Eat Dreams

Eat Dreams

I’ve lost count of which day we’re on, but there are only five days left on the fast I’m completing with my church – a 21-day Daniel fast that we do corporately at the start of each year, allowing opportunity for re-focusing, for clarity, for openness. This time has allowed me to grow closer to Him while dwelling on my various life purposes, my priorities and how I spend my time.

I must admit that refraining from coffee, from cheese, from turkey bacon, wine, and Diet Pepsi has had the effect of frequently sending my daydreams to food, visions of chili-cheese fries dancing in my head. With all this reflecting, I’ve concluded that dining is a real and significant priority for me. As Dianderthal, a certain thrill in my life is chronicling the indulging in and sharing of great meals with friends, with family, with self.

So while I’m staying away from restaurants until the fast ends, there’s nothing preventing me from online menus, blog articles, and Instagram posts in preparation for post-fast meals. Here are a few spots that I’m anxious to get to in 2015.

Eggslut – I was already too full to feast at downtown LA’s Grand Central Market when I first visited months ago (our mess of an outing we called Eating LA; perhaps we’ll give this endeavor a second try in 2015); next time I’m in the area, I will sit myself up upon a stool at the market’s breakfast/lunch diner, Eggslut, and order the Fairfax, a brioche bun stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, caramel iced onions, chives, and sriracha. 317 S. Broadway in Los Angeles, 90013.

Panxa Cocina – This year, I’m all about my hometown. I want to gloat about the savoriness that is Long Beach and our blooming restaurant scene. Panxa is just a baby of a place, opening late last year, but early reviews sound promising (as does their selection of tequilas). I’m itching to give a try to their seafood enchiladas and potato-cheddar pancakes. 3997 E. Broadway in the LBC, 90803.

Night + Market – Okay, so I said I’m all about Long Beach this year. But I’m also all about Asian flavors for 2015 as well. Last year, I learned that my tastebuds have a love jones for Thai cuisine. But I’m a Basic B with it – all Pad Thai and chicken wings. I need to be more adventurous with my Thai; more ambitious. And Night + Song Market is the place to do it. I’m not sure what I’ll order when I finally get there, but it surely won’t be Pad Thai and chicken wings. Correction – it won’t be just Pad Thai and chicken wings. 3322 W. Sunset in Silver Lake, 90026.

Son of a Gun – Many rave about Animal, the delicious and delectable (so I’ve heard) Mecca for carnivores, owned by the badass pair of Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. As someone who floats between pescatarianism and semi-vegetarianism, the duos seafood-focused Son of a Gun seems more to my tasting. I’m excited about their lobster rolls and their chicken fried sandwich. And who knows – maybe after they’ll convert me to a full-fledged, card-carrying meat-a-saurus, ready to take on Animal, the local barbecue spot, and the meatiest of Brazilian steakhouses. 8370 W. Third Street in Los Angeles, 90048.

Little Jewel of New Orleans – I can’t say I’ve tried to many of them but a great po’ boy sandwich has eluded me for all of my 42 years. There’s such potential in a po’ boy – fried seafood, fresh veggies, a fatty spread, a warm, toothsome roll; but I’ve not had one yet that has satisfied in a major way, not even with my recent trip to N’Awlins (full disclosure – my NO sandwich was from a touristy kind of spot – expectations weren’t high to start). I’m hoping Little Jewel will change my mind about the po’ boy; give confidence that the possibility this dish being as phenomenal as folks make it sound isn’t just a bayou legend. 207 Ord Street in Los Angeles, 90012.

52 Notes :: UCLA Child Care

52 Notes :: UCLA Child Care

It’s a classic story we’ve heard time and time again. Girl graduates from high school. Girl goes to UCLA. Girl gets knocked up. Girl gets kicked out of UCLA for missing too much class due to knock up. Girl has baby girl. Girl begs UCLA to take her back. UCLA takes girl back. Girl has no childcare. Girl leaves baby girl with parents far away. Girl is sad. Girl gets call from UCLA Child Care saying they’ll keep baby girl…for free! Girl brings baby girl to LA. Girl graduates by the time baby girl becomes toddler girl.

