Monday, February 27, 2017

Friends, Food, Fun

Allen's Excellent Shoes

Sunday we were invited to a pre-Mardi Gras party called "Party Gras." This is an annual gathering at the home of our friend, Mary Katherine. Luckily, the rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy a grand time, shared with old friends and some truly fabulous food!
Corn Bread, BBQ'd Chicken, Cherry Cobbler. Not pictured, yummy green beans, corn casserole, cookies, doughnuts and fresh fruit
The Gator and Oysters

M-K's Delicious Jambalaya
The BEST Ginger Snaps (recipe below)

We always have a grand time when we hang out with our ol' rock 'n roll friends. These are people we used to see at EVERY roots music gig around town 20-30 years ago. We'd stay up late every night to hear our friends perform at clubs around town. It was nothing, getting home at 2:00 a.m. and then rising for work the next day. Of course, we were 20-30 years younger then! There's no way I could do this now. That's why it's always fun to see these friends...during daylight hours! At least we have Facebook to stay in touch!

Yes, the ginger snaps were really delicious. Tammy was kind enough to send me the recipe. I can't wait to make a batch of these!

Ginger Snap Cookies

2-1/4 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup white sugar

Combine half the flour, the brown sugar, shortening, molasses, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl.  Beat mixture with electric mixer on medium to high speed until thoroughly combined.  Beat in remaining flour.  Shape dough into i-inch balls. Roll in white sugar. Place dough balls 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the tops of the snaps are crackled.  Cool and serve.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Vintage Photo Friday

I was quite a tennis player when I was young. My Mom played tennis, so her children were required to learn to play too. My brother, Ken lasted about a minute. He was too involved in his music to make time for tennis. He was a pretty good player though.  His one problem was that his eyesight wasn't too great.  Due to his long arms, height and being fairly quick on his feet, he was great at the net.
I, on the other hand, took to the game and played it through my 40s. I took lessons all the time at the local parks, Roxbury, Rancho, La Cienega. For awhile, before Dad got interested in boating, we belonged to the Racquet Club on Motor Avenue in Cheviot Hills. I do believe this club has been renamed and remodeled once again. This is where my parents met many life-long friends.  We also had tennis friends who belonged to Brentwood Country Club and I remember taking a series of lessons there with children of Mom's friends.
Here we are in 1964 on the tennis courts at Brentwood CC.
Carol Heineman, Ellen Bloom, Beany (Paul) Friedman, Larry Heineman and Mike Friedman. Check out our wooden racquets and those snazzy plaid racquet covers!
I saw Beany (Paul) Friedman recently at my Uncle's memorial service. Paul's mother, Inge and my Aunt Frances were great friends. My Mom played tennis with Inge. Carol and Larry Heineman's mother, Anne was also a frequent tennis partner of my Mom's.
I was sad to read in December that Larry Heineman had passed away. Cancer. So many of my friends, acquaintances and others from my generation are leaving us early. I know it's morbid that I read the LA Times Obituaries every day, but I like to stay informed. We were lucky to live such a charmed childhood. In these troubled times, I find myself looking back in fondness.
I can smell the fragrant eucalyptus trees now that surround Brentwood Country Club's tennis courts!

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, stop and smell the eucalyptus trees while you still have the time!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Bench and Table in our Little Breakfast Nook

Larry and I were lucky to pick up a beautiful Spanish Revival Monterey tiled table and bench from my Aunt's and Uncle's house last weekend. Frances and Mort have both passed and their daughters (my cousins), Amie, Barbara and Carol are going through the house and sorting things out. Naturally, each of my cousins put aside things that they wanted from their parents' home. There will be an estate sale at some point, before the home is sold.
Table, Close-up of tile
Bench, Close-up of tile

I've always admired this table and bench. It's Classic California style. Many of the furniture pieces in their home were inherited from Frances' mother. This table and bench were probably owned by her. I feel very fortunate that my cousins offered the table and bench to us. After a bit of cleaning and restoration, it will look great in our little breakfast nook of our 1926 Spanish Revival Bungalow. This type of furniture was often seen in houses from this era.
I wish there was another bench for the other side of the table!  HOWEVER, I think I have a temporary solution until we run across a similar tiled bench. We have two mahogany chairs that once belonged to MY parents and are about the same color wood finish as the table and bench. Right now they're sitting in our dining room as side chairs. All I have to do is recover their existing cushions and I'll be able to use them alongside the Monterey furniture. 
Spoonflower Fabric has a few excellent fabric selections that resemble this sort of Spanish tile. Here are a few options:
This one looks almost perfect!
I LOVE this one, but it may be too busy!
I plan on visiting our local fabric stores soon to see what I can find in person, before I order online. Time to dust off the sewing machine! Thanks again, A,B,C for the wonderful remembrance of our fun times at Frances' and Mort's parties over the years!
Cousin Amie at the Playa del Rey house

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Redondo Pier

Monday was Presidents Day. Larry and I had the day off from work. We decided that a rainy, cloudy day would be perfect for a trip to the Redondo Beach Pier. Surprisingly, it wasn't completely empty, but it wasn't crowded either.
Neither of us had been to Old Tony's Restaurant on the Pier. Tony's has been on the Pier since 1952. Over the years the building has expanded, and in 1963 the bar at the Top O' Tony's opened, giving everyone a 360 degree view of the bay. They are known for their mai-tai cocktails. 
The Downstairs Bar has a Fire Pit!
Tony's building definitely has a Swiss Chalet feel to it!

