Posted in Uncategorized

Jason and Locked out

Jason Weber is an entertainer, being a superb pianist with a lovely voice, we have followed in Palm Springs for years and this was only the second and last night Jason would be playing here this year, having moved to Ogunquit, Maine. Last Saturday, My Beloved and I had gone to Studio One 11 (presumably so named because it is right on Highway 111 – one-eleven, get it?) to hear and see Jason. He actually met up with us in the parking lot and welcomed us with hugs.

So, this week, I had invited Brian and Ruth to come with us to hear Jason play and sing at Studio One 11 and last evening, Saturday, saw me driving the four of us to our appointment with Jason. Drinks are very inexpensive at Studio One 11: $3.50 for a decent glass of quaffable wine or a mixed drink. Not only that, there are three free hors d’hoevres, such as mini-pizzas, meat balls, little sausages, small empanadas, or the like. You probably know that I really like Bloody Caesars, but I spice them up with an unusual quantity of Worcester and Tabasco sauces, so that you can almost see the fire in them. I will usually take a virgin one first, sans vodka (they go down so quickly), followed by a real one with vodka. Leo , the bartender met me for the first time a week ago, yet, as soon as he saw me this week,  he dragged out the Worcester and Tabasco bottles and prepared a Ceasar and a Merlot for My Beloved. I guess that’s what makes a good bartender.

After a while of listening to Jason and, occasionally, if we knew the words, singing along, the four of us decided to move on to Lulu’s, an Italian bistro in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, where Brian had reserved a table. Just as well. Yesterday was the Tour de Palm Springs and several thousand cyclists from all over were in town and the restaurants were packed. They obviously had to restore the protein they had lost in the event! Brian and Ruth have been there before, it turned out, and knew another Jason, Jason the manager, who reasonably quickly found us a booth. My Beloved and I shared a plate of calamari, beautifully prepared with a tasty garlic dip, and then she had escargots, which, she declared, had insufficient garlic – and when she does not mop up all of the sauce, you know there was something not quite right. I had a very thin shrimp quesadilla. Ruth was satisfied with a salad, but Brian went for the grilled pork chops, some of which went home with him. Ruth had a glass of Pino Grigio and the other three of us managed to down an Alice White Merlot. Oh, how we struggled to finish it!

All in all, we all declared we had had a good evening of fun and good company.

We parted at our condo and they went on to theirs. Presumably they entered theirs. We didn’t even try, since I discovered that somewhere in all of the places we had been, I must have dropped and lost the keys. Aaaaargh!

What do you do. The last time we accidentally got locked out, our son and his family were here and we able to get his so petite daughter to squeeze through the iron bars protecting the windows on one of the bedrooms and she unlocked the door from the inside. We did not have Taylor with us last evening. The last resort was to drive two and a half hours to San Diego and hope that our landlord had another set of keys there. Of course, we do have a duplicate set, but they were inside the condo. So, approaching ten o’clock, we climbed back into Lava and started to tour the places where we had been or, more specifically, where I would have pulled out the car keys, which would have simultaneously dragged the house keys with them – all unnoticed by any of us. First stop, where, a block away, we had parked for Lulu’s: no luck, the pavement was bare. Next stop, Trader Joe’s, where we had stopped after Studio One 11, just for one item and came out with a number. Again, the parking lot was bare of cars and keys. And it was now closed, so we could not check inside. Across the road saw us back at Studio One 11 and, again, the parking space up against a hedge was bare of keys. One thing left: back into the bar. There was Leo clearing up and he was really surprised to see me again so soon. I could tell by the look in his eyes he was thinking, now what this this dude want now? My Tabasco bottle? My Worcestershire sauce bottle? Has he run out of the stuff at home?

“Leo, did anybody turn in any keys to you tonight by any chance?”

He walked straight away to the end of the bar, reached underneath and pulled out……..yes, my set of condo keys! Mirabile dictu, as Caesar is said to have said: marvellous to relate! Did I thank him and thank the Good Lord profusely! Wow! They must have come out when I dragged my camera out of my pocket and, as they are small, I did not notice.

I returned in triumph to Lava and My Beloved, who was as relieved, or more so, than I. We had visions of having to drive to San Diego, possibly pick up another set, find a hotel and phone Nathan in the morning that we would be unable to sing in the choir today.

No, we drove home, unlocked the door, poured a Merlot for My Beloved and a good sized brandy for me!

Today, we drove to church with the condo keys firmly attached to the car keys.

Posted in Uncategorized

Pea Soup

I tried to discover the difference between yellow split peas and green split peas.

Why? Because My Beloved uses green split peas to make pea soup and last evening we were invited to Harold and Helen’s to dine on yellow pea soup. Now I am able to write from experience and I deem both very tasty. My Beloved provided fresh hot-out-of-the-oven French bread as the accompanying side, while Helen provided the appetisers of shrimp and cheese, the desert of strawberry shortcake and a couple of bottles of Merlot. A simple, excellent meal. And the company (all four of us) was outstanding!

However,whether you like the different taste between them is, it appears, purely personal and, judging from the reviews, whether your mother used yellow or green peas. I do not recall what colour pea soup my Mummy made, but I have already told you that My Beloved uses green split peas, so that is the flavour to which I am accustomed. But, really, at my age the taste buds can’t tell the difference – or can they?. Some people say that one is sweeter than the other, others say that one is slightly more bitter than the other. As, I said, it all depends, I think, on what their mother made.

We are going to do a repeat at our condo for Helen and Harold, but using My Beloved’s green pea soup recipe. No, it’s not a competition: simply just another reason for four friends to get together for a pleasant evening.

I also discovered in my research what pease pudding is, as in the Christmas rhyme, ‘pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold, pease pudding in the pot nine days old”. It seems to be, basically, a very thick yellow pea soup. In the North of England, stotties are sometimes stuffed with pease pudding. Stottie? A new one on me, too, but it is a circular, 5cm thick. very doughy bread, cut in halves or quarters, with a pocket made in them and stuffed with the pease pudding.

It’s time for my yogourt and blueberry lunch with 24 almonds.