day 231 – Cafe Lafayette

Cafe Lafayette is located on Main St. at the beginning of your tourist trail down to the Seal Beach Pier.  The place is decorated simply with black and white photographs of Paris framed in black.  The service is attentive but not intrusive.  They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with an extensive menu for each that is sure to please everyone.  Fresh French bread daily.

BreakfastChilaquiles – corn tortillas, scrambled eggs, tomato, green onion, chile and cheese.  Topped with avocado and chorizo.  Sour cream and fresh salsa on the side.

Eggs Sardou – Two poached eggs with spinach, cheese and Hollandaise sauce over toasted French bread. With the best tasting potatoes ever!

day 230 – Things to do in July/August

Here’s a list of things to do in July/August that I have enjoyed recently.


Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach

Il Dolce in Costa Mesa

Café Lafayette in Seal Beach

Canyon in Anaheim Hills

Zena’s in Orange

The Catch in Anaheim

Macaroni Grill  and BJ’s in Hacienda Heights

PF Chang’s in Chino Hills

The Pint House in Orange

Pictures and reviews to come….

I have also eaten lately at Pasta Connection in Orange, Tangata’s in Santa Ana, and Rockwell’s in Villa Park and but I wouldn’t recommend them.

I used to love Pasta Connection but the owner’s have changed and although there is live entertainment on Sunday’s now, the pasta, the sauces and the pizza have detioriated.  There’s another one in Costa Mesa, just down the road from Il Dolce, perhaps we will try it again at this original spot another time.  But the one in Orange is off our radar now after two disappointing visits.

Tangata’s is located at the Bower’s and is part of the Patina Group.  The plates look delicious but they were under seasoned. Period. I may give this one another try because the menu needed more exploring and the kitchen seemed slammed with the lunch crowd.

Rockwell’s for dinner was a huge mistake.  Again, another restaurant under new ownership and the place got a facelift, a whole new space for a bar and an outdoor lounge area that replaced more meal seating so I am guessing the new owner is more interested in your liquor dollars and to me (although my kids liked it) – tater tots topped with nacho condiments are not an appetizer, albeit perfect for the young or inebriated.  The hummus was pedestrian, and for the prices of the entrees, it was a complete letdown.

Go See Movie:

Francis Ha – a small budget black and white sweet thing.

Go To Destinations:

Bower’s Museum in Santa Ana –the engraved gems of the Medici family, decorative luxury from the Romanov reign in Russia, one of a kind scrimshaw masterpieces by pirates on whalebone and many other displays of culture and ethnic value in a renovated and expanded, well air-conditioned venue.

Seal Beach – an under the radar quaint beach town with plenty of dining and shopping experiences.  Keep it cool here.  The beach is anywhere from 10 – 30 degrees chillier and breezier than anywhere inland.

enjoying breakfast at Cafe Lafayette in Seal Beach today

Berkely – cooler, wetter and visibly closer to San Francisco.

Santa Monica – close to the water, Westwood and UCLA

 Watch the Tour de France!!

day 229 – Peaches

My next door neighbor gifted me with these summertime peaches. I walked back into my house with stone fruit aplenty and proceeded to rinse and air dry them.  I then cut them up into bite size pieces into a glass oven safe bowl (skin and all – they are organic) and sprinkled 1 tablespoon of organic sugar, 1 tablespoon of organic coconut flour, 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of organic cinnamon into the dish and tossed the tiny delicacies until coated thoroughly.

I popped it in the oven for @ 30 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring every ten minutes.  Once I took out the juicy, jammy goodness, I added 2 tablespoons of organic, dried and unsweetened coconut flakes.

Once cooled, I packed a mason jar with my creation and will scoop out some peach coconut marmalade for dessert or breakfast till it’s gone.  I already had at least five tasting spoons as I was stirring, taking it out and cooling.  It is incredible.  I had a few raw bites here and there as I cut them up too.

I never weighed my peaches but I am glad I took a picture of them before I cooked them so you can approximate.  This many peaches filled one mason jar, cooked in island coconut with spicy cinnamon heat.

I bet it would be great as a side to fish, chicken, pork or savory vegetables or… spread on hot toast, served alongside french vanilla ice cream or inside eggy crepes.

