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NaBloPoMo: 30 Days of Blogging About my Ordinary Life

Earlier this week my son Nico saw me at my computer editing a blog post. He had just come out from his room after working on Instagram a school essay. I’m sure he does not understand how anyone could possibly spend their time writing anything that’s not an English class assignment.

Nico asked me, “You’re blogging again? I explained that I was nearing the end of NaBloPoMo, when I post everyday in November. Skeptically, he asked, “Is your life that exciting that you have something to write about every day?”

I didn’t even know how to respond to that until I thought about my November’s daily posts, then I said, “No.”

My life isn’t that exciting and yet I still managed to blog everyday for the last 30 days. In my uneventful life, that in itself is pretty exciting.

I hope it wasn’t too boring for you, and you’ll be back to read more, even if my posts are biweekly instead of daily. Maybe something exciting will happen in my life on my non-blogging days. Maybe not, but I”ll still blog about it. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled life.

Happy December!

Black Friday

After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. I actually went shopping from about midnight until 3:00 a.m. This probably explains why I wanted to sleep in instead of going to Diego’s soccer tournament today, but I went to cheer him on anyway.

I’m glad I went. Of course, I was exhausted afterwards. Which explains why I was not feeling like going out with my best friends for a birthday celebration. But, I went and had a fantastic time,

November is a busy time. I’m glad it’s almost over. I am writing this with one eye closed. I am so tired I can’t type straight. If it weren’t for NaBloPoMo I would be asleep right now. It sounds like a good idea. Good night.

Date Night

I don’t have time for a long post tonight because Juan and I are having a date night. Today just happens to be one of those times what the planets align and we don’t have any kids at home. My teens are with their other parents and Diego is at his first official slumber party. This means Juan and I get the night off!

You know what that means don’t you? Yes that’s right. Dinner and a movie. We get to go home to an empty house. I’m looking forward to a nice evening and a good night’s sleep. See you tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

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Foodie Friday: Nicks Cafe

Today is Friday, and that means it’s time for another post in my series of restaurant reviews which I call Foodie Friday, where I get to eat out with my husband using a discount voucher.  Today’s meal was brought to us by Groupon.  A few weeks ago I bought a voucher for Nick’s cafe. The voucher was $10 and allowed Juan and I to buy $20 worth of food. $20 for lunch may not seem like enough for two people to eat lunch in a cafe, but once we arrived at Nick’s we knew we’d be just fine.

Blast from the past at Nick's Cafe

Blast from the past at Nick’s Cafe

Nick’s cafe is not located in a high rent district.  It’s situated outside Chinatown and across from a large park, in an industrial area north of the civic center where I work.  The place has been there since the 1930′s, and it looks like it hasn’t been updated in about as long. The place is kind of an institution but aside from that, the food also garners some pretty good reviews on Yelp.

Diner atmosphere and counter seating.

Diner atmosphere and counter seating.

The small cafe has only counter seating indoors, but it was so stuffy inside that we opted to sit outside at one of the few tables. The outdoor tables are opposite the park, and along Spring Street, a major street with a lot of traffic. It was an interesting view. At one point during our lunch a movie crew passed by with a camera aboard a flat bed truck, hauling a train car with passengers. Only in LA.

The service and the food were not trendy LA at all. The waitress took her time to take our order and when she spoke with us she kept calling us, “Baby,” and not in a LA kind of way. More like a familial way.  The food was classic diner food. I ordered the turkey melt and Juan had the club sandwich. The sandwiches were really good. Both our sandwiches had thick homestyle bacon slices, which was a delicious addition to an otherwise ordinary selection.  The portions were not huge and came with only a pickle and a teeny tiny taste of coleslaw. I don’t like coleslaw so it’s okay with me that the portion was so small.  We paid extra and I ordered sweet potato fries while Juan ordered regular fries.

Club Sandwich with a slab of bacon.

Club Sandwich with a slab of bacon.

Turkey Melt and Sweet Potato Fries.

Turkey Melt and Sweet Potato Fries.

I would like to come back to this place for breakfast sometime. Yelp has some good reviews for the ham and eggs and other old school breakfast items. Speaking of “old school, Nick’s doesn’t take credit cards.  It’s a good thing we had some cash because even with the $20 Groupon, Juan and I had to pay an additional $7.00. It may not be in a high rent district, but the food prices sure aren’t low.

Foodie Friday: ALTAeats

I live in a city with a lot of  very good restaurants, but my own neighborhood really doesn’t have any good places to eat. So, I was happy to hear about ALTAeats, a new restaurant within walking distance to my house, with a highly regarded chef. In fact, there was quite a buzz on our neighborhood Yahoo group even before the place opened.

I heard about ALTAeats before I even saw it, and once I learned where it was located I wasn’t even sure I found the right place. It is small and quite anonymous, so anonymous there isn’t even a sign out front. At first I thought he place was so new, the signage must be in the works. However, now that it has been open for about 8 months, I know that there is no intention for signage. It seems the owner wants the restaurant to survive on word of mouth and on-line marketing. It’s working.

I purchased a Living Social deal several months ago, and tried to redeem immediately it but the place was booked. Recently I decided to try again and was able to make a reservation for me and my husband Juan and another couple. Our neighborhood friends were glad to join us and commented that they didn’t even know the restaurant existed. I told them to bring a bottle of wine since ALTAeats did not have a liquor license or a corkage fee. Between us, we brought along three bottles.

It was so hot that evening that we opted to drive instead of walk to the restaurant. When we pulled up in front of the black awning we all hesitated. Was it even open? There weren’t any operating hours posted on the darkly tinted windows. We opened the door and were greeted with a very minimalist, modern and comfortable atmosphere. There were several booths and tables along the walls and a big communal table in the middle of the room. The smells of the open kitchen to the rear of the restaurant welcomed us in, even though the poor functioning air conditioning made the temperature inside nearly as stifling as outside. We felt like we had just been let in on a well-kept secret.

We were promptly seated and greeted by a very friendly and knowledgeable server. She brought us complimentary gazpacho in shot glasses and a plate full of warm bread. The Living Social deal I’d purchased allowed us to share two small plates, a shared entrée and a shared dessert for $36.00. Our friends decided to order their own small plate and each of us ordered our own entrees.

The shared plate my friends ordered was a beautifully presented arugula salad with grilled peaches and pork belly. It sounded weird but it was delicious. At least I think it was delicious. “Shared plates” imply that they are meant to be shared, right? I really only tasted their salad since my friends need to work on their sharing technique. We also ordered a shared plate of mussels which I decided were so good I kept them to myself. Maybe I need to practice my technique as well?

The shared plate that wasn't shared.

The shared plate that wasn’t shared.

I’m glad the entrees weren’t meant to be shared, because I didn’t intend to let anyone near my salmon. I think we all felt the same way about our entrees. They were all so good none of us offered each other more than a taste.

Hangar steak for the meat and potatoes guy.

Hangar steak for the meat and potatoes guy.

 

Duck breast for the breast guy.

Duck breast for the breast guy.

The salmon I didn't want to share.

 

My friend ordered the lamb chops. I don't blame her for not sharing.

My friend ordered the lamb chops. I don’t blame her for not sharing.

We didn’t think we’d want dessert but since it was included in my Living Social deal how could we refuse? If it wasn’t for the uncomfortable temperature inside the restaurant we might have lingered over dessert. Instead we devoured it and decided to go back to my house and finish off the evening with a nightcap.

I’m so glad we stumbled upon this secret hiding place of a restaurant. When the temperature drops I will definitely be back. And I won’t be sharing my food.

 

 

 

 

 

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