Zach Brooks, who created the blog Midtown Lunch, moved from New York to L.A. over a year ago. From my perspective, he’s been like the canary in the coal mine; the fact that he not only survived the move but is flourishing out here gave me inspiration to move here too. And, of course, once I got here we quickly made plans to hang out. I told Zach to pick a place, which was a tough task seeing as he’s done such a thorough job of canvasing the city on Midtown Lunch L.A. After a few e-mail exchanges we decided to go to Mo-Chica, which Zach described as “this unbelievable Peruvian place located in a weird food court just south of Downtown.”
Stand back, mere mortals. You are about to encounter a sandwich that is not meant for the meagre constitutions of wimpy humans. This is food for giants, food for gods. “God” is even in the sandwich’s name: meet The Godmother at Bay Cities in Santa Monica. A sandwich with so much meat on it, if Noah opened a deli on his ark, he’d still have nothing on this. We’re talking Genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, and prosciutto. That’s like 40 pigs right there.
Maybe because of all the stress of moving (and don’t kid yourself: moving is stressful), last week–having survived the ordeal of flying with a cat (I gave her a test sedative the week before which worked almost instantly; the morning of the flight, I gave her the pill at 7, went to a diner, and when I came back at 7:30 she was totally unaffected leading me to believe she’d done like Rosemary in Rosemary’s baby and secreted the pill somewhere. So I gave her a 2nd sedative, which she promptly threw up. Freaking out and already late for my flight, I gave her half a pill, put her in her carrier, and sure enough her eyes glazed over in the cab and she was fine on the flight. Phew!) and the endless ordeal of leasing a car (a Toyota Camry) and getting car insurance (Geico) and the thankless task of dealing with movers (“we’re coming Tuesday” “now we’re coming Wednesday” “now it’s Friday”)–I got sick. This happens to me; when I’m stressed out, I get sick. So I had a nasty cold and I felt crappy and depressed and unsettled. And having been as enthusiastic about Yuko’s guest post as you all were, I decided that I wanted ramen.
In 2003, a funny thing happened. My parents were visiting Atlanta, where I was attending law school, and they were staying at a nice hotel in Buckhead. They asked me to meet them there for a drink and, as often happened when I’d sit with my parents in a hotel lobby sipping a gin and tonic, they pointed out a piano and asked me to play it. The lobby was pretty quiet so I shrugged and sat down and knocked out a few tunes. After all, I used to play the piano professionally (I was the pianist at the Boca Raton Hotel & Resort Sunday brunch buffet).
Last week was such a hectic week searching for an apartment in L.A., I wasn’t able to do my usual business of researching restaurants, plotting dinners and constructing photo essays for you, my hungry readers. (Exception: Loteria & Gjelina.) We did, however, enjoy many random bites that I photographed, dutifully, in the hopes of writing a post like this one you’re about to read. So buckle your seatbelts!
Here’s a review of my favorite bites from my trip to San Francisco. Thanks Bay Area Bloggers for making me feel so welcome: after I join a gym and burn off the 40 million calories I ingested this trip, I’ll book another flight and do it all again. And now, my favorite San Francisco bites!
Oysters (& Champagne) at The Ferry Building:
The quail at Ad Hoc:
The Burrito at Taqueria Pancho Villa:
The strawberry trifle at Zuni (all the way on the right):
The frangipane tart at Tartine:
The bruschetta at A16:
The cellophane noodles with fresh Dungeness crab meat at The Slanted Door:
The entire experience at Chez Panisse:
(I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I mean it. No individual dish stood out: the whole experience melded together into a sublime whole. Plus I’m really proud of that post, and want more people to read it!)
The spicy cauliflower at Pizza Delfina:
The green garlic flan at César:
The tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar:
And, finally, the Arpege farm egg at Manresa:
Whew! What a list. Hope visitors to San Francisco put it to good use. And two final tips: Never call San Francisco “Frisco” or “San Fran”; you will be shunned. And if you rent a car (a tricky issue: great to have for Napa and Los Gatos, bad to have if you’re just staying in the city), there’s good parking near the hospital on 14th in the Castro. Just make sure to move it before the street cleaners come on the corresponding day. I just paid my $40 ticket, a final souvenir from a terrific trip.
To quote Vanessa Williams, I “saved the best for last.”
For the last meal of my trip, I packed my suitcase–left thank you notes for my hosts, Tohva and Raife–and drove one and a half hours to Los Gatos, where I met Pim for dinner at her boyfriend’s highly renowned restaurant, Manresa. I got a little lost on the way–missed a turn here and there–but I arrived there just in time. Pim was waiting for me and I think she could immediately sense how giddy I was. How often do you eat dinner with the chef’s girlfriend and then go, afterwards, to stay at the chef’s house? This night would certainly be unique.