You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2010.

For any of you old enough to remember the 1982 movie TRON, seeing the new Lightcycle will make you think you are in the video game, just like the character in the movie. The people who made the props for the movie have made five new street legal versions available on auction and you can literally ride one to the premier of the new movie Tron Legacy (due out at the end of this year) for $35,000 if you buy one by Friday (the auction ends July 2).

All motorcycle riders and drivers lack the safety of having an airbag should anything happen while riding. With the new Armored Air Jacket, you have a built in safety bag which will help protect your spine, neck, and chest should you get separated from your bike in an accident. Think of it as a automatic air bag that deploys like a static line parachute. It comes in a vest version for $250 or the full jacket for $595 and is also recommended for riding that old fashioned vehicle, the horse.

I started using Open Table years ago just to find restaurants which were open and had availability for last minute dinner plans with friends, but now it has expanded to include ratings and reviews by diners, special promotions for artisanal dinners, wine events, and special occasion menus. If you make your restaurant reservations through Open Table, (it’s a free service) you get points for dining vouchers to use at any restaurant in their system, just think of it as a frequent dinner award system. They even have a mobile app for those who prefer to use their phones for everything other than phone calls.

Through July 3, you can take advantage of using Open Table to reserve a table for Kid’s Restaurant Week in Orange County. A family of four can eat for $20-$40 for lunch or $30-$60 for dinner. Bluewater Grill has a special price which calculates the kid’s price at their age x .25, and at Anaheim House, Savannah Chop House, Riptide, Lulu’s, Marrakesh, JT Schmid’s, K’ya, and Don the Beachcomber’s, kids get their meals free (with paying adults).

So take advantage of feeding your kids for free, and not having to do any dishes this week.

Hopefully by now, you all know that you are making public the posts, pictures, and videos you post on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, even if you set the highest level on your privacy settings.

There is always the potential that a “friend”, stalker, disgruntled ex, or snoopy family member will pass on that embarrassing comment or photo to your boss, current spouse, or next door neighbor. In spite of knowing all this, people are still shooting private videos, and even if you are not famous, you still probably don’t want private videos being spread virally. Let’s face it, it’s really only fun to go viral if you get a recording contract from your video being seen millions of times, not so much if your video goes viral of you acting like an idiot after a night out drinking.

VidMe is a free service that allows you to ONLY share a video with consent from the owners. It is like having a safe deposit box for your videos that requires two keys to open. You may share one private video for free (multiples cost $ but they have package deals) with whomever you choose. You set the controls for who is allowed to see it, download, and share it, and the privacy controls includes privacy for the comments on it. When you post a video, the URL is masked, so no one can copy and paste it to forward, even from an email link you send.

So now you can make that tape for your private collection and it will stay private, unless of course you want the world to see you dancing in your underwear to “I Will Survive” with a hairbrush in your hand, if you don’t mind that being public, you must really be a survivor.

I have been wanting to try Beacon for years, but I wanted fellow foodies to join me so we could try several things on the menu. Tonight I finally went with Bob & Janet and we were all so happy with every course that we all agreed to come back and try the rest of the menu.

We started with the Kaki Fry ($6.50) of crispy oysters in lettuce cups with a Yuzu-tartar sauce. A perfect balance of crunchy, rich, warm and cold textures in a delectable two bite appetizer.

We chose the Lamb Sliders ($6.25) as our next appetizer. Made with grilled Colorado lamb, kimchee and feta, this taste sensation was a combo of exotic ingredients that worked so well, we ordered another as soon as we tasted the first one. This was our favorite dish of all for all three of us.

Janet ordered the roasted beet and apple salad ($11.50) and we were glad she did as soon as we tasted the herbed goat cheese tart and toasted almonds in a white balsamic vinegar miso dressing. This would have been a wonderful meal by itself for a small eater, but none of us was a small eater.

We also tried the 5 spice chicken salad ($10.50) with Napa slaw, crispy noodles and sesame dressing, which was a nice juxtaposition of flavors and a refreshing addition to our menu.

The Ahi Tuna Pizza ($8.95) was too intriguing to pass up, so we had to try it and we were all surprised at how well the raw tuna on top of the wasabi mayonnaise worked with the pickled ginger on a pizza crust.

Because there was a sushi roll named after the place, we had to order the Beacon roll ($7.95) which was a cucumber wrapped salmon, avocado and crab filled roll with ponzu gelee on top. We would have ordered another one if we did not have another large plate coming.

Our last plate of the evening was the Grilled Hanger Steak ($18.95) with a tamarind sauce, served with a three cheese macaroni dish that was our second favorite dish of the night. The meat was cooked exactly as we ordered it (medium rare), tender, juicy, and infused with a flavor unique to tamarind. Even though I usually do not like macaroni & cheese, I could not stop eating this side dish with its perfect crust and melange of cheesy creaminess.

I don’t know how we managed to eat dessert, but somehow the rice crispy treats with vanilla ice cream and a caramel and chocolate sauce made us all loosen our belts enough for a taste. It was very well done, but a bit “normal” after all the taste sensation we had been treated to all night.

Go and head to Beacon, it was truly a beacon of extraordinary innovative cuisine in the heart of Culver City.

Beacon on Urbanspoon

What do yo get when you mix a Jiraffe and a Melisse? Or a Citrin and a Lunetta? As all the chef followers have undoubtedly figured out, the casual cafe Lemon Moon gets its name from a play on the combination of names of the chefs of Jiraffe and Melisse, Josiah Citrin (lemon) and Raphael Lunetta (moon).

Located tucked in a business park in West Los Angeles, it is a handy place to stop for breakfast or lunch, especially if the weather is nice and you can nab one of the outdoor patio tables facing the green space between office buildings. There is parking behind the building and if you are lucky, you can get metered parking in front.

With the huge gym next door, the menu here has options for eaters who want protein, vegetarian, and vegan preferences. Breakfast choices include the hearty Avocado and Cheddar Breakfast Burrito with whole wheat tortilla, scrambled egg whites, avocado, black bean-tomato salsa, scallions and tomatillo sauce for $8.50 or the Omega 3 Omelette, with smoked salmon, grilled asparagus and fresh ricotta cheese served with hash browns, and whole wheat toast for $9.75. If you want a lighter option, they have Steel Cut Oatmeal with fresh fruit, brown sugar, dried fruit and milk for $6.25. If you want to indulge, you can order the French Toast with vanilla ricotta, honey and fresh berries for $8.25 (you can go work it off next door at the gym).

Since I never wake up early enough to go anywhere for breakfast (unless it is served all day or I am on my way to the airport), I ordered a two salad combination. The lunch menu is extensive with sandwiches like slow roasted pork with poblano pepper and cole slaw, full entrees like miso salmon and roast chicken for bigger appetites, and about a dozen prepared salads aside from the ones I chose like roasted beets, orange segments, hazelnuts and sherry vinegar, or the 5 spice chicken salad with burdock root vegetable and carrot. Most meals are under $10 and nothing is over $15, so prices are as casual as the open cafe space.

I chose the Skirt Steak Salad with Thai Basil, grilled scallions, tomatoes, cucumbers, shitake mushrooms, sesame and Asian vinaigrette with the Japanese Turnip greens with sesame and Teriyaki sauce for $11.25. I asked for the steak to be rare but they told me it is cooked in the morning to a medium and mixed into the prepared salad. I was very happy that I risked overcooked steak and ordered this because the entire composition was fresh, the meat was tender and juicy, and even though I would have preferred rare (they do beef salads made to order at Tender Greens and Curious Palate), I was very happy with my choice. I was less happy with the Japanese Turnip greens with sesame and Teriyaki sauce, which I would have thought could not be made badly, but when greens taste so sweet that I could only eat three bites, I would say pass on greens here. Maybe the sweetness was to get people who don’t like greens to eat their vegetables (by pouring sugary Teriyaki all over it), but for anyone who actually likes the taste of vegetables, choose another dish. With such an extensive tempting selection of creative salads, it is worth stopping by Lemon Moon again before the next blue moon.

Lemon Moon on Urbanspoon

Even though I do not play video games, anyone who does, knows the initials EA (Electronic Arts). They publish some of the most popular names in the industry including titles like Sim City, Scrabble, Boggle, Madden NFL 2010, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010, NBA Live, Trivial Pursuit, CLUE, Battleship, Yahtzee Adventures, the Game of Life: Classic edition, and Tetris, all of which are on sale for the next day during EA’s semi-annual sale of game applications for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. The 20-50% off sale even includes the new Mirror’s Edge and Need For Speed game versions which utilize the HD graphic quality of the iPad.

Most of the games are on sale for 99 cents each, which means you can play two games for under a dollar! Even if you are saving your pennies, this sale is worth spending a few just for the fun of it.

I love to eat and I learned how to cook in self defense because my mother and grandmother were terrible cooks. Any food lover who is unfortunate enough to grow up without a good cook usually winds up cooking so he or she can eat well in spite of the skill set of the adults.

Food Network has a “reality” show which searches for cooks (both trained and untrained) to be their next national television star and even if you don’t watch the show, you can go to The Grove this Saturday and watch as a local winner is selected from recipes they submitted this month as the winner of A Taste of the Grove.

There will be a full day of food related entertainment from cooking demonstrations by local Chef Jean Francois Meteigner from La Cachette Bistro and two of the contestants from the show, as well as live music and Cadillac test drives. All the fun starts at 10am and goes until 6pm, but you can stay longer and shop, eat & drink as long as you wish, or at least until the Grove closes.

I love chocolate. My preference is for dark 70% + plain artisanal French chocolate. Yes, I know this is blasphemy to some people who say the Belgian or Swiss make better products, but having spent time in both Belgium and Switzerland eating a LOT of chocolate, I can state that my preference is still for the French products. Fine chocolate is as expensive as the quality ingredients, time and skill it takes to make it. But a few bites of exquisitely made fine chocolate fills your senses with a richness and smoothness which no factory chocolate could ever rival.

