Monday, November 28, 2005

Look Good or Taste Good?

Other-Worldy Turkey Loaf and Pasty Stuffing
Thanksgiving is always a wonderful time of the year. There's a chill in our SoCal air...sometimes the temperature gets as cold as 60 degrees! We can start wearing all of our knitted and crocheted creations that we've been laboring over all year. There's no smog in L.A., you can see the ocean from The Griffith Park Observatory and most of the time, the traffic is light on Thanksgiving day.
Incredible Balloon Centerpieces
This year, as in the past few years, my Mother's side of the family has celebrated at our local yacht club (it shall remain nameless, to protect the chef). We reserve a private dining room so that all 30 of us can yak loudly and generally have a good time. The tiny kids like to run around and chase each other while's the usual fun, family get-together. My aunt and uncle are the hosts. They used to host the meal at their palatial home in the hills, but they're getting up there in years, and have opted to host the dinner elsewhere. My aunt is a real professional when it comes to decorating a table. She always has the most gorgeous displays of flowers, decorations, candy, silverware and plates. Also, she's a truly lovely person who makes us all feel extremely welcome at her bountiful table.
This year proved no different. The tables looked amazing. My aunt and uncle were gracious, as always. We all had fun seeing each other, yakking, trading recipes and catching up on family gossip. This side of the family has a credo: It's better to look good than feel good. It seems that the chef at the club must have taken this credo to heart. The meal looked good, but it just didn't taste good. The salad had this other-worldly looking salad dressing on it...kind of orange/red in color. The main course (turkey or ham, not both) was de-boned and pressed into a roll; the stuffing was like some sort of pate' loaf, the yams were good, the green beans were OK. Dessert was inedible. The pumpkin pie didn't even taste like pumpkin. I suppose it was trying to be a chiffon pumpkin pie...light. The chewy chocolate cake was dripping with raspberries (I don't like mixing fruit with chocolate). The filling in the mincemeat tarts was OK, but the pastry crust was rawther cardboard-like. Alas, it was a Hollywood meal. It looked good, but tasted awful.
After much discussion with my cousins, we've decided to hi-jack Thanksgiving for next year and take it to one of our homes, cook all the food and have the whole family over. My generation is middle-aged...I think it's time we took over the reins from the old folks. Why can't food look good AND taste good?


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Turkeys or Chickens?

My friend, Regina of Monster Crochet crochets all sorts of clever things. This year she is crocheting an entire Thanksgiving meal. Check out her blog in the next few days for the display. Above is her incredible bird, Turkeyzilla.
There's a trend toward preparing chicken for Thanksgiving instead of the traditional turkey. We eat chicken all the time, so eating turkey at Thanksgiving is a treat for us. My aunt and uncle host the dinner for our family. During the last few years, they haven't been cooking at home, they've invited us out to Thanksgiving dinner. It's always lovely, but it's just not the same as having turkey at home. Also, THERE ARE NO LEFTOVERS!!! Isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about? Leftover turkey for sandwiches, turkey tetrazini, turkey croquettes, turkey tacos and finally using the carcass for turkey soup! I'll probably end up cooking a small T-giving dinner just for us at home so we can have leftovers.
I was listening to the radio last week and someone was talking about cooking lamb chops for Thanksgiving dinner! Many of my vegetarian friends go crazy making faboo sidedishes and then have tofu-turkey loaf or bulgur burgers for the main dish. One year my aunt wanted to be fancy and she served squab instead of turkey. We were all very disappointed. I don't think it's about food that tastes good, it's about food that tastes familiar.
Back to chickens. Ever since Chicken Boy roosted in our backyard for almost 10 years, we've been very interested in all things chicken. Chicken Boy is now close to being hoisted up high above Los Angeles once again, so he can look out at his many admirers. I'm making hats for all of my friends for Christmas and Chanukah this year. I've made Chicken Boy's mom, Amy, a chicken hat. Of course, my skillful and talented friend Regina designed this marvelous chicken hat. I just had to have the pattern! She hadn't written up the pattern yet, so she told me the pattern over the phone. Regina knows how to talk a good pattern. My hat is different than hers, but it came out great. I had to have many people model the hat for me. Thanks to Laura, Elaine and Laurie for use of their chicken headshots.
So, my vote for Thanksgiving dinner is the traditional turkey. For hat wearing and other fun displays, my vote is for chicken! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Monday, November 21, 2005

