I returned to Market Table last night. One night can be a one hit wonder but I am glad to say Marketplace is here to stay. The food was really good. Simple and delicious.
Highly recommend the lamb shank. Perfect eating on a cold evening.
I returned to Market Table last night. One night can be a one hit wonder but I am glad to say Marketplace is here to stay. The food was really good. Simple and delicious.
Highly recommend the lamb shank. Perfect eating on a cold evening.
It seems that all of our friends have one organization or another that they are involved with. All a good thing. I try to support everyone's events and organizations especially the friends who have long time commitments to something. It makes a difference to me because it is not a fly by night cause.
Our really good friends have been involved with The League for the Hard of Hearing for probably 13 years. It is an incredible organization that helps everybody from young children to adults who need help with hearing issues. They are big supporters of new technologies in hearing aids and cochlear implants as well as early childhood development.
One of the nice thing about last night's event is listening to the people that the League has helped. An incredibly poignant 11 year old boy spoke about how the League literally changed his life. The other bonus is that the event is basically a huge cocktail party with tastes from restaurants around the city. No sitting, no long speech, no rubber chicken. Just a big eat, drink and talk and be home at a reasonable hour.
Bravo to the League. I hope they raised a lot of money last night.
I hate getting massive amounts of catalogs in my mailbox every day. Sorting through the mail is quite easy. One pile for garbage, one to keep. The catalogs don't even get a look. If I need something, I go online and order it. Catalogs hopefully will be one form of marketing that will cease to exist over time. God knows how many trees go into each catalog that ends up in the trash. It completely goes against what we are trying to promote to our kids about saving the planet.
This week a friend of mine sent me an email about her friends latest venture. Catalog Choice. It is all about getting off catalog lists. Anybody can sign up. Then once you are signed up you can opt out of every catalog that you get. The key is getting the customer number on your catalog when you enter the information. That insures that your name will really get taken off the appropriate list.
So, every time I get a catalog and we all know that with Xmas season right around the corner we will be bombarded with catalogs, I am going to go to Catalog Choice and enter the information. It will take a few minutes everyday but well worth the effort. Our post office will thank you. Our planet will thank you. This will force companies to figure out a better way to use the Internet to market their services. Entire businesses could be created just out of that. Getting rid of catalogs could create new businesses. Think of that.
Unless you absolutely love your catalogs, go to Catalog Choice and opt out.
Josh's band played at the LREI coffeehouse on Saturday night. The 4 Fellas have a new addition, a girl. A girl with a serious set of pipes. She is cute, hip and has lots of moxie. It is only a matter of time before she takes over the stage. The boys definitely have the music down. I was quite impressed. I know, I'm the mother but I wasn't the only one impressed. They did a Pat Benatar song. I'm not a big Benatar fan but their lead singer had it down.
So, will they be called the 4 Fellas and a Girl? We have gone through a litany of names and are still working on it. Eventually they'll figure it out. They figured out the new addition and that is definitely a home run.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter but into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup water
Confectioners for dusting (which I forgot)
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a 9 inch square baking pan with two layers of tin foil and butter it.
Blend the butter, flour, salt and 1/2 cup sugar in a food processor until the mixture begins to stick together. It takes a minute or two.
Take out the mixture and press into the pan ( on the foil ) evenly. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a pale golden brown.
In the meantime, take a bag of cranberries, 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the cranberries start popping.
When the crust is done, take it out of the oven. Use a slotted spoon and spread the cranberries evenly over the crust.
Put it back in the oven and let bake for about 25 more minutes.
Take out and sift confectioners sugar over the top.
Cut into 12 squares.
Unbelievably delicious. The sweet with the tart so work.
We wanted to see the galleries that have taken over Culver City. I did some research on the web, and came up with a plan. There are about 20 plus galleries in the area mostly on Washington Blvd. and La Cienega.
What is interesting is trying to find the galleries. Although there are literally next door to each other, finding them is just not that easy. Maybe because the area is still going through a change but the fronts of the Galleries are mostly dark so you can't see what is inside. Only a few galleries actually post their names big and bold. Otherwise, you aren't sure if you are in the right place or are they even open. You'd think most of them would greet you with open arms but it wasn't always the case.
