30 November 2006

BLD Redux Redux

I am really very sorry for my absence. I'm not usually such a flake (ask anyone--except for everyone that I've recently flaked on, bien sur). I am not out partying--nor am I insanely busy with work. Frankly, I'm writing a book and I'm plum writed out! But my friend PoMoTrash has become my guest blogger. He was one of the guests at the table upon my second trip to BLD--he is now writing his own review of the joint.




It struck me that after TT's not-so-rave reviews of one of LA's newest eateries I ought to do a bit more research to add to her arsenal. I was making my way back east after making a quick trip to the Schindler House on Kings Road to take in the GenHome exhibition and needed something to silence the angry mob in my stomach.

Fortunately BLD was on my home-bound trajectory and I popped in for a look at the luncheon fare.

My last dinner at BLD was in the company of TT herself and we notably had about the same experience- one that was not quite bad, but not quite good either. However, a brunch in September had been quite acceptable so I felt that another examination was in order.

After sitting at the bar (the restaurant was packed and there was a wait), I noticed a serious problem: The fucking stools are too low for the bar. OR more appropriately, the bar is too fucking high. A seemingly small detail for many, being 5'-10" and not 6'-3" I find it annoying that so many restaurateurs miss this important detail. Word to the masses- If the bar hits you in the upper chest when you are seated and your shoulders seem out of alignment, the bar is too high.

This detail haunted me throughout the meal and thus may have negatively influenced my experience. However, at the time I was determined to make the most of my lunch and ordered a Prosecco to start things off. After meandering through the menu for awhile I settled on an American classic: Ham and cheese. Except rather than the gooey norm served up at "ye ol' diner", my sandwich was to be assembled with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, with a touch of red pepper sauce enriched with a dash of mustard seed, all packed into a warm chibatta bread and served with frites ($12.00).

So considering the Euro's position against the dollar, basically what you'd find at a Denny's in Spain.

I felt that this would be an apt way to test out BLD's abilities as the causal eatery it aspires to be and keep me away from the heavy bits on the menu (I still had work in the afternoon). As I sipped my Prosecco (not bad for $7.00) I surveyed the crowd. All seemed to be that breed of Angelino, who like myself are self-employed, and can afford to take two hours for lunch every day. That's not to say that BLD's staff wasn't attentive. My server, who also was the bartender, seemed to be at the peak of cocaine high couldn't stop moving things around the bar. She also was constantly asking if "everything was O.K." which a steady glare over the top of my book temporally curtailed. This break in the maelstrom of hospitality enabled me to get about 3.5 minutes of uninterrupted reading in before I was barraged again.

"If only my food would get here", I thought.

My food finally came, and while I debated ordering another Prosecco (I abstained) the "bartender from hell" asked me if everything was alright with my meal, despite me not having taken a bit e of it yet. I nodded and dug into what ended up being a very dry, but tasty ham and cheese chibatta. You see this is the problem with chibattas and paninis- the heat sucks most of the moisture out of the contents leaving with you something that closely resembles a warm Serrano ham and Manchego cheese brick.

I guess that's what the red pepper sauce is for.

Overall I was satiated, though the frites were a bit dry (Café Stella still has the best). At my request I was given some mayonnaise to douse my frites in and it seemed homemade, which was a treat. In fact, I'd say that the mayonnaise was the best part about the meal, the norm these days being the clotted stuff that usually graces school cafeterias.

After topping my meal off with an espresso (grounds included, yuck!) I applied a beady-eyed "I want to leave…NOW!" stare to my coked up bartender, paid the bill ($22.00), and departed, full but hardly satisfied.

My closing advice about BLD solo- Avoid the bar. Stick to the cheese plate, the crab hash, or the normal brunch fare. And for the sandwiches, stay home.


29 November 2006

All Signs Point To Zoe

There's been a lot of news about Britney recently. I must say, she deserves it--while not yet at her nubile-trashy-and-proud status of yore, she's putting the more recent trashy-and-pathetic stage behind her.
Anyway, while you may think that Britney's vajoo-joo slipup is the latest in breaking news, I'm here to set you straight. The latest and greatest in Brit-land happenings is straight from the mouth of me, thanks to my mad skillz in deductive reasoning. CHECK IT:

Considering that...
1. Brit's now got a trashy ex who has facial fuzz and wears his clothes eight sizes too big (see Barton, Mischa; Richie, Nicole).
2. She's getting all skinny.
3. She's getting more flatironed and glossy by the minute.
3. She's BFF with Paris Hilton.
4. They partay at Hyde, LAX, etc. etc. blah blah.
5. She's had a Lohan-Hilton-&-Co.-style ladyparts incident.
6. Nicole Richie has recently turned on her former stylist, calling her a "raisin face" and "lettucecup" (?!)...

