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I picked my friend Pel up from the airport today and since she was craving Southern food, we stopped at what used to be Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch; I say used to be because until we were at the door, we did not realize it had closed (permanently). She suggest we drive back closer to her home in the Valley and go to Stevie’s Creole Cafe & Bar in Encino; a place owned by Stevie Wonder. She said that Stevie knows more than how to make good music, he also knows great Creole.

I am very happy to say that I liked the food even more at Stevie’s than Aunt Kizzy’s. We were hungry, so we started with fried oysters and the chicken drumettes. Both were tasty, and even though they were fried, neither was greasy. A tarter sauce came with the oysters, and a spicy creamy remoulade type sauce came with both.

Main course for me was the seafood gumbo, which was advertised as the best outside of New Orleans; I agreed after just one taste of the spicy complex soup loaded with crabmeat, shrimp, chicken, and hot sausage poured over a rice base. I ate every drop and considered taking some home for later.


My friend Pel had the oxtails with collard greens and a side of fried okra; she ate everything except the bones off her plate. We also had a side of cornbread muffins, but neither one of us had the room for those or for dessert. Our wonderful waitress double bagged our order of food to go (Pel wanted more gumbo and some etouffee to take home). When Pel said to the waitress that she eats alot, our very hospitable waitress, so “Naw, you’re just healthy.”

This is definitely a place for people who like being completely full and happy.

I picked my friend Pel up from the airport today and since she was craving Southern food, we stopped at what used to be Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch; I say used to be because until we were at the door, we did not realize it had closed (permanently). She suggest we drive back closer to her home in the Valley and go to Stevie’s Creole Cafe & Bar in Encino; a place owned by Stevie Wonder. She said that Stevie knows more than how to make good music, he also knows great Creole.

I am very happy to say that I liked the food even more at Stevie’s than Aunt Kizzy’s. We were hungry, so we started with fried oysters and the chicken drumettes. Both were tasty, and even though they were fried, neither was greasy. A tarter sauce came with the oysters, and a spicy creamy remoulade type sauce came with both.

Main course for me was the seafood gumbo, which was advertised as the best outside of New Orleans; I agreed after just one taste of the spicy complex soup loaded with crabmeat, shrimp, chicken, and hot sausage poured over a rice base. I ate every drop and considered taking some home for later.


My friend Pel had the oxtails with collard greens and a side of fried okra; she ate everything except the bones off her plate. We also had a side of cornbread muffins, but neither one of us had the room for those or for dessert. Our wonderful waitress double bagged our order of food to go (Pel wanted more gumbo and some etouffee to take home). When Pel said to the waitress that she eats alot, our very hospitable waitress, so “Naw, you’re just healthy.”

This is definitely a place for people who like being completely full and happy.

I picked my friend Pel up from the airport today and since she was craving Southern food, we stopped at what used to be Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch; I say used to be because until we were at the door, we did not realize it had closed (permanently). She suggest we drive back closer to her home in the Valley and go to Stevie’s Creole Cafe & Bar in Encino; a place owned by Stevie Wonder. She said that Stevie knows more than how to make good music, he also knows great Creole.

I am very happy to say that I liked the food even more at Stevie’s than Aunt Kizzy’s. We were hungry, so we started with fried oysters and the chicken drumettes. Both were tasty, and even though they were fried, neither was greasy. A tarter sauce came with the oysters, and a spicy creamy remoulade type sauce came with both.

Main course for me was the seafood gumbo, which was advertised as the best outside of New Orleans; I agreed after just one taste of the spicy complex soup loaded with crabmeat, shrimp, chicken, and hot sausage poured over a rice base. I ate every drop and considered taking some home for later.


My friend Pel had the oxtails with collard greens and a side of fried okra; she ate everything except the bones off her plate. We also had a side of cornbread muffins, but neither one of us had the room for those or for dessert. Our wonderful waitress double bagged our order of food to go (Pel wanted more gumbo and some etouffee to take home). When Pel said to the waitress that she eats alot, our very hospitable waitress, so “Naw, you’re just healthy.”

This is definitely a place for people who like being completely full and happy.

With the week-end holiday coming up, I got a sale preview coupon for 30 % off all sale items at Lucy before the general public sale that starts this Thursday (use code EXTRA30 to get the discount online) in the Century City Mall.

Since I was there around lunch time, I decided to try Toscanova directly across from the store; I am so glad I opted for this wonderful Italian gem. There is a nice terrace with heat lamps and awnings, and I was lucky enough to sit next to the waterfall wall with its soothing sounds as my background music. On the advice of my excellent waiter Tony, who said that it would be enough for lunch by itself, I ordered the grilled calamari salad with arugula ($16). The calamari was wonderfully tender and grilled to perfection, the arugula had a nice lemony vinaigrette, even the crusty Italian bread had a nice texture and taste. It was too bad I was there alone; I wanted to try some of the funghi (mushroom) risotto, the ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese in a butter and sage sauce, or the Mediterranean seabass with tomato, potatoes, onion and olives, but for lunch, that would have been too much (even for me). They have an Italian Happy Hour from 4-7pm everyday with free finger foods and 2 drinks for the price of 1 per person, so you can sample their food before committing to a full dinner.

Maybe I’ll go back to Toscanova on Wednesday night, when the Mall is showing FREE Films on the outdoor terrace wall at 8pm all summer long; this Wednesday the movie is Back To The Future. Everyone can enjoy the warm Southern California Summer night with either something from the food court or from home, so it’s the closest thing to a drive in as I’ve found anywhere near Century City!

With the week-end holiday coming up, I got a sale preview coupon for 30 % off all sale items at Lucy before the general public sale that starts this Thursday (use code EXTRA30 to get the discount online) in the Century City Mall.

Since I was there around lunch time, I decided to try Toscanova directly across from the store; I am so glad I opted for this wonderful Italian gem. There is a nice terrace with heat lamps and awnings, and I was lucky enough to sit next to the waterfall wall with its soothing sounds as my background music. On the advice of my excellent waiter Tony, who said that it would be enough for lunch by itself, I ordered the grilled calamari salad with arugula ($16). The calamari was wonderfully tender and grilled to perfection, the arugula had a nice lemony vinaigrette, even the crusty Italian bread had a nice texture and taste. It was too bad I was there alone; I wanted to try some of the funghi (mushroom) risotto, the ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese in a butter and sage sauce, or the Mediterranean seabass with tomato, potatoes, onion and olives, but for lunch, that would have been too much (even for me). They have an Italian Happy Hour from 4-7pm everyday with free finger foods and 2 drinks for the price of 1 per person, so you can sample their food before committing to a full dinner.

Maybe I’ll go back to Toscanova on Wednesday night, when the Mall is showing FREE Films on the outdoor terrace wall at 8pm all summer long; this Wednesday the movie is Back To The Future. Everyone can enjoy the warm Southern California Summer night with either something from the food court or from home, so it’s the closest thing to a drive in as I’ve found anywhere near Century City!

With the week-end holiday coming up, I got a sale preview coupon for 30 % off all sale items at Lucy before the general public sale that starts this Thursday (use code EXTRA30 to get the discount online) in the Century City Mall.

Since I was there around lunch time, I decided to try Toscanova directly across from the store; I am so glad I opted for this wonderful Italian gem. There is a nice terrace with heat lamps and awnings, and I was lucky enough to sit next to the waterfall wall with its soothing sounds as my background music. On the advice of my excellent waiter Tony, who said that it would be enough for lunch by itself, I ordered the grilled calamari salad with arugula ($16). The calamari was wonderfully tender and grilled to perfection, the arugula had a nice lemony vinaigrette, even the crusty Italian bread had a nice texture and taste. It was too bad I was there alone; I wanted to try some of the funghi (mushroom) risotto, the ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese in a butter and sage sauce, or the Mediterranean seabass with tomato, potatoes, onion and olives, but for lunch, that would have been too much (even for me). They have an Italian Happy Hour from 4-7pm everyday with free finger foods and 2 drinks for the price of 1 per person, so you can sample their food before committing to a full dinner.

Maybe I’ll go back to Toscanova on Wednesday night, when the Mall is showing FREE Films on the outdoor terrace wall at 8pm all summer long; this Wednesday the movie is Back To The Future. Everyone can enjoy the warm Southern California Summer night with either something from the food court or from home, so it’s the closest thing to a drive in as I’ve found anywhere near Century City!

>My first real spa experience was in Calistoga, in Northern California, a small town in wine country known for its’ mineral springs and mud. I went with some college friends and we indulged in a full spa experience. I had a full mud treatment, steam, and massage package which left me nearly unable to walk from the sheer pleasure of it all. Now that all my friends are working, it’s hard to get anyone to take a break and go away with me; finding a spa deal for single travelers is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Fortunately, Golden Haven offers a $225 Solo Spa package that includes 3 hours of pampering including 1 hour of massage, 1 hour facial, a mud or herbal mineral bath, use of the hot springs mineral pool and jacuzzi. You also get a winery guide that includes complimentary wine tasting and a free t-shirt. The only restrictions are that you can’t get this discount on Saturdays or holidays, you can’t combine the offer with another discount, and you must print out the web page before you go.

If you can find someone to go with you, Golden Haven also offers a girlfriend special for $195 and couples specials from $125 to $225, so whether you go solo or accompanied, you can go play in the mud and stay overnight if you don’t feel like going anywhere afterwards; remember that if you choose to stay the night, you can have more treatments the next day!

My first real spa experience was in Calistoga, in Northern California, a small town in wine country known for its’ mineral springs and mud. I went with some college friends and we indulged in a full spa experience. I had a full mud treatment, steam, and massage package which left me nearly unable to walk from the sheer pleasure of it all. Now that all my friends are working, it’s hard to get anyone to take a break and go away with me; finding a spa deal for single travelers is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Fortunately, Golden Haven offers a $225 Solo Spa package that includes 3 hours of pampering including 1 hour of massage, 1 hour facial, a mud or herbal mineral bath, use of the hot springs mineral pool and jacuzzi. You also get a winery guide that includes complimentary wine tasting and a free t-shirt. The only restrictions are that you can’t get this discount on Saturdays or holidays, you can’t combine the offer with another discount, and you must print out the web page before you go.

If you can find someone to go with you, Golden Haven also offers a girlfriend special for $195 and couples specials from $125 to $225, so whether you go solo or accompanied, you can go play in the mud and stay overnight if you don’t feel like going anywhere afterwards; remember that if you choose to stay the night, you can have more treatments the next day!

>May all those who loved someone who has passed feel the comfort of having known them in life. I believe love lives on even though bodies do not, so keep loving all ways and always.

I share a birthday with Michael Jackson and I find myself wondering today what I would do differently if I knew I would only live to see 50.

As the Tim McGraw song says, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

May all those who loved someone who has passed feel the comfort of having known them in life. I believe love lives on even though bodies do not, so keep loving all ways and always.

I share a birthday with Michael Jackson and I find myself wondering today what I would do differently if I knew I would only live to see 50.

As the Tim McGraw song says, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

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