We parked in the ample, but dilapidated parking structure and walked on the pier for bit until we came to Tony's. We had a delicious lunch of chowder, shrimp cocktail and crab cakes. Everything was fresh and prepared beautifully. After lunch we walked around the restaurant, snapping pictures.
Obligatory Wall o' Stars
Vinyl Upholstery on the bamboo chairs. I had this design as wallpaper in 1968!
Ceiling in the round bar, upstairs

I must say, Fisherman's Wharf at the Redondo Pier has seen better days. You can see the various eras of revitalization from the 1960's through the 1990's. A new upgrade is planned soon. 
1960's Parking Structure, crumbling concrete
It was rather nostalgic to walk along the Pier and see all of the funky, old souvenir shops and ice cream stands. The waves were hitting rocks and the surf was up!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Vintage Photo Friday, 1963 - DISASTER

December 15, 1963. Photo by John Malmin, L.A. Times. Aerial photo taken from inside the Baldwin Hills Dam shows the collapsed section in the north wall

All of this rain and this flooding that we're experiencing right now reminds me of the Baldwin Hills Reservoir disaster of 1963. I remember it vividly, Local TV station, KTLA covered the event live from their camera in the sky. KTLA was one of the first TV stations to employ cameramen in helicopters to get overviews of news events.
The dam walls had been cracking for days. People were warned early because the engineers noticed a small breach in the dam. Homes were evacuated in the area. Many peoples' lives were saved before the disaster struck. There is a good description of the area on THIS BLOG. Read it!
December 14, 1963. Photo from LA Public Library Collection. Igal Treibatch has his jeans rolled up as he's standing on a Ford Fairlane, waiting for his rescue in the flooded waters from the Baldwin Hills Dam

I remember sitting in our breakfast room in the early evening, glued to KTLA, watching our little portable TV as the disaster unfolded with my brother, Ken and his friend Eddie. Mom was in the kitchen preparing dinner. We couldn't believe our eyes! All that water was flooding the area. We had friends that lived there. My Dad was very familiar with the area because he had supplied many of the homes built in the late 1950s and early 1960s with doors and wardrobes. It wasn't all that far from our duplex on South Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills, only about 5 miles away!
December, 1963. Herald Examiner. LAPL Photo Collection. Neighbors stand beside a newly carved gorge in the 3900 block of Cloverdale Ave. This house was the first one hit by the cascading water from the Reservoir. The house was washed away. Only the retaining wall in the background and the concrete pad remain. A section of the road hangs over the gorge.

The aftermath of the flood was terrible. Many homes, apartments and stores were gone.   The dam spilled 300 million gallons of water into the hillsides that swept away houses and cars. Three people died.  The Reservoir was never rebuilt. It turns out that it had been built on top of an earthquake fault and the nearby Inglewood oil field had been over-exploited, weakening the ground around the Reservoir. The area where the dam was located is now Kenneth Hahn State Park. It's a beautiful park, lush and filled with people enjoying the recreational facilities and hiking paths. I've been to the park a few times and I always get a chill, thinking about the disaster in 1963.
2015. Larry at Kenneth Hahn State Park

Stay safe this weekend, my fellow Angelenos! Prepare for disaster.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Caribbean Pineapples

"Caribbean Pineapples"

My WeHo SnB Valentine Swap Partner this year was Brenda B. Brenda likes to wear cotton. I found some lovely Samoa cotton in a beautiful coral color in my stash. I also found a couple of skeins of orange, very close to the coral color. I decided to use both of them to create "Caribbean Pineapples" for Brenda!
The trim is orange and most of the body of the scarf is coral, except for the center section
Crochet Pineapples Chart

I do love the basic crocheted pineapple. It's airy and makes a very pretty lace. I used a size G, 4.5mm crochet hook for this very long scarf.
The edge lace is from Doris Chan's "All Shawl," a favorite trim that I use often
Brenda, modeling "Caribbean Pineapples"
Brenda looks FAB in this new scarf / cowl! I hope she wears it a lot this spring and summer! 
I received a beautiful scarf in shades of blues and greens from Sara N. I LOVE my new scarf, but that's another blog post!
Ellen (wearing Sara's Scarf); Brenda (wearing Ellen's Scarf)
Super Swap 2017 - Valentine's Day with the WeHo SnB

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pre-Valentine's Day Dinner At Taix

Hallway to banquet rooms at Taix

French Country cuisine at Taix in Echo Park!  Yum! One of my favorite classic Los Angeles restaurants. We were supposed to celebrate a double KnitGrrlz birthday on Saturday at Taix, but there were last minute changes due to emergencies, sniffles and more! We have re-scheduled for March.
Larry and I decided to keep the reservation and celebrate Valentine's Day early. I'm so glad we did. Les Freres Taix has always been one of my go-to places in L.A. The original Taix was located downtown on Commercial Street, near City Hall. It was a glorified soup kitchen with sawdust on the floor and long tables. The current Taix has been in this location since 1962 and is decidedly more upscale than the former DTLA restaurant.
The menu consists of Country French favorites, simple food, prepared beautifully. We had soup, salad and drinks. Larry ordered the salmon, I had the grilled shrimp on a bed of ratatouille. Both were DELICIOUS! The service is always good. The dining room is lovely and you can hear each other talk. This is rare in newer Los Angeles restaurants today. The carpets, draperies and upholstered booths tone down the usual restaurant clatter. So serene. 
French Onion Soup with yummy, gloppy cheese
Roasted Salmon Filet with vegies and champagne cream
Grilled Shrimp w/lime and chili and ratatouille, beurre blanc
We were so full that we declined dessert. The dining room and the bar were full on this Saturday night with happy people. There were also a number of banquets in progress. We listened to an accordion and violin duo outside of the large banquet room! We wandered into one of the smaller banquet rooms with French country-side murals. Charming.
Smaller Banquet Room at Taix
I look forward to our return in March to celebrate Brit's and Natalie's belated birthdays!
Vintage Taix Advertisements

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Hiren's BootCD
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