There were some highlights worth checking out. George Billis Gallery on S. La Cienega was showing two artists, one was Jorge Santos. Really excellent painter of people in strange locations. Very clever and each painting made you wonder. This one on the left I really liked, it is called the Breakup. You can barely see the car in the distance. The other gallery on that street is Lizabeth Oliveria. The artist she was representing, Manuel Ocampo, had just been written up in the Los Angeles Times the week before. A bit dark for my taste. Paintings with German pogrom reference. LA Contemporary was showing an artist Kharlene Boxenbaum in an installation called War. I was not that impressed with the depth of the work but there was one painting of a pair of eyes surrounded in a birka which was is such a representation of our times which stuck with me. Blum & Poe is also on S. La Cienega which had a fantastic exhibit. Tatzu Nishi whose work has to be installed in your home. Large time clocks that actually work and area put on top of paintings painted right on the wall. One was all about Los Angeles, the other was just black. He also had a few photos in the back. One in particular I liked was a guy walking down the street in Japan with a variety of every day things piled sky head above his head. Clever. Obviously a prolific artist. He is from Nagoya Japan.
We headed down Washington Blvd. Most of the Galleries worth checking out are heading towards the center of Culver City. A few worth noting. Cardwell Jimmerson which was installing a very interesting exhibit of a husband and wife team. The husband is white and the wife is African American. They had taken stock footage from the civil rights movement and put the photos which they redid in a box and then layered the photo again on a sheer fabric creating a three dimensional feel. It was there way of representing the two of them together. The walls were covered in a DNA type design which also represented their union Pretty cool. The artist was there hanging his work so we got a really good inside scoop.
The best gallery, hands down, Lab 101. The woman who owns the place could not have been nicer. She represents emerging artists, generally first time shows. Next year they are changing modes and sticking with 12 artists that they hope to foster their careers. Two of us bought something there. The artists Mel Kadel and Mike Aho were our favorites. Boyfriend and girlfriend. The pieces I bought are on the left hand side which were Aho's.
After leaving the Galleries, we headed back down to Third Street and checked it out. The best store is Satine. Actually, after seeing many stores, I thought Satine did it best. Cutting edge boutique, young and happening designers that can we worn by all ages. Designers from Japan, Australia and the US. Reminded me a bit of Opening Ceremony but not as out there.
That night we went to in Brentwood and ate at Katsuya. A total scene with really good Asian food. We could barely hear each other speak but we really had a blast checking out the people and eating the food. Some of the highlights were the spicy tuna chopped really fine served over a deep fried sushi rice ball. The combination of the fish with the crunchy rice was top. Part of their menu comes from the grill area which is centered in the middle of the restaurant. The Japanese mushrooms, asparagus and shrimp topanyaki was excellent. Triple this and serve it over rice and you have a meal in to itself. The now classic, Rock Shrimp Tempura was really well done here. The difference is the shrimps are large vs. popcorn and the taste shows. We also split a miso cod which is one of the best I have ever had. Light and not too heavy on the miso. I had some sushi too, toro yellowtail and uni were delicious.
Our time in Los Angeles was great. I always feel at home there. Maybe because I was born there. Maybe because my family has ties there and someone has always lived there. My Grandmother lived in Laguna Beach for years. My sister spent four years there. I lived there for a semester in college and now my brother and his family lives in Venice. The good news, I can and will keep coming back. The better news is that hopefully my friends and I will make this an annual event. Thinking of Portland next year. Will keep you posted...
Walking up and smelling the Pacific ocean is really a treat. I walked down to the restaurant for some coffee and watched the ferris wheel on the Venice rotate as the lights sparkled. Seeing the locals exercise up and down the boardwalk was great entertainment. I finally made my way out to the beach and took a run myself.
After everyone was exercised, we took a drive down to Venice, Abbot Kinney and hit up the stores. Just a note, some of the stores are not open on Mondays but about 80% are. Venice is a city of two worlds. Abbot Kinney is the up and coming hipsters and the boardwalk area is old locals. Like a variety of urban cities around the country, the landscape is changing.
