Leana’s Christmas Concert

On Thursday night, December 13th, I had t\nhe privilege of attending my Granddaughters annual Christmas Concert at Bakersfield High School.

They played 3 songs, and in the middle of the second song, Leana and the trumpet player did a duet. It was a good time. Our friends, David and Cherie Fuentes came to see the concert. Cherie has been an important person in Leana’s life – thank you guys for coming

Southwest Style Smoked Pork Spare Ribs and Cinnamon /Apple Empanadas

Well, today I decided to smoke some Pork Spare Ribs – it had been well over a year since I made them. I put a generous amount of a dry rub on the ribs the night before – and put them in the refrigerator overnight.

I put them in the smoker, at between – 250 – 300 degrees for 3 hours, then I flip the 2 racks over and smoke for another hour – 4 hours total. I then let them rest for 15 – 20 minutes before slicing them. I also make a BBQ sauce to have the ribs either wet or dry.

Tihe first time I made these ribs, I was very concerned because while cooking the sauce, all I could smell was vinegar – and I’m not crazy about vinegar. But, when the sauce is on the ribs, you can hardly tell that it has vinegar in it. I make about 2/3 of the ribs wet, and leave the rest dry – for those that prefer that.

Then, just for grins, I decided to make some Cinnamon /Apple Empanadas – which I had never done before. Tho make it easier – this first time – I used Pillsbury pie crusts for dough. I cooked the Granny Smith Apples in a mixture of Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, and Butter ( and a few other spices).

Then I used an Empanada press to fill and seal the empanadas with the apple mixture. It was a lot of work – but they turned out fairly good.

Then, we had some Mac and cheese and Green Beans to finish off the meal. It was a lot of work to pull this off – but, it was well worth it – a very good meal.

The next time I make them, I will leave the Empanada dough a little bit thicker – and cut the apples a little smaller – that way they won’t rupture so easily.

“The BBQ Place” in Fillmore, CA

Today, I went with our son, Jesse, to his doctors appointment in Santa Barbara. Afterwards, we wanted to get some BBQ. The location that came highly recommended in Santa Barbara was closed, so I googled BBQ restaurants in Fillmore (on the way home). I found this little hole in the wall place called “The BBQ Place” at 604 West Ventura, in Fillmore, CA. It is a small place, with seating for less than 20 people.

Jesse and I each got the 2 Meat Combo plate, with BBQ Beef Ribs, and BBQ Chicken – with Spicy Sauce. The meal came with 4 good sized, and meaty ribs, and 1/2 of a chicken (breast, thigh, drumstick, and a wing). Everything was covered in the Spicy Sauce – which I might add – is aptly named! It also came with Chilli Beans and your choice of Cole Slaw, Macaroni Salad, or Potato Salad. Since I am not crazy about any of those 3, I just stuck with the Chili Beans.

The Beef Ribs were some of the best I’ve eaten. While they were not “fall of the bone” tender – they separated from the bone with no effort – and were amazingly tender. The chicken was also good. The BBQ sauce, simply called “Spicy” – was just that – Spicy! But, it also had a very good flavor, so much so that – even though your mouth is on fire – you just want to keep eating.

As for the price point, it was just north of $41.00 for both meals – and well worth it. I would definitely go back, and would recommend it. Portion sizes were more than adequate, as I struggled to finish my meal, and Jesse did not finish his.

Then, on the way home, I picked up some Cinnabon rolls to eat for an after dinner treat after we got home.

“Fab Hot Dogs” in Reseda, CA

I had a doctor’s appointment at the VA in Los Angeles today, so I found this neat Hot Dog place in Reseda, CA (most of you know how much I like Hot Dogs). It is called “Fab Hot Dogs” and is located at 19417 Victory Blvd, in Reseda, CA.

This is a fairly small place, and they have all kinds of crazy type sandwiches – which is what I often look for. Here is a picture of the Menu Board.

Today, I had a Texas Burrito Dog – which is: 2 hot dogs, house made chili, yellow mustard, diced onions (which I left off), bacon, fritos, shredded Cheddar cheese, in a grilled flour tortilla.

