Taste From A By Gone Era...

Two well-respected establishments that have been in Santa Monica for more than 50 years are Callahan’s and Vienna Pastry, standing proudly, side-by-side on Wilshire Blvd. On Monday morning, I ventured out earlier than usual to check them both out. First breakfast, then dessert! When I walked into Callahan’s, I felt like I went back in time about 40 years. It was a great feeling. I imagined my grandmother holding my hand, with my white dress-up gloves on, going to dine on a juicy hamburger with French fries. And, I no longer needed a booster seat, so we sat at the counter! I felt so grown up. Back to 2012 — My companion and I slid into seats at the counter. Even though I didn’t need a booster seat, my feet still didn’t touch the ground – some things never change!  We ordered eggs, sausage, bacon and coffee, and started to talk to the gal at the counter about the restaurant’s history. We learned that the founder was Mel Callahan, who opened Callahan’s in 1948. He created a welcoming family atmosphere and took pride in keeping his prices reasonable. He specialized in homemade comfort food with fresh baked cakes and pies. Mel retired in 1988, selling Callahan’s to the Vazquez family. They continue to operate Callahan’s with the same key ingredients — great food, good service and reasonable prices. We introduced ourselves to the current owner Abe Vazquez. He had a huge white smile and so much pride about his establishment. We finished our meals and got the check. A “whopping” $10 for a good, basic, hot breakfast! Grandma would have been thrilled. Next, on to Vienna Bakery, right next door. We introduced ourselves to the owner, Fred Khadavi. Fred and his partner, brother-in-law Ron...

The Glamour of The Georgian...

I love a place with an interesting history.   And, I love a good meal.  I put them together perfectly this past week, by lunching on the beautiful Veranda at the Georgian Hotel.   The well-preserved, Santa Monica Landmark  is nearly 80 years old, and as I walk in, I feel like I am on the set of a glamorous, romantic movie from right out of the 1930s. A golden, winding staircase ahead of me, a seaside Art Deco-style sitting area to my left, and an intimate dining area and bar to my right.  I feel as if I need to be wearing a soft, flowing light blue dress, with a stylish hat and gloves.   The Georgian whispers of a refined, classic icon, that I would have loved to be part of in its historic heyday.  “Can I help  you?” asks the hostess.  I wake from my daydream and am led to a charming table on the veranda for my lunch. The outside has as much character as the inside.  Overlooking the ocean just across Ocean Avenue, I smell the sea breezes and hear and watch the seagulls soaring above me. Why have I never been here before? The lunch menu is presented, and I am pleased.  Brie and Mango Quesadilla with pecans, served with guacamole and sour cream!  Yum.  The Ahi Tuna Tower with avocado, cucumber and celery looks good, and so does the Rosemary Ham Melt with brie and avocado.   Did I tell you I love brie and avocado?  Other appetizing selections on the menu include a Roasted Beet Salad with Boston lettuce, sauteed greens and homemade vinaigrette dressing,  and  a Filet of Salmon with a creamy cilantro lime sauce.   Also included are classic but delicious standards:  Shrimp Cocktail, Cobb Salad, to name a...