Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Passover and Easter Prep

Tropical Matzah House

I have to take two days off from work to cook for this weekend! Passover begins on Friday night at sundown. My family is observing on Saturday, the second night of Passover. My Cousin Carolyn and her family will be out of town this year, so Cousin Marilyn and I are dividing up her cooking assignments.
We're convening at Marilyn's and Phil's house, so Marilyn is providing most of the hot dishes, matzoh ball soup, chicken, and of course, the setting for our dinner. My cooking assignments are: Gefilte fish, charoset, fruit compote, Mediterranean rice pilaf, home-baked macaroons and cheesecake stuffed strawberries. 
The MOST delicious gefilte fish. Once cooked and cooled, you slice it into serving pieces
Fruit Compote
Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
Home-baked Macaroons
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Of course, there are other items to bring, like sparkling water, horseradish, serving plates, ceremonial Seder plates and contents for 3 tables. Cousins Janet and Laurie will be bringing Passover wine. We will be a group of 16.
THEN, on Sunday, we're celebrating Easter at Carol's and Thane's home. I usually bring the deviled eggs, along with a few leftovers from our Passover Seder.
Deviled Eggs for Easter
I'm happy that the weather is warmer and it really is looking like Spring! I'm toying with the idea of baking this gorgeous Easter egg cake for Easter Sunday, but we usually have so many desserts, that I wouldn't want to compete!  This is rather fabulous though!
LOVE the idea of this "gay" cake from 1953!

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Monday, March 26, 2018


I crocheted Princess Rhoda a birthday crown!

On Saturday, we celebrated Rhoda's birthday. Rhoda and I have known each other for almost 35 years! We met while working at 20th Century Fox Studio. We grew up near each other and had many things in common. We hit it off the minute we met.
Rhoda heard me talking about eating classic Cantonese-style Chinese food at Kim's Restaurant in Crenshaw Square, Baldwin Hills awhile back. That's where she wanted to go for her birthday! We usually live it up and go someplace fancy, but I was delighted she wanted to try Kim's.
We both flashed back to our youth when Pico Boulevard in the "Kosher Korridor" was chock full of great American-style Chinese restaurants like Hoi Ping, Kowloon and Wan-Q. The food at Kim's is classic. We ordered vegetable egg rolls, chicken egg fu yung and zucchini pork. We were also served the most delicious egg flower soup to start our meal.
Egg Rolls
Egg Fu Yumg
I forgot to take a photo of the zucchini pork and egg flower soup, but both were fresh and delicious!
Estate Sale in Windsor Estates/View Park, Baldwin Hills

Rhoda and I both like going to estate sales. There happened to be one very close to Kim's on Saturday, so after lunch we stopped by. This was a house in the Windsor Estates / View Park area. The sale was run by Again L.A. Estate Sales. This was a lovely home in a beautiful area. The house was built in the early 1940s in the Federal style of architecture. It was a bit run down, but it has good bones and it's already sold. The views of the City from this part of Baldwin Hills are gorgeous. It was an especially clear day!
View from the front yard on Bradna Drive
Even though this was the end of day two of the sale and many items were sold, Rhoda and I managed to find a few things to buy. I found a wooden bead necklace and a curious serving platter. Rhoda found a beautiful pink crystal necklace.
Ellen's new serving platter. I call this the "Reindeer Princess"
My "new" platter is signed "Creative Co-Op, Lori Siebert, Artist. I left a message with the above photo on Lori Siebert's Facebook page to see if there's a story behind this enchanting image!
Two items that we passed up
There were still many great things to buy, but we had to pass on them because our houses cannot handle anymore STUFF!
It was a perfect birthday celebration for my sweet friend, Rhoda!

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Programmatic Architecture

Fish Shanty Restaurant, Los Angeles. Photo by Carol Westwood, 1980s

Programmatic, or novelty architecture used to be everywhere in Los Angeles. It wasn't unusual to have lunch served from a huge hot dog, doughnuts from a gigantic doughnut and ice cream from a giant ice cream cone. My parents took me and my brother to all of these places in Los Angeles when we were kids. My MOST favorite place of this sort was the Fish Shanty on Restaurant Row (1951-1988).
Smith Bros. Fish Shanty Restaurant, at the intersection of Burton Way, La Cienega, San Vicente, L.A.

You entered the restaurant through a giant door in the shape of a whale's mouth! Once inside, the decor was nautical and club-like. This restaurant was a favorite of my grandfather. He often held our family parties in the banquet room. 
You can actually view this very same banquet room in a scene from one of my favorite L.A.-centric movies, "The Loved One."  Find this movie and view it. You will not be disappointed! The Fish Shanty closed after 37 years of business in 1988. The building was destroyed by a fire in 1989.

It's rather sad that most of the FUN buildings in Los Angeles are gone or obscured. Real estate in L.A. is at a premium and developers must cram as many businesses as possible into a plot of land. Sigh.  
In place of the Fish Shanty is a large apartment, restaurant and Trader Joe's complex. Yes, it is an architecturally pleasing building, but nothing compares to walking through the whale's mouth to enjoy a yummy Lobster Neuburg.
This development occupies the former Fish Shanty property

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Thursday, March 22, 2018


Calendula Quilt

I've been intrigued by modular patterns lately. I do love the traditional quilt designs, interpreted into yarny afghans! Click on the captions for links to the patterns.
Granny Star Blanket

I also love these modular sweaters. It's nice to be able to knit a sweater, connect one section to the next and have very little to sew after finishing the pieces.
Log Cabin Pullover

