Archive | November, 2011


30 Nov

My good friend Piper drove down from The Bay Area (I still feel like an imposter when I say that because I’m not sure what it encompasses) to spend Thanksgiving weekend with me! She brought fancy wine, delicious homemade ginger cookies and her pup Fernando. We had spent Thanksgiving together last year, too. Because I was driving down to live in LA. Black Friday was my year anniversary. This Thanksgiving, I was thankful to have made it one year in LA – mostly alive.

To kick things off, we drank a bottle of champagne, watched the end of the Macy’s Parade (and the dog show!) and then went for a walk. We found the nearest (and only) autumn tree and peed on it. (Well, Fernie did.)
We hiked up to Barnsdall Park and took in the gorgeous view (that’s Griffith Observatory on the hill over there. To the left of turkey cloud. Then it was off to our dinner date with my friend Alice’s family. She invited me a few months ago saying “It’ll be weird, but fun.” I put it at the top of my list.

With my family living 3,000 miles away, I sometimes feel a little anti-celebratory of Thanksgiving. I haven’t been home for it since I was in high school. I’ve shared Thanksgiving dinner at friends’ homes, not at all, or that one time at Denny’s with my Ma-Ma and Pop-Pop who were visiting me at art school in Florida. None of us had thought ahead on that one. And it’s still one of my favorite memories. You haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed the “Thanksgiving Plate” at 5pm in a booth with your grandparents. Who adore you.

As Piper and I drove to the house, realizing it was just a few blocks from the Santa Monica beach – and drenched in the most brilliant orangeyfuchsia sunset (straight off an 80s beach towel), we thought this might just turn out ok…

It did.
We were warmly welcomed by Alice, her Dad Tom and her Mom Sandy, who made the most killer plum whiskey — from their plum tree. From their YARD. (What are these things!) It was delicious. I had to keep reminding myself that just because it tastes like fruit, it’s stiiiill whiskey. {Belch} What?
 There was a fire in the fireplace, a feast prepared, a big sweet yellow lab and lots of laughing and mirth!

When in Rome… take your picture with the turkey like everyone else does! This is the kind of family tradition I can get behind.  A solo shot with the bird – everyone – every year.  This is Isaac. He’s 11. He told me the story of his first kiss. He’s not even old enough to be the age when I had mine. But his involved getting punched in the face and throwing up, while his friend pooped himself. Mine involved braces, a rec room, “No Rain” by Blind Melon and not as much punching. Piper and I ham it up with the turkey.
Alice sits next to her Dad, Tom Gammill. Maybe you know his writing from, oh, I dunno… SNL, Letterman, The Simpsons, the new Napoleon Dynamite animated series. He is hilarious, as is his writing partner Max, who hosted the evening with his wife Mira. And so is Alice and her brother Henry and her Mom. Actually, this whole table was full of jokesters. I loved it.

That’s Gabe. He’s 14. And in this picture, he’s humoring me by posing with an elderly person – ME. We had a brief, but intense conversation where he informed me that “After 30, you’re done. You’re an old maid.” Oh Gabe. You’ll make a fine casting director some day.

OK, confessions. I fell off ye olde dietary wagon at this meal (–And consequently the weekend. At one point I ordered a ham and cheese croissant because it sounded so perfect and when it arrived, I remembered I don’t eat any of those things!). Our dinner was so thoughtfully prepared. Most of the options were vegetarian. Actually, all of it, minus the turkey. The meal was DIVINE and had everyone listing ingredients from their gardens.

But here… Myeah. I have my grandmother’s sweet tooth. Like a siren calling to me in the dark of night.
I wanna say that I shared that plate. But no I did not. I did not, my friends. I ate all of it. Except for like a spoonful of ice cream pie that I made Piper take so that I could feel less guilty (wink!).
Eco-friendly dishwasher and companion, Sadie.

It was one of the most lovely orphan-Thanksgivings I’ve shared with anyone. We walked away with containers packed with bourbon sweet potatoes, quinoa salads and roasted root vegetables. Hugs and invitations to come back next year. Feeling really lucky to share in a meal and a lot of laughs with that amazing family.





29 Nov

There are a multitude of window displays on Robertson Blvd in Beverly Hills, near my delivery-job headquarters. I drive by them almost every day, imagining what the mannequins would say. To give you a sense of their location, they are neighbors to The Ivy (famous for celebrity clientele and spendiness). I snapped a few pics after work. And added a couple talk bubbles.


Flying trapeze.

28 Nov

{That’s not me. She’s a lady from my class. And she was really good.}

My friend Jack offered to take me to a free trapeze class on Santa Monica Pier with TSNY/Los Angeles. And of course I said yes. YES. Um, holy crap YESSS. I was super looking forward to doing something that I’ve never done before, am not supposed to be good at, and that has nothing to do with acting careers and the like.

I wanted to fly through the air “with the greatest of ease”. And the air would smell like awesome fried boardwalk churros.
The moment I thought maybe I hadn’t really thought this through.
Our ripped instructor buckles us into our harnesses which feel like 18th-century corsets. It helps curb the “acting like a big baby weenie” nerves, when I meet my fearless 6 year old classmate.

My turn!
It just looks pretty! (No it doesn’t). Also, the first few jumps off the platform feel unlike daily life body movements. Which is simultaneously blissfully freeing and also barfy.
I learned a trick! Stuff you’ve done on monkey bars finally pays off!

After 4 turns at flying, we each get to try a catch with one of the instructors. Like real trapeze artists! But with less carnies.

