Home from LA


I am home from my trip to LA and have pictures to show of the couple of days there.  Technically I could have still used another few days but it is time to come home and dig out a  bit.  

On Sunday my cousin and I spent the day together. We went to the Nickle diner in downtown LA.  It was very cute.  

Mint Lemonade with Maple Glazed Donut with Bacon Bits


Dessert Tray at The Nickle Diner with a “homemade” poptart  

Dessert Tray at Nickle Diner


Inside the Nickle Diner


Next my cousin to me to the rough section of LA that we see on the news called Watts.  There are a group of craftsmen that are all over the world called niave artists. These are craftsmen who took their leftover scraps and made scultpures from them.  In Watts there is one such scultpure called The Watts Towers.  Here is his story  

The Watts Towers or Towers of Simon Rodia in the Watts district of Los Angeles, California, is a collection of 17 interconnected structures, two of which reach heights of over 99 feet (30 m). The Towers were built by Italian immigrant construction worker Sabato (“Sam” or “Simon”) Rodia in his spare time over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. The work is an example of non-traditional vernacular architecture and American Naïve art[2][4] The Towers are located near (and visible from) the 103rd Street-Kenneth Hahn Station of the Metro Rail LACMTA Blue Line.  

The Watts Towers were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.[2] According to reviewer Robert Koehler in Variety, the documentary film I Build the Tower is “the most complete visual account of self-made architect Simon Rodia and his masterpiece.”  

The Watts Towers


This was built in his spare time - it took him 33 years and was built from the heart. The artist lived in Seattle and was married with 3 kids - got divoraced moved to California and never saw his kids again. I think this came out in his work. There were hundred of hearts throughout the sculpture.



3 Hearts for Each of his three kids


Lonely Heart




Broken Heart


After the Watts Towers we went out to what?? eat again.  

Cheese Stuff Squash Blossoms


The next day I went to Cube for lunch. It was a smaller restaurant that was very “clean” in their food presentation with ultra fresh food.  The one thing I didn’t like was service was SO SLOW and I was here around 2:30 pm.  

Amuse of medium cheese that wasn't too strong on a homemade cracker and pineapple compote


Great meat and cheese presentation - love the slate for plates


Private dining room in cube - kool use of space


Gazpacho with english cucumber which gave a good crunch. Could have use some worchester.


Crunchy veggie salad with no lettuce saw a lot of that in LA


After Cube I went to the Farmers Market. When I went years ago I really liked it.  This time not so much. It was boring and expensive with very little in the way of “farmers”. Only 1 or 2 veggie stands and nothing exciting. I did like this picture outside of the market that tells a bit of the history in the 30’s.  

Outside the Farmer's Market


That night we went to Test Kitchen for dinner. It was the koolest experience.  Basically it is a pop up restaurant where famous chef’s can come for a dinner and test recipes.  They are getting a bunch of high end chef’s wanting to come cook for the night and they also have guest bartenders.  We had a six course dinner for $45.00. It was a variety of tartar’s and it was amazing. Definitely one of the best meals that I had this year in addition to Blackbird.  

The chef for our evening and Brian the managing partner


The next day I went back to this cute cupcake and cake store on Santa Monica.  The owner was so nice and appreciated my passion that he gave me a free Smores cupcake.  

S'mores Cupcake with Marshmellow Buttercream Icing


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake. Look how creamy the icing is


Black and White Cupcake and I like the presentation.




I hope everyone enjoys looking at the sweets.  The last night my dear friends Ted who is a pilot flew into town. His pilot Kyle, Ted my cousin and I went to Street. It is Susan Granger’s restaurant. She was a Top Chef Master Contestant. Her menu was a play off of kool street food. We all had a great time at this famous chef’s restaurant. 

Ted, Laurie, Me and Kyle


Loved this American Flag hanging from a construction crane in LA

Salad of many different melons and grains.

Last but not least to wrap up the trip is a picture of myself and Susan.

Top Chef Master Contest Susan Granger and I in her restaurant "Streets".

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