...isn't it obvious, using knowledge of previous celebrity routes to Us-Weekly fame, that BRIT-BRIT HAS TAKEN NICOLE RICHIE'S PLACE AS RACHEL ZOE'S NEWEST HORSE-TRANQUILIZER-SWALLOWING CLONE-IN-TRAINING?!?!?!

yup, genius, I know. I went to college.

> r r <


25 November 2006

Recipe Refuge

My mother called to confirm that she has cancer. It’s highly treatable—so do not fret. But this leads to many things. One being a trip to a bookstore, because that’s where I like to go for safety and the other was in a bowl of soup (and an apple pie).

Kale and White Bean Soup

1 Yellow Onion
3 large Carrots
1 stalk Celery
2 cloves Garlic, minced
32 + oz Chicken Stock
4 cans Rinsed "White Beans", rinced
2 Bunches of Kale, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Bay Leaf
1 sprig of Rosemary
2 sprigs of Thyme
S & P tt (to taste)

Cut the Onion, Carrot and Celery to appropriates sizes (1/2
inches seems about right).
Cook in a soup pot on low with an appropriate amount of butter (I used my slow cooker)
Throw in the minced Garlic for 15-20 seconds
Pour the Chicken Stock in.
Put all Beans in.
Add enough Chicken Stock to cover
Cook on LOW heat for an hour
Take off of heat and let cool for a bit
Blend half of the Soup on a blender.
Pour back into the pot and place the Kale in the pot
Cook on low for 30 min-1 hour (I like my crispier--but
most will like their greens cooked thoroughly)



23 November 2006




20 November 2006

Mozza, A Review

I was expecting to have to eat outside on the sidewalk—or maybe even in my car. I was expecting to have to name drop only to get blank stares and rolling eyes. I was expecting a lot of things that didn’t happen.

First thing I expected was to be annoyed by the “getting there” part of the ordeal. I took Beverly west to Highland and then headed north. As I knew that Mozza is on the west side of the street and that there is an island dividing the north and southbound drivers, I thought I might find annoyance. Go up to Melrose, turn right, “flip a bitch” (as the kids say), come to stop light, wait through lines and lines of cars trying to turn left, finally pull up to valet and get sideswiped. NONE OF THOSE THINGS HAPPENED. Want to know why? Brilliantly there is a parting of the island right at the valet for Mozza. We dropped the car at valet and walked right in.

We were ready for a fight.
“Two please”.

“Would you like to sit at the bar?”

“Yes we would.”



What about the month long waiting list I’ve heard about? To be fair, my dining partner and I were devious enough to plan an early meal after the musee so as to not have throw a temper tantrum in the middle of the restaurant. We had read on other blogs that eating between meals ensured a good seat.

I’m not a snob about eating at the bar. Actually my date and I mused that we often find bartenders are better at their job than a traditional waiter. We enjoyed our bartender as a matter of fact. He was quite engaged and helpful. He knows his wine too.

The first thing I noticed was the strip mall décor. It’s not a beautiful place. Nor is it even really charming—it’s Sears circa 1996, but we didn’t come here for the décor. We came for the celebrity—and Nancy Silverton was indeed on the line. There were no Mario Batalli sightings bien sur, but the Mario orange was there to remind us that he is part owner/recipe developer/decor picker-outer.

The bartender asked that we order all at once—and so we do. I’m worried that things will come out at bad times if I’m not in control, but it turns out they know how to serve.

We ordered the Prosecco to start with Nancy’s Chopped Salad. The salad was nice; radicchio, tomatoes, cheese, salami, chickpeas, pepperoncini, and a red wine vinaigrette. The salad is crunchy and crisp—very fresh. I imagine Nancy on the line sprinkling the Oregano herself. I would add a little Grilled Artichoke for some earthiness—but that’s just me and my need to control it all.

