Bad news. My little holiday up to Portland has been canceled, family illness. So, since I already have someone to babysit Jake and Fergie, me and girlfriend Laural are off to spend Saturday and Sunday nights in La Ciudad de la Reina de los Angeles, better known as Los Angeles, mother to that den of iniquity, Babylon, or as it is known officially, Hollywood. The city where stubby, stogie-smoking Mr. Klein, owner of the Astra Cinema in Nkana, Zambia, used to travel to get his movies and hang with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, or so he boasted. I would’ve tried to touch his always impeccable suit sleeve in the hope that some of that American juju would rub off on me, but those slimy looks he gave me and my friends put me off. Hollywood is also where my youngest son, Layne, my buddy, my pal, at fourteen, played guitar for the the Oziehairs at the Whiskey A Go Go. Juvenile delinquent. But we’re not going to Hollywood.
This is where we’re going, subject to serendipity: The Hammer Museum, The Annenberg Space For Photography, and J. Paul Getty Center. So far I have two places lined up for dinner. For the first night, Border Grill–Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s modern Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica. Here’s what I’m thinking of ordering: Quinoa Fritters: crunchy aztec grain, cotija cheese, aji amarillo, and/or Teradito Verde Peruvian Ceviche: tomatillo, lime, jalapeño, cilantro, red onion, mango, and/or Watercress, Jicama, Orange Salad: bacon wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo and cabrales blue cheese, toasted coriander vinaigrette.
For our second night, Tar & Roses, which is also in Santa Monica. Ever since I read Jonathan Gold’s write-up in the Los Angeles Times about this place, I’ve been itching to visit. It’s a gastropub with “elevated bar snacks.” Everything is passed through their wood burning oven. The following dish got my mouth watering right off the bat. Bone marrow with pickled onion marmalade, sea salt and toasted sourdough bread. And then how about this one as described by Jonathan Gold: “English peas drizzled with oil, sprinkled with sea salt and roasted until the tough pods collapse into sweetness and the peas inside become smoky little sugar bombs, like edamame as re-imagined in CinemaScope by David Lean.” And then there’s the shellfish pot: fresh shrimp, mussels and scallops poached in Thai-inflected coconut curry, which brings a “gentle end to a fiery meal.” Only thing, this dish is for a party of four. Damn.
City of Angels here we come.