Saturday, January 14, 2012

Los Angeles, California

Mann Chinese Theater
For some reason the thought of visiting Los Angeles always reminds me of the famous Kurt Vonnegut quote from his 1997 commencement address at MIT, "Live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard; Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft." I recognize that Los Angeles is not in fact in NORTHERN California but LA makes me think of it all the same.
Because let's face it, he was right, wasn't he. When you add in not just Los Angeles, but also the diverse communities that surround it as well; places like Anaheim, Long Beach, Malibu, and so many other must-see places, there is just too much to take in for a tourist. A person kind of has to live there for a while to really take it all in, which is why I say that LA is probably a better place to live than it is a place to visit. But that's not to say that it isn't worth it as a tourist destination too. It is a far better thing to see it and know how much you've left undone, than to never have seen any of it at all.

The Sites

I would encourage anyone to see the local museum in every city that they visit on principle alone, but some museums deserve some special recognition, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is one such place. Located in Hancock Park, which is also the site of the famous La Brea Tar Pits. Though I must admit that the tar pits themselves were rather underwhelming, their contents on display at the Page Museum are facinating.
"Five Car Stud"
The Page Museum is right next to the art museum campus which was huge; consisting of no less than 9 buildings and took us quite a while to get all the way through. Of all the pieces in LACMA's vast collection of modern art and sculpture, the one that stood out the most was a tableau by Edward Kienholz called "Five Car Stud" which was a shocking, potent and powerful piece depicting the hatred that many whites felt towards minorities and interracial relationships in the not so distant past. The life sized sculptures of 6 masked figures holding down and castrating a black man while his white girlfriend is forced to watch is a graphic and shocking reminder of our culture's dark history, and I will carry that image with me forever.
I was also impressed by the LACAM's Pavillion for Japanese Art which was a beautiful piece of architecture, which, inside, had a pathway that snaked through the building from painting to painting, to give the viewer the feel of walking through a peaceful Japanese garden. It was a wonderful setup.

Helena Bonham Carter

Bill Maher
There is nothing that screams LA as much as a trek to Hollywood. Ursa and I got a wonderful opportunity to go on a ride-along tour with actual paparazzi, Rick Mendoza. Coincidentally, Rick was the paparazzo involved in an incident in 2007 when Britney Spears drove over and broke his foot with her car. Mr. Mendoza has since recovered, and we had a wonderful tour through both Beverly Hills and Hollywood with Rick telling us about the sites as we drove from photo-op to photo-op.
One of our first stops was at the house in Beverly Hills which was formerly the mansion where "The Osbournes" was filmed. Currently the home is owned by Christina Aguilera. We waited for a bit to see if we could get a glimpse of Christina heading out and got a lesson from Rick in paparazzi 101. After a while, we saw a stylist going into the house with his bags so we knew that it would be a while before Christina came out for the night so we moved on.
Warren Beatty and Annette Bening
We eventually made our way to Hollywood Boulevard, where, at Chateau Marmont we found an after-party for the Golden Globe Awards that was being held. It was an exciting chance to get some red carpet pics of a great list of stars. Celebrities like Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Maher, Juliette Lewis, and Gavin Rossdale among others. I was surprised not by the paparazzi so much, but by the conduct of the autograph seekers who were present. I expected the photographers to be insistent but the autograph hounds were the ones who were like a pack of jackals! They were pushy, obsessive and rude. One called Gavin Rossdale a prick for not signing whatever piece of memorabilia he was brandishing. Which Rick used as an example to help give the lie to some of the reputation of the "stalkerazzi", in that most of the time, the paparazzo let the autograph hounds do the stalking for them.  

Malibu sunset

From Anahime's theme parks to the Hollywood sign, there is a lot of city exploring to be done in Los Angeles, but in all the bustling about, don't forget to take some time to breathe in some ocean air from one of the many area beaches.
During our trip to California last January, we took a very nice dinner cruise on the ocean from Newport Beach, up the coast and back again. We also witnessed a breathtaking sunset on Zuma Beach in Malibu. But during our most recent holiday in LA last month, we wanted to go do some people watching at the famous Venice Beach. Unfortunately, while being out on a beach in December when the weather is in the high 60's might seem very reasonable to a couple of Alaskans on vacation, it is apparently pure anathema to the Los Angelenos because the beach was completely empty! Miles and miles of pristine sand with nobody on it. C'est la vie, at least we had a very nice stroll through the sand and got a good look at the neighborhood and the canal for which the beach was named. At any rate, take my advice and make a point to enjoy the beaches, a trip to southern California just wouldn't be the same without it.


