What’s new

I haven’t posted in 12 days. What is going on? Am I lazy? I  don’t know, but days have floated by like the orange and red leaves that drift past the front door to the yet un-open Fiore. It’s cold in LA these days. So cold that I could have sworn that I saw and felt thin ice on the large community table that I park under the arch at night. A sprinkler from the flower bed gave it an early morning shower and the cold, fall air decided it might be nice to make an ice skating ring on the old maple table.

Today was a bit better, but large full rain clouds kept the sun from warming us up. I wore an old Irish wool sweater my mother bought in Dublin quite a few years ago. It’s still warm, but the moths have made it quite unattractive with the holes they’ve carved out of the fabric. I don’t care too much. I wear it with Irish pride.

I have taken a ton of pictures lately. It’s one thing I have been diligent about. My camera is always at my side and when I do forget it which isn’t very often I still have the I phone to capture the day.

here are some pictures from the last 12 days. I hope you enjoy. The health inspection is  Monday I promise.  No more jibbery about.












California Olive Oil

I have been spoiled by our experience in Italy. I  have tasted great olive oil. I have even participated in the making of fantastic oil. It was a real treat. The fact I got to do it with my oldest son made it  better.

Yesterday I drove an hour outside of LA to Temecula. Temecula from the freeway looks like one big strip mall, a new one but a strip mall all the same.  I hate strip malls more than anything. They are soulless to me. They are pretty, clean boxes that lack character. Maybe they are just too perfect for me.

About 20 miles south east of the main section of Temecula  is the Temecula Olive Oil Company. This is were the olive are grown and pressed and it looks very much like rural Italy. It’s pristine, clean and rural. The houses are average. Some are not much to look at. The hillsides are strewn with large, smooth boulders. Olive trees cluster around each other and lay out across the land. They look just like Italian olive trees. Most of them are Italian. The equipment at the Olive Mill has Italian writing across it with names I don’t recognize, but words that are clearly Italian.

At this orchard a huge semi truck is parked. At the back of the trucks the doors are wide open and a large hopper is perched on the back. It looks exactly like the hopper I saw at the community olive mill in Italy. That hopper is the only similarity The rest of the machinery looks like something from a NASA space station. It sure doesn’t look like an olive oil press, but surprisingly it performs the same function. The oil drips from the centrifuge at the final stage of the pressing. The oil is golden in color and tastes buttery. It lacks the deep green color of the olive oil I am accustomed to in Italy,but it’s fresh and tastes really good.

Here are some pictures from the day.

Fernando’s The Man

We finally did it. The mammoth hot water heater is  connected. The electricity is not, but it’s full of water and  the pipes are sealed and leak free. We had complications. A few connections were not right resulting in some leaks in some very cumbersome spots.  One leak required that  we replace an elbow and a 1- 1/4 inlet valve.

Fernando walked a block to his friend Martin’s work shop to borrow a tool. Martin has worked at this shop for 32 years. They work on engines for the aerospace industry. When Fernando returned he had a very solid but strange looking wrench. I had never seen one like this. It was heavy with a worn, but quality wood handle. The tool was made of heavy duty steel. On the upper part of the tool was an inscription of the date. The date was 1880. Now  isn’t that environmentally conscious., hanging onto something instead of throwing it away for a newer version.

The most comical part of the day came when Fernando was tightening the inlet valve on the top of the water heater. He was standing on the dishwasher. He hand the wrench around the valve and was pulling with all his might. Because he was desperate to get this connection right (it was one of the leakers) he was putting his weight into it. His back was against the wall which was really a French style window.

I heard a pop. It was quick, but not too loud. It sounded like a weak gun shot.

Fernando’s ass broke out the window. Yikes.

No more Inn and Out burger for you Fernando





South Pasadena Farmer’s Market

On Thursday evenings I always browse the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market. It is probably the best one in LA county.  Most of the vendors are certified organic and extremely local. I met Michelle Goldman from Living Lettuce. Her farm is in Reseda. Can’t get much more local than that. I hope to purchase  her lettuce greens and herbs  for Fiore.

When I go to the market I  bring my camera. Today was no exception. Here are some photographs.

The first one is of Lissa Reynolds. She is the owner of the Fremont Centre Theatre that Fiore is now a part of. Check out their website. She has a new musical starting on November 26th called Sweet Mama Green Bean. Anne and I got a glimpse of the show during the intermission of her last show called Top Dog UnderDog. Her husband, James was the director of that terrific show Their son Jed was one of the actors. It was a two man show that really dealt with some fascinating issues. I don’t go to many plays, but this one hit me hard. Made me think about so many things.

The picture of her was taken at the temporary art gallery for SPARC. They were supposed to be squatters  for 48 hours. Luckily it has turned out to be months. They’re hoping to stay in the space for years.

SPARC is the South Pasadena Arts Council where Lissa is striving to make ART a big part of daily life for everyone in  South Pasadena. They recently had their Giant Easel Event at Art Walk on October 23rd.

Here are some other photographs from my stroll.










Anne and I bought two olive trees on Saturday. We got them at a nursery in Los Angeles off of Sunset street close to the neighborhood of Silver Lake. The trees were fairly inexpensive. They came in 5 gallon black. plastic containers. Most amazingly the branches are littered with bright green olives. They’re not ripe enough to harvest. I will wait a few weeks until they turn purple. They remind me so much of the olives in Italy. Their size and color and the leaves on the branches look just like Stefano’s trees. In 2008 Patrick and I harvested about 30 trees with Stefano, Marvi, Mauro, Michelle and Marianna. It was a Blast.

The olives in these photographs could pass for authentic Italian olives, but in reality they come from two very small trees from a lot in Los Angeles. Go figure.







And some fresh mint


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