Next we ordered a quartina of a red table wine each and the White Anchovy with Tomato and the Fennel Sausage pizzas. They come just in time, piping hot and bubbly. The anchovy pizza could have more flavor. My guest and I mulled it over and decided the pizza needed egg and gremolatta. The fennel sausage pizza is perfect. What a great flavor. As my friend said, “it’s the pizza that the adults eat after the kids have gone to bed.”

I hear this: “It’s the kind of pizza that the adults smear all over their bodies and eat it off of each other after the kids have gone to bed.”

I agree. It’s a grown up pizza.

The dessert list does not sell itself. Someone needs a good food writer (I know one btw) put in charge of that—I was not convinced. But my friendly bartender talked me into some hazelnut and chocolate concoction that turned out to be really good. One more quartina of red wine and I was in heaven.

I enjoyed my experience here—I was most pleased. Minus the Bill Blass interior it was a very nice evening.




Hiking Shoes, A Review

Who says Los Angeles isn’t a walking city? Sure, I drive to and fro—but it also happens that PARKING is a pain in the whoo whoo and thus I find that I’ve driven as far as I will walk to my destination. As this is not NYC and as I would be drawn and quartered for wearing comfortable shoes (as this is not a walking city…) I often find myself hiking a mile or so, uphill (snow of course not included).

So given this predicament I fancy myself an expert on hiking shoes.

The best shoes I’ve found are a pair of black Marc Jacobs’ pumps that I bought at a sample sale years ago—though my Monolo’s have kept up fairly well, the heel post has worn through rather easily.

The Charles David’s, the Sergio Rossi’s and the Miu Miu’s have failed miserably—rendering me out of the running as a foot model as they have left permanent scars on my otherwise best feature.

Thankfully flats and big purses are en vogue. I recommend wearing your best pair of Chuck Taylor’s and dump them in the bottom of your deep dish Balenciaga upon arrival. You’ll have plenty of time to change while waiting in line.



18 November 2006

Blended Breakfast.

I had the best morning ever. Seriously. Like, this afternoon was like, totally horrible. I was in the library looking up definitions of fashion terminology like "shawl collar" and "paper-bag waist" and "armhole" for FIVE FREAKIN HOURS DUDES. But the morning made up for it ahead of time. (In part because Dieu and I went to the Mike & Chris sample sale and I got this:)

But also because it was farmers' market day, so I set my alarm for 8:30 WHOA and trotted down and picked up my fruit and veg for the week, including a gorgeous perfectly ripe persimmon. Persimmons, if you've never had one, are as delicious and blissful as a whole birthday cake in your mouth. When I got home, I pulled out the last of my fresh raspberries and put them in our old blender with the "$6" sticker on the lid.

Blended up with my fave Trader Joe's Lowfat Organic Plain Yogurt, it made a fantastic peachy-colored smoothie. The best possible start to the day (especially since the afternoon was SO BORING AND HARD and I ALMOST LOST MY DOCUMENT and the guy at the library CAN'T EVEN WORK HIS OWN COMPUTERS). I slurped it down on my way to Mike & Chris and it made me feel like this:

> r r <

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16 November 2006

My Prom Date Was Six Years Younger Than I

OK, so I was planning on keeping this completely to myself, since the prom isn't exactly most twentysomethings' idea of a good time. However, now that it's over, I'm having trouble keeping the absurdity all to myself. Until a month or so ago, I thought I'd left Jessica McClintock behind long ago. How very naive I was then. Apparently, those models you see in prom photo spreads aren't necessarily in high school. Apparently, one way of finding them is scouting at my fashion design school. Thanks to that, apparently, thousands of high school girls will now get the impression that I too am seventeen, and that They Too Can Get That Promtastic Retro Look With Textured Updo and Heels by Steve Madden. They will get this impression when, come February, the website goes up with all kinds of prom-a-licious info. Tips on how to keep your panty lines invisible, your lipstick perfect, your stomach flat, and god knows what else, all while seducing the pimpled crack-voiced boy of your dreams.