Oh, where is boy? Boy is a loser. But that’s a different story.

So this week’s note goes to the place that took a chance on a party girl from the Central Valley: UCLA Child Care. I applied to their program just a few days after I found out I was pregnant – a surreal week, precisely 23 years ago. We’d been back only a short time from Winter Break, which I’d spent canoodling with my hometown boyfriend. The “telling” about the pregnancy was hardest. Despite their disappointment and upset, once my parents knew my situation, I took on the role of single pregnant teen quite fiercely, not much shame in my game. That would come weeks later, the week of the LA uprisings, when my dad had to drive down amid the helicopters overhead and the enforced curfew to pick up me, my stuff, and my growing belly after news that I was ineligible to continue with my studies Spring Quarter as, already on probation from my disastrous Freshman year, I did not earn a C average Winter term. So I left.

But thank goodness for petitions. UCLA accepted mine to return with the condition that I keep healthier grades. What choice did I have? I was single, unskilled, and had nothing on my résumé but a brief stint working at the student store. I returned in January the following year, set up by my parents in a plush (for a college student) Westside apartment. But without my baby – Kelsey. It didn’t seem right.

I remember the words of one of my mom’s friends after I’d made the decision to return to school and have my parents keep Kelsey: “It’s best this way. She can’t finish school and take care of a baby.” When that call came from UCLA Child Care, only about a month into the quarter, they gave me a chance to prove homegirl wrong. Within hours after hearing from them, so launched the plan to get Kelsey back to me. My mom would bring her down on the train (have I mentioned before that we’re train people?).

It’s been 22 years but that day still flickers richly in my memory – the moment when I saw Kelsey again after being away for weeks; how she gummed a smile and couldn’t stop, couldn’t contain herself because she knew me. She remembered me. That was how it was meant to be – me, my baby, and my education.

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We didn’t stop with a bachelor’s degree. UCLA Child Care helped me through grad school also, and allowed Kelsey to learn from some amazing teachers, among the first class of students to finish at University Village Kindergarten. I certainly could have gone to school without their help. I might have had plenty of study time, much more rest, less anxiety from ear infections and lost binkies; but I would have missed out on the sparkle that was my baby. The garbled first words and the wobbly steps on her own, and simply the pleasure of being her mom. This week, I finally thanked UCLA with a short and sweet note for allowing me to be both a parent and a student. I’m just sorry it took so long for me to reach out to them as they were a tremendous blessing to my classic story.

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By the way, I used these new note cards I got at Target by Mara Mi. Super cute. Too bad they didn’t have them in Bruin Blue & Gold.

(What is 52 Notes?)

Tasty Places :: Blue Bottle Coffee & Rolling Dunes

Tasty Places :: Blue Bottle Coffee & Rolling Dunes

I’m already a sucker for a clean, bright, hipster space. Add coffee and waffles and I could move in for weeks. Lucky for my family, the closest waffle-serving Blue Bottle Coffee is some 300 miles north of home so daily commutes to and from Long Beach to there would make it difficult to get my kid to school in the mornings and back home in plenty of time to make supper for the husband.

Over the week of New Year’s, I was at my parents’ home in Stockton, my back out of whack from several nights rest on the sofa bed and my brain fried from waiting, waiting, waiting out slow Wi-Fi. Before heading back down to Long Beach, I thought it might be nice to take a drive west to the Bay Area to visit family, a nice bulk of my cousins and an aunt and uncle living there. And since I’d be there, why not check out a spot that I’d heard about for years from a co-worker of mine, who’d raved of a certain coffee place with delicious waffles ever since returning from a conference in San Francisco. Blue Bottle Coffee. I looked it up.

Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal

First lesson learned was that this place was no longer just a Bay Area favorite; that there were now a couple of locations in Southern California. But I also discovered was that not all of their outposts serve waffles. And I wanted a waffle; after finding that the LA stores were waffle-challenged, I figured this was my chance.

