Saturday, June 24, 2017

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Catalina Colada


I'm looking up calories for a pina colada and see this..."a pina colada has more calories than a Big Mac."  At 644 calories per drink, yeah, that's pretty heavy.  Unfortunately, I've got two colada drinkers in family, my wife and Tim.  What to do?

Come up with my own.

Watch the Video!

With a little experimenting, most of which you can see on the video above, I did it.  Here is my version of a pina colada.  It tastes exactly like a regular one but only has 125 calories.  If you like pina coladas...whether or not you like walking in the rain...you'll love this Catalina colada.

INGREDIENTS (one drink)
1 1/2 oz Malibu (or other coconut infused) rum
1/2 oz brandy
dash of bitters
1 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice

Pour rum and brandy into old fashioned glass.  Mix in lime juice and a dash of bitters.  Fill with ice.  Pour in pineapple juice.

Cheers!

Don't forget, The World on Wheels is free to you because of our sponsors and The Wine of the Month Club is one we can highly recommend. Sign up for a membership today!

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Darryl
Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: Rest And Relaxation On The Cloud


One of the things people may wonder about me living with a disability like Cerebral Palsy is if I ever get out of my wheelchair to rest, relax and unwind. Well the short answer to that question is yes I do!

As a matter of fact my parents and I make sure that I spend some time out of my wheelchair every night of the week in the Family Room of our house while we watch our favorite shows on TV. The most important part of my nightly rest and relaxation ritual are the very nice, soft and comfortable leather recliners that we bought from our nearest Living Spaces furniture store a few years ago. These recliners are so soft and comfortable in fact that my Dad and I have affectionately given each of them the individual nickname of "The Cloud."  

As far as our rest and relaxation routine on "The Cloud" goes, the fun all starts after we finish our dinner each night. After the completion of dinner, I usually drive my wheelchair straight to the family room and park it in front of the T.V.  and wait patiently for my parents to come over and join me after they finish cleaning up the dishes and pack any leftovers for the next day. I do this so that I can be transferred  to The Cloud with my Dad's help and assistance.

I should also mention that if I have to go to the bathroom after we finish dinner, I do so before being transferred to The Cloud.


Once I have been successfully transferred into The Cloud, my Dad will then help me get even more comfortable by taking off my shoes, pants (leaving me in my boxers), and leg braces. After all those articles of clothing have been removed my dad will then press the recliner button/lever on The Cloud recliner. After the reclining button has been pushed, our nightly rest and relaxation routine can officially begin!

As for what we actually do during our nightly rest and relaxation routine, the answer is pretty simple. We watch TV and relax of course! For myself, I especially look forward to those nights when of our regularly viewed programs such as Survivor, The Amazing Race or Better Call Saul is on.

Depending on what day of the week it is, the hours that we spend relaxing in the Family Room can vary. For example, on the nights that I have to go the gym for physical therapy, we usually don't get to spend as much time as we would like resting and relaxing. On those nights, by the time we come back home and have dinner, it is usually already between 6:30-7:00 P.M. That time frame usually only gives us between two and a half to three hours of relaxation time on those nights before we have to go to bed as compared to four and a half to five hours of relaxation time during the other nights of the week.


Stunning Diamond Studs - 1/4 CTW Only $99! Is is also pretty much a given that at some point during the night my legs and feet will get cold and I have to ask my parents to put a blanket, sheet or pillow over my legs to stay warm. This is due mostly to one of two things. 

One is that during the Spring and Summer months of the season, the air conditioner will come on inside our house making it too cold. The second reason is because during the Fall and Winter seasons of the month, it is often already too cold at night outside not to have one.


While having a blanket on does tend to keep me warm and comfortable throughout the night while I'm relaxing, there is one possible downside depending on how you look at it. That is the fact that once my parents put a blanket on over my legs, I tend to fall asleep pretty quickly each night while we are watching T.V. before heading to bed later on at night. When this happens, I usually end up feeling like I missed out on watching a key moment from some of our favorite T.V. programs. I guess getting any amount of sleep is probably more important than watching what is on T.V. at any given moment during the night.

After my parents and I get our nightly fix of rest and relaxation, my dad will begin the cycle of wheelchair transferring duties once again so we can all head off to bed for what is hopefully a good night's sleep for all of us with sweet dreams. If everything goes well and we wake up  rested and refreshed the next day, then we are ready to look forward to doing the same kind of rest and and relaxation ritual the next night and the night after that and so on!

(If you'd like to know what kind of recliner it it, click on this link: Fast Lane Gliding Recliner by Flexsteel)

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Tim Musick
Copyright 2017
All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Crimson Cooler


Looking for something a little different, I stumbled across this one with a bottle of whiskey in hand in the kitchen.


Watch the Video!


As noted, it's a whiskey based drink, imparting that sweet, southern taste into the glass.

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour into a highball or pint glass over ice.

INGREDIENTS (two drinks):

3 oz. whiskey
2 oz. Grand Marnier or triple sec
4 drops bitters
Cranberry Cocktail

Cheers!
Rated #1 Consumer Reports
Darryl

Sunday, June 11, 2017

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Mid Priced Reposado Tequila Taste Off


In this corner, from the distillery of Tequila Sauza is Hornitos Reposado. Going stateside for around $25 for a 750 mil. bottle, it's one of the biggest selling, mid priced premium tequilas.
 

The contender is from the Cuervo empire, Gran Centenario. Also going for around $25 a bottle, it comes in a classic, ribbed bottle.



Watch the Video!


Both are nice, smooth reposados aged in new oak barrels. Both are better than other popular reposados such as Familia Camarena and Cazadores but not as good as, say, Asombroso or Clase Azul.


Only one can be a winner, though. Watch the short video above as Tim joins me again on another taste off where we pick our winner of the mid-priced reposados.

Cheers!
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-Darryl

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Los Angeles's Best Eats...Eastside Edition


You can find a lot of lists of the best restaurants in Los Angeles such as Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants, the L.A. Weekly's 99 Essential Restaurants, and Eater LA's 38 Essential Restaurants. All good lists but also very heavy on Central Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, and the Westside.

What's missing are places most of those people pretend don't exist like the non-Asian parts of the San Gabriel Valley, the Inland Empire, Orange County, and more.

We're going to do our bit to rectify that here at the World on Wheels as we present our top restaurants...the inclusive report.



We'll start with pizza...while Casa Bianca is a very good, old style pizza parlor and deserving of it's place on the lists above, it's also hard to find parking, you have to endure a wait (probably on the sidewalk) to get in, they don't deliver, they don't take credit cards, they don't open for lunch, they are only open five days a week, and tend to take a 2-week vacation whenever the urge hits.


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La Verne is a pizza mecca in the Inland Empire, just over the hill from Glendora and San Dimas. Locally legendary pizza joints include Warehouse Pizza (adjacent to University of La Verne), Pizza Barn, Pizza 'n Stuff, and the similarly named Pizza 'n Such down the street in Claremont.

The star of the La Verne pizza scene, though, is Joey's Red Devil Pizza in a shopping center at the corner of Wheeler and Foothill Boulevard. Red Devil used to be a chain, like Domino's or Papa Johns, but eventually collapsed leaving franchise owners with the name. There are still a few Red Devils around but they have no connection to each other.

The Monaco family's franchise in La Verne soldiered on with dad Roland mixing his wife's hot and spicy sauce and some of the best old-school pizza around.  A fresh tomato sauce on top, great dough with that olive oil savoriness to it, topped with a thick layer of mozzarella and your toppings.



We go with the pepperoni, bacon, and sausage version.  It's our favorite pie in Southern California and, yes, they're open everyday, take credit cards, deliver, and have plenty of parking.

Tony's Little Italy, down in the Orange County town of Placentia is another favorite of ours. We have to go sparingly, however, since a slice of their Chicago deep dish pizza comes in at well over 1,000 calories.



Saving up our calories and working up our appetites can make it all worth it. This is about as authentic a deep-dish pie you'll find in this area.  We like the stuffed version with has the sauce, cheese, and toppings under a thin layer of crust then they do it all again with another layer of sauce, cheese and toppings on top of that. The pies are so thick, it takes around 45 minutes to bake.  Call ahead and they start it up. Time it right and your pizza will be done just as you arrive.

Not only are the pies massively thick, all the ingredients are top-notch, fresh and tasty. That's the problem...you'll definitely want more than one slice. Better have two or three thousand calories you can spare for this one.



Bakersfield is known for great, Basque restaurants, none more famous than Noriega's with the Pyranees nipping at their heels. Our favorite, Benji's sits across town from those and Woolgrowers. There are differences but the experience is very similar...start with a picon punch and a little socializing in the bar. Move to the dining room, where cheap red wine either sits on the table for pouring or is easily available. Massive tureen of the day's soup to share with bread, butter, and maybe some salsa for dipping. Another big salad bowl with jack cheese and pickled cow tongue. The entry, a side of potatoes, some vegetables, maybe some pasta. Dessert, if you have room.



In the L.A. area, we drive a little less than a hour east where farms clash against tract housing in Chino to dine at our best Basque experience south of the Grapevine, Centro Basco on Central Avenue on the south end of downtown.

Park in the shadow of the giant handball court and make your way into the cozy dining room. Or wait until 7:00 on Friday or Saturday to sit at long, communal tables in the front dining room where you can make some new friends.



Either way, the friendly folks here will not let you leave hungry. Choose a succulent rib eye, covered with red wine mushroom gravy; roasted garlic chicken or chicken done Cordon Bleu style; lamb is always a specialty of these sheepherder families.

