Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy Birthday Mariah

By: Meranda De La O

August 20th 1999, I became a mother to this amazing daughter of mine. It brought so many tears to my eyes when I started going through old photos. It makes me sad because I will forever miss that little girl she once was but watching her grow and knowing she's MINE makes me so proud. I hope that you have a wonderful birthday and a blessed 15th year of life. You have blessed our family Mariah and you are so loved. I dedicate this video and song to you. How we danced around to this song so many times since you were just a little girl. I LOVE YOU passed the moon passed the stars way up high in the sky. Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ALWAYS!!!!! Happy 15th Birthday.

(Click the photo to go to the video)
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Avocado Tree

I just finished planting this Aguacate (Avocado) tree a few minutes ago. This is a Hass Avocado, one of two types that I like, the other is the Fuerte avocado. These are the only avocados types that I'll eat. I'll be planting two Fuerte trees in a week or so. They give fruit at different times of the year so I'll have avocados mostly year round. It's going to take a couple of years but I'm patient.

I'm trying to bring a little greenery and life back to the yard. It's taken a hit over the last year or so. The St. Augustine grass has died out. The drought hasn't helped.

While I was digging the hole and planting the tree I couldn't help but think back to the time my father planted his avocado tree. I must have been in the 6th grade and about 11 years old. My father planted the tree in the back of the yard, near my pigeon coop, too close I thought. He was happy with it and talked about the avocados he would be eating. He was looking forward to the day. He loved his avocados.

The tree grew fast. A few years later, by the time I was in 8th grade it had to be 15'-20' tall and was beginning to bear fruit. My father was getting anxious.

I had been saving and collecting 2x4's, plywood panels and any other kind of wood I could get my hands on, including chicken wire. My father had built the pigeon coop for me several earlier and I had decided it was time to add on. I had too many birds and needed room.

I looked at that tree and decided that it had to go. I needed that spot for the addition. With an Axe, saw and shovel, I chopped, hewed and shoveled that tree until it was just a pile of logs and branches neatly stacked and tied just the way my father liked it. He would be proud of the way I not only took care of business but that I cleaned up my mess too. It's funny how things never go the way you think they will. Looking back I think I should have expected it but for some reason I was clueless that day.

My father came home from work but instead of parking in the front of the house where he almost always did, he drove all the way to the back and of course the first thing he noticed was the big empty space where the tree once stood. He got out in a controlled rage. “What the hell happened to my avocado tree? I felt just like George Washington. I thought the truth would set me free. I literally took my cue from our first president and said verbatim (thinking it would lighten the mood) “I cannot tell a lie father, it was me”. The last thing I'll say about that is the shit hit the fan.

In time he got over it and I built the extension to the coop but every time there was an avocado at the dinner table my father would give me the ol' evil eye.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo has been one of my favorite dishes through the years. It's been a few years since I have made it. I gave it a shot today. I like to add sausage to the rice. When I can get it I like Spanish Chorizo otherwise I use Linguica (a Portuguese sausage). It came out pretty good considering it has been a while. Like my wife and mother said, "You still got it!" 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner 4/7/1928 - 7/19/2014

James Garner as Brett Maverick

James Garner as Jim Rockford

James Garner has passed away. I cannot think of a harder working actor. It seems I have been watching him on television or at the movies, in one form or another, my entire life. 

He will be remembered for a lot of things, I am sure of that, as well as his many other roles, but the two that I believe he will be remembered for more than any others will be Brett Maverick in the television western, "Maverick", that ran in the late 1950's into the early 1960's (a role he reprised many times over the years) and a decade later, as Jim Rockford, the tough but vulnerable private detective in "The Rockford Files", a role he also repeated throughout his long career. Two long lasting iconic roles. He was a large part of television history. In later years, he starred in "8 Simple Rules" working along side the late John Ritter and Katey Segal. 

I did not know the man personally but he seemed to be one of Hollywood's good guys. There was a certain quality that seemed to come out in all of his movie or television characters. There was a sort of vulnerability and honesty in all his roles. I believe that was his natural trait.

I can say with all honesty that I will miss his presence on television. My condolences to his family, friends and fans. R.I.P. Jame Garner and thank you!

James Garner on IMDB

Monday, July 14, 2014

Musubi by Savannah

Musubi by Savannah Guerrero

I love that my kids enjoy eating and cooking. I haven't traveled the world yet but in our kitchen my wife and I have taken them across the country and around the world. It's nice to see that it has rubbed off. This is my youngest daughter Savannah's first attempt at Musubi, a popular snack food in Hawaii.

