UK/USA The Taste Winners Diary: Day 3

Its all about The Taste!
Its all about The Taste!

Today is all about shopping – for the PopUp
I apologise that this isn’t a photo diary log today as it’s was a day of doing and I kept forgetting to take photos, so going to make sure I do better on.

Its a day of planning, finalising, communicating with all the helpers, collaborators, partners, suppliers , I suppose this could be deemed as the boring bits prior to cooking and prep.

The bonus is for me the perceived boring bits are being done in LA and letting me experience a real shopping experience and seeing the differences on the logistical and operational aspects of a PopUp that someone else , so a good day for me.

As we drive around the LA areas collecting and buying all we need,  we head to a new suburb/district we hadn’t been to before called Glendale , a huge retail shopping centre and a lot of Car Lots.


One of my observations that have amused me are that the shops in LA that I have seen are all peoples names like :

  • Ralph’s Supermarket ,
  • JoAnns Craft and fabric warehouse
  • Jon’s Supermarket ( although Louise did say this chain responds to the neighbourhood ethnicity to so gives a great variety of products relevant to its location)

I’m not sure if this is narcissistic of the origins or named after a loved one or pet?!? Who knows it’s interesting what we get used at home (UK for me) and how each country has it’s own normality.

Customer Experience and Service though are a universal language and an apathy or disengagement of store staffing is common and with the volume of store visits we had today was no exception for crap service , of course their are exceptions like the young lady in Joann’s Craft warehouse. Excluding the fact it took 1 whole hour to get 40 feet of Hessian or Burlap as its called in US. The Young lady who served us was chatty and informed us of her penpal friend who lived in Cheadle Manchester- small world!

Now back to our task driven day and for us not remembering that its All Hallows’ Eve  BIG festive season in USA making every task and store visit that much longer just with the fact the shops are overflowing. We did do some great shopping with getting the platters in just one store alone when we thought we would have to go to a lot more to get exactly what we needed. This deserved a reward- lunch it is then!


Louise and I ate at Raffi Persian Restaurant, Glendale
Louise and I ate at Raffi Persian Restaurant, Glendale





Raffis Place Menu
Raffis Place Menu









Our chosen lunch venue (well it ended up being ate afternoon by the time we had done most tasks), was Raffi a Persian restaurant in Glendale. We chose a selection of Appetisers creating our own mezze and it was as delicious spread:

  • Flatbreads with Radish, butters, Onions and herbs
  • Kashk O’Bademjan incredible creamy baked aubergine dish with caramelised crunchy onion.
  • Hummus a traditional homemade smooth dense and the buttery chickpeas and garlic smothered with a delicious olive oil
  • Tadig – which is rice crust so the name says it all, the rice is cooked until it becomes crusty on the bottom of the pan. It came with 2 stews one which was spinach based and one chickpea heady with paprika.
  • Tourishi a crunchy combination of pickled cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots


Now what also has made the experience all the better are the discussion that Louise’s and I are having and they can be as random as anything. We really have covered many topics, religion, politics, license plates, territories and neighbourhoods, business, start ups, The Taste and our combined experiences , our childhoods, our families , UK vs USA , car names , pets oh the list grows daily as seem of limits and I know Louise will agree she can talk ……a lot!…….We laugh through each topic as we find out each others views, opinions and knowledge of each topic and naturally have the same understanding and amusement on each topic?

My favourite topic today was when Louise and I discussed the differences in language, regional dialect, words and overall We talked about mid western US to LA. and NYC and London, East End ,Manchester and generic British our great meaning in conversations that covered mostly Why do they exist, what are they, who started them, why do they exist, why they stay, why do they disappear? A thorougly engaging discussion and we managed to make it food related eventually to!


One of our last stops of the day was Pasadena Farmers Market.Having already had experience of a great farmers markets at Santa Monica  I was looking forward to seeing what this one had to offer and it didn’t disappoint, a great eclectic mix of food truck and fresh produce and producers .

We had to collect the squash blooms that we were using as an appetiser ,  we are making a light tempura batter to allow the softness of the ricotta filling spill into your mouth as you crunch though a light tasty batter. We bought delicious apples to add to our edible table centrepiece. We drove out of Pasadena and this town is rich with history some really great architecture made to a very pleasant stop on our busy day.

We did head over to a retail park to look for one particular item  but gave up as a bad job due to volume of people buying Halloween goodies.

We hadn’t had a coffee all day and so when we got back to the apartment, parked up unloaded, we walked to the nearest independent coffee house which unfortunately was closing it was 7pm, at this point I felt the jet lag curtain trying to close on me , we had one beer back at Louise’s I actually bombed out by 8pm and headed to bed without dinner , I couldn’t keep my eyes open finally the Jet Lag had hit me. The next day was a cooking day so I had to be fit to function

Roll on Day 4 ……….

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