Best Linguine And Clams Ever

From the first bite I was in love! Nicely cooked pasta, small clams and a light sauce with rich seasoning in every mouthful. Was it the mullet roe? Whatever it was, it was dynamite!

Best linguine and clams ever. This was truly a California surprise.


I’m learning more about SoCal every day. For instance, at least a half dozen people have told me the worst traffic is on Thursday afternoon. Did all the former college students who arranged for no Friday classes figure out a way to preserve that as adults?

It was with this is mind that we set a halfway point to meet our friends Farrell and Vered for dinner last night. They live near Palm Springs, but were visiting in Los Angeles. We headed to Long Beach. Traffic on the 405 did not disappoint.

None of us know much about Long Beach, so we set out to find a restaurant using Yelp. That’s always scary. Yelp can be swayed, good or bad, with enough effort.

Our second worry was Vered and Farrell dine… we eat. Their tastes are more sophisticated.

IMAG1037We ended up going to La Parolaccia. In Italian, the name means “the bad language.”

Long Beach is a beach community (duh). La Parolaccia is in a neighborhood away from the water. It seemed like a locals place.

The TV over the bar was tuned to RAI! It’s an Italian place with Italians who speak Italian! A California rarity.

IMAG1038Helaine had lasagna, Farrell salmon, Vered a simple spaghetti dish and I had “Linguine alle Vongole con Bottarga.” That’s my go to pasta dish, linguine with clams. At La Parolaccia they add “bottarga,” grated dry mullet roe (dried fish eggs).

From the first bite I was in love! Nicely cooked pasta, small clams and cherry tomatoes in a light sauce with rich seasoning in every mouthful. Was it the mullet roe? Whatever it was, it was dynamite!

Best linguine and clams ever. This was truly a California surprise.

Helaine and I were worried when we picked a place sight unseen, but the service was great, the bread hot and the food tasty and genuinely Italian.

We sat, shmoozed and ate. Good friends are always worth the drive.

An hour ten there, thirty five minutes home. Thursday traffic!

Long Beach Lunch

IMG_8715I had lunch with Neil Solomon this afternoon. We first met just after I got to Connecticut, introduced by Bruce McFarlane.

Let me pause for a sec. I worked with Bruce when I came to New Haven. After he left Channel 8, Bruce fell off the face of the Earth. Neil tells the same story.

We don’t know whether he’s living, or dead, or what! Very strange.

Where were we?

Neil flies 757s for a legacy carrier. He captained their first JFK-LAX flight today.

I should have asked him about celebrities. That seems like a flight that would have ‘names’ aboard. People famous enough to recognize, but not rich enough to charter.

IMG_8711He’s staying in Long Beach. I headed north on the 405. Mid 70s thermometer. Low 70s speedometer.

This was my first time in Long Beach. Not what I expected. Very pretty. A few tall office buildings. Nice hotels. Restaurants and shops. And it’s right on the water.

I found myself on a street with concrete Jersey barriers and mesh fences on either side. OMG–this is where they race the Long Beach Grand Prix. I so wanted to gun it as I drove past a huge pile of tires destined to line some curve.

IMG_8710We had lunch at Parkers Lighthouse just across from the Queen Mary and a Carnival ship. They’re very different in shape and size, but the Queen does not disappoint. It is sleek, but small compared to the boxy superliner next door.

We sat outside. California is good for sitting outside. Good conversation.

Neil flies home in the morning. He still loves to fly.

The Storm’s Over — The Numbers Are In

The dry air was the wild card. Radar showed moderate snow over all of Connecticut for hours-and-hours before anything hit the ground.

snow-shovel-on-the-steps.jpgThe snow has come and gone. There’s never a bullseye, but the forecast was reasonably close. If success is judged by number of complaints, or lack thereof, I’m doing fine. Here are the final DOT numbers. I have also added the Boston and New York NWS snow totals, which include Connecticut, for the Dec 20-21, 2009 storm at the end of this entry.

Not everyone was as lucky. A friend who forecasts in Springfield sent a text message saying he’d received nothing! “Bust of the decade,” he said. Ouch. Been there. I know exactly what he’s going through.

I was right about Southeastern Connecticut getting the most snow followed by the shoreline in general. The snow was fluffy and windblown as predicted. Accumulations were generally in line with my numbers. My call for the Northwest Hills and most of the area directly adjacent to the Massachusetts line was a few inches higher than the actual totals.

