They have the cleanest streets

I now understand the moral isolation of the rich.  For part of Spring Break  got to spend a week on Balboa Island off of Newport Beach.  It’s so clean and delightful my sister asked if we were in “The Truman Show”.  I was lucky to the live auctioneer at our school fundraiser last year who no one could hear.  I also had done research on the items and knew they had low balled the value of this charming house which was up for auction for a week of Spring Break.  So as the bidding progressed Slowly, I jumped in with my bid, no one countered and it was Sold!  To me.kids on balboa island

Mark is working so hard he was not able to come down for a minute.  But, he is so dear as I came in from a break of paddle boarding I phoned him and said, Gosh I was so much a part of the development of Bombo, but now that it’s open you are working non stop and I’m wondering if tonight I should make a Gin and Tonic with lots of lime or a Manhattan with rye or bourbon?

He said, “No, don’t feel bad.  You are taking care of Vivien and Rex.”  So wonderful that my husband really understands a family partnership.  Now, where were those kids??mark peel's bombo

Oh, right, they were not missing the grit of their Hollywood environs, they were having the time of their lives.  Sometimes their cousins were there, sometimes some friends. action kids

The first few nights my mom was with us which was great.  Perfect multi generational vacay spot.  You can scamper, read multi generational travelor rent a boat!

Cruising cousins

Cruising cousins

One night it was just us so we went to the movie theater at Fashion Island nearby.  I was once told the average income around there is $750k a year.  My ticket was $22.  I almost fell out of my ballet flats.

“No way” I wailed.  “we are not going.”  But, Vivien begged and we were there, and it was vacation.  I relented.  “Okay, but we are never coming here again.”  My rant was abated when we walked into the lobby and it looked like a  Four Seasons, or at least 3.  A handsome young man stood behind a counter asking me if I wanted to purchase a glass of wine or beer on tap.  The price of my ticket faded from my mind when he said, “if you would like a second glass during the movie I can bring you that.” Wouldn’t you know it an hour later he did!  Later Rex asked how I liked “Home”.  I thought, gee, I don’t know, seemed more enjoyable than all those other animated movies I sit through with you guys, but I had two glass of nice California white, so my judgement is impaired.  “It was pretty.” I said.

Most of the week we barely drove.  I’m so sick of driving.  I am obssessed with my pediometer app. I was cracking 10 thousand steps no problem as we walked to the ferry, to the paddle boats, to a Balboa ice cream bar, to rent a motor boat.  Water, views, breezes everywhere.  Where were the homeless?  They must ship them up to LA.  I couldn’t figure it out.  In our sister school there was an encampment.. tents, flooring materials, stench, but here, there isn’t so much as a gum stain on the street. ( sidebar, I finally got to the right people in the city and the trees were trimmed and we got the encampment moved).

It’s easy to feel like the problems of the world are far away.  Or at least in Santa Ana.  I do prefer paddle boarding over driving, but hey, that’s what vacations are for, right? But, it seems like it’s always vacation down here in the OC.  Is it wrong to enjoy living like this?  I’ve always thought it was, but now not sure.  Daphne and children

no wonder I hate mother’s day

This is what my mother’s day looked like..real mothers day

Well, that’s not fair, I also had vomit on my pink P.j’s from when Rex threw up on me.  But, I’m sparing you a photo of that. No awkward brunch with corsage, no red roses, no sachet.

It would all be a day’s work, but being told it’s “MOTHER’S DAY” makes me cranky.  Same way Valentine’s day makes you think your in a crap relationship, when it’s just normal.  Expectations.

Mark is working hard, quite rightly, new business.  As he was rushing out the door in the AM I pleaded for some coffee, toast, NY Times and he complied.  The kids were great for 2 hours because they had a friend over.  Hey, this is ok. My stepson called me which the biggest gift that he can give me, he knows my number! (see desperate stepmom seek connection)  Then when the friend left my little ones turned on each other like demons.  Though to be fair.  I made it worse.  They would settle into a show, a game what have you and after a bit I would check in on them.  My presence was a catalyst for them turning on each other.