I would love to regale you with stories of the posh, high end, gourmet restaurants which are aplenty in LA, but the truth is that I have to agree with Anthony Bourdain when he says, "What LA does better than just about anywhere in the country is that low-end, strip mall Thai, Korean, Japanese, Mexican. San Francisco maybe has better midrange; New York has better high end. But LA has it over just about everybody on the low end, and I love that stuff." 
He's totally right, we had some absolutely jaw dropping sushi at this very unassuming, and undecorated place called Orange Sushi, and on another evening, after our visit to the museum, we found a great Indian restaurant with a beautiful ambiance called India's Grill, which was tucked away in the corner of a little plaza. The one place that we DID make a point to go out of our way to eat at was having some of the massive pancakes from The Griddle Cafe. In the past, I have seen news footage of Boy Scout troops trying to cook the world's largest pancake, and so those are of course bigger, but the pancakes at The Griddle were the largest pancakes that I've ACTUALLY seen with my own eyes. And they were not just big in size, or their sheer weight (I promise you that my leftovers had to weigh at least five pounds!) but they were also over the top in the variety of flavors that they offered. I ordered the "Hear Me Roar" which had strawberries and Frosted Flakes mixed into the batter. And yes, they were in fact "GRRRRRRREAT". Ursa got the uber-decadent, "A Time To Love" which was filled with butterscotch chips and caramel. It was for all intents and purposes, diabetes on a plate. . . and it was delicious!

Home Cooking

As I'm going on about pancakes, I figured I'd post on here my special blueberry pancake recipe. I feel bad for not having made this more recently, but I'm kinda trying to eat more sensible breakfasts when at home. Yet, I can rarely resist breaking this recipe out when blueberries are in season back home in Anchorage.

Blueberry Pancakes

2 Cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Cup yogurt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 Cup club soda
2 eggs (beaten)
6 Tablespoons butter
3 Cups blueberries
Confectioner's sugar/maple syrup

Mix together flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt and baking soda, and let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Add the yogurt mixture, club soda, and eggs to the flour mixture and whisk together until we combined. Let stand 10 minutes.

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add batter, 1/4 cup at a time (spread the batter out with a spoon if necessary). Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pancake (about 2 minutes). Top with blueberries, use a spoon to press the blueberries into the uncooked batter. Flip and cook until done (about 2 minutes more). Top with confectioner's sugar and maple syrup to taste, and serve hot.


In terms of live entertainment, Los Angeles can compete with any major city in the world and probably come out on top. The clubs along the Sunset Strip like The Whiskey a Go GoThe Roxy, or The Viper Room all hold special places in Rock & Roll lore. They've seen the likes of The Byrds, The Doors, Montley Crue, Guns and Roses, and virtually every major artist in between. 
Joe Satriani shredding at The Orpheum
In January of 2011 while in LA, Ursa and I had the opportunity to see guitar virtuoso, Joe Satriani play at The Orpheum. It was a very cool show, but I've got to say that as a venue, the Orpheum is due for a bit of an upgrade. Like airliners, the theater has tried to maximize it's capacity by having tiny seats, mashed close together. I'm sure they make a little extra profit out it, but it mostly just succeeds in pissing off concertgoers. Apart from that though, the show was really good. And it wasn't just Satch shredding on his guitar that made it good, it was also a well set up stage set that was cool as well. I like it when artists remember the importance of stagecraft, lighting, sound and whatnot. It is a forgotten art all too often.
One place that I have yet to be able to go is to see a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is a stunning building, designed by one of my favorite architects, Frank Gehry. The home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra is reportedly as amazing on the inside as it is on the outside. The next time I'm in the LA area we will surely make a special effort to see it ourselves.