Eating well is my delight.  I will be able to share some goodness back with my next door neighbor and we can all rejoice in the abundance of backyard growing.

day 228 – Organic Quick Italian

All ingredients can be purchased organically at Mother’s or Whole Foods or Von’s

1-pound ground chicken

1 28-ounce can of diced fire roasted tomatoes (I used Muir Glen)

5 large carrots, sliced into ¼ inch rounds

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1 green pepper, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon paste seasoning, any flavor (I used organic mushroom)

1 Tablespoon dried oregano flakes

2 bay leaves

2 tsps. Olive oil

Optional: 1 – 2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Optional: 1 – 3 teaspoons red hot pepper flakes

8 oz. egg noodles

Parmesan slivers or shavings

In a large saucepan, heat oil in bottom of pan and when hot, add onions, carrots, green pepper and bay leaves.  Stir and cover for @ 5 minutes till onions become somewhat translucent.  Add garlic if using and stir and let cook uncovered till golden.

Add chicken, oregano, flakes and paste seasoning and stir frequently till chicken is cooked through and no pink remains.  Add tomatoes, combine and cover for @ 10-15 minutes so the flavors can meld.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water, add noodles and cook al dente. Drain and Serve immediately.  Top with cheese.

This was an incredibly easy, delicious, just put it all together in a pot kinda meal and extremely healthy!

Day 226 – food thought

The experience of a few bites of quality, real authentic food is enough to fill me up because it does not define me entirely. I am more than the meals I consume yet the meals I consume are who I become.

I have been pondering.    My new philosophical approach ( because I have to over analyze everything) to nutrition is to enjoy food. Sound simplistic?  After experimenting with low fat, low carb, no fat, no carb, no sugar, high fat, vegetarian, vegan, raw, combining, Medifast, Jenny Craig and semi-fasting I have come to the conclusion and I am reading literature to support my intuitive sense that I just need to eat no additives, no artificial anything and no fake processed junk and I will be just fine. Easy?

No. Try to find what we take for granted and disguise as food or know is junk and eat anyway.  KISS. Keep it simple sister.

I’m staying away from man-made faux food and eating what had parents or came from the earth not a factory. To validate me, I am reading The Perfect Ten and The French Don’t Diet Plan. Check it out.

I am convinced that obesity, autism, allergies and many diseases are environmental and my food choices matter and our food supply is impacted.

I am not the perfect hippie or hipster but I have a strong streak of anti-establishment, anti-big brother government, anti-pharmacy, anti-insurance etc (need I go on?) because it plays on your fears not your sense of compassion, humanness or connectedness.

In order to do my part, I can make a difference by spending my money (read The Soul of Money by Lynn Twist) on organic ( which was regular food before WWII and chemical companies -like Dupont-didn’t know what to do with their warfare after it ended so they sold it to farmers as pesticides which in turn killed beneficial insects and natural predators as well as bugs and disease-upsetting the biological equilibrium)  food.

From my research I have learned enough about how greed has ruined our food supply on so many levels (meat industrialization, fish farming, mono-culture, GMO’s and on and on…) and I just want to get back to basics.

It’s the least I can do and I am truly sorry I haven’t always raised my kids properly nourished. I was overwhelmed, under informed and too easily swayed. HFCS, hydrogenated fats and artificial coloring are in all sorts of child like  “friendly” forms.  Forgive me.

Please take accountability for your own health.

There’s something in the air in Berkeley that makes me want to change the world!  Or at the very least-speak my truth, let you know what’s really on my mind and practice being a better earthling by taking responsibility for my own actions and choosing those actions wisely.

Day 225- lounging

I have one whole day to walk around Berkeley, relax, eat, take in sights, read and lounge all by myself. It’s raining now so I am in my cozy, free wi-fi room tapping on my I-pad ( much more travel friendlier and lighter than my laptop ).

I therapeutically already told three people ( that’s the magic number ) and wrote about my Southwest ordeal yesterday so I will spare you details but needless to say I felt helpless and out of control. Then I ventured the BART system with my saavy, techie freshwoman/child and arrived with nerve endings splitting, thankful to be on terra firma.  Dinner and some movie/nail polishing time with my youngest and then a good four hours rest.

After being told I wasn’t needed anymore at the orientation line full of teens doing the wave, I headed over to the free speech movement cafe for a cup of fair traded java. Then I picked up some mom and dad pride filled t shirts and had a delicious lunch in my Durant hotel restaurant.  Macaroni and cheese with three different cheeses: cheddar, jack and mascarpone in a red chili flaked sauce with organic chicken and organic veggies.

