Friday, April 30, 2010
above: I stopped at Woodhouse chocolates and paused in front of their display-window. It featured a number of hand made chocolate lollypops shaped as flowers. It was so nifty. For a brief moment I felt like I was the Mayor of Lollypop Land, wherever that is. I was still thinking about my dogs back home alone, with just the pet sitter to keep them company.
When I returned home I was so happy to see Duncan and Sheldon. They are such happy dogs. I promptly unpacked their new embroidered dish towels and ceremoniously put them on display. Sheldon walked over and sniffed them, and walked away, unfazed. As I stared at the towels, I realized I may just have "jumped the shark" in buying something so ridiculous, especially for a guy. (the term "jump the shark" is an idiom to describe when something went from cool to absurd). Suddenly I had become my great grandmother. Not even my grandmother collects stuff like this. Oh well, there are worse things to be I suppose. Besides, my great grandma was pretty cool. And so are my two poodles, don't cha think so?
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I recently attended a benefit for a non-profit animal rescue group, held at a comedy club in West Hollywood. It was a night of big laughs, with the help of some really funny comedians, including Lily Tomlin, Paula Poundstone, JoAnne Worley, Dick Van Patten, Arte Johnson, Gary Owens, Billy Barnes, Peter Berman, Debra Skelton, Carrie Snow, Suzanne Whang, and Rainn Wilson. It was a great night and raised a bunch of money for animals in need. We paused for a few photos- I love this one picture above with JoAnne Worley, Lily Tomlin and Dick Van Patten, all really nice people and friends of animals in need too. Paula Poundstone brought the house down with her incredible wit and great jokes. I had forgotten how funny she can be. The event also reunited the cast of TV's Laugh-In and had the audience roaring. Lily did a few bits such as "Ernestine, the telephone company operator", and also reprised her hysterical "Lucille the Rubber Freak" skit, during which I nearly busted the seams of my trousers I was laughing so hard. Lily is one funny lady. I love going to things like this, its clean fun entertainment, it's surprisingly hard to find anymore.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Wine is the subject of this week's episode of The Palm Springs Savant & Co radio Show on Blog Talk Radio. My guest this week is Mr Jerry Padilla, Assistant to the Winemaker at the famed Ledson Winery & Vineyards in Kenwood, CA. Ledson is nestled in the Sonoma Valley, housed in a magnificent castle that stops passers-by from the sheer beauty of its structure. Inside are some of the most fantastic wines we've encountered here in California. It was this reason that prompted me to invite Jerry as my guest for the show this week. He did a great job explaining wines and shared a great deal of valuable information.
I thought I'd share some information directly from the Ledson website about Food and Wine pairings. I couldn't say it better myself, so here it is, from Ledson:
"Though it can sometimes seem complicated and intimidating, harmonizing food with wine should be a natural and enjoyable process. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer; it is essentially all a matter of taste. Trust your instincts, often times the flavors you think will go well together, do. With a little common sense and a few basic tips, you will be able to navigate through this culinary challenge like a pro."
- Balancing Weight & Texture
Choose a wine and food that are similar in weight, or body. This will help to make sure that one does not overwhelm the other. For instance, a thick sirloin steak would pair wonderfully with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon. A lighter wine would be lost to the heaviness of the steak.
- Balancing Flavor Intensity
Pair light-bodied wines with lighter, more mildly flavored foods and fuller-bodied wines with heartier, richer, and more intensely flavored dishes.
- Matching Flavors
This is when common sense comes into play. We often top fresh fish with a squeeze of lemon juice because the flavors complement each other. For the same reason, a crisp, Sauvignon Blanc with citrus flavors would be a good choice to drink with this meal. Likewise, an earthy Pinot Noir would go well with a mushroom dish. Follow what your palate already knows and it will most likely be a winning combination.
- Opposites Attract
Sometimes the best pairing for a food is to find its opposite. Opposing flavors can often play off each other, creating new flavor sensations and cleansing the palate. A classic example of this is pairing spicy Thai food with a sweet dessert wine such as Riesling or Gewurztraminer. The sweetness will help highlight and tame the spicy flavors in the dish.
