Irish Fish Soup for an Autumn Day

‘Twas a cold and drizzly Southern California autumn day. As the mercury plunged into the mid-60s and I watched the fog crawling around in the canyon, my mind turned to soup.

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I descended into the even more frigid depths of my freezer, looking for inspiration. Then, like an ice fisherman lifting a catch from a hole in a frozen lake, I pulled up a rock-hard filet of Atlantic cod. And the soup was on! More

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A Tonic for What Ails Ye

I’m a sucker for a great classic cocktail — and by great, I mean a drink made with few ingredients, where you can taste the high-quality spirit the beverage is built around. A perfect margarita, for example — lime, agave syrup, good tequila.

A lady gets her close up

A lady gets her close up

I used to think the rechristening of bartenders as “mixologists” was a bit silly. (What would be next — busboys would now be “dishware reutilization engineers”!??) But then on one of our rare evening adventures into civilization without the kids, our pal Alex took us to an establishment in Culver City called Oldfield’s Liquor Room that he liked to frequent with his mistress. The bartender, who was also apparently the proprietor, was a buxom woman in pointy glasses and an old timey baby doll dress. The mercifully manageable bar menu contained a dozen or so “house drinks” based on classics and made with house-infused syrups and bitters. Those we tried were delicious, and I thought, “Okay, she’s more like a chef — and maybe they do deserve something more elevated than ‘bartender'”. More

Hippies in Paradise

As my artist pal Daniel used to say, affecting his best Southern cop twang, “We got a hippy problem.”

Topanga Canyon was ground zero for hippies in the 1960s, and it never quite shed the mantle. Back then, the Manson family was camped out in their psychedelic bus down at the Rodeo Grounds, Neil Young was couch surfing and Gram Parsons and Bernie Leadon twanged out new songs while Jim Morrison “let it roll, baby, roll” up at The Corral roadhouse (yes, that roadhouse).

Hippies having fun

Hippies having fun

Today, the canyon much like Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco is more of a destination attraction for young hippies, the way affluent yoga students travel to Mysore, India, to pretend they like being ogled by old gurus. You see them walking barefoot and braless along the boulevard, guitars slung over the shoulders, sipping their chai teas and smiling a lot. Sometimes they even still hitchhike and carry signs like “Make love, not war.” More