Quick Fix: Joan’s on Third!



The radio BLARES at the very second that it changes to 6:30AM. A hand reaches out and smacks it so hard that it turns off.


Only half a face is nestled into a plush pillow. The other half is obscured by a warm quilt that happily smothers the rest of the body too.

Punky, perched upon his throne of the other pillow, wakes and stretches his front paws out onto the half face. A hand pushes down the covers, revealing a groggy Caryn underneath. She swats away the paw on her face.

Punky stands up, hunches his back and walks out the stretch. He sniffs Caryn’s face before giving her nose a dry, sandpaper lick.


Cut it out, Punky.

She squeezes her eyes tight for a second before they pop open wide. Sunlight is already bouncing on the bed.

Caryn bolts upright and spins to the clock: 10:30AM!


Crap, crap, crap!

She jumps out of bed, sending Punky flying from the room. She SMACKS her toe into the nightstand.



She hops into the bathroom. The dust settles in the sunlight as Punky cautiously peeks back through the bedroom door.


The Honda elicits a chorus of horns as it squeezes in and out of traffic. Caryn, with sopping wet hair, is too engrossed on her cell phone to notice.


No, Flora, don’t tell him anything! I’ll be there in a twenty.

She tosses the phone on the seat and grabs her mascara from her purse as she barely misses the bumper of a pretty Ferrari she carelessly cuts off.


The narrow and brightly lit room is packed. Caryn takes advantage of two chatty and oblivious women to manuever herself ahead of them in line. She peers at the virtual array of sumptious fare in the shiny glass cases: a myriad of fresh salads, grilled vegetables almost too perfect to eat, macaroni and cheese cut into thick, gooey squares.

As she waits for the man ahead of her to finish placing his order, she stands on her toes to get a look at the other counters further down the line. On one end is a glass case filled with a half dozen different kinds of cupcakes and an assortment of muffins and scones. The case on the other end of the store displays desserts so decadent, it’s hard to tell exactly what they are. Caryn eyes a few selections covered in rich, dark chocolate.



Caryn gives the waiter her best Chesire-Cat grin.


I need your help.


Caryn dashes in with a couple shopping bags labeled “Joan’s on Third.” Flora takes them from her hands and immediately starts unpacking them as Caryn grabs serving trays from the cabinet.

They pop open the plastic containers and dump the contents into bowls: curried chick peas, lentil salad, crisp green beans, mushrooms and walnuts. Caryn lines the bowls up on the tray and garnishes it with fresh french bread. She rushes out with Flora following with plates and silverware.


Caryn re-enters, now much calmer. She takes a deep breath and finishes unpacking the bags. She arranges a couple cupcakes and scones on another tray. Finally, she opens a slightly opaque bag of crisped rice squares. She stacks them neatly in the center of the tray and steps back to examine the arrangement.

Pleased, she crunches into a rice square of her own and takes the tray to her waiting boss.

Joan’s On Third

8350 West Third

Los Angeles, CA 90048

323-655-2285 ph.

HOURS: Monday-Saturday 10AM-8PM; Sunday 11AM-6PM

I’ve only recently discovered this absolute gem of a restaurant and gourmet marketplace. If you’re in a pinch for something good enough to serve to guests, this is the place to go! The food is outstanding and prepared with expertise and an eye towards perfection.

They also have a small selection of artisan grocery items. The puffed rice squares (pictured) are a sort of rice crispy bar for grown-ups, toasty and light.

Check out their gorgeous site for more information: Joan’s on Third


To Return!




Dearest Readers and Friends,

Thank you so much for your support and kind notes during my hiatus!

I just want to drop you a note to say that I’m finally working on some new entries and hope to be back in full swing within the week.

I sincerely apologize for the unexpected delay. I know it must be frustrating to follow a blog that so abruptly disappears for an extended period.

Nevertheless, your unwavering interest in my site is a constant inspiration to me.

I look forward to returning to our story.

A timer DINGS from the kitchen.


