Another thing that I love about California is the time change. You wake up at a decent hour in the morning, but your body still feels as if it has slept in. It’s time zone magic, truly. It’s so nice to wake up rested. Back home I never wake up. I don’t really know why, but I can never motivate myself. I think of all the things I could be doing while I’m semi-conscious, but my responsibilities never really penetrate my incredible procrastination skills and so I just stay up into the wee hours of the morning every night. It’s a miracle I’m still alive.
Since I had only had two dinners yesterday, I was desperately hungry. We went down to Canter’s, which has been in the same place since the 30s.
It’s something of an institution, but for some reason I had never stopped in for a meal. I’d gone to their bakery, which was decent. I meant to pick up some matzo ball soup at the deli counter, too, but I only remembered that nine months later when I walked back in. What is matzo ball soup? The more I cook and the more that I know, the more I discover that I know next to nothing. There’s just so much out there to try. It’s kind of depressing that I’ll never sample everything.
I had a breakfast sandwich and the best orange juice I’ve had since the last time I went to Mixon Fruit Farms in Florida. It’s amazing that we trick our tastebuds into believing that the highly acidic chemical potion we drink every morning out of a jug is actually orange juice. It tastes nothing like freshly squeezed orange juice. I remember a terrifying article that I read once about oranges. Did you know that ripe oranges aren’t even orange? They’re gassed so that the chlorophyll (the part that makes them green) dies and looks orange. Horrible! But the madness doesn’t stop there. The fruits are juiced and placed in an airtight vat where they are pasteurized, a process that kills the flavor, nutrients, and even color. When it is time to bottle the juice up, artificial color and flavoring is added. (In addition to whatever the trendy vitamin of the time is.) The whole process disgusts me. Why is it so wrong to just squeeze an orange? This modern era is madness. The juice at Canter’s was freshly squeezed and was simply marvelous. It was sweet and refreshing and just perfect.
For dessert, we headed down Beverly Boulevard to stop by Schwartz Bakery. It was a lovely walk and I was jealous that I wouldn’t be in town for the ten-year anniversary showing of Mean Girls at the New Beverly Cinema. This is the theater that Quentin Tarantino owns, and it shows the strangest things. I wasn’t interested in any of the features last summer, but there were quite a number this time that looked like fun. Farther down the road is a wedding shop that is housed inside an old church — which is a stroke of marketing brilliance. In the little pool outside were dozens of painted turtles basking in the sunlight. Ma delighted in photographing the happy little reptiles and poking them.
Schwartz wasn’t far from here, but it didn’t matter if I was five feet away or five thousand miles: NOTHING MATTERED. IT WAS CLOSED.
“What is this madness?” I cried through the tears pouring down my face. Why had the gods turned against me so? What had I done to deserve this misery? They were closed for Passover, which meant very little to me. I know a lot about religion, but I’m sadly poorly informed about Judaism. Jewish guys sometimes look like attractive hipsters. I appreciate that. All I know is that I remembered an article I’d read on Buzzfeed that showed the best foods you can eat during this religious period. I couldn’t recall black and white cookies on the list. I grew angry. I was even angry at Buzzfeed for this injustice. That’s irrational, I know, but I had just walked by their Los Angeles headquarters with a happy fantasy of working there.
I mean, can you imagine me there? It’s perfection. I could do posts like, “The Twenty-Five Most Important Kittens In Hats,” or “The Best Black & White Cookies in LA,” or “57 Times JAMES MASLOW Was Perfect.”
In disgust with the world, we crossed the street to Susina Bakery & Cafe, a decent, if not excellent bakery. It’s never bad, but I’ve never found their selection to be overly incredible. They do have a good mousse cake, though, I’ve had it a number of times. On this occasion, I only had an espresso, though, as mother sampled a few petit fours. When she bit into the custard and raspberry one, she erupted in a fountain of joyous tears. She said that it tasted just like the bakery that I lived across the street from in Paris at my first apartment, the one on Rue Saint-Sabin. Have you ever had a Parisian apartment, reader? No? Sad.
After I recovered a bit from the emotional wreck I’d become from my loss, we headed back to the apartment to get changed. Along the way, I gloried in the rosemary plants that were growing massively as landscaping. They were everywhere and smelled so nice.
