Archive for September, 2009

Hot Town, Summer in the City

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


It’s late August and even though a hurricane is about to shake it up around here on the east coast, it’s still hot as hell. But, that’s okay, I still hop it on a cool subway ride to my food destination. The person next to me on the subway is coughing a tubercular cough-sure hope it isn’t swine flu. My motto, anything, anywhere for a great meal.

I am at one of my favorite lunch spots in the village called August. Bleeker street between Charles and West 10’th. Fabulous location, dangerously close to Magnolia Bakery, which is really how I stumbled onto August. I was buying cupcakes up the street or would that be down the street?

Here we go again. Why do restaurants change a good thing? I like a good thing and I come to expect it. Here at August it’s the wood oven baked egg dishes served to you in the skillet it was cooked in, so great always. They are telling me it’s now only served on weekends and I don’t want to narrow my window to only weekends. I liked getting this dish every day of the week here. What to do? When all else fails, order something with creme fraiche. I order the smoked trout with fingerling potato’s and creme fraiche.
The bread wins here today as being the best so far on this trip. Crusty and even served with butter. My only note is that I had to ask for it and I prefer they automatically bring you bread.

The smoked trout is good, but probably too big of a portion for me, maybe 8 ounces. On top of the trout are thinly sliced beets and radishes even thinner. The fingerling potato’s and creme fraiche are under the beautiful piece of trout. Fresh chives, is a key ingredient. And I need to remember this, drizzled olive oil, not sure why but I love to see it glistening on a plate of food. I’m really difficult when I come to expect my favorite food at a restaurant and then they switch it up like this, but I’m doing okay considering and I guess I will come back even if they aren’t serving my favorite egg dish.

On Weekends, here are a few items on the brunch menu. My favorite Wood Oven Baked Eggs en Cocotte Provencal: tomatoes, squash and garlic, Alsatian: bacon and onion with creme fraiche, Roman: Tomato and Mozzarella, Andalusian: chorizo and blistered peppers. Challah Bread French Toast with Huckleberry-Blueberry coulis and mint. Traditional housemade Muesli with strained yogurt and honey. Albodigas which is veal meat balls, tomato, two fried eggs and basil.
The dinner menu has slow roasted suckling pig with sweet corn, cranberry beans, dill. Striped Bass with saffron licorice braised artichokes. IMG_0954

Avocado a fruit? Who woulda thunk?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


We Californians love our avocados, we do.  We might even take them for granted.  All year we are served or make guacamole.  Some of us even have our own avocado trees.

My dining room table was once my childhood coffee table.  In the 50’s and 60’s, my childhood, I sat on the ground close to the top of what was then a low coffee table, scarfing down my mom’s guacamole.  It was amazing. I was like a dog, watching over my master in danger, glaring at people and never leaving my master’s side, only it was GUACA-fuckin-mole!   She made it at the drop of a hat.  Seriously, the minute someone walked in the house, even if she wasn’t expecting company, she would march to the kitchen in a trance, not speaking, perfect hostess, stepford wife- style, to pull together some fresh guac.  If I remember correctly, and I think I do remember most of her ingredients, she would use Tabasco sauce for the heat/spice, even a touch of mayonnaise and some lemon, and of course onion and tomato.  Not sure if she used garlic but I know someone who does and she raves about her guac.  We all rave about our own guacamole.  It’ s like our own private pissing contest out here in southern California.

I am here to let you know who wins.  It’s my new self-appointed job and anyone reading this is clearly lucky because you have just stumbled on gold.  California Gold, guacamole that is. (more…)

Tacos (and surprises) Por Favor

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009


Okay,  I can’t stop crying.  Not floods of tears, no, but it sure is coming in waves and doesn’t seem to stop.

I just left my friend’s son’s 18th birthday party.  It was sort of an impromptu event that I feel I helped facilitate.  It wasn’t that easy to produce and the cast of characters aren’t run-of-the-mill either.  No, far from it.

Lead character is of course the Birthday Boy, a little person struggling with well, if that’s not enough, compound being a dwarf with the self-loathing of all teenagers.  It’s a combustible combo.

Birthday Boy had recently confessed to his mother that his one big wish for his 18th was to be given a surprise party.   Now, for years Birthday Boy has longed to be reunited with his young childhood live-in housekeeper/babysitter and her kids, his childhood surrogate brother and sister.

That’s where I come in.  It’s where I came in 15 or so years ago when his mom and I first met as well.   That would probably be a whole different story for a whole different type of blog, but I will tell you a condensed version.  The babysitter/housekeepers, hers and mine, met either on the street or in a park.  We speak Spanglish so it’s sometimes hard to get the stories straight.  I kept hearing about their adventures by day, the babysitters taking our young kids to haggle in English for them at local yard sales that they called “yardas.”  Birthday Boy’s mother and I were destined to meet because we now shared the same extended family.  Good thing when we met, we instantly liked each other. (more…)

If You Build It They Will Come

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Picture 1

There is a conspiracy theory in the Palisades. I know this because I personally made it up. I tell everyone I see about it and they believe me. Truly. They look me right in the eye after I explain it to them and say, “oh my God, you’re right!”.

Here it is in a nutshell.

Pacific Palisades, California is a magical community. It has attracted the famous and wealthy for years. Even Henry Miller lived here along with Neutra the architect. In more recent years, it has attracted the rich and famous.

There are restaurants here in the Palisades but not one is really good. Not one.

When you live here, you hate driving and you like to walk to places and not leave the hood. So, you go to the same bad restaurants year after year. We, not me, but others have now even lowered their standards and have come to believe that some of the food is actually good. So not true. Get real.

This should not be the case and it’s a plot run by three main players in the community, I am adding a fourth now. It’s Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. They got together and said, “we hate the food here in our hood, but we like our privacy so lets keep it that way”. Larry David is now in on the conspiracy and he knows it.

Every once in awhile there will be rumblings about a new restaurant and that it- in fact might be the one . It’s always an urban legend. Trust me.

There was a deli here for decades. People in the community liked it because it was a mainstay. It also wasn’t good but it was a regular place and something about that made it better, if you know what I mean. Morts Deli rent went sky high and they had to leave so Mayor Richard Riordan bought it and turned it into yet another truly awful restaurant. It’s called, oh who cares what it’s called, something with Pantry in the title. When it opened, I opened my mind and heart and went to try it a few times. So bad, he should arrest himself….can you do that? I was so mad with the service, the food and everything in the first weeks that I was just screwing around on it’s website and wrote a really nasty review and I never signed my name to it but somehow it was on the world wide web for all to see with my name attached and everything. Oh well. I just looked and somehow it’s now not on there and only one good review is in it’s place, a lie.

The people responsible for the plot and I all do eat at the same amazing restaurant but it is just a touch outside our zip code. We head down into Santa Monica canyon and eat at Giorgio’s on West Channel. I will review Giorgio’s one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles at a later date so stay tuned.

Musso & Frank Flannel Cakes

Friday, September 11th, 2009