All in all, we have enjoyed ourselves every time we've come to Los Angeles. And we will be back for more. The one drawback about LA is that you have to plan your trip here so much more carefully because of how spread out everything is. It seems like wherever you're going is on the opposite end of town from where you currently are. All the driving bothered Ursa less than me, but I for one was starting to get pretty annoyed by the time we left. Yet, I suppose that if a little bit of traffic tedium is the worst thing to encounter in a city than the trip isn't so bad.
Well, that pretty much wraps up our California road trip, and the travel calender is empty for me until our Mexico trip in March, so for the next month and a half I'll be trying to do some updates and edits to these existing posts. I want to add a "history" section, and maybe a "culture" section as well, so look for those in the coming weeks. Until then, bye!

Ursa and Sonny Ray

Saturday, January 7, 2012

San Luis Obispo, California

Avila Beach
There are many reasons to travel; some are looking for a family vacation, some seek a party destination, or an exciting wilderness adventure; but if it is a romantic retreat that you are looking for, then I would like to introduce you to San Luis Obispo. The spectacular blend of rolling hills, extraordinary wineries, welcoming beaches, and fascinating countryside is sure to help you find love in the air. The area is low key, uncrowded, and in no way pretentious. It is a beautiful and intriguing area with a lot to both explore and savor.
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort
 Typically, Ursa and I make good use of corporate discounts through the company I work for, or membership privilege points to keep our hotel budget as reasonable as possible. And while there is a lot to be said for that, it also means that most of our accommodations are usually rather pedestrian. 
misty morning walk at Sycamore
So for this trip we decided to treat ourselves, and opted to stay at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort which was a destination unto itself. The biggest draw to Sycamore Springs (as it's name would suggest) is the mineral spring tubs. Every room comes with a private tub on it's patio, and at the first whiff of sulfur in the air I found myself starting to relax. The hotel was built on a sharp hillside with all the rooms facing out, so that from the comfort of the tub we could look out on a lovely view of the lush, green valley.
The Labyrinth at Sycamore
Each morning I started my day with a walk through the heavy mists that drifted in from the Pacific Ocean. On some mornings I would take the long trail which led down to Avila Beach and listen to the waves lap upon the sand, or on others I could take the short trail which led to the Labyrinth and meditation trail. The Labyrinth should not be confused with a hedge maze, because while a hedge maze is designed to be a decision making game there are no right or wrong choices to be made in a Labyrinth. Following the winding trail to the Labyrinth's center and out again is meant to be a meditative process; a technique to relax the mind and promote contemplation. 
If that doesn't get you rested and restored enough, Sycamore also has massages, Yoga, and spa treatments available. But all of that relaxing can work up quite an appetite, so there is also an exceptional gourmet restaurant at Sycamore, called The Gardens of Avila, which is an absolute must. The Gardens is overseen by Chef Pandee Pearson and specializes in local, sustainable cuisine, so the menu varies depending on what's in season.


When we're talking about San Luis Obispo, we're talking about wine country. The combination of rocky volcanic soils and the stable climate caused by the nearby Pacific Ocean (which creates mild summers and warm falls) is what makes this such a renowned wine region.
While there are simply too many wineries to go into detail of each one, one of the highlights of our tour through wine country included our very first stop, at Tolosa Winery where we had a delicious wine and artisanal cheese pairing. One interesting point about the cheeses is how in the famous wine regions of France the cheese makers make a special effort to pair their cheeses with the local wines but in the United States the cheese makers rarely know much about the local wines and the wine makers don't usually know what cheeses to pair their wines with. The ability to pair the two has become an art unto itself and it was a real pleasure to enjoy a genuine wine and cheese experience.
As for the winery itself; Tolosa is a beautiful facility, and tasting room and featured a very nice No Oak Chardonnay that was crisp more than buttery and was one of the better chards that I had on the trip. They are also well known for their Pinot Niors as well.
I was REALLY impressed with the wines of Saucelito Canyon which was one of the few wineries in the area to specialize in Zinfandels. Their best Zin is their 1880 Zinfandel which is made from the grapes grown in the original 13 and a half acre vinyard in Arroyo Grande Valley, the same vines that were planted back in (you guessed it) 1880. I couldn't leave without buying a bottle for my parents.
Next there was Kelsey See Canyons which was a quaint, family winery nestled in among an apple orchard and presided over by the Kelsey family and their small army of peacocks. The wines there were pretty good on the whole; the Grenache was tasty, and the Rsv Cab was nice, but the signature of Kelsey See Canyon Winery is their apple wines. We bought a bottle of the "Golden Delicious" which is made from 50 percent Chardonnay grapes and 50 percent fermented apple juice. Having seen the ingredients I had expected the apple wines to be ridiculously sweet, like a Riesling but it wasn't; it was fruity, but lighter than anticipated. Blending fruit wines seems to be the specialty of the Kelseys because their Orange Muscat was also a very nice dessert wine.
a glass of love from Rotta Winery
And last but not least is what was my favorite winery of the trip, Rotta Winery. The list of Rotta wines was very long, and the tasting featured 13 wines for $5! Near the end of the tasting, Ursa and I had pretty much settled on 4 of their fantastic wines, but that was when they broke out their finest yet. Even though I find dessert wines a little sugary for me, Rotta's Black Monukka dessert wine is absolutely exceptional. It's a complex, sherry-like dessert wine that reminds me of the rich flavor of rum-raisin sauce. This was the most unique wine we experienced on our journey into California's wine country and it was fitting that it should be found at the final winery that we visited.

