Word and Image


Artichokes Have Flowers


There is nothing picturesque about an artichoke in the market. You can barely make one out behind this flower. So you can imagine (maybe not) my amazement to see this flower and find out it was an artichoke blossom. Ok, if you’ve never seen an artichoke, just smile. I find that most people are unfamiliar with the vegetable and how to eat much less prepare it. There really isn’t too much to do. It’s what you season with that counts. Garlic or garlic and lots of bread crumbs, either way it’s gonna taste good. And no, I will not tell you exactly how to eat it. Look on the ‘net. Meanwhile this is an artichoke flower. Neat! I learned something too.

Pot Pie


We were up in San Luis Opisbo. It was dinner, fast, before heading to the drive-in movie. IMG_6922Pot pie – it’s comfort food. I was in the mood. It worked well. Nothing fancy, it was still memorable. IMG_6920Add – fried artichokes – it was a California dinner after all. I’m surprised how many people don’t know artichokes. So, you can’t see the food. The artichoke is batter fried. About anything fried and battered is good. And the pie crust covers the pot. Yes, but you didn’t taste either. I assure you that this was good.

Chocolate Maya World


Santa Barbara. It’s a beautiful city. California coast. Wealthy. Lovely downtown. Lots of shops. There was a full blown protest march in progress on the sidewalk. Live and let live. The protesters mingled peacefully with the shoppers. We were on for a short stroll before heading up the coast. Down near the beach we passed a little mall. I noticed this store. I see Godiva and walk by. But somehow this store had the right appeal.


I’m also a sucker for toffee lately. Don’t read the recipe. It’s full of sugar and butter. It’s definitely bad for you. But moderation… I keep saying moderation. And then I eat another BLT. Well dark chocolate is my other sin. And the combination was too much temptation. We bought and ate some on the spot and then got a bag to go.


We worried that bag and hoarded it all the way to the end of the trip. No sharing. It was our secret. Good to the last melted piece. It was a car trip. Sure, it was gonna melt.

It’s Not Bad

IMG_0464Jules did not make the cake because no one remembered her birthday. She made this in an inspired Martha Stewart moment. Six sticks of butter later – Voila! Looks good and I got to taste it too!


Yes, Susie Homemaker. Too funny. Good cake. She had a stand mixer. Wow. Me? Pillsbury, Betty Crocker all the way…

Dim Sum


How old are you? …and never been to a dim sum place. Well at least my daughter has gone but I did not know she liked it. She’s been in LA for a couple years and this is her second visit. I know because we did the first the day before. I never thought of it. Duh? Slap in the head! And for Jeff, it’s his first visit. We made a side trip to the bakery. Shhhhh… the Chinese can’t bake. Nice spontaneous image. Happy.


And then dim sum. Here’s how it works. You stake out a table close to an aisle. And then you snag anyone who comes by with a cart/trolley. They are loaded with items and you choose dishes by sight and description. In this case it was sight because we don’t speak Chinese. Sorry. And then you load up and feast. Yes it is what is called ‘grazing’ and it’s grand. All sorts of good stuff. Oh! The price for this is a steal! Really. You really get a bang for your buck!


2286 07 Family copy

This is a typical poor snapshot photograph of the family. The exposure is hardly worthy. But there is a sentimental value in its remembrance. We are gathered for dim sum at a restaurnat in Flushing. Periodically I would organize an outing. It seems we had food in common though my kids did not like the fare. My in laws, my brothers, my aunt and the assorted kids would all come. My aunt would come early to stake out a table – no reservations. We would eat ourselves silly. The restaurant is long gone. And we no longer gather in this grouping. Times change. Nostalgia is a funny thing. The photo is more valuable for the stories that have changed with the years.

Pan Jan


This was the first place I tried and the last place for this review series. I was racking my mind for another place to try. There are Chinese buffets. And there is an oriental one off a main street near to Pizzeria Uno. I don’t remember the name and don’t fancy the drive and traffic. And last year during the world cup there was a special running at Tuesday’s. But it was suspended during the match. And Tuesday does not appeal to me right now.



