Monday, March 23, 2015

Life in the fast lanes, or, A day on the LA freeways

Even at 60 mph, we got a few good shots of the California coastline from Highway 1.

It was a true LA day on the freeways -- 2 1/2 hours from Santa Barbara to Redondo Beach, an hour from Redondo Beach to the LA Farmers Market, about 50 minutes from the Farmers Market to Pasadena, another 50 minutes from there back to Redondo Beach, for a total of nearly six hours on the road -- and that was in excellent weather, and good traffic most of the way. For people used to a ten-minute commute to work, and twenty minutes to get from one end of town to the other, it seemed like a lot.

Sunrise in Santa Barbara.

We ate breakfast with cousins Paul and Sandy -- homemade clafuti, blueberry muffins, and fresh-picked strawberries from the garden. They tasted as good as they looked..

Spiderwebs catching the morning sun.

We left them looking ready for another day in Santa Barbara, another pinch-yourself-because-this-can't-be-real blue sky bird-song, sweet breeze, warm sun teasing the scents from the flowers kind of day.

Bird resting between songs. Paul and Sandy's specialties are butterflies and moths, and plants -- none of us were sure what this bird was.

A last view of the Santa Barbara hills before heading down the Pacific Coast Highway.

Pacific Coast Highway, from the car window -- not ideal photo conditions, but the coast is so gorgeous that it hardly matters.

Plastic tents along Highway 1, for growing things that need a more controlled climate.

A California business in Redondo Beach. Note the palm trees behind, and the clean white sedan out front. Clean cars are a striking contrast to anything in Anchorage at this time of the year.

We found our hotel, a small, 1950s-style with units around a courtyard on Highway 1 in Redondo Beach, and rested briefly before setting out for the LA Farmers' Market.

Some of what we found at the Market:

Trays of rooted cuttings from horseradish, that you could take home and plant.

Bright-colored paper lanterns.

Dancing figures for the restroom symbols.

Fruits, exotic and familiar both.

Dogs of every size and description.

People enjoying themselves -- it was mid-afternoon, and quieter than usual.

All sorts of meat, dairy, produce, spices, and food ready to eat.

I ate lunch at the Moishe Village, where a woman created a Boreka to order. She took a ball of flatbread dough, rolled it out, curled up the edges to make a rim, sprinkled it with cheese; arranged red peppers, tomatoes, and fresh broccoli in the middle, garnished with more cheese, and slid it into a brick oven.

The choices of Borekas -- flatbread pizzas -- with meat, mushrooms, plain cheese, and so on. Internet sites describe "boreka" as pastries rather like Greek spanikopita, and these flatbreads as more like Turkish pides, a type of filled pita bread.

Jim waiting patiently for the Boreka to bake.

The finished Boreka, ready to eat.

From the Market we drove to Pasadena to meet a nephew and his wife for dinner. The route led past shiny downtown LA.

Pasadena side street, with rich green grass and trees, well-kept sidewalk.

Trimmings from palm trees along the sidewalk.

Exotic plant in Pasadena.

Statice blooming vigorously.

We ate dinner at Briganti in Pasadena -- excellent food. It's worth noting that it is right across from a police and fire station, and the trucks and police cars went out on at least half a dozen calls. The sirens and alarms provided a very urban background for the Italian dishes.

A last look at Market bounty -- four avocados for $5.

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