There is a lot of exploring around San Luis Obispo county, and some of the nearby towns make for exciting day trips. We had a great trip en route to SLO, stopping off outside of Santa Barbra to go horseback riding. Thanks to the crew at Circle Bar B Ranch we had a fantastic afternoon riding through the magnificent, forested hills, to get a stunning view, looking out onto the ocean, from the top of the hill we ascended.
We took the hour and a half ride rather than the half day ride, and we are glad that we did, because 6 hours in the saddle would have been WAY too much! You wouldn't think that sitting in a saddle for an hour and a half would work you that hard, but it does. Our group consisted of Ursa and I, and two other couples. We couldn't help but laugh at the one woman who was maybe a little too "cityfied" to enjoy an excursion like this, and she started complaining from the moment that she got into the saddle about how the horse was trying to test her, and how it knows that she wasn't experienced enough. . . and on, and on. We found it funny because we were thinking, "it's a horse, not Sigmund Freud. It's not trying to outsmart you, it's thinking 'mmmm, grass!'" That being said, we all had a great time and a wonderful journey.
A short drive south on the Pacific Coast Highway will lead you to the the small Danish town of Solvang. It was founded by Danish immigrants who had come to America because of poor economic prospects in Denmark from around 1850 until 1930. Most of the Danish community settled in the midwest, but a few decided to create a new Danish colony out west in the warmer climate of California. And so the town of Solvang was born; it has grown into a cute little tourist community, attracting more than a million visitors per year. Around town all of the buildings are built in the half timbered style of Danish rural houses, and gave rise to an architectural style known as "Danish Provincial". The downtown is full of wonderful book shops, eateries, wine tasting rooms, and candy shops. We absolutely had to stop at one of the candy shops, Ingeborgs, where I was giddy to find my favorite sweet, salted licorice, which is an item that is rather hard to come by in the States, but very popular in places like Holland and Denmark, we also picked up an assortment of hand made chocolates and some nougat bars that were fabulous.

Hearst Castle
A short 43 miles north of San Luis Obispo is the National Historic Landmark mansion, Hearst Castle. This opulent manner was built by Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947.
Hearst Castle
The mansion was built for publishing magnate, William Randolph Hearst, who had a great deal of influence in the castle's layout. In fact, many rooms of the castle were designed specifically to support the centuries old ceilings that Hearst had purchased from various places in Europe. Architecturally, the castle is a hodge-podge of classic European styles, such as the Baroque style front room, the great Spanish entry way, the Gothic style   dining room, and the Roman pools. Personally, I can't say that I was a big fan of that technique, mostly because I'm more of the opinion that if you are going to build the most expensive private home in America (it is valued at around $165 million) than why would you want to construct replicas of what someone else has done as opposed to building something original yourself. But that's not to say that it isn't beautiful. Inside the home features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a movie theater. Outside there are 127 acres of gardens, an airfield, and the world's largest private zoo. Some zebras from the zoo's heyday can still be seen roaming the surrounding hills.

