Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wandering hither and yon

Two days after Christmas and I am in Denver for the re franchise of this market. Nice thing about travel during the holidays is that the hotel rates are dirt cheap between Christmas and New Years. Scored a sweet deal at the Hotel Monaco in Denver. HMMMM....200 ct sheets. free cheese and wine in the lobby... Located down a few blocks off of the 16th Street Mall. Downtown Denver has really stepped up it's game since I last spent time here in the late '90s.

Back on my trudge towards fitness so I had a nice brisk walk each morning and evening. The downtown had really gotten into the holiday spirit and everything was lit up each night. Very colorful.

Union Station was beautiful. Shot this one night after we had finished inventories for the day.

Charles, one of my co-workers had an idea for the second day. "How about a light hike Sue?" hard can that be?


6000 ft above sea level on the trails above Boulder. About half way through the "light" hike from Hell, I seriously saw my life pass before my eyes. I think I had a "light heart attack."
Epiphany: I don't want to die fat. Back on the treadmill and running. I am going to get back in shape if it kills me, or if I don't make an attempt, this current lifestyle will kill me anyway so I don't really have a choice.

Adios omelet with panchetta, turkey sausage and fontina cheese, smothered in roasted rosemary potatoes and red pepper. Hello Special K and oatmeal.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One of my favorite places

Beautiful weekend in LA. Warm weather, clear skies, almost perfect except for the mass of people out shopping. Felt like a rugby scrum at times in some places. Next year, gift cards for all!
Had a dinner date at AOC last night so I went to the Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax before dinner to get some shopping done before I leave town this week.

Spoiler alert: I made a major purchase at Little John's Toffee House. Nothing better as a gift and the candy was made that day. Growing up here, my older sister and I loved coming to the farmer's market whenever we were in town or with my Grandparents. I was always fascinated by the candy making process that went on behind the glass windows.
Asked the counter girl and she said that this was one of many batches that were made today. The scotch kisses pictured above are might nice as well. Marshmallows smothered in caramel. The fudge here is pretty good as well although I prefer John Kelly off of Sunset for that. Bought some boxes as gifts as well.

Met Karen for dinner at AOC on 3rd. Very good dinner. We had a cheese plate, bacon wrapped dates, grilled pear salad, sea bass with mint shell beans and preserved lemons, roasted cauliflower with paprika, red vinegar and a very nice chocolate dessert. I actually had a couple of glasses of a crisp white wine as well. A very enjoyable evening.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The weather and other topics

This week is the kind of week that makes me realize why everyone moved to California. It is December and 80 degrees outside. The Santa Anas are blowing as well so it is perfect weather and clear as a bell. You can see from Downtown LA to the Ocean. I had to visit two University sites yesterday. First to review the upcoming Winter launch at Pepperdine and the opening process at Cal Lutheran. I finished up at Pepperdine around 3 pm and decided to take the alternate route home. The 1o1 south after 3 pm is parking lot back to Hollywood in my opinion so I thought the Pacific Coast Highway to Sunset Blvd route would be less time and a lot more scenic. Its a lot more scenic, less time..... no. I completely forgot that the overpass at the 405 is under construction so from the Pacific Palisades to Bel Air was bumper to bumper. Still, while I was stuck in traffic, the view along the way with the top down was pretty nice.

Traffic was bumper to bumper until I got past the Sunset overpass at the 405. Once I got past that and the gates at Bel Air, it was a pretty quick trip. Zoomed through Beverly Hills and then got stuck in a little traffic on the Sunset trip. Kind of nice to move slowly through and be able to take some quick shots from the car.

This was actually before the Whiskey a Go Go. I loved the color of the sky and the buildings just as dusk changed to night.
Got home in time to meet Dana and Bill for dinner downtown at Pete's. We all ordered the hanger steak with fries. Mixed it up this time and ordered the Chipotle Fries with the steak. I still had to have the blue cheese fries so we did that as the app. My arteries are now 95% clogged.