I’d expected to have to cross the Bay Bridge to get to a Blue Bottle before visiting with my family in Oakland, paying a toll and shelling out even more to park at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. But be still my heart – there was a location in Oakland, and – gasp! – it served waffles! It was on.

The morning of my outing, I overslept and had difficulty getting the kids awake as we’d resorted to staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 while on vacation, settling down for breakfast each morning by 11:15. I’d planned to get to Blue Bottle by 10:00 – sip coffee, do a bit of writing, let my wonderful waffle digest and still have plenty of time to meet up with my cousins for lunch. By the time we finally got on the freeway, it was 9:30. In my haste, I looked up the website on my phone just before pulling out of the driveway, thumbing through the site until I saw “Oakland” and then mapped the address – 300 Webster Street.

With traffic, we arrived at 11:00, my youngest just as ravenous for the place as I was after all the waffle talk. I was pumped about my coffee, but oh how thrilled was I to finally get a Blue Bottle Coffee waffle.

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“Oh, we don’t serve waffles at this location. Those are at the WC Morse location.” Yes. I was at the wrong place. What I hadn’t noticed before was that there were TWO Oakland locations; so while I was correct about an Oakland site having waffles, when I’d looked up the address before leaving, I’d done so for the wrong Oakland restaurant.

But I’m Dianderthal – and when I’m hungry for something, you best believe I’m going to get it. I still ordered my drink at the Webster spot – likely the best latte I’ve ever had in my time here on the planet with its pure, rich flavor that needed no further enhancement in the form of a sweetener – but took it to go along with a Snickerdoodle for my youngest kid, who could only shake her head at my goof. It would be tight with a time for lunch already scheduled, but I HAD to get to this WC Morse location.

And get there I did – eventually, as I had to get from the 300th to the 4200th block in town. Once I made it, I was fortunate enough to find a parking spot, taking the short walk over by myself, the kids probably worried about how I might react should things go badly.

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And this is when I found my potential second home – plenty of light and high ceilings and busy, bustling people, none of them perturbed by (or perhaps unaware of) my bulky camera, fixed on the space, the fixings and clicking away. I could go on about how fascinated I am by Blue Bottle, mentioning their training labs, free coffee tastings, the thought that goes into individualizing each of their locations to fit the neighborhoods in which they stand, the fact that they run a coffee machine repair shop – but you’ve likely stopped reading by now anyway (I do have a tendency to go on in these posts, don’t I?).

I’ve gone on long enough so I’ll just say here that the lengthy trip that brought me to my first Blue Bottle waffle (and my second Blue Bottle location) was very much worth it. Hand held, it was crisp and thick, the insides sugary and fluffy. Thank goodness the locations in Southern California are waffle negative or I might lose my home, lose my marriage due to my addiction.

Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal

I’d still like to sample some of the drip coffee the next time I’m in downtown LA. Maybe they’ll bring their waffles here soon – I’d be willing to sign a 2-year lease for a window seat near the waffle iron if they ever do.

Blue Bottle Coffee
Oakland’s “Waffle” location (with other breakfast items)
4270 Broadway
Oakland’s coffee and other treats (no waffles) location
300 Webster Street
and locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York

And lunch with the cousins was excellent – we spent time at Rolling Dunes on Oakland’s Lakeshore Avenue; a cozy “after church” kind of place with homey, succulent dishes – pastas, sandwiches, breakfast items. The kids and I enjoyed our delicious meals, and even more appreciated catching up with the cousins.

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Rolling Dunes
3331 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland

52 Notes :: Lorre

52 Notes :: Lorre

January is here again and with it has arrived a collection of resolutions, promises, and great changes among the masses that will mostly be abandoned come the first of February. I’m not immune to the lure of January 1st – its cleanness and newness buzzing brightly, clearly visible even in mid-December, when saying yes to another slice of cheesecake seems okay because you’ll start fresh in the new year. My resolutions are vast and unrealistic and foolish, but my strategy was to just throw it all out there and see what sticks – weight loss, marathon training, writing a few personal essays, more salads, less wine, four blog posts a week, submitting a short story to a journal (which takes the writing of a short story as a first step), saving money, reading a new book a month, keeping my office/car/desk clean and organized – the list could (and actually does) go on and on.

