41 Olive

767 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210
(818) 839-5333

Five Stars

Date night recently at the Americana at Brand led us to the this store as we were walking around. The wife and I are certainly into balsalmic vinegar and olive oil which make far better salad dressings than anything produced in a bottle full of additvies, sugars, and salts.

We’ve heard of stores popping up all over the country that specialize in various flavors of oils and vinegars so we decided it was time to visit a store like this. It was a quiet Monday night at the Americana so we were the only ones in the shop. Because of this, we had excellent assitance from Johnn, who had all the time in the evening to educate us on how they aged the vinegars, showed us information in one of the books they sell there about the vinegars and oils, and even shared some of his favorite pairings which were pretty amazing together.

Before I discuss the ones I really enjoyed, I will preface this by saying, if you aren’t used to the sharp vinegar kick of balsalmic vinegar, you aren’t going to enjoy them. Don’t go in thinking it’s some sort of flavored soda or something.

If you have a sweet tooth, you will like the dark chocoloate, the vanilla, and the maple syrup vinegars. Raspberry also deserves a shout out and their aged eighteen years vinegar is really great. The vinegars are thin (sometimes you find them thicker like a syrup at other stores) as they aren’t adding any sugars into the process.

Of the olive oils, the lemon meyer, the butter, Avacado, and blood orange were among my favorites. Oils are certified organic.

My favorite pairing was blood orange oil and vanilla vinegar. It’s like having an orange creamsicle (with a vinegar and oil flavor to them of course.) The butter olive oil could easily go on popcorn as a healthy alternative.

There are a variety of seasonings they also sell at the store to rub into meats, or add to vegetables. We recently learned of Himalayan salt (it’s pink in color) and they sell it here so we purchased a small jar for four dollars. Prices are pretty standard for oils and vinegars which means they are somewhat steep, but buying them at the grocery stores around here, you’re getting a much better product for either the same price, or slightly more. If you want to test out certain flavors in salads or other meals without committing to a larger bottle, they have sample size bottles for $5 that hold roughly ninety ml. Do yourself a flavor 😉 and purchase from here, rather than a grocery store.

Sweet Potatoes Sauteed in Olive Oil

I had no idea that I loved Sweet Potatoes until I was on a health challenge that didn’t have a ton of options for what to eat. In fact, I always thought I didn’t like them until one rainy evening at a dinner party, one of my friends brought sweet potatoes. As I was on a challenge and was really hungry, I thought I could scarf these down and hope for the best. As I bit into the first one, I realized that this starch/vegetable is something I’ve never even given a chance. Wrongfully so. So amazing and just doing a simple search on the internet for health benefits will yield numerous different ways sweet potatoes do nothing but good for the body. Here is the best way the wife and I have found to eat them:

3-4 Sweet potatoes – washed, peeled and cut into cubes
3/4 cup Olive oil
Himalayan Salt

In a large frying pan or skillet, pour in olive oil and then place the sweet potato chunks into the olive oil.
Turn on the burner to medium-low heat.
Allow to simmer turning periodically until sweet potatoes are soft when poked with a fork. Roughly 40-45 minutes.
Remove from heat and sprinkle with Himalayan salt. This works as a great side dish to absolutely any meat. I’ve even occasionally just had this for lunch. If you have high blood pressure or don’t want the salt, it’s not even necessary. The olive oil holds its own with the sweet potatoes.

The Restroom and The Locker Room

Spurred on by some recent events, let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts the metropolitan man should remember when entering any public restrooms and locker rooms. It’s easy to forgive our forefathers that came from the eighteen hundreds and lived during the nineteen hundreds, but those generations have all died and we should all know better now that we are in twenty-thirteen. Too much modernization and social behaviors have changed to excuse anyone other than foreigners who live by different customs to behave inappropriately to the modern man’s standards in the United States.

Let’s cover some very basic instructions here.

1. Washing hands. Can we all universally agree that this should be done when you have finished doing any business that requires a toilet or urinal. We don’t care who you are or how clean you believe any of your parts to be. It only takes one or two extra minutes of your time. Even if you are in a locker room where you’ve just showered and then gone to the bathroom, REWASH.

