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Thursday, October 8, 2009

California Eatin' On Foodie Friday

While we were in California last week, Howard and I had several memorable meals. Mostly I forgot to take pictures. I'm not a very good travel-blogger yet.

But for Foodie Friday on the Designs by Gollum blog
(click here to go there!), I'll share what I have.

On Monday, we explored the delightful but parking-challenged Balboa Island.

Howard explored a Balboa Bar, an ice cream bar dipped in
fresh chocolate and then into the topping of your choice:

The pigeons were waiting for Howard to drop his Balboa Bar. Ha!
They didn't know their customer. Howie don't drop no ice cream for no pushy birds!

On Wednesday, after whale watching, we went to lunch at The Crab Cooker in Newport Beach.
This was on the recommendation of someone at my daughter's church,
who called it the quintessential California experience. It was great!

The waitress looked a little fierce:

But she was actually quite charming, and brought us chowder.
Don't you love the elaborate and elegant tablescape?

Love the placemats with the slogan: Eat lots a fish.

Now, personally, I don't eat things that look as if they are trying to crawl
off the plate and escape their fate, but Howard enjoyed his soft shell crabs:

Alida and I had shrimp and scallops. . . and they were divine:

Yup, they were. If I ever go again... just the scallops, please.

Ummm... it was a good lunch.
Witness, two satisfied customers, fresh off the whale boat:

(Don't worry, Josh, I won't use your name.)

On Friday we rendezvous-ed with the kids in Los Angeles,
and the four of us went to lunch at a Greek place called Papa Chrystos.

Noisy and delicious! It was so good I forgot to take pictures until
just the remains of Alida's moussaka were left, so that's all I have for you:

Good Tzatziki sauce, great pita . . . I had grilled tomatoes and feta. Fabulous.
Alida took her leftovers back to her office. Grad students are thrifty.

Lest you think we only ate at places that serve on paper and plastic plates and vinyl tablecloths, we did have some wonderful meals in other places. I had Thai and Indian food for the first time, in charming little restaurants in Pasadena's Old Town. Fantastic! Plus, we went to The Magic Castle in Hollywood for dinner -- the filet mignon was good -- and the magic shows were hilarious and amazing.

But the meal that was most important, and most delicious,and most special,
was the meal we had at this charming table on our first night in CA:

Cooked and served by this lovely hostess (and I say that as a totally unbiased observer!)

Our Alida, who a year ago couldn't claw her way out of a shake'n'bake bag, has become a very good cook.
She made the most delicious mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts. . .

They were perfectly done. And her sauteed spinach? Delish!

I was so proud of her! Doesn't she look domestic and capable,
in the apron her friend Claudia sent her from Italy?

Claudia stayed with us summer before last,
and taught Alida how to make authentic Carbonara.

Howard and I met her boyfriend that night, too.

He's terrific. I won't embarrass them by saying things like,
"Oh don't they look cute together?" No, I would never do that.

He brought her a beautiful pot of blue campanula, the most amazing color:

True confessions: after dinner, Howard and I were so sleepy (jet lag!) that
we both conked out on the sofa, while Alida and Josh made dessert. Peach crisp:

We woke up when the oven timer went off.
We're like two old war horses who smell battle. Only we smell dessert.

Well, that's our food stories from California.

Alida, thank you for your hospitality and tour-guiding,
and for finding so many neat spots for our shared meals.

We will be back!

And, Howard? Someone's looking for you, and says he's got a bone to pick . . . .

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! -- Cass


  1. Cass, it looks like you had a great time, and I loved your story! If a man brings you flowers that lovely, he's a definite keeper! Your daughter is adorable.

    LOL! about the pigeon and the ice cream bar.

    Glad you had fun!

    Happy Foodie Friday...


    Sheila :-)

  2. Cass, You were in my neck of the woods! I'm about an hour from Newport. I'm glad you had a great time, it's been pretty warm here, just now finally cooling off in the evenings. I'll be sure to make a trip to Newport just to try that seafood restaurant. Thanks for the review!

  3. I'm so hungry now. And they are a cute couple.

  4. So did that pigeon follow Howard home? *giggles* The seafood looks yummy and I haven't even had breakfast yet.


  5. Cute couple and what a thoughtful BF. The flowers are lovely. Your shrimp and scallop looks so good!...Christine

  6. Cass,

    Great pictures! It looks like you had a wonderful time. I had to stop trying to photograph every meal - someone who I am married to was getting annoyed that his food was not hot enough after I had rearranged the table!!!! He is over it now.

    Have a great weekend!


  7. My family already thinks I'm nuts so taking pictures of the daily minutiae of our lives no longer gets noticed.
    Your vacation sounds like a great time. See mom your little girl is all grown up.

  8. What a wonderful post :) I'm still waiting for my daughters have their cooking epiphanies!

    I had to laugh at your comment about food crawling off the table! I love soft shell crab and my favorite part of fried calamari is the legs.

  9. Looks and sounds like you had some wonderful food, and a very enjoyable time. Thanks for sharing your trip.
    Have a great weekend.

  10. That poor bird :-). A bit slow on the uptake I'd say. The dinner your daughter made for you looks delicious. I don't blame you for being proud of her. I'm so glad you had a good time on your adventures. Have a great day.

  11. A wonderful post...looks like you really enjoyed your visit with that beautiful daughter...

  12. Great trip it looks like!
    I love the last pic, of the pigeon looking for Howard---tooooo funny!


  13. Hi Cass - thanks for visiting! I'm so happy to hear that Eggplant Parm is your favorite too! I think more people would agree if only they would give it a try, don't you? I've been asked on several occasions at the grocery store, "what do you do with those things?" - lol! Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

    Oh, almost forgot to comment on your blog... love it! Those Balboa Bars look like a lot of fun to eat, and send me some scallops please!

    Take care,

  14. You must be so proud of your daughter, and YES, they DO look cute together! I think you should have used the fish setting for your tablescape post!

  15. Hello Dearheart...

    Welcome home! looks like you had a fabulous time in California! I loved seeing the photos of your daughter Alida...she's such a beautiful woman! Mmm...her dinner looked yummy too! Bet you were met with some nice, warm CA weather too!

    I took a peek at your lovely parlor luncheon...such a beautiful setting! I love your autumn mantle!!! And that little sunflower teapot and cup are just pretty! I enjoyed it, my friend!!! Well...I will talk with you later...just had to stop by to say hello and welcome back!

    Warmest wishes,

  16. Cass you alwayds make me laugh! That pidgeon is priceless. HEHE!

    The food all looks amazing! What a good cook she is. Sweet food stories.

    ~Happy Fall! ~Melissa :)

  17. Oh, I really enjoyed your foodie tour of your trip! It all looked like so much fun!


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