But here’s one I’m really pumped about. It’s more of a project. No actually, a challenge. It’s a new blog post I plan to do called 52 Notes, and I think it’s going to be quite the venture.

I’ve shared before with friends of mine my mourning of the lost art of letter writing. A few years ago, I tried to resurrect this craft for myself, sending out notes and cards to a few of my friends. Some wrote back, and how lovely was it to receive an item in the mail besides a bill or a flyer for the new Thai restaurant opening around the block. But as in most endeavors in my life, I eventually let the letter writing go. 52 Notes is about giving it another (more structured) try.

You may have heard the story late in 2014 about Neal Cassady’s 60-page letter to Jack Kerouac being retrieved; a letter heralded for how it influenced and transformed Kerouac’s writing, causing him to pen his highly acclaimed On the Road using the stream-of-consciousness style that helped make this work memorable. Do I think one of my proposed 52 notes will inspire a great piece of literature? Yes, likely.

But I’m not doing this for the fame. I simply crave old-schoolness. I love heavy telephones fit for injury if thrown. I sometimes miss the days of answering a phone call without an inkling of who might be on the other end when answered (back in the day, it was rarely the boy I was crushing on at a given time). Cassette tapes, encyclopedias, paying with cash – all memories of stress-free days… at least relatively stress free – I could get worked up over what I’d wear to the school dance or if the new cute guy in school had a girlfriend back where he came from. Digital files and the internet and debit cards have made the world easier, faster, but not necessarily better. Some intangible bits of beauty have gotten lost in the whirl of it all.

So while driving the other day, the idea came to me to write letters to friends and family – perhaps even strangers – over the year: 52 notes (on greeting cards, stationery, recycled paper – anything that can be mailed) to 52 different people over the 52 weeks of 2015.

Visiting my parents over New Year’s week in Stockton, I considered who the first person on my list of 52 might be. Right away, I thought of my friend Lorre because, back when we were teens, the two of us probably exchanged hundreds of notes. Lorre and I were on and off best friends (ever have one of those?). On Friday nights, we spent hours at Hammer Skate, on Saturdays and Sundays, we walked the malls countless times (yes, malls – Stockton has two that are located across the street from one another), and during the week, we talked on the phone until we fell asleep. As much time as we spent together, there apparently was still information that needed to be shared between us by note. While often salacious, Lorre’s notes were most impressive for their neatness, as she had the coolest writing out of all my friends, a sort of cursive/print mash-up that I often tried to emulate. She also ended many letters with a signature face (something I also tried to develop for myself but nothing ever stuck).

Thinking of this face, of her writing and her notes, I asked my mom if she knew anything about a shoebox of mine left in my room over 20 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles; a box filled with letters and notes from high school. It was more of a throwaway question – I assumed she would say no.

Instead, she told me to go to the laundry room and look in the cabinet over the dryer – there was a white box in there that she’d put away years ago, after she’d transitioned my bedroom into her sewing room. I tingled in a way I’ve not tingled in decades – could it really be, pieces of life from my way way back?

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And indeed it was. An entire Esprit de Corps box puffing with notes. I read every one, a process that mostly made me laugh, but nauseated me as well. Worried me. Shamed me. Mortified me; made me cringe. It was the most surreal hour point five I’ve had in a very long time. The funniest thing is, I can’t even share some of the best stuff in those notes because… Because that was high school. And how things have changed. And also, how they haven’t. I’m really not close to most of my high school pals anymore, and there were some people named or who wrote notes that I don’t recall at all. But, still.

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More of that on another post. What the box really did was enthuse me even more; commit me entirely to this project.

The Esprit box came home from Stockton yesterday with me. I can’t believe that the information held within it has been so accessible to my parents all these years, and they’ve not indulged. Good thing. The biggest challenge now will be to hide it somewhere that my kids can’t find it. I’ll just be sure that none of my 52 Notes contain incriminating or scandalous information.

Here’s to a well read and written 2015!

