She's off and running and we're drooling

Amanda Simpson of Food Porn Daily and What We're Eating fame wrote a fabulous cookbook, "Food Porn Daily." I swear it should be a coffee table book it's so beautiful and beautifully written.

Her publicist scheduled a cross country book signing tour for her. Lucky for us local food bloggers and fans of Amanda, the tour kicked off last night at the Borders Bookstore in Mission Valley; and lucky me, I got to go. 


Being the classy lady that she is, she brought cookies; the best danged cookies on the planet I might add. She brought a deconstructed version of the cookie. The cookie recipe alone is worth the price of the book. 


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Oh how I hate fire season

Keeping a close watch on what has been dubbed The Cowboy Fire. We were ordered to go home early from work. 



So far it's in an isolated area and from what I've heard so no structures are in jeopardy.


Some of my friends from work were told to get ready, just in case. 




View from Cameron Corners. 




It still seems far enough away from the cottage and the wind is blowing the other way. Unfortunately toward some co-workers. 


They have some heavy duty fire fighting planes and helicopters in the sky.  Hopefully it will be out soon. 


God bless our firefighters and please keep them safe. 


Rock Canyon Vineyards

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to meet Tim Petersen in our local Albertson's market in front of the display of San Diego County wines. He was with another gentleman and one thing that struck me about him, was that as they were talking, Tim was straightening the bottles of wine on the shelves. I thought what a nice person, and he truly is, both he and his wife.

We struck up a conversation about the San Diego County wines and when he told me about his winery, I weaseled an invitation out of him for me and Stan to visit his winery, Rock Canyon vineyards.


Oh, I couldn't wait to see the rows of grapevines and the wine cellar.

Come visit Rock Canyon Vineyards with me, you are in for a treat.


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Food for kids Backpack program

“I like backpack because I can have food on Saturday and Sunday.”

– 3rd Grader, Bobier Elementary

The San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program was launched in 2007 to provide food to get chronically hungry elementary school students through the weekend.  Every Friday, participating children receive a backpack with child friendly items such as peanut butter, pop-top canned goods, cereal, juice boxes, fruit cups, raisins, pudding cups, granola bars, shelf-stable milk and macaroni and cheese  tucked inside.


The children receive free or reduced cost meals while school is in session, but do not have food available on the weekends or school holidays for themselves and their siblings. Food 4 Kids provides food directly to the children, without requiring their parents to receive a referral to a local food pantry, pick up food at the pantry or prepare it at home. 

 In order to qualify for the program, students must attend a school where at least 80% of the population receives free or reduced cost lunch, and receive a referral from their teachers.  During the 2008-2009 school year, the program served just 200 chronically hungry elementary school children in eight schools located throughout San Diego County.  The need is much greater.  As an example, the pilot program at one school in 2006 served 250 children alone.

 The economy has been hard on all of us this year, but it has been hardest on those who were already struggling.  Charitable donations are down, and hunger in San Diego County is up.  Those of us who love food and view it as a pleasure are so fortunate to be in that position. The least we can do is try to ensure the children of our community don’t – quite literally - go hungry. 

With this goal in mind, San Diego’s food bloggers and other members of the local community are coming together to raise funds for the San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.  A little goes a long way - the program costs approximately $7.00 per week per child to fund, and a donation of $250.00 will fund a backpack for a child for the entire 36 week school year.  Giving whatever you can afford will help to ensure this program continues to provide a much needed service.

 As an added incentive, several food bloggers will be hosting prizes to be awarded in a drawing at our live food and backpack drive at our booth at the Little Italy Mercato on December 12, 2009.  We will also be collecting non-perishable, child-friendly food items and backpacks.  Come and meet your favorite food bloggers, drop off your donations and celebrate the Holidays at the Mercato! 

 Suggested donation items:

A medium-sized neutral design backpack, preferably red in color.

          Toothbrush and kids toothpaste

          Coloring books

          School supplies (pencils, paper, pencil sharpeners, markers, crayons)

 Nutritious kid-friendly foods, such as fruit roll ups, granola bars, boxed packaged food items like cereal, crackers, nutrition bars, pop top canned goods such as applesauce or other fruit, ready made macaroni and cheese and other easy convenient items.                    

