So There's That

the writer meets the photographer

Catalonia, Spain: Now what?

Written by and Photography by Charla in Travel

At summer’s end of 2014, the voters in Scotland soundly rejected a proposal to split off from the United Kingdom and become their own country. Barely a week before that vote, polls showed the “yes” vote – in favor of separation – opening an unexpected lead ahead of the “no” vote – against separation from the UK. The whole world was watching, but few more than Barcelona. Fear ran rampant in London while the global press widely reported on the giddy anticipation of Scots who were about to welcome the…read more

Introducing: The Simple Kitchen

Written by and Photography by Charla in The Simple Kitchen

Many years ago in college, I got my hands on my mom’s yellowed copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1961 by Julia Child, and I would avoid studying to instead spend hours reading through it. This got me into the habit of reading recipe books with full color photos of food, plated and ready to eat. This is a bad idea when hungry. My favorite chapters from French Cooking were the basics: Stocks, sauces, chopping, roasting, sauteing. Any good meal is the sum of its parts:…read more

Restauration brings good food and vibe to Retro Row in Long Beach

Written by and Photography by Charla in Long Beach, Wine & Dine

It would be too easy a cliché to refer to Long Beach’s Fourth Street, “Retro Row”, as the city’s best kept secret. It is equally easy to fall for similar clichés of the area’s hipster culture, artsy vibe, and smart, sassy people. While Retro Row is all of those things it is so much more. A recent crop of new restaurants – and “new-to-me” restaurants – bears out the promise that Fourth Street brings to Long Beach. We walked into the newly opened Restauration for dinner on a Saturday night…read more

Summer Sundays and Cold, Garlicky Gazpacho Soup

Written by in In the kitchen

So we are in mid-move and mid-summer. Charla is just days away from having to leave her house. We just signed the lease on the place next door. It is hot and humid. We are tired and grouchy. It may be Sunday, but we are not sure, so there is a chance that the next day is a work day. This is not good. What do we do? Make gazpacho! Gazpacho is a cold tomato soup from Southern Spain, where the blazing summer midday heat slowly drains away your desire…read more

Impromptu Backyard Dinner with Friends: The Farewell Tour

Written by and Photography by Charla in Celebrations, Wine & Dine

Last month Charla and I met Claudia, an Italian urban planning professor who visited a San Diego university a few years ago. She was described to us as “very Italian: warm, generous, and loved to throw parties.” It turns out that during her stay in the U.S., Claudia “had collected a veritable United Nations of friends…German, French, Japanese, Spanish, African, and Italian grad students and professors.” Claudia is a character in a funny book written by Jennifer Coburn, We’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir. Typically, in one of her…read more

Day 2 in Yellowstone: Geysers! Bison! Bears! Oh my!

Written by and Photography by Charla in Travel

This is the third installment in our series “Four Days in Yellowstone”   When I threw open the hotel room curtains, the sunlight poured in and the sight took my breath away. Rows and rows of pine trees stood at attention in all directions, tall, and lush with green. The pines were held up with with thick brown trunks and branches that have seen more summers and winters than I have. An impossibly blue sky was reflected on the flat water of the giant Lake Yellowstone while the morning sun…read more

Day 1 in Yellowstone: A deer in the headlights is not a metaphor

Written by and Photography by Charla in Travel

This is the second installment in our series “Four Days in Yellowstone” Carl and Jane had rented a Ford Expedition, a beast of a vehicle to drive around Yellowstone National Park. By the time our plane landed and we had eaten a dinner of beer and appetizers, we found ourselves driving in pitch darkness up a winding mountain road. With nothing to see outside in the night, we stuck to music and nervous jokes about hitchhikers with hockey masks, a chainsaw, a hook where his right hand used to be…read more

Four Days In Yellowstone

Written by and Photography by Charla in Travel

This is the first in a five part series. “Do you realize,” Charla said, “that we are standing on a &@%*! volcano?” We were surrounded by an expanse of pine forests, green meadows and mountains dotted with lakes and rivers, and yet we could not take our eyes off the otherworldly sight in front of us: the ground all around our feet was poked with holes in the earth. Endless puffs of steam poured out, steam so hot it could scald your skin to a third-degree burn. Nearby, pools of…read more

Spaces: An unlikely oasis in the busiest part of the house

Written by and Photography by Charla in Spaces

The cliche phrase “hiding in plain sight” could not have been more true when our newest nook – a new favorite of our outdoor spaces – appeared in front of us. Sometimes it takes just a little push. In this case, I brought my basic Ikea table and chairs (Tarno bistro set, $49.99) from a neglected corner of my claustrophobic backyard and set it up in an unlikely corner of Charla’s backyard. It turns out that we have come up with a number of different spaces where we like to…read more

What’s For Dinner? Find out at your farmers market

Written by and Photography by Charla in In the kitchen, Long Beach

We are grateful for the warm and friendly response that we have received from our readers at So There’s That. Just last week my niece texted me and said, “You should open a food truck.” While that’s a venture best reserved for another blog entirely, I did get a suggestion from her for our next food post: Salad. Where better to find great salad fixings than at your local farmers market. A brief glance of weekly listings just in our area shows that farmers markets are not a cute fad…read more