Take a Tour with Me at My California Home: October

Take a Tour with Me at My California Home:  October

The Pointe is a quaint, seaside community.  It is nestled in the Orange Coast of California.  The town is situated beachside along the pristine Pacific Ocean, between magnificent cliffs and headlands.  Residents have nicknamed it the “California Riviera”.  The town was established during the 1920s along state route 1, between Los Angeles and San Diego.  Kite-flying, boat races, golf, and surfing drew crowds and residents to the promontory.  Actor James Cagney was drawn here to open a movie theater.  The Pointe is bold, panoramic, and truly alluring.  

 Cooking and entertaining is an opportunity to share with family and friends.  Growing up I learned the basics of good cooking, baking, entertaining, gardening, and entrepreneurship.  The Pointe in the location and Viven is Spanish for living life.  And living in this fabled locale serves as a delicious bakery and idea-factory.

See photos from my home in September.

“The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, — master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty.  In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages." 

--Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”

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EIGHT4NINE Restaurant and Lounge Review by Jesse Bluma

EIGHT4NINE Restaurant and Lounge Review

The Golden Age of celebrities, furturism, and crisp modern taste characterizes EIGHT4NINE.  Bob Hope, Elvis and Pricilla Presley, Ronald Reagan and more called the desert their home.  EIGHT4NINE is rooted in that California history at the same time focused on the culinary appetites of today.   

“The eclectic menu features a celebration of West Coast Modern American Cuisine which focuses on both presentation and flavors.  Chef Chuck Courtney brings his impressive culinary experience from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, as well as Northern and Southern California to EIGHT4NINE. Times.  All dishes are prepared from scratch, reflecting each dish’s specific ethnic origins with Chef’s individual creative flair.  Albert Gonzalez heads the team that has created the exquisite dessert selection.”

My Recommendations

1.  Peak times occur during weekdays and nights, especially weekend nights.  January through April is peak season for the California desert.  Make reservations.  

2.  The restaurant is located at 849 North Palm Canyon DrivePalm Springs, California 92262.  Public parking is located on the street.  The popularity and convenience of taxis, private cars, or rideshare may be your best bet, depending on weather and your pre and post meal plans.  Walking the town is also an excellent way to spend the day or night, as long as you wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

3.  The menu consists of freshly made dishes, featuring coastal items, salads, seafood, farm staples, four course meals, and desserts.  If you are famished, the four course meal is for you.  Otherwise, I suggest enjoying a main dish and one of their diverse cocktails.

4.  I have enjoyed the following items.  

Sourdough-Crusted Halibut (Substituted with Salmon):  Dungeness crab-stuffed piquillo pepper, saffron aioli, and greens.

Roasted Beets:  Dandelion greens, toasted cumin and honey vinaigrette, goat cheese, gluten free.

New York Steak:  Grass-fed, baseball cut, truffled potato planks, heirloom tomato, charred spring onion,  St. Ague blue cheese and red wine reduction, gluten free.

Poblano Chile Relleno:   Beecher's flagship cheese, refried pintos, negro modelo ranchero sauce.

Cardamom Peach Crème brûlée

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Eight 4 Nine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Credits:  facebook.com/eight4ninerestaurant, eight4nine.com

Stivii Chocolate Bar Review by Jesse Bluma

Stivii Chocolate Bar Review by Jesse Bluma

What a delicious opportunity.  I was recently asked to review the Stivii line of chocolates.  I appreciate the company's roots, as family owned, utilizing sustainable plants, and their focus on quality.  Stivii creates sweeteners and chocolates with stevia rebaudiana, an herb native to South America, and cocoa trees that are grown on sustainable farms and UTZ certified.  An arduous task and inspection process.  UTZ is a non-profit organization founded in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  (Utz Kapeh or “UTZ” originates from a language of the Maya, Quiché, meaning “Good Coffee”.)

“Our team is committed to making the world’s sweet tooth a little smarter. We provide a healthy and great tasting product line without using sugar or artificial sweeteners. We use Stevia, a zero calorie sweetener, which is naturally extracted from the Stevia plant.  Made with only the finest ingredients, including 55% cacao, the chocolates can satisfy any sweet tooth while providing 25% fewer calories than traditional dark chocolate products. The Stivii line of Swiss quality chocolates is dairy and soy free, vegan, high in fiber, and some are made with real fruit pieces instead of juice powders or artificial flavors.”

