02/23/24 - Santa Monica Again

We walked along the promenade in Santa Monica. If nothing else, it was sunny and relaxing.

Along the promenade

The fabled beach

A hotel

The street

An old friend

A promising sign

A traffic free shopping street

A restaurant getting ready

The amusement pier

Some intruders

Keywords: los angeles

02/22/24 - Will Rogers State Park

One of our favorite parks in the Los Angeles area is WIll Rogers State Park. If nothing else, it is easy to get to, and it starts at the edge of the city and heads into the hills offering both an escape and great views.

This actually the swan swamp back at the Bel Air

View of the polo field at Will Rogers State Park


Another view as we ascended

More flowers

Even more flowers

Did we say flowers?


The city in the distance

The trail

Another view

Twisted trees

Flowering trees

Along the trail

A shaded stretch

An old root

More mushrooms

Even more flowers


Keywords: los angeles

02/21/24 - Rainy Day in Bel Air

Our favorite hotel in Los Angeles used to be the Bel Air. It was perched above the plain of the city and had a wonderful luxurious feel. We stayed there again. It was nice enough, and very pretty, but we were disappointed in many aspects of the physical plant. We never could get the HVAC system working in any meaningful way, and they had one of those new fangled light control systems that made simple things, like turning the lights on and off, much harder.

Despite this, we did enjoy exploring the hotel and its grounds. It's set in one of the canyons, so the rooms climb the hills and the gardens ramble. We took a walk in the neighborhood. The houses were all way larger than any McMansion and, unlike McMansions, reflected the whims and fancies of their owners. How about a chateau, a rose covered Tudor, a Japanese fortress, a 20,000 square foot New England cottage.

We took advantage of one of those weather apps that told us to expect a clearing in five or ten minutes. We rushed out as soon as the rains stopped and made our way up the canyon. The app didn't say that we only had a ten minute window, but that's how long we had been out when the rains returned. Houses in Bel Air tend to have security warnings specifying that there will be armed response to any alarm. It's almost the town motto - "Welcome to Bel Air, Armed Response". Still, people are people, and when we were drenched to the bone, a Range Rover pulled up and a nice lady asked if we needed a ride. We politely turned down her offer, but it was nice to know that Bel Air has a more welcoming side.

A garden ornament in Bel Air

Someone's fantasy garden

Another house

Yet another

The road

A view from the hotel

Another view

A koi pond

Exploring the hotel grounds

A hummingbird at rest

Another look

Keywords: los angeles, weather

02/21/24 - Los Angeles by Night

There are just a handful of pictures here. That's Santa Monica at night and the Bel Air swans taking an evening swim.

Santa Monica

More Santa Monica

The swan setting

Swans again

Yet more Santa Monica

Keywords: los angeles

02/20/24 - Beverly Hills

We had dinner in Beverly Hills, down near Rodeo Drive. It was raining, and the streets were quiet. We had an excellent dinner at a seafood restaurant, Crustacean. The sun set. After our meal, it was still raining lightly. The streets were still pretty quiet, but the shop lights took on a specially pleasant glow.

Daytime Beverly Hills

Some shop lights

A high end, presumably, pawn shop

More lights and some palm trees

After dinner

Beverly Hills came into its own

A store window close up

More light

Photogenic - We weren't the only ones taking pictures.

Los Angeles in the rain at night - No wonder they did so well with film noir.

That curvy shopping side street everyone photographs

More lights and rain

The red glow is a nice touch.

Keywords: los angeles, shopping

02/19/24 - Getty Villa and Santa Monica

We were in Los Angeles for a bit. We arrived with an atmospheric river at our heels, so there was a lot of rain. We still managed to explore a bit. We made it out to the Getty Villa with its wonderful Roman Gardens and impressive collection of ancient artifacts. We also made it down to Santa Monica and explored a bit. We were pleased to see that Jadis was still around. We never seem to arrive when it's open, but we can see through the window is pretty impressive.

At the Getty Villa

A formal Roman garden

At the Getty Villa

There was great art, too, but the gardens and architecture look better in photos.