2. Toilet paper. Why do we walk into so many restrooms where there is an excessive amount of toilet paper on the floor? How does this happen? We’ve dropped toilet paper on the floor in the bathroom and then picked it up, spread our legs, and dropped it in. How are there others that can’t seem to figure this out? What is even more bizarre, how does it end up on the opposite side of the bathroom from where the toilets are? Are people sweeping it there with their feet? Is it that breezy in the bathroom? This is such a mystery! Please clean up after yourselves. It’s takes less time to do than washing your hands and makes the bathroom so much easier to visit.

3. Flushing. You can not over flush in a bathroom. No one will ever feel upset that you flush with each deposit. Anything to keep odors neutral should be done. Also, if you feel that clean up afterwards requires much more paper than usual, flush after several clean ups. Keep flushing! It’s not your water bill taking the hit. Nothing is worse than a clogged toilet in a smelly bathroom.

4. Urinal etiquette. We’ll try to keep this basic. If there are multiple urinals, your goal is to space yourselves out. Don’t saddle up beside another guy if there are 4 open urinals. If there are two urinals and available stalls, you can take a stall. If the stalls are occupied, don’t make eye contact. Do your business and leave. If you know the gentleman standing next to you, stare straight ahead if HE makes small talk. Don’t initiate conversation. There really isn’t much to talk about during this time. If you enter a bathroom and it’s a trough style urinal, make sure to stare straight down and give the impression you are trying to be somewhat considerate with not parading your parts. If you are really uncomfortable with trough style urinals and get gun shy, wait for a stall. These rules apply to urinals that have no partitions.

5. Nudity. In a bathroom, there is never any reason for nudity except what you do behind a stall door to take care of business. In a locker room, this should be easier than it seems to be. You are there to undress and dress. If you are not comfortable with being in the buff around other guys, you can change in a stall, bathroom stall, or wrap your towel around you and hope you can remove clothing and put on new clothing without the towel falling off. The general population of men are comfortable stripping down to the buff with the potential of everyone else catching a glimpse. A glimpse is all that should be allowed. We’re all curious and we want to see where we size up. Once you have figured this out, leave the guy to his privacy as I’m sure you would like to be as well. Everyone in the locker room is not gay, and even if some of them are, they most likely aren’t going to pull anything and probably aren’t attracted to you. If you are really free with your body, save that for when you are at home. Please don’t saunter around the locker room naked making small talk with anyone that will give you the time of day. You can have those same conversations clothed. Also, do not shave, style your hair, brush your teeth, or any other grooming habit in the nude. We really don’t care how free you are with your body. Limit conversations with men who are naked to absolute necessary dialogue like, “careful, it’s slippery over there.” If you are with a buddy and you’re already in conversation as you are undressing, you can resume conversation.

Following these guidelines respects others and will gain respect from other men. We all know people we’d rather not be in either a bathroom or locker room with. Your goal is to stay off everyone’s list of these individuals.

House Guest

There’s nothing more trying in any type of relationship than a house guest that is inconsiderate. We’ve all had them, but the question is, have you ever been one? This entry is dedicated to being a thoughtful and pleasant guest so you are welcomed to return again, and your hosts are sad to see you leave.

Gifts – It is always appropriate to have a small token of appreciation for your host. In some cases (maybe you would make it awkward bringing one for the parents or a bachelor buddy) you don’t have to, but it is always an appreciated gesture. Gifts can be as simple as a bouquet of flowers, small box of chocolates, a nice red wine, or if staying with a buddy, a bag of his favorite chips, or a six pack of beer (or both!) Generally given at the end of your stay as a ‘thank you’ but could be given at any time. Be somewhat careful of your thoughtfulness when trying to be creative. You may observe that your host has completely mismatched drinking glasses and so you buy a set of twelve glasses to help them out. May seem like a nice gesture, but they may mistake it as you trying to subtly hint that their glasses need to be replaced and may be embarrassed by the gesture.

