Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace

I am normally 100% behind any 'field trip' O.G. comes up with, but this one? Hm. I wasn't really down. She wanted to go to Santa Anita Race Track - they happened to be having a Japan Family Day, with food and booths - quite timely considering the disaster in Japan right now. However that's not why we were going. No - she wanted to go back and see the horse stables she was forced to live in when she was interned during the war.
An important part of history? Yes. But it enrages me that that even happened to her. It was where she was taken when they pulled her out of college over 70 years ago. (recap here) She's been reflecting a lot on the past lately, I think this is just another piece of her life puzzle for her. So off we went.

The Japan Family Day had food booths, crafts and games, a pretty typical 'fair' event. We had an appointment for this tour of the stables - apparently O.G. had been in talks with the Operations office and we got a private van to take us around.

I have to say it was pretty interesting. There is a whole facility back there, horses, stables, people - almost like a small town.

The driver was well informed and gave a great tour but he was more interested in what O.G. had to say. Ever prepared - she had brought along pictures of the place from way back in 1942! I admit - it was fascinating. She and the driver talked about the conditions she was forced to live in and the lack of privacy and basic rights.

He went out of his way to drive her to the exact locations she remembered - being locked in and looking out onto Huntington Drive, sure now there's shopping mall, but back then - nothing. They were just held prisoner there. She was just 21 years old.

We saw where Seabiscuit lived - a highlight for O.G. since she loved that movie. Then we went to the Receiving Barn for the horses which back then they used as showers for the Japanese-American people. O.G. recalled hating that area - again, lack of privacy.

These people were American citizens, born and raised here - yet this happened. Amazing. Although it made me sad it was good to see her recall those times, good or bad - and my kids got to see it, which they probably wouldn't otherwise.

To cap off the day on a brighter note...we gambled of course! O.G. wasn't about to leave unless she could place a bet on a horse. I can't believe they let kids in here, I'm used to Vegas where they're not allowed anywhere near gambling.

As you can see in this pic everyone was very excited - O.G. jumped up to see if her horse was in the lead and the Baby climbed up for a better look. But lucky me... I WON! My horse came in first! WHOOHOO that's $6, baby!

So yeah, my kids learned about their history from O.G. but she also taught them about gambling. Shh. An informative day to say the least.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hello Japan

This Thursday, March 31st - the Little Tokyo Sanrio store in downtown Los Angeles will donate 100% of sales to the American Red Cross to benefit Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

If there ever was a time to buy that Hello Kitty merchandise you love - this is for a great cause.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Now we're cookin'

I adore cooking stores. I'll drive all over the city from the Valley to downtown, just to get the one item I might (or might not) need. Addiction? Perhaps. But cooking supplies are my first love and luckily this town has a whole lot of options.

I'm going to let you in on my secrets and feature a few of my favorite stores for supplies. First up, a favorite of mine is Cookin' Stuff in the South Bay

Cookin' Stuff is more of a home-y sort of store, stocking a lot of things for the everyday cook as opposed to the very expensive Williams Sonoma or the chef centric Surfas in Culver City. However, when I say they stock a lot of things I mean they stock a lot of things. They stock over 20,000,000 items. You read that right. If it's not here, you don't need it.

Wednesday is Senior Discount Day, so you know what that means - I grabbed my senior i.e. O.G. and headed out to use her for a discount. Not only that, I used her for her handicapped parking space pass. Double win. Yay for elder abuse! I mean, thanks Grandma.

Meanwhile I spent most of my time in the baking aisle. Cookie cutters as far as the eye can see. Every sized pie plate, bundt pan, donut pan - baking pans you never knew existed. All here.

They have an amazing selection of knives which is what O.G. was looking for . And I had been wanting a curl cutter - then Instyle went and featured it and that was it, sold out everywhere. But I found it here! And for HALF the price. Lovely.

While I shop at a lot of other cooking supply stores, I know that if I'm looking for something specific, I will most likely find it here. Oh and the old person discount ain't half bad either.

Cookin' Stuff
22217 Palos Verdes Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90505-2016

Labels: ,

Monday, March 21, 2011

They're always after me lucky charms...

Look, when I was a kid (In olden times) we didn't really...believe in leprechauns? What I mean is, St. Patrick's Day was celebrated, in that we wore green and yes, you were pinched if you didn't. Here's how things change - I told the Baby to wear a green shirt or he'd get pinched and he said, "We aren't allowed to touch each other's personal space at school." Okie dokie, got it. How very PC St. Patrick's Day has become. I appreciate it, but whatever - goodbye fun.

