The Best Of Everything
Celebrating my 85th birthday with family, friends and Mr. Br-r-r-r.
ool weather just
won't leave me alone
... Recent prelude to
our Mexican Riviera
cruise was a three-day stay at
the California home of Scott
and Bonnie Raskin in Orange
County ... and the birthday
guests would have had a pool-
jumping good time except for
Of course, it's never too
warm on my birthdays, most
of which are spent in the local area ... and when it
is cool in California, unless folks are used to it
there, the climate feels much nippier than it is to us
paper-like four-pager ... Solley's in Sherman Oaks was
bought by Jerry's, whose flagship started back in 1978
in Studio City and today as Famous Jerry's Delis, is a
chain of 10 delicatessens, with eight insouthern
California ... It also owns Rascal House in Florida.
Spending the day with Joe Cornell before our plane
left for home was choice ... and time for much remi-
niscing with Detroit's former dance master ... Joe's big
event here is April 4, at Adat Shalom Synagogue in
Farmington Hills ... 50th reunion of Joe Cornell .
Studio and his 75th birthday.
Then on to Mexico aboard the Royal Caribbean's
Vision of the Seas for seven days of more cool weather _
with some rain getting into the act, too ... Which
meant not one day of enjoyment to have on our out-
This is the same ship that Frieda and I took on
our last cruise three years ago ... but with different
Gone were the daily extravaganza Las Vegas type
shows ... That is except for two excellent evening
ence ... even though those at our table were the only
ones who knew of their anniversary ... Blame this on
the lass who booked the cruise ... because cruise ship
employees also enjoy such festive occasions ... and are
quick to show it.
Many people from this neck of the country were
happy to see mention of Southfield on board Vision of
the Seas ... Southfield's Park West Galleries art auctions
are on all Royal Caribbean International ships ... and
owner Albert Scaglioni's exhibits of noted artists are in
many sectors of RCI's vessels ... Park West Galleries is
home-based on Northwestern Highway.
Surprise for Dee was the fellow cruiser who asked if
she was from the Detroit area ... and turned out to be
Janet Rossman, who did the invitations ... 23 years ago
... for Dee and Marshall's son Mark's bar mitzvah.
First stop in Mexico was Cabo San Lucas, which
immediately sort of turned Marshall off after buying an
item with an American Express Travelers Cheque and
being given change in Mexican pesos ... "We accept
American money, but give change only in pesos," said
the owner without blinking a crooked eye ...
Thankfully, this was the only such experience we
` 1,:t v'e A
At dinner aboard Vision of the Seas are Jeanette Epstein,
Frieda Raskin, Danny Raskin, Dr. Marshall -Shapiro, Dee
Shapiro, Elaine Gregory.
At 85th birthday party are Dennis Maynard, Gail
Shapiro, Danny Raskin, Joe Cornell, Frieda Raskin.
Everybody at Scott and Bonnie's was used to the
California weather ... even former Detroiters Joe
and Kathy Cornell, Gail Shapiro, Ken Maier and
Dennis Maynard ... who numbered among the 24
celebrants dining and wining in the wonderful
Ex-localize Jackie Kallen was stuck in Los Angeles
doing interviews with the international press on the
picture of her life, Against the Ropes, which opens at
the Star Southfield theaters on Feb. 20 ... and former
Detroiter Art Shafer had to be at the nursing home
with his ill wife, Simone.
Although no presents ... just presence ... was order
of the birthday ... our biggest gift was that from Scott
Boras, attendee Jeff Metzger's baseball agent friend
who gave the Detroit Tigers all-star catcher Ivan
Finding a better bagel than is gotten in the metro-
politan Detroit area is still quite difficult ... Three more
delis visited in the California region ... Solley's, Jerry's,
and Kaplan's are proud of their holey rounders, but
come up short in comparison.
All boast large extensive menus, but Kaplan's in
Costa Mesa may have the biggest ... an oversized news-
Also at the birthday party are Joe Cornea Bonnie
Raskin, Ken Maier, Scott Raskin
shows that featured the Royal Caribbean Singers and
Dancers ... Gone were the midnight buffets that we
didn't miss but which so many folks for years have
associated with cruises ... Gone was the dining room
smiling cordiality and warmth ... except for assistant
waitperson Zerrin Encan, from Turkey, whose work-
manship, grace and efficiency were very pleasant addi-
tions to daily evening dining.
Our table was a fun one ... with Dr. Marshall and
Dee Shapiro, Frieda's sister Jeanette Epstein, who now
shares time between Walled Lake and Fort Myers,
Fla., and her friend former Detroiter Elaine Gregory,
of Tampa, Fla.
Even the food wasn't the same ... Not nearly as good
... But Elaine loved the desserts ... two per sitting ... not
counting one evening when she had three.
Royal Caribbean International has a master chef in
Florida as the corporate head of its culinary doings, but
quite obviously, Rudy Sodamin's fine recipes were not
strictly adhered to on this journey.
Marshall and Dee were celebrating their 40th
anniversary ... This was their first cruise ... and for sure
not their last ... They enjoyed a new and happy experi-
encountered ... and is certainly a very rare one in Cabo
Yes, Senor Greenberg's 24-hour Mexicatessen, owned
by Dave Greenberg New York-style spot in Plaza
Nautica, that combines traditional Jewish deli fare with
Mexican favorites, is still in Cabo San Lucas ... Fresh
fish and seafood seems to dominate the restaurant
scene-... which - is no surprise since it is so big on fishing
of marlin, swordfish, etc. ... But there are also good
romantic Italian restaurants, excellent gourmet
Mexican food, Japanese sushi, etc. ... as well as world-
class golf courses.
Next came Mazatlan, Mexico's second largest
coastal city (Acapulco is first), whose 40-ton of
shrimp each year makes it "the shrimp capital of the
world." ... Dining, nightlife and shopping are first
rate in Mazatlan ... with seafood considered among
Last port stop was Puerto Villarta ... where a Sam's
Club and a Wal-Mart next to each other were like back
home except for the wording and pricing on signs in
Spanish and pesos ... Shopping iri Puerto Villarta itself
is one of this lovely town's highlights with claims that
no other destination in Mexico offers the shopper what
Puerto Vallarta has.
Then back to Detroit ... where the weather may be
cold, but at least expected to be. ❑