Crochet Dude in Hollywood

At last Thursday's WeHo SnB we were honored to have Drew, The Crochet Dude as our special guest. Miss Laurie and Miss Faith brought him to our meeting at the Original Farmers Market. He's such a star. If you haven't checked out Drew's blog, website and web-store, you must do so now! He's so creative.
After a few days of sight-seeing and yarn shopping, Laurie had a little dinner party for Drew at her home. We all contributed to the meal....turkey chili, corn souffle, apple tart tatin, ginger cupcakes, brownies, chips, dips, cheese, wine, beer, soft drinks, etc. If you'd like the corn souffle recipe, click on the comments at the end of this post. It was a grand event. Laurie invited a professional videographer (James) for an interview session. Laurie is SO SOUTHERN and trusting....she even invited people who came to her yard sale last week. Glad she did! We all got to meet Christine....a lovely lady who looks like she was separated at birth from ME!

Lots of knitting, talking, laughing were involved. The photos that Mr. Larry took are slightly dark and dreamy, but it was that sort of evening. Thanks to Laurie and to all who contributed their charming personalities, etc. for this get-together!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not a Cornfield

Last week Larry and I visited the NOT A CORNFIELD art site in downtown L.A. It's extremely surreal to be in the middle of a rural-like cornfield and see the downtown skyline at the edge of the field. Artist, Lauren Bon, created the piece. Here's an excerpt from the website:
"The 32-acre plot that comprises the project site has enjoyed a vital, varied, and of late, contentious history. Tongva villages existed in this area for more than two millennia when outside explorers arrived in 1769. Located half a mile from the original city center and 150 feet from the Los Angeles River, the site was also home to the Zanja Madre, or “Mother Ditch” – a key section of Los Angeles' initial water system. Later, the Southern Pacific railroad company used the land as a railyard. The sole trains today are the MTA Gold Line cars that zip by a few feet to the west of the site. MTA construction in April, 2005 led further to the re-discovery of the Zanja Madre.
The Not A Cornfield art project name is a play on "The Cornfield," the moniker that the land has long since been known by. The latter name came about – depending on the source – either because corn seeds used to spill off the rail cars and flourish in the area, or because corn used to migrate from the nearby mill just south of the site, or perhaps because of the substance crops that rail-riding hobos grew in the immediately adjacent hillside. Other theories exist as well.
In 2001, the land was designated a state park. A coalition of community, environmental, and political activists – to name a few – worked to make that happen. Today, the acreage is formally known as the Los Angeles State Historic Park.
Soon after the completion of the Not A Cornfield art project harvest, artist Lauren Bon and her team are scheduled to vacate the property."
There have been many public events in the Cornfield.....readings, drum concerts, dances, even a purported Porn in the Corn video shoot! The people in charge did not carve a maze into the corn, but there is a circle in the center of the field where people can gather.
We took some close-up photos of the corn and it looks kinda' rangey...not the type you would want to eat, more of the decorative sort. Hopefully, when the corn is harvested the State will construct a useable park. We do not have enough parks in this town! So, if you want to have a rural experience in the middle of downtown, get over to the Cornfield.
P.S. This counts as a knit/crochet entry because I'm wearing a scarf that I recently crocheted out of LionBrand self-striping sock those stripes!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Eyes Have It