Lodging – When your host says, “Make yourself at home,” they are being polite. Please do not make yourself at home. Please be sensitive to the nature of your host. If they are extremely neat and organized and you are not, please become neat and organized for your stay. Make your bed, put away unused clothes, store your luggage and toiletries neatly, hang up towels, bring dishes to the kitchen, offer to help wash them or clean them. If they insist on doing them, don’t pressure them to help. If your hosts are slobs, do not clean their home, re-arrange, organize, or straighten up anything. However, don’t out do them in sloppiness though either. If you can’t blend in to their home life, stay at a hotel no matter how much they beg you to stay with them.

Bedtime – If you are staying with elderly people, parents of young kids, people who have to wake up early for work, or you are not sure what a suitable bedtime is, please ask before coming and prepare for this. If you need an extra key made as you know you will be staying out late while visiting, or want to prep for your schedule to coincide with theirs, this is appropriate. If your hosts look like they can barely keep their eyes open, immediately express that you are tired and need to get some sleep, get ready for bed, and then read or quietly watch TV if one is in the room, or check Facebook on your phone. Anything that will not wake them up. Note the time and make sure you have wrapped up conversations a half hour before the time for the remainder of your stay. If you are an early riser, and your hosts are not, stay in your room until you hear them stirring somewhere in their home. If they are up around 7:00 AM, please don’t sleep until 10:00 AM. They may be waiting for you to eat breakfast. Try to be up within a half hour of their wake time unless they encourage you to sleep in as they need to leave at a certain time and will not be dining with you for breakfast.

General Rules
– Politely ask for things (such as a glass of water, or if you could eat a snack) until they welcome you to help yourself. Then you should help yourself.
– Bring along a book of matches for the bathroom. Once you’ve made your deposits and flushed them away, light a match to help dissipate any foul smells.
– Wipe the toilet down after relieving yourself. Your hosts shouldn’t have to clean away your sprinkles long after you are gone.
– The day your stay is complete, remove sheets and pillowcases and neatly pile them on the bed with any towels or other washable items they may have extended to you on your stay.
– If your hosts seem stressed or annoyed or you are staying with a married couple that need to duke it out, it is okay to excuse yourself to your bedroom for a “nap” or outside to “explore the neighborhood” and let things cool down. Some people need their own space and routine and guests can complicate their existence.
– Avoid discussing religion on politics unless you agree on those topics.
– Plan out a few places you’d like to go in case you need some time away from the hosts, or if they aren’t very creative and seem embarrassed by not knowing what to do with you during your stay.
– If you often go out for dinner, pay for them one of the times you are out.

There may be other tips that are equally as important, but these ones (if followed during your stay) should guarantee a pleasant visit and experience on both ends. Again, if all of this becomes too much to bear, check into a hotel instead.

Man Movies

Like The Book List, there are certain movies all men should watch to keep tabs on what everyone else is talking about or excited about. This list also contains some great films that may not be popular talk, but worth watching as we find them to be films that will live on throughout whatever time still exists after this century. These are alphabetical and this list can/will be updated. If you feel we’re missing something, give us a shout out.

12 Angry Men
Ace Ventura Pet Detective
Alien
American History X
Animal House
Apocalypse Now
Austin Powers
Avengers (and any other Marvel title that appeals to you)
Back to the Future
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Blazing Saddles
Blindside
Blues Brothers, The
Braveheart
Christmas Story, The
Cinderellaman
Citizen Kane
Commando
Dark Knight, The
Die Hard
Dumb and Dumber
Dirty Harry
Fight Club
Finding Nemo
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
French Connection, The
Gladiator
Godfather, The 1, 2, and 3 (but the third one isn’t stellar)
Good Will Hunting
Goonies, The
Great Escape, The
Hangover, The
Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
Heat
Indiana Jones (the first 3)
It’s a Wonderful Life
James Bond (We like them all, but at least one if you’ve never seen them.)
Jaws
Karate Kid
Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
Lethal Weapon
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Matrix
Memento
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
National Lampoons Vacation
Naked Gun
Office Space
Predator
Pulp Fiction
Psycho
Rambo
Rear Window
Remember the Titans
Rocky
Saw
Schindler’s List
Seven
Shawshank Redemption
Star Trek (2009)
Star Wars (the original 3 that were released)
Terminator (1 and 2)
Tombstone
Top Gun
Transformers
True Lies
Usual Suspects, The
Wayne’s World

What And When To Shave!