Thank you so much for your contribution, and Happy, Happy Holidays!

60 year member of Ironworkers Local 229

Stan is a member of the Ironworker's Union Local 229.
He's been a member for 60 years and yesterday his 60 year pin was bestowed upon him. 
Stan getting pin

He was awarded his pin along with Frankie, in the middle, the man he was inducted with 60 yrs ago.
60 yr pins

At that time they made the union 133 members strong. Now it is about 2,000 members strong.
The oldest member is a 99 yr old 65 yr pin recipient. 
65 yr pin 99 yrs old

Lets go to Santee Lakes and the picnic.

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Gator By The Bay

If you are into Zydeco and Cajun this was the place for you. My friend Shelly and I went to the Zydeco and Blues Festival called Gator By The Bay today. What a great time we had. Stan wasn't interested in going so he made the Costco run for me, what a guy.

We were fortunate enough to get parking on Harbor Island not far from the Festival. Our walk took us right along the bay with a view of our beautiful city.


Let's eat some crawfish and shake a leg ;-)

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Oktoberfest in La Mesa

Today we went to Oktoberfest in La Mesa.  We met up with daughter Vicky and son in law Bill.


The first thing we did was get some bratwurst and beer. The bratwurst seemed exceptionally good this year. I don't know if it was because I was really really hungry or what, but they were really really good. I like mine with grilled onions and sauerkraut with a little spicy brown mustard. I cut the end off to show the bratwurst under all that mess of goodness. See the spices in it mmmmm.


After wandering around for a while I was getting hungry for a little something sweet, and it wasn't a funnel cake I was wanting, and a cup of coffee. I came across the restaurant Tiramisu Trattoria,


they are located in downtown La Mesa, right in the heart of Oktoberfest. I was wanting to sit down in a restaurant and have a cup of coffee and a little dessert. I walked into the restaurant and saw the beautiful decor and the tables covered in white tablecloths with cloth napkins.


Whoa!! I wasn't expecting this, I was afraid just having dessert and coffee wouldn't be looked upon with much favor. I told the man that greeted me at the door that I only wanted dessert and coffee. He happily seated me at a nice booth and a waiter was there quickly with a dessert and coffee menu. I discussed the desserts with him and found that most of the desserts are made right there in the restaurant. They have three different kinds of tiramisu and a baba Amaretto. You have to click on their link and read the dessert menu, it was so hard to decide.
I had a cappuccino


and the traditional tiramisu.



Of course I was taking pictures of my dessert and told the waiter I have a food blog, he thought I said I kept a food log and wished he was so disciplined. We both had a laugh over that after I explained what I meant. The news made it to the kitchen because before long the chef Anna Maria Baslietto came out and introduced herself to me. She was so very gracious and explained to me how she makes the tiramisu. She uses pasteurized eggs and imported Marscapone as well as imported biscotti. The strawberry tiramisu is her latest creation, I need to get back there for that one. She is from Genoa and one of the owners is from Calabria and the other owner is from Mexico City.
Daughter Vicky, and her friend that joined us later, caught up with me in the restaurant. They weren't hungry and didn't order anything, yet they were brought glasses of water and were treated as though they had placed an order.
I was very impressed with the exceptional dessert and service. I am anxious to go back and try some of their pasta dishes.

After this brief respite, off we were to enjoy more of Oktoberfest, which of course included more food. Now the girls that were not hungry for dessert got their appetites back at the beer garden and ate another bratwurst with potato pancakes, hot German potato salad and cabbage. I tasted the potato pancakes and the potato salad. The potato pancakes were delicious and the potato salad was a little flat.


Of course it's not Oktoberfest without having a pretzel with mustard,


or a piece of lingonberry pie,


or doing the chicken dance to an oompah band,


or buying the grandsons marshmallow shooters that came complete with ammunition. 


I did buy two, one for each boy, but I had so much fun shooting marshmallows off in the beer garden that I just might have a hard time giving one up.