MoeLicious BBQ

I've posted many restaurant reviews on this blog (145, in fact), but not once have I raved about a food truck experience. There's a first time for everything, though, and I must give MoeLicious BBQ a five-star review. I met Moe (above) and his fantastic ribs at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival last Saturday evening.
I ordered a "rib sandwich." Well, there were two buns in my order, but the ribs were just too big to eat as a sandwich. They were so good. I enjoyed every bite, including the potato salad served on the side.

If you're ever in Louisville, Kentucky, give MoeLicious BBQ a try. I recommend it. Moe knows BBQ.

KY Shakespeare's Bard-a-Thon

Wow, what a blast I had with my friend, Bill Riley, at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival's Bard-a-Thon in Louisville's Central Park last evening. Attendees were prohibited from taking photos of the performance, and I am a rule-follower (some of the time), so I don't have any pictures of the plays, but the venue (above) was comfortable; although the temperatures were in the nineties, Bill and I sat in a shaded spot, and even made new friends! We enjoyed the 4:30 performance of The Winter's Tale and the 7:30 performance of Two Gentlemen of Verona, both of which were ably performed by a versatile cast (which was displayed especially in the second play, an adaptation set in 1919, complete with musical numbers drawn from that period).
We were already out past curfew so we didn't stay for the 10:30 p.m. performance of Romeo and Juliet. But what a wonderful experience, all around. Not only were three performances offered, one after the other, but there were food trucks, a splash park (which came in handy, I must say), free water, a Dixieland jazz band, various vendors, and the Bard himself (see above), accompanied by Grumio (from The Taming of the Shrew). Will let me touch his writing hand; I think some of his genius actually rubbed off. Or maybe he was melting.
Between the first two performances, Gregory Maupin ("Polixenes") let me take a selfie with him. I also got to meet Matt Wallace, the producing artistic director of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, and two new friends, Ray Ontko (the president of Richmond Shakespeare Festival) and his wife, Sharon.

Many, many thanks to Kentucky Shakespeare Festival for an outstanding event, attended by several hundred folks who braved the extreme heat. I hope to return for Bard-a-Thon next year, though I may have to wear my swimsuit and spend more time in the splash park.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, San Jose, CA

On our first visit to downtown San Jose last Tuesday, the lovely Robin and I and our grandson Miles stopped into the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph church when our visit to the art museum turned out to require less time than we had expected. 
We joined a half dozen apparent tourists and a couple people praying at the various altars inside, and I'm so glad we did. It is a beautiful church, the oldest non-mission parish in the state of California. 
This structure, the fifth on this site, dates to 1877. It replaced a previous church that burnt down. In 1981, the Vatican divided the Archdiocese of San Francisco, establishing the Diocese of San Jose, and this church became the cathedral (the seat of the bishop) in 1985.  
The art and architecture of the church is breathtakingly beautiful, from the dome to the rows of polished wooden chairs (not pews) in the sanctuary.  

The  Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is located at 80 S. Market Street in downtown San Jose.  

San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA

The lovely Robin and I accompanied our grandson Miles to the San Jose Museum of Art just a few miles (get it?) from his house.
The museum dates only from 1969, so as art museums go it is a young one. While I was disappointed that the three floors of the museum displayed only modern art (they have a permanent collection of about 2,500 works but they are all modern and contemporary; the museum seems to feature more exhibits by visiting artists and an artist in residence), Miles made the visit enjoyable nonetheless. He particularly appreciated the interactive pendulum art piece in the Koret Family Gallery’s interactive Art and Science exhibit (above).
One other example from that display on the museum's lowest level was the above mixed media piece by San Francisco artist, Rob Grange (I think).

The San Jose Museum of Art is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San Jose.

Casa Nostra, Ben Lomond, CA

Last Sunday, afternoon, after church and after touring a couple homes for sale in the Boulder Creek, California, area, the lovely Robin, Aaron, Miles, Mia, and I decided to try an Italian restaurant in Ben Lomond, called Casa Nostra. Get it? Huh? Huh? Do ya?
What a lovely setting for a late Sunday lunch, among the redwoods of the beautiful San Lorenzo Valley in California.
My scampi dish, with mixed vegetables and potatoes, was outstanding. I ate every bite. Okay, okay, I left a little broccoli, but still... And everyone else enjoyed their meals, as well as the desserts we devoured (three of us had créme brûlée, Aaron had cannolis, and Mia had a piece of chocolate cake, all of which were excellent). It was a meal I expect to remember fondly for a very long time.
At some point during the meal, it occurred to me to snap a photo of the unique and striking view from our table. I took the photo above without moving from my place at the table. Now that is fine dining.

Casa Nostra is located at 9217 Highway Nine, in Ben Lomond, California.

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, CA

This past Sunday, the lovely Robin and I had the joy of accompanying our son and his kids to a church I've long wanted to visit, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in--can you guess?--Menlo Park, California.
We were late arriving to begin with, and parking presented a major challenge. The woefully inadequate church lot was full and much of the street parking close to the church was prohibited on Saturdays and Sundays! We ended up parking a half dozen blocks away. At least it wasn't raining.
The service had already begun and the place was packed when we arrived, so we made our way to the balcony where someone very thoughtfully had reserved the next-to-last pew for our whole family. That's hospitality.
The speaker of the morning was Nancy Ortberg. Maybe you've heard of her and her almost-as-famous author husband, John Ortberg. The message, illustrated with numerous video clips (it was part of a series, "Summer at the Movies"), was interesting and affecting. The service closed with a lovely rendition of "My Chains Are Gone" and a heartfelt benediction.

