Friday, April 13, 2007

Update on SoCal visit 2: Back to Bawlmer, hon, er, dude

Oh my God, did I hit the Publish button instead of the Draft button? Now I feel so embarrassed! Oopsie! My heartfelt apologies for the very embryonic post there (I was wondering how Fairfax could've known I was back in town already). My only excuse is that I had to act fast because we were boarding. Anyway...

Well I am sitting here at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport waiting to board my connection between Ontario and BWI (or at least I was when I started typing; I'll probably be back in Maryland by the time I publish this), and my meal here was a bit less appetizing, just a slightly tough little Nathan's hot dog (again, the Fresh Connections sandwiches I found at Las Vegas are here, but the hot dog was cheaper). This after I polished off a Del Taco bacon and egg breakfast quesadilla and three and a half hash brown sticks (hey, I won't be eating that for a while anyway, so why not). But I have had much better food over the last day or so. A recap (again, photos are forthcoming, because I am too tired to deal with them right now):


Think Mt. Washington Village, but with more smog and palm trees. And wind - man, those Santa Anas were kicking up yesterday! I almost got hit by a very heavy palm frond. But the Village at Claremont is in Claremont, CA. This city is on the westernmost cusp of the Inland Empire, and the easternmost part of LA County, and it's a very cool, happenin' place. The Village at Claremont has a Rhino Records, a music store where I bought this really cool device where you turn a knob on a string and it makes these wooden chickens "peck" the platform above the knob. And I almost bought a VHS tape on how to play the didgeridoo (yes, I have one, and yes, I know that is weird).

A. Kline Chocolatier - My friend Jim and I went to Claremont's A. Kline Chocolatier. Okay, I did, and dragged Jim in with me. They have some absolutely wonderful candies in there, and some Easter candies on sale for $3 for a small, Mary Sue-sized egg (the one that's about the size of a very large normal egg). It's as good as a non-Mary Sue can be (God, am I a typical Bawlamoron or what, comparing all such candy Easter eggs to Mary Sue). Bought some wonderful butter creams, too, about $18 a pound, but each was worth about 50 to 60¢, and I only got 10 of them.

Kinya Japanese Restaurant - Every hip, happenin', semi-pretentious place like the Village at Claremont (or Mt. Washington) almost always has a Japanese restaurant with sushi. So on a hunch I did a search of the restaurants there, and lo and behold, Kinya popped up. This place had some very good (though occasionally stringy) sushi and sashimi, at comparable prices (we ended up paying about $50 before taxes for drinks, appetizer, mains and dessert). I liked the presentation of the sashimi in a bowl of rice and radish shreds, their Chirashi Zushi. However, I was particularly bowled over by their deep-fried (though not tempura) soft-shell (Mmmmm. Soft shell). Even better, they had the first tempura ice cream I have ever had outside of Baltimore that actually tasted good at all. And unlike the ones here, which serve it in a dish, Kinya cut their tempura ice cream into quarters, making it ridiculously easy to eat. What a great idea! They even put a nice dollop of whipped cream and a cherry in the middle. Jim got the green tea flavor (which is odd, considering he's no great fan of green tea ice cream), and I got the vanilla, but we each tried the other's.

hope I see tempura green tea ice cream in Baltimore soon.


Café Sevilla -
We finished off the evening, and my trip, at a favorite tapas bar and dance place, the Café Sevilla. This place is in a fashionable part of downtown Riverside. And though we don't dance, we do like those tapas. We started with drinks - Jim got the sangría, which was so strong he almost asked me to drive home as soon as it first hit his lips! I had a Spanish beer, whose name I forget, but it was good enough for me!

For tapas, Jim got a good, hearty gazpacho and this quartet of marinated vegetables and seafood, including some "firm" octopus, very sharp and tangy artichokes, mellow red pepper (and garlic that actually took on the flavor of the pepper, not the other way around), and almost bland mushrooms (all for $11). I got a tangy ceviche for $9 and some very smooth meatballs (that is indeed the best way to describe them - smooth) al Jérez (in Sherry) for $6. Then we shared a crèpe filled with chocolate mousse and covered in white chocolate and Grand Marnier - which was better in theory than execution. Altogether, another $50 for the two of us, before tip.

And so that's it. After some more junk food on the plane and in Phoenix, here I am, ready to go to bed and off to work tomorrow morning, and ready to hunker down into this horribly cold weekend. Well, at least I can look forward to my next trip out there, whenever it is (I'm shooting for Christmas break - I plan these things well in advance).

Man I wish I was back in California!


Fairfax said...

Welcome home, hon! Glad ta have ya back!

Fairfax said...

You don't play the digeridoo at the downtown farmers' market,do you? there's some hippie guy who does, with his patchouli-scented girlfriend...oops, guess that's not you! ;-)

danielle said...

Welcome back! Sounds like you had a great trip.

Baltimore Snacker said...

Thanks for the welcome, y'all. Fairfax: no, that is definitely not me. Ain't no hippie, ain't got no girlfriend, don't know how to play that didgeridoo yet!