There are a number of subjects that seem taboo to discuss or that as a man, or you feel you should already know and are too embarrassed to ask about when you don’t know. One of those that keeps many men in the dark is what we are allowed to shave, what we aren’t, how often, and how should it look? We will discuss this right now to alleviate your anxieties about this and so we can have a properly groomed gender.

Let’s start with the basics and move into the complex areas…

Face – We all know we can shave this, however, keep these guidelines in mind.

If you are going for the clean-cut look with no beard, mustache or sideburns, it’s appropriate to shave your face once the five-o-clock shadow is roughly 4 mm long. If you work in an office building and have a clean-cut appearance, you should keep it clean-cut and shave every, or at least, every other day. People question your grooming habits otherwise, unless you groom your shadow so it looks sexy. Weekends, you can let it go if you aren’t doing much. When going on a date, or a night on the town, make sure you are freshly shaven. One or two day’s growth can irritate a woman’s skin if you have any level of physical contact. Even a quick goodnight kiss.

If you have any type of purposeful facial hair (none are criticized here) please do every human being a favor, keep it well groomed (it is not hanging off your face in any way, and make sure there are never any crumbs in it after eating. We’ve all sat through those encounters with guys who have crumbs in their beards and nothing turns the stomach more.

Head – For men who are balding and do not want to get transplants or a hair piece, please shave your head. Comb-overs don’t look as good as you think, and the appearance of a shaved head is neat and clean. If your head has a funny shape to it for whatever reason, look into hair piece options and transplants. Some are very affordable and look so real no one would ever know. Check out http://www.hollywoodlace.com for more details about affordable hair pieces. A blog about hair loss will be coming at some point as this is a sensitive subject that needs a whole entry to cover and comfort balding men. If you are blessed with a full head of hair, you should be cutting your hair roughly once a month depending on your hairstyle. Please make sure it looks tidy at all times, even if you have long hair past your shoulder blades. No knots or ratty appearance, and in a ponytail that lays low on your neck when in a work environment, playing sports, or at the gym.

Eyebrows – If you have a unibrow, you are required to divide it into two eyebrows. Don’t shave: use a tweezer and pluck. It grows less quickly and sometimes accidents happen when using your blade and suddenly you have half an eyebrow on one side and we all frown upon that. As this is sometimes tricky, there are places you can go to get them waxed. When doing so, make sure they don’t talk you into sculpting your eyebrows into unbelievable shapes so you end up looking like some sort of ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. You just need two eyebrows. If you have two eyebrows and you’ve got random hairs that live outside eyebrow city, you need to pluck them out.

Back – If you look like a primate, get your back waxed. Regardless if people see your back or not. Someone at some point will. Whether it’s a hot day and you are at the park, you are in a locker room at the gym, or at a public pool or beach. You may not think anyone cares. We all care. Even your spouse cares when they say they don’t. If you wax your back, I guarantee, they aren’t going to complain.

Armpits – Shaving this looks weird unless you are a swimmer by profession (not just for leisure sake) or have some sort of medical reason. If you have really long armpit hair (take notice of other men or see if you can put it in a ponytail) then trim your armpit hair to a reasonable length where it lays closer to the skin.

Chest – There is much debate to this area. A clean shaven chest is now very acceptable for men especially thanks to body building magazines and movies. Women appreciate this more as well. If you aren’t into shaving your chest, you aren’t an outcast by any means, but please keep your chest somewhat groomed so you can actually see the skin. No need for a carpet chest, especially if you have dark body hair.

Penis area – Do not shave off anything here, but keep everything neat and trimmed. Be VERY careful when handling scissors around your penis, particularly around the scrotum. Thin out all pubic hair for two reasons: if you are shaving your chest and have a very full pubic area, it looks odd. We’ve seen that in the locker room at the gym. The other benefit of trimming this down is for breathability. As clothes get more fitted and underwear is sometimes constricting, moisture from sweat in your groin area can cause all sorts of rashes or irritations of the skin and it’s becoming more relevant to groom below the belt for this reason.