Anyway, in addition to the whole age thing (though actually not everyone in the shoot was as ancient as I. The perfectly shaggy-haired guy posing as my date, who wants to be an actor eventually, asked me "Are you in high school too?" and then practically had a heard attack when I admitted I'd graduated college), there are a few other secrets I can now reveal to you about prom fashion spreads. Contrary to popular belief, they're not actually at prom!!! They're in a big studio on a deserted street just west of the 405! Also, you in no way could ever Do This Look At Home. It took a stylist to put the clothes together, a dresser to put us into them, two hairdressers to do magic, and two makeup artists to layer on the paint. I think I probably gained at least a pound just from the layers of products on my face (though, to be fair, I completely want that MAC Lychee Luxe lip gloss now...). Beyond those behind-the-scenes gems, I also have a suspicion that the shoot director has way more fun than the models. I mean, it must be pretty fun to mess with everyone for 10 hours in a row. A rough recap, from Director Madeline's P.O.V.:

Hi Rachy Rach! Oh, great, head on in to get your first look on. This is going to be so great. [Ha, wait til you see the size of the dress you're wearing, sucker.] Awesome, that miniscule dress with the corset looks great. You can't breathe at all? Your ribs will heal eventually, no prob. Just go sit over there and make conversation with your prom date, who's currently wearing a skintight tee shirt reading "Laugh So I Can See 'Em Bounce." You can't bend at the waist? Whatevs, just stand there perfectly still and don't touch your face or else your eight shades of eyeshadow might run into each other. I really like that look--it's so, like, 20s. Or 40s? Whatever, all "retro" goes together. And those 4-ince jeweled sandals are sooo classic. And wow, they totally make you taller than your date--just like high school, huh? Hahaha, like, how touche! Whoa, are you thinking of drinking that coffee? Not with that luscious layer of lip gloss on, sweetie. Oh and don't yawn either, obviously. Say, check out this super high-tech iPod dock in the WALL! How cool is THAT? Hope you like hip hop--I have a BANGIN' playlist set up. There are only like 6 songs on it, but they're all really good. I like to keep everyone in the mood to DANCE for a shoot like this. OK, you're up--go! go! You're dancing, you're dancing! OK, now gaze at your date--no no, less smile, more dramatic! Hold that expression until you're crosseyed and can't feel your lips, OK? Now look past him, like you're flirting with another cute boy! Or like you see your friend! Oh, the way you kicked up your heel for like half a second was perfect--do it again, yeah, OK, now hold it for the camera! Oh man, I love making you stand on one foot trying to balance on a tiny stiletto heel for seven minutes straight! And telling you to hold a pose that, by definition, can't be held because it's a movement! AHAHAHA I'M SO TRICKY! Great, great, get off and wait for the next one. Change every piece of clothing and eighteen pieces of jewelry and hair combs that you're wearing. Whoops, actually we switched up the order! You didn't need to put on all that stuff and lace up your mile-long satin gloves and your ankle-tie heels, because actually we need you to take it all off and put on this trapeze dress that is bright white and impossible not to get makeup on when you put it over your head! Now get ready and stand by the set for twenty minutes while we fix the camera. Oh, my bad, why don't you just take a lunch break, which you totally could have done for the past twenty minutes. There are some really fabulous BBQ wings there and I know you haven't eaten in six hours. Shoot, no, scratch that--you can't eat anything sloppy. That dress is VERY EXPENSIVE. I.e. worth many times more money than we're paying you, so it takes precedence. God, I totally love Justim Timberlake soooo much. Good thing SexyBack is on the playlist 9 times in a row!

Prom '07, never forget the memories!!!!

> r r <


15 November 2006

Another Good Reason to Get Out Of Bed

My favorite breakfast:

Poached Egg on a bed of Sautéed Spinach with Toast and St Andre Cheese

I found a fool proof way to poach an egg.

The end.

Just kidding.

You really want to know?


Fine then.


Oh you want me to tell you.

Sheesh--do I have to do everything?

  • Bring a covered stockpot of salted water to a boil
  • Crack the egg into a small bowl
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, pour the egg into the water and cover
  • The water will try to boil over—let it come right to the top of the lid
  • Uncover and let cook to your desired consistency
  • Take egg out and put on a towel to dry

You’ll find a nice little plump egg has come out of the water—the high boil knocks off the “thready” things that form on the egg when you put it in the water.

This was found purely accidental. I was “rehearsing” for a job—and the chef asked me to poach an egg. I was panicked. I haven’t poached an egg in years! In culinary school we had a week of eggs—all eggs. But we had one lesson on poaching! The instructor was so precise that I was afraid without all of the “rules”—deep pot, fresh eggs, vinegar in the water, “make a water hurricane”—that it wouldn’t work.

Well it did. And I got the job. And I get a great breakfast every morning.

