Boozy Book Club :: Life After Life

Boozy Book Club :: Life After Life

Boozy Book Club has been a reality for a couple of years, but this is my first time posting about it. It’s my same gang of peeps, one of us picking a book that only half of us will read but all show up for the club because drinks and food are sure to be involved. This month’s outing was no different, with BBC reading Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life.

Life After Life
Let there be lighted displays

There is definitely a spoiler element with this book. However, those of us who finished the book on time didn’t care about ruining it for the book clubbers who still had some reading ahead of them (though I won’t reveal anything important in this post). Having finished it or not, all of us were left with the question about the purpose of the main character’s (Ursala Todd) life? If you care to pick it up, you’ll quickly learn that Ursala is re-born over and over again, reliving certain events, changing the outcome of others. What little details, we asked ourselves, were altered or shaken to produce a significantly different outcome for Ursala and those that she loved? Why was this phenomenon happening to her?

Did he finish? His wine, yes - the book, no
Did he finish? His wine, yes – the book, no

The two of us who finished the book shared our theory about Ursala’s reincarnations, and why the book was finally able to come to an end (if one agrees that it eventually came to an end). Before coming up with this theory, I was left a bit unsatisfied with the book – kind of the way I felt about the Sopranos finale. But with time, and the space to give it my own understanding, I eventually came to appreciate and really be awed at the book’s ending (as I did with the Sopranos).

It’s a hearty, thick read, but dense with excellent writing – Atkinson is witty and nimble with her words. And the characters are rich and interesting and alive. She brings us in close to the atrocities of war, to family dysfunction, and to sibling love. I recommend it as a book club read as there is so much to dissect and to connect to and to wonder about.

Life After Life is Boozy Book Club Approved!

Club Location:
The Federal Bar, Downtown Long Beach

Sliders pair well with book club meetings
Sliders pair well with book club meetings
Fries and turkey burger to stimulate discussion
Fries and turkey burger to stimulate discussion

Past BBC Reads:

In One Person by John Irving
Rating: BBC Approved

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Rating: BBC Approved

Ladies Who Dine Flashback :: Golden State

Ladies Who Dine Flashback :: Golden State

Veronica’s pick back in April 2011 was just a few blocks north of The Grove – a quaint place with lots of beers and great burgers. And some pretty amazing sweet potato FRIES (they call ’em wedges)! …made even better with their house spicy sauce and curry ketchup.

Lady ThickLeg’s Review
In what may be my briefest restaurant review ever, I will share my opinion of Golden State. Burger- yum, loved it! Sweet potato wedges- delicious (but then again aren’t all Wedges delicious?). Lager beer with the coconut flavor- awesome, would of had another if I hadn’t been the designated driver of the evening. Coffee gelato- perfect end to a perfect meal. Lastly, the staff were super cute and had they been on the menu, I would have ordered me a Golden State boy! Happy eating!!!

Veronica enjoys a cold brew
Veronica enjoys a cold brew (or that may just be a coke?! – it’s been a while)
Chicken Sandwich
Chicken Sandwich
Turkey burger and the DEElicious SP wedges
Turkey burger and the DEElicious SP wedges

Lady Papa’s Review
I am a proud Californian. Born in NorCa, now a firmly established Los Angelino/Long Beachian. So how thrilled was I, then, to spend a little time and even less cash at the Golden State Café? Sure it was quite a drive from the 90807, but well worth it. Honestly, we almost missed the place, on a construction-filled block just north of The Grove.

The place isn’t big, but has the requisite ingredients for a good time – beer, burgers, and a television (showing an NBA playoff game the night we went). And the best staff! Very attentive to our needs, and curious about our little group – I guess we stood out, our South Bay attire, perhaps, clueing them in that we were outsiders. Or maybe it was my big-ass camera.

I ordered the turkey burger with fried sweet potato wedges, served with aioli. I’ll start with the burger – juicy, tender, delectable, flavorable (is that a word?). It was the perfect size. Any bigger and I would have had that overstuffed feeling where I have to unbutton my pants. I also stole some of Jen’s fries, and dipped them in the restaurant’s curry ketchup, which had a fascinating kick.

But the highlight of the evening was my serving of sweet potato wedges. Robust, fluffy, savory, toothsome. Slightly and pleasantly overcooked. I just wish there would have been twice as many. Yes, I complimented the burger for its perfect proportion, but fries – in particular, sweet potato fries – should be endless. These fries, I could eat forever. Not any time soon because of the cost of gas, but one day – some day – I will return to the Golden State to lather in these fries again. A basket of them. Or two. And I’ll be sure to wear my baggiest, drawstring sweatpants when I do.

Fries, regular
Fries, regular
The Burger
The Burger
Poor burger
Poor burger
The Dianderthal enjoys ood wine, good times
The Dianderthal enjoys good wine, good times
The Ladies in LA
The Ladies in LA
The Golden State
The Golden State

The Golden State Cafe
426 N. Fairfax Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-782-8331

Tasty Places :: Jongewaard’s Bake ‘N Broil

Tasty Places :: Jongewaard’s Bake ‘N Broil

Bake ‘N Broil is a neighborhood classic for me. For a couple of years, it was my home, my desk, my hideaway every weekend. These days, I’m a few pounds lighter and can’t indulge in my go-to B&B dish (the whole wheat pancakes) as often as I once did, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. That I don’t miss it. That I don’t get sad when I drive past its bustling storefront on my way to Target.

IMG_0604
Ahhhh, the loves of my life

[Yes, I have posted on this place before!]

It’s hard to say much else about Bake ‘N Broil (other than that it’s beloved by many in the LBC) because, aside from a couple of turkey burgers, the only thing I’ve had there (not counting red velvet cake – that’s a whole ‘nother story) are the whole wheat pancakes. So instead of doing a thorough write-up, posted below is a poem I wrote for Yelp! a while back, dedicated to my favorite short stack.

Drive by the Bake ‘N’ Broil
Just one thing on my mind
A short stack of whole wheat pancakes
But damn! There’s a line

So I set my alarm clock early
Don’t even change my clothes
Slip on my Uggs, throw on some lip gloss
Then I’m off
No line because I’m there with the sunrise
No wait, but still grab a counter seat
Order my pancakes
Hold the butter? No
With a side of hash browns? Sure

They arrive three-layers high
Puddles of butter so deep I want to swim in them
But no, not without the syrup
Yes, the maple-ee rich syrup
Each cake soaks it up, sponges it up
It flows within and between my criss-cross cuts

Assembly complete
Ready, aim…
Delight
Triplicate pockets of heaven
Bite-sized
I erase my plate
And it kind of makes me want to cry when it’s all over

But then I smile
Reminded that next Sunday
When the hangover crowd is snoring away
And before praise teams in the nearby churches get their warm-up on
I’ll be back at the counter
Behind another stack of whole wheat pancakes

IMG_0603
My husband’s healthy breakfast

Jongewaard’s Bake ‘N Broil
3697 Atlantic Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90807