“I’m going to leave you guys alone” I said as I walked out of the room for 2 hours.  No fighting. I’m the problem.

In the evening things had settled down, we were watching Season Finale of one of our favorite shows, “Once upon a Time”.   Okay, day has it’s grace notes.  Then Rex threw up on me.

Well, I don’t like red roses anyway.

 

Let’s try something new…

So, haven’t posted lately because Mark and I are consumed with opening a NEW eatery.  It’s the first time he has done a fast casual concept.  I give you a news links HERE  Please like it on FB or instagram.

He has been working VERY hard.  Excited for it, but already wondering how this will impact our lives!  I’m very proud of my sweetie.  I helped get things in line the last year and half, but now it’s all him and he takes it very seriously.

If you are in LA, check it out!

trying out the fried chicken.  They like it

trying out the fried chicken. They like it

On my way to school…

On my way to school I tell my kids tomorrow we have to get in the car earlier.

On my way to school I tell my kids tomorrow not TV or ipad when they wake up because it slows us down in the morning.  For one minute I believe I will enforce this. mom in car

On my way to school the kids ask to listen to “Hard knock life” from the “Annie” Soundtrack ( New Annie).

One my way to school I roll my eyes when Rex says, Hard Knock Life describes his life at school.  I tell him he is not an unwanted orphan made to clean Cameron Diaz’s shabby apartment.  That he plays … But, by then he has stopped listening to me.

On my way to school I silently curse the car in front of me who hasn’t moved into the intersection further thereby making it Impossible for me get through on a yellow.

On my way to school I snort at the big school busses of the super pricey girls high school that is blocking part of the road.

On my way to school I drink coffee from my mug sloshing around in my dirty cup caddy.

On my way to school I wish I had gone to the bathroom before I left my own toilet.

On my way to school I look at the clock.  If I can get through the next two lights in 5 minutes we won’t get a tardy. Wait, why do I feel it’s MY tardy?  I just do.

On my way to school Vivien asks if I will get her a Subway sandwich today for lunch because today the school lunch is bean burrito.  She hates beans.

On my way to school I lament that in the last two weeks traffic on city streets has gotten worse.  I blame Wayz.

One my way to school I’m so glad that now that Rex is in school I don’t have to look for parking and am now allowed to go through the carpool lane as I have the required number of humans in my car. I’m also glad I only have one drop off this year.  How long can I keep Vivien in elementary school?

One my way to school I vow to go exercise RIGHT after I drop them off.

They get to school.

Tonight at bedtime I’ll read Rex my friend Sarah Maizes new book ( her third)  “On my way to school.” He loves all of her books. Compared to the girl in the book my adventures in the book are far more prosaic and not as colorful. great books for kids

I suggest you order a couple as it’s a great gift to have on have for the kiddie parties you have forgotten about that.  Oh, 4th book?  “On my way to the birthday party”?

 

 

bittersweet recipe

It’s very exciting these few Sundays now.. where I watch my show.. where I get tweets from people I don’t know saying they like the show.  I get emails from distance cousins who I have heard not from in years that they are loving seeing my show.  I also loved in the most recent episode bringing in some of our friends to be on the show.  I also thought that overall of all the Daphne Dishes, this one was the best.  It held together. I loved making the food, loved my cocktail.   It’s a light, fun show… I hope… with some information. However, the making of it was more fraught than is seen.

One clue to that can be seen at the end of this show..”In Memory of Jeff Wannberg.”handsom

I have made reference to there being a big loss that shadowed the filming of the show.  The night before we started shooting my brother killed himself.  Jeff was not my blood brother, but a brother he was.  We came into each others life at about 2 or 3, start of pre school.  I got kicked out because my mom was the teacher and the school thought it better if she didn’t teach her own kid.  But, Jeff stayed.  It’s hard to describe to people who didn’t know us in childhood, teen years, 20’s, but each year he became more and more part of us, and visa versa.  Our homes were a few doors away and he was the only kid in his house.