Tune in to The Palm Springs Savant & Co Radio Show #109 to hear this fascinating episode on wines! -Rick Rockhill
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
She was the first black actress to star in her own TV series called "Julia" in 1968 which aired on NBC. "Julia" was a top Nielsen-rated show for which she received an Emmy nomination. In 1984 Diahann Carroll became the first black actress to star in the award-winning night time TV drama series "Dynasty", playing the memorable role as a jet-setting "Dominique Deveraux".
She has also had a number of recurring roles on programs like "A Different World", "Grey's Anatomy", "Soul Food" on Showtime, "Strong Medicine" on Lifetime and "Whoopi" on NBC. Her stage work is also quite impressive; her Broadway debut was a starring role in Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's "House of Flowers". Followed by the Broadway production "No Strings" for which she won a Tony Award. She also starred on Broadway in the award-winning plays "Agnes of God" and "Sunset Boulevard". If all that were not enough, her film credits are equally compelling:
In 1954 she was noticed for a supporting role in "Carmen Jones" which put her on the map and led to Broadway roles. She continued to pursue film work with great success. She received a 1974 Best Actress Academy Award nomination for "Claudine", and went on to star in the acclaimed films "Carmen Jones", "Paris Blues", "Porgy & Bess", "Hurry Sundown", "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and "Eve's Bayou". A few years ago she wrote her memoir, "The Legs Are The Last To Go" which was a New York Times best seller. Her show this week in Palm Springs will be filmed by PBS; Ms Carroll offered this performance to public television as part of their fundraising event in August 2010. Viewers will have the opportunity to buy a DVD of this week's special performance in Palm Springs to help support PBS programming. You can find Ms Carroll's contact information from her website. I do recommend reading her book, or check out some of her music on iTunes. Diahann Carroll is the subject of The Palm Springs Savant & Co Radio Show #108. Tune in from Blog Talk Radio, or on podcast from iTunes for free. I'll post photos from Wednesday's concert with a mini-review, so check back here again later this week!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monster Mac & Cheese. The waiter at Trio warned me their Macaroni and Cheese dish was huuuuggggeeee. I ignored his advice and ordered it anyway, instead saying to the waiter in a rather gruff tone: "Ah c'mon, I'm no pansy, I can handle it". Our waiter, incidentally was seemingly gay, I could see he wasn't crazy about me using the pansy term. Perhaps he realized that I too am gay and he brushed off my remark and moved on. Later when the entrees were served, the Monster Mac & Cheese entree was presented to me. It was huge alright. I gasped at its size. Must have been a pound of pasta, as the dish was quite deep. Well as I stared at the Monster dish, I exclaimed loudly: "What kind of pig would eat this much food anyway?"And as said it I could sense a recoiling of the person at the table next to me. My peripheral vision picked up the couple seated adjacent and sure enough the rather large woman sitting next to me had the same Monster Mega Grande Mac & Cheese entree- but she had consumed nearly all of it. She had a horrified look on her face as I shriveled into a tiny ball at the table. It seems I did not learn from the Hillbilly salad remark to KEEP MY BIG MOUTH SHUT. Maybe now, after two infractions I will begin to practice the true art of discretion.
What about you, you ever made a fool of yourself twice in one week?
side note: my sincere apologies to any hillbilly blogger friends. I just love southern hospitality. And sweet potato pie. And sweet tea. And the Piggly Wiggly. ah, you get it.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
above: DOG YOGA. Yes, you read that correctly. People doing yoga with their dogs. After all, this is Southern California, and you know how we all are here.
above: the Dog Yoga instructor was really good and kept the group in shape.
above: Natural Balance had Tillman's tour bus on site. Look closely, you can see the youngest bulldog, Sully in the car window waiting for Tillman to get ready to skateboard.
above: Tillman in the far distance, riding his skateboard along the beach walk. You can't see it, but on the right side was a huge crowd of people watching him go...
above: Tillman loves being on his skateboard, he is smiling here.
above: Ron Davis, Tillman's dad is interviewed by the lovely Ms Apple Levy from Greenwala.com
above: My Sheldon gets a mini-groom touch up by the beach. He stood on the table as Wendy clipped, brushed and fluffed him up!
above: click on the photo above left. The grassy area is so inviting, don't you think?
above: Me with Tracie Hotchner, author of the Dog Bible and Cat Bible. She is also a radio host on Sirius XM radio's Martha Stewart Living Radio. Above right is Dr Marty Becker, a well known vet who really knows his stuff. He spoke about the merits of natural pet foods and natural health care.
above: Sheldon checks out the Natural Balance booth and sniffs all the treats.
above: I love the dog in the photo above right- he is waiting while his mom gets some free samples and coupons from Lori at Natural Balance.
above: the dog agility area was a lot of fun to watch. Dogs just love this kind of stuff. I was really impressed by the entire natural festival. It reinforced to me that there are lots of pet parents who live healthy lifestyles who want the same for their pet. It's great that Petco hosted this event, it reinforced why Petco is where the pets go...for natural food especially!
above: I borrowed this photo from the fabulous Lisa from the museum. Look at that spread of goodies!
If you live here in the Palm Springs area or visit periodically, please consider becoming a member or making a donation. Art is a really important aspect of our society. It teaches expression to young people, cultivates new talent, inspires, and provides a place for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures to come together to share and exchange perspectives. You can easily donate online or become a member in just a few seconds. Here are just some of the benefits of a museum membership, according to the Palm Springs Art Museum's website:
- Free Museum admission year round
- Invitations to members-only exhibition preview receptions
- Free quarterly member magazine Insight
- Discounts at the Museum Store
- Discounts on art classes and lectures
- Opportunity to join eight special interest Councils
- Travel and tour programs for Council members
- Invitations to the annual Gala and other exclusive events
- Use of the Museum library by appointment
Friday, April 9, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
above: The gnaw marks in the secret test batch dog food roll had an amazing similarity to Mr Sheldon's poodle teeth. I leaned over to Sheldon and examined his doggie lips. They glistened with a few morsels of the meaty roll. I knew I had found the culprit: The Dog Food Roll Robber was Mr Sheldon himself. His eyes gazed up at me through his long black eyelashes, seemingly guilty. I gently scolded him but was privately thrilled that our new secret dog food roll was a hit with our official tester.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
It was the longest earthquake I've ever felt since living in Southern California these past twelve years. I heard the crystal and china vibrating as the house shook ever-so-slightly. The sound of the rumbling was definite. We had no visible damage of any kind, and soon it passed. I noticed the water in our pool sloshed around a bit also. I did have a lingering sensation, similar to motion sickness- similar to being on a boat for awhile and returning to land when it feels as if things are still moving. (that may well be in my head).
When it had passed, I jumped online, Tweeted and posted things on Face Book and saw the barrage of comments flying by on Twitter especially. Friends in San Diego reported things flew off shelves, while people in LA said chandeliers swung and blinds vibrated. All in all, a non-event for us living here in the Coachella Valley. Palm Springs was spared any damage, thankfully.
Did you experience the quake?
Chocolate covered Marshmallow Eggs...and Pectin Jelly Beans...
...and delicious chocolate cream eggs. Ah, makes me feel good inside.
Friday, April 2, 2010
So my question to you is, Do you like Red Velvet Cake?
Waldorf=Astoria Red Velvet Cake Recipe
1/2 cup Shortening
1 1/2 cup Sugar
2 ounces Red food coloring
2 tablespoons Cocoa -- heaping
2 1/4 cups Plain flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Vinegar
1 teaspoon Butter Flavoring (if desired)
3 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Butter (Not Margarine- you can tell the difference in the flavor).
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Milk
1 cup Granulated sugar
Cream Shortening, sugar and eggs. Make a paste with coloring and cocoa and add to mixture. Add salt and flour with buttermilk and vanilla. Alternately add soda and vinegar and don't beat- just blend. Bake in two 9-inch pans (greased and floured) for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Layers may be split to make four.
Cook flour and milk on low heat until thick. Then cool (I put it in the freezer for this.). Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Add to flour-milk mixture. Beat until mixture is like whipped cream. Spread on layers.
*sometimes when we're going to make the frosting, we've been known to double it because it is soooo good!