Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend Recap: Wine, Movie, and the Getty.

How is it already Sunday? I swear, the weekend just flies by.

A quick recap: Friday, Jackie and PJ came over, we drank some wine, and discussed more trip plans. Hopefully we will have our tickets booked soon, and then I will post what where we finally decided to go!

Saturday, Josh and I ate breakfast, and then I worked a little. In the evening, we saw Tropic Thunder. I was pretty opposed to seeing this movie at first, but after seeing the good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (my movie-going Bible), I was convinced. It was pretty good, but I can definitely understand why it's inspired some protests. Also, Tom Cruise was pretty ridiculous in it. I used to think he was a good actor, but now I just think he is crazy, and the camera manages to capture his antics at the right time. Still, he has a pretty good dance scene at the end.

This morning, Josh and I met my sister and her boyfriend at the Getty Museum. Bug and I had been planning on seeing the Bernini exhibit. We both lived in Rome for awhile (and it is still my favorite place), so we have a soft spot for Bernini, who designed many of the incredible fountains and piazzas throughout the city.

We took the tram up to the museum from the parking lot. The Getty itself is worth seeing, even absent all of the incredible works of art it houses: the view and architecture are just stunning.

Bug and Ajax.

Our first stop was the Bernini exhibit. Sadly, no photos are allowed, but here is Bug modeling the entrance sign.

The exhibit was pretty good. It was mostly busts and a few paintings. It, of course, cannot even compare to the incredible works at the Galleria Borghese in Rome (Bug and I found pictures of our favorite Bernini sculptures for Josh and Anthony in the gift shop), but the busts were still pretty cool. All of the subjects of Bernini's sculpted "portraits" seem as though they are about to start speaking. Each bust looked as if Bernini sculpted the person mid-sentence or mid-thought, with the person's face muscles and expression frozen. Pretty impressive. It made me wish I had an ounce of artistic talent.

After leaving the Bernini exhibit, we strolled a bit throughout the Getty.

We started getting a little loopy, so ... it was time for lunch!

We headed to the museum cafe. Bug ordered a chili cheese dog with sweet potato fries. (It's so unfair that she's so skinny. Boo.)

Ajax and I ordered the Getty Burger with sweet potato fries.

The burger was great! The bun was made of potato bread, and the burger tasted as if it had come off a backyard bbq.

Josh ordered pizza ... of course!

It looked better in real life, I swear. This picture makes it look like cardboard.

After our delicious lunch, we were all pretty much in food coma. I snapped this picture of Josh. Isn't he cute?

After lunch and walking around a little more, we headed to our car and fought traffic out of the parking garage and headed back to our house.

This evening, I have some work that needs to be tackled. I had planned on working late tomorrow night, but then I remembered that we have tickets to tomorrow's Radiohead show at the Hollywood Bowl with Jackie and PJ! Woo hoo! So, there's some motivation for me not to procrastinate, as usual.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Coffee, tea, and no more naked me.

Progress over here on the house. We have been living for ten months with no window coverings -- none -- in our house. Finally, yesterday, we ordered wood blinds for every window in this house. No more changing in the bathroom for fear our-sweet-but-nosey-neighbor will accidentally get a free peak of naked me. No more waking up at 7 a.m. on weekend mornings because the sun is up. No more wondering if some freaky escape con is staring in at me from our dark back yard (okay, this may be a bit paranoid, but I'm sure you're picking up what I'm laying down).

My sister's and Jackie's response to my "We ordered window coverings!" exclamation is "Finally!!! Geez!" Was it really that bad, guys?

They should arrive in two weeks. Just in time for the arrival of "The Italians." Two of my cousins are coming to visit for two weeks in September, so we have been trying to get the house in a little better shape (i.e., actually find some furniture and other basics like, er, blinds). The list is still long, but we did cross off another item today:

Coffee table for the formal living room! It's so cute in-person. (If you don't like it, I don't mind a little lying in the comments.) That room actually is technically furnished now, although it still looks so bare because there is nothing on the walls. Maybe I will tell the Italians we are going for the minimalist look? Hmm.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kitchen Dreams.

For our anniversary, Josh and I kept with our two traditions from last year: a fabulously fancy dinner and a champagne toast using our wedding toasting flutes.

Last year, we ate a multi-course meal at the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena (now the Dining Room at the Langham Huntington Hotel). This year, we decided to make reservations at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel.

Josh is a huge Gordon Ramsay fan. Well before Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen, Josh religiously watched Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and The "F" Word, both on the BBC America.

Walking into the hotel and restaurant is like dying and going to modern art deco heaven. The hotel and restaurant were designed by David Collins. When I win the lottery, we are hiring him to help with the design of our Malibu beach house.

We ordered the chef's seven-course menu. They were very accommodating and did a vegetarian version for Josh. The sommelier paired different wines with each course. Such a treat!

Bread basket! (Josh was in love with the goat cheese cracker bread.)

Course #1: Smoked Mushroom and Foie Gras Chawanmushi
Wine #1: 2004 Baumard, Coteaux du Layon, Carte d'Or

Course #2: Pacific Yellow Fin Tuna with Pickled Daikon, Crab Beignets, Sesame Soy Dressing
Wine #2: Eiko Fuji Junmai Ginjo (sake)

Course #3: Burrata Mozzarella with Heirloom Tomatoes, Cape Gooseberries, Basil Pesto
Wine #3: 2007 Kurt Angerer, Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria

(The tomatoes were probably the most delicious tomatoes I have ever had. So fresh and sweet but still firm. Even Josh liked them, and he's not a fan of tomatoes.)

Course #4: Hand-Dived Sea Scallops, Cauliflower Puree, and Sherry Vinegar Wine Reduction
Wine #4: 2006 Saintsburg Chardonnay, Carneros, CA

Course #5: Rack of Sonoma Lamb and Confit Shoulder, Pearl Onions, Pomme Puree
Wine #5: 1999 Rioja, Lopez de Heredia

Course #6: Cara Cara Orange Three Ways, Cinnamon Ice Cream, and Rose Water Sabayon
Wine #6: Scagliola Moscato d'Asti

(This was the "pre-dessert," and Josh's favorite wine pairing. The sparkling wine plus the dessert tasted like like creamsicle. Delish.)

Course #7: Confit Bing Cherries, Valrhona Chocolate Sponge, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Banyuls
Wine #7: Doke Monestralle

Our server brought us out a scoop of plum ice cream to congratulate us on our anniversary. The ice cream tasted like an actual, tart plum.

We talked with our server, Cooper, a bit throughout the night, and after learning Josh was a fan of Gordon Ramsay, he offered to take us on a tour of the kitchen. Of course, we said yes!

Each glass is hand polished. For each course, we got a fresh wine glass and fresh flatware. So, someone hand polished 14 glasses just for us. Pretty crazy.

My favorite stop ... the cellar!

Gordon Ramsay was great. I would definitely go back again for a special occasion. The service was friendly and everyone was extremely attentive. Plus, the food and wine were truly spectacular -- well paired, flavorful, and interesting.

After dinner, we were completely stuffed. We waddled to the car and headed back to our house.

Josh broke out the champagne and our wedding toasting flutes, and we toasted to our two wonderful years together ... and hopefully many more to come!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two years!

Two years ago today ...

I married my high school sweetheart, one and only love, and best friend.

Awww. Happy Anniversary, Josh!!

Tonight, we are going out to a nice dinner to celebrate! I will try and sneak my camera in so I can do a full-picture post of what will hopefully be a fabulous dinner!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fabulous weekend!

Phew, what a whirlwind of a weekend!!

Friday, I met my dad, Josh, and dad's friends at King's Fish in the Commons. The food was good going down, but as soon as I'd had the last bite of my sea bass, I was making a bee line for the ladies' room. It didn't get better after that. Let's just say ... it was a long, gross night. I finally fell asleep Saturday morning. Boo.

Josh woke me up Saturday early afternoon just in time to take a quick shower and madly dash to Beverly Hills for the SFAMily Baby Shower at the Peninsula Hotel. Seriously, what a gorgeous venue!

WeeMo did a fabulously-picture-filled post here. Check it out. It was, hands down, one of the classiest showers I've attended.

Oh, and I stole a group shot of "the girls" from WeeMo.

So much fun. And, the moms-to-be? Cute as buttons!

After the shower, I met up with Josh, Jackie, and PJ, and we headed to the Hollywood Bowl for "A Night in Old Havana -- Mambo Style!" I love the Bowl so much. It has been a family tradition for us since I was a little girl, and I love that Josh and I are carrying it on.

Sunday, we drove up to Camarillo to attend Missy's bridal shower (hosted by my sister, who is also the Maid of Honor). Bug did such a great job putting the shower together, and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Sunday evening, Josh made a fabulous pasta dinner for two, and we lounged around and watched the Olympics until midnight. It was the perfect way to end such a nice weekend!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Alaskan Bonfires & Josh's Reunion

We are back in Los Angeles after a wonderful week in Alaska. Here is a recap of our last few days.

Thursday evening, we had a bonfire in my mom’s backyard by the river.

PJ and Makenzie came over, and we ate s’mores, drank some local microbrew, and relaxed.

Friday was a fabulously lazy day. Josh and I went by Short Stop again for joe joes and ice cream, and I vegged around the house with my book.

My mom’s house is like a cozy cabin. I took a couple of photos of the exterior:

She had the most gorgeous hanging plants on the porch.

Friday afternoon, we ate lunch at Veronica’s with Makenzie and Ashley. Veronica's is even more charming than it was when we were in high school. We sat there for almost three hours, munched on soup and sandwiches, and caught up.

Friday evening was the first of the reunion events: a bonfire on the Kenai beach. Since there isn’t much to do in Kenai except enjoy the beauty of one’s surroundings and drink, bonfires at the beach were very popular in our high school days. Actually, the first time I hung out with Josh was at an end-of-the-year bonfire he and PJ were putting on at the end of my freshman year of high school.

The beaches in Kenai are are spectacularly beautiful. My mom and I used to walk the beach in the evenings after dinner. That is one of the things I miss most about Alaska.

As we walked toward the bonfire, the sun was starting to go down (at about 10:30 p.m.).

The pebbles on the beach were glowing and so gorgeous. I really like this picture.

The bonfire was pretty mellow. Josh brought a growler of brew from Kassicks which was fabulous. Makenzie and I broke away from the group for awhile to stroll the beach and catch up.

Saturday, Doug took us on a ride on their new boat up and down the river. It reminded me of the many summers we spent at the cottage on the lake in Canada swimming and taking day trips in the boat. Those were good days.

After, we came back to the house to hang out a bit before the reunion dinner in the evening.

A cute candid shot of mom and Josh.

The reunion was in the evening at a restaurant called Paradisos. The food was mediocre, and the event itself was somewhat anticlimactic, but again, it was nice to sit with Mak and Ashley since we never see each other.

Also, I think we are some of the few people in Josh’s class without kids. Many of Josh’s classmates have three to four kids by now! So, the babies were passed around …

I snapped only a couple of pics of the event …

Makenzie and Josh.

Zak, PJ, and Josh.

After the reunion dinner, we went out to some local bars where we saw even more classmates. Crazy. Josh and I finally made it home at 3 a.m.!

Sunday, we ate breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot, Louie’s. I had reindeer sausage and eggs, which is so unbelievably delicious. It was the best sausage I have ever had. Ever.

Our flight was smooth, Bug and Ajax picked us up and brought us home to our house and puppies.

And today, it was back to the grindstone. Le sigh.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day trip to Homer.

In case you're curious where, exactly, Kenai is on the map, it is located on the Kenai Peninsula in "south central" Alaska.

Here's the Kenai Peninsula. See that little road connecting Anchorage to Kenai/Soldotna to Homer? So, when we first moved to Alaska, I was informed by our high school counselor that we were "lucky" to have moved to the "bigger cities" (Kenai and Soldotna each have between 6,000 and 7,000 people) that have roads in and out. True enough, you have to fly in and out of many towns in Alaska. So yeah, yay for the highway!

But, I digress. Yesterday was such a pretty day. The sun was out and the air was cool and crisp (about 60 degrees). Since the weather was so pretty, we decided to drive to Homer, hometown of Jewel and my co-worker Ryan.

On our way out of town, we stopped at the most incredible bakery in Soldotna called The Moose is Loose. It has the most amazing cinnamon pastries.

The drive to Homer is a little over two hours. Mom, Josh, and I piled into Doug's truck, since Mom's car is still parked somewhere in Old Town Kenai, waiting for the tow truck.

I think Homer may be the prettiest city on the Peninsula. It has the most spectacular mountain and lake views, and during certain times of the year, there are as many bald eagles around as sea gulls on a California beach.

There was a fog on the lake around the mountains. Pictures just do not do it justice.

Josh and me.

This time of year, there is fireweed, a purply wildflower, everywhere. Supposedly, once all the little buds have fallen off, winter will begin. Looks like we have a little time left ...

We stopped at Fat Olives for lunch. Lunch was absolutely outstanding! We started with the fondue as an appetizer.

Then, we ordered the Mediterranean Pizza (pesto, mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes, capers) which was delicious!

I think Josh could eat pizza for every meal.


Our next stop was the Homer Spit, a long boardwalk with little shops and restaurants. One of the most famous stops is the Salty Dawg Saloon.

My mom in front of the Salty Dawg.

A fishing charter that had just come back. (Side note: If you're wondering why you haven't seen any pictures of me fishing yet, well that's because after working in a fish cannery, I cannot imagine catching and cleaning a fish "for fun." I mean, I will float in the boat and drink a beer, but I do not even want to see another fish gut as long as I live.)

Our last stop was the Homer Brewing Co.

This bear + banjo greet you as you walk in.

We tried all six of their beers and walked out with a growler for later.

This bumper sticker made me laugh.

We got home and called Makenzie and Ashley, two of my very dear friends from high school. Stupidly, I didn't take any pictures, but I'm sure I will see them today or tomorrow. We went to Ashley's house, met her little boy, Ben, (who is absolutely adorable!) and dog Annie (whom I want to steal).

This morning, I was on a conference call, but now that that's done, I think it's time to get dressed and go do something fun.