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My first letter is to my boy crazy partner in crime from Pacific Middle School and Lincoln High School.

Tasty Places :: Boudin Bakery

Tasty Places :: Boudin Bakery

It’s a wonder I haven’t written up this place before. I’m a regular here. This is my place. I eat here morning, midday, and evening. Only the staff here doesn’t know it. And that’s because I live some 300 miles plus away from Stockton’s Boudin Bakery. When I visit my hometown in the summer and during the holidays, however, I stack up the visits, making up for the many days I’m too far away to stop in for cookies or a tangy, nutty salad or hearty sandwich, along with a cup of coffee (they serve Peet’s). image It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve, my 4th of six official vacation days, mixed in with two holidays, which equals a week and a half-long break from work. I’d planned to spend my vacation in many a coffee shop and cafe, filling up page after page of verse, making much progress on short stories and a new novel and several essays in various degrees of incompletion. Instead, I was stricken with a shrewd bout of sinusitis – an ailment that tricks you into thinking you just have a cold or allergies, and after a few days rest convinces you you’re feeling better, only to yank you back down into idle days in bed, the lethargy and pain so bad that it kills you just to pick up the remote to switch the channel once Live with Kelly & Michael ends, forcing the voices of Whoopie and now two different Rosies (when did Perez join The View) into your hazy nap dreams. Now firmly on Day 3 of my antibiotic regimen, I finally got myself up to write, to sip, and to eat, well rested and feeling closer to normal after one night on my parents’ sofa bed, snuggled deep into several layers of covers since the dryness of the heater causes the fragile little blood vessels in my nose to bleed. All this to say, I got to my happy place this morning. imageimage Yes, give me a plate of French Toast and potatoes served alongside a cup ‘a joe, and I’m a happy gal. Drop off a notebook and a pen, and I can keep myself busy for hours (I’d similarly be sated if one were to leave me in a room full of Star Wars Legos). What finally got me up out of my booth seat was the burden of errands I needed to complete today – taking my mom to the AT&T store, and grabbing fabric from JoAnn’s. Oh, life. But I did get some writing done, after eating of course. I always take pictures of my food at its most pristine, but thought I’d take some shots of my table when I’m in the trenches – first I separate (gotta get rid of the blueberries since I’m allergic, then I set aside the remaining berries because I like them cold; and then I like to cut up the toast all at once rather than as I go to expedite the eating part), then savor (although today, with all the photos – DSLR and then IPhone, then all the separating and arranging, my toast had reached an internal temperature of negative five by the time I stuck my fork into it), then push back the leftovers to write along with a refill of coffee. imageimage I’m lucky to have offices away from home such as these, the sounds of the real regulars laughing as they played some sort of game; the smell of simmering clam chowder, some folks already ordering bread bowls of it so early in the morning. Boudin is my kind of place, with tasty options, friendly staff, and a chill vibe. There are actually locations a bit closer to home – including a store that I always walk past on my way to Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa – but logistically the Stockton one might just be easier to get to on a regular basis (have you ever tried to find parking at Metro Pointe?!). And it’s home – even though I’m only in town two or three times a year, the same lady takes my order, the same lady offers me water while I’m waiting on my to go order. image So tomorrow and the next day and the one after that, don’t be surprised to see “diateit” Instagram posts of chowder and flourless peanut butter cookies and chicken pesto sandwiches. Boudin SF 5616 Pacific Avenue in Stockton and other locations

Burger Quest :: Burger Lounge

Burger Quest :: Burger Lounge

Earlier today, I managed to disappear shortly from Day 2 of my daughter Kourtney’s dance convention. Dance conventions are the purest form of parent torture; as a mom, I’m expected to sit in a congested ballroom watching choreographers cycle through a new dance routine every hour, each using a song you can’t shake out of your head even if you jump up and down like there was water in your ear; and what’s worse, I don’t even get to join in (it’s hard to keep myself seated during the hip hop rotation). When you exit the ballroom, you’re faced with vendors hustling dance apparel and bows and turning boards (literally a 3-by-3 board used for dancers to practice turns) that you’ll be peer pressured into buying if you don’t make a firm commitment to hold on tight to your dollars. On Day 1, I was a good girl, getting work done on my laptop despite the music, going for a 6-mile run around the hotel’s adjacent neighborhood, limiting myself to just one item purchased at the stands, being gracious in offering one floor sitter an empty chair next to me that I’d been using to hold my purse, and only eating the healthy food packed in my lunch bag.

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Today’s experience was quite the opposite. I chatted when I should have been writing, talked myself out of my run (my knee ached from the frigid room), glared at the woman who kept sitting in the chair next to me despite half of my sweater settling on its edge (a clear indication not to sit there), bought yet another item for daughter – one she didn’t even asked for, and rebuffed my healthy lunch of apples and peanut butter, fresh raspberries, and trail mix, deciding instead to find a nearby burger to make up for the awful and dry burger I’d had the night before at a nicer chain restaurant where my husband wanted to go for his birthday dinner.

So my craving warranted a Burger Quest type of burger, and I was happy to find Burger Lounge via a quick search for locations within walking distance from the hotel (if I was going to spend money and skip my run, the least I could do was burn a few calories with a mile-long walk). And so the decision was made: once I made sure Kourtney was fed at the lunch break, shoed-up, and ready for her next round, I’d set out, asking a couple of the other parents to keep an eye on her (because I had very important work to do).

My walk took me through a tiny stretch of Beverly Hills, where I hoped to bump into a celebrity or two (I did see a limousine pull over in wait of a passenger at a fancy house but nothing more exciting than that). My hunger was fierce so I kept my feet moving briskly, removing a piece of clothing after each long block to keep cool (I’d layered, as the ballrooms were cold – and if you’re concerned about my public stripping, I stopped once I got down to my running tank). It took less than 20 minutes to arrive, and thankfully the line was short.

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I’m sure there are times when their line is out the door. Burger Lounge sits on a corner along Beverly Blvd. with passersby ranging from realtors yapping loudly on Bluetooth to ladies bold and brazen enough to leave the house in head-to-toe leopard to hungry cops to hipsters walking their dogs. With burgers of free-range turkey or lamb or grass-fed beef; of quinoa veggies or longline caught albacore, it’s easy to believe this place would garner big business for variety’s sake alone. I chose turkey, of course, and was pleased that, for once, it wasn’t packaged for some super conscious health nut; you know, with avocado and sprouts and without cheese (while I can be a health nut, when I eat a burger, I go big with it). This turkey came Lounge Style – with grilled onions and cheese (American or white cheddar) and 1000 Island dressing. I ordered the ¼ pound version, not realizing how tiny a ¼-pound would be. But it proved the right choice, a burger that when paired with fries filled me up quite nicely. If I’d gone with the bigger burger, I would have kept eating but been forced to stroll back to the hotel bloated and slow and with a bellyache.

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Yes it was small but gratifying. The turkey was succulent and dense, the sauce and cheese melding nicely for that perfect balance of sweet and savory. It was amazing. It was wonderful.

And then there were the fries. The wait staff who’d brought my burger asked if I’d like a side of their house-made Ranch dressing to go with my meal. Certainly, sir. So glad he asked, because THOSE fries with THAT Ranch was potato madness. And when I say potato madness, I mean potato GOODNESS. The fries were excellent, at once limp and crisp while being just the right kind of greasy and robustly russety (made-up word).

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Feeling guilty for trying out a new place without my partner in burger crimes, I returned to Burger Lounge with Kourtney after her convention ended. She’s a pretty harsh judge of burger joints, but she gave this one a thumbs up, equivalent on her scale to a primetime Emmy or a platinum record (do they still do that?). The second visit meant more cash exiting my wallet, but at least I was able to steal a few of her fries and slurp down more than my fair share of her rich chocolate shake.

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Next time, I’ll get my own shake (and I’m not even a shake person, but this one was worth carrying on about) and, after peeping a batch on someone else’s plate, will add onion rings to my fry order. It’s a given that I will be Lounging again very very soon.

