Category Archives: reflections

Guava Pancakes

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 15 mins

Level: Easy

Serves: 15

System: US Metric


Sweet guava paste is used to make these pancakes and the sauce that tops them off.


1 cup Guava Paste, Cubed
½ cups Water
½ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ cups Sugar
½ cups Guava Paste, Finely Diced
1 cup Guava Nectar
1 cup Whole Milk
¼ cups Vegetable Oil
2 whole Eggs
Whipped Cream, To Serve


For the sauce:

In a small heavy duty saucepan, heat the cubed guava paste, water, and vanilla on medium/low heat, whisking constantly until the guava paste melts and all the ingredients are combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

For the pancakes:

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Whisk in the sugar and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, add the finely diced guava paste, guava nectar, milk, oil, and eggs.

Continuously pulse or blend until well combined, 2-5 minutes. You may still have some guava paste bits in the blended mixture and that is fine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until most of the lumps are out.

Heat a griddle on low heat. Spray with cooking spray and pour a 3-1/2 to 4-inch round onto the griddle.

Flip the pancake when the surface of the pancake becomes somewhat dry and when most of the air bubbles have risen, about 2-1/2 to 4 minutes on each side.

Makes 15 or so pancakes.

To plate, spread butter over the hot pancakes (if desired), then add a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle the prepared guava sauce over the pancakes.




Posted by on TueAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-08-14T11:24:59+00:00America/Los_Angeles08bAmerica/Los_AngelesTue, 14 Aug 2018 11:24:59 +0000 31, in reflections


The Real Importance Of A Travel Log: Keeping Account Of Events

Below are some shared frightful moments onboard an aircraft:

The life of everyone on board depends upon just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner”

By. Oliver Smith, digital travel editor

EasyJet has denied claims that, ahead of a flight from Malaga to Bristol, one of its pilots told passengers there was a “50/50” chance both its engines would work, before asking them for a “show of hands” to decide whether they should take off or stay put.

According to Gloucestershire Live the flight had already been delayed for two days when a technical issue put the departure in jeopardy once more. The pilot’s alleged comments triggered panic on board, with many people demanding to be let off and one being physically sick.

EasyJet confirmed the “technical issue” but strongly denied that the pilot asked fliers for a vote, while one witness said the hysteria may have been a “misunderstanding”.

“We have ice on the wings and we don’t want to die”
It wouldn’t be the first time a cabin crew announcement has put passengers in a panic.

Last year Ryanair issued an apology after one of its flight attendants told passengers over the PA system: “We have ice on the wings and we don’t want to die.”

She was explaining to those on board why their flight had been delayed for eight hours, but her light-hearted tone did not go down especially well. One passenger claimed the “outrageous” remark saw “all hell break loose” in the cabin. A Ryanair spokesman said the “regettable” comment was made “in the heat of the moment”.
“A quick watery grave”

In 2014, holidaymakers were left “traumatised” after a Monarch pilot told them that a technical problem could have led them to “a quick, watery grave”.

The comments were made after a flight from the Caribbean was delayed for 24 hours due to a problem with the reverse thrusters. As passengers boarded the following day, the pilot also reportedly compared the fault to one that caused the Lauda Air crash in 1991 that killed all 213 passengers on board.

We’re in trouble. We’re going down”
That incident followed a Southwest Airlines flight, during which a pilot, when alerted to a problem, bizarrely declared: “We’re in trouble, we’re going down”. The plane landed safely, despite the warning.

More of the world’s scariest (real) in-flight announcements
In our Travel Truths series Patrick Smith, a pilot, explained that “passengers will be told about any emergency or serious malfunction. And most nonserious ones too.”

He added: “If you’re informed about a landing gear issue, pressurization problem, engine trouble, or the need for a precautionary landing, do not construe this to be a life­or-death situation. It’s virtually always something minor – though you’ll be kept in the loop anyway. With even an outside chance of an evacuation in mind, you have to be kept in the loop.”

Perhaps more eye-opening, however, were the comments left on the article by readers detailing the most worrying crew announcements they have heard on board a flight. Here are some of the best:

21. “On the way to Paris on an early flight, BA pilot announces: ‘Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to inform you that this is my first flight… [long pause while passengers look at one another]… of the day’, cue relief all round…”

22. “On a plane flying from Kuala Lumpur to Borneo, a good hour or so into the flight, the pilot announced: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen I’m afraid we are going to have to turn around and return to KL as there seems to be a problem with our navigation system. This is fine when we are over land but the problem is rather serious when we’re over water’. Given that we had been over water for a considerable amount of time it was a fairly harrowing journey back.”