Don't come for a quick meal, though. A Basque dinner is meant to linger. Savor over the hearty flavors and good company. There's no need to rush here. Ask for seconds if you think you can handle it. They'll be fine with it...just don't go hungry.

Not too far from Centro Basco, at the edge of Chino and Ontario, is a certified truck weigh station. Parking in the dirt lot, you can smell the nearby cows of the dairy farms and the grease from the neighboring truck service center.  A nearly windowless building sits next to the scale, it's yellow sign blown apart by too many windy days.

Inside, you'll find a divey bar along with some utilitarian tables and chairs.  Between 6am and 3pm, you can sit there and order some fabulous and cheap rib eye or tri tip.

It's nominally Basque but the owner married a Mexican so you'll get her influence on food, too.  It doesn't come out family style at Taylor's Cafe, more of a delicious greasy-spoon/dive bar style, but the portions are still massive.



We came here for the rib eye, a local cheap eats legend.  It's good, succulent, and delicious but still doesn't hold a candle to their smoky and juicy tri tip, served on Saturdays with a heaping helping of eggs, potatoes, and beans.

More than these three big eaters can fit in, a take home bag means we can repeat this meal at home the next day.

Stay tuned, there's more to come...




Darryl Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 5, 2017

L.A.'s Other Pier: Redondo Beach, California





While we're waiting for all the stars to align for our next big new post, we went ahead and made another one for you...


Most people come to Los Angeles and head for the beach, specifically they head in vast numbers to Venice and the great, old pier at the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica.






Take a quick lap around the pier with our video "One Lap of the Redondo Pier"!


Admittedly, it is a great pier but there's one a little farther south that we enjoy more.




Go south on the 405 or 110.  Get off at Torrance Boulevard and head west.  Six and a half miles later, the road will end at the parking lot of Redondo Beach Pier.  Go right in...parking rates are reasonable and, if you have a disabled placard, it's free on the weekends (show your placard to the attendant at the exit, they will have you sign a statement that you're not trying to cheat them).

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Originally built in the 1890's, the pier developed its unique horsehoe shape when two neighboring wharves merged.  It became very popular in the 1970's due to the large number of shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars perched over the water.  In 1988, a large part of the pier burned to the waterline.  A newly rebuild pier opened up in 1995.  Only one business, Kincaid's restaurant, was built on the new section.  The empty, concrete pier beyond Kincaids is the portion that burned down.




Still, it's quite a place to visit with a cluster of shops, eateries, and bars at one end and another section in the decidedly lower rent section officially know as the International Boardwalk surrounding the marina.


Two of our favorite restaurants are here.  Tonight we're dining at Gambrinus.




Gambrinus is a very reasonably priced Russian restaurant named after a popular Czech beer.  They have a number of beers available.  The taps are a mostly American selection with a few premiums, with a couple of very good Czech selections.  The bottled beer selection is a vast collection of European beers with special emphasis on Eastern European brews.




It's a tiny place, just 4 booths that will handle a wheelchair with another few tall bar tables and stools.  It's right on the water in the marina and offers some good sea views.  Tonight, there was also a very good jazz duo playing.




We like to start off with their dark Russian bread appetizer that's deep-fried and infused with garlic.  It's wonderful.




For dinner, we'll each get an entree and pick from all of them, kind of like tapas.  Tonight it's a tasty and delicately flavored fish and chips dish.  Very tasty, I even liked it and I can't stand fish.  Also, we had this pork kebab dish that featured pieces of pork cooked with what tasted like pickled tomatoes.  It was also very good, especially the roasted potatoes that came on the side.




Our third dish was Pirozki, meated cooked in a puff pastry that was incredibly light and flaky.




After dinner, we walked around the pier checking out the various seafood stands.




For the kids, there is a large arcade featuring a Tilt-A-Whirl.  Hollywood loves this location and films frequently here...it was featured prominently in Season 4 of Dexter.




A little further along, we get to the new part of the pier.




Here is our other favorite restaurant here, Kincaid's.  Known for there melt-in-your-mouth prime rib, the food and service here is excellent.  The prime rib is a bit on the pricey side though.  Fortunately, they also have a chef who's a master at Southern cooking.  The etoufee here is outstanding as is their version of chicken and waffles...which is better than Roscoe's in my opinion...and is only $21.




Further along is the old part of the pier.




It is dominated by Tony's, an old tiki bar that is popular with the tourists, especially the crow's nest bar on top.  Unfortunately, the crow's nest is not wheelchair accessible.




Here is where you go into Tony's.




The beach is to the south ending at the Palos Verdes Peninsula.




Seafood is very popular here.  You can see that this area is very well-liked by the local Asian population.




Here is a peek into their kitchen.




There are a number of bars and nightclubs featuring live entertainment here but don't overdo it or you could end up here.