Arms and legs – No need to shave these. Reverting back to our fellow gentlemen who are still close to their primate ancestors, please trim appropriately, but do not shave completely. If you are a professional swimmer, or a professional cyclist, it’s okay to wax your arms and legs. Fingers and toes should be trimmed if you have excessively long hair on either of them.

These are the guidelines and should be applied accordingly. If you have very little body hair, there’s no need to worry about proper grooming, no one thinks your odd anymore. Body hair isn’t a sign of manliness or that you don’t have enough testosterone. We can all look more groomed which will probably evolve over time. The above represents current trends.

Roasted Chicken Recipe

In the words of Julia Childs, “if you can read, you can cook.” Few sentences contain more truth than this. So to honor the late Julia Childs, her roasted chicken recipe from MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING is featured here. This recipe is by far the better we’ve ever tried and our go to for entertaining, or just an evening meal to spread out over the course of the week if you are a bachelor, or to enjoy with your spouse if you are married. There’s a lot of babysitting you have to do to get the bird the right crispiness yet moist and this technique has worked the dozens of times we have cooked it. Like with the roast beef, roasted chicken can have countless sides mixed and matched which makes it an essential dish to prepare and should be part of every man’s recipe box.

Unlike the book which is formatted with ingredients on the left and instruction on the right, we will format this in the traditional recipe format.

ROAST CHICKEN – Poulet Roti

3 lb. ready-to-cook chicken
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tb softened butter
small carrot
small onion
2 Tb melted butter mixed with 1 Tb butter
1/2 tsp salt

Estimated roasting time for a 3 pound chicken: 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 F

1. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with the salt, and smear in half the butter. Truss the chicken with string to close the legs. Dry it thoroughly, and rub the skin with the rest of the butter.

2. Place the chicken breast up in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken easily. chop the vegetables and strew them around the bird, and set it on a rack in the middle of the preheated oven. Allow the chicken to brown lightly for 15 minutes, turning it on the left side after 5 minutes, on the right side for the last 5 minutes, and basting it with the butter and oil after each turn. Baste rapidly, so oven does not cool off. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Leave the chicken on its side, and baste every 8 to 10 minutes, using the fat in the roasting pan when the butter and oil are exhausted. Regulate oven heat so chicken is making cooking noises, but fat is not burning.

3. Halfway through estimated roasting time, salt the chicken with half of second amount of salt and turn it on its other side. Continue basting.

4. Fifteen minutes before end of estimated roasting time, salt again with the remaining salt and turn breast side up. Continue basting.

*Indications that the chicken is almost done are: sudden rain of splutters in the oven, a swelling of the breast and slight
puff of the skin, the drumstick is tender when pressed and can be moved in its socket. To check further, prick the thickest
part of the drumstick with a fork. Its juices should run clear yellow. As a final check, lift the chicken and drain the
juices from its vent. If the last drops are clear yellow, the chicken is definitely done. If not, roast another 5 minutes
and test again.

5. When done, discard trussing strings and set the chicken on a hot platter. It should sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before being carved, so its juices will retreat back into the tissues.

(*) AHEAD OF TIME NOTE
Roast chicken can wait for 20 to 30 minutes in the turned-off hot oven, its door ajar. It cannot be reheated or it loses its fresh and juicy quality.

SAUCE – This chicken pairs excellently with this easy to make sauce:

1/2 Tb minced shallot or green onion
1 cup brown chicken stock, canned chicken broth, or beef bouillon
Salt and Pepper
1 to 2 Tb softened butter

Remove all but two tablespoons of fat from the pan. Stir in the minced shallot or onion and cook slowly for 1 minute. Add the stock and boil rapidly over high heat, scraping up coagulated roasting juices with a wooden spoon and letting liquid reduce to about 1/2 cup. Season with salt and pepper. Off heat and just before serving, swirl in the enrichment butter by bits until it has been absorbed. Pour a spoonful of the sauce over the chicken, and send the rest to the table in a sauceboat.