I consider eyeglasses to be a fashion accessory first and a necessity second. Last weekend, L.A. Eyeworks on Melrose had their annual eyeglass frame sale. This is a once-a-year sale and it is incredible. The price of cool frames can be anywhere from $100-$300 in our cosmopolitan world. L.A. Eyeworks has the coolest and most stylish designer frames around town. During the sale, you can get those expensive frames for $20-$100! Like I said, it's incredible. If your'e going to wear glasses most of the time, you want to at least be chic.
We'd heard about this sale for ages from some of our more au courant friends like Amy Inouye and Charles Phoenix. Both have worn glasses for years and really know the ins-and-outs of eyeglass trends. I've admired their eyeware for years. So, last year, Mr. Larry and I stopped by the store on our way home from dinner during their weekend sale. It was the end of the first day of the sale, there were plenty of frames on the tables and we chose some winners.
This year, however, Mr. Larry and I thought we'd get a jump on the earlybirds, so we zoomed up to the store on Saturday morning at about 9:30. The store opens at 10. There was a line around the block of four-eyed monsters waiting to get their paws on some of those trendy bargain frames.
The aforementioned Amy and Charles walked up, saw us in line and said they had friends toward the back of the line. They promptly walked in the back door of the shop. Like I said, those two are trendy, hip and popular. We waited in line for almost 2 hours before getting inside. The sun came out in full force. It was hot, we were cranky and we were tired of drooling on the window full of smart, modern and totally hip eyeglass frames.
Amy and Charles came out and showed us their purchases. Charles picked out the frames that Larry would most likely want. Amy chose several pairs popularized by the current Chicken Little. If you look at her website, you'll see what drives her fascination with chickens.
ANYWAY, the two hour wait was totally worth it. We made friends in line, saw other people that we knew and finally picked out some killer eyeglass frames. I got 4 pairs, Larry got 3. The next day I took two of my purchases over to Westside Optician on Fairfax, south of 3rd St. to have my lenses made. Jeff at Westside Optician does a great job, for half the price of many other expensive places. In the weeks to come, I'll be modeling my new specs for you.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

All the News!

From right to left, top row, that's Crystal, Regina and Phyllis. Bottom Row, from left to right, Kathy and Faith. These are the lovely WeHo SnB models for my latest Newsboy Hats! For the past two weeks I've been consumed with crocheting Newsboy Hats! I saw this pattern in the latest Family Circle Crochet Magazine. Jennifer at our WeHo SnB made the hat in a gorgeous beige sparkly yarn. I was immediately smitten (with the hat)! I made the first Newsboy Hat out of Red Heart TLC Amore'. It turned out kinda' billowy, but great. That's Larry's cousin, Megan Underhill modeling the cranberry color Amore' hat. I thought Noro Kureyon would be a good, stiff yarn for this hat. So, I trundled over to A Mano on Venice Blvd. where they have a fairly good selection of Noro. I picked up a navy blue colorway and made two more hats! That's the ever-agreeable Mr. Larry modeling the Noro Newsboys for me. On the second blue Noro hat I revised the pattern of the hat crown, but kept using the Family Circle brim pattern. After that success, I just couldn't stop. I made more Noro hats, picking up some very faboo colorways at Black Sheep Knittery in Hollywood. I made a Manos del Uruguay variegated wool Newsboy and I even crocheted a Caron multi-colored acrylic hat!
After I adapted the pattern (the crown resembles my crusher hat), I could whip out these babies in less than two hours each! I also added a small piece of plastic canvas between the brim pieces for more stability. At the beginning of December my office is having an employee craft sale. I'm hoping that these Newsboy Hats will be very popular! It is most satisfying to crochet a fashionable hat in such a short time with very little finishing. Another wonderful thing about the Newsboy looks great on almost everyone! Thanks to Darcy and Natalie for being willing models too!