Oops! I’ll be right back…


Words, Words: Food Poetry!



Caryn skips down the steps in a hurry. Mr. R. appears at the top of the stairs, clothes rumpled from weeks in bed.

MR. R.

Caryn! Wait.


Caryn escapes down the long corridor. Mr. R. gains some ground behind her.

MR. R.



She weaves in and out of the fancy furniture sitting unused as always. Mr. R. bumps an end table and knocks over a vase that shatters to the ground, but he doesn’t stop.

MR. R.

You don’t understand!

Caryn disappears through the door at the end.


Mr. R. pauses by the long, shiny table to catch his breath. Caryn breezes through the swinging door to the kitchen.


She whirls around and waits. Mr. R. barrels through the door in such a fury that he has no time to stop and smacks right into her.

Caryn doesn’t budge as he regains his composure. He takes a deep breath.

MR. R.

Caryn. It’s not true.


Oh? Really? Beautiful, rich actress with whom you spend all your time suddenly turns up married to you? Makes sense to me.

MR. R.

No, it’s not. I mean, it doesn’t. We’re not married. I never even wanted to marry her.


How very sweet of you.

MR. R.

That’s not what I’m saying. Just listen, okay?

He holds his hands out as if trying to grasp something, but then clenches them together as he tries to organize the words racing through his head. Caryn waits for the explanation.


A. has always been after me. You saw how she acted. She told all her friends that we were a couple. And it always got back to me, but I just let it go.


If it isn’t true, why let people believe it?

MR. R.

I don’t know. I guess I thought it was harmless.

Caryn folds her arms across her chest.


But I began to see on this movie that her plans were far more detrimental than I initially thought. She kept pushing me to go out with her all the time. And everywhere we went, there were always photographers. Even in the backwoods of Mississippi, the papparazzi happened to appear.


She wanted to create a story about you.

MR. R.

And the more I realized it, the further I backed away. Which of course incensed her to no end.



MR. R.

And so I ran.


And hid.

MR. R.

Hoping that it was over.


But the tabloids…

MR. R.

Yes, the tabloids. They’ll take whatever story they can get. I’m sure she fed it directly to them.


Why? Did she think that you would somehow start to believe it too?

MR. R.

I don’t know what she thinks.

Mr. R. runs his hands through his hair and takes a seat at the little table in the corner.


And I don’t know what I’m going to do now. All this press will make the movie flop before it’s even finished.

Caryn watches him for a beat before sitting at the table next to him.


It’s really none of my business anyway.

He stares at a spot on the table. Caryn forces a cheerful smile.


Well, at least you’re out of bed.

Mr. R. looks up at the thought and takes in the room, a little confused.

MR. R.

Did you redecorate?

Caryn shrugs innocently.


I got bored.

He stands up and goes to the fridge, but before he opens it, he peels off a magnet with “dumpling” printed on it. It isn’t the only one. Dozens of little white and black magnets are arranged in mouth-watering descriptions of edible thoughts.

Mr. R. looks at Caryn, eyebrows raised.


Okay, I got really bored.

An almost imperceptible laugh escapes from his mouth.


You’re gonna be okay, you know.

He returns the smile and nods.

MR. R.

Yeah. I know.

But it isn’t the best performance of his career…

Food bloggers, your kitchen isn’t complete without a set of these magnets to help you to find the right word to describe your favorite recipe! Fun and inspirational!


Food Lover Magnetic Poetry Kit


Eclectic Edibles: Blogging By Mail 2!



Crumpled newspaper spills from an open box on the floor. Punky dives in and out of the box, sending the newspaper flying.

Caryn lays comatose on the couch with the television remote in her hand. Matt appears outside the screen door, shirttail deliberately untucked in his stylishly rebellious way.


What happened in here?

He steps through the door and into the mess.


Oo! Biscotti!

He helps himself to the crunchy cookie dotted with almonds and sorts through the rest of the loot sprawled across the coffee table: rich brownies, chewy ginger candy, green tomato chutney, exotic spices.