23. “After having to wait for over an hour inside the bus on the runway, without any explanation (we learned later that somebody got sick in the previous flight and had to wait for medical assistance), we entered the plane and took off from Lisbon to Frankfurt. Almost an hour later, the captain says: ‘Today everything is going wrong. We have a technical problem and must turn back’. Unfortunate choice of words that kept everybody terrified for the next hour, until we landed safely.”

24. “Flying in a certain sunny African state a decade or so ago: ‘Ladies and gentlemen if you look over our starboard wing you can see the trail of an obsolete Russian Strela 3 that somebody just fired at us’.”

Watch out for missiles


25. “Way back in the Seventies I was on a flight from Heathrow to Glasgow. After take-off there were bumps and the some long, loud grinding and thumping sounds. A little later the captain calmly announced: ‘You may have heard some unusual noises shortly after take-off. It seems that the undercarriage did not fully retract. We therefore recycled it and will now continue our flight to Glasgow when we hope all will go well for our landing there.’ He made no further announcements to the ashen faced passengers. The relief after landing safely was palpable.”

26. “I was sat next to the pilot on a small prop plane coming into land on a dirt strip in Central America. As we hit the ground, a cow decided it would be a good time to wander across the runway. We hit the cow pretty hard and the impact flipped the plane over on to its roof. Amazingly we were both fine, but upside down, still strapped into our seats and with some sort of fluid leaking over us. The pilot turns to me and says: ‘Well that didn’t go so well but at least we get steak for dinner’.”

27. “In the days when every company worth its salt had a ‘mission statement’, I was less than totally reassured on an internal flight in a third world country to read from a card stuck in the seat pocket in front of me that the airline’s mission was ‘to reduce the number of accidents’!”

28. “I was flying to Nairobi sometime in the Seventies. We were somewhere over the Med when the plane seemed to hit a bump. The Captain came on the intercom and said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, if you would care to take a look at your in-flight magazine and check out our route on the large map in the centre pages, you will see that we have just crossed the fold in the middle…'”

29. “‘Ladies and Gentlemen this is your captain speaking. On our approach to Hong Kong we’ll be touching the tail-end of the typhoon currently in the area. So things might get a touch exciting’. It was pure terror.”

A storm in Hong Kong prompted one particularly scary announcement

30. “Flying into Bathurst, New South Wales, the pilot announced that he was ‘taking a practice run over the runway to scare off the kangaroos’.”

31. “‘Please fasten your safety belts in case we come to a sudden stop – like against the side of a mountain'”

32. “On a delayed flight out of Chicago, when we finally got clearance to take off, the pilot announced: ‘It’s Miller time’ as he hit the throttle.

33. “I imagine a lot of people have heard EasyJet cabin crew’s stock eye-opener (it must be in their manual). ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to inform you that we have on board someone very special today. He’s an 89-year-old gentleman making his very first flight. So on leaving the plane would you please shake hands with your pilot’. There was one particular crew that used this announcement daily.”

34. “I was delayed leaving Hong Kong last month because of a bad storm over China. On arrival at Heathrow, the driver apologised for the delay but reminded us that ‘it is better to arrive late in this world than early in the next’.”

35. “‘Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard this British Airways flight to Denver. If your travel plans do not include visiting Denver, then now would be the perfect time to make yourself known to a member of the cabin crew'”.

36. “Coming into land in Bermuda on a rather stormy night in January, the pilot comes on and says, “‘We’ll attempt this landing but we might not make it so we’ll keep coming back around and try it again until we do, we have plenty of fuel’.”

We’ll attempt this landing but we might not make it
37. “I’m sure I have heard scary announcements, but frankly its the amusing ones that I remember. In a safety briefing on Westjet (Canada) the flight attendant said: ‘In the event of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. If you are travelling with someone who needs help, put your own mask on first, then help your husband’.”

38. “Not really in the same category, but amusing nonetheless: arriving in London from Hong Kong on a Virgin flight the cabin crew announced: ‘It’s customary after a long-haul flight to ask for volunteers to clean the toilets. If you wish to volunteer, please stand up before the fasten seat-belt sign has been switched off’.”