Another Roman garden

Santa Monica

Jadis, specializing in movie props and science fiction artworks

Keywords: los angeles

restaurants, seattle

08/25/16 - Seattle - Part 1

We made a short trip into Seattle and decided to break up our routine and try doing some new things and some new restaurants. First up was dinner at Bateau. This is a steakhouse for serious beef up on Capital Hill. Every evening they start with a list of available cuts posted on their blackboard, and as they are ordered, they are crossed out. We arrived at five, when they opened, and had the last bavette and teres major. By the time we left, they were all out of New York Strip. The beef was amazing. They buy beef by the cow and do their own aging. We loved everything. We had the sweetbreads, the wonderfully tender octopus, a deconstructed reuben sandwich and their tallow cooked french fries. There are other steakhouses in Seattle, but next time we need beef, it’s going to be Bateau.

Then we took a walk from the Alki Point Lighthouse in West Seattle. We headed east along the embankment and beach with excellent views of downtown Seattle and the port. Unlike Los Angeles with Venice and Santa Monica or New York with Rockaway, one doesn’t think of Seattle as a beach town, but West Seattle is a beach town with easy public access to the salt water of the Puget Sound, beach oriented restaurants and other businesses and the laid back ambience associated with leisure and salt water. We made our way to the Water Taxi pier which was also the home of Marination Ma Kai where we really enjoyed the tacos. The spicy pork and kalua pork tacos were also good, but the fish tacos were our favorite. The tacos were served with their surprisingly good cole slaw and lightly pickled jalapenos. We had to admire their touch with the pickling process.

The Space Needle at dusk

The bar at Bateau

West Seattle bottle tree

One of the staircases to the sea

The West Seattle beach

A certified wildlife habitat

A view of Seattle

Another view

Marination Ma Kai

Keywords: los angeles

09/21/15 - Coogee to Bondi

One of the ways Sydney resembles Los Angeles is in its well developed beach culture. Last year we walked from Bondi Beach south to Coogee Beach. This year we took the same hike in the opposite direction. There is a great coastal hiking trail that leads from beach to beach, usually following the headlands, though once or twice going inland.

Coogee Beach behind us

A view from the headlands

More headlands hiking

One of the many coves

That channel is a recreational beach

Headlands and coves

The cemetery

Another small beach

More rocks and salt water

Bondi Beach, our goal

Bondi Beach has a wall full of street art, so this admonition is appropriate.

Keywords: australia, los angeles

09/18/15 - Melbourne - Definitely Photogenic

Some cities are harder to photograph than others. You have to be alert to make Los Angeles look interesting. but Melbourne is full of street level detail and spatial dynamics. There are also some pretty nice trees.

A minor street lined with commercial art

That's a great radio tower, like something out of an old movie

Street trees - There's a Melbourne original in the upper right, a go left to turn right sign.


Great colors

Shadows and store windows

More of the city

Keywords: australia, los angeles

08/24/15 - Spit Road to Manly - 1

Sydney reminds us of Los Angeles. There is a perfectly modern metropolis, but here and there one finds touches of the primeval. Sydney Harbour hosts a modern city with office towers and suburban sprawl, but also a wonderful set of coastal trails.

The Spit Bridge to Manly trail starts below the unpromisingly named Spit Bridge. The trail follows an alley down from the road to the base of the bridge, past trash cans and urban scenery. Then, there is the water with sailboats, park land and the homes of the lucky few who can afford to live on the water.

We followed the trail past tidal flats, up and down sand stone cliffs, across little streams and past waterfalls. We spotted birds and views. Climbing, we had a magnificent view of the office towers of downtown Sydney not far from an array of aboriginal petroglyphs.

Spit Bridge, probably the prettier view

The trail

One of the little views




More of the trail


An easy to find petroglyph of a fish

A view of downtown Sydney

More birds

Keywords: australia, los angeles

10/03/14 - Melbourne

After a night in the charming seaside town of Apollo Bay, we made it into Melbourne. The drive was beautiful, but challenging, with twists and turns and spectacular ocean views. Melbourne was a more serious driving challenge with bizarre driving rules, special lanes for making right turns from the left lane, tram traffic, pedestrian traffic and heavy machinery chewing up critical roads between us and our Thrifty car rental return garage.