4th of July in Culver City in the '70's. Dad, Cec, Jeff, me

4th of July in Culver City in the ’70’s. Dad, Cec, Jeff, me

We needed a brother, he needed us.  We went to the same progressive school for a while, so we had short hand for our unconventional childhood.  “We joined a cult” Jeff said just a couple of years ago in his characteristically dry humor.  In our teen years organically we began to call him brother, he called us sisters.  It annoyed us to no end if someone said, “but you aren’t REALLY siblings.”  We responded with annoyance or cut them out.  As he once said, “I’m not going to say, they are my really, really, really, really good friends.  That’s not right.”  It wasn’t.  We were far more ingrained than that.

I cannot sum up our relationship or Jeff in a blog post and it wouldn’t do him justice our lives together. But, since September 9th everything has been…different. He was in my sister’s weddings.

Happy Day

Happy Day

I officiated at his US wedding.  I was his best man at his Australian nuptials ( where is wife is from). We are use to him being here for family events.  It was hard having him in Australia the last several years, but he wanted to come home.  We wanted him to come.  It was just a matter of time before he did.

He was always with us at Thanksgiving. We started playing football at Thanksgiving because of Jeff.

Thanksgiving. Jeff behind, brother in law Kevin next to my mom.  I'm the one with the mullet next to my dad

Thanksgiving. Jeff behind, brother in law Kevin next to my mom. I’m the one with the mullet next to my dad

He often made a turkey.  Jeff loved to cook.  He loved French food and classic American food.  He opened his own American steak house in Australia.     I, like all those who love him, are left bewildered and bereft.  In my case I’m puffy and bewildered as I’ve put on some big grief pounds.

He was so smart, quick witted, a brain like no other.  Even while he was living far away I kept up with him with skype, phone calls, email, social media. But, it’s no subtitute for being there.  When I moved back to LA in 2000 I took an apartment that was less than a mile from him.  When I decided to do my solo shows he was the only one I wanted to direct me.  The only one I trusted.  He was a photographer, a post production producer, an app producer, dog lover, bon vivivant.  He was and is someone very special.

love

love

I didn’t know if I could get through the filming, as I mentioned before Food Network kindly offered to postpone the shoot, but I know these opportunities might not come again and I know how hard Jeff hustled to get projects that he wanted off the ground.  His wife said, go for it.  That shot at the end of the show  (“Eat up Sports fans”) When I catch the ball from Vivien was the only time my face was onscreen that first day. I can see the puff and the pain in my face. Bewilderment.  People who are also survivors of suicide know the bewilderment.  The shock.  The first few days I would wake up early before the crew arrived.  Make coffee, talk to Jeff, “Why, why?  How could you leave us?”  I would lie down on the floor and cry.  Then I would get into hair and make up and when the producer said, “Sparkle in the eye”  I turned it on.  Everyone I worked with was very patient and kind with me.

“What do you need?”  a Food Network executive said that first day.

“Ask no one to bring it up.  I will come un done.”  She did and they didn’t.

Vivien was with me the first few days.  She would stand by the cameras before we started, give me a smile and a thumbs up.  “You can do it mommy.”  It would fuel me.  I was torn up by grief, survival guilt, and guilty that I had a big project going on when he was having a hard time making his opportunities come to fruition.  When Vivien wasn’t there I would look at her pictures on the fridge and then turn around and cook for camera.  Like so many moments in my life my kids are joy gas.  I’d be a broken down jalopy without them.

my kids there for me on a shoot day... before my grief weight set in

my kids there for me on a shoot day… before my grief weight set in

When we had a day off I really collapsed.  That’s when I realized how much the show was good for me.  I loved the absorption of work.  The first few days I was trying to contact everyone who needed to know about Jeff. I had a great need to speak to people who knew us when we were younger, before something went wrong, something went sideways.  But, then I switched and I couldn’t speak about it.  If I did I wouldn’t be able to work.  I clicked over and while the camera was on, or even with the crew I started to have fun.  Jokes were coming more easily.  So, for the Game Day show it was later in the process ( except for the football scene) and I was feeling better.  When Trish showed up, who is truly one of my best friends and who knew Jeff, I could let my guard down a little.  When I give her the drink and we toast it’s pregnant with meaning.  She knew how special he was and how deep our connection was and how I was hurting.