Where’d you get all this stuff?

Caryn finally shows signs of life.


Blogging By Mail.

Matt coughs on the crumbs still in his throat.


You got this from someone you don’t even know?


I know her. I read her blog.

Matt peers carefully at the biscotti in his hand.


Do you still have a blog?

Caryn sits up and takes another brownie.


Tread lightly, my friend. Or I won’t share the Mallomars.


Mallomars? She sent you Mallomars?

She pulls out the box from under a blanket and hands it to him.


There’s only a few left.


You ate the whole box?

Caryn nods and grimaces.


Yeah, and now I don’t feel so good.

Matt bites into the marshmallowy goodness of the rare California Mallomar.


Then I don’t suppose you’re up for dinner and a movie.


Mmmmm…maybe just the movie.

She stands up, dumping crumbs and wrappers on the floor. Matt looks her up and down.


You should clean up. It may be dark outside, but I can’t be seen with you like that.

Caryn begins stuffing the edibles into a bright blue tote bag. Punky scowls at the face of the dog printed on the side.


Seriously, don’t you want to change or something?

She snatches the Mallomars out of his hand, shoves them in the bag and straps the bag over her shoulder.


Let’s go.

Blogging By Mail is like having a penpal who cooks! I received my package last Friday from Samantha at The Samantha Files. I was so excited to sample all the treats that I promptly gave myself a tummy ache. The bounty included:

-A sampling of Penzey‘s French style peppercorns and Indonesian cinnamon

-Homemade almond-hazelnut biscotti and pecan brownies

-A bag of Ginger Chews

-a grinder of a spice mix called Solar Power (not pictured)

-a colorful totebag from Fishs Eddy (not pictured)

-Homemade organic green tomato chutney (not pictured)

-a box of the very-difficult-to-find-on-the-West-Coast Mallomars (not pictured, not for sharing).

Thanks Samantha for brightening my day with such a versatile and delicious mix of goodies!!

If you want to participate in the next Blogging By Mail event, read about how to participate at My Little Kitchen.


The Mothership: Zingerman’s!



The music can be heard blaring from the typically white rental car as it passes mile after mile of green farmland. The car speeds past a large blue sign that reads “Welcome to Michigan.”


Caryn makes a valiant attempt to drown out the radio with her stellar, off-key singing. She proudly wears a faded, dark blue t-shirt with MICHIGAN printed in maize-colored letters.

Another sign approaches in the distance. Caryn leans forward to see it. As it comes into focus, she grins: “Ann Arbor, 39 miles.”


Caryn enters the traditional, Mid-Western house that has been transformed into a haven for any discerning cook. It is a small space, but the shelves are lined to the ceiling with delectable goodies.

Caryn picks up a basket as she is greeted from behind the bread counter by a COLLEGE WOMAN with pigtails and a wealth of earrings.


Can I help you?


Yes, just one sec.

She scans the rows and rows of hearty, golden breads stuffed with everything from olives to chocolate and cherries.


Have you been to Zingerman’s before?

Caryn looks up and smiles.


Yes, many times.

And indeed she has. Caryn fills her basket with unusual expertise, knowing exactly what she wants from the enormous selection of fine cheeses, imported dried pastas and rare teas. She doesn’t miss the meat counter or the array of chocolate. When one basket is filled, she grabs another.


The coffee house is filled with dining tables where the delicatessen patrons enjoy their prized sandwiches. Caryn sits at a table, patiently reading a catalogue. Several large bags brimming with her loot fill the other chairs at the table.

A WAITER sets a basket in front of her. Tangy sauerkraut topples out of the side of the reuben sandwich and into the basket. Caryn picks the kraut up with her fingers and tastes it. It is good, but it is not why she is here.

She gently scoops the sandwich into her hands and sinks her teeth through the crispy rye bread and into the tenderest corned beef known to man. She has travelled across the country for this moment and it is worth every mile.


