Summer nights in LA

So much happens on summer nights in LA. This past Friday I discovered the Odd Market at the Autry museum. From June through October, the third Friday of the month.                                                                                                            Since I had renewed my membership, it was free, otherwise, it’s $5.On the lawn at the east side of the museum, activities for kids and a lot of families out on the grass. Parking is very easy, right across the street in the zoo parking lot, since it starts at 6, most zoo visitors are already gone.All kind of food trucks set up shop.This one is advertised as a French Fry truck, but most of the advertisements are for Vietnamese food. Go figure.Me, I had a donut and fried chicken sandwich, because everyone needs a treat from time to time.

There are plenty of vendors, selling, jewelry, clothes, toys and other interesting itemsI bought a cute pair of sunglasses.Most of the booths are just pop up canopies. But some are trucks or airstreams.
This is the most unique one, built on a flatbed.How cool is this owl!!! Hand carved by someone in Reseda.I love this owl. There is plenty of stained glass as well, made by another local artisan.Yes, they sell those new age mystical things. But I kept paying attention to the details. Like the railing made out of pipes and pipe fitting.On the back, sliding glass doors with 100-year-old stained glass from a church in Connecticut. Now sandwiched between thick glass. So it’s hard to see the details, but it does make for a good reflection back onto the grass and the people.The big rides with the tower of the museum in the background.A little storm-trooper, happy as can be.

There are two galleries open during this event. So people get some culture along with the fun. I’m sorry to say that the Deborah Butterfield horse is in storage. I understand museums have more work in storage than out on display, I guess it was time for the horse to get some rest.The next night we were in a local park for a new series of weekend concerts. I hope this event, Noho Summer Nights, grows. The opening act was ok, good voice. Can I just say I am so sick and tired of everybody sharing all their issues, especially depression? Telling an audience out for a fun evening is simply a way of making you feel good while we get to feel bad. Shut up and sing.

Then there was a wonderful Queen cover band, didn’t stay till the end because it was really cold. (that’s June in LA for you). So I didn’t hear Bohemian Rhapsody, but a lot of other good classics.

I’ll be back!


Food in Israel

My Sister in law has turned a bedroom into a bakery.Getting this behemoth into the apartment was tough. Luckily it did fit in the elevator, but doors were removed and hinges taken off. They aren’t moving anytime soon. They also had to rewire, since this is an industrial oven.Making the starter. Sarah works with both sourdough starters or in this case – homemade yeast water. The yeast water was a few days old, bubbling away, from this stage until baked bread – it took 1.5 days.She made the yeast water starter on Wednesday night. By Friday morning the dough itself was ready to be formed.Each ball is rolled out, then twisted into this little braid, it’s not a challah, it’s much smaller.Letting them rise some more, then they are dipped in water and poppy seeds.She mentioned a German name, seeing that see grew up in Austria, I know it has the word Muhn in it, since that means poppyseed.  These are not sweet at all, but oh so yummy.Using the same dough and this finger trick, she also made Jerusalem bagel, which is covered on both sides with sesame seeds. Same dough, different taste because of the seeds.This is true sourdough made from spelt. Yup, all kinds of interesting grains out there and each needs it’s own starter.

There were Challahs as well, I didn’t get a picture because we were already at the table when they came out, and nothing survived.Obligatory images of the piles of vegetables at the open market. As well as fruit, the citrus season is ending just as the strawberry season starts. I know, it’s not food, but I did deliver the quilt, the parents are thrilled.The baby couldn’t care less.


Los Angeles Weather

I don’t buy into global warming, or climate change or whatever they are calling it these days. To me, it’s all weather, in some ways it’s predictable, in others it’s not. What has been happening these last few years in California is predictable and following a pattern.

Simply put, we get rain in the winter, then we get a few years of drought, we always have fires, but at some point, we have massive fires all over the state. The following winter we will have an abundance of rain and snow, then come the mudslides. Maybe back to regular rain for a while and then the cycle repeats.

So this year is the year of massive rains.Capturing rain on camera isn’t easy, believe me, it was pouring! I was supposed to give a tour to high school students. We planned on meeting in Pershing Square. I stayed across the street under the overhang at the entrance to the Starbucks in the Title Guarantee building.  We all huddled there until the rain cleared a little and then it was off on a tour. Most of the tour was fine, towards the end the rain started again.Thanks to the rain, there wasn’t a line at Eggslut in Grand Central Market. I finally had my chance to try thier famous sandwhiches. My verdict? Meh. Not worth the wait. It was a fine egg sandwich, I’m glad it’s off my bucket list. Sure, if there isn’t a line I’d get another, but it certainly isn’t worth the hype.The first picture was taken at noon, this one at 2:30. Ah, LA Blue skies!  Now, you have to understand, photography is all about how you frame the image. the the left and behind me there were still gray ominous clouds, which later that day dumped more rain.  But this is the sky we are famous for.A few days latter and I’m on the northern rim of the San Fernando Valley, in a neighborhood called Porter Ranch. Hiking with a friend, enjoying exercize, good company and great views. The haze over the valley is haze, not smog, within the hour it had lifted.The first part of the walk was on city streets, we looked down over this horse path, our hike was a circle, so coming back would be on this path.And here we are. The hill sides are still covered in the old dead chapparal, but a lot of new growth is happening because of the rain.Look at the size of the boulder that fell from the hillside. We saw a lot of evidence of mudslides. Most dragged down the litter that people have thrown, this one brought down some rocks and a large boulder.See, the haze lifted, back to our glorious blue sky!



My Meyer Lemon Tree is finally producing a lot of fruit.P1120797

A friend recommended that I make Limoncello, she even sent me the recipe.P1120796So I picked the lemons.

P1120802Bought some American Handmade Vodka. Not sure how one ‘hand makes’ vodka. Is it like moonshine?

P1120803Peeled the lemons very thinly.

P1120805Put them in mason jars, the recipe said, steep for 4 days.

P1120858Turns out it all fit in one jar.

P1120862Then I made a simple syrup, sugar and water, I cut down on the sugar just a little. Combined the two and voila – Limoncello. I also refilled the vodka bottle, but this is a prettier picture. I love how yellow it is. So not only did the peels infuse the vodka with a wonderful strong lemony taste, it gives it a bright yellow color.

P1120903YUM!  Success, and since I have so many lemons, I will probably make more to give as gifts. The leftover fruit will become marmalade, nothing wasted here.  LeChaim!



Community Garden

On Magnolia Blvd in Encino, right off the freeway is a large community garden. Most of the plots are occupied although a few are left fallow. P1080825In my friend’s plot the squash is growing!P1080839This cabbage is ripe, come pick it already!P1080829Plenty of rabbits are on the ready to harvest these.P1080819Ooops, if you don’t pick the artichoke this is what happens. Yes, the chock turns into a beautiful purple flower, but too many artichoke plants had this happening.P1080835This is a major operation, wonder if these are table grapes or wine grapes?  There are people around who make their own wine, not very good. Beer making is simple and easy, wine – not so much.P1080836Then there are the decorative touches, very large sunflower. Which can also be useful, all those seeds dried and salted make a perfect snack. When I first moved to Israel I ate the whole thing and choked on the shells. I quickly learned how to shell and spit out the spent shells. A real Israeli talent and very addicting.P1080831A cacti and succulent garden. This is a group effort, not just one person. Notice how the thorns by the delicate flowers are the biggest and nastiest. Of course soon the flower will turn to fruit, the source of the next generation, must protect at all costs.P1080833Other cacti have very strange and unusual flowers.P1080823Some decorations are meant to keep out the birds. I’m thrilled that I actually caught this in motion.P1080816I wonder if this is a more effective bird deterrent?  P1080830Look up! Always look up. the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom right now and what a beautiful bloom it is. although most drivers who are forced to park under these trees would not agree. These purple flowers are quite a mess as they fall.P1080840Finally, the Magnolia tree in bloom. The namesake of the street and yes , there are plenty of these trees alongs this long boulevard.  Actually these trees thrive throughout the valley, now they are in bloom, in a few months they will drop their strange cone like fruit.



I don’t bake anymore, I used to bake years ago, breads, cakes. pies from scratch. Now I have a great daughter in law and a close friend who are always happy to show up with baked goods.

But of course I break that rule when Aytan comes to spend the night.  P1050707P1050709P1050706Very important to taste as you go. No, we didn’t bake from scratch, thank you Betty Crocker.P1050710Saba has to get in on the fun.P1050718We called these the Elk-Mandy cupcakes. Elk (uncle) doesn’t have a mustache but he likes the theme and Mandys’ (aunt) business is all about the lashes.  Actually, these should be called the Westley cupcakes, since it’s a combination of what both of his parents like.P1050719Add some sprinkles and it was take them home to mom and dad. I did eat one, the making was much more fun than the eating.


Lemon Tree very pretty….

Sorry,  I’m humming the tune to an oldie called Lemon Tree.P1050375“Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower’s sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”  Well, my tree is OK, and I have Meyer Lemons so they are sweet.P1050376We planted the tree when we moved into this house 8 years ago, I clearly have rust and other problems. These days I sort of ignore the garden and guess what – results, after all this time, the tree is finally producing more than just one or two lemons.P1050379Pity it’s a little too chilly for lemonade, but I cook with lemons all times so these will be put to good use.


Downtown LA, Saturday afternoon.

I was asked to give a tour for a private group on Saturday afternoon. It’s amazing how many more people are out and about compared to the mornings. This also means  that we can’t getting into the Edison building but there are always trade-offs.

Like seeing this in the main rotunda area of the Central Library.IMG_3665Yes, I have my little camera on my, I stopped in the middle of the tour and said – excuse me, I have to get  a picture of this bride and groom. (tour goers also took pictures, but they are expected to do so). Another large wedding party walked in at the same time, my picture was so blurry, I’m not sharing it. I love the whole Art Deco look of this bride.

We ended our tour as we always do in Grand Central Market. The market has been going through major changes in the last year, many of the old run down vendors have not had their leases renewed and many new, young hip places have replace them. I know people who dislike the change, me, I feel change can be a good thing. They still have  many of the old vendors. Vegetable, meat and fish stalls. The ‘dollar’ store in the basement is still there.  They are simply mixing it up with new and improved food options.

One of them is Wexler’s Deli, I’ve known Micah Wexler since he was a kid. Been family friends for years. And I’m proud to say he is doing a great job.Wexker's Deli LAThis is a very small space and yet they manage to smoke meat, fish and brine pickles in house.Wexler's Deli LALove the design on the wall.Micah, at Wexler's DeliHere is the man himself behind the counter.IMG_3698Love the star on the door and the neon sign, which unfortunately didn’t photograph well.

Oh and the food? AMAZING! I bought a corned beef sandwich, a pastrami sandwich (yes Langer’s , you have real competition now in the Pastrami dept.) The pickles, potato salad and and coleslaw were also – perfection.  I restrained myself and didn’t buy a black and white cookie. Next time.

The section, of the market that this stall is in, is the old Homer Laughlin building, designed by none other than my favorite LA architect, John Parkinson.

I for one am really enjoying watching Downtown LA change and develop.


Twohey’s, best burgers in the San Gabriel Valley

I mentioned Twohey’s as our lunch stop during the yarn crawl.  Time to give this 70 year old institution it’s due.  The ladies at A stitch in Time directed us here for lunch, Ellen got very excited, she of course had been here and was looking forward to showing us the  Googie style architecture. That modern space age, forward looking optimism of the post war years.Twohey'sThis is what greeted us on the corner of Atlantic Blvd and Huntington Dr. in Alhambra.  An even better surprise awaited us within.Twohey's interiorThis past December, without ever closing for a day, Twohey’s was renovated back to it’s past.  After years of sad ‘Marie Calendar’ kind of look, the Googie style is back in force inside as well. Love the orange and Turquoise as well as the wonderful fixtures.Bar at Twohey'sSure modern conveniences  like a flat screen TV are there, but it’s all done with a nod to the past.Twohey's doormatWe were greeted at the door with this wonderful floor mat.  An easy explanation of how to pronounce the name of the eatery. As well as letting us know, they have been here for 70 years. I’ll get to the Stinko later.boomarang formica The tabletop was redone with new formica, in the wonderful 50 style boomerang pattern.Bernadette sitting down to lunchBernadette, our traveling mascot sits down to lunch. She was good, me on the other hand…stinko burgerI enjoyed the Stinko Burger. It’s funny how 70 years ago a burger with onions and pickles would be considered stinky. Think of all the hot spicy ethnic condiments we load our burgers with today.Twohey's onion ringsAll of us shared a SMALL plate of onion rings. I’m wondering where they get those massive onions. Either way, that was a great meal. Fuel for the road as we marched on to other yarn stores.