And that's our look at the Redondo Beach Pier, named by Tim as his favorite Southern California beach destination.

Redondo Beach Pier is at the western end of Torrance Bl. in Redondo Beach, California.  It is also accessible by wheelchair accessible bus transportation via Metro line 130 (from the Artesia Transit Center end of the Silver Line), Beach Cities Transit line 102 (from the Green Line Redondo Beach Station), and Torrance Transit lines 3 & 7.


-Darryl
Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Brothels, Casinos, and the Basque...House Hunting in Nevada's Carson Valley


Letty and I both grew up watching "Bonanza" in our childhood years. Who wouldn't want to live on the Ponderosa? Now, we're in the real-life location of that fictional ranch and one question bothers me...with Carson City being closer to their house, why did the Cartwright men spend so much time in farther-away Virginia City than in the closer, and bigger, state capitol.

...and now a word from our sponsor.  We're very happy and long-time customers of Paul Kalemkiarian's Wine of the Month Club. We'd be pleased to see you become members, too. Now, all gift purchases get a free wine Accessory. Click the following link for some amazing wine deals: The Wine of the Month Club 45th Anniversary Sale. Thanks for your support, now back to the story...

This morning will be occupied by "business"...we're up here to investigate if it is a place we'd want to retire to. Specifically, we're looking at the area in the south end of the Carson Valley...around Gardnerville and Minden...to see if that's where we'd want to spend the rest of our lives after I retire.


Watch the Video!


The pros are good housing prices, low taxes, and country living are the draws.   We're playing house hunters, with three houses lined up to look at and see if we like what's in our price range.

House #1 on a 5 acre spread is too far back up towards Topaz Lake and has evidence of a large, recent wildfire on the hillside across the highway.

House #2 is nice, on a half-acre lot in Gardnerville near the country club but the street around it is not as nice.

House #3, across from the golf course club house looked good on paper but was pretty miserable in person.

Along with the 10-hour drive to see our families, pretty crushing traffic (due to only one main highway in the area) for a fairly rural area, a pretty desolate feel, and loss of California benefits for Tim, we decide to cross the Carson Valley off of our retirement list.

We'll pick that baton back up in a few days when we cross back over the mountains to our home state but, now, we're free agents...ready to explore the area as travelers.


Back up and around Carson City, we head over to Virginia City. Make sure you have a strong engine if you plan to take the shortest route up with a harrowing 15% grade. Easy parking is hard to find, so I relent and pay $6 to park in the Delta Saloon's (home of the "world famous suicide table") lot.


It's like Tombstone, set in the mountains. An old west town, where open-carry is a way of life (many of these costumed, and armed, men are also security guards at the local casinos so I don't know how many of these are props or real).


The hilly geography means wheelchairs are like rollercoasters on the undulating boardwalks. Tim has a few exciting moments where the wood meets the pavement.


It's chilly, so we retire to the Delta's casino with a cup of coffee an see the suicide table while feeding pennies to the slot machines.  After, we head down the street to enjoy some baked goods and the hundred mile view out behind the coffeehouse we're in.

A little window shopping later and we're heading down the hill.


Just for the heck of it, we drive through the Bunny Ranch brothel's parking lot to snap some photos and video (we're, by far, not the only ones).  I offer to drop Tim off and pick him up later but he declines...


While illegal in Vegas, brothels are legal in much of the rest of the state and several are out here east of the Capitol. Some innkeepers have told us of mild-mannered guests to their facilities who come up here just to tour these houses of ill repute.

Enough of that, after an afternoon break at the hotel, it's off to the "Biggest Little City In The World," Reno, to have some dinner.

While we could have a cheap spread at one of the local casinos, we opt instead for a delicious Basque meal in this Basque country.  The Santa Fe Hotel, an historic shepherd's boarding house that's surrounded on three sides by the massive Harrah's complex, will be the destination for tonight. We're a little early...the bar opens at 5, dinner is served at 6, and it's 4:30.


An hour is killed by going to a local pawn shop and then the Cal Neva casino at the end of the block where Tim wins $10 on the penny slots and $25 for me on the quarter machines.  Just enough to have a picon punch before dinner.

We strike up a nice, long conversation with the bartender at the Santa Fe (she's also a speech therapist so we have some common ground here and there) while waiting for the dining room to open.


The Santa Fe is a true, oldschool, Basque restaurant meaning that you don't get a table to yourself. We sit at a table made for at least eight wth a couple of gentlemen from the area joining us in a lively, talkative dinner of soup, salad, sausage, cheese, bread, wine, steaks, and fries.

It's an experience you won't get at a casino buffet and the price is not all that different.

Appetites sated, we say goodbye to our dinner companions, our new friends in the bar, and the city of Reno itself as we retire to the Homewood Suites to rest up for our drive over the Donner Pass tomorrow.

Darryl
Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved