Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho Soup

The Perfect Summer Soup Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho Soup Category: Soup While traveling in Spain in 2015, I ordered many versions of gazpacho, and while some were better than others, none were made with watermelon.  When I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking I was intrigued.   Recently we fired up the BBQ and grilled up some watermelon.  The results were delicious, and Tom has declared it his new favorite summer soup (which is amazing as he claims to hate cucumbers!). After following the original directions, I had left over watermelon and cucumber, but no actual gazpacho left over, so I have increased the ingredients a tad  to use up all the ingredients and yield more servings.   With regard to the watermelon, … Read more…

Walt Disney Family Museum – San Francisco

The Wonderful World of (Walt) Disney Walt Disney Family Museum – San Francisco If Walt Disney wasn’t the most innovative and creative person on the planet in the 20th century, he’s certainly close. So when Kim and Mary told us about the Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco (they had visited once before), a museum that chronicles the life, achievements and legacy of this creative genius, we donned our mouse ears and headed out (ok, we didn’t wear mouse ears). Tracy and I had viewed a PBS two-part documentary about Disney the previous month, and learned he was quite a complex man (as most geniuses tend to be). He had his failures to be sure, but … Read more…

Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant – Bodega Bay, CA

A Michelin One Star Experience…In Beautiful Bodega Bay Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant – Bodega Bay, CA Visited: May 29, 2016 If you drive by Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant in the pretty, coastal town of Bodega Bay, you’d be hard-pressed to guess that you were passing an establishment that has been awarded a coveted Michelin star.  As a matter of fact, you might not even see it, as it’s tucked away just off the road. Back in 2008, it seems that Terrapin Creek’s owners Andrew Tuong and his wife, Liya Lin (both of them accomplished chefs), were a bit burned out by the San Francisco restaurant scene where they had worked for year.  So the two moved to Bodega Bay (about … Read more…

Forest Lawn – Glendale

The Great Mausoleum Art Tour…and much, much more Forest Lawn – Glendale Visited:  June 2016 How is it possible to witness some of the world’s greatest art masterpieces located in Rome, Florence and Milan in the span of just a little more than an hour?  Easy…just visit the cemetery.  Well, not any cemetery, but Forest Lawn in Glendale. Tracy and I hopped in the car for the short ride to Forest Lawn and its Great Mausoleum Art Tour on a Sunday morning.  Our one-hour art tour turned into a four-hour trek around Forest Lawn where we would also visit a number of renowned celebrities (dead, of course), a famous statue (or two, or three), a couple of gorgeous churches, and … Read more…

Bacon Burgers with Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam

Bringing Home The Bacon (Burger) Bacon Burgers with Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam Category: Main Course WOW… what more can you say about this recipe we found in the Fine Cooking Grilling 2016 issue?   We think we make pretty, darn tasty burgers, but this recipe blew them all away and is well worth the effort (actually, pretty minimal effort) of making the Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam.  Of course, if bacon is not your thing (subscriber Burt, you may now leave the room) then this recipe isn’t for you.  Be sure to use a high quality, thick cut bacon.  We used Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon. Ingredients…FOR THE JAM: 4 thick slices Applewood-smoked bacon cut crosswise into ½ inch strips 1 large red onion, halved … Read more…

Jack London State Historic Park – Glen Ellen

“The air is wine…I have everything to make me glad I am alive.” Jack London State Historic Park – Glen Ellen Visited:  May 2016 Time for a little Northern California love!  In all the times we have traveled in and around the Sonoma County area, there was one place I had always yearned to visit, but never seemed to have the time (probably too much wine tasting).  Tracy and I (along with friends Kim and Mary) finally heeded the call of the wild to stop in and check out Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen over Memorial Day weekend, and it was well worth our 2 1/2 hours spent in this pristine park. As the website states: The … Read more…

Central Library – Los Angeles

“Light Of Learning!” Central Library – Los Angeles Visited: May 2016 Who knew that a library could be this beautiful, vibrant and interesting?  Well hold on to your Dewey Decimal System, we’re going to take a little tour of one of the most gorgeous buildings in Los Angeles, and you don’t even need a library card to take the tour. I had printed out the online pdf tour of the Richard J. Riordan Central Library in downtown Los Angeles and drove to a nearby (well, sort of) parking lot about five blocks away (hey, it saved me six bucks from the closer lot). From there, I booked it over to the library, tour papers in my hand. As it turned … Read more…

Millennium Biltmore Hotel – Los Angeles

“Luxury Heaped Upon Luxury” Millennium Biltmore Hotel – Los Angeles Visited:  May 2016 Having made reservations a few weeks in advance with the Los Angeles Conservancy, Tracy and I headed to downtown Los Angeles on what turned out to be  a very hot Sunday afternoon to check out their tour of one of the city’s most famous and venerable hotels. Parking nearby, we descended a million stairs (slight exaggeration). and with the Los Angeles Library (a tour I will be doing soon) looming in front of us, we were on our way to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Since we were early for our tour, we decided to eat lunch at a very highly-rated French bakery and pâtisserie near the Biltmore … Read more…

Guelaguetza – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Holy Mole! Guelaguetza – Los Angeles (Koreatown) Visited: April 30, 2016 Proof positive that Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures:  Last weekend Tracy and I dined at a James Beard award-winning Mexican restaurant…located in Koreatown…which had been recommended recently by our waiter at an Indian restaurant.  If only the United Nations worked this cohesively.   And this visit all came about quite by accident. Ostensibly, Tracy and I were going to go take photographs at the gardens of Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.  After trekking out from Pasadena  to where the One Percenters reside, we were greeted by a sign saying they were closed for an event (garden photo courtesy Greystone Mansion’s website). Undaunted (and now hungry thanks to … Read more…

Officine BRERA – Los Angeles, CA

Travels With Mai Tai Tom 2016 Restaurant Of The Year! Officine BRERA – Los Angeles, CA Visited: April 2016 & July 2016 No doubt about it, we had the closest competition ever for the coveted (well, maybe someday) Travels With Mai Tai Tom 3rd Annual Restaurant Of The Year Award.”  It came down to a battle between L.A. Arts District Northern Italian, Officine BRERA, and Pasadena’s Alexander’s Steakhouse (by the way, we will have our first ever “Favorite International Restaurant from Our Recent Trip Award” that will be presented tomorrow, and hopefully with a shorter name). Following is my original review from April, and then an updated one from July. It was time to head back to the Downtown Los … Read more…