Caryn lugs her bags through the store on her way to the car when she is stopped by the pigtailed woman from before, now behind the deli counter.


How was everything?


Oh, it was perfect, thank you.

Caryn turns toward the door, but hesitates a moment before turning back.


Actually, I’ll take another one of those reuben sandwiches to go.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen

Zingerman’s Reuben Sandwich is not only an example of the best of its kind, but for this University of Michigan alumna, it is a true taste of home.

422 Detroit St.

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

734-663-DELI ph.

Open 7AM-10PM daily.

When you can’t make it to Ann Arbor, Zingerman’s has a wonderful online catalogue that will keep you satisfied until your next trip. It includes a reuben kit.


Ham and Swiss Atop a Mountain!



Caryn is half asleep standing by the counter. A young, SNOWBOARDER-TYPE GUY meticulously prepares Caryn’s sandwich while she waits. He hands it to her with a smile and she shoves it in her backpack that’s already heavy with a couple liters of water.


Caryn hikes up a rocky incline in the morning sun. Her backpack is strapped to her over the light jacket that serves as the only protection from the surprisingly chilly wind.

She is only a few feet from the top, but she is exhausted from the up-hill climb to the summit. The clouds are rolling in at a rapid pace, threatening to block Caryn’s view of the spectacular peaks that surround her. She races to beat them and she wins.

Caryn has climbed to the top of one of the highest peaks at the tranquil Sundance resort. Bare ski trails fall off at an alarmingly steep grade beneath her. One deep breath of the crisp, fresh air and her color returns with a vengeance.

She plops down and digs in her backpack for her sandwich. She unwraps the ham and swiss, on bread that’s still soft. She’s earned a good bite to eat. But one bite into it and her cell phone perks up. She pulls it from the bottom of the backpack.



MR. R. (O.S.)

I can’t find the butter.

Her hand slumps to her lap with the sandwich still in it.


On the door of the frig.

Pause. Pause.

MR. R. (O.S.)

I don’t see it.


On the door, in a yellow box. There must be two pounds of butter there.

Another pause.

MR. R. (O.S.)

Nevermind, I changed my mind.

Caryn falls on her back and covers her face with her arm.

MR. R. (O.S.) (CONT’D)

Are you coming back soon?

She takes in one last breath of that delicious air.


Yes. I’m on my way.


501 Main Street

Heber City, UT

(435) 654-5575 ph.

You could eat anything atop a mountain and it will taste good! Gandolfo’s may not be the most authentic New York deli you can find in Utah, but they make a nice sandwich for a backback. And they’re open in the morning when you need to get an early start on your outdoor adventure. Many locations in Utah to serve you.


On His Terms: Riverhorse Cafe!



Caryn is rolling, rolling and folding a puff pastry dough. But it’s not quite working as well as she’d hoped.

Mr. R. paces the trailer, mumbling lines to himself as he rehearses from his script. There is an icy chill in the room and it’s not from the snow-capped mountains outside the window. He speaks to Caryn without a pause in his recitation.

MR. R.

Is that for dinner tonight?

Caryn shoves the rolling pin aside.


I guess. If it turns out.

She attempts to mold the dough with her hands.

MR. R.

Do you have plans again tonight?


Um, yes. Well, if it’s okay, I’d like to drive into Park City and maybe grab dinner there.

Mr. R. stops pacing.

MR. R.

Park City?


If it’s okay with you, of course.

MR. R.

It’s fine.

He begins the pacing and mumbling again. Caryn stares at the dough, unsure how to proceed.


Maybe I’ll come with you.

She looks up at the suggestion, but her approval is irrelevant to him. She returns to staring at the dough. After a second, she wads up the whole buttery mess and dumps it in the trash can.


The perfect evening to sit on the open balcony above Main Street. Caryn is finishing a summery salad garnished with roasted peaches and goat cheese, but she is eyeing the last bites of Mr. R.’s shrimp wrapped in jack cheese and bacon, drizzled with a chipotle cream sauce.