Melbourne reminded us of New York with its hustle and bustle and urban sensibility. In contrast, Sydney was Los Angeles with its less formal manner. We wandered the city center with its streets and alleys and arcades, but we had dinner out in Saint Kilda, down by the waterfront. We spent the next day exploring more of Saint Kilda, checking out sea birds, the parks and esplanade, and watching the downtown skyline from the distance.

In town we found a cake supply shop, several book stores, fashionable clothing stores and a partially hidden Chinatown where we had fabulous freshly made dumplings. The main streets are wide with bus lanes and car lanes and acres of pedestrians. The alleys are bustling and lined with restaurants and fascinating shops.

We only had two nights and one full day in Melbourne. Next time, we'll stay longer.

The skyline as seen from St. Kilda


More downtown

Fashionable clothing, at least for Martians

Ooh, cake decorations!

There's a bit of Venice (California) in Melbourne.

Wild beaches not far from downtown

More downtown, between traffic lights

Not quite New York, but a promising skyline

The view from across the river

Bicycle lanes and one of the bizarre, get left and wait for the light, then right turn lanes - either that or street corner suduko

Keywords: australia, los angeles

11/01/10 - Honolulu - Diamond Head and The Hau Tree

We haven't been updating our website lately. Why? Because we were in Hawaii for a week. That's right. We went back, and this time we made it all the way up to Diamond Head. You can't miss Diamond Head. It's that big volcanic crater that dominates the coast past Waikiki. It's an old fort, and the only way into the crater is through the tunnel or a rugged climb over the crater's walls. We took the tunnel and climbed the staircase(s) to get some great views of Honolulu and the area.

The crater floor is covered with kiawe, a rugged tree, covered with spines and fond of dry volcanic soil. From the viewpoint, an old artillery emplacement about 700 feet above sea level, you can see Waikiki, the mountains inland and much of Honolulu. The city, like Los Angeles, tapers off into the canyons. It's dry in the flat lands, but the hills are green.

That evening, we had dinner at The Hau Tree and watched the sun set over the beach. Tropical sunsets are always amazing.

The tunnel into Diamond Head

The view east

The view inland

The view west to the hotel strip of Waikiki

Back then, forts relied on rock, not air cover

The Hau Tree

A sunset sail

Keywords: hawaii, los angeles

05/16/09 - Exploring Tacoma - Part 2

We also explored a bit of North Tacoma, with its Victorian gingerbread and great views of the harbor and Puget Sound. We found the Rosewood Cafe, but didn't have a chance to try it. The Proctor Shopping District is nearby, as is the University of Puget Sound. They call it UPS for short. We thought they were referring to the United Parcel Service.

We took Sixth Avenue on our way back downtown. The neighborhood is bit louche, especially in comparison with North Tacoma, but it reminded us a little of Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The stores were aimed at the arty and edgy with a host of vinyl records shops, vintage clothing stores, and even a Hawaiian gift shop.

Some Victorian gingerbread

More gingerbread and a nice garden

It's almost like being in San Francisco.

To the north, some great views, but less fantastic architecture

The Rosewood Cafe - It looked good, and the joint was jumping.

The Proctor Shopping District - That's a model train store, one of many intriguing shops.

The Music House, one of many special interest houses at the University of Puget Sound - There are also the language houses, athletic house and so on.

We had to admire the sentiment at this little computer store.

Sixth Avenue was a bit louche, a lot like Melrose in Los Angeles.

Another Sixth Avenue shop - great colors.

The costume shop - probably a madhouse come Halloween

Keywords: tacoma, victoria, los angeles

Recipe Collection

04/29/06 - The Kaleberg Recipe Collection

We were asked about a recipe for herb jam at the Farmers' Market today, so we decided to post our entire recipe dump, that is, our list of recipes adopted and stolen from a variety of cookbooks and magazine articles. It is a rather uneven batch, but one of our favorites is Paula Wolfert's herb jam as reprinted in the Los Angeles Times.

Keywords: farmers' market, recipe, los angeles