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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

California Grazing

"I judge a vacation," my sister said to me,
"by how good the food is."

Well, Peggy, you'd have loved our recent trip to California.

Come along on a tour of some of our favorite meals and restaurants in The Golden State.
We arrived in Los Angeles on a Friday night, checked into our hotel, picked up Alida and Josh at their
apartment, and headed downtown, to The Palm steak house, to celebrate Howard's birthday.
We all ordered crab-topped filet mignon, with family-style sides of creamed spinach, wild mushrooms,
sauteed green beans, and Brussels sprouts in brown butter sauce, plus goat cheese mashed potatoes.
Sadly, no pictures of this dinner turned out well enough to post.
But the restaurant made a lovely birthday dessert for Howard -- New York style cheesecake.

On Sunday, it was brunch at Monsieur Marcel French Market
and Restaurant at the Los Angeles Farmer's Market.
 Coffee in thick white cups.
 For me, fruit, and an asparagus omelette.
 For Alida . . . something delicious; can't remember what it was!
 Ditto for Josh, but this looks rather Eggs-Benedict-y, with a bit of spinach for good measure. 
 Howard's is easy -- Croque Madame.  I'm pretty sure.
 After brunch, we wandered the Monsieur Marcel's French Market,
where "the kids" bought a bottle of wine.
They drank it on Valentine's Day.
 The last time Howard and I were in California, we tried bringing specialty oils and vinegars home with us;
they were confiscated at the airport.  This time, we took no chances and left the food buying to the locals.
 This market made my head spin; so much bounty!
 Including -- yes! -- dishes!

As Sunday was Howard's actual, calendar birthday, we watched the Super Bowl.
Sadly for my Boston-born Birthday Boy, the Patriots did not triumph.
This was all right with Alida and me, native New Yorkers both.  :-)
After dark, we went to Griffith Observatory.  No food, but so neat.
On Monday, Alida's birthday, she decided on breakfast
at a Caribbean restaurant not far from their apartment.
"Rachel Ray ate here," she said.  Who can argue with that?  Off we went to Cha Cha Cha.
It is a pink building, with a tiny parking lot, apparently has been around for ever, and is quite famous.
Now if you know me, you know that this place doesn't fit the profile of eateries I usually patronize.
I mean, you have to go outside to get to the restrooms.  But hey, when in Rome, and all that.

When we arrived, the restaurant was quiet and dark.  No one in sight.  No one visible through the windows.
The website had said it opened at 9 . . . so, we tried the door.  Eureka!  Unlocked!

I sent the young'uns in, and they wandered until they found a cook in the kitchen.
"Not open yet," he said, "but I will call the waiter," and he pulled out his cell phone and dialed.
And the waiter came, although it was two hours before their usual opening time of 11,
and we had an amazing breakfast.

Chilaquiles for me.  Oh, you have no idea how delicious.
I really want to figure out how to make these.
 For the birthday girl, a jerk chicken omelette.
 Josh had this, and I can't remember what it was, but it sure looked good.
 For Howard, apple pancakes and a side of thick bacon.
Fabulously fresh food, graciously served to the Early Bird customers.
Thank you, Cha Cha Cha!
And it is getting late -- after 1 o'clock in the morning -- and my computer has just done a little freak-out.
I think it's time to say Good Night, and leave the rest of our foodie adventures for another day.

I'm working Wednesday at the antiques center where I have a booth,
so everyone play nice while I'm gone, okay? -- Cass


  1. Here's a recipe for chilaquiles that looks pretty good:

    It's possible to bake the tortillas instead of frying them, if you prefer.

    This recipe looks great, as well!

    So glad you liked them :)

    I'd like to go back to Cha Cha Cha for some chilaquiles myself sometime soon!

    - Your loving daughter

    1. Well, you CAN go and find them at Cha Cha Cha! It's not a cheap breakfast, but it's big enough to share. What a great time Dad and I had with you and Josh in California; we'll have to plan a return engagement in time to use our return tickets to Universal Studios. :-)

      There, how's that for a threat?

      -- Your loving Mama

  2. Wooow cheesecake....please let me know the recipe of cheesecake.

    Sara from Istore Hours.

    1. Hello Sara! I don't have the recipe from The Palm, but I have my own wonderful cheesecake recipe; I'll send it if you like.
      All the best, and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Cass,
    I travel to take pictures of food.... We are going on a cruise and my camera comes to the table with us. So glad you had a wonderful time.


  4. Now I am just starving Cass!
    Great looking food, looks like you had a great trip too!

  5. I should have read this after I had breakfast! It looks wonderful!

  6. What a great time and how cool to have a restaurant all to yourselves.

  7. We've always taken pictures of our food -- even before blogs -- it's really a good part of remembering a fun vacation!
    And California cuisine is, well . . California cuisine!

    Looks like you had a great time visiting with your kids.

  8. My mouth,,,is WATERING! What a variety of food stuffs! (((hugs)))Pat

  9. The food all looks amazing.

    About the super bowl, it just wouldn't have been right for Tom to win another ring in the house that Peyton built, so I'm glad Peyton's brother did instead!

  10. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful time to be had in Cali. I do miss some of the amazing fresh foods there, and I love the concept of family style side dishes. :) I wish more places did that.

  11. You did have lots of good food! Now I am hungry after seeing this post. :D

  12. Cass, There is no way you people ate all that food.:):) Can't wait for more pictures.xo, Susie

  13. Goodness, you did eat some amazing food! And sounds like you had an amazing time to boot! It's so fun to get together with family. It would be so hard to have family living on the other side of the country but then it makes the visits all that more special, huh? :)


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