We ate lunch at 3 Squares Cafe which is really good. They serve food starting at breakfast and go all day long through dinner. There is a small bakery to go next door which is part of the restaurant. The menu is eclectic. Goulash and spaetzle to hamburgers to 3 tiny sandwich sliders to salad. To begin we all split the deep fried avocado slices. Dipped in panko and flash fried and served with a spicy tomato sauce. Really good. The crunch of the outside and the smooth of the avocado inside is very clever and works. Admittedly, I went with the salad which is really good but others had the burger which I tasted and was excellent and someone else had the triple sandwich treat. The best being the meatloaf. Really spicy and interesting. I have been there before and would go again and again.
Once we had hit up every place on Abbot Kinney we drove over to Fred Segal which is a must stop if you are in Los Angeles. Nothing else quite like it. There are 3 locations. Two in Santa Monica across the street from each other and one near Melrose downtown. The building has a variety of stores inside that are not related so there is everything from high end clothes to handbags to mens to shoes to jeans. Can't be beat.
After we gathered our purchases, we made our way back to the hotel. Dinner that evening was at 8pm. We went to the top of the Huntley Hotel to the restaurant called The Penthouse. Top of the hotel, windows all around, all white lacquer with some seating covered in sheer fabrics. Very LA. The service was great and we split basically everything which was the way to go, for us. We tried everything from tuna tartare to calamari to salads. We split a main course which was a rib eye steak with mushrooms on the side. The steak was excellent which the waiter recommended. I can't remember everything we ate and there isn't a menu on line but it was fun and even if you don't want to eat there, definitely worth going up to the top, having a drink and checking out the skyline.
What do four girlfriends do when they check out of town for four days for a little r and r. They shop, eat, drink and look at art. That is exactly what I have been up to for the past four days with the emphasis on shop.
We settled on Los Angeles. Easy to get to and good weather. We truly did the town. We stayed at Shutters in Santa Monica. Beautiful setting right on the beach. The service is slanted towards visitors enjoying LA vs business travel.
The first day we got there was a wash. For dinner, we we drove (of course) in to Venice and had dinner at Joe's on Abbot Kinney. I have been there before and I am glad I went back. The service is wonderful and the food is quite good. There are a few rooms. The bar area, the main dining room and the back patio. All a little different but each worth sitting in they also serve brunch and lunch.
We each had two appetizers since we were a little out of wack and didn't want to go to bed overloaded. I had the duck sausage which was served on a salad of beans, peaches and a ginger vinaigrette and a tiny scoop of tarragon sorbet. The duck sausage was fantastic. Full of flavor. I also had the Grilled Octopus served with their version of a Greek salad. Simple and well done.
The next day was going to be a full day of activities so we went back to the hotel and called it a night.
During Al Gore’s run for President, I was fortunate to meet him a few times. One particular event I was placed at his table. I had gone with one of my best friends who was as excited about this race as I was. We were raising money for Gore.
On a side note, this particular event took place at an apartment of a very powerful NY’er who lives across the street from the Met. We couldn’t get a cab up there because of Gore being in town so we took the bus up Madison. Little did I know, my friend, who grew up in the elite world of NY had never taken a bus. I was looking to him for guidance on where the apartment was. As we drove past the stop, he looked at me and said that was where we were supposed to get off. I asked him why he didn’t ring the bell? Of course his reply was “what bell”? I dinged the bell and off we went. When we got to the event it was apparent to me that we were the youngest people there. Granted this was about 8 years ago and my friend is 10 years younger than me. It was quite the crowd. So the entire night as I would walk by my friend, I’d whisper in his ear, I bet we are the only people here who took the bus. It kept us laughing all night.
Anyway, sitting at Gore’s table was incredibly insightful. My friend, who happens to be a serious brainiac and reads 500 page books to understand the meaning of life could have been Gore’s best friend. They read all the same books. They could have sat there for hours discussing and analyzing science, psychology, space, environment, etc. As impressed as I was by Gore’s intelligence, I was worried about his leadership ability. Would he be a micromanager reading endless books and spending so much time analyzing things that nothing would ever get done?
In the end, it didn’t matter, because we ended up with a buffoon instead of an intellect as our President. Gore faded into the woodwork but something interesting happened along the way. First of all, Gore is a doer. He is seriously smart. He needs to use his brain. He wasn’t going to kick back and sit on the beach. Here is a guy that has been in politics his entire life and all of a sudden he has lost the ultimate game in a public forum. He now retreats to private life, something he never had, and finds himself. Along the way, he discovers he has a knack for leading in private life. He doesn’t need to play politics. He follows his passions. He rises to the top of a game that he was never in before.