I ordered the combo, with french fries and a drink. This was an amazing meal – what a combination of ingredients! The fries were very good, with a nice crunch on the outside. The burrito dog was quite messy – which is OK with me.

As for the prices at Fab Hot Dogs, as you can see by the Menu Board – they are very reasonable. My combo meal today cost less than $15.00.

Finally, as an added attraction, Fab Hot Dogs has an “I Ate It All” Wall of Fame. The title says it all – you eat all 48 items on the menu, all items MUST be eaten inside the restaurant (by yourself, no sharing) – and you have 1 year to do it.

If you like Hot Dogs like I do – then you owe it to yourself to check out Fab Hot Dogs.

Thanksgiving Feast 2018

We had our traditional Thanksgiving Feast at our house today – complete with fried turkey, Corn, green bean casserole, yams, spiral ham, scalloped potatoes, Mashed potatoes and gravy – and of course – pumpkin pie. It was a great meal. I fried the turkey (a 19.6 pound bird) in peanut oil – along with 5 other turkeys for other people.

I use a rub on the turkey, consisting of pepper, salt, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, Cayenne, and Thyme.

The scalloped potatoes is very simple, just potatoes, salt, pepper, heavy whipping cream, and Cheddar cheese.

Then we had several pumpkin pie, with Cool Whip! What a way to top off the day. All in all, it was a very good day!

Baby Blues BBQ – Venice, CA

While in Southern California, I stopped by Baby Blues BBQ IN Venice, CA. This place had been recommended to me a couple of weeks ago. This the “Real Deal BBQ.” In my humble opinion, if you don’t like this BBQ, then you just don’t like BBQ! Baby Blues BBQ was once featured on Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive Inns, and Dives.

I started with an order of Buffalo Wings as an appetizer – and I could have stopped there! There were about 8 wings, piled high – and large wings – at that. They are dry rubbed, smoked, then Grilled – and were extremely tender, and full of flavor. These wings are, without a doubt, some of the best wings that I have ever eaten – anywhere!

Then I ordered some Baby Back Ribs, some Corn on the Cob (Blues On The Cob), with Mashed Potatoes, and it came with Corn Bread. The ribs are served dry (I prefer my ribs wet) – but had to try them as served. If you like dry ribs – these are off the chart! They have several sauces on the table that you can put on the ribs, if you desire. These are incredible either way.

An amazing experience for lunch. As for pricing – this place is not “cheap!” But, as I have often said before, GOOD BBQ is seldom CHEAP BBQ! And Baby Blues fits that montra. For this meal, I spent about $40.00 – but worth every penny if it. They are located at 444 Lincoln, in Venice, CA. When in the area, this is a must stop.

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OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) Conference

My grandson, Gunner Albitre, was invited to speak at a conference for OI ( Osteogenesis Imperfecta) – commonly referred to as Brittle Bone Disease on the campus of UCLA. I had the privilege of attending this event with Gunner and his parents. There were many different doctors, from different specialties, at this conference – as well as many people of various ages in attendance.

It is a very informative meeting, with lots of information regarding this disease. Gunner has been diagnosed with Type 1 OI, which is the most mild kind. With that being said, he has broken or fractured 15 bones before his 12th birthday. They had a nice write-up on Gunner for the program.

At this event, Gunner was featured to speak at Center Stage, and to field some questions from the audience. Gunner gave his speech with confidence and poise – I am so proud of this kid – he is absolutely amazing.

Also, there was a girl from Bakersfield there, Zoe, who is 3 years old. She has been diagnosed with Type 3 OI, a much more severe form of OI. Here is a picture of Gunner and Zoe.

There was a lot of good information given at this event – from the “experts” – as well as from people that have lived with this disease for more than 50 years. One of the main contributors to OI are irregularities with Collagen in the body – with no known cure. In fact, the number of doctors that are not even aware of the disease is astounding. There are approximately 20,000 people in the United States diagnosed with the various types of OI. Therefore, the research has simply not been there – and the funding for research also is not there.