Since I didn't have to work on the book today, as soon as I woke up, I headed for an outdoor terrace overlooking the wetland preserve at The Inn at Playa Del Rey.
I was joined by one of the Inn’s other guests. A British woman on route to Tahiti and New Zealand, she had spotted prairie dogs and six species of birds the morning before and was hoping to add more wildlife to her scorecard. Although we saw numerous egrets, herons and other smaller shorebirds, no prairie dogs appeared.
Eventually the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon scones lured us indoors (see recipe below.)
One of The Inn’s claims to fame is their yummy breakfast buffets. Several of their other recipes are available on www.innatplayadelrey.com. All are perfect for holiday brunches!
4 cups all-purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Butter, cold and cut into chunks
2 _ cups Sour Cream (or 1c. Buttermilk)
1 cup dried Cranberries, Raisins or Apricots
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Add the butter chunks and rub into the flour mixture. An electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment can also be used. The end result should resemble coarse meal about the size of small peas. Add the dried fruit. Mix just well enough to coat the fruit. Incorporate the sour cream and mix. Do not over mix or the scones will be tough instead of light and airy. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.
Yields approximately 12 to 15 small scones.
After breakfast, we met up with Fred for a walking tour of Venice.
When Venice of America officially opened on July 4, 1905, there were several miles of canals, a 1200-foot-long pleasure pier with a ship-themed restaurant and dance hall, a hot salt-water plunge, and an arcade with Venetian architecture and other attractions.
By 1930, most of the canals were filled in and made into streets. (Fred's Blue Bungalow was originally a corner canal house.)The canals that survived are lined with architecturally diverse homes and some of the most expensive real estate in the area.In the early 1900s, tourists took a trolley from Los Angeles or Santa Monica, then rode Venice's miniature railroad and gondolas around town. Then, as now, the town’s biggest attraction was its gently sloping beach. Some of you may recognize it from the TV hit Baywatch (with Pamela Anderson.)
A wide grassy mall separates the sand from the concrete walkway, known as the boardwalk.
You never know what you will see there. A man playing a baby grand piano on the sand, street musicians with choreography that rivals a Broadway show or a woman strolling with her pup!
On the grassy side of the boardwalk is a dawn to dusk sideshow of variety acts and temporary vendors. On the town side, permanent stalls and shops sell tourist trinkets, treasures and truly quirky goods.Muscle Beach (above) is where Arnold Schwarznegger used to hang out. Today, another generation of fanatic body-builders pump iron in a public show of strength in this surfside weight room.
My favorite site was the Norton House built by noted architect Frank Gehry. The "terrace" resembles a lifeguard stand, a nod to the owner's summer job when he was in college.
In addition to photographing the architecture, I snapped photos of several gardens, but that will have to wait for another day.