of downtown Los Angeles, it's sad that they are often overlooked. I try to bring my camera every time I go into the city, it's not like things have changed, but that's what I like about it.

The best time to be down there is before 8am. The sunlight is gorgeous, the downtown workers are just getting in, it's like the city is just waking up. I always like to stop by Grand Central Market, it's not all that spectacular, but again, it's the memories of going there when I was a kid.

While it's been cleaned up that's for sure, it still has that old skool feel. You can grab a beer under those historic neon lights, or fresh produce that you didn't even know or want to know, existed. There are some amazing treats to be found at every stall. Like my fave, a nice piece of pan dulce to start off your morning. Mmm.

To the west of Grand Central you can look up and see the downtown skyline, one of the most notable buildings the Gas Company Tower, designed to, well, look like a gas flame. It also has an amazing lobby and a not half bad cafeteria if you are desperate.
I am just sad that my train loving children can't ride on Angels Flight. Known as the 'shortest railway in the world' - sure, someone died on it. Sure, it only goes up and down the hill. Sure, it's boring. But it's also a historic part of L.A., and frankly, I miss riding it. Also, what grammer nerd isn't confounded by the fact that there is no apostrophe in the name. WHAT.

I love downtown. I've done so many architectural studies of the streets for school and personal use, it feels like a second home. While change is definitely underway, it's the old parts that stir my memories. I wish I had the time to walk the streets like I remember. Sadly, I've got business to take care of. But even in the bathrooms...I have my camera.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Fo' sheezy

Thanks to these lovely sites I spent most of my nights this weekend packing orders. It also meant I watched way too much 'Kimora Lee Simmons Life in the Fab Lane.' With my nights filled I thought I could rest during the day but then my brother called and said, 'Let's have a fifth of July party...at your house." Ok...ay. While I had just cooked my ass off the day before I now had to do it again the next day. This is how holidays work with me.

Since I had to throw stuff together last minute, I took a swing by the Fresh and Easy. Or as my brother calls it, F'in Eazy. Unfortunately he's even got the kids saying it. Hello, bad uncle. (Disclaimer - my brother works for them and has been saying how great it was, so much so, that my cousin is sick of it, and now she never wants to visit again. Ha.) So I went for the first time ever and I gotta say, I was impressed. The food tasting giveaways definitely worked on the kids - as I found my cart filled with cheese, crackers, apple streudel, and juice. There was a nice selection of items overall. I saw whipped honey which I haven't seen in years! I wonder what made them think, 'Hey yeah, let's bring whipped honey back.' Whatever, I was sold. But just what to do with it?

I decided to make some cornbread but in muffin form. WONDER TWIN POWERS, ACTIVATE. FORM OF MUFFIN. That's what I'd choose anyway. I have experimented with this recipe for a long time, wanting the perfect consistency - and not too dry. Some cornbread has a tendency to taste like cardboard. I also wanted it to be just sweet enough to stand on it own, but the whipped honey definitely made it fantastic.

So we had a giant feast on the fifth o' July. Tons of grilled meat, side dishes - mint chocolate chip ice cream (so good) and I also got a big basket of strawberries for 95 cents. Not bad. That place really was F'in Eazy.

Cornbread muffins recipe

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Where our hearts were really thumpin', say yeah yeah yeah

My Uncle's 4th o' July bash was a success. While I look forward to it every year, there some annoying people that never change. (Can you believe this SAME THING is going down 2 years later?? Must. Control. Rage.) One thing that is consistent is my Uncle's annual taste tests. This year my Aunt went all out and did FANCIFIED ballots and everything. Hello. We are professional now.
In years past they've done hot dogs, root beers, and bbq chips, always with surprising results. This year was ketchups and mustards. Six different kinds. My Unc's going to be up to his eyeballs in condiments for weeks. I was very depressed to find out that I preferred Hunts, because I am a Heinz devotee all the way. Now I'm all kinds of screwed up in the head. My cousin suggested that we liked Hunts since it's the ketchup they use at Disneyland, something I can never forgive them for. All I can say is THANK GOD Disneyland only sells Coke, cause I'd rather die in a desert than drink a Pepsi, thanks.