Here’s my photo diary to best express my thoughts:
If ever you get the chance to take even one whirl on the trapeze, do it. If you’re like me, you’ll scream like a little girl. And then like an adult. Because it is So. Much. Fun.


Photos of me by Jack Wells.

My (2nd) New Job!

25 Nov

Mama needs to pay her rent.

So Mama picked up another job (hustle!). This time, it’s in my ‘hood (fabulously walkable Los Feliz!), and it’s at my favorite cheeky gift shop – Spitfire Girl. After my first training seshie, I snapped some photos of the treasures that await!
I wanna hang whales and bears from the boob vase. — It just says “Christmas” to me.



Drink 100% Grandma Love.

23 Nov

It’s almond water. Like the coconut water we see everywhere now, but with almonds. And not coconuts. The texture is the same, but the flavor is deeper and richer. And better (if you like almonds). I’m a fan of both, but the almond version is a fun diversion.

I discovered this at Monsieur Marcel (my favorite little French shop) at the Farmer’s Market at The Grove. Her descendants were handing out free samples of Grandma Victoria’s “love”.

Full disclosure, I bought this so I could get my parking validated. That said, Grandma’s love tastes delicious.
I don’t know about its hydrating health benefits, but almonds are traditionally thought of as “good”. And so is water. Shouldn’t the combination be heavenly?

Thank you Grandma Victoria.




21 Nov

I tried out a restaurant on my delivery “route”. Of course it’s upscale street food, but the menu is accessible by wallet and palate and hobos like me.

I thought Street was a skate shop until I was asked to go in to pick up a meal. I liked its understated, casual vibe. And could only imagine the food tasted as good as it smelled.

We sat at the bar — which, if the bartender is good, I feel is the most authentic seating to occupy in a restaurant. You get the best ordering tips, great conversation and what! Oh yes, a secret cocktail that’s not on the menu. That cucumber number up there? The “Green Goddess”: Mint, Lime, Cukes and a lil Juniper Gin. The drunk lady next to me made me try hers – and it was divine.

We kicked things off with a fascinating little dish. It’s their signature: toast with coconut jam, which you pick up and mash into a soft fried egg, with white pepper and dark soy.

I haaaaate drippy eggs. (I’m one of those people.) I can only stand them when I quickly mix them into what I’m eating and can convince myself it’s a “sauce”. This, was my second runny egg of the day! And it wasn’t asking to be mixed into anything. So. I bit the bullet and dipped my tiny sammy into the yolk. Sure enough, it was crazy good. Sweet, salty, toasty perfection.
Next, it was the wood roasted brussels and cauliflower with hazelnut vinaigrette (which I will be putting on everything I eat ever, starting now) and the crispy Fillipino-style shrimp lumpia. I have heard people saying “lumpia” lately. And I had to try it for myself. Dunk those sukka’s in the chile sauce and you’ll never go back to not-lumpia again.

Ok, these balls are amazing! The first, appear as soon as you’re seated. Puffed millet with marshmallows and tumeric, they taste like sweet curried Rice Krispy Treats. To round out our meal, we took a hint from our barkeep, who said this was her favorite dessert. Full of apples, spice and everything nice, it was the perfect (and festively seasonal) way to end our visit.

I’m hoping to s l o w l y work my way through the most popular restaurants I visit for work. I’ll be doing lots of sharing of the smallest plates, but still. It’s fun to try something new! Jar, you’ll have to wait. I don’t have $40 for a burger. Yet. *Sugar Daddies, please message me privately (wink!)



How To Make An Ass Of Yourself In Beverly Hills.

18 Nov

Supplies: A set of keys.
Step one: Be in Beverly Hills.
Step two: Do what I did.

I had a lunch delivery to make from Oliver Cafe. It’s attached to the uppity-buppity Sports Club/LA. (Looking at it, I’d be afraid to sully the interior with even one drop of sweat from my blotchy workout face.)

Knowing I’d be traipsing around BeHi during daylight hours, I dressed appropriately. Read: Heels. And nothing too alarmingly “po”.

I arrived at Oliver and performed my ritual OHSHITWHEREDOIPARK, then threw on my hazards, popped a “be right back” sign on my dash, and darted across the street.

My sunglasses on, my confidence blazing, I casually walked in behind a well-dressed couple. Were we a handsome threesome? Who knew!

I made my way through the sunny, white, airy cafe, to the take-out counter. As they packed up enough food for a small army, the guy asked “– You come here by yourself?” I nodded yeah. A dash of concern. He handed me two huge bags full of plastic containers of salmon, asparagus, salad, poached tuna, and tiramisu. Then a load of Pellegrino bottles and fresh squeezed OJ in plastic cups.

I balanced and carried it all with my own two hands/arms. Orange juice defiantly squeezed its way through the straw holes.

I carefully made my way back through the cafe, the quiet murmur of conversation and the occasional fork on plate.

It was when I had made it to a clearing in the middle of the restaurant, that the keys I had stuffed in my pants pocket, made a gold-medal Olympic dive to the tiled floor and slid across the room with a “ksshhhhhhhhh” that seemed to last forever.

No one budged to help me. Well, to be fair, they did move their eyeballs in my direction. Enough to size up the situation. My keys sat sprawled on the floor screaming “Economy Honda”.

No? No one? Not even you, guy closest to me? I know you’re with a pretty lady in a mini skirt, but I GOT NO HANDS. — Mkay then.

I sat the drinks down on an empty table, and then made what I hope was the least awkward bend-down, in heels, with 2 tons of take-out food, to pick up my keys. I collected the drinks, then I was out the door.

Thank you, friends of Oliver Cafe. Ladies, gentlemen, colleagues. Chivalry is not dead! Ha-HAA!




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