Monday, June 29, 2009
A Quick Foray into LA
As much as I love my adopted city of San Francisco, I do enjoy the occasional jaunt to our southerly neighbors in LA. Well, now that I think of it, I have only been to LA twice since moving here two and a half years ago. Anyway, LA does have a lot to offer: fake boobs, killer poolside scenes like that of the Viceroy in Santa Monica and a much more vibrant club scene with better VIP services than we have here up north.
Joking...in all seriousness LA is a city with a flavor all its own. It's a bit warmer, the radio is much, much better, many people seem genuinely happy, even the hipsters are friendlier. Here's a quick re-hashing of my day in LA:
I checked in to the Hotel Miyako, saw Liza Minelli and Quincy Jones chatting with Larry King about you know who (not live, on the tv), and then headed off to the Hungry Cat to meet fellow K&Ler and blogger Leah G for cocktails and soft shell crab. After that it was off to Lou, where I had a decent if somewhat lower acid, less intense than I remember glass of '07 Viñedos de Ithaca PX (that's dry pedro ximenez, from Priorat). Also enjoyed an '04 Viña Ijalba Graciano (plumper and fleshier, but also better balanced than when I last tasted 8-10 months ago). Ijalba makes good wine in Rioja, they are also reasonably priced so you should check them out. It went really nicely with the savory, tangy Basque style grilled sausage and black lentils. Certainly better than the '07 Foillard Morgon Cotes du Py, which perhaps was showing softer, rounder and friendlier than I would have liked. Should probably note that I would not fully trust my palate after drinking a cocktail, and I had in fact consumed two coktails. I think that was it for wine. I was distracted a bit by the small talk with proprietor Lou (very cool guy) and Frank from the Bronx, a regular, who as you may imagine about a guy named Frank who hails from the Bronx, has got some stories to tell.
The next morning I got a taste of Valencia St mission gone south in Silver Lake. I went to Intelligentsia for some decent fancy coffee with fancy cheese n sausage muffin. Oh yeah, there is a Saturday farmer's market in Silver Lake if you're in the area and want to procure some fresh produce, floppy fishing hats, fedoras, or homemade soap, all while listening to the smooth reggae guitar stylings of Ernest Ranglin from one of the booths. Yes, this is very much an LA farmer's market.
From Silver Lake it was off to Santa Monica for the LA which many people know and love best. I did in fact hang out poolside at the Viceroy (yeah, I did it) primarily to catch up with an old friend who was in town for a bachelor party. Managed to hang out and have a pretty good time, though in a rather douche-y environment.
And that, fellow blog readers, was the trip. I'd be remiss if I did not mention the very good tacos served to the primarily gringo populace of Santa Barbara at La Super Rica (thanks, Leah for the tip!) They have more vegetarian options then any other taqueria I have been to, while still providing some authentic ingredients and flavor combinations (chayote, roasted pasillo peppers, cheese). Not the ubiquitous NorCal Michoacan style here. The seasoning of the pork, with terrific savory- sweet interplay and prominent cinnamon, suggested regions further south. Jamaica (hibiscus tea, slightly sweetened) was rich, tangy and terrific. If someone opted for this instead of a beer, I would not give them a tough time for doing so.
La Super Rica was enough to tide me over until I arrived at the Monterey In n' Out Burger to walk off my restless leg syndrome and provide a bit more sustenance for the home stretch.
I do not, by the way, recommend driving from San Francisco to LA for merely a one day visit. Try to catch a flight, at least until the high speed train is ready in another 10-25 years.