In addition to my Eyeball Sweater project (and a few others,  heh-heh), I started a log cabin sweater. When we were in Palm Springs last month we stopped by the Michael's. I picked up one of those Caron Cakes that everyone on Ravelry is talking about. I decided to just start knitting a log cabin block and see how far I could get with one skein (383 yards). I completed a block large enough for one side of a sweater! I picked up two more Caron Cakes in this Rainbow Sprinkles colorway. We'll see what it becomes. Maybe a slip-over sweater, maybe a blanket/afghan!
Caron Cake Block, "Rainbow Sprinkles" Colorway

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Back to the 60s

Saturday night we were transported back to the early 1960s. I decided to re-live my youth and purchase tickets to see Jim Kweskin at Boulevard Music in Culver City. Decades ago I'd inherited my brother's jug band record collection, which included The Jim Kweskin Jug Band album (1963). 
Considering that I idolized my older brother, Ken at the time, the music that he loved was the music that I loved. He taught me to play the most unfeminine of instruments, the jug! It involved a lot of spitting. I do love the snappy music of the 1920s and 30s on this record.
Although the performance on Saturday was not a jug band performance, Jim played lots of old-timey songs. He sounded great! He was accompanied by bass player Matt Berlin and a harmonica player. I didn't catch his whole name, but Pedrick was part of it!
Pedrick (?), Jim and Matt
Jim performed on guitar and 5-string banjo. His playing and singing sound the same as they did in the 1960s! 
Jim Kweskin, Matt Berlin

It's always fun seeing shows at Boulevard Music in Culver City. The vibe is great, the room is small and the sound is perfect. Thanks, Gary Mandell, for another great show!

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Friday, March 16, 2018

The EYEs Have It!

"Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up." "Twilight Zone," 1961

Last night we started our Crochet-A-Long, Knit-A-Long at the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch. The theme for this KAL/CAL is "The EYEs of March."  We started on March 15th and all projects have to incorporate some sort of eyeball motif. You can view some of the other project suggestions HERE.  
I decided to go with this granny crochet eyeball top that has intrigued me ever since I saw it on the internet. There is no reference for this image, no pattern that I can locate, so I've decided to see if I can re-create this top on my own!
Granny Crochet Eyeball Top
I think I've figured out the big eyeball!
Ellen's Crocheted Eyeball
For the body of the sweater, I've decided to use some of my leftover yarn from my G.G. Cardigan.  I love these colors, burgundy, eggplant and orange with some defining black thrown in the mix.
Ellen's "G.G. Cardigan"
Hey! Maybe this could be a SWEATER SET! The Eyeball Top would look fab underneath the G.G. Cardigan.....maybe.
Too much?
 We'll see how this turns out. I know what I'll be working on this weekend!

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Pasta Sisters, West

The historic Beacon Laundry Building, Culver City. Zig-Zag Moderne & Art Deco Architecture. 1931.

I'd driven by Pasta Sisters in Mid-City, Pico & Arlington, several times, but never stopped. My yarny friends at our West Adams Knitters Group highly recommend this spot. The Mid-City location is in a strip mall with just a couple of tables. Take-out is encouraged. You can buy a prepared meal or buy the homemade pasta and sauce separately to cook at home.
I was pleased to hear that Pasta Sisters was opening a sit-down, casual restaurant in the Helms Bakery Complex, Culver City. 
On Tuesday, Larry and I ventured there for dinner. It was jam-packed! The place is huge. There are tables and counters inside for seating and a large, covered patio in front with lots of tables and HEATERS. Looks like there's a patio in back too. The back patio was closed on Tuesday. 
We ordered at the counter and then found a seat at the end of one of the large, community tables on the patio. Did I say the place was packed? Yes. So, service was a bit slow, but we could see that the staff was working hard to bring out everyone's food. They brought a basket of delicious bread. The price-point is excellent for this quality of pasta and sauce. We were dining early, so it was the children's hour. This made for a rather noisy experience. We will dine at a later hour in the future.
Patio Dining
Larry ordered Tagliatelle pasta with Bolognese sauce. I ordered Pappardelle with Porcini Mushroom sauce. We shared a plate of roasted vegetables. Everything was yummy! 
Tagliatelle Bolognese
Pappardelle w/Porcini Mushroom
Roasted Veggies
I really like this end of Culver City, east of the downtown CC area. I've always loved the Helms Bakery building in it's many incarnations over the years. The neon on the Beacon Laundry and the original Helms Olympic Bread sign are highlights of visiting Culver City!

Pasta Sisters in Culver City is way more convenient for us to purchase fresh pasta and sauce than Eataly in Century City. We shall return often.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The "EYEs" of March are Upon Us!

Our fab Stitch 'n Bitch group, the West Hollywood SnB is having a Knit-A-Long and Crochet-A-Long! We're calling it, "The EYEs of March." Natalie came up with the idea to create knitted and crocheted items that feature eyeballs. Sara came up with our clever title. We are starting this KAL/CAL on the Ides of March (March 15th). I hope you'll join us!
There are a couple of suggested patterns, but you can make ANYTHING as long as it has an eyeball on it. We haven't come up with a time limit for this project yet, but it will probably be in a few months, close to summer.
Here are a few ideas:


The above patterns are only suggestions. There are SO MANY eyeball-oriented patterns on Ravelry and well as in the internet world. You can just applique an eyeball on an existing hat or scarf! Here are two hats that I've added eyeballs to in the past. These are my "third eye" contributions to the yarny world.
Third Eye Martian Baby Beanie, crocheted by Ellen B.
Third Eye Meathead Hat, knit by Ellen B.
I must say, I am intrigued by the possibilities of this KAL/CAL. I've seen fabulous eyeball yarny items on the innernets that do not have actual patterns attached that I might try to figure out, like these:

Pom Poms!
Come on over to the Original Farmers Market, 3rd and Fairfax, L.A., this Thursday, the Ides of March, 7-9 pm, upstairs dining room to join in the fun!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery