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Sundae in the Park

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    Ventura County, CA
  1. Wineries burnt/damaged in the recent wildfires as of 10/11/17. I'm sure this list will be updated and expanded in coming days So far looks like Signorello Estate, Paradise Ridge, Frey Vineyards, White Rock Vineyards, and Oster Wine Cellars have been lost.
  2. Dinner - The Polyphonic Food Blog

    Using stuff up in the fridge: vegetarian wontons w/ sweet chili sauce (squeezed right from the bottle onto each wonton, of course) mango, plums, and grapes leftover tri-tp with salsa
  3. Dinner - The Polyphonic Food Blog

    Tri-tip meal this week! We've been having this quite often since about midway in my pregnancy, when I needed low-carb meals I actually wanted to eat and we discovered the beauty of at-home tri-tip. I buy a whole, untrimmed tri-tip and only take of the silverskin and some of the fat if it is over a half-inch thick. We use a Santa Maria-style dry rub and grill it till the big part is medium rare. At that point, the skinny part of the meat is medium-well to well done, which is perfect for a pregnant lady who doesn't want to be a bother to others (and is so great for guests with a variety of meat done-ness preferences!). We usually serve it with creamed spinach, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed zucchini, and bread and/or potatoes of some kind. Leftovers are great as-is but also wonderful in sandwiches. Inspired by a dish at the Avofest, we've been eating this round of leftover meat as sandwiches on French bread with a lot of guacamole and and a little salsa.
  4. We caught the Avofest (or the 31st annual CA Avocado Festival) this weekend and it was absolutely delightful. The free-to-enter festival itself is small and really crowded as the day goes on, but avocado fans who enjoy outdoor festivals should consider a visit to Carpinteria (small beach town just south of Santa Barbara, about 90 mins north of LA without traffic) during fest weekend. The festival is mostly confined to one street, there isn't much of a kid zone (crafts but no bounce houses??!!), and the only ride is a small ferris wheel. The four sounds stages, however, provide reliably groovy, dance-worthy entertainment, there are craftsman and artist displays, and lots of avocado treats (deep-fried avocado! avocado ice cream! honey avocado ale!) to sample. Almost everyone is carrying the generous tray of guac and chips sold by the high school cheerleaders, who are basically selling at cost (or, given the price of avocados these days, possibly lower). All this is good fun, but the key is that the festival is held about two blocks from the Carpinteria state beach (pretty beach with tidepools!) and campgrounds. As such, fest-goers are constantly wandering down the street to the beach and back. (While at the beach, I pointed out the tents up the street to a pair of lost fest-seekers who were quite chagrined.) In addition, right at the edge of the festival is the Tomol Interpretive Play Area, a wonderful park for the littles to blow of some steam, as well as the entrance to a nature trail walking path. We didn't get a chance to try any of the restaurants but Linden Avenue has a bunch of eateries and touristy shops. We're planning to return for years to come!
  5. Dinner - The Polyphonic Food Blog

    Looks lip-smackingly delicious, per usual! We had peppers and sausages tonight. Sausages are started in a cold pan over medium heat, and once you have some browning and fat rendered, dump sliced peppers (we usually do 1:1 for the # of sausages:peppers) in the pan, dust with salt and pepper, cover, and let it go low and slow until the peppers are done (with an occasional stir to distribute the juices). And by done, I mean confit-ed into a savory, almost jam-like substance. We sometimes have it with rice or in buns, but tonight I ate them with stewed zucchini and roasted cauliflower. If you have any leftovers, they go really well with eggs and toast.
  6. I bought...many bags. Lots of folks eyed my cart and asked about the jerky. Sale goes through Sunday! Found and tried the dark chocolate caramel sea salt poppers. The outer shell is a bit waxy and the caramel isn't the best, but the overall bite is quite good (with noticeably crunchy salt) and the packaging (2 lbs of unwrapped candy!) makes for easy gorging.
  7. Dessert - The Polyphonic Dessert Blog

    We had guests over three nights in a row so I made a batch of salted peanut butter cookies and a double batch of molasses spice cookies. Both keep soft very well and, served up with some freshly whipped cream, pleased everyone mightily.
  8. Dinner - The Polyphonic Food Blog

    We've been making chicken enchilada casseroles quite often lately. Satisfies my love of casseroles and leftovers and his of enchiladas (which, after almost 15 years together, was a surprise). You can make your (red) enchilada sauce, and I did, the first few times, but the kind in the can tastes absolutely fine as well. Using fresh corn sautéed with a bunch of peppers and black beans instead of refried really ups the nutrition (and IMO tastiness) factor. Add some salsa and guacamole, and whatever fresh fruit you have available for the table (mangoes go particularly well) and you have a really well-rounded but super simple meal.
  9. Las Vegas, NV

    If you're willing to travel off the strip and in the mood for Asian food, go to Raku. We talk about the Thai places in LV a lot but it' s hard to eat a varied meal by yourself at those restaurants unless you want to have a LOT of leftovers. But Raku has small, exquisite portions, so you can try many different things. Worth a thought!
  10. Tater Tots

    You're not alone (anyone remember the early Glee episode about tater tots?)!! For a while tater tots were prominently featured on the menus of several of our favorite food trucks. I couldn't resist and they were good but I got tired of paying "gourmet parking lot" prices and bought a bag of frozen tots instead. Cheap AND delicious! And easy enough to eat yourself sick such that I haven't been tempted by the tots in years...
  11. Hahahaha, ouch. Tickets are already sold out for the entire run as of 1:45 PM. I got in the ticket-purchasing queue at 12:55 PM and was number 95,653 in line. When the tickets were sold out there were still over 70,000 people in queue before me, so I never even got close. You can still get same-day tix once the exhibition opens but I imagine the lines will be killer, so totally impractical for folks with little kids. Ah well!
  12. Mine is almost 10 years old and still looks perfect. I like that the top handle is metal. Got mine on Amazon and love the classic design (more squared edges). A quick search today, however, shows that they've really changed their design to ape the Le Creuset look - I like the old look better.
  13. Sadly the truck is no more but there are several brick-and-mortar Eggslut locations now, with likely more to come. Here's a hunger-inducing photo essay from the LAist about their wares from the Grand Central Market location.
  14. This is pretty old news at this point, but Pok Pok LA is closed (as of March this year). Eater has a good rundown of reasons why Angelenos didn't embrace the concept or location (the article doesn't mention the other, nearby Ricker restaurant, Pok Pok Phat Thai, closed in Aug 2016). I'm sad I never made it to either spot, but coming from the north, I'd have to drive past Thai Town to get there. That means passing up some tremendous and tremendously cheap eats, and I could never quite bring myself to take the time. Which is kind of bizarre, considering that Pok Pok Portland is a must-eat whenever I'm in PDX. I guess it just goes to show how choice always depends on the available alternatives! Plus the allure of going to the original location (do the NY folks feel different about eating at a Pok Pok versus the Pok Pok?).
  15. We couldn't get through it. We knew what was "coming," but once we hit the tragic reveal we had to stop. As recently new again parents it was just too much of a drain on our emotions and free time. Normally I'm all about the Boston-area movies, as the accents and familiar mannerisms briefly take me home, but even for the wrenching performances completing the movie wasn't worth it for us at this particular time.