39.. “When flying into Augusta, Maine, from New York in a 12-seater Beechcraft 99 (after being caught in and tossed about in a big snow storm for 45 minutes), the pilot turned round, pulled the curtain aside and yelled: ‘The runway has 24 inches of snow on it and it’s building fast so they are going to send a snowplough down and hopefully keep the snow off until we land. We’re going to give it a couple of minutes though so that we can hopefully get down and stop before we not catch up with the snowplough!’ We made it and ended up just 30 feet behind the moving snow plough who then led us into the terminal building. The snowstorm grounded all flights for three days after that.”

40. “1979 – Lusaka to London…’Ladies and gentlemen, we are running out of fuel, so we are diverting to Rome to make an emergency landing’.”

41. “RNAC (Royal Nepal Air Corp) flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu. After 15 minutres the plane does a steep left turn and heads back to Dhaka. The captain says: ‘We go back to Dhaka. Plane broke. Badly’.”

42. “Flight from Bristol to Faro waiting on the runway to take off. Pilot: ‘Sorry for the delay. We are just waiting for Brussels to recognize we exist.’ Long pause. #Good news. Brussels have acknowledged our presence so we can now take off’.”



Posted by on MonAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-08-13T13:28:54+00:00America/Los_Angeles08bAmerica/Los_AngelesMon, 13 Aug 2018 13:28:54 +0000 31, in reflections



“Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On)”

Lee Dorsey

Dorsey’s songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Petula Clark and Johnny Hallyday (“Ya Ya Twist”, a 1962 French version of “Ya Ya”) and Devo(“Working in the Coal Mine”). “Ya Ya” was covered on John Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll album. “Get Out of My Life, Woman” (1966) was performed often by the Byrds (who based their instrumental “Captain Soul” on it), the Jerry Garcia Band, also predated the boom bap beat of the 90s Hip Hop; and Robert Palmerhad a hit with “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley”. His version of the Allen Toussaint song “Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On)” is referenced in the Beastie Boys’ song “Sure Shot”, with the lyric “Everything I do is funky like Lee Dorsey.” “Ya Ya” was spoken by Cheech Marin in Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie, as he was waiting for his girlfriend.

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Posted by on SatAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-08-11T10:05:05+00:00America/Los_Angeles08bAmerica/Los_AngelesSat, 11 Aug 2018 10:05:05 +0000 31, in 1960s, r&b, reflections, soul oldies


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America On Coffee – Rising To The Call Of Each Day

America On Coffee – Rising To The Call Of Each Day

AmericaOnCoffee (AOC) is a story of love brought to you by Life. We are dedicated to the Homeless, the Missing and the Exploited.

Our mission is to rebuild lives and end homelessness. Learn more at

Street art paint Imaginary Homes For Homeless To Highlight Poverty (

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Posted by on FriAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-08-10T15:00:53+00:00America/Los_Angeles08bAmerica/Los_AngelesFri, 10 Aug 2018 15:00:53 +0000 31, in reflections



The Entrepreneur Barista

By Bitter Brew

I opened a charming neighborhood coffee shop. Then it destroyed my life.

By Michael Idov

Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.

You know that charming little cafe on New York’s Lower East Side that just closed after a mere six months in business—where coffee was served on silver trays with a glass of water and a little chocolate cookie? The one that, as you calmly and correctly observed, was doomed from its inception because it was too precious and too offbeat? The one you still kind of fell for, the way one falls for a tubercular maiden? Yeah, that one was mine.

The scary part is that you think you can do better.

I never realized how ubiquitous the dream of opening a small coffeehouse was until I fell under its spell myself. Friends’ eyes misted over when my wife and I would excitedly recite our concept (“Vienna roast from Vienna! It’s lighter and sweeter than bitter Italian espresso—no need to drown it in milk!”). It seemed that just about every boho-professional couple had indulged in this fantasy at some point or another.

The dream of running a small cafe has nothing to do with the excitement of entrepreneurship or the joys of being one’s own boss—none of us would ever consider opening a Laundromat or a stationery store, and even the most delusional can see that an independent bookshop is a bad idea these days. The small cafe connects to the fantasy of throwing a perpetual dinner party, and it cuts deeper—all the way to Barbie tea sets—than any other capitalist urge. To a couple in the throes of the cafe dream, money is almost an afterthought. Which is good, because they’re going to lose a lot of it.