I'm convinced my Uncle's burgers taste the best because he is drunk when he makes them. All the food was so good. I made french breakfast muffins, zucchini muffins, mac 'n' cheese and I brought the watermelon ice cream bombe - per the usual, but I also made a smaller, secondary bombe. This time I took chocolate ice cream and filled it with cherry vanilla ice cream. Wow, it was fantastic. I think the fresh cherries definitely made a difference, but I bet store bought ice cream would work just as well. I think the guests found a new favorite, since everyone raved about the chocolate cherry flavor combo.
This year's party has come and gone - I guess just wait for my 2009 post when I talk about the same crazy beyotch and the same watermelon ice cream bombe. Again. Lord, am I dullsville.

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream recipe.
Chocolate Cherry Bombe recipe.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Macgyver's 4th of July BBQ

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bombes away

Getting prepared for tomorrow. Making a watermelon ice cream bombe, a chocolate cherry ice cream bombe, homemade mac 'n' cheese (so the boys will have something to eat besides hot dogs), and I think, maybe - zucchini muffins? Hm. Or cupcakes? I think that's it.

Watermelon Ice Cream Bombe recipe.

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Putting back the pieces of a broken dream

Fourth of July is a big day. My Uncle's party doesn't start until the late afternoon, but I like to get there early so I can snag me a good parking space. That of course leaves hours of time to kill. While I wish that meant me sitting on my ass eating guacamole for two hours, sadly, it means I need to find things to entertain the boys. Damn kids.

I packed a big bag with puzzles, toys, snacks, and crayons. The Kid loves to draw, so I designed an notepad and I thought I'd add a little circus tent with his name on it, to decorate the top of the sheets. I bunched a few together and made them into a notepad. Now he can draw all kinds of circus-y things under the big top. I figured it was better than plain old paper.

They are, of course, for sale in the shop. While they are great for kids, I think I will make one for myself and take it into the next staff meeting...

From now until this Sunday, July 6th - buy one, GET ONE FREE. After that, you're on your own, sucka. Happy Fourth! Circus notepad, here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oh well I don't mind, if you don't mind, cause I don't shine if you don't shine, before you go, can you read my mind?

People always ask me to plan or cater their parties. The answer? HELLZ NO. I was in the wedding invite biz and I ain't goin' back. It's too costly (even if they are paying for it) and too time consuming (I have 'The Mole' to watch on tivo, hello. Time is precious.)

The only thing I will do is offer to throw a shower for a really good friend, once in a blue moon. Apparently, the moon is blue. In case you haven't figured it out yet, the upcoming party that I am planning is a baby shower. The mom2be had only one request, that is for each guest to bring a book to start the child's library. A great idea. There are tons of books that my kids adore. While these are not classics in the sense that they were written fairly recently, they are still really enjoyed by the kids every week.

Little Pea - Amy Krause Rosenthal & Jen Corace
Ok, first off, who doesn't love Jen Corace. Any indie designer with a love of art, really. But more than that, my kids ADORE this book. They recite it at dinnertime it's that hilarious. It's one of the first things I ever posted on this blog when the Kid learned to speak and memorized it. It's a great modern book.

The Pigeon Wants A Puppy
- Mo Willems
You know that we are Mo Willems devotees up in this house, and this new book from the pigeon series does not disappoint. Like all the pigeon books it's lively, interesting and hilarious.

Only in Dreams (Julius) - Paul Frank
True, this book is a bit biased given my own kids love of monkeys and the mom2be's love of Paul Frank, but this is a really good book. Very visual, a great bedtime book that takes you through your dreams and senses.

I'm always looking for new books for the kids, so if you had to bring a book - an old classic or a new favorite - to a baby shower, what would you recommend?

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