I love Berkeley.


day 224 – Travel Day

I am a nervous, anxiety-ridden flyer and although I love to be somewhere else in less time than it takes to watch a movie, I still kind of freak every time.  I have tons of tools and just packing is fuelled with decisions, doubts and drama.  What’s the weather like? What colors should I wear so that I only need to bring one pair of shoes, make-up and jewelry? What am I going to be doing at any given time? Do I need a sweater, sneakers or SPF?  Electronica? Books? Umbrella? You get the crazy in my head.  And…. I actually have a list!

Just as long as we are safe, I will be fine.  Breathe.  Meditate.  Write.  Reading trash can sometimes pass the time and other times, praying is my only solace.  The more I travel, the more paraphernalia I need with me to cover all my bases.

The serenity prayer holds the truth.  Bottom line, I am not in charge.  Self –centered fear is really the bane of my existence.

Berkeley here we come!

day 223 – Eggplant

This globed, dark purple and nourishing summer vegetable must be cooked in order to eat.  I used to salt and drain cubed pieces (to drain it’s wateriness and lose it’s bitterness) like my ancestors, but I don’t anymore.

To make a basic eggplant dip, just slice, season and place the inner side down (skin up) on a greased tin.  Bake or broil for 20- 30 minutes till the flesh is soft and caramelized.

Scoop out the pulp and blend in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and salt or soy sauce (I used Bragg’s Liquid aminos). 

I just kept it simple today, but feel free to add garlic, yogurt to cream it up, olive oil, and fresh herbs like oregano or spices like cumin.


day 222 – The Pint House

Tonight we dined at The Pint House over by Century 21 Stadium movie theatres on Katella, right off the 57 fwy.  Our choices were numerous as there are no fewer than eight dining options in one square block catering to the movie, Anaheim stadium and Honda Center ( I frequently misname it as the Honda Ponda – remnants of when it was home to the Mighty Ducks and owned by Arrowhead).

The Pint House is relatively new to the scene and considering it caters to (mostly men) beer drinkers who will pay an annual fee to have their own personalized glass (pint) on the wall, it has pretty decent food and prices.

We started with appetizers: Pretzels with a cheesy garlic sauce, freshly fried tortilla chips with a spicy adobo sauce and my personal favorite, brie warmed, seductively melted into a cast-iron pan with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, roasted garlic and crusty, buttery bread slices.

Brie with Pesto

From there my table of adventurers ventured into burgers, fries, onion rings, salmon Provencal (with spinach) over rice pilaf with roasted veggies (which I almost ordered but with their special of the night – Mahi ) and I ended up entertaining a Mediterranean salad with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, garbanzos, red onion slices, feta and olives atop baby mixed greens with a balsamic dressing I did not care for and was wise enough to order on the side.

Mediterranean Salad

Always order your dressing on the side.  This way, if you don’t like it, it won’t ruin your salad. Plus, it keeps your greens crisp since it’s not slathered with dressing till you say so.  Rarely has my salad been enhanced by a restaurant’s dressing and I would rather eat my salad dry and taste the ingredients or make my own simple olive oil, lemon, salt concoction I prefer at home.  And most restaurants, especially chains, don’t have quality condiments, but that’s just me driveling because it’s one of my many food pet peeves.


Salmon Provencal

Of course, I love dessert and my new motto is quality over quantity, so I eat whatever I want as long as it’s not faux food, processed or chemicals disguised as nutrition.  So we ordered one dessert for the table (we had four spoons).  We consumed another skillet gourmand delicacy (like the Brie), old-fashioned apple pie a la mode. Sorry, no pictures.  We gobbled it up. The slightly salty crust, apples, sauce, ice cream  – hot/cold combo never fails and this version knocked me out with its cinnamon undertones.  Adding some chopped walnuts would be the only thing that could have enhanced the pie or subtracting the amount of spoons we had for sharing (just joshing).

I then left three people at the movies to see the zombie movie with Brad Pitt, World War Z I believe it’s called, whom I have no desire to watch and proceeded to write this post.  Soon, I will pick them up at the appointed location (it’s a mad house) and hear all about it.  I chose to write about food instead!  Go figure.