I love California and fully plan on living here for a portion of my life. It’s not only the variety of life and the sunshine and the stars, it’s because the food is just so good. Growing up in Iowa, we are brought up to believe that we have the best food in the nation. We grow so much and we have markets all over. When I went to LA last year I was so impressed with the quality of the vegetables. They have such intense flavor. I don’t regularly eat green beans, but in San Francisco, I’d eat them like candy. The tomatoes I have here are fine, but they don’t taste of anything and are often tough. In LA, they collapse in your fingers and when you eat them, you want to weep because they taste as if they were watered with angel tears. I’ll move to California just for the food. Just to have basil grow year round. To have a palm tree to sit under. To pick a lemon for my dessert. Le sigh…just a matter of time.
It was an absolutely perfect day weather wise and I was excited to hike through Runyon Canyon again. Hiking has become an amusing thing to do when we travel together. I find a place to go, consciously forget to mention how intense it might be, and then giggle as Ma struggles up a mountain. She survived the foothills of the Alps before, I’m sure she wouldn’t die climbing through the Hollywood hills. At least, I didn’t think so.
Before we took the bus to the beginning of the park, I was determined to get a black and white cookie. So we stopped at the other Schwartz Bakery that is on Fairfax. I don’t like going there because it’s modern and the people aren’t my old Jewish lady who teaches me Yiddish. This was open, BUT THEY WERE OUT OF COOKIES. They don’t cook at all during Passover, so they only sell what they have left. It’s the worst thing in the world.
In horror, we scurried down the road back to Canter’s, where I bought two big black and white cookies. They weren’t Schwartz, but they were delicious still, and I was somewhat contented.
Jehova, I adore those things so much! I need to make them more here at home. I did it once and they were very good. The recipe just makes so many! Maybe I’ll make them for school one day and we can all have a little cookie party.
The bus took us quickly up to Hollywood Boulevard, where it’s only a short walk up to the start of the park.
I LOVE RUNYON CANYON. I love looking for celebrities and I love the dogs and I love watching the people that think they’re so fit and I love looking at the attractive people and I love seeing Los Angeles spread out gloriously around from the top of a peak. Prepare for a montage.
The hike was absolute perfection. I couldn’t imagine ever running through it like some people do, though, that’s basically asking to die. The footing isn’t always solid and there are times where you are completely unable to stop yourself. You could easily run right off of a cliff. I’m surprised more people don’t die. If I lived in LA, I would be here several times a week. It’s the best workout! I don’t even like working out, but I love to hike. I like to think that if I ever move here, I’ll have abs in a week from all the exercise I will start to do. I’ll hike. I’ll walk everywhere. I’ll join some new age yoga studio. I’ll learn to surf in the Pacific. I’ll swim. I’ll be gorgeous. And so tan!
Ma didn’t die, so it was a success all around. We were absolutely starving after our strenuous morning, so we sauntered down Melrose and went to Pink’s.
Pink’s is something of an institution and something that everybody seems to do once. Only once, mind you. I don’t know why they’re famous because they suck. I had a vegan dog, which was blah. I’ve had plenty of vegan and vegetarian “meat” over the past few years and this was one of the dullest I’ve ever had. It’s not hard to make a soy dog that is delicious. Even the tomatoes, onions, and guacamole on top couldn’t salvage it. The fries were great, though, so there’s that.
The Chateau Marmont called as we were walking back to the apartment to confirm my reservation for the evening. LIKE I’D SKIP OUT ON AN EVENING AT THE CHATEAU! I was more excited to go back to the Chateau than I was for anything else on this entire trip! The Chateau is absolute perfection. Of course you know that from this blog post.
Back at the apartment, it took me forty-five minutes to get all dressed up. If you don’t get that reference, get off this website. GO! If you do get it, you’re my new best friend; call me every five minutes. If you don’t get that reference, get OUT! Actually, stick around. Just educate yourselves on cultural landmarks.
I got into my sequined black shirt and custom pants and slipped into my studded shoes and coiffed my hair delicately. I looked in the mirror and saw this:
Now that I was beautiful, we went out the door and hurried over to Fairfax to catch the bus. THIS WAS NOT TO BE, READER! There was a car slammed into a building. BOOOM!
