Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plain Frozen Yogurt

 Plain Frozen Yogurt – Simple recipe.  Easy preparation.  Great texture and flavor.

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

I made this a few days ago.  Toppings: Fresh Raspberries, more Chocolate Chips & Oatmeal for added crunch.  I know, OVERKILL with the Raspberries.  I only added them to the "photo shoot" so you would know what flavor it is – in the case that you thought it was Strawberry.  Hmmm, Strawberry – That gives me an idea….

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt Laced with Mini Chocolate Chips.

Taco Surf (Long Beach - Belmont Shore)


Sign behind the restaurant.

Warm Chips & Salsa.

Famous Baja Fish Tacos – 3 Breaded White Fish Tacos Topped with Cabbage, Fresh Pico de Gallo, Guacamole and their Signature Baja Sauce.

The only thing needed is Extra Lime and Cold Beer(s).  For my FINAL MEAL ON EARTH, Double the portion and THIS IS IT. 

La Parolaccia Osteria (Long Beach)


Fiocchi  3 P (Panna, Prosciutto e Piselli) -  Pockets of Pasta Stuffed with Gorgonzola Cheese and Topped with Italian Ham, Green Peas & Funghi in a Light Cream Sauce.

Super Bowl Sunday 2009

I made this Bobby Flay inspired dish on  Super Bowl Sunday.  It was a crowd pleaser!  This inexpensive cut of meat fed 8 people, with plenty leftover.  Not pictured is a Grilled Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa I made to accompany the meat.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Apricot & Mustard Glaze.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Varnish (Los Angeles - Downtown)


Thanks to HBO's Boardwalk Empire, I was issued a password for a complimentary drink for myself (and a guest) at the Varnish and 2 other bars nearby.  Awesome, right?

We both went "Bartender's Choice" on our first round.  One drink was "Gin Based and aromatic" while the other was ordered "with any spirit and creamy."  The drinks we received were "A Poet's Dream" & "La Dominicana."  The Dominicana was everything I had hoped for and more - by far, my favorite cocktail on this particular night.  I could have that drink all night (or day).  It is that good.  If you like coffee, chocolate or Guinness, you'll love this excellent cocktail.

Our complimentary drinks had restrictions on them.  They had to have Canadian Whiskey (Rye) in them.  We went with a citrus concoction and an aromatic one.  We received a Sam Ross (from Milk & Honey) creation called "Cobble Hill" and a "Brown Derby."  The Cobble Hill is similar to a Manhattan but gentler with a bit of refreshment from the cucumber.  The Brown Derby is a perfect summertime drink made simply with Grapefruit Juice, Honey & Bourbon (Rye, in this case).  Both drinks were excellent.

As a bonus, we were given a free flask which you can see below.  Pretty spiffy, eh?

Oh, and so you know, while the 2 drinks and flask were complimentary, they had no bearing on my rating. The Varnish was a 5 star establishment for me prior to this visit - on several occasions.

This was the first time I had come by on a weekday.  The place was practically deserted til around 8:30 when the piano player showed up.  By the time we left (around 9:30), the tables were all occupied and a few people were at the bar - with room for 4 - 6 more people.  Varnish, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves again.  Surprise! Surprise!    

Oh and GQ Magazine did not even rank The Varnish in it's Top 25 Cocktail Bars in America -  but only mentioned their preference for Cole's Red Car Bar over The Varnish because you can catch Lakers games on the tv there.  WTF??  The Varnish and Milk & Honey aren't even ranked??  Cancel my subscription!!

Boardwalk Empire - I need to order HBO. 

Free promotional flask.

Poet's Dream (left) - Gin, Dry Vermouth, Orange Bitters & Benedictine.  La Dominicana (right) - Cream, Coffee Liqueur and other stuff I missed.  

Some of the decor.  Light fixture shown. 

Piano Man on Mon & Tues.

Cobble Hill (left) - Rye, Dry Vermouth, Bitters & Amaro Montenegro.  Brown Derby (right) - Rye, Grapefruit Juice & Honey.

The back of the receipt.

The Free Goodies. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Royal Clayton’s English Pub (Los Angeles)


This is an English Pub I really want to like but service has been
subpar-to-nonexistent on more than one occasion.  So, what keeps me
coming back??  The Fish & Chips and Leffe Blonde.

