February 28, 2010
I had such plans for February.
I really was going to blog more.
Especially after my trip to Atlanta. I even have photos!
Ah well. I'm beat. Overworked. Thrilled, but way overworked. Totally gratified. And tired.
So, here's my "I swear I was going to blog more in February" post.
More next month. It's a longer month. That means the odds are better, right?
February 16, 2010
What is the Great Southern Food in Southern California Challenge? Click here for the low-down. (And click on any photo below to enlarge it.)
Our second stop on the GSFiSCC was South, 3001 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 90403.
South is the creation of four young guys who clearly enjoyed the frat hangouts of their college days (and beyond). A couple of 'em did time in the south, and that's what they've focused their menu upon. It covers a few states' favorites, rather than trying to stick to one specific southern cuisine, but really, South is a sportsbar, first and foremost. The fact that you can get a good southern dinner there is a bonus.
I arrived promptly at 4pm (their happy hour runs weekdays from 3pm to 8pm. Awesome, right?) and told the manager that we would be a party of... well... it was hard to know, as RSVPs were flipping back from YES to NO all through the day. I also told him we may have drop-ins over the next few hours. So, it could be me alone for an hour and then maybe a dozen folks by the time we were all assembled. But nothing formal. Nothing official.
The manager awesomely offered me the private room. Three flat-screen TVs mounted there, plus a very cool--huge--leather sofa, and two little coffee tables. Problem was, we were looking to eat meals, so I figured having a real table situation would be best. Otherwise, that's a badass room. So noted. Anyway, the manager happily put together a couple of tables and brought over a few extra chairs and our guests began arriving (and kept arriving through 9pm, when we called it a night).
Now, this was the "deadest" I've ever seen South. I've been there quite a few times and it's always loud and full and overflowing with high-spirited whoops and hollers at the various games on TV (or games of flip-cup and beer pong and team trivia going on). But I guess with this being a holiday (Presidents Day) and starting a little on the early side, we got the place to ourselves for a good part of the evening. The manager encouraged us to join him tonight (Fat Tuesday) for alligator meat and loads of fun. He was decorating the space with Mardi Gras colors and props. Looked like it'd be a blast.
Joining me for the second stop on the GSFiSCC were Cristina, Curt, David B., David M., Julie, Kathi, Masasa, Mason, Matthew, Mike, Ryan, and Shirley. Biggest difference between South and Miss Peaches (our first stop on the tour) is the presence of booze. Plenty of it.
Plenty of it.
But let's get to the food, since that's what this whole thing is about.
This was my order: creamed corn, collard greens, and jalapeño cornbread. The greens were amazing. I gave away 2/3 of my corn and 1/2 of my cornbread (but to be fair, these were really large portions, and I ordered a sharing plate of fried stuff, so I was plenty full). Everything was delicious and of very generous portion size.
The "plate o' fried" that I ordered. Okra, fried green tomatoes, and hush puppies. Dang, that was some good stuff. Glad folks shared this platter of gluten overload. (Well, the okra and fried green tomatoes--like the fried shrimp in Marc's shrimp po' boy--were breaded in corn meal, but still. I got more than my share of wheat gluten, for sure.)
That's Marc's fried shrimp po' boy with sweet potato fries. Um, yum.
Ryan's pulled-pork sandwich. (He said the bun was not good, so he ate it open-face. Quote: "I don't eat bad buns.") Note: When we had a conversation about vegetarianism, Marc was quick to quote his dad, saying, "Once the pig is in you, it's in you for life." Yeah, baby. That's good stuff.
I, of course, am a huge fan of the pulled-pork nachos at South. (This photo is from a visit last year, with fellow southerner Camille.) Since I get these every time I'm here, I opted out, but at least four people at our table did go for these, and they were not disappointed. "Thumbs up to the pulled-pork nachos," Mason said. Honestly, I think what makes me love 'em so much is that they're made with baked beans, not refried or black beans. Holy cats, that's good stuff!
As awesome as the food was, we also just had a good time. Lots of laughs, just like at our first stop on the tour, although this time we were the entertainment, rather than the restaurant staff providing the giggles (they, at best, were impolite--except for the very accommodating manager who greeted me upon arrival. One of the toughest elements was that there were several changes in servers in the five hours we were there. That's not unexpected, but it caused some mistaken charges on the night's bill, and inconsistency of experience).
Still, that was minor stuff. We had fun, dangit. And some folks even played a few games of pool...
...and posed in mirrored sunglasses. It's like they planned this or something! (Photo by Masasa Moyo.)
Masasa said, about her cheese grits, which she enjoyed along with collard greens and red beans and rice (and hot sauce, of course), "Best cheese grits I've ever had." Awesome!
Kathi got wings. And so many of 'em! Seriously, the portions at South are plentiful, y'all!