The police were all over the place and there was no way that the bus was going to make it through here in a timely manner to get me to my date with the Chateau. There was probably another bus I could have taken, but I didn’t have time to think. Instead, I grabbed up my phone and got my first Uber.
UBER IS FROM HEAVEN.
If you haven’t heard of Uber, prepare to send me a big thank you note. This company is a service that provides affordable, safe, and elegant private drivers. In big cities, there are Uber cabs all over the place just waiting for you to send out a request. In a ew minutes, a nice, clean car will show up at your feet and you’ll be on your way to your destination. To make it better, Uber has really embraced technology. I hate taking cabs because I never carry cash, I don’t know how to tip, and they always add a service charge when they take credit cards. In an Uber, you never exchange money — EVER — it’s all taken care of through the app. It’s absolutely genius. The drivers are kind, fun, helpful, and oftentimes handsome. They charge less than a taxi and treat you well. I will gladly be a spokesman for Uber. If you live in a city with this service, you need the app now. Use my promo code, 1sogp, for a $10 credit. That’s easily enough for a trip. You’ll fall in love immediately. It’s amazing. I’m madly and absolutely crazy for this company.
In a few minutes, we had detoured around the car crash and were pulling up to the Chateau just in time for our dinner reservations.
The Chateau was just as wonderful as ever. It’s an oasis in the middle of Hollywood’s chaos. It’s like heaven. It is truly one of my favorite places in all the world. It’s expensive, yes, but it’s so worth it. The calm elegance is well worth more. MORE. Celebrities hide here. The curious respectfully watch. The rich parade about. Everybody who is anybody in the industry is here at some point. The only regret I have about this visit is that I wasn’t staying the night! I can’t wait to get a room here again. It was worth all the ridiculous number of hundred dollar bills I paid with!
From the second I got in, I began to scan the assembled crowds for faces. A group of young folk seemed familiar to me. I couldn’t place them at all, but there was something about one of the girls that recalled one of the daughters from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I can’t confirm this.
Another fun thing about the Chateau is that everybody looks at you. It’s not subtle and it’s not supposed to be. They look right at you, analyzing you, seeing who you might be, seeing if you can help them somehow. It’s great and I felt absolutely fabulous.
The potent cocktails came out and my mother was immediately drunk:
As we were waiting for our entrees, two very tall people came in and sat down. I didn’t think much of it, but when they requested a seat change, I became much more intrigued. I’m a bitch, a total bitch, about seating in fancy restaurants. So, I threw a look over my shoulder and examined these strangers. Nothing sunk in at first, but there was something about the gentleman’s curly hair that made my brain start clicking.
Then, it hit me. HOWARD STERN.
Yes, it was Howard and his lovely wife. SUCCESSFUL CELEBRITY DISCOVERY. There’s such a wonderful rush when you find one of them. It’s much harder to find celebrities in Hollywood than you’d think. They’re very good at the incognito thing. Then again, everybody here looks the same. Thin, tan, pretty or handsome, and well dressed. Sometimes the regular people are more glamorous than the famous ones, which I don’t approve of. I’ve always subscribed to the Joan Crawford mentality of fame:
If I’m ever famous, there won’t be a person within a five mile radius who doesn’t know.
The food came out and it was absolutely delicious. Ma had a spaghetti that she adored and I had a beautiful dish composed of chickpeas, kale, beets, and walnuts. It was so delicious.
It was an absolutely heavenly evening and I enjoyed wandering through the hotel. I was particularly amused by the urinals in the bathroom. They’re filled with ice for some reason. I don’t know why, but here’s a picture:
I didn’t want to leave, but of course, I’m not yet rich enough to retire within the graceful walls of the Chateau. I think it’d be a marvelous place to call home for the rest of my life — once I’m old enough to have experienced everything I want. So, we called an Uber and waited in the elegant, heated stand, where guests wait for their cars or cabs or whatever.
After we made it back to the apartment, we couldn’t possibly be done for the night, so we headed over to the CVS and to Whole Foods and returned to my favorite fast food place in the entire city, VEGGIE GRILL!
I was stuffed with tremendous amounts of food and exhausted, so I passed out in my comfortable bed.