I wrote about this last night, but it bears repeating the most unusual and interesting part of this storm was the exceptionally dry air. During the summer we sometimes see 30 grams of water content per square meter. Last night it was around 1 gram per cubic meter!

The dry air was the wild card. Radar showed moderate snow over all of Connecticut for hours-and-hours before anything hit the ground. Once the atmospheric column over any location became saturated light snow turned to heavy snow. I’d never seen a situation quite like this before. It cut inches off all the accumulations.

It’s a shame this storm will impact Christmas shopping. Otherwise we’re lucky it came on a Saturday night when travel is usually light.

And now the dig out begins.

(NWS totals after the jump)

Continue reading “The Storm’s Over — The Numbers Are In”

The Cruelty of April

It’s April. It’s not supposed to do this in April.

This is among the nastiest nights I can remember in a long time. It’s rainy and windy and raw.

It’s April. It’s not supposed to do this in April.

My friends in California will tell me how it was uncomfortably hot today (100&#176 in Long Beach for an all-time April record is a good example). I would take that in a second. This weather just sucks.

I Want Him To Be My Pilot

Here’s the entire story from AP:

A JetBlue airliner with its front landing gear stuck sideways safely landed Wednesday, balancing on its back wheels as it slowed on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Stop. Reread that last paragraph.

I was at my desk when I first caught sight of something out of the ordinary. It was MSNBC, I think. I was looking at a JetBlue A320&#185 filling the entire frame. A small courtesy font was in the upper corner of the screen. That meant live, breaking news… and there’s an airplane involved.

As I watched, the story began to unfold. This pretty, fairly new, JetBlue Airbus had taken off from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. An indicator told the pilot the gear had not properly locked and/or retracted.

After a quick trip to Long Beach and a low, slow buzz by the tower, it was decided the gear was down but turned perpendicular to the motion of the plane.

By the time I got to see what was going on there were cameras all over the place peering at this jet. Some of the best shots were coming from hovering helicopters. The shots were close enough to clearly see the recalcitrant landing gear.

The all news channels moved to this like a moth to flame.

MSNBC’s coverage featured Alison Stewart. On CNN it was Paula Zahn. I never stayed long enough on Fox to get a feel for who was anchoring their coverage.

Both channels found experts to talk with. They were mostly pilots, though MSNBC also found Robert Hager (Bob, you’re out of retirement for a few minutes) and Tom Costello.

Some of the info was confusing. Text crawls at the bottom of the screen talked about ‘dumping fuel,’ though this Airbus isn’t equipped to do that. Anchors asked pointed questions implying there was a tragic loss of life on the way.

The coolest head was pilot John Wiley, on the phone, on CNN.

It’s probably going to be exciting for the passengers. It will make for a great story. But I would probably — I would not say that this is a dangerous situation. Obviously, it is an abnormal. It’s a situation we will call a non- normal, to use the latest jargon and stuff.

But I think, basically, what’s going to happen is, these guys are going to touch down. It’s going to make for good video. It’s going to make for good stories for the families, needless to say. Two, they’re going to be a little excited about this. But I think that it’s going to eventually wind up in a very safe outcome.

If this guy isn’t right stuff material, who is? And, in fact, what John Wiley said did come true.

There was talk in the newsroom of what was going on in the plane. I thought the flight attendants were preparing the cabin and passengers for a crash landing. Maybe they were, but the TV’s on each seatback were still operating.

People were on this seemingly doomed plane watching coverage of their own demise!

After hours of circling, the pilot greased a perfect landing right on the centerline of the runway. First the main gear touched. Somehow, even as speed began to burn off, he held the nose up. It was like hang time in the NBA – but with an Airbus full of people.

For the first few seconds everything looked fine. Then came sparks. The sparks grew longer, Finally, there seemed to be flame shooting under the entire length of the plane.

I expected, any second, to see the plane burst into flames.

I kept hoping the front gear would break away, allowing the nose of the plane to slide on the concrete runway. It never did. Instead, the sparks diminished and the plane slowed and then stopped.

It was over.

It was a surreal moment. Yes, it ended wonderfully (as John Wiley predicted). It could have ended tragically. And yet, there was no way to avert my eyes. I had to watch.

The next time I fly, if I can’t have John Wiley, give Captain Scott Burke, that guy from JetBlue. They can’t use his valiant performance for a commercial, but you almost wish they could.

&#185 – God bless the Internet. The plane in tonight’s incident, N536JB, had 3 pages of photos on the web before it became famous!