Monday, April 26, 2010

For Art's Sake

Let me just begin by noting that when the inlaws told us they wanted to come visit, they specifically asked if they could come down "when there was something happening in San Diego." I shouldn't be too surprised, because the only times they've come to visit us is when we had a major event like a wedding or graduation. And even then, they tried to have us schedule events around trips they wanted to make to the symphony, or other local attractions.

"Have them come the last week of April" I told Thatboy. San Diego is just buzzing with activity that weekend! And now I regret that statement. More than anything. Because I didn't realize that when they said they wanted to go to San Diego activities, they meant - they wanted to go for 15 minutes or less. So they could get back to the hotel and sit and read and nap. Boo. Hiss. So I got to miss one of the most fabulous weekends in San Diego. Blah.

The plan for Saturday was to go to the Little Italy Art Walk. An event that happens once a year. But TMIL also wanted to squeeze in a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Which is open year round. And which they could have gone to on one of their days without Thatboy and I. Because contemporary art on the street isn't NEARLY as good as something in a museum. Because, you know, if it's in a museum it's brilliant. Just like Sunset Magazine.

Once a year, Little Italy is transformed.

4 streets are closed off, along with all the streets that connect them, of course. And rows of artists of all media. It's amazing.

After the first block, TFIL turned to us and asked when we could move on to the next activity. He was done with this. He doesn't like contemporary art. When Thatboy asked him what kind of art he likes, he was unable to answer. He said he likes "art that's done well." Thatboy asked what medium he enjoyed. TFIL replied "any medium that's done well." Thatboy asked if he liked a certain age or genre of art. TFIL doesn't. We decided (between Thatboy and I) that TFIL doesn't like anything that gives people pleasure. He doesn't like television, movies, fiction books, music that has lyrics, and apparently art. Fun times.

In addition to really great art, there was also musicians. Thatboy got sucked in to watching these guys for a while.

And because I'm a shopper at heart, I had to get something. Well, I didn't have to. But I walked right by these little birdie pictures and WANT. So I picked up a print to take home.

How adorable are those chubby little chicks? The artist is Marna Schindler and she specializes in animal prints. I don't usually love animal prints, but I seriously love these birds which she calls "Little Buddies." I want to get them for everyone I know.

After we saw about half the festival, TFIL could take it no longer. He really wanted to move on to the next activity. Thatboy pointed out the next activity would be looking at more art. TFIL said "yes, but it's a different style." To which I pointed out that it was actually the same style as what we were viewing that he hated. But off to La Jolla we went! To sit in traffic because UGH La Jolla on the weekends.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is tiny. TMIL was concerned she wouldn't be able to see it all before it closed. I assured her she'd be able to see it multiple times in the time we had. TFIL was disgusted by almost every exhibit and at one point went and sat in the lobby.

This is the exhibit that greets you as you enter. It's animatronic, so the sculpture actually moves, as though it were doing the tagging. Which fooled me at first!

My favorite part of the museum is the sculpture garden. Thatboy and I usually do a quick tour of the current exhibition before heading out here for a while.

Because it's our favorite view in La Jolla.

I mean, sure, you can walk along the cove. And I've done that on many occasions. But from the MCASD garden you get the water framed with palm trees and flowers.

And even some fun sculptures.

Plus Thatboy likes to climb on everything, which is encouraged, even though it's still technically a museum.

And even when you're not looking at the water, it's still a pretty cool view.

With bright colors that just make you smile. After the museum, we dropped the inlaws off for their required nap/reading time. I put up dinner and spent some quality bitching time where I both gave and received. Apparently it does not help the situation when I start acting like a childish brat. Who'd have guessed? And then the inlaws came over for dinner.

Pot Roast
TMIL makes a great pot roast according to Thatboy. But according to Thatboy, I make it better. Even when using her recipe. This is not her recipe. I didn't want to show her up. But this makes an impossibly tender, fall of your fork meat. And I love the flavor V8 gives it. I know a lot of people use tomato sauce, or tomato paste, or even ketchup, but V8 is the way to go.

2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 lb boneless chuck roast
3 Tbsp shortening
1 onion, sliced
2 tsp thyme
1 cup V8
1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Rub all over the roast.
2. Melt the shortening in a dutch oven. When hot, add the roast and brown on all sides.
3. Lower the heat and add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 3 hours, turning half way through.

Brussels Sprouts
I LOVE brussels sprouts. So does TMIL. Thatboy? Not so much. But I used their visit as an excuse to make a veggie I don't get to make so often. This is a super basic way to make them. Just drop them in boiling water and boil for about 9 minutes. Then toss with melted butter, salt, and pepper. This way they retain some of their crunch - which I love.

Potato Pancakes
Since the hash brown went over so well, I thought I'd try Fannie Farmer's recipe for potato pancakes. They were a hit. TMIL got so excited when I brought these to the table!

3 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
4 Tbsp oil

1. Peel and grate potatoes. Place them on a double thickness of paper towels, fold the towels around them, and twist and squeeze until most of the moisture is extracted.
2. Put the potatoes in a bowl, add the flour, cream, egg, and salt, and toss until well mixed.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Put about 2 Tbsp of the potato mixture in the pan and press and shape with a spatula into a flat pancake. Repeat until the pan is full, but not crowded.
4. Cook each pancake 5 minutes over medium low heat until the bottom is crisp and brown. Turn and cook the other side 5 minutes more.


  1. oh man, sorry you had to put up with them cramping your style! They sound like gems. I'm truly glad that they at least liked your dinner!

  2. i was super duper annoyed reading your post until the shot of thatboy. and now i can't stop giggling.

  3. Whoa! That was some post... all over the place and dinner to boot. Thought I'd stop by and see how I'm doing with your collection of Canadian foodie blog posts... and I can see you are living the life. Do you think you will ever be back? My daughter, in Palo Alto - and Boston for 5 years before that - says: Never.

  4. Thatboy fits right into that grassy murder mold, so cute.