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There were of course sides and desserts galore 🙂

Roasted corn with lime and Manchego cheese..

 Scalloped potatoes

 Cornflake topped orange sweet potatoes

 Many pies….

 Chocolate of course

A generous gift from an overseas visitor for the hosts 🙂

My favorite day of the year is the prep day for Thanksgiving when I get to cook with friends in this wonderful kitchen 🙂 Everything is made from scratch and it took 6 of us 8+ hours to prepare this feast for forty.

Yes that is a water faucet over the stove top, two ovens and eight burners!

Even washing dishes was fun with this flexible magnetic sheet sprayer.


 The x’s marked off our progress throughout the process….


Soup is served.


Salad was also served.


With focaccia sprinkled with some coarse gray French Sea salt.


There was a layer of duck fat between the skin and meat making both turkeys very moist and succulent 🙂

Cranberry sauce

and cranberry sorbet palate cleanser:)

The ham was incredible!

Plenty of libations 🙂

Very cute salt and pepper shakers for every table!


My motto has always been that I will travel for great food, and in Los Angeles traffic, driving over 30 miles on the 405 may take several hours, so I strategically planned my trip to the Dim Sum Company between lunch hour and rush hour. I checked traffic on Google maps before heading out to make sure there were no accidents or construction delays, and made the round trip in 90 minutes, which is the best time I could have made during hours when they would be open!

They sell Dim Sum all day in a fast casual space inside the huge My Thuan Market in Westminster. The quality of ingredients and the freshness is remarkable for the prices, so do not expect any fancy presentations (everything is sold in take away containers) or service other than behind the counter, so you get into line cafeteria style, pay, and seat yourself if you wish to eat there.

I ordered enough to feed several people because I went hungry and I wanted to taste everything! Most items are sold several pieces for one order and most orders were around $3 each, so you will probably be stuffed if you order more than $10 worth of food!

Of course I had to order the classic xiu mai with pork and shrimp ($3.45 for four). They are about TWICE the size of other xiu mai and LOADED with shrimp and pork as you can see from the second picture! Even the wrapper was flavorful and tender 🙂

I don’t know what these are called in English, but like everything else for sale, you may simply point and tell them how many you wish to order. they are chewy fried balls filled with ground pork with other goodies that take me back to my childhood dim sum outings in NYC. The receipt says they are BB Nuong and they were $2.95 for three pieces.

My only disappointment was their chicken feet, which were falling apart tender, but bland despite their colorful appearance.

Probably my favorite was the baked BBQ Pork bun, three to an order and only $2.95! As you can see from the second picture, the ratio of BBQ pork is about HALF the bun! Very tasty filling, and nice consistency to the pork bun.

I came for the sticky rice after seeing the pictures on Instagram. At $2.95 per order, you get two pieces, and they are extremely fragrant and chock full of goodies, just like my aunt used to make, but the rice was almost like plain rice, not very sticky, and more like eating a rice bowl than a sticky rice Xoi la Sen.

I am glad I have plenty of leftovers to reheat the next time I crave Dim Sum without having to calculate the drive to Westminster!

Poke places are popping up everywhere; pretty soon they will be like burger and coffee chains. Just as the small unique burger and coffee places stand out with their quality and personal service, Jus Poke stands out for their authentic, fresh, delicious choices. From classic shoyu poke, to spam musubi, and mochi ice cream, they are as close as you can get to eating Hawaiian favorites in Los Angeles without getting on a flight 🙂

Thankfully there is neither salmon nor pineapple anywhere on the premises, but there are outdoor tables and a small parking lot. Peak times mean a line out the door, but everyone who works or comes here is friendly (island attitude, decor, and music permeate the entire place), so the wait seems short even at noon.

For a mainland place, you get a nice selection of choices, and you can mix two kinds of poke even for the regular sized bowl or the smallest container, giving you an out if you can’t decide. I miss not having octopus as a choice, but I know most people in Los Angeles would not order it 😦 Prices are incredible for the quality and quantity; around $10 including tax and tip for all the servings you see below, and the regular size always feeds me for 2 meals!

This is the regular size Original poke with homemade spicy cucumbers and brown rice covered in sesame seeds and furikake. This combo is great if you don’t want spicy poke, but like a side highlight of crunchy cucumbers with some zing.

If you want no spice at all, get the shoyu, with half edamame and half seaweed sides (your choice of brown or white rice).

A fellow instagrammer loves the wasabi poke, so I tried it with half shoyu poke,  and half cucumber, half seaweed. It was such a powerful sinus clearer that I needed three napkins!

My favorite is the Hawaiian Chili Pepper, with half seaweed, half cucumber side and brown rice. The heat is mellower than the wasabi, but potent enough for me to say that only heat lovers should order this.

Everything is served in to go containers as if they know you won’t be able to finish your meal 🙂 But I intentionally got some original and Hawaiian Chili Pepper to go…I couldn’t resist and ate most of the Hawaiian Chili Pepper before I got the container home!

Mahalo to Jus’ Poke for bringing some aloha to Los Angeles:)

Having guests come to visit makes me actually go visit the beautiful beaches in my backyard. Hermosa Beach is 5 miles from where I live and I know some active fit people who walk, bike, or skate along the paved path from Dockweiler Beach to the Pier in Hermosa and back. Decades ago, I used to bike it, but these days I drive it 🙂

Hermosa Beach Pier is completely pedestrian and lined with bars, restaurants, and a few shops.

 Once the sun sets, the lights go on and it begins to look like a movie set:)

Sunset signals time for Happy Hour, and Abigaile is the local brewery and gastropub that is my go to spot in Hermosa. I wrote a blog post about them back in 2012, when I stayed in Hermosa for a staycation, and I’ve been back since, but it was fun to introduce new people to Abigaile. Happy Hour is 5-7pm and we came for the food, but as a warning to beer lovers, they are upgrading their equipment right now, so their selection of brews is limited at the moment.

 Their menu changes often, but if you see French dip on it, order it!



 The loaded tots with sunnyside egg on top is messy and fun to share.

Mole nachos had a nice depth of flavor that made my meat loving friends think the chicken was beef!

We took a short walk back to the Pier after eating, and got a gorgeous sky send off before we drove away.




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