Outside of the restaurant, these lights were strung along the street as far as the eye could see. I don't think my photo does it justice. Really beautiful.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Spending the weekend in Sacramento with my mom and sisters before heading back to Los Angeles this next week. I had to go downtown today to meet with Sabina, a GM that is helping me with the Safeway accounts in Northern California. Her home store is on the K street mall so I met with her and then walked around. Back in the day, the K street mall was the hub of downtown Sacramento. The capital is just a block over from the mall. The whole area has gone through some booms and busts and the city is now trying to revitalize the mall with some success. There were three movie theaters on the Mall that my friends and I went to all through my high school years. The Showcase Theater is gone now but back in the '80s it showed the Rocky Horror picture show every Friday night at midnight. It also showed foreign films and independents that didn't normally make it to the theaters in the suburbs. My friend Andrea Forsyth's dad, took us the summer of my junior year to see a double bill of Five Easy Pieces and Carnal Knowledge. Not what you'd expect your friends dad to do but he was way cool. He was the political editor of the Sacramento Bee and David Roberti's Chief of Staff when Roberti ran the Senate. My mom was not too happy when I told her what we saw that night.
The Crest theater is on the mall and has been restored to all it's art deco glory. My sophomore English teacher brought our class here as a field trip to see the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet.

The Box office is completely restored as well and I love the detail on the back. Buildings had so much more interesting details then.

The Esquire is down the Mall near the convention center and has also been redone. At night it is very striking.

Crossed the street and walked in the capital park to try and continue my trudge towards fitness. The leaves on the trees are still striking in the fall colors. I was mesmerized by this tree. I don't think I quite caught how gold the leaves were. There was a whole row of these trees together and the colors were spectacular.

As I was walking back to my car , this group caught my eye. It looked like a quincenera party that was having photos taken for the occasion. The young lady in red was the birthday girl and she was carrying a wand and had a tiera on. I missed the opportunity to take their photo as they approached and I didn't have enough courage to stop them to try and take a photo.

Monday, November 29, 2010

lurching down memory lane...

In the Bay area for some meetings today and decided to have dinner at one of my old college haunts, Zachary's Pizza. Zachary's is a Berkeley institution off of Solano Avenue in North Berkeley. When I was at Cal in the early '80s, a great Friday night was dinner at Zachary's with a pitcher of beer and then a double feature at the Oaks cinema two doors up the street.
I think the apex of my movie watching was one night after dinner and a few pitchers of beer, I saw a double bill of Pretty in Pink and Delta Force. You wouldn't think that's the ideal double feature but after two hours of Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, Chuck Norris kinda kicks butt. Especially with the beer added in.
Charles and I had a nice dinner tonight,sans a pitcher of beer and then headed back to the hotel. No movie, I have to be in Fresno by 10 am tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

a necessary evil

Dinner with Karen the other night. We went to my favorite fall spot: the counter at Musso and Franks.Karen had never been so we went and had a nice night. I always snag a seat by the grill and watch the chef cook the chops brought over by the waiters and sip my vodka martini. The grill gives off a nice warm heat. I always order the pounded steak with gravy and lyonaise potatoes. One sip of that drink and all is right with the world. I can almost accept Cal's crushing defeat at the hands of Stanford....... Almost.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

things you don't see everyday....

Driving up La Brea this afternoon and was stopped at 3rd street when I saw this coming towards me. Kind of random but what a cool car! I thought maybe it was advertising something but it is apparently just an everyday vehicle with a little something extra.

Traffic was a little heavy as I approached Hollywood so took some side streets to get to Gower and saw this off of Santa Monica Blvd as well as the obigatory transvetite

autumn in the central coast

The grapes have been picked and soon the vines will be bare and not too attractive but for right now..what a glorious view as I wound down the 101 back to LA yesterday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

driving up the central coast

Spent my Sunday driving up the coast for a early morning meeting in San Luis Obispo tomorrow. Laura, my franchise training manager flew into the Santa Barbara airport from Denver. Picked her up and we drove up to San Luis Obispo along the 101.
I really take this drive for granted and seeing the coast and the central coast through someone else's perspective was interesting. The vineyards are now lines of gold on the hills next to the 101. So beautiful. I know the leaves will be gone by my next trip. Should have taken a shot, maybe on the way back down the coast

We had dinner in Avila Beach at the custom house. Food was ok but the view was spectacular. It was 75 degrees today and warm and balmy this evening. Really nice day.

The sunset was amazing, lots of orange, red and purple in the sky.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Spent this past week in Houston for business. Not the most scenic of cities but the food was pretty darn good. I ate at Antone twice.Fried Oyster Po'Boy!! Delicious

The oysters were hot and juicy and nestled in a soft bread bun with mayo, tomatoes and chow chow mix. I got a side of jalapenos stuffed with Pimento cheese as a nod to my southern heritage.