My favorite chocolatier is Debauve & Gallais which has been making chocolates for royalty since 1800. They have opened a store in NY which ships nationwide so now you don’t have to travel to Paris to buy their luxurious bonbons (a ten piece box costs $32), but walking into their shop on Rue St. Peres is worth the price of airfare just to smell the aromas. Last time I was in the shop, a very famous American icon was shopping with her teeny dog (no,it was not PH, her initials were LB*) buying up a huge shopping bag full of delicacies. Modest purchases are possible in the store with a bar of chocolate going for about $8 USD, but indulge at least once in some truffles ($48 for ten) and get a taste of what royalty enjoyed.

My need for a chocolate fix here led me to find Bovetti, which is sold at the Wine House. I was actually shopping for wine when I saw a display of unusual plaques (bars) of chocolate speckled with candied orange peel, Sichuan pepper, lavender, or ginger. I saw on their website they also sell organic, single origin (Ecuador), molded bunnies and other seasonal forms, aperitif (made to be cooked or eaten with alcohol), even grapes in Sauternes coated in chocolate! I chose the classic 73% dark bar ($7) which I love so much I may have to buy a case.

* For those of you who want to another clue think Bogey 🙂

Father’s Day is this Sunday and few fathers don’t enjoy a good piece of meat. Why not give him a great cut of his favorite steak from a meat company started by chefs who procure only the finest non hormone Certified Angus Beef? McCall’s Meat and Fish Company carries everything from naturally dry aged rib eyes to flatiron cuts, and if you or your father prefers Kurobuta pork (also known as Berkshire), lamb, sushi grade tuna or yellowtail, branzino, clams or mussels, they stock those too. Get a great piece of meat at McCall’s and either cook for your father or get Dad a gift certificate so he can do the grilling whatever he likes.

If you want to give the classic gift of a tie, why not buy it from FIGS which will donate a school uniform for a child who needs one to attend school, for every neck tie you buy. You can choose from one of the Italian silk woven ones, a bow tie, a wool tie, or custom design one in the fabric, colors and print you prefer.

If your father loves chocolate (is there anyone who doesn’t?) then you can get him a chocolate tie, watch, or golf balls at Madame Chocolat, where you can also get a cigar or computer, all of which are completely edible. Where else can you buy a computer for $18 or a watch with “jewels” for only $12 that you know your father would actually enjoy?

Or spoil the father figure in your life with a gift certificate from Mc Call’s, hidden inside a box of chocolate cigars, wrapped with a silk tie, after all who says your Dad can’t have it all?

Mr. Cecil’s makes my favorite beef ribs. Period. The meat is so tender it literally falls off the bones, and there is a nice bark on the meat that makes it just crunchy and crisp enough to contrast with the rich and tender meat. Although they have two locations, the ribs at the West LA location seem to taste better than the ones in the Valley (I don’t know why since it is supposed to be the same recipe). Even though the regular menu prices are very reasonable at $25.50 for a full rack (6 bones) with two sides, coming during their Happy Hour between 4-7pm makes this a fantastic deal with the same amount of meat minus the sides (if you want sides, just order them on the side). Chicken eaters will love the fact that their BBQ chicken is made with hormone and antibiotic free chicken. Usually when a restaurant has a happy hour it means drinks and maybe a few appetizers at a reduced rate, but at Mr. Cecil’s it means a basket of six ribs (beef or pork) for $9.99, or a plate of hot wings for $3.50, or a plate of Tri Tip Tacos for $8. You can even come with friends who don’t eat meat because they have catfish nuggets for $3.50.

I was hungry when I came in so even though I was alone, I ordered as if there were two other people eating with me. I ordered a wonderful side order of coleslaw ($3.50) which was freshly made and gave me the only vegetables in my otherwise all meat meal. The dressing was home made and everything in the slaw held up to it with a nice crunch. The only bad part was the waiter forgot to give me my order so I asked for it to be packed to go.

I tried the hot wings for the first time and was surprised to find they had a very hot kick that was just slightly sweet. You get a choice of either Ranch or Blue Cheese dipping sauce on the side, but I opted for just the wings. They were fried just crispy enough to hold up to the hot sauce, but still tender on the inside.

The main event was of course the basket of beef ribs, which as you can see was so tender most of the meat fell off the bones. Every bite was tender, smokey and perfect. There are two sauces offered on the table, one sweet and one hot. If you are a sauce aficionado, these ribs might change your mind if try these great ribs naked before you pour on any sauce.

They have a huge sign outside the place that says “Free Bones” for your dog during happy hour. But of course if you order ribs, your carnivorous companion can munch on your leftovers, so enjoy a treat and pass on a treat. I like meat and bone Happy Hours.

Mr. Cecil's California Ribs on Urbanspoon




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