Queen Mary Sunday Brunch, Long Beach…definitely a flexitarian Sunday!

we haven’t been here in forever (since like Mother’s Day 10 years ago…) but we had friends in town for another doll convention (thankfully Jim has some limits)  in downtown long beach so the QM seemed like the perfect ace to meet up for Queen Mary Sunday champagne brunch .

The queen Mary from the parking lot as we arrived

Downtown long beach across the water

The dome….it’s just the dome…I have no idea what it’s doing.

Upon entering the queen Mary, you will see the hotel entrance (onboard the ship) , Sir winstons fine dining at the queen Mary, shops etc

The dining room for brunch is ginormous 

The famous ice sculpture dripping shrimp

The harpist who is mentioned in every review on yelp

Homemade by someone corned beef hash!  For a flexitarian, this was yummy!

Food and more food…pastas, Asian, salads, breakfast items, seafoods, a carving station, omelette station…

No, we did not get to eat at the captains table..he was busy as you can see

Omelette station

Four meats at the carving station including pork tenderloin in addition to the usual suspects

The desserts kept changing!   Rebecca say my carrot cake and when I went back there was none but chocolate covered strawberries had arrived and when Rebecca went back there was a time chocolate tart that wasn’t there before…


The price tag for this whole affair is like 56.95 a person plus parking…so this is not a brunch for just any old Sunday…..but the atmosphere is nice (come on!  It’s the queen Mary! And you are eating on the water and there are portholes for windows) and the food is pretty good and there is the harpist:-).  Then you get to wander the ship after.

After a brunch filled with numerous mimosas, you have to look around the ship.
Things like the worlds longest Lego brick model ship    

A Lego Winston Churchill     
Take in the views from the observation deck


(Look at my calves!  Now if I could trim up my waist to match them!)

And play in the phone less phone booths

Good day with good people…overall it’s a fun splurge …. 

Today’s food finds

Fall has encroached upon us and wreaked havoc on my food seeking adventures…and has left me feeling kinda unenthused about cooking.

I started my Saturday with Starbucks on the way to the  Santa Monica farmers market Saturday….upon arrival I notice there isn’t a single avocado anywhere which is sad for me who eats one daily if we are home

Lots of green this time of year….herbs chards Bok choi broccoli….a splash of color with the purple basil here…and the asparagus is now arriving  

   I did get some baby romaines but no baby butter
  Look!  Baby eggplants!!!  
It’s also squash season and I’m sure I already have more squash than Jim can handle

  Delicious dates   
Yep…I did restock on the raw goat feta and mozzarella


Jims favorite berries are way out of season but it appears that they have been preserved to sustain him through the winter months

From there we went to Penzeys Santa Monica store where I had two coupons for free cocoa and free curry plus they had a sale that you got free smoked paprika or chili 3000 if you spent 25 dollars…

My finds were:

The bags were to replenish my supply for things I know I love, of course the three free jars, then I usually try things out with the small jar, if I like it, I buy the big jar, then if we use it a lot I upgrade to the bag.

Made a trip by the Santa Monica whole foods and look what’s in season:

My mood wasn’t great today so I didn’t buy one but these guys were perfect. Perfectly small sprouts:-)

I’m gearing myself for a long boring food winter…

Tomorrow is my nutty mushroom loaf:-)

Farm fresh to you

its Thursday so my box greeted me at the door when I awoke…

Inside is the weekly bounty (fully customized by me…the standard box gets modified for my needs and tastes).

This week we had free range eggs, omnivore salt, horseradish mustard, watercress, kale, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, hothouse lettuce, oyster mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, butternut squash, fennel, cilantro, tarragon, chard, green onions, sweet dumpling squash , white turnips, and three trial apples: northern spy, spite burg, and golden russet

I’ll show you what I make!

Cleaning out the fridge…

Being out of town left me with a surplus of veggies to consume before they go bad and they need gone before I need the shelf space for a new batch so I’m doing veggie overload meals

 Tonight is a potato/squash/leak mini casserole with salad and orzo/cannellini 

Last night was intended to be a stack but didn’t end up that way…a potato party topped with roasted squash, a portobello with greens and some roasted carrots


Pretty basic 

The salad ended up dressed with penzeys Greek seasoning which always makes the most fantastic dressing…on the side is a little of the giant beans imported from Greece I bought marinated in tomato

Carrots and zucchini roasted with an olive oil spray   
The potato patties were leftover mashed potatoes I mixed with two eggs and fries in olive oil

The greens were leftovers too…just chard and kale sautéed with some elephant garlic and pepper.