After the shoot we had his memorial, his celebration of life.. what is the right thing to call it?  We decided on JeffCon’14.

While we were shooting I asked if he could have a memorial credit.  It has to go through some channels.  Then a few weeks ago I got an email.  Yes, his name would be there.  I was glad, but I got back down on the floor and cried.in memory of jeff wannberg

Like anyone who has lost someone you don’t want your loved one to become “the dead guy” and with suicide you don’t want their method of departure to define them.

Some of Jeff’s friends and I have connected or reconnected like never before.  It’s been a great source of support. Also, I went through an 8 week Survivors of Suicide group.  A lovely group of people.  That helped a lot to sort through the layers of feelings with people who were on the same journey. The sense of failure, rejection, lost.  One friend of Jeff’s was over a couple of months ago and said that I should start posting and talking about the show coming on.  Really?  I was not feeling like celebrating.  Then I remembered what one woman in my group said, “Fake it till you make it.”  So I did start posing about it and talking about it and people were very sweet and excited and that felt good.  I just want Jeff to be here with me.  So by having his picture in the first episode about my mom’s healthy eating and his name in the game one I feel there was a touch.

Of course the way my brain and humor works is so influenced by him he is part of it.

So, it might seem just like a light little food show, but there was a lot going on.

New Eatery!

We just announced the name of Mark’s new eatery: Bombo! bombo This will be his first ever fast casual concept after a lifetime of winning praise and awards in the fine dining realm.  After Campanile closed.. or as Rex calls it,  “your cooking job”, we talked at length about what he wanted to do and how it needed to work with our life as a family.  Our dearly departed Tar Pit was a cocktail driven place so the hours were terrible for a family with young kids.

We also felt strongly that fine dining while not completely over was played out.  In post recession America even if you have money most don’t want to flaunt it.. at least not in a restaurant.  Even if people in LA still spend $100 on dinner they want it to be in a relaxed environment while they were jeans.  A few strong fine dining places can withstand this Age of Casual, but not a lot. They’ve been dropping like flies.

Plus it was played out for Mark.  He wants to cook.  He likes cooking for people, not necessarily rich people or having the artifice and overhead that goes with a ‘fancy’ place.  So in my capacity as his business development manager I started thinking locations.  Areas of town, and then where within those areas.  Eventually our search landed at Grand Central Market in downtown LA.  Built in 1917 it’s been getting a lot of press lately as they revamp it.  It combines many elements of LA’s culture.  Latin, Asian and now celebrity chef driven.  Bombo is going to emphasize seafood, but not just seafood.  There aren’t many places in LA that you can get reasonably priced seafood outside of  a sushi joint in a mini mall.   Mark was keen to work with steel jacketed steam kettles.

something like this

something like this

They are pretty and will be prominent in our design.  They will allow him to cook things quickly using his 4 broths as his base. Cut to a montage of financing, design, approval for permits, negotiations and now we arrive at the moment where we have announced the name.  It’s inspired by the kettles as Bombo is Spanish for bass drum, as well as used loosely to indicate a kind of musical energy, excitement.  Also, we liked how it sounded.

So I’ve been setting up pop up nights for Mark where he can try out his new dishes on real people, not just me in our kitchen.  It’s great for focusing him and I like it because a couple of times there was a critique  I wanted in a dish, and the public backed me up.  Hurumph.  But, really he is making some tasty dishes, reasonably priced, but still flavor packed like his food at Campanile was.  Tonight he starts a trio of Tuesday nights at our neighborhood favorite, Rascal.  If you are in the area come by.

Our friend Eric, Mayor of LA, stops by our pop up in Nov.

Our friend Eric, Mayor of LA, stops by our pop up in Nov.

After a couple of under eventful work years both of our projects are debuting roughly around the same time.  If “Daphne Dishes” gets a second season maybe I can make something at Bombo for the show. It’s been a great partnership, we both assist and advise each other.  Almost ten years of marriage and it all seems to be working well. (knock wood)mark peel daphne brogdon

it’s beginning to look NOT like Christmas…

January 14th.. not to bad for taking my tree down right?

