Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Friday, November 8, 2019

A Swinging Day in Orange County

I'd been to Orange Coast College before, several times to see plays and once even to sit in on a lecture given by a friend who was a faculty member. I'd no idea, however, what services some of its departments provide our community. Yesterday I went with a group from my AAUW (American Association of University Women) branch to see a show at its new planetarium and to dine at The Captain's Table, a lab for culinary arts students. Wow...what a double treat in one outing.

You don't  have to be a primary school student to be thrilled when the Foucault Pendulum's swinging
sphere knocks over a pin, though the guide told us that the kids cheer when that happens, as delightedly as if they were acknowledging a grand slam homer. The first one I ever saw was at Golden State Park, back in the early '50reds. No science whiz, I simply stared in amazement at this proof that the earth rotated. Since then, I've been fortunate to be mesmerized by pendulums all over the globe. The earth still turns, despite the planet's recent turmoil.

The featured show yesterday, "Phantom of the Universe," tended to be seasonably spooky, featuring Tilda Swinton explaining what we know and, maybe more importantly, what we don't know, about dark matter, which apparently is everywhere and somehow holds everything together. 

On Saturdays the Planetarium couples talks about constellations with popular sci fi films of the past. The schedule of events is here: Parking and dropoff for the Planetarium are located in Parking Lot E, off of Merrimac Way.

Then our group moved on, to become lab rats for the Culinary Arts Department students at The Captain's Table. No, we weren't offered stale cubes of cheddar. Instead we were treated to a sit down served banquet with choices of appetizer and entree. In the fall semester, the Culinary Principle 3 class is learning "banquet-style" service in the context of American Regional Cuisine. The menu changes weekly, spotlighting regional favorites from sections of the United States.

Yesterday each course reflected the southwest states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah or Nevada. So we all enjoyed an hor d'oeuvre of chile con queso with blue corn chips. We had an appetizer choice of bbq duck tamale red chili or a romaine salad with jicama, avocado and warm black bean cake. My entree choice was an ancho chili braised lamb shank while others opted for bacon-wrapped southwest
spice rubbed turkey tenderloin with green chili sauce. Both entrees were served with sauteed squash, Nevada corn cake, Jerusalem artichokes and yam fries. The "milk and cookie" dessert was a tiny cup of hot minted chocolate, with four different cookies. We also had baskets of flour tortillas and tubs of honey butter.

Both lunch and dinner are open to the public, with reservations strongly suggested. The seating schedules and meal offerings are listed here: Captains Table Fall 2019 Flyer.docx

Why anybody who lives in Southern California could complain that there's never anything worth seeing or doing remains a mystery to me. I concluded the day by meeting a friend for a Happy Hour margarita at El Torito, a longtime favorite chain and then a dress rehearsal preview of "A Nice Family
Gathering," at Westminster Community Playhouse. A comedy, this story features the ghost of a gentleman who neglected to tell his wife during the 41 years of their marriage that he loved her. To reverse an axiom, he died to regret it.

He comes back Thanksgiving day to visit his former family and to try to make amends. Mrs. Lundeen, his grieving widow, serves a strange holiday meal..."tuna tango" appetizers and turkey dogs with cheeze whiz. You can't blame the poor soul. She's been "going downhill" according to all three of her adult children, since Dad died following an attack of either bacon or pork chops...still unclear which part of the porker done him in.

The play's terrifically funny and well-acted, but I think I'd rather sit down to supper at Orange Coast College. Here's where you can get tickets for the Westminster performance:

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