We joined the after-service fellowship going on in the breezeway behind the chapel, and got free coffee and donuts! Now that's a real church, if you ask me.
Over lunch, I asked my grandson whether he liked the service; he gave it two thumbs up. I asked what his favorite part of the service was, and he answered, "the stained glass windows." They were beautiful. This one, above, was right behind us on the balcony.

As there was a street festival going on right in front of the church, I asked one of the ushers if parking was always as problematic as our experience indicated. He said yes, that he and his wife always find it easiest to park a few blocks away. Other than that, our visit was terrific; we all agreed that we would love to return sometime. Maybe we'll bike to church next time.

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church is located at 950 Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park, near Palo Alto, which is near San Jose. The church has four campuses--Menlo Park, San Mateo, San Jose, and Mountain View.

Flying Fish Grill, Half Moon Bay, CA

The lovely Robin and I shared a delicious repast at the Flying Fish Grill with our loved ones this past Saturday during our short visit to Half Moon Bay, California.
The Flying Fish Grill started out as a roadside donut shop, but just six months or so into that incarnation, it was clear that the donut shop thing wasn't working. So a new owner turned it into a roadside seafood shack. That not only worked, but nineteen or twenty years later led to a new location just a block away.
We all enjoyed the meal immensely. The seafood tacos (above, one scallops and the other shrimp) were thoroughly fresh and delicious.

The Flying Fish Bar and Grill is located at 211 San Mateo Road (Highway 92) in Half Moon Bay, California.

Half Day at Half Moon Bay

One of our fun family activities this past weekend while the lovely Robin and I were visiting our son, grandson, and granddaughter in California, was a short visit to Half Moon Bay.
Half Moon Bay is on the Pacific coast of San Mateo County, California, a bit south of Redondo Beach and the famous surfing spot, Mavericks. The bay is named for its semi-circular shape.
We didn't do any surfing but Miles and Mia had fun chasing the surf . . . or being chased by it. It was a cool and windy day, so though we brought swimsuits we didn't use them.
It was fun, nonetheless, to walk in the sand and enjoy the ocean for a while. The place is beautiful and the beach spacious.

Santa Teresa Farmers' Market

The lovely Robin and I accompanied our son and grandchildren yesterday to the Santa Teresa Farmers' Market in south San Jose, California.
Though this farmers' market is tiny compared to some others in the area (most notably Campbell, which we've been to and love), this market is much more convenient, as it is just a mile or so from our son's and daughter-in-law's home.
The beauty and bounty of a California farmers' market is striking compared to those we love back home in the midwest. Despite the drought in this area, which has been exacerbated by decades-long public policies, the fruits and vegetables and other items (honey, eggs, etc.) attract and amaze.

The Santa Teresa Farmers' Market is held at 6232 Santa Teresa Boulevard in San Jose, California.

Japanese Friendship Garden, San Jose, CA

 Following a visit to the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo yesterday, the lovely Robin and I accompanied our grandkids, Miles and Mia, to the adjacent Japanese Friendship Garden.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful walled section of Kelley Park in San Jose. It is patterned after Japan's famous Korakuen Garden in Okayama and spans six acres.
The koi in the pond are healthy and hungry. Some are the size of a small horse.
Miles, who has been to the gardens on a school field trip, led us all around the beautiful environs.

Thanks to Mimi, Miles and Mia were able to buy a half-dollar's worth of fish food to feed the koi from the red bridge. The koi were appreciative, and we were just happy the kids didn't fall off the bridge.

The Japanese Friendship Garden is located at 1300 Senter Road in San Jose.

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, San Jose, CA

The lovely Robin and I had the joy of taking our two oldest grandkids, Miles and Mia, to the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo yesterday, on Mimi's twenty-ninth birthday. It wasn't her birthday party, but it was a gift nonetheless. 
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is a sixteen-acre zoo and amusement park in San Jose, California, which originally opened in 1961. Though small it is nonetheless well-run and well-staffed. The staff, in fact, were unfailingly cheerful and helpful.
We had a blast. The kids enjoyed the rides and the zoo about equally, I think. Mimi and I enjoyed watching them enjoy it all.
One of our first stops was the barn, where we petted a cow and a horse, and Miles exulted at the live corn snake we saw. The snake didn't seem to reciprocate his enthusiasm, though. Rude.
The giant anteater, which we watched at his apparent lunchtime, was fascinating for all of us. He (or she) even showed off a little for us. I think we bonded.
The kids loved the expansive playground. After fifteen or twenty minutes there in the ninety-degree heat, though, they needed a break, so we took in the puppet play (below) of Jack and the Beanstalk. That's the star, Jack, with Milky White, the cow that gets sold off early in the show. She had some good mooooves, though.

The roller coaster was no "California Screaming'," which Miles and Mia rode last April at Disneyland, but they loved it nonetheless. They rode it four times.
They spent some time excavating a dinosaur. I thought they should have been paid something for their efforts, but I could find no one to agree with me.
The Frog Hopper ride was one of the last they rode. While the rides were all most appropriate for younger kids than Miles and Mia, they had fun anyway. They're such good kids and though Mia's feet started to hurt by the end of the day (the park closed at 5), they enjoyed it all, and so did we.

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is located at 1300 Senter Road in San Jose, California.