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!

And Now for Some Good News…

(Sound of trumpet!) Yesterday we received a copy of Mark’s new cook book, “New Classic Family Dinners.”

It will come out in October. But it is already available for order on Amazon, and Borders and is going to carry it as well. Hard to sell books these days, so this is all great news. This is the first we have seen of it. It was VERY EXCITING. As many of you probably know it takes a LONG time to write a cook book (See my video about Kate Gosselin’s cookbook). A REAL cook book. Then once the lengthy part is done (he and his collaborator writing the book for over a year), it’s in production for quite a while.

For all those moments when nothing happens, when a day blurs into the other, it’s nice to have a day where one finally sees the fruits of ones labor. When we first started talking about this book, I was pregnant with Vivien and it was two homes ago. What a journey!

When it comes out, I have to have some kind of virtual book signing party on Cool Mom. Uncork the champagne and play “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.”


Yesterday I was a last-minute guest on “Show Biz Tonight” on CNN Headline. Making jokes about Michele Obama wearing short shorts. Lemme say I was in the zone. I had so many one liners. The producer said, “I’ve been interviewing you for years, and you’ve never been this funny.”

Hmm, what did I say??

“Baby’s got back.”

“Why shouldn’t she wear shorts?  What are mom’s suppose to wear, dumpy mom jeans? No, her husband can do that.” (call back to baseball incident)

“Her shorts are in protest to the GOP’s opposition to the public option. The more they protest, the shorter the shorts will get.”

“Shorts-gate is such a big deal, Woodward and Bernstein are getting back together and…” (Can’t remember the joke. I work in the moment and don’t write it down, but I think that one was funny.)

I think it helped I did a double espresso beforehand. And I had already had an audition for a mom makeover show. First time auditioning in almost two years. More about that if anything comes of it…

Mrs. Top Chef: Masters

Okay, so for you Top Chef fans, for which there seems to be a considerable amount, this Wednesday is the start of Top Chef: Masters where, instead of lowly rubes trying to win the prize, established chefs compete to be the Top, Top Chef. Well, my sweet husband Mark Peel is one of them. He taped it a couple of months ago. A long grueling production day from what he said.

Scary chef
Creative Commons License photo credit: kevingessner

“We had to sit around and wait forever; it was so boring.” That’s production work for you. He is used to the go-go of restaurant work. I think he enjoyed some of the game of the show. He couldn’t tell me much, or they come and find you!

I’m happy he is going to be on the show. Each week, it’s a different foursome. I don’t think he will be on this week; his is in a few weeks. These “master” chefs don’t compete for money; they compete for charity. Apparently no one told the producers that unless you are Wolfgang Puck, a chef doesn’t make that much money. Mark’s charity was Doctors Without Borders.

What I’m even happier about is that Bravo is having a premiere party at Campanile. There will be some press, lots of chefs, supposedly some celebs, which means I am getting my hair done! And it means I have to find something to wear. My one ace in the hole fab dress I can’t wear a bra with, and at this point in my son’s life, that is NOT an option.

If it’s a good party I’ll blog about it on Thursday.  If it’s not, I’ll just show you what dress I wore.

Dining with Kids in Tow

Remember when you used to meet your girlfriends out to try a new restaurant? Or you would have a couple of cocktails after a movie? Yes, good times. Well, the easy going times out where you don’t worry about how much the sitter is costing may be gone, but I refuse to totally surrender my love of going out to restaurants. Granted, I have to if I want to see my husband since he owns a restaurant and works a lot. Even though he is the chef I still need my daughter to behave so as not to scare the paying customers off. So, I have summed up my helpful hints for dining with the little ones. It’s not the same as dining with your gal pals, but it’s great to be out and be served!