The failure of a small cafe is not a question of competence. It is a sad given. The logistics of a food establishment that seats between 20 and 25 people (which roughly corresponds to the definition of “cozy”) are such that the place will stay afloat—barely—as long as its owners spend all of their time on the job. There is a golden rule, long cherished by restaurateurs, for determining whether a business is viable. Rent should take up no more than 25 percent of your revenue, another 25 percent should go toward payroll, and 35 percent should go toward the product. The remaining 15 percent is what you take home. There’s an even more elegant version of that rule: Make your rent in four days to be profitable, a week to break even. If you haven’t hit the latter mark in a month, close.

A place that seats 25 will have to employ at least two people for every shift: someone to work the front and someone for the kitchen (assuming you find a guy who will both uncomplainingly wash dishes and reliably whip up pretty crepes; if you’ve found that guy, you’re already in better shape than most NYC restaurateurs. You’re also, most likely, already in trouble with immigration services). Budgeting $15 for the payroll for every hour your charming cafe is open (let’s say 10 hours a day) relieves you of $4,500 a month. That gives you another $4,500 a month for rent and $6,300 to stock up on product. It also means that to come up with the total needed $18K of revenue per month, you will need to sell that product at an average of a 300 percent markup.

Pastries, for instance, are a monetary black hole unless you bake them yourself. We started out by engaging a pedigreed gentleman baker with Le Bernardin on his résumé. Hercule, as I’ll call him, embodied every French stereotype in existence: He was jovial, enthusiastic, rude, snooty, manic-depressive, brilliant, and utterly unreliable. His croissants were buttery, flaky, not too big, and $1.25 wholesale. We sold them for $2 and threw away roughly 50 percent—in other words, we were making a negative quarter on each croissant. After a couple of months of this, we downgraded to a more Americanized version of the croissant (vast and pillowy). The new croissants ran 90 cents each and made us feel vaguely dirty. We sold them for the same $2. Ironically, their elephantine size meant that every time someone ordered a croissant with cheese, we had to load it up with twice as much Gruyère.

Coffee was a different story—thanks to the trail blazed by Starbucks, the world of coffee retail is now a rogue’s playground of jaw-dropping markups. An espresso that required about 18 cents worth of beans (and we used very good beans) was sold for $2.50 with nary an eyebrow raised on either side of the counter. A dab of milk froth or a splash of hot water transformed the drink into a macchiato or an Americano, respectively, and raised the price to $3. The house brew too cold to be sold for $1 a cup was chilled further and reborn at $2.50 a cup as iced coffee, a drink whose appeal I do not even pretend to grasp.

But how much of it could we sell? Discarding food as a self-canceling expense at best, the coffee needed to account for all of our profit. We needed to sell roughly $500 of it a day. This kind of money is only achievable through solid foot traffic, but, of course, our cafe was too cozy and charming to pop in for a cup to go. The average coffee-to-stay customer nursed his mocha (i.e., his $5 ticket) for upward of 30 minutes. Don’t get me started on people with laptops.

There was, of course, one way to make the cafe viable: It was written into the Golden Rule itself. My wife Lily and I could work there, full-time, save on the payroll, and gerrymander the rest of the budget to allow for lower sales. Guess what, dear dreamers? The psychological gap between working in a cafe because it’s fun and romantic and doing the exact same thing because you have to is enormous. Within weeks, Lily and I—previously ensconced in an enviably stress-free marriage—were at each other’s throats. I hesitate to say which was worse: working the same shift or alternating. Each option presented its own small tortures. Two highly educated professionals with artistic aspirations have just put themselves—or, as we saw it, each other—on $8-per-hour jobs slinging coffee. After four more months, we grew suspicious of each other’s motives, obsessively kept track of each other’s contributions to the cause (“You worked three days last week!”), and generally waltzed on the edge of divorce. The marriage appears to have been saved by a well-timed bankruptcy.

Looking back, we (incredibly) should have heeded the advice of bad-boy chef Anthony Bourdain, who wrote our epitaph in Kitchen Confidential: “The most dangerous species of owner … is the one who gets into the business for love.”



Posted by on FriAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-08-10T14:34:45+00:00America/Los_Angeles08bAmerica/Los_AngelesFri, 10 Aug 2018 14:34:45 +0000 31, in coffee, reflections


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After living in France for a few years, I’ve become quite familiar with their way of doing things and little quirks that make them both adorable and infuriating, depending on the situation.

