Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter's Sweet Harvest

It's Christmas time and that means another harvest should be ready. Let me check, yep, we've got produce.

The big stars of the wintertime here are citrus, like that tangelo at the top of the post.  Juicy, sweet, yet tart, it provides a tasty dose of Vitamin C to help us with those wintertime bugs.

The Cara Cara navel orange is even tastier, not quite so tart.

While my summer harvest of tomatoes was a dud, winter is providing a nice batch. I made fried green tomato omelets with this one.

It looks like an apple but these are actually guavas. We've got hundreds of them.

And here's this weeks harvest...oranges, tangelos, Myer lemons, tomatoes, guavas, and a small bell pepper in with our hot chile plant.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beefy Tomatoes

Nice, ripe tomato on the vine. What to do?

Put it on some great roast beef from our local Italian deli, that's what. Delicious!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ethnic Foods of the San Gabriel Valley: Say Goodbye to Europe

Cuisines covered in previous posts: Mexican, Cajun, NepaleseLebanese, Thai, BasqueArgentinian, Cuban, VietnameseEnglish, Belgian, Spanish, JewishGreek, Greek Diner, Hawaiian, SalvadoranIranian, Armenian, AfghaniIndonesian, Korean, Cambodian, American, California Cuisine, Soul FoodJapanese, Filipino, Barbecue

This week, we're going to finish the European cuisines that can be found in the San Gabriel Valley. 

While there's not a real big representation of eastern Europe here in the valley, you can find an outpost of Polish Food and Hungarian Food at the European Deli in Glendora.

There, you'll find an array of exotic sausages along with goulash, pierogis, bigos (a stew), and flaczki (a tripe soup).  

It's a regular deli, too, so you can get an array of sandwiches and everything is served quick and cheap.

French cuisine is pretty easy to find here in the SGV. What's hard to find is reasonably priced French Food.  There are good and expensive French restaurants all over Pasadena like Maison Akira, Cheval Bistro, and the highly regarded but seldom patronized Devon in Monrovia.

While in France, you can find delicious and cheap French food on every corner, here not so much but with a little digging, you can find a bit.

Crepe shops have been popping up with regularity lately. There's the very good Crepes de Paris chain in Orange County and the Inland Empire, Old Town Bistro in Monrovia with some decent food but slow service, and the forgettable Cafe LuMar in Monrovia. 

The best Creperie that we've come across is Monsiuer Crepe French Cafe in Sierra Madre, run by a nice Parisian ex-pat and his American wife, with a nice array of savory crepes, sandwiches, croissants, and desserts but the best thing is their sweet crepes like their salted caramel crepe or their crepe la rouge with raspberries and Chantilly cream. Heavenly, not too sweet, and very reasonable in price.

For a sit down, waitered French place, your options are basically three places that I know of.  Cafe Massilia in Monrovia is not too expensive and has a dedicated fan base. They're OK but I have had better. Remembering that Vietnam was a French colony in the past, it makes sense that a Vietnamese family could run an excuisite, white-linen, French restaurant with fantastic food at reasonable prices...you find that at La Vie in Rosemead.

Our go-to French restaurant for great food without breaking the budget is Cafe Bizou in Pasadena. Steak au poivre, Nicoise salad, steak frites, and bouillabaisse are some of the great dishes they have here. Bring your own wine and they only charge a $2 corkage fee.

The last European cuisine we have to cover is Italian Food.  We are well represented here in the valley with the Bitonti family's Domenico's chain, Carmine's in both South Pasadena and Arcadia, Petrillo's in San Gabriel and Glendora, and Caffe Opera and Bella Sera in Monrovia 

There are many more including some big name chains with "olive" in the name but our favorites are listed above. Carmine's and Petrillo's are great examples of family style red-sauce restaurants while you can find more refined cuisines at the two restaurants in Monrovia.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 16, 2013

The New Kid Gets its First Haircut

Now that the new grass seed has had a good four weeks to get established, I think it's time to give it its first trim so the neighbors don't think I've let my yard completely go.

With a month untouched, it seems weeds...like this dandelion...have taken over about 10 percent of the area.

I'll give the lawn a couple of good feedings, starting today and another one in a couple of weeks, with some winterizer fertilizer and see if the grass can crowd out the weeds. If not, I'll hit it with some weed and feed.

After I'm done, it's time to put the clippings in the green waste can and call it a day.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Ethnic Foods of the San Gabriel Valley...What You Can't Find.

Cuisines covered in previous posts: Mexican, Cajun, NepaleseLebanese, Thai, BasqueArgentinian, Cuban, VietnameseEnglish, Belgian, Spanish, JewishGreek, Greek Diner, Hawaiian, SalvadoranIranian, Armenian, AfghaniIndonesian, Korean, Cambodian, American, California Cuisine, Soul Food, Japanese, Filipino, Barbecue

I love a good chicken Kiev. It's one of my favorite dishes. It's also a dish you're not going to find here in the San Gabriel Valley.

This week, we're taking a little break before moving over the 30 culture mark in our list to note some ethnic foods you, unfortunately, will not be able to find in the SGV.

I'd hoped to highlight Roxilana in Pasadena, which served Ukrainian food specialties like the chicken Kiev you see above. Heck, they even had a $10 lunch version but, alas, they went out of business before I could list them.

Now, the closest place you'll find it is one of the many Russian restaurants in Hollywood like Robert's Russian Cuisine on La Brea but our favorite is on the water at Redondo Beach Pier, Gambrinus, pictured above.

Want a good Weinerschnitzel or sauerbraten? You'll have to travel down to Anaheim and visit one of our favorite places for German food, the Phoenix Club. It's a private German cultural club with a restaurant open to the public.

Looking for Portugeuse food? Not here but just over the line in Claremont is a fine, Portugeuse diner...the Euro Cafe in the Von's strip mall on the corner of Mills and Baseline.

Green wine, an extensive array of desserts, pastas and paninis...my favorite is the bife a Pourtuguese, a juicy flank steak sitting on the bed of fries, with a fried egg, tomatoes, and a hearty sauce on top.

You won't find these cuisines in the San Gabriel Valley but at least you don't need to go that far.


Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Lush Lawn?

Coming back from our little hiatus to update you on the big, fall lawn project.

After a couple of months of dethatching and aerating, I overseeded a couple of weeks ago, set the sprinkler timer to water three times a day at ten minutes each time, and left for Tennessee.

Gone for eleven days, I was anxious as to how the lawn would look when we returned.

As you can see from the picture above, the seeds have sprouted. They're not quite established to the point where I feel comfortable mowing them yet, so I will let them go another week or two before trimming.

It's looking promising. Here's the before picture...

...and here's the after picture.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved