New Year’s Eve 2011 – Lorna’s of course!

First course

Second Course

(favorite appetizer we’ve had for the last 3 years now; it’s the gorgonzola cheese that makes it so yummy)

Third course

One of the night’s specials – chicken, spinach, red peppers in a fabulous garlic sauce

Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Radish Heart’s Photo Debut



New Heartnoid found — Scallion Heart!


Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

2010 Farewell Dinner

Yes it is back to Lorna’s a local hideaway and the spot for our traditional  low-key, comfort food New Year’s Eve Dinner!  Who needs crowds of merry-makers when you can have fresh pasta?

Basic Vino. No fancy glasses. Eat some, then drink some. Repeat.

Our favorite appetizer – roasted eggplant and peppers with gorgonzola cheese. Ev says next year this will be her main dish with a salad!

Ev’s pick for the Secondo is Shrimp pasta Fra Diavolo. You foodies know that means a spicy sauce for pasta or seafood, but did you know Fra Diavolo is Italian for “Brother Devil”?  Who cares as long as I get first dibs on left-overs!

My Secondo pick is the specialty of the night  –  fussili with chicken and spinach. I had to work – hard – to finish it all. Life is tough!

Is this a lefty approach to dining, or does Ev just do things, um, uniquely? Note lots of empty tables.  Is it the economy, stupid?  Or has the economy improved and they’re all at higher-end restaurants?  Or is it just too cold at 48 degrees for San Diegans (of a certain age) to venture out?

After all that food we were happy to come back for a digestif, a wonderful Italian bitters called Amaro Nonino that was a gift from my goomba Nunzio. Along with Ev’s delicious cookies it was the perfect end to what is becoming- for us – a classic experience.  Happy New Year!

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

White Christmas

White Christmas San Diego style. Just fog, but it was fun opening the shades and seeing a white Christmas morning.

I had planned that we’d have Christmas brunch or dinner out overlooking the bay on a sunny day. But still feeling sick and the dreary weather didn’t help. So we got lazy and decided to stay home…. EXCEPT there was no food!

So late afternoon we went to the grocery store to look for LOBSTER TAILS that had been advertised. No joy 😦 Markets closed or sold out…. Desperation time, so what always works? Italian! We found Canneloni in the frozen section – ugh – but hope springs eternal, and vino covers a multitude of sins. So we took the party size tray.

It was about as expected – gooey canneloni saved by big chunks of chicken and my fresh veggies on the side.

I did make dessert. Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream.

Yeah, doesn’t that ice cream look yummy?

A very different Christmas from the usual up in Manhattan Beach, but it was relaxing and stress-free – a white Christmas in San Diego!

Published in: on December 25, 2010 at 10:28 am  Comments (1)  

Ellen’s Christmas Eve Ham

No Christmas in Manhattan Beach this year and having just spent Thanksgiving with the Tucson Cornelios we decided to stay home. I put up the decorations and baked cookies, and then I got sick. And I stayed sick through today. I was kind of dreading the need to rally and make us a nice meal, but I was saved by my wonderful neighbor Ellen. (This is the same generous neighbor who was responsible for the Li’l Piggies Dinner.)

Ellen called to say she had put a ham in the oven and would we like to come over and have dinner with them. Luigi threw up his arms and shouted, “yeah! ham!”

The ham was delicious; tasty and succulent. There was lots of other yummy food like twice-baked potatoes and asparagus. An unusual twist on a drink for me was a warm beer with the ham. I didn’t want to break out in a coughing fit, so I nursed a warm beer all night. It worked. No coughing fits. And when we got home around 9, Santa had already come!

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Turkey Day

The day we wait for all year so we can eat turkey with the family. In Tucson, the family got pretty big — 20 of us for dinner (included a few extra guests not originally planned for.) Priscilla is the best at pulling off these huge banquets. She claims she couldn’t have done it without Phyllis and my help, but I don’t believe it. She’s a pro at this. There was lots of worry about whether there would be enough turkey for this unexpected larger group. However with another large turkey breast besides this 18 pounder, everyone had plenty.

Besides, there was sooo much other food we had to set up a buffet table to hold everything. Of course there was stuffing (Phyllis’s recipe made with sausage – yum!) and mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows. And any Cornelio meal that has mashed potatoes and gravy MUST have peas — and lots of them. But there was also creamed spinach and roasted vegetables and a very, very big bowl of rutabagos brought by a guest from Connecticut. Phyllis is normally the only one to eat them and so she was thrilled to have others who savored rutabagos (not turnips) as a Thanksgiving treat. Special mention must go to the delicious cranberry orange sauce Maureen made. It was outstanding.

I don’t want to bring up the numerous, calorie-laden appetizers we had with wine before even digging into the above-mentioned traditional Thanksgiving spread. To our credit though, we did all go out for a walk in the cold desert night before coming back to have our dessert of pumpkin and pecan pies.

Part of the buffet

Thanksgiving Tip #1
Use canned yams if you’re the frantic cook who has to feed the masses all the “traditional” dishes.

Thanksgiving tip #2:
Buy the mini-marshmallows needed for candied yams early. If you forget and have to buy them on Thanksgiving Day, the store is likely to be sold out and you’ll get stuck buying big ones that also have strawberry flavored marshmallows. (YUK!)

Thanksgiving tip #3:
Don’t even bother making that yam with mini-marshmallows dish.

Published in: on November 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Phyllis’ Birthday in Tucson

Took Phyllis out for lunch on her birthday and we ended up at Firebirds by Kara’s recommendation. We were all pleased with the food. Nice presentation and everything tasted great.

And then there was dinner at home cooked by Chef Carmine. Milk braised pork roast with carrots. A little overcooked, but tasty, especially what we called the carrot schmush.

Phyllis starts her 80th year off in style.

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mussels! B’day dinner

Needed a special dinner at the last minute because Luigi had already gone out to lunch and devoured a HUGE “Empire State Building” sandwich at a Del Mar deli on his birthday.

So, something special, but light because the corned beef and pastrami was still in the depths of the belly… Lo and behold I found mussels in a garlic lemon sauce in the frozen section at Vons. I added white wine (of course the sauce was a bit too salty for us) and a side of orzo and spinach which really didn’t need any spices because the mussels sauce was enough for everything. The b’day boy was pleased as punch!

Oh, and of course, there was carrot cake and candles.

… and the beautiful table appropriately decorated with “aging” hydrangea picked from my patio pot and a nice bottle of wine.

Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Burgers and Fireworks

The Zonies are staying down in Mission Beach so we had dinner down there with them. All the traditional foods were present: barbequed burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, chips, guacamole, and lots of good beer. As a surprise there was a great (and long) fireworks show on the bay. Who knows why they had them on the 3rd, but it was perfect for us. We could watch them from the patio of their rental.

Published in: on July 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Year’s Eve Italian

Lorna’s — an Italian restaurant that’s been in San Diego at least as long as we have been.  Pretty casual and for some reason it reminds me of San Francisco restaurants.  Food has varied in quality over the years, but this year we were quite pleased.  The first pleasant experience was seeing a sign that said wines were 1/2 price on Thursdays and it was Thursday!

We asked the waiter and in spite of the fact that it was New Years Eve they were still running that special so waahoo! half-price wine!  Lou wanted to go for the cheapest wine, but I decided that we could order the most expensive wine on the menu and still pay 2 dollars less than what we would have paid for the least expensive wine had there been no special— so still a bargain.  I don’t think it was my logic that won; I just ordered the most expensive bottle and the waiter quickly left the table to get it.

Bread was warm and very good, and that is always a good sign. The salad came next which seemed out of order.  I thought you get your appetizer and then your dinner salad.  The salad seemed bigger than in previous years and was just OK.  Then came the appetizer which was very good.  Roasted egg plant and peppers with gorganzola cheese.  Warm, cheesy mush…. yum… and with that good bread… very yummy.  Main course was canneloni for Luigi and a special of the day for me — house-made 4-cheese chicken tortelloni with a creamy tomato sauce.  It was excellent!  Luigi was also happy with his canneloni.

No dessert as christmas cookies were waiting at home.

And the wine… well, it was OK.  Hard to believe that they regularly charge $35 for it.  I would have been very disappointed had we paid that much for it, but it was good at half the price.

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,