Santa Catalina Island, part 1


A couple of weeks ago we were on this lovely island, attending the annual Jazz Festival that took place in the iconic Casino building you see here. This is only the second time we’ve attended this annual event, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Both Brian & I are huge jazz fans and it was a thrill to see some of our favorite performers such as Mindi Abair, Peter White, and Marc Antoine…just to name a few. We attended 6 concerts in all, which I have to say was a bit exhausting! It has taken me this long to get back to center.


But rather than bore you with pictures of musicians, I wanted to share a bit of the beauty that is everywhere on this island. The mermaid on the left is a lovely tile artwork that is above the entrance to the Casino building.


Construction of this building was finished in 1929. It was designed by Sumner Spaulding and Walter Weber in Art Deco & Mediterranean Revival Style and those art deco touches are everywhere.


The building height is equal to that of a 12-story building and was built to serve as a theatre on the main floor and a ballroom and promenade on the upper level. Cecil B. DeMille, Louis B. Mayer, and Samuel Goldwyn frequently came by yacht to the Casino to preview their newest cinema productions. We didn’t see the movie currently playing there during our visit so I didn’t get a chance to take pictures in there. We have been in there before though and I must say it is gorgeous. Here is a picture I found online of the stage



We spent our 5 days in this yellow house – the top two floors. The ground level is office space to an accounting firm that were quiet as church mouses. The beach is just 85 footsteps from this house.

And we put down a lot of footsteps during our stay!


If I had all the money in the world and wanted to live here, I would buy that lovely home with the red conical roof on the hillside, overlooking the bay!



Just South of the casino is Descanso Beach. The first concert we attended featuring Larry White and Marc Antoine was right on the beach where we sat in lounge chairs under the stars and a blanket being serenaded by these amazing musicians. During the day there are lots of lounge chairs and cabanas to hang out in.


On our last night there, we decided to try our hand at a little night photography so with cameras & tripods in hand we headed out.


Even though we are on an island, it is clear this city never sleeps!


There is a long, paved walkway wrapping around a good portion of the bay where you can follow it to the Casino or to Descanso Bay beyond.



We were on the island for 5 days and on one of the days we grabbed a quick bite at this fish & chips place on the pier


Brian & I ordered their seafood “tray”. Simple sautéed white fish (swordfish in this case) served over rice with chopped dill stirred into it. Gotta say, it was one of the best meals we had on the island. I loved the simplicity of it, which allowed the flavor of the fish to shine through.

So, upon returning home I was inspired to put together this simple seafood dinner


Pan-Sauteed Rockfish with Capers, served on a bed of dill-herbed rice and roasted asparagus with parmesan shavings on the side.


Here’s the recipe for the fish:

Pan-Sauteed Rockfish with Capers, inspired by the Fish & Chips place on Catalina Island

  • 2 small rockfish fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil (you could also use vegetable or canola oil. You want to use an oil with a high smoke point)
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth (you could also use white wine)
  • Grated lemon rind from one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried herbs (like herbes de Provence)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan.
  3. Season the fish on both sides with the salt & pepper.
  4. Add the fish to the pan, and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, until the fish flakes easily.
  5. Remove the fish to a warm plate.
  6. Add vermouth, lemon rind, lemon juice, capers and hers to the pan.
  7. Cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add butter to the pan, whisking to incorporate into the sauce.
  9. Pour the sauce over the fish and top with parsley. As mentioned above, I served this fish over a bed of herbed rice.

On our last day on the island, we traveled inland to the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden. I’ve been there before, but the place truly inspired me on this visit. I will share those photographs tomorrow.


Until then, thanks so much for stopping by. Hope life in your corner of the world is treating you kindly.


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About Carol

Thank you in advance for respecting my art. All the images and text posted to this blog are owned my me and protected by copyright law. Copying any of the content here without permission is against the law and you know, not cool. Many thanks again.
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4 Responses to Santa Catalina Island, part 1

  1. Jana Vargas says:

    Oh, goody – can’t wait for day two – what a fun trip to share with all of us! – Thanks – JBV

  2. CA has so many iconic treasures, it is a shame they are in such a drought and on this island especially. Lovely images and it sounds like you had a great time but needed a vacation after your vacation or maybe a spa day. Happy day to you and so happy you are feeling better.

  3. León says:

    I’ve always heard that Catalina is wonderful, but have never visited, despite having been born in California and living many years of my adult life there. I enjoyed seeing it through your eyes. Your rockfish recipe looks and sounds delicious!

  4. What a wonderful place to get away from it all! Thanks for sharing!

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