The Food

One of the best restaurants we ate at on our entire trip to southern California was Novo. We sat on the patio, which overlooked the creek gurgling by, and had a lovely meal. We had the best calamari that I've ever eaten as a starter and I had the Malaysian curry chicken which was cooked to perfection in coconut milk. We also had a very nice lunch at the unassuming but delicious, Jaffa Cafe, the falafel was first rate. Strangely, we didn't do any breakfasts while we were in San Luis Obispo, getting out of the room late seemed to be the byproduct of staying at a resort, we were in no rush to get out the door.

Home Cooking

Novo may have been my favorite restaurant of this trip, but the most fitting and memorable gastronomic experience we had was our wine and cheese pairing at Tolosa Winery. As such, I felt that it would be appropriate to include a baked brie recipe. I got this one from an excellent blog called The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. Mmmmmm. . . it's gooey, cheesy, goodness. Try a nice, oakey Chardonnay to go with it.

Baked Brie with Onions

2 onions
3 Tablespoons butter
Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)
8 oz Brie (log or small wheel)
1 sheet puff pastry

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice up onions into bite sized lengths. In a regular frying pan, melt butter and cook onions until soft and beginning to brown, then drizzle balsamic vinegar over onions to taste. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
While the onions are cooling, lay out the puff pastry sheet and lay onions onto it when ready. Place Brie log on edge of pastry and roll up.
Place log onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Serve hot.

To conclude this post, I want to say that San Luis Obispo makes it on my VERY short list of places that I really want to return to. What a wonderful and romantic place, I cannot recommend it enough as a destination. One thing that we did not do was to see a show of any kind while we were in town, so there is unfortunately no "Tunes" section on this week's post. Maybe I'll get a chance to amend that after we go back. . . hopefully sooner rather than later. Until next week then, bye.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Palm Springs, California

There's a lot to be said for having your parents "snow bird" it down in Palm Springs. It gives me a great reason to go thaw out in the dessert at least once a year; and, lets face it, I don't need a "great" reason to visit southern California. . . any half-assed reason will suffice. But for the purposes of this blog, I find it hard to put together a post because my primary focus on a visit to Palm Springs is to visit my family, much the same way that I had a hard time discussing Denver. I don't really travel there to ride the tram, or hit the links, or to go hiking; I go there to enjoy some time with my folks. Consequently, my time is spent more on family time than city exploring, but fortunately I've been there enough times to feel confident in mashing together this post about visiting Palm Springs. I hope you enjoy it.


Joshua Tree National Park
Just outside of Palm Springs is the amazing Joshua Tree National Park. This 790,000 acre park has an otherworldly landscape, filled with huge rock piles, and the bizarre looking trees for which the park was named. The rock piles have become a popular destination for rock climbers, and the southeastern portion of the park is more of grasslands, and sandy dessert dunes.
But what we REALLY loved about Joshua Tree was it's inky black sky that was absolutely perfect for astronomy. Last year, I had bought Ursa a telescope for Christmas and we took it out to Joshua Tree for a test drive. What an amazing night of stargazing! We could see Jupiter's bands, and all of it's moons, and the Great Orion Nebula was absolutely stunning. Even without the telescope, the view of the Milky Way was breathtaking.

I'm not big on shopping, and I typically don't include it as a "must do" for purpose of this blog, but I need to include it this time because shopping in Palm Springs is different. What the citizens of Palm Springs  lack in population, they make up for in money, and where the money goes, Giorgio Armani is sure to follow.
Downtown Palm Springs has tons of cute boutiques, restaurants, and services; but the shopaholic's mecca can be found on El Paseo. Sometimes called "the Rodeo Drive of the dessert", El Paseo boasts one of the finest collections of high end clothing stores, art galleries, and salon/spas anywhere. Even if you're outpriced by some of these stores it is well worth the time to just get out and walk this street if only to appreciate the ever changing lineup of sculptures adorning the center of the road. Another full day of shopping can be found at the Cabazon Outlets where they have an impressive array of clothing and outlets. Believe me when I say that this isn't a trip to you're local outlet stores, this is an all day shopping extravaganza. One thing is certain and that is that Palm Springs takes it's shopping VERY seriously!

It just wouldn't be a trip to Palm Springs without going on one of the many hikes through the San Jacinto Mountains. Trails abound in the rocky hills around the Coachella Valley and they cross all ability levels. Mom and Dad go hiking 4 to 5 times per week and have become pretty rugged as a result. Their favorite trail is up to "The Cross", a trek that I try to make with them at least once or twice every visit. At the top of the hill is a stellar view of the whole Coachella Valley.