Monday, November 14, 2005

Historic Bakersfield, CA

Larry and I had a good time in beautiful Bakersfield. We concentrated on exploring the vintage side of town....downtown. There are many intact historic buildings as well as excellent examples of post-WW II, 50's 60's architecture. We really liked all the great old neon signs!
Our first lunch was at a hamburger place called Happy Jack's Pie and Burger. Any restaurant that has "pie and burger" in its name has to be good. And it was. Of course, the Pie 'n Burger in Pasadena is really my fave burger in the greater L.A. area, but Happy Jack's was just fine.
We ate dinner one night at a historic Basque restaurant called The Pyrenees Cafe. It was bountiful. The amount of food served for two people would be enough for 4-6 people! The interior of the restaurant is great....there's an old-fashioned long bar and a dining room with red-checked tablecloths. All meals are served family style.
We also visited a few antique stores. No bargains. Bakersfield is hip to their vintage legacy...shopowners know that they can charge L.A. prices.
The big highlight was visiting Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. The show was excellent. Buck's house band started the show and then he joined in and sang some favorites and a few new tunes. The man is a real entertainer....his singing is good, his playing is great and it looks like he's having a hee-haw good time on stage. Every seat at The Crystal Palace is good, the food is good too. You can order everything from sandwiches and burgers to steak and ribs. Buck performs on Fridays and Saturdays, but has guests during the week. We would definitely travel up here again for a good show!
Of course, I had to look for some yarn while I was in Bakersfield. I found one LYS, Classy Knits and Yarns, 1833 "F" St. The shop was packed on a Saturday morning. They had a very good selection, but I didn't see anything that I couldn't buy in Los Angeles. The prices were about the same as L.A. too. We did hit a Michael's in one of the suburbs of B-Field...excellent selection.
At Guthrie's Alley Cat Bar in downtown Bakersfield we spotted some suspicious initials carved right into the bar. Hmmmm? I wonder who would have done such a thing?
We were back in Los Angeles by Sunday night. More about our L.A. adventures tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Back in good ol' L.A.

Hey everyone! We're back from Bakersfield. I'm composing on my extremely slow home computer, so there will be NO PICTURES until next week.

Bakersfield was great! It's all about Buck Owens in B-field. We had a wonderful time, but now we're back in my favorite vacation spot of all.....beautiful Los Angeles (even if it is raining today).

I had a few fun L.A. adventures, but I'm mostly trying to organize my ever-expanding yarn stash; clean up the clothing closet and basically get ready for the winter season!

I'll be at the WeHo Stitch n' Bitch on Thursday (7-9pm), in addition to our monthly SnB on the second Saturday of the month at the Original Farmers Market, 3rd and Fairfax. (10am - noon). If you show up there, I'll regale you with many Bakersfield stories!!!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Woo Hoo! We're going on vacation! We're not really going anywhere spectacular, we're just taking time off from work. We WERE going to visit our friends, Jacquie and Bob in Las Vegas. However, they were called up to NoCal to check in on Bob's ailing Mom. Hopefully, she'll be OK and Jacquie and Bob will be able to meet us at our weekend destination, Beautiful Bakersfield!
Don't laugh. Bakersfield can be a historical and hysterical vacation spot. Some people call it the Nashville of the West! The town is loaded with vintage furniture stores, antique shops and cool thrift stores. There are yummy and authentic Basque restaurants. I've heard that Dewar's Candy on Eye St. serves an excellent hot fudge sundae.
My real objective is to visit Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. I've been a Buck fan since waaaay before his "Hee Haw" TV show days. My older brother is a musician and there was a time that he was enamoured with that Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. I believe this was during the time that the Byrds, Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield and other roots-type rock 'n roll bands were delving into traditional country and western music, mid-1960's. My brother, Ken Bloom, has always been a major musical influence on me. Subsequently, I play guitar, banjo and sing just like Ernest Tubb. The harmonies in early Buck Owens and the Buckaroos music is some of my favorite. Buck still performs at his Crystal Palace on the weekends. I did see Buck perform about 15 or so years ago at the now defunct Palomino Club in No. Hollywood, but I'd like to see him again.
So, I probably won't be posting for awhile....the at-home computer connection isn't the speediest! Ya'll take care now and come back soon! Yee Haw!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery