Adorable, cozy luncheon? Try Pickity Place!

We've been lunching at Pickity Place for as long as I can remember. Over the course of about 30+ years we have visited now and again for a charming multi-course lunch in the ultimate woodland tea-room. They serve the exact same menu for a month at a time, and the dishes have heavy emphasis on herbs grown in their own gardens, from herb dips to herbal tea to edible flower garnishes.

Lately we have been making a special effort to get to Pickity Place for a ladies lunch about once a year. My mother, my daughter, and I drive for over an hour to get to "Little Red Riding Hood's house" (it was used as a model for the Golden Book edition of Little Red Riding Hood back in 1948).



 That's a wolf-in-the-bed pillow

The gardens and atmosphere are delightful!




You'll happen to find a lovely blog about last year's mouthwatering menu here. Here's what we had today in October 2014...

Herbs are everywhere, from tucked in the water carafe to sitting sweetly on the table.

Butterfly crackers and herb dip, plus crayons already set out for our younger diner.

Butternut squash soup with ginger creme fraiche. Super chicken-y and savory.

You get complimentary tea or coffee--I picked the spiced tea which was so sweet it tasted like cider. 

Salad with apple, pear, cauliflower & Stilton. 

We were each served a warm slice of cranberry ciabatta bread with orange cranberry butter--so infused with berries it was pink.

 The main course was chicken with a walnut crust and side of sautéed squash. The chicken had a delicious apple-sausage stuffing.

Toffee cheesecake with heathbar crunch, raspberry cream, mountain mint, and strawberry. 

People under 12 can select a half order of the entree, or a kid's menu item. Our kid picked the latter: sandwich, apple, cookies. The latter two come in a cute basket.


The main kid's course was a giant tuna sandwich. One could also choose grilled cheese, cream cheese & jelly or PBJ.

There are not one but two shops on the grounds, plus a picturesque herb drying shed... see below.



As we were leaving we lamented not seeing a cat on this trip. Then we turned the last corner.

October days

Hi! It's October already! Here's what I've been up to. Maybe not exciting, but it's what I've got.

I'm obsessed with hummus. My favorite would be to make my own, but next best (and more realistic) is to buy the Inspirations brand from Hannaford grocery store. Inspirations is creamy and comes in appealing flavors like Roasted Garlic and Sriracha. And Hannaford is about half a block from my desk, so it's EASY. Hummus also helps me eat a ton of vegetables. YUM.

I've started reading books again. For years I'd given up on reading anything longer than a magazine article, but I suddenly became hungry for length. I'm drawn to books by women at the moment. I quickly finished "Hyperbole and a Half" by Allie Brosh, then ripped through "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, and now I'm reading Diane Keaton's memoir "Then Again." (Mom, you would like it, she grew up in California and then moved to New York as a young adult. Her writing sounds so like Annie Hall!)

Also... I'm watching more Netflix streaming. Maybe because the days are getting darker sooner so I'm more inclined to snuggle up with my iPad. I finished the first season of "The Mind of a Chef." I now definitely want to hang out with Rene Redzepi in his Danish test-boat kitchen.

I also really enjoyed "The Punk Singer," about Kathleen Hanna, who is just incredibly cool.

Here's my final update, a good negative split on a Friday afternoon! Maybe a Friday run should be standard for each week, because it feels great. Running a quick 3+ miles helps me burn off crazy feelings from the work-week, and feels a bit virtuous! I was proud of this run--check out especially the "average pace" column, second from the right. Faster faster faster.

A Monday in Los Angeles

Maybe you've noticed that I love dim sum. I also have strange ideas about what might be a fun tourist attraction. For example, the last time I was in Paris, I visited the Paris Sewer Museum... neat!

Anyway, on our recent trip to Los Angeles we stayed an extra day to be touristy, and my family was super sweet by accommodating BOTH of my touristy requests: to visit Lunasia for dim sum, and to visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Lunasia--super premium dim sum restaurant. Five stars!

Lots of dark wood and sunshine.

Deep-fried Taro Cake (wu gok!!) Perfectly crisp and sweet.

This was a new one for me and a fast favorite: Pan Fried Turnip Cake with XO Hot Sauce

Pork Siu Mai

Pan-Fried String Beans

Soup Dumplings were another first, also known as XLB (xiao long bao). Inside each whorled dumpling is liquid soup--place one in your mouth carefully and all at once to get a delicious exploding soup experience.

Veggie Bean-Curd Wrap

Our table

Oh wait, more is coming...

Excellent and fluffy Char Siu Bao.

Shrimp siu mai.

Rice Noodle with Beef

The finisher: Sticky Rice Wrap. I learned from our hosts that when you eat these, you're admitting that you are done with everything else and ready for the "filler."


But it is such good filler! I'd eat a sticky-rice wrap anytime.

Lunasia doesn't have carts, instead you order from a menu. Our hosts told us that menu-ordering can be good because food is super-fresh and hasn't been pushed around on a cart for X minutes. It was pretty yummy, though I also enjoy the adventure of cart service.

Saying goodbye to Lunasia. I love you!!!

Next stop, Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood.... and the people who rest in peace there.

The younger Chaplin and his mother

We drove around a bit and could not miss Johnny Ramone. 

Till next time, Hollywood!