Gore has been given the ultimate honor this week, the Nobel Prize. Damn. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
David Brooks wrote an interesting editorial on Saturday about Gore. Gore’s comments in regards to his frustrations about what politics has become was right on the money. The system is broken. It has become something that makes it impossible to get things done. It is us vs them. Did our forefathers realize that politicians, once holding an office, would spend 80% of their time raising money in order to get voted in again? Did they realize that our country would be populated to the point that perhaps the electoral college would not be needed anymore? Did they realize how power would create the need for more power regardless of the laws and the people they serve. People would in power would actually try to manipulate the electoral college to stay in power instead of letting the people be heard. Thank god they had the foresight to have a new election for President every four years.
At the end of the day, the system must change. I am not sure I am so disenchanted with the candidates as I am with the system. I’d be shocked if Gore would step back into the arena. Although who is our savior to help us from ourselves and our system. We need someone who is literally going to restructure Government as if is today. Is something just terrible, underhanded and illegal, worse than Watergate going to have happen in order for our Government to change the way they do business? After all, all the politicians in power now got elected through this antiquated system.
But, until the system changes, we will have less and less intellects like Gore getting into the game. We will have more buffoons who have a desire for power not for change like the biggest buffoon of all that we have all had to live with as a leader of our country the last 7 years, George Bush.
At the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 10th is Bobo. It is hard to miss. The door is under the stoop where there is usually a homeless man sitting since the building above appears to be uninhabited.
Bobo is one of the handful of restaurants that opened this season that got the usual early fanfare and hype. We had friends coming in town, so I called early and got the reservation. Could this be a winner? Not.
The atmosphere is intimate. Eclectic decor. The restaurant is in the downstairs and second floor of a townhouse. The ceiling is low. A bar takes over half the first room where there are few tables spread around for dinner patrons. There is a secondary room in the back that has a wall with openings on both side that allows for circulation which lets the patrons in the back get away from the bar scene if only for a small time.
We were seated at the table in the back directly behind the wall. The hostess said it was her favorite table. You can peer into the open windowed kitchen from that seat and see the big jars of lemons sitting in the entrance. The whole restaurant looks like someone collected for a variety of years at estate sales. Interesting.
We sat down and immediately could smell that steak was burning. Are the fans working back there? After all, this is an old townhouse. Luckily, the smell quickly subsided.
They were already out of a bunch of wines but we finally found one. The menu begins with sharing options for the table, then appetizers, then pastas, then main courses. I was intrigued with the cheese, honey, and brown walnut bread plate. Truth is, after we got it, I realized that this should have been on the dessert menu so nobody ate much of it. Maybe our waiter should have said something. The presentation wasn’t that interesting either. A rectangular brown basket lined with linen and four cheese randomly places and some grapes in the middle and figs scattered about with some brown bread. It didn’t look like it came out of a kitchen where a chef is trying to make a mark. I should have picked the frutti di mare maybe that would have been more appropriate for the first round.
We had a mixture of appetizers. I had the shaved vegetable salad with ricotta salata and balsamic vinegar. Boring, bland and no bite. My friend went with the warm goat cheese salad. Same thing. Simple and bland. Fred went with the figs and prosciutto roasted with cheese. Not good. The figs tasted as if they had been burnt. Another was the steak tartare. I didn’t taste that but I did not hear raves coming from the other side of the table. Steak tartare is tough but if done right it can be fantastic and creative at the same time. Neither fit this bill.
Dinner was basically the same thing. Two of us had their version of Coq au vin. Chicken with red wine sauce, bacon and mashed potatoes. I asked for the plate sans mashed potatoes, and so did my friend but they gave her the mashed potatoes in this round red cup. Didn’t look to appetizing. The chicken was too rich and too much. I ate half which was plenty. Fred went with the suckling pig which is one of my favorites. The pig was not that flavorful and the sides didn’t have any depth. The last person went with the steak which was given a thumbs down for taste.