The other diners seem to be happier than the awkward pair of chef and employer.

MR. R.

This shrimp is outstanding.




The plates are promptly cleared. The table is reset for the main course. Mr. R. picks up the book he brought with him. Caryn watches the table next to her talk to the restaurant’s chef.

She is rescued from her solitude by the arrival of the entrees. On Caryn’s plate, the freshest scallops available swim through a lemon-cilantro butter sauce. She picks up her fork and pokes at the potato pastry in the center, sorting through the delicate layers of flaky dough.

Mr. R. puts the book down to start on his stunning lobster tail curved beside a bank of pasta with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and basil. Caryn slices through a scallop and tastes it skeptically.


Oh. Wow.

Mr. R. hides a smile behind his fork. Without asking, he reaches over and grabs a scallop from Caryn’s plate. Her mouth drops, but he quietly trades the scallop for a slice of the tender lobster.

And she can’t help but give in to the terms of the deal…

Riverhorse Cafe

It has been many years since my first visit to Riverhorse and I was so pleasantly surprised to find that the service and food is still outstanding. A wonderful meal.

510 Main Street

Park City, UT 84060

(435) 649-3536 ph.

Summer hours vary but aim for a sunset.


The Weight of a Good Book: a Meme!



Caryn stumbles through the door with her over-sized suitcase and a few other very heavy bags. She drops everything in the center of the room and looks around. It could be a hotel room in any place in America.


At least we’re not in Mississippi anymore, Toto.

She plops down beside her big suitcase and unzips it. Shoving the clothes aside, she reveals that the bottom of the suitcase is full of books. She takes them out one at a time: The Gourmet Cookbook, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating, The New Basics Cookbook, The Essential Wok Cookbook and Simply Tuscan. She straightens the curled edge of one of the covers when Mr. R. appears at the door.

MR. R.

It looks like we’re in the same hotel this time. I’m just down the hall.

He looks at the stack of books on the floor.


Cookbooks? You’ve been lugging books across the country?

Caryn firmly places her hand on the stack.


I only brought a few. These are my favorites. I have over 60 of them.

MR. R.

Is there a bookshelf in that suitcase too?


Maybe. And still I have less luggage than you.

Mr. R. picks up the wok book and begins to flip through the pages.

MR. R.

I’m in the mood for Chinese tonight.

Caryn perks up and digs through the suitcase again. She pulls out a very large book with gorgeous, glossy photos titled Asian Flavors: The Beautiful Cookbook.


Great. Because I just got this one!

Mr. R. rolls his eyes and puts the book down.

MR. R.

We’re leaving in five minutes for a sort of mini-production meeting on the new set. You can come too.

Caryn smirks as he heads back to his room.


Why do I have to go?

She pulls one last book from under the clothes and examines the cover: When French Women Cook. A bookmark holds her place.


I guess I’ll need something to read then.

She tucks the book under her arm and sulks out.

This entry was designed as a response to a popular meme about cookbooks. I was tagged by New Orleans Cuisine and Culinary Fool, so I had to throw in my two cents. I’m ashamed to admit that I really have been known to travel with more than one cookbook in the suitcase.

Total Number of Cookbooks:

Over 60

Current Favorites (Most Meaningful):

The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl

Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating by Ari Weinzweig

The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

The Essential Wok Cookbook by Wendy Stephens and Zoe Harpham

Simply Tuscan by Pino Luongo

Newest to the Collection (Last One Bought):

Asian Flavors: The Beautiful Cookbook published by Harper Collins

I’m still reading (Last Food Book Read):

When French Women Cook by Madeleine Kamman

Other people that need to join the meme?

I think I’m the last person in the Land of Food Bloggers to complete this meme so I have a new suggestion! If you don’t have your own blog, use my comment section here to respond to the above 4 questions. I’d love to see what y’all read!


Hot Coffee and a Turkey Baster!



