Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Flautas for All My Friends!!!

     For the last few months, I’ve been walking by and driving by Leo’s Mexican Grill on Broadway in Downtown Long Beach.  It changed owners not too long ago.  While the old place looked pretty sketchy, I kept wondering if the new restaurant would be any good.  So finally today, I tried it… and I was quite pleased!  The inside is clean, the employees were friendly and accommodating… and here’s the best part, the food was delicious!  I ordered the chicken flautas – thought I’d start simple.  The outside was crunchy and flavorful and the chicken tasted fresh and (I know people hate this word) MOIST!  I got four little flautas, which came with guacamole, sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes, for only $4.08!!!  It was a full meal!  You can’t even eat that cheap at Burger King or McDonald’s anymore (excluding the dollar menu, of course).  I’m excited to go back and try the crispy tacos and burritos (the gal who works there suggested the shrimp burrito).  If it’s another glorious day outside, you can enjoy the sunshine on one of their outside tables.  Turns out there’s a Leo’s on 7th Street in Long Beach too – I might have to check that one out, as well.  Until then, dig in, save some dough and leave satisfied! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

You ate WHAAAAAATTTTTT???

So, I'm listening to the Kevin and Bean radio show this morning on KROQ as I'm driving to my early morning annual ritual of hitting the mall right when they open the day after Christmas to take advantage of the amazing sales, deal with any returns I may have and spend those muy fabuloso gift cards.  I've been doing it since high school.  Good times!  Now, this post isn't about all the stuff I got for $12.00 (toaster oven, standing lamp, 3 pairs of earrings, a ring, thank you cards, a skirt, a belt and 2 blouses - HELLLLOOOOOO!!!)... instead, it's about what Kevin and Bean and their callers were discussing - gross things that people have accidentally eaten.  Some of them were pretty nasty.  I think the one about the cat worms was the worst.  She thought they were part of her Cup-o-Noodles.  You can all join me now in saying "Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!"  Well, this conversation reminded me of all the weird things I've eaten by accident, not to mention all the hairs and dead bugs I've found in my food over the years.  That's what happens when you eat out for just about every meal.  So, here are my grossest.  This one wins hands down.  I had just graduated from college and I was with a couple friends hanging out with a bunch of guy friends at their house - picture a stereotypical messy fraternity-type house with dozens of bottles, cans and dishes everywhere.  We were about to go to an Angels game and I was drinking a beer (yes, I was 21, everyone, and I was NOT driving!).  I put it down on the counter to talk to my brother on the phone - (a land line - ha ha!) and while we were chatting, I lifted up what I thought was my beer and took a big swig.  It was clearly NOT my beer at all.  It was a mixture of chewing tobacco, spit, warm beer from weeks before and cigarette butts - all from someone I didn't even know!!!  I ran to the sink and spit it out, of course, but I couldn't get the taste or the thought of it out of my mind.  I still get grossed out when I think about it.  Blah!  Moral of the story... either don't drink in a messy house or don't EVER put your drink down!!!  OK, next story... when I was in 1st grade, I was at school eating a Marathon Bar - long, braided candy bar with milk chocolate and caramel.  Mmmmmm... mmmmm... good!  There was something hard in the candy, but I thought it was just hard caramel.  No big whoop.  A little hard caramel never hurt anyone.  So, I'm chomping and chomping and chomping and it just won't soften.  I was like the little engine that could.  I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.  But no matter how hard I chomped, it was remaining just as hard as it was in the beginning.  So, I finally took it out of my mouth and discovered that I had been chewing on my own tooth!  I was just a little kid and it had fallen out of my mouth.  I guess if you have a loose tooth that you want to come out, you may want to consider taking a big ole bite of a yummy, chewy candy bar!  That story was more funny than nasty, but I have to say when I ordered a sandwich at the old Bakers Square in Santa Monica (it's now the Viceroy hotel and nightclub) and I bit into a tooth (which I believe was an animal tooth, but I cam't be sure), I was not as amused.  I was totally disgusted and they were barely apologetic.  I was a teenager - teens don't always gets the respect they deserve, ya know?  Oh well.  And here's my final grotesque or humorous food story.  When I was in 9th grade, my friend and I used to walk down the street in the Palisades Highlands on weekends and buy a sandwich, a Dr. Pepper, some Tootsie Rolls and licorice and sit on her patio pretending to be very grown up (with our kid candy!).  I opened my roast beef sandwich and was only taking part of the paper wrap off as I ate it.  At first, I saw some blood, but I thought it was because the roast beef was a bit rare, so I kept eating it!!!  Then, I got to a part of the bread that was pretty much covered with blood and I wanted to vomit.  We walked back to the little store and showed the guy at the deli counter.  He now had a big old white bandage around his finger and said that he had cut his finger while making the sandwich.  Barforama!!!  Does that make me a bloody vampire???  (Say that in a British accent, of course - bloody this, bloody that).  Watch out, Jacob... I'm joining the likes of Edward and Bella!  All right... now, it's time to share YOUR nastified eating stories!  Indulge, everyone!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Calgon, Take Me Away!