Full Fat:

  • Start water for Egg
  • Mince Garlic
  • Place in a cold pan with Olive Oil on the stove (do not turn heat on)
  • Toast the Bread (I like French Bread)
  • Smear with St Andre Cheese as you would with Butter
  • Warm pan with Garlic (low heat)
  • Poach Egg
  • Bring Garlic up to a medium heat and put Spinach in
  • Cook for a minute or so
  • Plate in this order:
    Toast, Spinach, Egg and top with freshly cracked Pepper

    Lower Fat:
  • Do the same as above, but skip the Bread

  • Crush toasted Pine Nuts for garnish
  • Add Bacon to the mix
  • Place on a Crab Cake and make a spicy Aioli

Serve with some freshly squeezed Orange Juice and you can live the high life like me!



10 November 2006

Top Chef Episode 4 or .........?

Last night I sat in front of the TV, with my girls, ready for a fight. But to my chagrin, there was no one to fight with. This episode was b-o-r-i-n-g and as we all know, they didn’t even kick anyone off! Where is the passion? Where is the drama?

Suzanne Goin, one of my favorite chefs and chef-people, was the guest chef for this episode. Suzanne has two restaurants; Lucques (as in the olive) and AOC (as in Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée) with her partner Carolyn Styne. Her husband has the Hungry Cat, one of my favorite “new” places in Los Angeles. Suzanne has three of my favorite restaurants in LA, one of my favorite cookbooks, and she is nice to boot. If I was a chef (and I am…) I would want to be just like her. She’s my hero. Her pastry sampler is my heroin.

Amuse Bouche is one of my favorite dishes to make. It literally means to amuse the mouth en Francais, and it means to start your appetite by inciting the digestive enzymes. It is a bite of something that will leave you hungry for more; a philosophy that I practice in all aspects of my life.

As I explained to the girls, one of my favorite “amuses” is a square of juicy watermelon, with a scoop drawn out of the top—just enough for a small pour of balsamic vinegar. It is an intense bite that will start the appetite and keep them wanting more. Always keep them wanting more.

Yes, there is always a gimmick on Top Chef, so of course they had to “buy” their "ingredients" from the vending machine. I have to say, that I am always quite impressed with these cooks ability to think outside of the box when it comes to snack food. I’m not sure I could imagine some sesame seeds in a “loaf” or Jell-O as a curried banana pudding.

Suzanne was right to explain that an “amuse” should not be dessert. It can be sweet—but it shouldn’t be so rich that the appetite is satiated and one feels fulfilled.

I had a dinner party recently (okay, so it wasn’t so recent) and I served a toast point with melted chocolate, Spanish olive oil, and sea salt. I’m not usually a fan of “bread” in an “amuse” as it tends to dry up the palate, but the salt helps to get those juices flowing.

The winner wasn’t much of a surprise, Suzanne is very comfortable with rustic food—and the “loaf” was the least pretentious but beautiful “amuse” of the evening. The loser also wasn’t much of a surprise. Michael needs to go home—he doesn’t belong there. The only reason he is still on the show is because he sleeps with his wife’s panties and that makes for good TV.

The next segment really made me sleepy. That was the most boring thing I’ve had to endure in a long time. Sure, sure 500 calories isn’t a lot—but it can be done—and it was done. Wow. Neat.

The “controversy” over the olive oil and the “sugar” in the eggs was rather obnoxious. First things first, Sam, if you are going to say anything at all then you need to believe in saying it. You were right, people did cheat. It was right to point it out. But you were wrong to waver. Stand up for yourself man! You are in a competition—you are there to win.

Secondly, I feel that it was ridiculous to not have moderation the second day. Is Bravo too poor that they couldn’t afford the nutritionists for another day? A good chef is willing to start over if his or her dish doesn’t work—Betty was willing to do that—she is committed to putting out a good product (and by good I mean totally disgusting, low fat Pavlovas…) and so she had to remake it. That’s completely reasonable. Those people that used olive oil on the line though, for shame!

Mostly there is no ending to this story—I will take a cue from Bravo and end here. Nothing gained, nothing lost—mostly though, I felt that my time was wasted. And now I’ve wasted your time. Sorry about that. I owe you dinner—I’ll bet Bravo doesn’t offer that.



09 November 2006

Girliest Post Ever.

