Hoodoos, Goblin Valley

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bon Appetit!

It was a nice weekend and is starting out to be a very nice week. Sunday we got up at 4:00 in the morning and ventured north to the Long Beach Veterans Swap Meet. I saw Cam and Warmboe there and many people that I literally hadn't seen in decades, plugging away! I bought a lovely modernist chess set, a very early Albert Valentien Rookwood vase (1883), and a geometric german deco porcelain vase.

I doubly scored when Leslie found an older gent with some wonderful vintage Hawaiian shirts in my size, a fantastic Reyn Spooner, Avanti and an Iolani long sleeve with pattern matched ginger , something that is exceedingly rare. We drove back home and slept the sleep of death all afternoon.

Leslie had made one of her incredible veal rissotto's a few days earlier and we had leftovers for supper when we finally got up. Bethany brings her the finest saffron in the world when she comes back from her frequent trips to Morocco and it is much appreciated.

Last week was a very good week in the shop, no barnburner sales but very steady and even business off the street. Received my imac 27" retina and it is just amazing. Not just the picture's resolution but also the type. I was going to keep the old unit but I think I will sell it to Pete insteadn.

Yesterday I went to see Gary and then popped over to Ron and Lena's, great friends who have been inundated with house guests for weeks and I think are maybe near the breaking point. I asked them both out to lunch but Ron demurred so Lena and I tooled it over to Davanti Enoteca in Del Mar, a great restaurant that I don't visit often enough. Really like their food and entire approach.

We started off with the requisite focaccia with the ligurian cheese and honeycomb. A sinful way to start a meal but a must at Davanti.

Lena ordered linguini with clams. I had sweet potato gnocchi with duck sugo, mustard greens and pine nuts. Very delicious. Really enjoyed the outside tables and want to go back soon. Afterwards we went to Nordstroms and looked for shoes. I bought a dress shirt.

Today I went in to work and straightened out my calendar and hooked up one of my new 4tb backup drives. I hightailed it down to the airport and picked up Big D, who was in town for a couple days for meetings.

We drove over to Balboa Park and decided to have lunch at the Prado restaurant. This is Dave multitasking in front of the famous Donal Hord sculpture.

Prado can be great and Prado can be mediocre. Today it was on its "A" game.

Took a while to get a server's attention but Scott turned out to be a quite affable and enthusiastic chap.

He brought us water. Dave ordered a Tiger Woods, evidently a Shirley Temple that had fallen into some disrepute. I had a virgin mojito and a glass of the domestic cab, I forget the exact name but the winery was started by some computer wunderkinds who needed a diversion and a place to spend their gelt.

The server kept our rising hunger at bay, bringing us plenty of crackers and fresh hummus.

Dave started his meal with the Trio Of Grilled Skewers, steak with chipotle honey, chicken breast with cashew curry, shrimp with mango ginger sauce, all served on a ginormous heap of asian slaw.

All three of these skewers were great, the bef was marvelous, but the shrimp was simply sublime.

I was using my crappy and outdated cell phone so forgive the lousy pictures.

Dave segued into his second dish, Blue Crab, Shrimp & Cod Prado Sea Cake with julienne apple-jicama slaw, sambal remoulade, piquillo aioli.

I thought that this one was a tad boring, left a bit of the small dish on the plate. Jesus, the title was so promising too. At least we got our jicama quota taken care of.

I ordered the paella. Now I am a bit of a paella snob. I hate prissy paellas. It is meant to be a rustic dish, not necessarily patrician fare.

The La Valencia made a nice paella as did La Costa at the famous brunch, now many decades ago. It is honestly hard to find a decent one now.

This one was great, close to perfect. Scott said he served it to a table of Spanish chefs and they said the very same thing. It could have been a smidge bigger but hey, I'm a glutton. The menu says that it is constructed with fresh fish, mussels, shrimp, calamari, chicken, chorizo, lobster saffron broth. Dave thought that the chorizo was excellent, as did I. Better paella than I had in Spain, frankly.

Our gracious host gifted us with an amazing dessert, a creamy cream cheese flan with berries and almond shortbread that was just superb. 

I can't say that this was the greatest meal I have had there since Leslie and I once had an outrageous anniversary dinner there. But it was damn close. The Cohns have really tightened up their act.

Afterwards we cruised through my favorite park, enjoying the plateresque architecture, designed mostly by the New York architect Bertram Goodhue for the 1915 PPIE exhibition. Plateresque is one of the three main Spanish colonial architectural styles and is named for "plata", it resembles the ornate decoration applied on Spanish silver.

We went to the Reuben H.Fleet Space Museum and got some souvenirs for Dave's kids. I chatted with some of the local color.

Walked through the botanical garden and past the Laguna de las flores, a koi and lily filled pond that local troops drilled in during World War I. Met some friends who had just scaled the newly opened tower at the Museum of Man. I want to do it also but today was not the day.

Took time to smell the roses and tour the cactus garden.

Dave is taking a selfie here near one of my favorite palms, a bismarckia. The park is full of incredible palm specimens, this particular genus of rare palm hails from Madagascar.

I may not be the smartest, richest or best looking guy in the world but I have been blessed with the best friends one could ever ask for. It has been a nice little run this week.

Hope to break bread with you soon, too.

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