My mother was struck by an extremely powerful cold that she has yet to fully shake. I stuck close to home last week to take care of her, only venturing out on Sunday afternoon to enjoy a really awesome Superbowl party my friend Jessica invited me to. We thought we were in for an awkward time when we were greeted by no less than five girls reminding me of Malibu Barbie, but everyone was really pleasant, funny and hospitable. It just goes to show that I can never judge a person by their outwardly Kohl’s catalogue appearance. Lesson: Learnt.
Since Sunday though, I’ve been feeling like fresh hell as I try and ward off the virus that is definitely trying to latch onto me. Not working in the public for the last five years has done wonders to my immune system, namely that I even have one. I don’t catch colds at the drop of a hat as I did when I worked with kids, and I have a better chance of kicking it with a couple of days of rest, lots of water and some all natural hoodoo. So let’s cross our fingers because I have a function at SHOREbar in Santa Monica tomorrow night.
Recently, I was contacted by Try the World, the first “tour around the world delivered to your door.” Subscribers receive a gourmet box from a different world city like Paris, Tokyo and Rio every 2 months for $45 per box. Each box contains products from each country as well as cultural gems capturing the essence of the most beautiful cultures in the world. They sent me a little goodie bag with a few choice items.
Speaking as someone who has chosen travel over independence, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of allowing other cultures into your life. I’m fortunate to live in such a diverse city as Los Angeles, and through the use of public transportation, I am nestled up quite securely against our multi-culture melting pot. Foreign tongues, exotic flavors are just part of the daily grind here, and I crave more! So! In my sampler bag, I received chopsticks, apricot jam, Pécou chocolate coated meringue, and variety of tea. As you can see from the first image, you’ll be receiving a lot more goodies. In fact, the website lists the goodies each subscriber receives:
Pretty sweet swag for the Francophile, or anyone who wants to add a little whimsy and culture into their lives but cannot afford the cost and/or time to jet-set.
Are you listening to Welcome to Night Vale? You should be. I mean, it isn’t detrimental to your health or anything, but it very well could be. I kept seeing fanart on tumblr around, oh I don’t know, September and it was bugging me because I’d never heard of Night Vale. Assuming it was a television show or web series, I finally decided to satiate my curiosity and after a quick Google search, discovered it is in actuality a podcast. From the website: “WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.” It’s a cheeky conspiracy theories come to life all under one ZIP code kind of setting, with a little bit of sci-fi, a hefty pinch of horror, and a dash of romance. I’m doing a piss-poor job of accurately describing Night Vale, so you’ll just have to listen it to it for yourselves. It’s totally free and accessible through iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.
Unless I’m vacationing in a place that just so happens to go through a cold snap, you can consider my vitamin D soaking up ass OUT when it comes to all of this polar bear vortex nonsense. Some of you really get into the whole winter wonderland trope – and I find that positively adorable. Really, with your seven layers of quilted down-feathered stuffed wool, relishing the crunch of the snow under your faux fur lined boots as you stroll half a mile in two hours and watch icicles gather on your eyelashes; it’s all so endearing. I’ll just be over here – lathering up the sunscreen and wearing tee-shirts. Hey man, I can’t help it if I live closer to the equator than you. I’m sorry for all of you suffering through winter, though; you must be tired of fighting off those ice giants led by Professor Coldheart.
As of last night, I have my maid of honor dress for Steffie’s wedding. It isn’t in my hand, otherwise I’d model it for you, but within two months it’ll be in my possession. I haven’t paid this much for a single piece of clothing in quite a long time, but thankfully it’s a versatile style in a non-traditional wedding color of hot, hot pink so I have a sneaking suspicion it will get a lot of use over the years.
I’m still waiting on Jen’s official word on the precise hue of her colors before I purchase go bridesmaid dress shopping for her wedding – yes, I’m in two weddings this year – and sooner or later I’m going to have to decide if I’m going to fly back east and quickly fly home, or if I’m going to extend my flight pattern and hop up to Canada or over to Europe. Part of me desperately wants to run away to Europe between these weddings, find a cozy little spot away from everything, curl up and sleep to the sounds of foreign voices going about their daily lives.
Plotting out the San Diego-bound bachelorette party is next. Steffie made mention of the famous Lips Drag Queen Dining Show and I think she picked a fabulous choice, as they’re a top-rated for entertainment and food. We’ll be a small party, but there are talks of heading to a spa the weekend before the wedding with a slightly larger group with the out-of-town lady guests, closer to us naturally.
Lips Drag n’ Dining San Diego
Whew. All of this wedding talk and not a bite to eat. Let me sugar fix that for you with a showcase of artisan confectionary and baked goods from Bittersweet Treats in Pasadena. Located across from Pasadena City College, Bittersweet Treats opened up in December of 2012, dedicated to bringing the answer to every palate’s unique craving for dessert – from coffee, to cake, to pie, to ice cream and everything in between, Bittersweet Treats has a slice of something for everyone.
In the year they’ve been opened, Bittersweet Treats has racked up an impressive amount of accolades and press. After spending an evening with them last week and getting to chat with owner Linda and head baker/general manager Ali Anderson, it’s not difficult to understand why. Below is the majority of the goodies I sampled:
Company Product Description: The French skillet boasts mirror-polished stainless steel construction that deliver optimum heat control and gourmet-quality performance. A double full cap base features a copper core layered between aluminum and magnetized stainless steel, so the skillet is compatible with all cooktops, including induction. The generously appointed cast stainless steel handle is dual riveted for strength and durability. Oven safe to 500°F and dishwasher safe, this French skillet is an ideal complement to many other items in the Anolon collections.
When I received the message that The Vol. 94 in Pasadena had not only swapped out its executive chef, but changed its entire menu, I could not help but feel my heart sink like the mighty Titanic in the depths of the icy blue Atlantic. I loved the old menu, and I don’t mind confessing now that I was a touch more than hesitant about the shake up. I won’t lie, change in a restaurant I already love frightens me. I can’t help but feel a little more than personally rejected every time a favorite item is pulled from any menu I’ve ever enjoyed, let alone an entire menu gone the way of the dinosaurs. I really need to stop eating with my emotions so earnestly, but that’s another post for another day.
The new menu, herald by Chef Joseph Gutierrez, offers more traditional, wine friendly fare. A San Gabriel Valley native, Chef Joseph has been cooking it up in Manhattan for the last 27 years, most recently Chocolàt in Harlem. Home was tugging on the heartstrings, though, and Chef found his way back to Pasadena, settling in with The Vol. 94.
Management invited myself along with photographer Michelle Alexis Newman to give the new menu a go. Chef Joseph is the most laid back chef I think I’ve ever encountered, ready and willing to tackle any dish on the menu that struck my fancy. I nearly declared, “I’ll eat ALL the things!” Thankfully, I restrained myself and had Michelle as a dining companion to help me dig in.