Pros:  FISH & CHIPS – A substantial amount of Beer battered Deep
           Fried Cod with fries really hits the spot.  The best Fish & Chips
           I’ve eaten thus far.  CALAMARI –  It comes with a duo of
           dipping sauces and a simple slaw on the side.  It too, is very
           tasty.  LEFFE BLONDE – Royal Clayton’s has one of my
           favorite beers on tap as well as a handful of other very good
           brews such as Chimay, Guinness, Tetley’s, Bass, Newcastle,
           etc.  I’ve had a few COCKTAILS here as well.  I can’t remember
           them too well but they were better than average.  Other
           favorable items that I consumed were the Baja Shrimp Wraps,
           various Pizzas & the Cheshire Cheese Steak Rolls.

           Parking – On most nights, you will find free parking on side
           streets or you can pay a fee of what I believe is 5 dollars in a lot
           adjacent to the Pub.

           The Vibe – The feel of the Pub, itself, is ingratiating and the
            Pool Table (games free of charge) adds to the charm of the
            place.  Very "chill" people here that add to the vibe of the Pub.
            My favorite time to head here is on a cold rainy night.
            Something about this place just seems to warms me up.

Cons:  Service –  Really disappointing at times.  Other times, it is
            courteous, helpful and hospitable.  Sadly, it has been cold or
            non existent, more than a couple of times.  I would like to see
            extra personnel added as sometimes, I give them the benefit
            of the doubt and I attribute the poor service to poor staffing on
            nights when they’d be better served with extra servers.  But
            what do I know – Just that I’ve had mixed results and
            unfortunately the bad experiences are the ones that stick in
            your mind.

            Chips & Salsa – I think I purposely deleted this from my
            memory banks.  It is just not very good.  They should remove
            this from the menu immediately.  As a matter of fact, someone
            should get a petition going!

            Sweet Potato Fries – Just plain limp and oily.  How ’bout we
            crank up the heat on the deep fryer back there guys!!

            Location – The block itself is cool but a block away in any
            which direction and you’ll be in the thick of things (if you know
            what I mean).

            The Duke – a pasta dish and the Two Crowns – basically an
            open faced tuna melt.  Nothing to write home about in either

All in all, I come here for the Fish & Chips and the Leffe Blonde and
maybe to play a few games of pool if the table is available.  Other
than that, I can live with whatever else they decide to serve up.  For
me, the Fish & Chips and Beer are enough to bring me back.  I just
wish the service would be more consistent – consistently good that is.



Fried Calamari – Served with a simple Slaw, Lemon & a Duo of Dipping Sauces – One Tomato-Based; The other a Pimento Mayo.  

Fish & Chips – Fresh Cod Fried in Homemade Bass Ale Beer Batter.  Served with "Chips" & Tartar Sauce. 

 Leffe Blonde.  I always did have a thing for BLONDES.  Sorry, Lilly.  I hope you will understand.  Tongue out

 Royal Clayton & Leffe Brown.

The Two Crowns - Tuna Salad atop Toasted English Muffins; Covered in Cheese & Baked. Served with Sweet Potato Fries.

Chimay Red and Shandy (1/2 Stella Artois, 1/2 7up).

      The Duke - Grilled Chicken, Linguini, Mushrooms in a Roasted Garlic, Tequila & Cream Sauce.  

Chocolate 'n Nut Coated Strawberries (My Birthday)

Chocolate 'n Nut Coated Strawberries - Edible Arrangements?? Hardly! Even better (and at a fraction of the price)!!  Lilly’s homemade gift for me on my Birthday.  Yummy!   

Monday, September 27, 2010

Copa d' Oro (Santa Monica)


Asian Pear Martini – Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka, Sake, Passion Fruit, Homemade Vanilla Syrup & Organic Pear Juice.

King De Bahia – Sagatiba Cachaca, Elderflower, Jalapeño & Passion Fruit. 

Lilly’s Concoction:  Vodka, Cucumber & Kiwi. The Mixologist added stuff to make it palatable.

 My Creation:  Strawberries, Mint, Ginger & Cachaca.  Mixologist added other things.

Uva Bella – Grapes, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Lemon Juice & Orange Bitters.