I had a grand night at the Paper magazine party in Echo Park and afterwards, and I have two new friends to thank for it. I was dancing, vintage Gucci bag and free cocktail in hand, for the whole DJ set...and I could never have done it without them: mister and miss left and right shoe. At first I hesitated at the thought of buying Aerosoles heels. I mean, really--don't they automatically come with a senior citizens' discount. But they're so cute--high and round-toed with patent edging--and held the tantalizing promise of even being wearable. And boy howdy, are they ever. Rubber insert things in the soles, magically comfortable insides, high heels that feel low--old lady shoes, I love you. I've beat the fashion system (generally phrased as "beauty is pain, princess--anybody who says otherwise is selling something" [--princess bride, duh]). No way can Manolos compete with these.


06 November 2006

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Advancement is not all bad. There is evidence that we are advancing in a positive direction; we are living longer, we are happier, the food is better. But there are ominous signs that our advancement will also be our demise, and our ozone is showing us our biggest clue.

One of the things that I think to be positive this day and age is our cuisine. Vegetables that were once only found in France are available in my grocery store; apples from Washington, cheese from Pennsylvania and Italy, avocados from Mexico, and chocolate from Belgium. These are all available at my chain grocer and if I want something more beautiful and delicate, I can shop at a specialty store.

The only two food items that truly remain regional are tomatoes and fish. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 7 years now, and in these 7 years, I’ve missed a good tomato. The tomatoes that arrive from our soil are mealy and bland. But in Oklahoma! In Oklahoma they are rich, and juicy, and sweet. The only things I ate in an Oklahoma summer were tomatoes and corn. One could cut the tomato off of the vine and eat as if it were an apple. The juice running down my chin and then onto my shirt left me with a summer wardrobe full of “tomato eatin’ shirts”.

What I miss in those fresh fruits of the summer I gain in the fruits de la mer of coastal living. Though I like to quote a
fact that Oklahoma has more shoreline than California—it remains to be fresh water--and exotic fish and exotic people tend to live in or near salted water.

It’s not often that one will try to enjoy sushi in Oklahoma. I tend to shy away from such nonsense. Sushi is best left to the Japanese artists and the fish is best if alive hours before service. There are few Japanese and even fewer tuna living in the plains.

I have found that most cooks are confused about fish and the best way to enjoy it. First thing first is to know that some fish are more toxic than others. The best way to learn the best fish to prepare in your area is to visit a local fish monger and ask him which fish are best.

I find that white fish of a general sense are best prepared with a lemon or white wine based cream sauce. These types of fish often are best sautéed and cooked until they are opaque in the center. The white fish often is very light in flavor, so be careful in your selection of sauces so as to not overpower the delicate flesh. Also be careful to season well, otherwise you’ll come to believe you don’t like fish as it will most certainly be flavorless.

Salmon is a fish easily found on your grocers’ shelves. I find Salmon to be very rich, and it can be prepared much in the same way one would prepare steak or chicken; Hearty rubs, sauces, and stews are befitting for this oily fish.

When a food is truly regional, there is always more to learn. Don't be afraid to experiment--if you hate it, you can throw it away and grab a fish taco at the corner taqueria for a dollar.


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04 November 2006


So it came to me last night that a review of a restaurant isn’t best done in the traditional sense. In the past, the reviewer would visit the restaurant several times and compile his or her visits; sort of a “mean” of the experiences at that particular establishment. Though that tells a statistically accurate story, it doesn’t actually tell the story. What if the restaurant was four stars on Friday and then they burned the toast and dumped the salad in my lap on Sunday? So the mean of the experience would be two stars—but it’s not necessarily a two star restaurant.

This being said, I visited BLD again. I visited last night, so it was to be the first experience of the restaurant for the supper hour. As it was, we decided to visit on a Friday night. My car of hungry diners was running a bit late, so we arrived to our table two minutes before it was ready and on a Friday night, that was a lovely start. Upon first sight our waiter annoyed me. He had no passion in his eyes—“You want some water?” was his opening line to our critical table. We ordered “still” and perused the wine list. Bill handled the wine order, a lovely Grenache from the Rhone Valley. It was nice, “barnyard with some berries” as he put it.

Charcuterie and fromage were on the horizon—and I was put in charge. “Blood sausage” and “cheddar” and “the blue we got last time” were requested, otherwise I did my own biding. The platter arrived once the wine was gone—so another round was ordered. I saw it with my own eyes. The old, empty wine bottle was whisked away and sommelier of the evening nodded as if to say, “My fine man, do not make me use words to tell you that wine and cheese pair nicely together—get on it man—cork another, cork another”.
The bread was warm, the cheese soft (maybe even a little too soft), the charcuterie was rich—our eyes were sparkly.