And the napkins were plentiful too. (Thank goodness!)
We really had a good time, despite ambiance that wasn't awesome, according to some. "It's a zero or negative five," Ryan said. "I feel like I'm stuck in an airport waiting for my next flight," Masasa contributed. Definitely we craved knickknacks on the walls and more southern music, and the fact that some glasses were glass while others were plastic was weirdly annoying, but, hey, in the end, this is a sportsbar. It's about what you'd expect in that respect.
Sadly, no one ordered dessert. No deep fried Twinkies. No deep fried Snickers. So, I can't even tell you what those things look like. I kind of want to see 'em! So, we'll go back. Also, no one ordered fried pickles, so I can't tell you about those either. What I can tell you is that eight items on the menu are half off during the five-hour-long weekday happy hour. And drinks are cheap then too. Very not bad!
So, let's see how South measures up, in the criteria I set out when issuing this Challenge.
- Is the eatin' good?
Definitely. Just like with Miss Peaches, it's good, it's plentiful, it's delish!
- Is the eatin' authentically southern?
Pretty much. I got my fried okra and fried green tomatoes (which I was missing at Miss Peaches), and if you're into New Orleans' southern food, they've got you covered. Into Texas' southern food, roger that. Into Georgia's southern food, that one's good too. I think they've done a good job offering a little bit of everything you might want, at least that seemed to be the case at our table.
- Is the price right?
Definitely. Especially during happy hour. Of course, I had told the manager that we'd settle up our check all together, but during the several change-overs of personnel while we were there (and because members of our party were arriving and leaving all throughout the five hours I was there), checks were separated out, so I don't have any clue what our overall bill was. Anyway, my three sides were $15 (and way too much to eat), plus the three fried sides were $13 (ditto). Drinks were five bucks each, due to happy hour. All good.
- Does the staff make you feel like you're sittin' at your grandma's table?
Only if your grandma is Bear Bryant.
- Is the place worth visiting, if you grew up on the type of food they say they make?
For sure! But be prepared: It is a sportsbar. If you're coming for dinner, just know there are many different sporting events on many different TVs, the music is blasting, and as the crowd thickens up the people get loud too. It's just that kind of place! So, for what it is, absolutely, it's a fun stop on the tour.
Since we've now made multiple stops on the GSFiSCC tour, I'm adding one more question to the mix:
- How does it measure up to other stops on the GSFiSCC tour?
Miss Peaches beats South, hands down, for service. Kitschy atmosphere at Miss Peaches beats the college-town frat bar feel of South, for my taste, but that's just a difference in style, and you really wouldn't choose South if you were in a Miss Peaches mood (or vice-versa). Both restaurants rate as tops, as far as food as concerned, and that's really the bottom line. Go to Miss Peaches for supper at grandma's. Go to South to snack, drink, and watch the game with the Pi Kappa Alphas.
February 12, 2010
Feb 2010 12 of 12
Here we go! Click any photo to enlarge. :)
9:34am: Y'know, it's really hard to haul my ass out of bed when a 15-pound Maine Coon is on my hip. Yeah, my alarm went of a while ago. Sleep is feeling good, though. So...
10:51am: Time to select the Tweet of the Day for Self-Management for Actors. Ack! The book is still selling so well that we're having to supply more to our international distributor. Not complaining. But holy crap. The book usually slows down after its first few months out. Well, yippee!
11:41am: Awesome Intern Christina has arrived and we're already having lunch. Keith is off to his audition in San Diego (for America's Most Wanted, one of his all-time favorite shows) and he brought us yummy salads before he headed out. Mine is a warm goat cheese, pear, and walnut salad. YES!
1:01pm: Velveeta Jr. (AKA Awesome Intern Christina Blevins) is working on the casting wiki. This project is also happening in homes all over LA, as my contingent of interns who don't come into the home office are helping with data entry and disposal of headshots. Yup. We're going paper-free, here! THANK YOU, INTERNS!
3:35pm: Blevins brought us some Valentine's Day goodies, and took our Starbucks gift card as her present right back. No idea how much is on the card, but she said she'd use it even if it's only a buck. So, yay!
3:51pm: Thwok is such a good helper. She's holding down all of the headshots we have entered in to the casting wiki. These will now go to interns for more data entry. Awesome.
4:01pm: How I spend many minutes per day, thanks to KiKi (AKA Erik Patterson, who invited me to this evil game at the end of 2009). It's Words With Friends, a free iPhone app. And what I really love is that I can chat with people, without having my texting thingy set up on my iPhone. :) So, it's convenient and competitive. Love!
5:28pm: Hello, gorgeous! It's Cîroc, and it loves me.
5:42pm: Reviewing this week's calendar. Ah. It wasn't my imagination. This week was frickin' crazy busy.