Onto the next issue - so St. Paddy's Day is pc now, however they teach the kids to TOTALLY BELIEVE THAT A LITTLE LEPRECHAUN WILL BREAK INTO OUR HOUSE AT ANY MOMENT. Really? Apparently at school tables are turned upside down, crayons strewn about. It's crazy town in elementary school. Leprechauns sound like jerks to me.

So as we left in the morning I noticed the Kid furiously scribbling something as we were running out the door. "It's for the leprechaun when he comes to our house today!" he exclaimed.

WHAT. No one told me this was a holiday that I needed to be aware of. Meaning: no one told me I'd need to run around looking for treats to leave and pretend some creature broke into our house and left it. Ya dig? He looked so excited I didn't know what to say.

Sooo, I did it. I grabbed O.G. and we went out hunting for treats for the leprechaun to leave. We ended up at Sees where lo and behold, little chocolate leprechauns at $1 a piece. I'll take it! And I happened to have some Hanukkah gelt left over...cause we're totally Jewish (we're not Jewish) so I tossed that into the mix as well.

VOILA. Instant leprechaun carnage. The Kid was THRILLED when he got home and he and the Baby couldn't stop talking about the leprechaun's 'visit.' I leaned back in the chair pleased with myself waiting for the Mommy of the Year committee to call until I realized...do I have to do this crap til he's 30 or what? How long will this ruse go on?? How much leprechaun fake-age am I responsible for? Will he need therapy when he finds out it's actually me? WHEN WILL THIS NIGHTMARE END?

Well. That was my St. Patrick's Day. How was yours?

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 18, 2011

No time to discuss this as a committee.

Scene from the base of my couch in the living room.

I wonder what everyone's waiting in line for?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Boy-Who-Lived.

The kids are very into Harry Potter right now. It's weird because they've only read some of the books and watched the first few movies. Those movies are scary for me, let alone a 7 year old. So what they know they've mostly learned from friends or from the Lego sets. But I'm sure our recent trip to Whimsic Alley also had a lot to do with it.

Every other night after homework we do crafts. It's usually the Kid's choice and he usually asks for help. But on this day I wasn't 'allowed' to help and it wasn't til I walked into the room and saw something glowing did I see what he had made...

He took some old buckets and put together a mock Goblet of Fire and a TriWizard Tournament trophy. Pretty ingenious, kid.

This picture does NOT do it justice because in person, it's pretty cool, mostly because he found my old flameless tea lights that I use for pumpkin carving and used it to light up the 'fire'. Huh. I don't know that I would have thought of that.
He gathered me and the Baby together, had us write our names on his pre-cut slips, so that we could 'throw' our names in for the tournament. Quite an imagination this Kid has.

Mommy. Yep. That's my given name, and how I sign my checks.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can you feel a little love? Dream on, dream on

click to Biggie size.
She actually said, 'Clipper Nation, RISE' to me today. I have no comment on this. But her love is real. And she believes they will eventually win a championship.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oh he love, he love, he love, he does love his numbers

My friend Autumn threw a genius-ly nerdy party: A Pi Day - Pie Day party. March 14th being the number 3.14....!!

There were lots of pies to be had and for my contribution I brought a savory and some sweets. I thought a pie filled with Mac 'n' Cheese was just crazy enough to be over the top, and it went fast, with just one slice left before I exited the party!

Contrary to that I had to make something sweet since that's what I do. So I made Pie on a Stick, filled with fresh strawberries and Nutella. DEEELISH. Plus, hey! It's on a stick! Fun!

Here's a list of allll the pies that were at the party:

Apple Pie
Cherry Pie
Apple Bacon Pie
Mac 'n' Cheese Pie (recipe, here)
Strawberry Nutella Pies on a Stick (recipe, here)
Pecan Pie
Mini meat pies
Banana Coconut Cream Pie

Here is a picture of someone who is not me eating the pie.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If we get to see tomorrow, I hope it's all worth the wait, it's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday

Two years ago this week my Grandpa died on his birthday. It's been hard for O.G. and me, and we've coped in our own ways. I think she's still not over it.

My Grandpa's favorite food was hot dogs, which is ironic since he always told me they were made of 'lips and assh*les' which made me hate hotdogs, honestly. Ew.

On that note, speaking of dogs, sausages, etc - this week we went to Wurstkuche one of my fave places downtown.

When we entered the dank, dark ordering area, I could already feel O.G.'s displeasure penetrating my skull. Luckily she brightened up when she realized there was a very sunny, lovely eating area in the back. Yeesh.

She chose her sausage: Filipino Marharlika, pork of course - and we got lots of fries. Love the fries. I also love their selection of artisnal sodas. So very L.A., but so very delish.

