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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tree-trimming, Fried Bananas, & Succotash Tacos

It’s been a very busy Christmas season – filled with family, friends, and just a touch of rain.  Well, actually about 7 straight days of rain in California. But who's counting...except just about every news station in town. Californians don't do rain very well...or is that just Southern Californians? Humphh, I think there's a really great freeway joke in there somewhere, but I'm still quite loyal to my sun-kissed brethren. (Just don't mess with anyone driving an SUV while balancing a grande latte on the 405 - not for the faint of heart...or really anyone in a SMART car).

Consequently, all this downpour has left lots of time for hot toddies (brandy optional, but not recommended), tree-trimming, and Christmas parties.

My best friend on the planet, who just happens to live in California and who has resisted several small & large-scale PR campaigns (spearheaded by moi of course) to move to France, started a tree-trimming tradition last year of adding ornaments with the initials of friends & loved ones.

The number of letters is starting to swell, but I've staked prominent tree-estate for my T and Maria continues to rock her red M.  

Which brings me to another word that has come to round-out the triad of family, friends, and....yes, shockingly, food. And, as always, no complaints here.  If I had to choose my favorite food, well, behind French & Italian of course, it would have to be Mexican.  And in this case, three is definitely not a crowd; I've got plenty of plate-space for all my top 3 foodie friends - quite generous of me I'd say, getting into the holiday spirit & all...

Enter our visit to Loteria Grill in Studio City last week, where we may or may not have bumped into a retired actor (from ER, but not of the Clooney variety *dang*). Truth be told, we just gawked from afar, and even though I'm quite bold when it comes to taking photos of food, I draw the line at celebrity stalking.  No potential lawsuits when snapping a few shots of modest tacos.

Or of this lovely plate of fried bananas. And with the hefty claim of the Best Mexican Food in Los Angeles, Loteria Grill had a lot to live up to - succotash tacos & all.  Suffice to say, you had me, and my lovely lunch companion Breana, at slow-roasted pork in banana leaves, and the rest was the stuff (Southern) California dreams are made of.

Happy Holidays & a very Merry Christmas from l'America!


  1. Merry Merry Tuula! Way to rock this season's many flavors! xo

  2. Hooray! Sounds like a great Christmas, Tuula! I love the idea of putting initials on the ornaments! And who was the mystery ER actor? I'm assuming it wasn't that handsome man from Yugoslavia either. And that mex meal looks and sounds amazing! xo

  3. Merry Christmas to you de l'Australie! xo

  4. Merry Christmas, hope you have found a dry spot out of the rain!!

  5. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas there in Southern CA. Sounds like you are having a good time despite the horrible rainy weather that descended on LA last week. Hopefully, you will find some sunshine this week. I just got to Frankfurt, waiting for my flight to Lyon and then driving to Sablet. Can't wait.

  6. Thanks so much for the lovely Christmas wishes! - we had a wonderful holiday (even though I did pack on one too many meatballs thanks to my Maria's mother's yummy cooking!).

    Michel, so happy for you that you're on your way back to Provence! I leave on Thursday & really can't wait to be back in France :)

    Margo, well looks like I might be dating myself here (or basically just showing how long I've been out of the US), but the actor we saw was Ed Begley Jr, lol- & I am ashamed to admit he was on St. Elsewhere & not ER! Well at least my memories of him in a white lab coat were good for something :)

  7. Tuula - They had me at slow roasted pork! I'll have to check out Loteria Grill on my next trip south (waiting for GROM to open in Malibu :-) Glad you're enjoying the holidays in CA, and hope your New Year's is just as fantastic!

  8. I know Kathy, Loteria Grill was a real treat! And I'm just as excited as you are for the opening of GROM - reason alone to come to the west coast :)
    Have a wonderful New Year's! xx

  9. I'm SO glad you had such a fantastic time, Tuula! I wish you the very happiest of new years and hope it gives you much joy, peace and love. :-) So glad to have met you!!

  10. When I was reading your post and you mentioned the endless rain...It immediately made me think of an old popular song that lyrics included this statement " It never rains in California, but boy let me warn you, when it pours, man it pours" (something like that)

    I think the tree trimming idea is an awesome one! You cannot beat good authentic Mexican food either. Your trip so far has been fabulous. If only that rain would move along and bring you some of that Southern California sunshine it's famous for-

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to your blog posts in 2011.


  11. My heart beats for Mexican food! When I was in Dublin for Xmas, my mother made fajitas and breakfast tacos for me. Almost as good as Texas since she makes her own tortillas. It was the best Xmas present ever!
    Happy 2011 to you Tuula! :-) xo