Enjoying Summertime @ Terranea Resort

long point, rancho palos verdes, california
long point, rancho palos verdes, california

Summer vacation, ahhhh! We’re trying new restaurants, exploring new sites, visiting old friends, playing lots of basketball, swimming, bicycling on the beach and enjoying the charms of my hometown here in Los Angeles County. My brother, sister-in-law, and nephews are visiting and we are having a blast! Earlier in the week we spent a couple days at Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

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What makes a classic Chicago-style Hot Dog?

chicago hot dog, classic chicago hot dog, hot dog, chicago-style hot dog
Classic Chicago-Style Hot Dog

A Hot Dog – preferably Vienna Beef, simmered in water (never boiled) until nice and hot
A Steamed Poppy Seed Bun – warm and soft
Yellow Mustard – not Dijon, not brown
Neon Green Relish – do not be afraid of the color, it’s classic
Diced Onion – sprinkle onion along the length of the dog
Sport Peppers – medium-hot, two peppers are the standard
Fresh Tomato – fit two half-wheels between the bun and the dog, skin-side out
Kosher Pickle Spear – crunchy and mild, not too thick, about the same length as the dog
A Dash of Celery Salt – without this final condiment, it would not be a Chicago Hot Dog!

Ordered like this: “I’ll have a Chicago Dog with the works.”

Wrapped up in a sheet of waxed paper. Eaten while standing at a counter. With fries.

By the way, any Chicagoan over 18 will tell you that putting ketchup on a Chicago hot dog is completely unacceptable. Save the ketchup for the fries. This fine specimen pictured above with their popular hand-cut fries is from Man-Jo-Vin’s on Damen near Belmont.

chicago skyline

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What is hip? Chicago’s Blackbird

amuse bouche, blackbird restaurant

What is hip?
Chicago’s Blackbird

chicago, blackbird restaurant

Come join my brother, sister-in-law and me for dinner
at one of Chicago’s hippest restaurants, Blackbird.
Established in 1997 it’s not new, but it is definitely cutting-edge.
Cuisine that has been described as “quietly revolutionary.”

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The Ultimate Vegetable Stir-Fry Tower, Three Vibrant Sauces

ultimate vegetable stir-fry, stir fry, vegetable tower

The Ultimate Vegetable Stir-Fry Tower
Pea Sprouts, Shiitake, Soybean Sprouts, Pickled Japanese Cucumber & Red Jalapeño
Chinese Chives, Tofu, Ginger, Cilantro
Over an Organic Short Grain Rice Timbale
With Three Vibrant Sauces: Cilantro Juice, Chile Oil, Miso Sauce

ultimate vegetable stir-fry, stir fry

Another Sublime Dish Inspired by Charlie Trotter

“The recipes… are only a guide. You can use any or all of a recipe, deviate wherever you like, or indeed substitute ingredients completely if it suits your desires. In fact, you may want to forget about the recipe specifics and use the photographs alone as your inspiration,” penned Charlie Trotter in 1994. Thank you, Chef! No wonder you are my hero. Your words written 17 years ago perfectly describe my cooking style and blog: where the image is meant to titillate and inspire the cook!

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Gracious Italian Hospitality, A Most Memorable Meal

spinach agnolotti at michael's on naples ristorante, long beach

GRACIOUS ITALIAN HOSPITALITY, A MOST MEMORABLE MEAL

I write this post for my friends and readers in the Greater Los Angeles Area aka The Southland, all 17 million of you. And also for those who plan to visit LA or the OC anytime soon. Wherever you find yourself in this great basin of 34,000 square miles, I promise that a trip to Long Beach, or more specifically the charming neighborhood called Naples (a little island in Alamitos Bay) for a dinner at Michael’s on Naples Ristorante is well worth the drive.

Leave the food and wine choices to Executive Chef David Coleman and General Manager Massimo Aronne, as we did, and you will enjoy an Italian dining adventure like no other…Massimo’s expert wine knowledge paired with Chef Coleman’s gifted approach to Italian cooking will refresh your appetite for Italian cuisine.

The dining experience here is not only about the food, or the wine, the service or  the atmosphere – it is the synergy of all these elements. At Michael’s we feel as if we are guests in his home. The staff is professional, artfully trained yet simultaneously warm and friendly. Massimo is not only a master of Italian wine, but is generous with his knowledge and happy to share his passion. Chef Coleman’s cooking is bright and creative, while still respectful of the traditional Italian kitchen. And Michael is that ultimate gracious Italian host.

For my friends who won’t be visiting The Southland in the near future, I hope you take a look at, and gain inspiration from, Chef Coleman’s dishes – a true treat to Taste With The Eyes.

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