The trailer is empty and refreshingly quiet. Caryn thumbs through a magazine with one hand and stirs the contents of a pot with another. Lazy afternoon in Mississippi.

The door swings open with no warning and in walks Lauren, wearing a thick tweed jacket over her lacy camisole. In the heat of a summer in Mississippi.

She slides a Starbucks coffee cup down the counter toward Caryn.


Can you reheat this?

Caryn looks at the cup.


Reheat it?


Yes, microwave it or something. I made a PA look for a Starbucks on his way back from a run to Memphis.

She snaps open her cell phone like a pro and starts clicking away at the keys.


But by the time he got back my latte was cold already. Just zap it.

She holds the phone up to her ear.


Hello? HELLO?!

She steps outside. Caryn rolls her eyes and slips the coffee into the old and smelly microwave. She returns to the magazine. Lauren screams at someone on the phone.

After a moment, Caryn flips the magazine closed and checks the contents of her pot. Lauren returns, cell phone still in hand.


Where’s my coffee?

Coffee? Caryn whips her head to the microwave. COFFEE!! The cup is bubbling over into a frothy mess.

But Lauren’s cell phone goes into a SPASM of vibrations at the same time. She steps out and resumes yelling.

Caryn yanks the microwave door open. Only about a third of the coffee is still in the cup. The rest is pooling into a sticky puddle around the floor of the microwave.

Caryn springs into action. She rips open a drawer and clangs through the utensils. Nothing. Another drawer, more clanging. Nothing. She stands up and looks toward the door. Lauren is still on the call.

One more drawer. More rifling. SUCCESS. Caryn pulls out a long, plastic turkey baster. Well, it’ll have to do.

She grabs the cup and begins sucking the coffee up into the baster. Back in the cup, check the door, repeat.


An incensed Lauren fumes at whoever is on the phone. She looks to the door for her coffee.


The baster is working well, simulating a froth with the bubbles. In no time, most of the coffee is back in the cup. But it’s still a little low.

Caryn thinks fast. Water from the sink tops it off and back into the sloppy microwave it goes. Ten seconds.

Lauren stomps back in. Caryn grabs the magazine.



Caryn looks up just as the microwave BLEEPS at the women.


Oh! Here.

She hands the coffee cup to Lauren who wastes no time in getting her fix.


Ahhh. That’s good coffee.

She takes another gulp on her way out the door.


I’m gonna have to send another PA back to that same Starbucks.

Caryn wipes the sweat from her forehead.

But no time to rest. A SIZZLING sound erupts from behind her. The pot she was stirring has followed suit and bubbles over into a sticky mess on the stove.

There are actually corners of Mississippi that haven’t been inhabited by the ubiquitous Starbucks. However, there is probably a location near you.


Delectable Discovery: Sconeage’s Granola!



Caryn is preparing a breakfast tray when Lauren walks in, wheeling her carry-on luggage behind her.


Well, I guess I’ll see you on set next week. Of course, it’s not too late to change your mind.

Caryn puts on her best smile and opens a container of crisp, sweet oats and grains. She pours some into a little cup.


Is this the granola he’s been raving about?


Yeah, I got it at the farmer’s market last week. I just love it.

Lauren picks up the container to read the label.


He never liked granola before. Maybe I’ll try it.


Sure, take that with you. I’ve got more.

A loud, gong-like DOORBELL interrupts the conversation.


There’s my car.

Lauren shoves the granola in her bag and shuffles the luggage toward the back door.


Bye. I know you’ll miss me.



She watches out the window to make sure Lauren gets in the car. As the car drives away, Caryn gives in to the urge to do a little celebration dance.

For someone who doesn’t usually care for granola, Sconeage’s granola is just fabulous. It’s really fresh and gloriously sweetened with brown sugar. Yum!

The Sconeage Bakery

4339 East Anaheim Street

Long Beach, CA 90804

562-986-9990 ph.

Luckily, their products are all available online!