OK, seriously???  Why does this keep happening?  Oh, I know why... because people are rude and inconsiderate!  If I go to get a manicure and pedicure, it's to treat myself, relax for an hour or so, get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, listen to the peaceful sounds of the fountain, close my eyes, enjoy the massage chair and get pampered for a little while.  Why do people think it's all right to come in blabbing on their cell phones and ruin it for everyone?  So many times, the person just keeps on blabbing throughout the entire spa treatment.  To those of you, who bring your selfishness into the salon, I have one word for you... SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Education on Having it All

People are faced with it all the time - choosing between being a career woman or a mother. Choosing between being successful or happy. Choosing between being rich or moral. In "An Education", the lead character Jenny (Carey Mulligan) finds herself in that kind of a predicament at the very young age of 16. Should she follow the path she's been on forever and attend Oxford
University or should she stay with her much older boyfriend and live the life she's wanted to live forever? Fancy dinners, exquisite clothes, beautiful cars, impressive art galleries, grand theater productions, lavish vacations... all these things make Jenny re-think her plan. My question, however, is why can't Jenny have both? Likewise, why can't we all have both? Can't mothers be successful in the workforce AND incredible moms to their kids? Can't people achieve true success in their field AND be happy? I think we can. Sure, it may be a challenge at times and it may be hard work, but I don't think it is too much to ask to have it all. So, next time someone says "Well, you can't have it all", I'm going to say "Oh, yeah?" and prove them wrong. What are YOU going to do?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life Not So Precious

"Precious" is a film about a Harlem teenager in the 1980s suffering through a life that is far from precious. This film inspires so much thought, it's almost impossible to choose a topic to discuss. "Precious" touches on the failures of our education system, obesity, bullying, physical abuse, mental abuse, HIV, teen pregnancy, problems with our welfare system, incest and giving birth to babies fathered by the woman's own father - just to name a few. Each topic is huge enough and important enough to have entire books written on the subject, but for this book of sorts, I'm going to focus on mothers, who know their husbands or boyfriends are having sex with their daughter for years and simply stand by and let it occur. How can this happen? A mother carries her baby inside her body for nine months - that child is truly a part of her. What kind of person stands by knowing that the person she brought into the world is being raped by her man (or any man for that matter) and allows it? As hard as this film is to watch at times, as far-fetched as some may think it is, the devastating truth is that this is not as uncommon as you may think or want to believe. While the rapist is clearly the perpetrator, isn't the mother just about as guilty? She could have stopped it. Mothers are supposed to risk their own safety to save their child in a disaster situation. Isn't incest one of the biggest disasters around? What happens in a person's mind that they can rationalize their actions and believe that not doing anything is acceptable? In what world would that ever be o.k.? Not in any world I'd like to live in.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Assumption, I Hate You

"Looks can be deceiving." "You can't judge a book by its cover." We've all heard these phrases throughout our lifetime, but for some reason, people continue to stereotype and often get the wrong idea. In "New York, I Love You", we see this all too common real-life problem. The film is a collection of stories about various people living, working and playing in New York. Each story has its own writer and director. In the story written and directed by Natalie Portman (though she only appears onscreen in another vignette), we see a Cuban man named "Dante" walking through Central Park with a little Caucasian girl named "Teya". We can tell that they are close and get along very well. They share some very sweet moments. At one point, they go to a section of the park, where two Caucasian women tell him that he's really good with her and that it's rare to see that kind of bond between a "manny" (male nanny) and their charge. The women mean it as a compliment, but the man (played by Carlos Acosta) doesn't really respond. He seems to be reflecting on what they've said. Fast forward to a later scene when we realize that Dante is the little girl's father. Her mother is Caucasian and we never find out whether the child was adopted or just didn't inherit any of her father's coloring, but that doesn't matter. This happens all the time. We see a Hispanic woman in the middle of a weekday pushing a stroller with a Caucasian child sitting in it and people automatically think the woman is the maid or nanny. Could she be the child's mother? Of course! We see a man in his 60s with a child and people assume he's the grandfather. Could he be the father? Of course! We see a man in his 80s with a gorgeous woman in her 30s and assume they're father/daughter. Could they be married? Of course! We see a man and woman about the same age holding hands with two young children and people assume that the woman is their mother. Could the woman be his girlfriend and not his wife? Of course! We see a man and a woman together at a wedding and people think they're going out or married. Could they be brother and sister? Of course! No matter how many times we see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their ethnic children or hear of a gay couple having a child together, people continue to jump to conclusions. When will people truly become open-minded and see life as it really is? When will people stop making seemingly positive comments that end up insulting or hurting someone else? Please forgive me for my assumption, but I think we have a long way to go and a short time to get there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This IS It, but It Shouldn't Be

The title "This Is It" really says it all. Although the film is sort of a celebration of Michael Jackson's career, the King of Pop's LIFE is officially over. Say what you want about him - you can call him an icon, a man with a beautiful voice, a superb dancer, an extraordinary choreographer, a brilliant songwriter, a trailblazer. Others may call him a child molester, a freak, a has-been. And then, there are others who call him a caring father, a gentle soul and a giver. No matter what you think of Michael Jackson, I think most would agree that his life was cut way too short and it clearly didn't have to be. When watching the clips of his rehearsals only weeks, even days, before his death, you can see that he was very much alive - in every sense of the word. There's a part in the film when one of the crew members talks about the "This Is It" concert being about pushing boundaries, "because that's what Michael Jackson is all about". He constantly pushed boundaries in his life - some made him famous, some made him infamous... but it's interesting that pushing boundaries so that he could get some sleep led to his ultimate demise. When will celebrities, and regular people like you and me, realize that you can't ALWAYS push boundaries in life? Heath Ledger - died of an accidental overdose. Anna Nicole Smith - died of an accidental overdose. DJ AM, also known as Adam Goldstein - died of an accidental overdose. These are all people, who were young when they died. I am quite certain none of them wanted to die when they did. They should have had many more years to enjoy life. We only get one chance to live in this lifetime... one chance. Why risk losing that chance? When people practice this kind of behavior, they're not just playing with fire. They're playing with fire, gasoline and dynamite. I wish Michael Jackson had taken a little advice from himself before it was too late. "I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change his ways. No message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make the change." Even if you can't get it entirely "right while you got the time", you can certainly get it close and continue to live.