When my brother Jeff, was a Lothario in the ’80’s, and he was on the verge of breaking up with yet another girl he had been crazy about for two weeks previous, he famously said (paraphrasing), “Love is like a Christmas tree.  It’s starts out smelling so good.  It’s pretty, it makes you happy to see it sparkling, but then it dries out and becomes a fire hazard.”

That girlfriend was toast.

As I was undressing my tree I thought of the difference from the night we brought it home, the kids so excited to decorate it as I made hot coco, Frank Sinatra carols,  the warmth of our home on on a cool evening.  To this morning, harsh glare of Eastern light coming in the window, applying the anti aging wrinkle cream Santa brought me .  christmas tree and kidsI’m alone in my black sweats,  covered in flocking.

A Flocking Mess

A Flocking Mess

IMG_0746

Cody, smile for the camera

I have to pry the ornaments of the tree because the tree is dying and has curled over the hooks.  Parts of the tree come off and I pull the dead branches off the ornament so I can neatly put them away in my ornament storage ( took me 20 plus years to figure out the importance of that).  “Get off of me you dead tree. I’m done.”

The promise of love, the promise of yuletide glow.  It’s over.  Unstringing the lights it felt like the morning after a one night stand.  Heated, and exciting the night before,  But now my lipstick has been kissed off, I’m tired, look bad and Romeo doesn’t look so hot now in the glare of the sun, and I’m just wondering, “Where is my bra?”

Get your crap and get out of here.

Get your crap and get out of here.

But, hope springs eternal.. we will hop in the sack again next year.

 

 

How to take a good picture

during the holidays we take a lot of pictures.  By a tree, on Santa’s lap, photo bombing the wise men.photobombing wise men

Then New years rolls around and you want to look in a picture.. so #1 take the picture before you are drunk and have eaten off your lipstick.   Here is my treatise on How to Take a Good Picture   ( in the case of the one above, I don’t look good, but sometimes beauty needs to be sacrificed for humor.)

 

PS

 

Food Network has begun running promos for my show.  So fun!  “Daphne Dishes” debuts Sunday Jan. 4th at Noon.  Please Watch.

potluck ransom

I love pot lucks.  I like hosting pot lucks. However,  rules must be observed.  Put your name on your stuff.  I can’t run everyone down

” did you leave the powder blue bowl?  The Winnie the pooh platter?  The silver pan?  Were you even here?”

I’m fine with hosting class parties.  I like to.  If not we end up in some gross LA city park with porta potties and bums sleeping next to the kids while they play capture the flag.  I don’t mind the set up, clean up.  We have a big backyard.  I just want people to take their shit with them when they leave.  The one night stand is over, get your crap and get out.  You never wanted to hear from that dude at the club you bedded after a few too many did you?  No, I don’t even remember his name.  But, he kept calling me “lips.”

After grilling our room teachers with the rules before our class party what happens?  One room parent has been emailing me about her serving spoon.  More than once.  I would have prefered if she had just shown up at my door and said “do you mind if I rifle through your kitchen and see if I can find over grown spork?”

She is a nice person, so I finally did hunt around for it after the last email.  I thought I would add a little drama into this potluck tension.  I sent her the following:

“Today’s newspaper let’s you know your spoon is alive as of today.  But, if you don’t follow my instructions it is in danger.”

potluck ransomeI should have told her that she needed to drop of a entrée that would feed ten if she ever wanted to see her spoon again.  No vegi platter.  No one ever eats the raw cauliflower.

But, instead this morning I handed to the other room parent and said, “your girl wants me to put this in her kid’s cubby.  I’m not even sure who her kid is let alone run her cubby.”

She got it.  “She didn’t put her name on it like you asked?  I’ll take care of it.”  Later I saw her leaving a message on her cell phone, “Hey, I’ve got your crummy spoon what do you want me to do with it?”

It’s still better we hosted.  If you leave something in the park, would it be there if you went back? Would you still want it?