Monday, February 15, 2021

Happy Valentines Day 2021

"Nancy" by Ernie Bushmuller

This year, Valentines Day fell on a Sunday. We're still in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, even though our virus numbers are going down in Los Angeles. No indoor dining, no gathering in bars, no inside fun with friends. It's February. It's cold. We are lucky in Los Angeles to have a few sunny days at least, so outside activities are popular.

In the morning, Larry and I just had our usual breakfast and read the Sunday L.A. Times. We exchanged our homemade, personalized Valentine cards. In past years, before we all learned Photoshop, I would cut out pictures, paper doilies, construction paper hearts and glue everything together into a Valentine collage. With the advent of Photoshop, we are way more sophisticated now with our cards.

Very appropriate for this year

Corny, but heartfelt!

Larry had some gardening jobs to complete and I was scheduled to go to a little birthday party for my friend, Sherry. I met up with the Uke Buddies (an offshoot group of the C.C. Strummers) at the Jackson outdoor Cafe for a bit of lunch, birthday cake and ukulele playing. The Jackson Cafe is my go-to place during this pandemic. Sam, the owner, makes the BEST sandwiches, wraps, soup, salads, omelettes and more in his little snack shop. The patio is quiet and delightful. There are enough empty tables on a Sunday so that we can socially distance ourselves. We were lucky that it was a sunny day (until the wind came up later in the afternoon). 
Ethan, Tom, Carole, Emiko and our Fans
Dianne, Ellen, Cali
Cali and Birthday Girl, Sherry
We ate lunch, played a few tunes and had birthday cake, prepared by Ronnie. It was a really fun afternoon! Sam and his staff wanted to know when we're coming back. They LOVE hearing us play ukulele and singing! We even had a few fans during our set.
Ronnie, Dianne and Ellen
I always try to match my ensemble to the decor!

After our the ukulele lunch party I hurried home to my sweet Valentine. The weather was turning cold. Outdoor dining was out of the question. Larry had received a gift card for In 'n Out Burger for his January birthday from our friends, Audrey and Jeff. This was a perfect time to redeem that coupon! We have several In 'n Out Burger locations in the L.A. area. The one closest to us is always mobbed. We decided to take a drive down to El Segundo, south of the airport and try the larger In 'n Out there. The line was short, we could see the sun setting toward the west through the palm trees while we enjoyed our burgers in Larry's spacious car.

It was a perfect Valentines Day! I hope you had a good Sunday too!

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Friday, February 12, 2021

February Holidays!

So many holidays on ONE weekend! It's the Lunar New Year of the Ox. It's Valentine's Day. It's Mardi Gras! I don't know what to celebrate first. Since we really can't go anywhere during this darn pandemic, we shall sooth ourselves with the foods of these holidays.

Lunar New Year! We must pick up a meal at my favorite Chinese Restaurant in L.A., Kim's Restaurant in Crenshaw Square. Their Wor-Won-Ton Soup is SO delicious!

Wor-Won-Ton Soup at Kim's

Valentine's Day this year is not going to be so romantic. I refuse to cook another heart-shaped meatloaf! In fact, I refuse to cook anything at all! It so happens that during the day on Sunday we'll be at The Jackson Cafe on Jefferson Blvd. with a small group of ukulele players. I might be adventurous for lunch and try one of their paninis or sandwich wraps. My go-to favorite at Jackson's is the Caprese Panini.  There are comfy tables with umbrellas in this office complex patio. The owner of Jackson's, Sam, is SO hospitable. Sam and his staff really know how to put a meal together! This has been my go-to place during the pandemic. Easy parking, good food and friendly staff.

Caprese Sandwich & Salad at Jackson Cafe

We usually spend the weekend just before Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras weekend at the Original Farmers Market on Third St. Larry and I have been going to their Mardi Gras celebration for over 30 years. Many of our favorite bands perform over the weekend. The Market is decorated for a New Orleans party. NOT THIS YEAR. Of course, they will have all of the foods associated with Mardi Gras, but none of the entertainment this year. 

Mardi Gras Decorations at the Original Farmers Market

I'm not that fond of the food served at the Market. It's always been a major tourist trap (without the tourists this year). There are only a few restaurants that I actually like. Larry and I do frequent the fresh produce stalls, poultry stores and butchers at the Market though. We might drop by for a bit of King Cake at the Bakery. You cannot beat the atmosphere at the Farmers Market, that's for sure! Here are the offerings:

We might stop by our local Creole eatery, Stevie's Creole Cafe on Pico Blvd. for a bowl of their delicious gumbo or even a po' boy sandwich. It's walking distance from our house. Their food is terrific, so the lines are usually long.
Shrimp Po'Boy at Stevie's
Seafood and Sausage Gumbo at Stevie's
Traditional King Cake

Larry and I were actually married on Fat Tuesday in 1992 which happened to be March 3rd that year. We met in 1990 in New Orleans, so NOLA has been a big part of our lives. We shall toast each other on Mardi Gras this year and save the big celebration for March.
YES! It's going to be a food extravaganza for the next few days! Enjoy February. Stay safe and wear your mask!

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Thursday, February 04, 2021

Valentine's Day Prep

It's almost Valentine's Day! The local stores have reminded me. The day after the Christmas decorations come down, the Valentine's Day decorations go up, especially at the craft shops.

I happen to LOVE anything with a heart design, especially yarny hearts. Here are a few heart knit and/or crochet suggestions to get you started on a spectacular Valentine for your sweetie. Click on the project title to find a link to each pattern: 

@craftymusings on Instagram
I'm in LOVE with this sweet little Granny Heart!
I know you must have seen even MORE heart patterns online!  Go for it! Feel the love, make something mushy for Valentine's Day!

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