Dessert, why not. Maybe it was all the wine. Olive oil beignets served with a roasted fruit sauce. Bland, not sweet and the beignets were far from light and airy. The tartin was more of the same. Heavy handed crust and thick apples. Usually when I drink and then order dessert, I finish everything to the last bite. Not here. One bite and then a second of each to confirm that it wasn’t worth the calories. Such a bummer.
Although the food wasn’t that good what was frustrating is what happened as the night wore on. We were in the back room, away from the bar. The bar was so packed that people started to bleed into the back room. So we now have a host of about 10 people milling around the side of our table using the back room as an extension of the bar. As we made our way out, I felt for the people who were sitting in the bar area. I could barely make my way out of the room getting around the table that was parallel to the bar. The woman sitting there looked absolutely frustrated and miserable as people were leaning against their table while they tried to enjoy their meal. Not good.
So, should the restaurant turn people away to hang at the bar when this happens? Not sure but if Bobo was looking to create an intimate experience, the bar scene was far from it. I didn’t peak upstairs but I would hope it was much more mellow up there. I admit I did like the place at first glance when we walked in. I’d sit at the bar and have a drink if it was not that packed. There is an ambiance like an old English high end pub.
Unfortunately, the food isn’t very good and the place is packed with everyone trying to check out the latest and greatest that just got written up as the place to check out of the moment. There are pros and cons but it is up to the management to manage it.
Dinner was not worth the investment. Maybe they should just turn the whole place into a big bar.
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Rachel Kushner: The Flamethrowers: A Novel
A beautiful intelligently written book that threads together NYC and Rome in the 1970's. The prose is just amazing. There is an underlying theme about lies and trust. The main character, Reno, whose eyes the book is written through is like a sponge taking in a world and essentially educating herself. I admit I did not love the ending and the book bounces around a bit although an interesting look at a time that bounced around too so the story defines those times.
Peggy Riley: Amity & Sorrow: A Novel
A mother drives for days with her daughters and ends up in a random Oklahoma town after crashing the car. They come from a polygamous community where there were 50 wives. The mother had grown up knowing life outside that community. Over time, after leaving, she almost becomes deprogrammed. The realization of what she did to her daughters who no nothing outside the world they came from including how to read. Then there is the family that brought them in. It is a fascinating story. Well written. Worthy read.
Charles Graeber: The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder
An amazing true story of a male nurse who was arrested in 2002. I actually remember the story as I followed it in the papers. This nurse was a serial killer who had probably murdered over 400 patients that were under his care. A seriously well researched book. Great read.
Meg Wolitzer: The Interestings: A Novel
Wolitzer writes about a group of camp friends who all come from different walks of life (some on scholarship) as their friendships continue through their mid-50s. At the beginning the story seems trite but as you continue to read there is a lot of be said. The story is sticking with me. She makes the case that everything that happens to you from your childhood makes an impact on who you become or don't become. Worthy read.
Elizabeth Strout: The Burgess Boys: A Novel
Strouts last book won a Pulitzer. She focuses on family issues. I enjoyed this book much more than Olive Ketteredge which I found utterly depressing. This book follows two brothers and a sister who live in the shadow of their fathers accidental death. Like most siblings, all have turned out very different yet they are connected. I did not love any of the characters, like her last book, yet as The Burgess Boys moves forward and memories are revealed, it is an interesting perspective on human character.
Tamara Shopsin: Mumbai New York Scranton: A Memoir
Great book. A witty spare inventive personal diary of Tamara journey from Indian to New York to Scranton. Really really enjoyed the book.
Michael Lavigne: The Wanting: A Novel
An incredible book that tells the human side of the many layered issues in the Middle East. From immigrating to Israel from Moscow, to being a victim of a suicide bomber yet surviving, to being pulled into an Israeli radical group. Each character is connected. Very layered well written book. Powerful
Alessandro Piol: Tech and the City: The Making of New York's Startup Community
A history of the Internet that I lived through. Great job of recording what happened.
Amity Gaige: Schroder: A Novel
Not sure how much I loved this book. A father loses his child in divorce and decides to kidnap his own daughter. He is not a stable person but he obviously loves his daughter. His own childhood has made him a disconnected human being. An interesting journey but not sure I'd recommend.