Here is where it goes down hill. Apparently they ran out of bread—on a Friday night, on the cheese platter—the bread was scarce. Bill suggested that they make some more—but that wasn’t a viable option. So rather they brought us some toast—sourdough! Suddenly the cheese was sour, the blood sausage was sour, even the quince paste was off.

The bottle of water we ordered had emptied, so another was brought. But the wine still hadn’t arrived. Bill stopped our waiter on his way by—“are you pressing the grapes?” he asked. “Oh you want more wine?” Yes, we want more wine. We always want more wine.

The water bottle is taken off of the table and someone tries to fill my glass with LA River water.

Next we hear this from our waiter, “It’s a Friday night and there are people waiting for your table”.

What? We drop a hundred bucks on a cheese platter and you are going to rush me into ordering the next course—our minds roared. Our mouths were clenched tightly shut—but yours truly suggested a revolt. I am after all a Scorpio—and I know actions are louder than words so I suggest we order salads…and split them! My friends play along—and we do and we eat them happily…and slowly.

We finally decided we have tortured them enough, so we split the bill and move on our way. On our way out we muse to the men waiting for our table that they best order steaks to begin and finish with the cheese, otherwise they will be hurried along so that a third a fourth seating will be accommodated at that rare 5 top table.

The food was fine. The service was bad. The result is in the stars.



03 November 2006

Junk in the Track

ok. this is the thing. i would take the time to try and present this in a humorous-slash-creative-slash-parodic format. however, i think the real point is just so pure and simple that it would be, shall we say, gilding the lily to do so. (ooh, "to do so," three two-letter words ending in "o" in a row. that seems like a "daily puzzler" type thing. or like in encyclopedia brown--you read those, right?--where encyclopedia figures out that some girl is lying because she says she doesn't know a word with 3 sets of double letters in a row, because she's totally a bookkeeper's daughter?) [note: my good, good friend [ERIN] and i were just recorded as having said, "she's hot...she's awesome...and she lives in, like, a CASTLE." re: dita von teese, obvi.] [other note: trader joe's gin: best 8 bucks you can spend.]

anyway. the point. WHAT IS WITH THE VELOUR TRACKSUITS? they first appeared in this fair city of los angeles, cradling countless pairs of silicone and labeling countless stairmastered booties with "juicy." side note: who wants their ass to be juicy? wouldn't "firm" or "toned" or perhaps "spankable" be more desirable as an adjective? they appeared quite a while ago--four years, i believe? they appeared, were hailed as the greatest thing since footie pajamas especially since you could wear them outside which you can't do with footie pajamas (IN THEORY--personally i think tracksuits are just as inappropriate as footie pajamas for grocery shopping/class-attending/barefoot-gas-station-steppin'). and then, as soon as everyone with a moticum (sp??) of taste/sense/vogue subscription realized that they were horrid trashy rags you should only use to dry yourself with if they were still in towel form, and that they make everyone look like overstuffed awkward candy-colored teddy bears, they went out of style. except...their horrid octupus tentacles of popularity reached horrifyingly far. i see them on socal girl clones all over the westside. there was a whole rack of them at a cool little shop where i recently got a very fabulous diesel jacket. i almost didn't go into the store, just because i saw that rack of shaggy sweatsuit horrors and thought there couldn't be anything viable in the whole store. thank god i conquered my fear of The Juicy and had the delightful opportunity to empty my wallet for a nipped-waist confection of black twill delight.

anyway anyway anyway I'M JUST SAYING that not only have the westside clones not relinquished the fuzzy yet, but neither have the supposedly stylish college girls at my school of fashion design! no joke i'm so serious! the same chicks who totter around on 4-inch stilettos lugging 80-pound bags full of patterns and stuff--in the name of fashion--suddenly decide that comfort is worth swathing themselves in terry? i hope this lapse in judgement is being duly noted and marked on their PERMANENT RECORD. especiallly if, like the girl next to me in class the other day, they're decked out not only in head-to-toe track, but also have thrown in the ultimate hideous concession to comfort, UGGS. AND THEN ARE HEARD TO CLAIM "I'M SOOOO ADDICTED TO UGGS." oh my god. oh my god. it's 2006, it's 2006, it's 2006.
> r r <


Top Chef Episode 3 or "Why Oh Why Are They Doing This to Me?"

