Sunday, December 27, 2009


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There is a new restaurant in Sunset Beach called the "Himilayan Grill". No corkage on Mon, Tues & Wed or 50% off the wine list.

Six of us decided to try it out and see if it met the requirements for CJ's Wine & Dine group.

We all ordered different dishes and tried them all. The normal Indian appetizer plate was ordered so we could compare with 2 other Indian restaurants that we frequent. We all decided that this "Himilayan Grill" was much better. I liked their lamb "shish kebab" better. It was moist and had very good flavor. The Samosa's were excellent. I ordered a dish called "shrimp chau chau". Chau Chau apparently is "noodles". This was the first time I had seen that on a menu in an Indian restaurant.

We were not disappointed in any of the food that we tried and decided that we would definitely be back

Rubber Ducky

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This evening Delius Restaurant in Signal Hill sponsored "The Rubber Ducky Tour". It is an amphibious that holds 48 people. Drives through Long Beach down to the boat launch at Los Alamitos Bay and goes into the water. We motored around the bay looking at all the houses that were decorated for Christmas and then returned to the restaurant. Everyone brought a bottle of wine and small plates of cheese and crackers were served. This was quite the festive event. Everyone was issued a "rubby ducky "mouth piece that made a quaking sound. And I thought my great-grandchildren were obnoxious. On the way back songs were sung and a few brave souls got up to dance in the aisle. Between the lurching of the vehicle and too much vino it was quite a sight. For $20 it was a cheap evening and a lot of fun. Getting on and off this contraption was a feat. The ladder is almost straight up and very narrow steps. Going up wasn't bad but coming down was a different game.

Favorite Chinese

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This was our last dinner at Doung Son for the year 2009 and we decided to bring better wines to celebrate the upcoming holidays. Everyone pulled out the " good stuff". As usual there were 8 of us dining tonight. Makes for better conversation and portions the food out well. The size of the dish at Doung Son is the same if you are 2 people or 10 people.

We started off with a seafood lettuce wrap. This is a takeoff of the "chicken" but much better.

Fried oysters tonight were large and plump and extremely fresh.

Next up was garlic prawns. The prawns were very large but this time they served them with the shell on and skewered. I felt the prawns were overcooked and dry. I prefer them split with the sauce poured over.

One of our favorite dishes is beef tendon and tonight it seemed extra tasty. Maybe we were just hungry with anticipation.

Chinese broccoli with seabass was brought to the table. Everything about this dish was excellent.

Scallops with mushrooms and green peppers was brought in. A little bit of bit to the sauce. The scallops were very good and I did avoid the peppers.

Oliver requested something with noodles so Henry ordered the same dish we had a few months back. Crisp noddles with a sauce. I just do not care for this dish at all. The sauce is really good but the noodles get gummy. I much prefer the soft noddles.

Last dish was lamb simmered in a gravy. This was the first time we had this dish. Apparently it is a "winter" dish. Very tasty.

Dessert was fresh melon and a warm tapioca pudding.

Al the wines that were brought were very good.

2005 Roar Rosella's Pinot Noir
2005 Krupp. Stagecoach, Cabernet Sauvignon (2 bottles)
2008 P/R Reisling
2005 Stolpmans Estate Syrah
2006 Domaine Jean Defaix Chablis
2006 Rusak Grenache
2004 Verison, Napa, Synchrony,
2005 Paloma, Napa, Merlot
2003 L'Aventure Optimus
1997 Cossart Gordon, Colheita, Baul Madeira

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Friday, December 11, 2009

6 of us met at a new restaurant in Los Alamitos called "Preveza". This was sort of a recon mission to check out the place, try different dishes and see how receptive they are in having a large group come in. CJ is always looking for new places to add to his "Wine & Dine" list

Preveza is billed as a "Mediterranean" restaurant. A blend of Greek and Italian. Pizzas, pastas, seafood. Menu is very diverse and a large selection of food.

We ordered 3 appetizers. Dolmades, which were excellent, Egg plant dip (babakanouch) which was ok, have had better and a smoked salmon flatbread which turned out to be really good. A big winner in that one.

Everyone ordered a different dish and everyone said their entree was very good. Everything from chicken to beef fillet to seafood and lamb. I ordered the grilled lamb chops ( your choice of 3 or 4. $16 or $19) Choice of several side dishes. I was so full from the appetizers I ate one chop of some pasta and brought the rest home for lunch on Saturday.

Prices are reasonable. Service was good. There wine list is very fairly priced. A bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvingon Blanc is $17 which is only a few dollars above retail. Corkage is $5.

This is definitely worth another trip to try a few more dishes. They seem to do a very large takeout business. Pizza boxes and large bagged items were going out the front door all evening.

We all brought our own wines, 2005 Ken Brown, Sanford & Benedict, Chardonnay, 2005 Merry Edwards Russian River, Tobias Glen, Pinot Noir, 2005 Melville, Clone 115, Pinot Noir, 2002 Alapay, Rebecah Beaudeax blend, 2000 Beaucannon, Napa, Cabernet, 2003 Nemea Caberent and a 2003 Meeker, Tutu Luna dessert wine.

Annual Christman Brunch

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I hosted my annual holiday brunch today. 33 people in attendance. A few less than last year and most people seemed to think the party flowed better. They commented on how everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Maybe next year I will have to keep the list of attendees down to a reasonable number. Maybe a lottery system to decide who gets the invitation.

Everyone brought a dish. I always ask for an appetizer, side dish or dessert. This year people seemed to opt for the desserts. They were so many "sweet"items. It became funny because everyone who walked in seemed to have a dessert. Now wait until next year, people will remember all the desserts from the year before and opt for appetizers and we will have no desserts.

I cooked a ham and two different kind of sausages and made 3 different egg casserole dishes. Put out juices and "cheap" sparkling wines to mix. When you go to a brunch at a restaurant they always serve the cheap "champagne". No different here.

Several people brought still wines so there was an abundance to drink.

My house was decorated ( I do that Thanksgiving weekend) and presents are wrapped, I can now enjoy the holiday season without all the stress that seems to go along with it. I have 3 dinners, an open house and a birthday party to look forward to before Christmas

Codfish Casserole

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Instead of our usual Wednesday night happy hour at the Pelican Isle in Sunset Beach we all headed for Chuck's house to be treated to dinner tonight.

Chuck and Janet had been on a 2 month road trip back east and into Newfoundland and the surrounding area.

They came back with this recipe for Cod fish casserole. Full of cheese and very good. It was a nice break from the "PI". Everyone thought that maybe we should do this more often. Sometimes your "hangout" can get stale.

Sea Smoke & Paella

Friday, November 20, 2009

Several people gathered tonight to have another taste of Paella and bring "Sea Smoke" vineyard Pinots to compare.

We had a 2007 Foxen "Sea Smoke" vineyard and a 2007 Sea Smoke Southing along with several other wines. Both of these particular wines were very good.

I also brought along a bottle of Maderia which I had purchased at a Maderia tasting Wednesday night. Iberico cheese , Agur blue cheese and anchovy stuffed olives were served with it . Apparently I was the only one that had tasted Maderia before. Several people were quite taken with it.

Nice way to end the summer/fall social season before we head into the holidays.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

9 of us got together tonight and had dinner at a small restaurant called Brulee. Apparently it is not brand new as several people have mentioned it to me lately. The place was a little noisy, the acoustics were not good but after the crowd that was in there for the "Prix Fixe" special left it became tolerable. They had a 3 course dinner with 2 glasses of wine for $30, 5:00 to 7:00 only. There is no corkage on Tuesday.

I will say that their pizza appetizers were excellent. They also served a small plate with small heirloom tomatoes and cheese which I passed up. The other people at the table said it was good

Various items were ordered and all said theirs were good. I ordered the short rib "osso bucco" which had great flavor and was very tender. A steak was ordered, halibut and lamb chops. No one had a complaint.

This restaurant is in Long Beach at Loynes and Pacific Coast Hwy., Parking can be dicey as there are several restaurants in the small shopping area.

Brulee is definitely worth another look .