Tonight is more complex (especially since I forgot to turn on the oven)

The mini casseroles are zucchini, German butterball, and leak topped with egg and cream and another layer of zucchini and 3yr aged cheddar ( the photo is mid build) with some penzeys Italian herbs…

The orzo is mail order and I’ve never tried it before


The stuff surely is full of starch because the water becomes thick as syrup…and the box says to rinse AFTER cooking

The orzo was combined with my favorite beans and a jarred tapenade 


I loved my mini casseroles and the orzo so those will be made again!


Winter squash time has come

I’ve never been big on winter squash except for butternut which I grew more than I could handle last year.  Thanks to my farm fresh to you subscription, I owned a Hubbard … I have never cooked a Hubbard before.  But I have now.  I also included a new (to me) try at a butternut that I made tonight.

So I looked online and found that the “best way” to eat a Hubbard is roasted and I followed that recipe until:

I peaked and it looked like this.  So I went to plan b.  Mashed!

While it was still warm I added some shredded 3 year aged cheddar and cumin…paired it with mashed potatoes and some white bean burger patties topped with tomato/shiitake sauce.

Tonight was a butternut.   I read that I’ve been struggling too much to peel it. Slice off the ends, then use a peeler on the whole thing, cut in half width wise right where the skinny and fat parts meet, cut the ends lengthwise and sees them and then cube

I used the kale and butternut recipes I say online and used the collards I had on hand

Plus a can of garbanzos for protein…seasoned with chipotle and penzeys mural of flavor

I have a kabocha and a butternut waiting to be cooked next….

Anniversary lunch at Garden Wok

Chinese vegetarian with all faux meats.  We’ve been looking at this place for quite some time and came here today after the other veg Chinese place we wanted to try was closed permanently (owners retired and left a sign).

Some of the “meats” are made with gluten but the serve cook owner was very knowledgeable about what and how and what could be substituted

Yup…no liquor license:-(

Fresh seasoned cucumbers

“Chicken” with lemon sauce 

“Pork” with pickled Napa 

Flat rice noodles and veggies

Everything was good and for a change we were able to have Chinese which is really rare since the gluten sesame situation kicked in.

Palm Springs eats

We just wound up four days in Palm Sparings for work and had little time to post much but we did get to eat a lot:-)

Upon arrival on Sunday our room wasn’t ready for check in so we were off to Olive A’sudden and then to a late lunch at Alicante which we have seen before, and have dined at their sister restaurant, but never yet tried.  It’s a blend of sports bar, tapas, and entree portioned Mediterranean/Spanish

That’s my blood orange Manhattan and Kim’s house made sangria.

I keep thinking I should have tried the smoked bacon Manhattan 

Gotta have octopus!

Roasted almonds, and artichoke and egg

Potatoes brava

Remarkably yummy citrus marinated olives.

This place was okay and was not very expensive overall…but it was just a light lunch for us.

Dinner became a new adventure to a place we had heard of but never tried Wangs in the Desert.  

This place is an eclectic blend of Asian cuisines. We were drawn because they advertise having a gluten free menu and a vegetarian menu.


Lychee martini for me!

This was our jalapeño calamari appetizer

Gluten free beef with broccoli


Green curry and veggie fried rice

Monday night: Tropicale

We always love this place and the fiery dragon and coconut martinis are always a hit

Big ass shrimp cocktail!  

 Definitely sharable

My pork chop with greens and mashed potatoes

 Jim got a huge burger in a lettuce bun


We hit Trio with local friends the next night. Where …surprise!  I took no pictures

But I highly recommend the Will Stiles


One more Palm Springs spot to describe and share but I’ll save that for another post

Olive a Sudden in Palm Springs 

In Milwaukee downtown we came across our first olive oil and vinegar tasting shop

I couldn’t buy much (doll convention, ie limited packing space) but I was entranced by the tasting and the woman working there showcasing their “favorite” combos of olive oil and balsamic and mixing them so we could try it.

There is a similar store in Palm Springs that we never seem to go by during the day when they are open….until Sunday !  I didn’t take a lot of pics but I tasted many a vinegar and oil and brought home these two which just arrived home today.


I was so consumed by tasting and looking that I forgot pics of the store

But it’s Olive a sudden 

I’m all over so many of the flavors that I could buy them all….

I didn’t sample the wild mushroom and sage 😦 but it sounds yummy…and the sherry was very good and this doesn’t even list seasonal varieties like pumpkin!

Check them out…I’m going to shop online right now 🙂

Giordano’s…an annual tradition

Every year we hit this place since Donette and I found it 4 years ago. Giordanos pizza.

drinks to start….duh and since we went to bed at 4 am we started lunch with Bloody Mary and whatever Jim got (tasted like kool aid)

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The the incredible calamari fritti

this thing has fennel, calamari, onion, lemon, peppers, green bean and probably more…

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Then Donette and I had the stuffed crust veggie pizza and Jim has gluten free cheese and mushroom

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Love this place!