And while I do think France is a wonderful country to visit – between the châteaux, the wineries, the quaint villages, and the mountains, it’s hard to complain, really – it’s a strange place to live in for a North American.

What is it like being an expat in France? Well, it’s pretty nice. But nothing’s perfect… not even France.

What I Like About Living in France
That’s an easy one! I will never get tired of paying 2 euros for a huge piece of Cantal cheese and 1.50 euros for a glass of Riesling.

It’s amazing to have so many different destinations within a two-hour flight radius. Morocco, Portugal, Poland, England are all within reach. The diversity within France alone is mindboggling, with the chilly sea of Normandy, the sun-kissed mountains of the south or even the volcanoes of Auvergne being just a few hours’ drive away.

They are so much cheaper in France than in Canada! For less than 40 euros per month, I have cable TV, unlimited wireless internet at home, unlimited texting on my mobile, and free overseas calls!

Sometimes I wonder how anything gets done in this country! French people get a mandatory minimum 5-week holiday every year in addition to the 13 bank holidays. They also have a “bridge” (that’s literally what they call it, le pont) that they can use if the bank holiday happens to be on a Thursday or a Tuesday, by which they can also take the Monday or the Friday off to have an extra long weekend free of charge.

What I Don’t Like About Living in France
Now, I know we’ve been over this before but call me old-fashioned but a simple thank you a smile goes a long way for me. In my experience, French people won’t go out of their way to make you feel welcome and be friendly simply because it’s not how they’re used to doing things, not because they’re all profoundly rude.

And this applies to language as well – with French being my first language, you’d think it would be easy for me to communicate with locals, right? It’s not. I have this slight Québécois accent that I can’t get rid of and while some people are utterly fascinated by it and will start telling me how they dream of visiting Canada, some people, on the other hand, will feign to not understand what I’m saying and be openly annoyed by my choice of words and enunciation.

They are not a myth. Just a month ago, public transportation workers went on an unannounced strike that lasted for 6 days – and which resulted in my missing my flight from Lyon. It’s nothing like in Montreal, where a basic service is obligatory during a strike because it’s considered to be an essential public service, much like the police or the hospitals.

In France, a strike means 0 service.

Nothing is simple when it comes to French documents. Whether it’s about renting an apartment, getting a cell phone, being hired for a new job, settling your legal status, etc., it’s always so complicated. Anyone a fan of Asterix’s 12 tasks? You know The Place That Sends You Mad? It’s actually not that far-fetched from reality.

The deal about being an expat in France
As much as I like being an expat for the moment, sometimes I wonder if I wouldn’t be better off elsewhere. I think every expat asks himself that question every once in a while, right? In overall I’m a little bit disappointed of my life in France, because I thought that being French Canadian would actually help me fit better within the French society. On the contrary, not only does it not help me at all, I find it actually makes it harder.

France has kind of crushed my dreams of being an expat in Europe. I don’t want to feel like an outsider for the rest of my life – but I also want to pursue my European gallivantings. What’s a girl to do?

What are your thoughts on living in France?

Have you ever considering moving to France?


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Posted by on FriAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-08-10T13:45:54+00:00America/Los_Angeles08bAmerica/Los_AngelesFri, 10 Aug 2018 13:45:54 +0000 31, in FRENCH FRIDAYS, reflections


“You Never Can Tell. – Chuck Berry”

You Never Can Tell“, also known as “C’est La Vie” or “Teenage Wedding“, is a song written by Chuck Berry. It was composed in the early 1960s while Berry was in federal prison for violating the Mann Act. Released in 1964 on the album St. Louis to Liverpool and the follow-up single to Berry’s final Top Ten hit of the 1960s: “No Particular Place to Go”, “You Never Can Tell” reached number 14. A 1977 Top Ten C&W hit for Emmylou Harris, the song has also been recorded or performed by Chely Wright, John Prine, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Jerry Garcia Band, Bruce Springsteen, The Mavericks, Buster Shuffleand Bob Seger


Posted by on MonAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-08-06T09:15:02+00:00America/Los_Angeles08bAmerica/Los_AngelesMon, 06 Aug 2018 09:15:02 +0000 31, in reflections, rocknroll


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