Oh Jesus, where do I start? I mean really! This episode made me feel like I had three margaritas--my head was spinning (and I only had two!). I mean, did I take a stupid pill or was I watching “poor, white trash trying desperately to get ratings and advertising Top Chef”?

I spoke with a good friend of mine yesterday and he asked me about the origin of the name of this blog. As Rachel Racherson and I have posted the reason for the origin, I could only conclude that my “good friend” had not read my blog. So I read every entry to him. After I finished he said, “so ‘5% Celery’ is new slang for ‘things I hate and listen to my rant’”? Yes, yes you got it!

But then I thought better of it—I mean I’m not a negative person, why would I put such negativity out there in the world? I should be filling the ether with love and positivism that will shape the progression of history. Maybe with just a few kind words I could stop war and famine or rape and incest! Maybe I could get rid of all of the evils of the world with a comment like, “Top Chef is the best” or “I love eating dog food out of a can”.

As I was a philosophy major the stream of consciousness does not stop there. A thought doesn’t simply quit—it continues to grow and morph and take shape into another thought and then yet another. This thought did something miraculous—this thought found its way into the “lobe of justification” in my brain and it constructed a way to change the world without cramping my grumpy style. I don’t have to be “Miss ‘Positivity’ Pants” after all! Through the rule of negativity, two negatives make a positive, right? They cancel each other out. So “viva la rant”, I will stop AIDS and Wet Willies with the pads of my humble fingers. I will type 50 wpm and change the world a little at a time.

That being said, I do have some good things to say about last night’s episode—I had a nice meal with my favorite girls. I mean, it’s much more enjoyable for me to have humans as my audience for my shenanigans (I usually make my dog and some pillows with faces drawn on them sit at attention for my lengthy monologues).

I’m glad they had “TGIFridays” there—otherwise this episode would have been total white trash! This episode needed some class and we got it with the “Fridays” executive chef. He explained that food needs flavor—and without that “food isn’t very good”. Brilliant!

Now come on girls, don’t be so catty. I know Padma’s shorts were not your style, but at least they weren’t cut offs and at least she waxed! I mean, she did plan for those shorts. She even got a tee-shirt with a tiara on it! Now that’s sophistication. She probably even wore two inch pumps, so that those cotton shorts from American Apparel (I know, I own a pair) could be worn to a ball!

The best part about the show was a line that our dearly departed friend Emily gave us, we will hold it in our hearts for a long time, it will become our mantra—tee-shirts with tiaras on them will read:

“Not enough sugar? You with your four teeth and wide ass are telling me there isn’t enough sugar?”

May she rest in peace.



01 November 2006

Jin Patisserie

Tucked away on the street I dub as the “Disney World of Venice”, I found a little place that is as magical as the story of Cinderella. The name of the cafe is Jin Patisserie, and though it specializes in beautiful pastries, it happens to be a tea house. A house of tea, off of Abbot Kinney, with pastries as beautiful as any you have ever seen, on a Sunday afternoon, is as nice as it gets. When I feel blue I will remember Jin and I will treat myself to tea and chocolate cake that is so delicate, you should eat it with a spoon.

The space is a little overly designed—too medical for such pretty, little confections. But as was the case that I had a bevy of Swedes with me, I was confident they would find it comfortable and homey. We dined on tea sandwiches and salads; most drank iced tea, though my friend and I shared a hot pot of white tea that was so clean and beautiful, there were no tea leaves to read at the end of service.

The pomp and circumstance of tea service should be observed, though it probably isn’t tolerated by our fast paced society—so in order to accommodate both worlds, the service is slowed a bit, but there are no rules that must be followed. The tea is simply served in beautiful cups with little pots of accoutrement such as crystallized sugar, simple syrup (served cold to cool the hot pot of tea), and sugar in the raw (prepared in the old fashioned sense—“one lump or two?”). Even the iced tea comes in pots and the glasses come out as delicate as the tea pots with ice so clear it could pass for diamonds.

The only complaint I would have is that a BBQ place is right next door and it blew smoked brisket in my tofu salad which made me a little grumpy. I considered calling the BBQ joint and asking them if they could deliver—but thought better of it as I was, after all, dining with sophisticates.

★ ★

All reviews are compiled out of a possible four stars.