Friday, November 21, 2014

Good Eats: Afghan Kebab & Grill, NYC--Queens--Jackson Heights


Afghan Kebab & Grill  74-16 37th Ave., (718) 507-8800.  Though meat eaters will find a delicious array of items that includes kebabs and more galore, I dined with vegetarians and discovered some delicious options.  The vegetarian sambosa filled with mashed potatoes is a tasty starter and is sometimes available in a version stuffed with spinach or pumpkin.


vegetarian dishes at Afghan Kebab & Grill in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
Vegetarian main dish choices include spinach, eggplant, and roasted cauliflower and are served with a plate of seasoned rice.  A so-so salad and bread are included.  Several toppings spice things up—my favorites were the cilantro and yogurt sauces, but I wasn’t crazy about the all-purpose mayonnaise sauce.  A guava lassi is available, and though delicious, tastes surprisingly similar to the mango version.


interior of Afghan Kebab & Grill in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
The atmosphere is cozy and comfortable and there was enough room to keep my infant granddaughter’s stroller next to our table.
Afghan Kebab House #4 on Urbanspoon

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image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good Eats: Nine-Ten restaurant, La Jolla, California


Nine-Ten  910 Prospect St., (858) 964-5400.  B-L-D daily; $$$. This exceptional restaurant is situated off the lobby of The Grande Colonial hotel.


interior of Nine-Ten restaurant in La Jolla, California
It features lively action and a sidewalk view in a dining area beside the front bar.  Additionally, a sedate back dining room on an open-air terrace provides a modest ocean view.  Chef Jason Knibb is king of the kitchen, assisted by Pastry Chef Rachel King, who is queen of the desserts.  Dishes are highly creative, presentations are beautiful, and flavors surprise the palate.  Everyone gets a basket of superb housemade lavash cracker bread and must restrain themselves from eating every crumb so as to leave room for the feast to follow.


beet salad at Nine-Ten restaurant in La Jolla, California
My dinner began with a gorgeous salad composed of beets of many colors.


salmon with black morels at Nine-Ten restaurant in La Jolla, California
Then came a pretty and delicious and perfectly cooked wild-caught salmon steak with black morels and a bed of sweet corn kernels.


basil panna cotta at Nine-Ten restaurant in La Jolla, California
Dessert was a refreshing, very unusual, and again pretty and tasty basil panna cotta with blueberry meringue, fresh peaches, and nectarine sorbet.  The entire meal was definitely not the usual.  A bar menu is also available; stand-out items include a charcuterie plate, lamb meatballs, and a burger with housemade pickles.  Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 pm.

Nine Ten on Urbanspoon

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 17, 2014

Great Sleeps: Pantai Inn, La Jolla, California


Pantai Inn  1003 Coast Blvd., (855) 636-6313, (858) 224-7600.  41 suites.  All have fireplaces, kitchens; continental breakfast included; free parking.  No pets.


view of ocean from Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California
Situated just across the street from the ocean, this Indonesian-inspired boutique hotel’s name is pronounced “pawn-tai,” which means “beach” in the Malay language.  It is a small complex of buildings, some painted golden and others with brown-shingle exteriors, and its exotic landscaping includes soothing water features.  Guests are welcomed and refreshed with fruited water and snacks when they arrive tired from the trail.  Each luxurious suite is unique and attractively decorated with Balinese touches.


4-poster bed at Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California
Mine had beamed ceilings, an open-top four-poster bed with gauzy white drapes, two giant 55-inch flat-screen TVs and a fireplace on either side of a wall that was shared by the bedroom and living room, a couch covered with a tropical floral print, woven matting on the walls, and hand-carved wood decorations.


copper sink in guest bathroom at Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California
The bathroom shower featured a shelf seat, a pebble floor, three heads (regular, rain, and hand-held), walls tiled with fossil stone, a black granite counter, and a hand-pounded copper sink.  All beds have comfy soft mattress and pillows and Italian cotton sheets, and many rooms have ocean views.  Outside, colorful umbrellas come out during the day, and fire pits brighten the night.

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sights to See: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, California


Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego  700 Prospect St., (858) 454-3541.  Thur-Tu 11-5, third Thur to 7pm.  $10, seniors & students 25+ $5, military & under age 26 free; free third Thur 5-7pm.  

view from Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla, California
In a spectacular setting overlooking its outdoor sculpture garden and the ocean beyond, this is the flagship location for this museum (it also has a branch in downtown San Diego).  The museum presents permanent and special exhibitions of contemporary art in all media dating from 1950 on.  A children’s program is scheduled on the first Sunday of each month.  The museum is built on the site of the former home of philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.  


artist Tim Youd at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla, California
On my most recent visit, I encountered artist Tim Youd typing Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye.”   

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sights to See: La Jolla, California


La Jolla Visitor Information Center  1162 Prospect St., (858) 454-5718. You can get maps and other information from this small kiosk on Prospect Street.
    Though the San Diego area is famous for its superb wildlife parks, the upscale section of town known as La Jolla, located 11 miles from downtown San Diego and reachable by car by either a scenic coastal route or efficient Highway 5, is probably the area’s best place to view wild sea life—including seals, sea lions, brown pelicans, and cormorants.  Dolphins are often seen dancing on the waves just beyond the shore. 


walkway in La Jolla, California

The beauty of this scenically positioned town is unbeatable on a sunny day.  But even during the spring “June gloom” period, when fog hangs over the shore, it is spectacular in a muted way.  In fact, the animal life seems to prefer the cooler weather and comes out in greater numbers then.  It isn’t a big surprise to learn “la jolla” means “the jewel” in Spanish. 
    It is interesting to know that four Nobel Prize winners have lived in La Jolla, and Laureate Park, on Avenida de La Playa in La Jolla Shores, was constructed to honor them.  Also, Wacky Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) once lived in town, and you can still find his storybooks and his original art at shops here. 

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Monday, November 10, 2014

Sights to See: Ellen Browning Scripps Park, La Jolla, California


Ellen Browning Scripps Park  1133 Coast Blvd./Prospect St., 619-525-8212.  Open 24 hours.  Free.  No dogs.  Street parking only.


Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California
Surrounded by century-old queen palms punctuated by the occasional Torrey pine, this expansive park is a great spot to frolic and enjoy the ocean view.


green beach hut at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California
Green-painted wood beach huts perch above the ocean and are a great place to relax and enjoy the view.  They have been the site of many marriage proposals, and the park itself is also a popular spot for weddings.  Free “Concerts by the Sea” are held here on summer Sundays.


La Jolla Cove at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California
At the east end at La Jolla Cove, snorkelers and scuba divers can enjoy viewing life under the sea.


Children's Pool breakwater at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California
Children's Pool (at top of image)
●Children’s Pool   850 Coast Blvd., at the end of Jenner St. at south end of park across from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.  Also known as Casa Beach, this idyllic small cove has a breakwater and attracts both Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions.  They gather on the sand, both delighting and distressing.  Locals decided to boot the seals off the beach so the kids could reclaim it, but the seals are still there.  Pupping season occurs mid-December through mid- May. 

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 7, 2014

Good Eats: Cannelle Patisserie, NYC--Queens--Jackson Heights


Cannelle Patisserie  75-59 31st Ave., in Waldbaum’s mall in East Elmhurst neighborhood, (718) 565-6200.  M-Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 7am-6pm.

Cannelle Patisserie in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York

This classic French bakery is an unexpected find in a small shopping center.  Among the best items are a chocolate macaron with coffee-flavored filling, an apple Danish, and an almond croissant (oddly, it is sliced in half, then apparently slathered with filling, and then the top is replaced).

baby dressed for outing to Cannelle Patisserie in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
baby in beret and tutu, ready to hit the road for Cannelle Patisserie
The passion-guava Danish, hazelnut crisp, pineapple cake, and kiwi tart are also very good.  Do get a few of the refined creations to take home for dessert—perhaps a Black Forest cake or a traditional Gateau Breton.  I am pleased I had the foresight to secure a salami and provolone cheese on a baguette with brown mustard for my flight the next day.

pastries at Cannelle Patisserie in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York

I was surprised, though, that they didn’t have cafe au lait on the menu and needed to be coached through preparing one.

Cannelle Patisserie on Urbanspoon



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image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Good Eats: Josselin’s Tapas Bar & Grill, in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii


Josselin’s Tapas Bar & Grill  2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St., in Kukuiula Village Shopping Center, Poipu, (808) 742-7117.  Reservations advised.  $$$.

interior of Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
Popular with locals--always a good sign--this spot features a tasteful contemporary decor with plenty of comfy booths.  High windows with a view of tree tops makes it feel like you’re in a tree house.  Service is both polite and prompt.  Service is both polite and prompt.  A good way to start is with a fresh-fruit selection from the sangria cart, which is wheeled around to each table.  Lychee sangria is probably the most popular and always available, but usually there is also another flavor option.  And don’t overlook the made-from-scratch house drinks, which include Plantation Porch Tea and a Classic Mango Daiquiri.  Menu items are all tapas size and meant to be shared.  Two plates per person is plenty.  Everyone’s favorites seem to be the 36-hour braised pork belly and the beautiful raw tempura ahi roll, but I also really liked the  roasted cauliflower with tumeric and the rock shrimp tempura with avocado and kim chee ranch dressing.  Items for vegans are available.

36-hour braised pork belly at Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
36-hour braised pork belly

raw tempura ahi roll at Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
raw tempura ahi roll

roasted cauliflower with tumeric at Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
roasted cauliflower with tumeric

Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 3, 2014

Things to Do: borrow a dog from the Kauai Humane Society, Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii


Kauai Humane Society  3-825 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue, (808) 632.0610.  This animal shelter has a fabulous “Field Trip” program for dog-loving tourists.  You can check out a shelter dog for a day trip!  There is no charge for this, and you will be given a goodie bag for the pooch that includes an "adopt me" vest, towels for the car, and treats.  It’s win-win for you and the dog—you get an enthusiastic companion for the day and the dog gets out of the kennel for exercise and fresh air.  And should you fall in love with your new buddy, the shelter will help you adopt and bring it back to the mainland.


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image courtesy of venue

Friday, October 31, 2014

Good Eats: New World Food Court, NYC--Queens--Flushing


New World Food Court  136-20 Roosevelt Ave., basement level, in New World Mall, (718) 353-0551.  Cash only in some places.


New World Food Court in Flushing, Queens, New York
This amazing and inexpensive food court has everything Asian.  I recommend that you walk around the perimeter and check out the various stalls before you decide.  It is a huge, noisy open space and is both exciting and overwhelming.  I saw someone hand-pulling noodles and the biggest bowl of noodles ever.


T Baar in New World Food Court in Flushing, Queens, New York
Unfortunately, I had just eaten before my visit so I had room only for a coconut milk boba tea at T Baar.

New World Mall Food Court on Urbanspoon

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image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers