Welcome back to mmm-yoso!!! the food blog. It's the time if year filled with many holidays and Kirk, ed (from Yuma) and Cathy have been busy with activities other than eating. Cathy is posting about one of her busy days.
It was still dark and the moon was beginning to eclipse when The Mister and I hit the road.
Soon, the sun was coming up, the moon had disappeared and we were passing giant Manger scenes along Interstate 5, the "General Hospital" building and got to Pasadena, finding a parking spot on the street, behind a Tournament of Roses vehicle.
We were at the Rose Palace, 30 minutes before our volunteer time was to start with our group, the Petal Pushers, which coordinates over 5,000 volunteers each year. There were many groups meeting this day to help decorate floats which were designed in February, when the theme of this 2012 Rose Parade was chosen- "Just Imagine". It was 42º outside and chillier inside. We were told to wear warm clothing that we were not afraid to get dirty. I wore three tshirts and an XL sweatshirt. As did most everyone else. This was a "Dry Decorating Day"- the fresh flowers won't go on the floats until 3 days before the parade on January 2, 2012. In other Rose Parade float posts, I've shown you how every visible part of the floats must be covered in living or previously alive materials. These dry decorating days are just as, if not more, important for the complete float to be built.
The assignments for Petal Pushers were given. We work on a few different floats in this barn, with various duties. Some people cut the purple petals off of these beautiful Statice flowers. All day. At the end of the day, all the five gallon buckets were empty-after being refilled one time- and the amount of flower petals gathered was less than one five gallon container.
One friendly couple were given the assignment of breaking down redwood bark- over the 8 hours they were given about 12 six foot long pieces of just bark,
which they shredded down into manageable thin pieces to be glued onto the HGTV float. They filled at least five of the large boxes and too many to count of the smaller one for volunteers to use to cover the trunks and branches on all the pine trees on this float, which has a replica of the HGTV Dream Home that somebody will win next year. In the background of the above photo, the young ladies are gluing bulghur wheat or some grain material onto the window frames. The spaces between the wood planks of the exterior have been filled with glued on poppy seeds.
You can see some of the glued on bark at the base of this pine tree. The tree is lying in the position it will collapse to during the parade- when the float passes under street and signal lights.
That box in front has a few poppy seeds left over. The HGTV home was built inside this barn and lifted onto the float 'body'. It is unusual to have such a structure on a float, since it is so heavy, but they wanted to build an accurate replica for this, their second float in the Rose Parade. HGTV will be doing a special before the Rose Parade showing how a float is built. It should be interesting.
You'll see this elk on the HGTV float, because he is on the 'camera side' of the float. Right now he is only partially covered in dry material. The undersides of the pine trees are covered in glued on dried parsley.
These powerful blenders are used to pulverize many of the flower petals so the powder can be glued onto some of the pieces of floats...
Like the giant flowers which will surround the Lions Club International float, "A World at Peace".
The 100th Anniversary of Loyola Marymount University will be celebrated with this tall(see the steeple in the back ?) float which is using the more blue-colored flower petals of the Statice flowers. It will have real palm leaves attached to the wires on those palm trees.
The City of Los Angeles float has a few ancient creatures, with their textured skin made more visible with all sorts of beans. It honors the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County with the title "Dinosaurs in LA's Backyard"
The Lutheran Hour Float, in its 63rd appearance in the Rose Parade, is as detailed in the back as it is from the front. (Do you see two volunteers in this photo?)
The Farmers Insurance Group float looks like a giant game of "Mousetrap" and is called "The Unimaginable"
This is the back of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float "Shining Knights Still Exist".
At almost 5 p.m., we left. You can see the Sierra Madre Mountains and sunset in the distance...and the volunteers from the schools waiting for their buses to pick them up. There were more than 300 volunteers this eight hour day.
If you'd like to see artist's renderings of all the Phoenix Decorating floats, click on this link. There are a total of 55 floats in the 2012 Rose Parade and Phoenix is one of three companies which made them.
Anyhow, it was a LONG day and The Mister and I started driving through Pasadena looking for a place to have dinner (we brought lunch with ourselves; I did not take photos). We ended up on Colorado Boulevard
We were stopped at the signal light on Colorado at Sierra Madre and the side of this building on the Northeast corner had a sign about 'proudly serving Peets coffee'. We figured it was a Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner place and pulled into the parking lot.
Looking in the front door, it seemed Plate 38 does take out also. There were fresh, house made pastries in that display case.
We found a seat on the other side of the Christmas tree and admired the beautiful, solid wood table. We noticed the menu noted the food was made with local ingredients, no preservatives, organic fresh baked goods and also microbrews and Napa wines were offered.
The below photo turned out particularly blurry; I must have somehow channeled my exhaustion through to my iPhone and both photos of this same dish were just not good.
It is the Fritto Misto appetizer plate, which I chose to be my main dish. Quite large (it was at least 8x8 inches square) and filled with perfectly fried lightly breaded calamari rings, butterflied large shrimp and artichoke hearts and zucchini (both yellow and green), topped with a handful of mache lettuce and with a side of fresh made, wonderful lemon caper aioli, this was a perfect meal for me. The bonus was that since it was an appetizer, and between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m., the price was $2 off. Regularly $11, the $9 price tag was very much worth it.
The Mister ordered garlic marinated skirt steak plate ($18). The meat was tender and flavorful, not overpowering. The 'gravy' was a brandy peppercorn sauce. The fresh asparagus was not overcooked and had a nice crunch to it, I think it was braised in olive oil...the thin cut garlic fries were not overpowering and crispy, but not over-fried.
All in all we would like to come back to Plate 38 and try their other menu items. You can see the menu on the link below. For an all locally sourced, preservative free and organic baked goods, Plate 38 offers an excellent Return of Investment for your money. If you happen to be in this part of town. We will return. Maybe on a day when we aren't working and are all sawdust covered...
Tournament of Roses website
Phoenix Decorating Company website
Petal Pushers volunteer decorating information website (I just got an email- they still need volunteers for this Saturday (December 17) and from Dec 26-Jan 1)
Plate 38 2361 East Colorado Boulevard (at Sierra Madre) Pasadena 91107 (626) 793-7100 Sun-Th 7 am-10 pm, Fri-Sat 8 am-1am Monday 8 am-3:30 pm website