It was a nice casual lunch and in a lot of ways it reminded me of my Grandpa. Food and family can be pretty darn comforting.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Building up our brains with the supernatural powers, we take it from the trees and the mighty Watts Towers

I'm not fond of the term, 'Bucket List.' I mean, kick the bucket? It sounds so...morbid. Needless to say, there are a few things that O.G. hasn't done - and we've been slowly making our way through them.

While she's spent most of her 90 years here in Los Angeles, it's sort of a surprise that she's never seen the Watts Towers. She's always wanted to go and never had the chance.

Located in South L.A., it's sort of surprising to see this monument right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Built by Simon Rodia an Italian immigrant - he worked on the towers for 35 years. I have to say, if my neighbor had piles of cement, trash, bottles - and was building what could possibly be a monstrosity vs. a masterpiece in his front yard? I'd call 911.

On first approach O.G. wasn't impressed, but I begged her to look a little deeper. The intricate detail work is almost astonishing. On closer inspection, you find true detailed art pieces and amazing structural feats. In fact the city did an engineering test to see if they could pull the towers down and they didn't budge. Pretty impressive for being built by one man with a vision.

I always felt like there were very Gaudi-esque qualities in the towers. So many small patterns, so many details. After exploring the structure O.G. soon fell in love, and definitely wants to go back for the full tour, which they offer on the weekends.

The towers are designated as a National Historic Landmark and an important piece of Los Angeles history.

Watts Towers info, here.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes , I'm exposed and it's no big surprise

Today is March 3rd, Japanese Girl's Day. I remember celebrating this every year as a child. Yes, there was dressing up in kimonos. No, there are no pictures of that.

It's called Hinamatsuri also known as the Japanese Doll Festival. You are supposed to put dolls out on display and eat candies and mochi. Yum! I remember my mom pulling out the dolls from their year round storage, taking them out of cardboard boxes and putting them on the table in the living room. My other Grandmother was a seamstress and she used make elaborate Japanese dolls by hand with fabric she got from Japan.

There was a Boy's Day too, but in typical history-rewrite, they've gotten rid of Boy's Day and now call it Children's Day. What. So the boys don't get a day but they girls get to keep theirs? Doesn't seem fair to me.

Since I don't have girls - today is not as important to me as it used to be since there's no one to celebrate with. On this day you are supposed to eat Chirashi but I'm not a fan of it since I'm a bad Asian. You are also supposed to eat Sakura mochi - again, bad Asian - not a fan. Instead I will celebrate Girl's Day in my own way and eat mochi - but in brownie form.

Eating mochi and watching Oprah sounds like a very girl thing to do for Girls Day.

Chocolate Mochi Brownies recipe, here.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sakae Sushi - Gardena

I'm bundled up on a cold winter's morning (55 degrees here) waiting for a sushi store to open. The things I won't do for O.G. I am her slave I mean - granddaughter, after all.

See, O.G. has friends coming over and she MUST HAVE FRESH SUSHI. Not just any sushi - sushi from Sakae in Gardena. This place is old skool. This is where alllll the 90 year olds buy their sushi, yo. How do I know? I'm second in line cause some old lady beat me here early in the morning. Man, you'd think I could outrun a cane...
Even when she lived in Pasadena, O.G. would make the long haul out to Gardena just to get this sushi. It's what local Japanese American families have been eating for years. This is NOT you-fancy-huh sushi. No roe, no dynamite rolls, nope - this is very traditional. There are only 6 menu items, all about 90 cents, there's not even any raw fish. Just things like sweet egg, some saba, nothing fancy.

When Eater LA did a huge feature on them in December, I was saddened by the comments saying that the place was 'dirty' and 'old', those people didn't get it. This is tradition. I remember going here when I was a child, so for the older generation - it really brings back memories.
There is a simple waiting room, lined with boxes - boxes and boxes, that is how much sushi this place sells. And for New Year's Day? Forget it, you have to order a month in advance or you're out of luck. I know it's a huge party of my over-the-top Oshogatsu.
The boxes are packed the traditional way, with one sheet of paper, no tape, just string to hold it together - like an origami-ed box of food. It is truly an artform to be able to wrap these boxes so quickly.
When you open it you're presented with good, no apologies, honest sushi.

But I think I've discovered the real reason O.G. loves Sakae. I saw this on the wall in the waiting area:
Yep, her fave young-man crush Apolo Anton Ohno eats here. You know she called in to vote for him on Dancing with the Stars at least TEN TIMES every night?? Yep. I wonder if Apolo Ohno knows he's selling large amounts of sushi to smitten little old ladies. He should probably get a cut of that.

Sakae Sushi
1601 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Ste 112

Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-4550

Labels: , , ,