Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Project For 2010

Since I'm so bad at posting regularly (with apologies to H-Mac and the 805 Girl who are kind enough to read when I actually DO write), I've decided to take a cue from another reader and good buddy Steve, who will post a photo a day for the entirety of 2010 here. I'll do my best to do the same, so I'll even start a day early with a picture I took this morning of the largest dew drops I've ever seen suspended in a spider web . . .

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cantara Cellars

Hidden gems are one of the joys of food - discovering great food in a place you wouldn't expect to is always fun. That's why Cantara Cellars is such a great find. Although their grapes come from Lodi (between Sacramento and Stockton), they make some top-notch California wine in the middle of Ventura County's agricultural region.

Owned by Mike and Chris Brown, Cantara could be considered a craft winery, since they certainly don't mass produce any of their wines, but they make up for it in accessibility. As part of their tasting experience, guests are able to taste not only wines already bottled, but also wines currently in the casking process, and ask questions of Mike directly.

And as an added bonus, the Cupcake Queen / 805 Girl also works in the tasting room - it's fun to see her in her element.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sweatin' & Shiverin' Burgers

H-Mac has been to Five Guys before - she's a fan. But after coming back, she told the Cupcake Queen / 805 Girl that it was great, but then she was "sweatin' burgers." Is that a good thing? I'm not sure, especially since the three of us went to Hole in the Wall. I've written about it before, and it's still as good now as it was then, although since it's technically winter, it was a little chilly sitting on the outdoor patio. In fact, it was a LOT chilly for the CQ/805 Girl, enough so that not only did the owner turn on the gas heaters for us, but also brought out a fresh baked banana nut muffin that was steamin' hot. Turns out that the Hole in the Wall gang runs a catering business too.

The burgers, fries, and sweet potato fries were all tasty, and it's a sight to behold to see loverly ladies knock back 1/2 pound burgers like it's nobody's business. I do work with the coolest people . . .

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sausages & Cars

I admit it - I'm not a car guy. Never have been, never will be. I know, I know, I should have 10W-30 and 92 octane as part of the testosterone coursing through my body, but cars just don't do anything for me . . . they're a means to get from Point A to Point B. That's it.

So given that I work exclusively on automotive sales and dealership training materials, I'm required to attend the annual Southern California auto shows, first the smaller Orange County edition in Anaheim, and then this week, the much larger Los Angeles one. And I was fortunate enough to to have three other friends and colleagues with me - Steve, H-Mac, and A.P. Since cars don't impress me, and I had a laundry list of vehicles I needed to see and photograph, the only car I'm including here was a cleverly displayed Lincoln (and if I actually cared about the car, I could tell you the model, but I don't, so I can't). And since most automakers have scaled back their displays and presentations, there was very little swag to be found, with the exception of the cappuccinos found at Porsche.

But being in downtown L.A. does have its benefits, as we were able to have a late lunch at Wurstk├╝che, or, as A.P. called it, "Worst Cookie." (Give her a break; that umlaut is tricky). Known for their gourmet sausages, Belgian frites and draft beer . . . well, quite frankly that's ALL they serve there. You pick your sausage from the case, order your fries and beverage, and grab a table. Steve got a British soda made from Dandelion leaves and Burdock root while I opted for the more traditional Spaten Pils. Once the sausages and fries are ready, they're brought right to the table with dipping sauces.

It was nice not having to sit elbow to elbow at the table; nights and weekends the place is packed with USC students. H-Mac and I both had room to take our respective photographs, and learning a lesson from my last visit, moderation was my friend.