Official Dianderthal Burger Quest Burger List:
1. Hawkins House of Burgers turkey burger with everything (mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onion, lettuce), cheese added
2. PCB (Plan Check Burger) at Plan Check with americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles, crunch bun
3. 25 Degrees Number One Burger (turkey subbed for beef) with caramelized onions, crescenza, prelibato gorgonzola, bacon, arugula, thousand island
4. Burger Lounge’s Free Range Turkey Burger, served Lounge Style with organic white cheddar, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, and house-made 1000 Island
5. Father’s Office Burger with arugula, caramelized onions, Gruyere, applewood bacon, and maytag blue cheese
6. Island’s California Flyer turkey burger (BBQ sauce, “Island Reds” – fried onion straws, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato & mayo)
7.Golden State turkey burger with provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and ketchup, (added grilled onions)
8. Oh My Burger BYOMB (Build Your Oh My Burger) turkey with OMB sauce, ketchup, pepper jack, and onion rings
9. Holstein’s California Turkey Burger with sprouts, tomato, avocado, cucumber claw, pepperjack cheese, and Russian dressing
10. Yeah! Burger (Make It Your Own – turkey patty, whole wheat bun, pepper jack cheese, sriracha mayo, ketchup, grilled onions, honey mustard)
11. The Habit (Veggie burger made like a Charburger, with mayo, pickle, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, cucumber, and sprouts)
12. The Counter (Build Your Own – turkey patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, ketchup)
13. Burger City Grill (The BCG, turkey patty, pickles, grilled onions)
14. The Dallas at Bobby’s Burger Palace – spice crusted ground turkey patty with coleslaw, jack cheese, BBQ sauce, and pickles

Fry Factor
1. Island’s fries with ranch dressing
2. Golden State fried sweet potato wedges with garlic aioli (and a few with curry ketchup)
3. Burger Lounge’s fries with house-made Ranch
4. Holstein’s sweet potato fries
5. 25 Degrees Half & Half (sweet potato and regular fries)
6. Father’s Office sweet potato fries with blue cheese aioli
7. The Counter 50-50 fries (half regular, half sweet Ps)
8. Oh My Burger sweet potato fries
9. The Habit french fries
10. Plan Check sweet potato waffle fries and regular fries
11. Bobby’s Burger Palace sweet potato fries
12. Burger City Grill fries
13. Yeah! Burger sweet potato fries
14. Hawkins House of Burgers fries

Burger Lounge
281 S. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills and other locations

Grown Up Home School :: Summer Edition

Grown Up Home School :: Summer Edition

What are you doing this summer?

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Besides a couple of trips to Vegas, one up north to visit my parents, and a short vacation in the Midwest just before Labor Day, my big plans are to go back to school. I’m good at school. Counting Kindergarten, I’ve spent more than half my life in school. Plus, I’ve been an instructor at a city college for 15 years, and spent years of my public health career as a health educator. And still, I can’t get enough edumacation. There’s nothing like building new skills, learning details about topics you may have not known much about before. It’s wonderful to stretch your brain, challenge yourself, move your brain off its comfy couch.

So I’m starting something called Grown Up Home School. It will it be free, it will it be fun, and it will be an experiment. Not to take away from all those fancy institutions that I borrowed thousands of money to attend and learn from, but with all the tools and technology available today, and all the smart and wonderful people willing to share their wisdom and talents, I figured that I could put together a course or two for myself to keep me engaged this summer.

Grown Up Home School (the Summer Edition) will begin on Monday, June 30th. For any of you who’d like to join me as a peer, I’ll be posting information and templates next week on how you can develop your own class for the summer, along with ideas for course topics. My two summer classes will be “Build a Better Brown Dinner” and “Managing & Marketing Your Blog,” which will follow curricula that include objectives, schedules, reading, assignments, and perhaps even a test. And grading too – I’ll need a way to assess my commitment to these classes and if I worked hard to achieve optimal outcomes. Whether you develop your own course or just keep up with how I’m doing over the summer, I hope you’ll follow along and share your ideas, your input, and your support. More soon. Keep learning (and eating).