I taste tested an assortment of Stivii chocolates, including the Original Dark Chocolate, White Peach Dark Chocolate, and Blueberry Almond Dark Chocolate.  These confections are lightly sweetened and made with Swiss quality chocolate.  These chocolate bars are light and smooth in texture, not oily, heavy, overly bold, or chemically tasting.  

Pick up the Original Dark Chocolate, my personal favorite, and snap off one square at a time.  

Or grate a bit of the bar into a cup of hot coffee.

Another way to enjoy the bars is to slightly melt, sprinkle with some crushed salted pistachio pieces, then allow to cool before eating.  

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Credit:  Stivii Press Release 

Rooster and the Pig Restaurant Review by Jesse Bluma

Rooster and the Pig Restaurant Review

It is always excellent to stumble upon a new restaurant, especially when the menu offers items that are thoughtfully crafted with good flavor and creativity.  I learned of Rooster and the Pig through reading an article in a food magazine.  The article was published right before my trip to the area.  Perfect timing.  

The name, Rooster and the Pig, refers to the animal characteristics of the rooster’s confidence and pig’s content nature.  A good pairing of ideas and influences for Vietnamese cuisine.  Rooster and the Pig offers “French technique, Asian heritage, and bi-coastal gallivanting.  Dishes are portioned to encourage ordering a variety of items for the table to share.  Selections may change daily based on availability and the desire to showcase carefully sourced products at their peak.”


1.  Call ahead for hours.  Peak times occur during weekdays and nights, especially weekend nights.  You may wish to visit for lunch as soon as they open on a weekend.  Make sure to make reservations.

2.  The restaurant is located at 356 South Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, California 92262.  Public parking is located within the parking lot and on the street.  Make smart use of the nearby parking garage a few minutes walk of the restaurant located between South Palm Canyon Drive, Baristo Road, and South Indian Canyon Drive.

3.  The menu consists of savory and well seasoned dishes.  The small plates make it possible to taste various items and share with others.  Four plates could be shared between two people.  

4.  I have enjoyed the following dishes.  





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Rooster and the Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Credits:  instagram.com/roosterandthepig, roosterandthepig.com, https://www.instagram.com/roosterandthepig/

Strength Training With Resistance Bands by Jesse Bluma

Strength Training With Resistance Bands

If anyone knows a thing or two about fitness and nutrition, it’s me.  And if I can do it, you can too.  A background of teaching health and physical education, as well as a lifelong interest in nutrition, has been essential to maintaing an excellent level of fitness, energy, and strength for me.  

According to Dr. Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic, strength training, resistance training or weight lifting, “builds the strength and endurance of your muscles.  Strength training reduces body fat and increases lean muscle mass.”  Resistance training with bands or free weights is not reserved for body builders, professional sports, nor models.  C9 Exercise Bands, for example, provide for a total body workout, allow for toning the arms and legs, and can be used in an “all-around strength workout”.

My current routine consists of five parts:  warm-up, stretch (triceps, squats, lunges, remembering to breathe, etc.), get heart rate up (jump rope, jogging in place, circuit training, etc.), cool-down (stretching quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, triceps, shoulders, core, back, etc.), and cardiovascular (treadmill, elliptical, bodyweight alternating lunges, jumping-jacks, squat thrusts, explosive pushups, etc.).  Throughout the week and sometimes daily:  abdominal, jogging, long hiking, and weights.  Over the years I have taken a kickboxing session here and there as well.  It’s an excellent way to mix the routine up.

Physical activity, in harmony with diet, is excellent for the mind, body, and soul.  Do what activities you enjoy and make them as enjoyable as possible.  Don’t fool yourself or allow others to fool you.  Life is challenging, especially life when working out.  Look online for free videos to watch and follow along with those.  Music can be a great way to distract you from the boredom or difficulty of working out.  Make a list of rewards that will incentivize you, this could be going to your favorite place, making your favorite meal, or simply putting a star on a chart showing off your accomplishment.

Travel is an opportunity to keep in shape, explore the surrounding area, and discover new strength and endurance ideas.  Parks, hiking trails, beaches, and more can be used to keep your routine in place.  Many hotels and resorts also have fitness centers.  Bring resistance bands with you on vacation and business trips.  Bands are light weight and easy to pack.  In conjunction with a swim in the hotel pool, core work, and bands, your fitness will remain in check.

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 Note: All information is of a general nature and is furnished only for education.  See a doctor or medical professional for your own personal fitness advice.  Use of this information is at your own risk in regard to any losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.

Credits:  mayoclinic.org,hanes.com/champion, Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Target.com


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