Canter's Deli for Lunch

It's been hot here lately in SoCal, a little too hot to cook. So when it came time for lunch yesterday Jeri and I felt like eating out. We decided on Canter's Deli in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. Of course, Canter's is much more than a deli, it's a full service restaurant dedicated to serving the Jewish community in Los Angeles. There is however, a little something for everyone. I saw quesadilla's on the menu too, so Canter's is making changes and adapting with the changes taking place in L.A. Still, the heart and soul of Canter's is Jewish and that is a beautiful thing.

I started with the matzo ball soup. Matzo ball soups is like a restorative to me, maybe it's the chicken broth I also ordered the Bronx Special, a combination of their delicious pastrami and chopped liver served open face on rye. It was absolutely delicious. For my drink I ordered egg cream.

Canter's Restaurant & Deli
Cantor's Deli on Fairfax

Canter's Restaurant & Deli
Canter's Matzo Ball Soup 
(Egg Cream on the right)

Canter's Restaurant & Deli
Pastrami and Chopped Liver on Rye

Canter's Restaurant & Deli
BBQ Beef Brisket

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Johnny's Shrimp Boat

The original Johnny's Shrimp Boat in Downtown Los Angeles

Johnny's Shrimp Boat in Whittier

The original Johnny's Shrimp Boat was located directly across the Main Street Gym in downtown Los Angeles. It was the epitome of a greasy spoon, only more so. Bums, derelicts and winos lined the walls of the ramshackled old building.

The food, which consisted of breaded shrimp, beans,white rice with gravy, or short ribs, also with beans, white rice and gravy, or fish and chips, hamburger steak and other such cheap eats. This was not a gourmet restaurant. It would have been right at home in the depression.

Still, for whatever reason, Angeleno's loved this place. I can't explain why. it was just an L.A. thing. It was almost always crowded, especially on a weekend night. It was standing room only, there were no tables or chairs but I think there may have been a small counter. Most of the time we just sat in the car.

Now I had a thing for Johnny's Shrimp back in the 70's. You might call it a weakness. My old trainer, the late, great Mel Epstein knew this. Almost daily, as i would walk through the double doors, Mel would yell out to me, "Get your hair cut, and stay away from Johnny's!" "Oh, okay Mel, I will." Then I would walk down the stairway, cross the street, step over one of the bums and order me a shrimp combo and some pop. I couldn't help myself.

Johnny's was torn down right about the same time as the Main Street Gym, about 1986. Sometime in the mid 90's, I was passing through Washington Blvd, in Whittier, about five minutes from my house and there it was, Johnny's Shrimp Boat. I headed straight home and got Jeri. "We're going to Johnny's Shrimp Boat!" What's that? She said. "That's the place that was across the street from the gym, I've told you about it! She either forgot or didn't care or both but I convinced her to go with me.

Now, there are no bums lying across the doorway at Johnny's in Whittier but it is still a dive. Nothing has changed, and thankfully the food is the same too. The walls are filled with pictures of the original Johnny's. It can be nostalgic.

This is my long winded way of telling you Jeri and I had supper at Johnny's tonight. Jeri had the fish and chips and I had the six shrimp combo. I couldn't make up my mind on whether I wanted gravy or chili over my rice so i compromised and ordered a side of rice and chili.

Jeri is and has always been, a good sport about going to the most unlikeliest places to eat in the most unlikeliest parts of town or anywhere.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Independence Day 2014.

Say what you will about America but I love my country. I love the freedom I enjoy. I don't feel the need to shove it in anyone's face but it is Independence Day and I feel like expressing my self.

America, like the people that inhabit it, is not perfect. We make mistakes but we do things right too. As bad as our mistakes can be at times, we work like hell to correct them.

I can say this, more people are clamoring to get in, then there are trying to get out, but even if they wanted to leave they are free to do so. There may have been a time when not every one had an equal shot at success but that time has come and gone.I believe any man or woman, regardless of race or ethnicity, can be anything (within the law) or do anything. The only limits are the ones we set upon ourselves. I raised my own kids on this belief.

I still believe that hard work over a lifetime will pay dividends!

I don't give a rat's ass about politics or the left or the right or anything in between. I just believe in America.

We are free to worship our God as we please or not. It's our choice. I believe America is a Judeo/Christian nation but if you don't that okay. It's your choice. I respect that. Just respect my choice too.

America is not perfect but as former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali said many years ago "We got people working on it."

I was told years ago that I have a Pollyanna view on life. Maybe but I prefer to think of it as just simple and honest. You can agree or disagree, you have that freedom.

Have a Happy 4th!