6:52pm: Keith is headed to the market to buy me a potato for baking. Yup. That's what I want for dinner. Thank you.
7pm: Have to say, I'm pretty thrilled that PUPPY CAM is back. We were so into this in 2008 that we even bought the 2009 Shiba Inu Pups Calendar. :\ (Yes, we're geeks.) So, yay! A new litter. And they're so much fun to watch now that their little personalities are coming out. These are the best weeks, coming up! Right now, they're still all wobbling around like drunken frat boys. I love that.
8pm: Finally, it's time to pick a new publicity photo. Alex Petrovich of Holloway Pictures shot me (and Keith) earlier this month and sent some amazing proofs our way. Ah... it's been over a decade since I did a formal "sitting" for photos. I'm out of practice. But I hope we'll find a winner in here somewhere, as we relaunch Brand Bonnie Gillespie.
As always, thank you, Chad, for another lovely 12 of 12. :) Life is good, and keeps getting goodlier. :) Thanks, everyone, for the feedback and love! XO
February 6, 2010
Wii Fit Plus
(How cool is it that Archie can be a Mii now, rather than just being a lump on the floor at home while I train?)
Well, it's day three. And I'm obsessed.
So, today I snapped some photos during my workout, and today was the first time I tried out the pre-programmed workouts that are designed to target certain areas.
One of the options--like Catherine mentioned to me on Facebook--is to combine some of these 12 groups of three exercises each, into a personalized workout that flows from one exercise to the next, without having to stop and prompt to move ahead (which was, truly, a time suck on the Wii Fit).
So, despite the caution by the Wii Fit Plus that I'd created "too long" a program (39 minutes), I went ahead and hit START (and then ended up adding another seven minutes onto my workout at the end, so I could do three more things I enjoy but that weren't offered in my combo program).
Time to train!
Checking my balance using the pressure bar during the warrior yoga pose.
OMG, this is so cute. I'm dressed up as a bird. I'm going to fly to a cruiseship. (I've decided it's our SMFA Seminars cruise!) I love the penguin costume I get to wear in the old fish-catching exercise. This one is crazy fun too.
I do love the advanced step class. I do this one every day, anyway. Usually several times in a row.
Time for a snowball fight! I love this one, even though I'm not very good at it. Yet. (You were right, Holly. It's a blast!)
Detailed instructions on how to do one of the new exercises added to the mix. (This one is hard!)
Okay, this is one of my new favorite exercises. It's Kung Fu Rhythm. I love this! I get to do punches and kicks along with my fellow Miis.
So pretty! Time for a rhythm parade. :)
Can't tell for sure, but it looks like my yoga trainer has been revamped to have a healthier-sized booty.
My programmed workout is over. I love that the Wii Fit Plus asks for feedback. (But my only answer option is the A button. Heh heh.)
After my programmed workout, I added some island cycling. I love this. It's like mountain biking, but with a lovely view! And Archie runs alongside me.
There's me on a Segway! I love this exercise. I chose to add this after the programmed workout, because it's fun, and it's a bit of a cool-down compared to the biking.
I'm nearing 100 total hours of working out with Wii Fit. That's so cool. If I click the piggy bank, it shows total calories burned too. Today? 161. Awesome.
One of the coolest parts of the Wii Fit Plus is this "switch" button that lets us trade off, if Keith and I both want to work out at the same time. We used to have back all the way out of the system to share workout time.
Now, we just switch to whomever wants to work out next.
This is Keith doing the "Perfect 10" workout. I love it. You have to hit the bumpers with your hips to add up to ten. (He also really loves the flapping bird exercise and, of course, golf. He's playing that one a lot. It analyzes his swing.)
After three days, I'm sore. Good sore. Reminiscent of when I first started the old Wii Fit (and then the Jillian Michaels' 2009 Wii Fit Ultimatum) sore.
That's fun. Because I had gotten a bit "over" my Wii Fit routine (and let it sleep, like above), but had begun using it daily again to try and rehab my ankle after having sprained it in Australia late last year.
And now, my arms are sore from flapping like a bird. My thighs are sore from steering a Segway. My calves are sore from mountain biking. My glutes are really feeling everything. This is kind of nice. I'm using different parts of my body again, and enjoying the feeling of that. Also totally motivated to cut way back on my daily caloric intake (I've already been counting calories for over a year now with the help of the Lose It app for my iPhone, but when I'm feeling good work happening, I'm somehow even more interested in keeping my calories low each day). At least so far. ;)
So, my review of results will be coming. (The above is from 2008, when I had just started.) I keep moving my weightloss goal down, so I keep not reaching it, but I'm thrilled with all I've been able to do in just over two years already. Hoping to be at my current goal weight by my 40th birthday (in five months). Looks like Wii Fit Plus will be a big help in getting me there.