The Tar Pit Opens

I’ve decided to skip any bad/sad/challenging news for as long as possible. So, let me highlight one way in which 2009 ended very well. The opening of the Tar Pit. This is the cocktail bar and eatery my husband Mark Peel (and by extension in a community property state me as well) and partners have been working on for a long time. As you can imagine, to try to open an establishment and get investors during the crash of ’08 (and our own personal crash) was a CHALLENGE. To see people in it now is like watching a baby be born that I carried for close to three years. If only babies made a Gin Gin Mule like this one does!

Many food blogs have said this and that and the LA Times just ran a review so glowing I looked for my name in the byline (bless!). If you are ever in the area please come and check it out. It really is a pretty place. Of course it’s important to our family that it does well, but I do think it’s a great drinking/dining experience. Also, though it is a risk to start a business these days, I feel really good about how by taking this risk we have created jobs for people. And it’s a great crew.

I feel so much camaraderie with other small business owners. Most people are just trying to pay their bills. Very few businesses are going to have a huge payday. They just need to keep going and support the people who run them.  Here’s to 2010 being a good year for all small business folk.

I’ll drink to that!

Thanksgiving Doesn’t Suck as Bad as Christmas

Well, it’s true right? First off there is no gift giving. Also, when something is heavy on your heart, a break up, illness in the family, robbed of life savings, it always seems to feel heavier on Christmas. I always felt less is expected of me on Thanksgiving. Bake and eat and drink.

Last year was my favorite Thanksgiving ever. Here I am having a gay old time. We were in my dream house, and for the first time in my life I could play grown up. I had a big house and the means to host the dinner. I was expecting Rex, surrounded by friends and family, and very happy.  Content.

Well, now, my sister Carole is hosting again as she has the biggest house. But everyone is fine, so I can’t complain. It’s one day. Not a whole season with Christmas and its build up. But I did like when I was (for once) not the guest on Thanksgiving.

We’ll still play football before the dinner, and I will again host Turkey Trot Trivia, a game I have long played as dessert is consumed. I’m a game person and highly suggest a game for a mix of people. It’s bonding, and if you have people of different views it can be a nice way to channel discussion away from controversy and into American trivia. I have tchotkes for prizes.

Do you like Thanksgiving better or worse than Christmas or Hanukkah? Is it harder this year? Do you have any quirky traditions?

We always go around the table and say something we are grateful for. Other than the obvious being good health, I still maintain we should all be grateful for modern plumbing.

Festival of Leftovers

As the wife of a chef I often have people say to me, “Wow, you must eat great!”

“Why are you eating that slice of cheese on a grocery store roll; you are married to a chef.”


Well, I do eat well, IF I go into his restaurant. But 5 to 6 days of the week we are on our own. And when dinner is Mark’s job, he is kind of pooped so his fare is simple–but good– grilled steaks, sauteed vegetables.

One thing he is good at doing is making something out of nothing.

When we were dating he would drive over to my apartment when he was done. Seems crazy to remember that he could show up at midnight, and I was awake and happy to see him. As opposed to now when I fall asleep at 10:30 and growl if he wakes me up at midnight. Poor guy, bait and switch.

So, one night I said, “Please bring me something to eat.” I waited in my little pad thinking of all the yummy food he would be bringing me. But he had spaced.

He brought nothing.

I said, “But I have NOTHING TO EAT, and I’m hungry. I’ve been waiting for your fine food.”

He said, “I will fix something.”

“No, no there is nothing Mark, nothing!”

Well, like in some reality show challenge, he made me a great tomato salad and something else good I can’t remember.

In our current life when we are both too pooped to shop and cook, Mark has birthed FESTIVAL OF LEFTOVERS. In this picture, he made a nice salad with cold steak and other ingredients. It was what we had on hand, and it did taste good, but his presentation really sells it.

When he isn’t home we often eat practically standing up. With Mark, it must all be Plated.

And please note Rex’s onesie. My dear friend Heather made this for him. She is a crafty little child-free friend.

On Momversation: Are Food Allergies Out of Hand?

Oh, I love Giyen and Karen. It’s funny since I have never met them, and they live far away, yet I feel like they are my co-workers/pals. I could see meeting them for a drink after work (if we worked in a real office) and having an appletini while we ragged on that stupid Annie, the receptionist. And what did that creep Elliot think with that crack today? He’s got small hands.

In our virtual coffee klatch today we are talking about allergies. Since none of us are doctors or scientists, none of us can answer the real question: when did this allergy thing become such a big deal?  Was it ushered in with the Clintons?

And then how does it affect your life?

Big Box Spree

Just because you can buy in large quantities doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable to you. Some of it was helpful… but I think I have to learn to be more discerning. Clearly I’m not the only one who has documented this malady. Here is a good one.

Please watch this, and let me know what hulking items are still sitting on your shelves.

The Best Eggs

Wifeager. That’s a wife+ manager. I think that’s what I’ve become for Mark. In LA, there are a lot of Momagers, you know, for the child stars and the parents who can’t let go.  So, since I told you all about his stint on Top Chef: Masters I can’t stop there! Here is a link to another show my husband recently did. Not really a show, but  a web trailer for the new Julia Child movie. They approached him since he did know Julia Child. They asked him what he could make that would be simple and would fit with Julia Child. It’s a plug for Campanile and as we say in the biz, he can “put it on his reel”. ( sounds of me going through piles as I realize I need to make him one.)

So, he came up with Eggs for Daphne (ahhhh). He does make the best eggs in the world. He makes olive oil eggs, eggs in a whole, this eggs tortilla thing. But he named this one for me. Since Mark works at night, breakfast is our “date” time. Well, with two kids, it may not be a date anymore, but it is the one meal we can usually spend together and the one he makes the most at our home.

So, enjoy the short film (4 min I think), and tell me if you are able to make them and love them like I do.

(In the background is his Chef de Cusine Erica. A very important job. If he didn’t have someone good like Erica working with him he’d really be AWOL from home.)