Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sid, Avian Companion

NICKNAMES: Weet, Siddy
HOBBIES: Admiring reflection in the mirror, screaming, crapping, destroying things with beak
TALENTS:  Whistling, singing, dancing, landing on tall objects
DISLIKES: loud noises, strangers, black nail polish, large objects
FRIENDS: Snoop, Angie, Zack, Randy, Al
HANGOUTS: The shower, indoor bird mansion, outdoor bird cottage, window
FAVORITE FOODS: Millet, rice, pasta, grape nuts, cheerios, spinach, broccoli, celery, tortilla chips, peanuts, lettuce

The latter half of this blog's name represents the two winged creatures who inhabit my space.  The needier and noisier of the two is Sid. Behold his colorful beauty but do not be fooled; He is a pain in the ass. Now, don't get me wrong, having an avian companion is an absolute joy.  If you develop a bond with a bird, it is intense and special and unlike any other. Aside from his good looks, Sid has many good qualities. He is an extremely talented dancer and whistler. On special occasions, he will perform a live DJ Tiel mix for me. We sing in the shower together. He loves to cuddle. He never cares if I'm having a bad hair day. (But he will occasionally hiss at an obtrusive outfit). In general, he lives to enjoy my company. And therein lies one of the downsides of cohabiting with a bird.  It is like living with a toddler forever. As I type, and despite the fact that I just rubbed his little birdie head for five minutes, Sid is squawking and pacing in an attempt to regain his rightful spot on my shoulder. Or wait, maybe it's because he's bored and wants me to shuttle him to one of his other hangouts. Or could it be that he's eaten his fresh spinach and now he'd like something more satisfying, such as rice or pasta or whatever it is that I'm eating. Quite possibly it's time for another massage. I might be there sooner if I weren't cleaning up bird crap and sweeping up molted feathers and far-flung seed near their bird mansion. Don't worry, all of this hard work is rewarded when Sid bites me, smears food on my shirt, and craps on me. Ahhhhhhh, the joys of avian parenting. Truly, I jest. All these small sacrifices are worth the beak-to-cheek joy of owning a cockatiel. Sometimes.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 is Delicious!

On the first day of 2012, four friends converged in a little corner of Alameda to start the year off right.  If brunch at Little House Cafe is any indication of what the year will hold, 2012 is gonna be a good one. To eat: pumpkin and goat cheese crepe, corn beef hash with eggs, and Eggs Benny with salmon. The farm-raised organic eggs were poached to perfection. The coffee was hot and the orange juice was fresh. Good food, great friends, perfect start. If only Alameda were a little closer to Long Beach.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Potholder Huevos: A Love Story

 My Darling Potholder Cafe,
How do I love thee? I would count all the ways but we'd be here all day.  Your fresh OJ, bottomless coffee cup, huge menu, cheap prices, comfy booths, attentive staff, wall photos, and short wait (even on Sunday mornings) all keep me coming back.  But the main reason I return again and again is for your huevos menu—Mexican-style breakfast served at least ten different ways. This morning, with my cousin Shelley in tow, I ordered up one of my favorites from your menu, the Huevos Rancheros. It's hard to say what the best part of this dish is. The half of a perfectly ripe avocado on top? The jalapeƱos? The egg over medium? The sour cream? Maybe it's the hash-like potatoes that I use to sop up the golden yolk? I contemplated all these reasons as I devoured my plate. Good thing Shelley relinquished the leftovers from her breakfast burritos. They will have to hold me over until our next visit, when I'm sure to leave fat and happy, as always.

Very truly yours,


Monday, December 19, 2011

Lasagna for Breakfast?

The answer is yes. When the lasagna in question is your father-in-law's latest vegetarian creation, the answer is a resounding HELL YES! Spinach, mushrooms, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, Fontina, and a whole lot of love. Jealous?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Have House, Will Party

Everyone loves a good house-warming party, but when it’s your dear friends who have acquired a small parcel of California, it’s even more thrilling. Randy and Tamar’s swanky new pad is destined to see its share of late nights in the coming years. Here are a few highlights from their first official shindig:

VINTAGE!  Tucked into the Culver City neighborhood of Sunkist Park, their mid-century ranch-style home matches perfectly with Tamar’s penchant for all things vintage. This is a place where the oft-demolished wooden curves of midcentury wagon wheels meld with steely aqua appliances. Throw in some linoleum, interesting artwork, and a few vintage lamps and you have the makings of a gorgeous home. (Gross oversimplification!)

