Stay Cay LA


So, as I mentioned earlier, I did a two-day stay cay in LA. Here’s a couple of other things to do if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

After my visit to LACMA, I headed over to the Farmer’s Market. It’s attached to The Grove now, but the original old market is still there and charming as ever. I used to go as a kid when my dad worked next door at CBS and it brings back great memories. The smells are still there….and you can’t really see the modern architecture of The Grove when you’re immersed in the old section. So cool!

My plan the first night was to walk to Petit Trois because it looked cute & yummy, I love little French bistros, and was only about a mile from the apartment. It was so f-ing hot, and it happened to be Monday, so I thought “stay in-order pizza” and really feel like a local. So, that’s what I did…and I’d recommend Village Pizzeria in Larchmont if you’re ever over that way…and I binged watched “Big Little Lies” on HBO. WOW, if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend. I’ll have to go to Petit Trois another time.

Tuesday I was up and out to the Griffith Observatory. Another ridiculously hot day, but I hadn’t been here since probably high school and I knew it had been completely renovated, so had to go…but I’d forego the hike and just park down the hill a bit. It’s a cool place to roam and look at the free exhibits. It has amazing views of LA and the Hollywood sign…and there are a number of events and shows to see for a nominal fee. I happened to run into a friend from high school there too…what are the chances??

Foucault Pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the earth…it’s huge!

I was leaving Wednesday to go back to Orange County, but had a couple more stops to make in DTLA. I asked my friend, Courtney, for some suggestions (she has a loft there) and they were awesome! I started at The Last Bookstore, which reminded me a little bit of the whimsy of Shakespeare and Company in Paris….although on a bigger scale. It has a large vinyl record section, as well as a cool artists section upstairs.

wave of books up on a huge wall

I can’t wait to get a new phone, so every pic I take isn’t blurry…ugh! Cool tunnel made out of books.

there’s even a cute little knitting store

By now it was about 11:45 and I was getting hungry. Last stop, Baco Mercat for lunch.

It is such an interesting, eclectic menu that I wanted to order a bunch of things. The fact that most of the dishes were displayed on a table when I entered was just cruel…what to pick!? The flatbread and bacos looked amazing, but I decided to go a little lighter and narrowed it down to caramelized cauliflower & “caesar” brussel sprouts. Both were soooo good and I had leftovers to take home too.

good night LA…it was fun!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Cheers to Summer!

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in it’s net of wonder forever….Jacques Cousteau

The best kind of therapy is beach therapy.

….and finally…

Nothing soothes the soul like a walk on the beach.
(…can you tell I’ve been at the beach this past week?)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

I went to Europe yesterday

I have some home-exchangers from Copenhagen staying in my home this week (I stayed in their’s last September), so I decided to do a little “stay-cay” up in LA for a couple of days. Thanks to the generosity of my sister, Mariellen, and brother-in-law, Peter, I stayed in their FABULOUS apartment in Hancock Park overlooking the Wilshire Country Club.

I grew up in LA…actually the San Fernando Valley (yes, I’m a “Valley Girl”although I was 21 when that came out)…but hadn’t really done much LA stuff, so I decided to be a tourist for a couple of days. I headed up Monday mid-morning and my first stop was the LA County Museum of Art…aka LACMA. I’m not sure I’ve ever been there, even on school field trips, and it was so great in more ways than I would have imagined.

I’ve never really been much of a museum goer in my younger years, but have come to love the peaceful solitude I feel as I roam their vast halls soaking up the history and spectacular art. One of my favorite areas in any museum, and the one I usually head for first, is the “European Art” section. I know it’s so cliche, but I love the classic paintings of Monet, Rembrandt, Gauguin…and sculptures by Degas and Rodin. As I was strolling and wondering what it is about these paintings that I love….except the obvious beauty of the artwork itself…I realized that every familiar painting or artist that I viewed brought me back to another memory or experience that I’d had in the past. So, as I continued through the museum, I literally started writing down, and re-living, the places that each picture or artist brought me back to.

Artist, Camille Pissarro…I’d just seen an exhibition of his work this past April in Paris at the Musee du Luxembourg.

Painting: Le Pont du Carrousel a Paris by Bonnard…a view of Notre Dame and the Seine..again, I was just there in April

Artist, Degas…Reminded me of a trip to Paris I had in 2012 on my visit to the Orsay museum, where there was a special extensive exhibition of his work.

Artists, Rembrandt & Aelbert Cuyp…Reminded me of a super fun trip to Amsterdam with the neighbors. The scenes on the artwork, as well as the memory of some things we bought while we shopped at the Albert (they dropped the “e” at the beginning of his given name) Cuyp Market when we were there, made me smile.

….from there it just snowballed into memories of trips to Europe and NY, the museums where I’d seen some of the same artists and reliving some great moments in my life through the years. It made me really look at some of the artwork more closely to not only appreciate how old they were, but how much I felt connected to the places they depicted, or where the artist was from. It was so, so cool!

So, just meandering through a museum for a couple of hours turned into a magical walk down memory lane….and THAT is how/why museums and traveling are so connected….and I just figured it out! I’ve always been a fan of the arts, but it gave me a bigger appreciation of the importance of museums and the arts and how they make the world a smaller place. I’m not sure my younger self would have connected the two, because I hadn’t done as much traveling as I have in recent years. Which, of course, just makes me want to do more!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Foodie Friday…Spicy Shrimp with Coconut Milk

I had some leftover coconut milk and fresh ginger from a recipe I had made and felt like having spicy shrimp. A quick internet search yielded this recipe from I only wanted enough for me and only had enough coconut milk for 1/2 this recipe, but I had all the ingredients for the spice mix…and there are quite a few. So, I mixed all the spices (bold/italics below) in a bowl and then only used 1/2 of it. Now I have leftover spices for the next time!

Spicy Shrimp in Coconut Milk
1 c. chopped onion
1 TBS minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 TBS coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 cup drained canned tomato (I used petite diced)
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (again, I used what I had, about a cup)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled & cleaned (I buy the frozen ones and just have to take off the tail)
3/4 cup fresh cilantro
lime wedge (optional for serving)

Heat oil on med-high, add onion and cook til softened, around 3 minutes. Add garlic & ginger and cook another 2 minutes. Add 5 spices and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook 1 minute. Add coconut water, milk and salt…and bring to simmer. Simmer until thick..about 5-10 minutes. Add shrimp, simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Serve with lime wedges (optional)

I had mine over brown rice….yummy!

Bon Appetit!…and have a FAB weekend!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Dinner and a Show…among other things

the amazing view from my “home exchange” apartment in Brooklyn

Actually it should read “lots of dinners and a show” but that didn’t sound right. I was in NYC again a couple of weekends ago to visit Austin & Kate…joined by Taylor, my sister, Mariellen and her daughter, Clare. Mariellen suggested seeing the Broadway show “Dear Evan Hansen” and I thought it was a great idea. I’d heard it was amazing and a couple of weekends before we went it won the Tony for best musical and Ben Platt, as Evan, won for best actor. Both were well deserved!!

photo cred…Mariellen Bergman

I only kind of knew what the play was about, a socially awkward teen thrown into an uncomfortable scenario where he ultimately feels like he fits in. Honestly I wasn’t really sure about the subject matter and how it could be so good?? All I can say is Oh.My.God!! I haven’t seen Hamilton yet (I hope to on my next trip), but this is one of the most powerful plays and performances I’ve ever seen. After the first song, while the audience was applauding loudly, I said, along with the clapping “Holy Shit!”  It was that powerful! When we all met up at intermission we were in awe and somewhat speechless. What could possibly happen in the 2nd half? Needless to say, you just need to go see it if you’re in New York…..and bring tissues. Yes, the ticket prices are ridiculous, just like Hamilton, but this is a show and performance that we continued to talk about throughout the weekend. WOW!!

We stopped after the show for a drink and then made our way down to our restaurant reservations at Beauty and Essex. The food at this restaurant was amazing. It’s meant to be shared, which is my favorite style of eating. Lots of different flavors, spices, textures, presentations. Yummy and aesthetically pleasing at the same time.

walk through a pawn shop to get to the restaurant. very speakeasy-ish!
grilled cheese, smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings

I’d highly recommend dining here. I, purposefully, didn’t take any “food” pictures during the weekend (these are gleaned from the internet) because I decided I just wanted to enjoy the experience with family. We did, though, take plenty of group pics throughout the weekend….mostly at restaurants.

La Cigogne, Brooklyn….cute… Alsation cuisine
relaxing in Central Park
Tavern on the Green with Dan’s mom and sister….minus Dan 🙁
Lucali, Brooklyn

….and one of the highlights of the weekend…visiting my son’s State Farm office in Manhattan. If you know anyone who needs insurance in New York give him a call! So proud!!

goodnight New York…see you soon!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Time with loved ones

Spend time with those you love.
One of these days you will say,
“I wish I had.”
“I’m glad I did!”….Zig Zigler

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Summer Foodie Friday…Tuna Poke Bowl….Roasted Beet Salad

I happened to be near an Asian food market the other day and it was about lunch time. Tuna poke bowl sounded yummy and I hadn’t made it in awhile. Sooo good!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • a small piece of sushi/sashimi grade tuna
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS lemon or lime juice
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Combine the soy sauce, juice and sesame oil in a bowl.  Chop the tuna, avocado, & cucumber into small bites and add to the bowl, mix well. (you can sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds for a nice added texture and taste…but I didn’t have any this time) Enjoy!!

On to the next thing….

I was in the mood to keep cooking after lunch….aaahhhh, summer, carefree, leisure time….. and my friend/neighbor, Carre, had brought over some fresh beets from her garden and I decided to roast them on the BBQ (because it was so f-ing hot here!) and make a beet & tomato salad with goat cheese to add to my dinner that evening. So easy, no cleanup, so delish!

right from the grill…upper right is already peeled
after you peel them…easy peezy!

Set your grill to medium-hi. Cut the greens off the beets and the little bottom root, so it can stand up (reserve the greens for another meal). Spray some Pam on tin foil. Rub the beets all over with oil…I happened to have garlic oil. Cover tightly and put on grill for about 45 minutes to an hour. Let them cool just a bit and then uncover. It’s then super easy to just rub the skin off the beets. Voila, you’ve made your own roasted beets. I combined them with some mini heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and goat cheese and drizzled them with a roasted garlic oil and balsamic mix…and always some salt & pepper.

Bon Appetit!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!