Here’s a place that I just found when I was wandering around. I had eaten from their menu at a school dinner which Pan Jan catered. I simply could not find the restaurant until now. It is Asian fusion style. They offer nuts – two kinds – sweet and hot. The lunch special is a series of choices. I chose Mongolian beef, vegetable fried rice, and chicken gyoza. A drink is complementary. The lunch arrives in a Bento box and is very attractively presented.


There is a salad, of course. And the dessert is spectacular. It was fried banana with two dipping sauces and vanilla ice cream. Anything is better with chocolate dipping sauce.


The manager stopped to ask if everything was good. It is a very nice habit and touch. The staff is nice and efficient. I would definitely return and make my way through more of the offerings.



There are at least two restaurants. The one I tried was near the Stars Mall. It is a lunch special that was crowded. I eat in the singles area and it was completely full. I had the chicken special. There were several choices to be considered. This is the one that struck me. A large salad bowl was filled with iceberg lettuce of course.


There was a corn soup – warm – tasty. And there was a garlic baguette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table.


The chicken was covered in cheese and marinara. The four cheese penne was swimming in its sauce with some raw green leaves torn over it. Skip the leaves and soak the sauce with bread. The penne was not memorable but quite edible. The chicken was fine. It was actually not too dry. Too sweet iced tea accompanies. And dessert is any flavor gelato. I could not think of any flavors so I asked for and got hazelnut and chocolate in a waffle cup.


Ambience was silly. I sat a few feet from an oversized fountain. But anyone who knows me also knows that I joke about fountains. The noise of running water either makes you want to relieve yourself or makes you serene. Go figure.


This place was very good value at 59SAR and I would return.

Chez Paul


I actually have a small following here in Jeddah. So the news of specials at restaurants is news. And there are a few who follow up and eat there. I recently discovered that this is a hidden gem of lunch. You get a pretty good spread for less than full price. A bargain! Keep in mind that he prices are generally less than what I expect in the US. But hey!


Here’s a classic French Bistro. There is a founding branch in Paris. At least there is a promotional video that says that it is from France. The baked goods are pretty French but lack true pizzazz. But hey! It is a decent menu and I have enjoyed many a Croque Monsieur there. The hot chocolate is very different. It is thick and almost like drinking a liquid chocolate bar. It’s good!


Lunch specials are 48SAR and are varied by the day of the week. So when I appeared on Thursday the special was a grilled chicken burger. This was a grilled piece of chicken in a very nice roll with lettuce and tomato and pickle. The chicken was dry. The best thing was the roll. I will applaud the baker. A wimpy lettuce salad was forgettable. No drink but coffee and dessert were included. The coffee wired me. it was expresso and I was definitely wide awake. The pastry was a mille feuille and was filled with custard that was overly sweet so that the sugar was the dominant taste. Of course the pastry shell was tasty.


Service was subdued. This is a nice restaurant at different times. Late afternoon lunch was not special and I don’t have much interest in the other offerings. I would return for the a la carte menu.




There has been a banner for a long time at this Outback on Thalia St. It offers a business lunch special starting at 33SAR. That would be for chicken strips. I was more or less set to have a piece of meat – steak? The setting has outdoor seating in an air conditioned mall with a high glass ceiling. It is exceptionally quiet and not exposed to road traffic noise. So I give the place high marks for ambience.


The steak special includes steak and I chose one with pepper corn sauce. I asked for it to be red – medium rare. Around these parts, everyone eats well done. Unfortunately the style of meat is also very lean. So there is no way to be really flavorful and tender. This steak was definitely way lean.


Salad, cream of onion soup, bread, and bottomless iced tea were included for 59SAR. This was a nice meal. The good news is portion control so you do not leave overly full. I’d try this again. But I am still looking for a tender tasty steak.



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