BEER!  Alcohol is perhaps the most important ingredient for any party. R&T took this very seriously and pulled out the big guns: a keg of Anchor Steam. Red and white wine were also among the attendees.

CHEESE!  Brie, bleu, goat, rolled in herbs, smeared on crackers. Cheese alone is reason enough to throw a party and there was plenty of it at this soiree.

BOOBIES!  It’s not a party without boobies, preferably vintage boobies.

KITTIES!  It’s not a party without kitties either. While Clyde remained a hissing ball of fury hidden under the comforter, Wilma made an appearance as the guest list dwindled down to the purple-stained-teeth crowd.

FRIENDS!  You're guaranteed to have an interesting conversation amongst this group. Costumers, comedians, professors and troublemakers ensured that no topic was taboo.

If you're lucky enough to count Randy and Tamar among your friends and you happen to be in the Sunkist Park area, pop over to their beautiful abode for a cocktail and take a dip in their pool.  Did I mention they have a hot tub? 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Dog + Cold Beer = Happy Girl

According to their beer glass koozie—yes, that's right, a koozie for your beer glass—Dogz is the home of the 20 oz beer. A large, ice-cold, insulated beer is reason enough to make this popular Belmont Shore addition a favorite in my book, but a veggie dog seals the deal. As a pescaterian, I prepped myself for the worst-case scenario—a couple of beers and some sides—but hoped I would find a veggie dog. Jackpot! For a buck, you can upgrade your weenie to a veggie, 1/4 pound, kosher, turkey, or bacon-wrapped dog. Two bucks gets you the infamous Dodger Dog. I'm not sure which brand veg dog they use but, as veg dogs go, it's not bad. Toppings are key on a veggie dog, so I chose the one that the menu suggested was "dragged through the garden."  My friend Sarah will readily tell you, in a slight Midwestern accent, that no self-respecting Chicagoan would put ketchup on their hot dog. It borders on sacrilege. So I did Sarah proud and ordered The Windy City/Chicago Dog. No ketchup in sight. Instead it's topped with yellow mustard, bright green relish, fresh chopped onions, tomato wedges, a kosher pickle spear, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt and served on a poppy seed bun. Delicious! For my dinner companion and food cohort, Jenn, it was mini corn dogs—the classic, miniaturized. We split an order of sweet potato tots, a little sweet for my taste but a welcome alternative to french fries. Their menu also includes specialty sausages, dog alternatives, and Mexican plates. But back to that glorious 20 oz beer glass...I filled mine with an IPA, from which I had three to choose: Stone, Racer 5, and Drifter.  Now, that's a beer selection! Don't panic if your beer doesn't come with a koozie, just request one. If you prefer a cocktail with your weenie, there is a full bar. If you prefer to eat a dog with your pet dog, bring your canine along. Dogz is a dog-friendly establishment. If you don't have a pooch of your own, ogle some of the local cuties pictured on the wall. Like many places on 2nd Street, Dogz fills up with the CSULB crowd as it gets later. Not your scene? Plan to skedaddle around 9pm. For great service, try to make it on a day when Taylor is serving. See you there!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Harvey is probably the cutest, or perhaps the strangest, dog that you've ever seen. That's because he's actually a human. According to his vet, he is a kid inside a dog suit. It's the eyes. What do you suppose he's thinking about?

NICKNAMES: Le Harvs, Boo-tee, Pooch
HOBBIES: Keep away, wrestling, being aloof, begging, barking at passers-by, sniffing, rolling in stank spots
TALENTS:  stair-diving, jumping, sprinting, ankle-biting, shaking, emitting strange sounds
DISLIKES: anything on wheels, small children, Halloween decorations, vacuums
FRIENDS: Charlie, Carlton, Rufus, Bella and humans, Jenny, Suzanne, and Natalie
HANGOUTS: The Pet Set Doggy Daycare, human furniture, Stearns Park, Huntington Dog Beach, Arbor Dog Park, the bathtub, any spot in the sun, the front door