Did you really think that I was going to make it all the way through a blog about Palm Springs without mentioning the game of golf? C'mon now! Palm Springs is golf freaking central! There are more than 125 golf courses in the Palm Springs area, and they run the spectrum from economical to opulent.
But here's the rub: neither Ursa or I really play golf much. So instead, we made a point to challenge each other to a round of putt-putt golf at a local family fun park. In our last putt-putt outing, I had CRUSHED Ursa (by 1 stroke) and this time I, again, jumped out to an early lead. Yet she was undeterred and whittled her way back to finish tied! And while I was mostly convinced that the tie was an act of pure, dumb luck; I was nevertheless in a state of inconsolable shame for the remainder of the trip. (I must give Ursa some credit however, because she does always beat my ass when we go bowling. . . which is part of the reason I've never mentioned bowling in this blog before)


As I said earlier, my primary reason for traveling to Palm Springs is to spend time with my family, especially this last month when I got to be there for a rare Xmas with the fam! The truth be told, I don't get too into the gift giving, or the decorations or the yuletide spirit as much as I ought to; but the one part of Xmas that I really, truly enjoy is cooking dinner with my mother.
We spend the day in the kitchen, sometimes joined by my aunt, Traci, making an afternoon of just cooking and conversation. Mom's got this holiday dinner thing pretty well figured out: she always gets turkey detail, which pretty much just bakes all afternoon, gravy and stuffing which doesn't take long, giving Mom the afternoon to stuff olives (her signature hors d'oeuvre of black olives stuffed with cream cheese is easy enough, but a little tedious and time consuming) and chatting. Dad always has his special cranberry sauce prepared the day before, Traci always seems to be good for a dessert, which leaves me with side dishes (which are my favorite thing to make anyway because you can always break out something new that hasn't been tried before). This year I was requested (told) to make a carrot and pecan souffle which has managed to catch on nicely with everyone, and brie-topped mashed potatoes which turned out pretty well.
Tongue sandwich at Sherman's Deli
Unfortunately I think that my Mom would be pretty disappointed in me if the only place that I recommended to eat at in Palm Springs was her house; so here's some of my favorite area restaurants. For lunch I'd try Sherman's Deli, which is a delicious, kosher style, New York deli. I had the tongue sandwich and is was great! My father's favorite choice for dinner is having some barbecue at the Jackalope Ranch which is a huge restaurant and bar, and is a beautiful facility. The food is great and the service is impeccable.
Jackalope Ranch

Home Cooking
As that I made a couple of side dishes for Xmas dinner, I wasn't sure which one to post here. I decided that I'd post the Carrot and Pecan Souffle mostly out of personal convenience, because I've given this recipe out enough times that now if someone else wants it then I can just direct them here and spare myself the hassle of copying it down again.

Carrot and Pecan Souffle
2 lbs carrots (quartered)
1 stick of butter (softened)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soften the carrots in boiling water then drain and allow to cool slightly. In a food processor wiz together the butter, carrots and sugar then add the remaining ingredients and blend. Transfer to a  souffle dish and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the souffle comes out clean.


If it's live performances you're looking for it's best to first consider who the target audience is in Palm Springs. This is first and foremost a retirement community, and the bands that book here reflect that. If the bands seem a little dated. . . well, it's because they are. That being said, there are a few good places to see a show. There are some solid, main stream shows that play at Agua Caliente Casino. Another good venue to look up is the McCallum Theatre, where Ursa and I were able to catch Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from "Whose Line is it Anyway" doing an improv show that was hilarious!
Every spring the polo grounds in Indio play host to a 3 day music and arts festival called Coachella which is one of the premier music fests in the country. This year it will be held from April 13-15 and is always an epic lineup.

Well that about wraps up my perspective of Palm Springs, but wait, there's more! Because Ursa and I had a wonderful road trip around Southern California including stops not only in Palm Springs, but also San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo; so you can expect some upcoming posts about them over the next few weeks as well. Until then remember that Buddha says, "It is better to travel well than to arrive." See you all next week, bye!

Happy holidays everybody!