Everyone in my group was sent to different cities in Texas to do in depth store visits. Matt and I were sent to Houston, Mary Jane to San Antonio, Charles to Austin and Rick and John went to Dallas. Everyone likes to eat and send each other shots of lunch or dinner and Pappasitos was a stop on every one's list this trip.
I have a soft spot for Pappasitos since it is the same concept that Chevys was when I first started working for that company in the early '90s. The Simmons family bought the catina concept idea from the Pappas brothers and opened up in the Bay area. The food,service, plating et al was exactly the same in a Chevys as it was in a Pappasitos when I started working for Chevys. A visit to the Pappasitos always brings back memories of what once was until Pepsico and others destroyed the concept.
Matt and I headed over on our last night for dinner and started with chips and salsa. Service was somewhat crappy but the food was terrific.

Half and half fajitas with guac and pico. The tortillas were wonderful as well,fresh, hot and just off the press. Rice and beans ala charra and I was a happy camper. Matt was too until he got a call from his credit card company the next day that someone at Pappasitos tried to charge $5000 on his card. That's a lot of fajitas.

Friday, September 24, 2010

End of Summer

Went Wine tasting with Bill and Dana. Did not end the way I anticipated. That's all I'm saying. We went to Los Olivios and Lompoc in the Central Coast. Did a tasting with the vintner at Prodigal Winery. Did barrel tasting....lots of barrel tasting.

I came back with a lot of wine which Chris, Tami and Anne will happily drink. I am on water and soda for the next few months. There's only so much tannin a body can absorb.

Went to the Santa Monica farmers market with Chris and had dim sum after. A nice way to spend part of the day.

Parked my car for the Hollywood market the other morning and took this shot. Been on the side of the building for so long and yet no one screws with it. Amazing

End of summer means the end of peaches and plums, my favorite fruits. I will gorge while I can.

Breakfast from the stand on Selma. A cheese and black bean pupusas. Yum-o and only $2.50

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

catching up

Whirlwind few weeks. Up and down the coast. Had a few chances to spend time at home. Went to the bowl with Chris last week to see BB King. Nice kicking back and hanging with Christopher although I shouldn't have had that second bottle of wine. The next day I had to drive to Bakersfield and that wasn't pretty.
Had dinner the next night with Dana and Bill to celebrate Bill's recent birthday. We went to Delphine in the W Hollywood. Nice night and really good food. I had the steak frites with a Bearnaise sauce. Very good. We had a great time. I think it was just what Dana needed after the past few weeks stress with her dad.

Hung out a bit with Jim. Had a cup of coffee and slice of pie later Saturday night at the 101 with him. Big Jim drama. That's all I'm saying.

Went to the market the next day and had coffee first. Got a new photography app for my phone so played with the shots. I do like this one of Jim. Totally not posed. Ha! Once an actor, always an actor.

The son of one of the vendors was playing next to his parents stall. He wouldn't look up. So cute and so serious.

Breakfast at the cafe up the hill after the market.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

travels and the voice of reason (my dinner with Kathryn)

Been a LONG week. Started Monday in LA and then had to fly up for the Chico/Redding transaction. In Chico for the transition and then just making my way down the coast. Bloody hot in Chico. This is great smoothie weather. Had to drive back down to Emeryville to drop off all the paperwork from the transaction and had lunch with the lovely Carol. She knows how to pick the spots. Ate at Dopo in the Piedmont neighborhood in Berkeley. Great lunch and conversation. Peets agrees with her.
Had to tour the Wine country Safeway kiosks the next day so I got a great hotel deal from hotwire for the Berkeley area. The Claremont Hotel for $65 plus parking. Nice! Beautiful old hotel. Had my graduation dinner from Cal here with my family. I checked in just as the sun was down. The view was spectacular, the City was beautiful from the veranda.

Finished up with Brendan at Safeway and met Kathryn for dinner in Marin at the Buckeye Roadhouse.
Great food and conversation with Kathryn. I tried again to get her to name the baby Thor but she won't budge. I think Thor Daniels has quite a ring to it but she apparently doesn't think so. The lure of paid college tuition wasn't as big a persuader as I thought.
I still have 4 months to change her mind. Jeff is considering it.
Took this as I left on Friday morning. Had to drive down to San Luis Obispo for a race that Jamba participated in. Arrived in SLO and made 1200 smoothies for the event today (Saturday)The race was a run from Morro Rock to the pier. Morning started a little foggy and cold but it burned off and was a beautiful day in Central California.