I had a strange dream last night. I had curly blonde hair, but that was not the odd thing. I was teaching a math class (an absurdity in itself) on a set of steps that led up a steep hill to a row of townhouses. The city was old-fashioned, and it reminds me a lot of Dubuque. Why I should be blonde and a math teacher in my favorite Iowa city, though, is a mystery to me. To add to the oddness, a woman arrived carrying the mail, which she delivered and promptly disappeared. A few moments later a very overweight man with clear mental deficiencies arrived dressed in the uniform of a postal worker. He had a letter for me, he said, but he wasn’t sure if he should give it to me because it was addressed funnily. The woman came back and started shouting at him, calling him a fraud, saying he wasn’t allowed to give anybody the letter. Intrigued by the mysterious note, I took it, and saw the envelope was addressed in a childish scrawl, but the name on it was the first name of a guy I used to date and it was addressed to the city I was in, though I can’t remember that now. I opened it up to find an intensely antique-looking card covered in gold foil, the writing was a flourish of loops. Over and and over the card said, “I’m sorry for being a bad husband.” I furrowed my brow. I never married him. What’s that about?
Then Jessica made some noise, and I woke up feeling awfully confused. Not really sad, but I suppose I would have married him in time, even though that clearly would have been one of my least successful decisions, so everything’s probably working out the way it should. He wasn’t very ambitious, after all, and I have always considered the world to be mine for the taking.
We had reservations at the Chateau Marmont for lunch, my very favorite place in Los Angeles. There’s nothing like the seclusion or the excellent service. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re sipping on an intensely alcoholic cocktail whilst being treated like a member of the royal family, tu sais?
It took forty-five minutes to get all dressed up, and then we hurried off into HOLLYWOOD to make our way up to Sunset Boulevard. The Chateau is always perfect, and this was absolutely no exception. Jessica was pissed off, of course, because she felt warm. She feels warm in the middle of the winter, though, so I’m not sure why she is surprised, or why she hasn’t learned to adjust her attitude, yet. I mean, she lives in Iowa, after all. Iowa is a state with some of the weirdest weather I’ve ever experienced. If it isn’t ten degrees below zero, then it’s a hundred and ten; and if it’s not snowing, there’s a tornado, or enough rain to flood. I don’t know why anybody lives in such an inhospitable place. I don’t know why I do. That’s probably why I plan to retire to Luxor. The weather there is the same every day! Hot and bright and not a cloud in the sky. Yes, please!
After relaxing in the lounge for a bit, we were escorted to our table in the restaurant, and I was at my leisure at once. If you’ve never been, you simply have to go. This pains me to admit it, but the Chateau, while still one of the most glamorous places I knew, and while still one of the most charming places to spend the afternoon, and while still my favorite hotel…its bloom is a little faded. It has become something of a cliché. The stars don’t go there anymore. The stars don’t really go anywhere specific anymore. For God’s sake, some of them go to Chipotle for lunch. The Hollywood elite aren’t quite like they used to be, a fact which troubles me immensely. If I were famous, I wouldn’t be dining at Chipotle. I’d be going to the classic places like The Ivy or the Chateau, even though The Ivy is even more overrated than the Chateau.
Still, the Chateau brings in an interesting assemblage of people, and you’re always guaranteed to eavesdrop on an interesting conversation. A DJ was sat to our left and to our right sat some kind of producer. We couldn’t really figure out what he was doing, but he was meeting several girls who were clearly there for a business luncheon.
I had a plate of roasted vegetables on spelt served with homemade ricotta and an amazing fried squash blossom. I’ve had squash blossoms in the past, but that was tremendous! It tasted so good! I’m going to have to learn how to do it; I grow pumpkins every year in my garden. Spelt is also an amazing grain, which I am going to have to get a jar of when I get back home. It’s so much richer than rice. For dessert, I get what I always get, a pot de crème, which never lets me down. It was wonderful. The bill was extraordinary, but I will never go to Los Angeles and skip the Chateau Marmont. It’s as much a part of my traditions as a hike through Runyon Canyon is. And though I will surely seek out places that are more popular the next time, I don’t regret that lunch one bit. Never will. The Chateau Marmont is a perfect oasis.
After stopping by the Rite Aid and trying some new Neuro Water (this one was to give you energy, and it actually worked! I’m obsessed with that brand. The sleep water works wonders, too, and I don’t understand it because things like that never work for me), we headed back to the apartment where Jessica was determined to spend the rest of the day.
How could she do such a thing? Doesn’t she know that Hollywood is waiting for us outside? I wasn’t going to waste a second of my time here, so I hurried off to the Grove to treat myself. I wanted a ring and a shirt and a cookie. I’ve never had a ring before, and everybody here wears jewelry, so off I went to Topman. I found one for $4.91! Bargain! I have no idea what the stamped image is on the front of it. We thought it was the Statue of Liberty at first, but now I think it is something Grecian, like Athena’s helmet. Who knows? I couldn’t find the ring on the website to make it any clearer.
I had successfully guilted Jessica into emerging from the air-conditioning, and she met me at the Farmers Market. Rather proud of her for leaving of her own freewill, we went over to Jamba Juice and ordered smoothies. I love smoothies. I ordered a kale one, and it absolutely shocked me by being delicious. It was blended so well that you couldn’t even find the kale texture, nope, all you could taste was the lemon and ginger. It was bright green, still, but it was awesome. I loved it.
We walked down Beverly to visit a used clothing shop that I had noticed a few years ago that seemed awfully interesting. Jessica was pissed about this, too, and kept darting into the shadows whenever she found them to hide from the sun. I told her that she should buy a light scarf or something to drape over her shoulders so that she wouldn’t burn, but she literally never listens to me, so she continued her strange dance down the road.
As we passed BLD, the restaurant where Harry Styles had lunched the afternoon before, we held a short vigil on the exact spot where he sat. Jessica didn’t quite have a full breakdown, which was a nice change; she seemed only slightly more deranged than usual. Progress.
A short while later we were at Buffalo Exchange, a very trendy shop where people buy and sell clothing. I found several pieces that I liked, but only one that I absolutely loved — a black and white polka dotted rayon shirt. It’s so light and bouncy and flows so beautifully. You just want to jump around while you wear it. I have done so repeatedly. It was only $19, so I was thrilled.
I was going to grab dinner from Potato Chips Deli, a good sandwich shop on North Stanley Avenue, just a block down from the apartment, but they closed at five. What fools! So, we went back down the street to an even better place. Urban Garden is unassuming from the outside, but inside it’s like going to a high class restaurant in Cairo.
I, since I’m basically an Egyptian, was in seventh heaven. I ordered a falafel from the obscenely handsome man behind the counter, and waited whilst enjoying the restaurant.
They make bread just the way the do in Egypt! I enjoyed watching the baker stretch out the dough, cover it in flour, and toss it on the supremely hot cast iron dome sat above a flame. The bread cooks almost instantly. This is little different from how the ancient Egyptians did it thousands of years ago, so I was drooling. Everything looked amazing. They even had tabbouleh! I F**KING LOVE TABBOULEH! It was a great shop, and I heartily recommend it to you all.
The New Beverly Cinema is a revival theater owned by Quentin Tarantino, which I have always meant to go to, but never actually managed to do. Tonight we decided to head down there and see the showing of the 1939 film The Hound of the Baskervilles. We had no idea what a treat this would be! When we arrived, there was a small crowd of three people, one of them most assuredly a serial killer — you could tell by his hat. Warily we waited, but then the place blossomed. As soon as the first show finished, people poured out onto the street before being sucked back in for the next show. Tickets were $8. We stood in a short line and for another $8, I bought…prepare yourself…a large popcorn, a large Diet Coke, and a bag of M&Ms. For $8. $8! I literally passed out. It was such an affordable change from the usual madness. When we went to Magic Mike XXL, I spent $31. I was living. Floating, we made our way into the theater and marveled at the people. Jessica said it was like being part of a secret society, and that perfectly summed up what it was like to be there. I had been to the Egyptian Theatre’s revival shows a few years ago, but it was poorly attended. This was like a community of film lovers who came together regularly to worship at the altar of cinema. I understood completely. I would have been one of those people had I lived in LA.
The movie was absolutely hysterical and Jessica, and I related immediately to the characters. We do this a lot, basically in everything we see or do we pick out somebody who is most like us and then squeal in delight as they prove themselves to be more like ourselves than we ever thought possible. Jessica is most assuredly Watson and I certainly fit the role of Sherlock. You can probably find the movie on YouTube, but it won’t be the same as seeing it in a theatre and laughing your ass off with the rest of the audience. I’ve rarely had such a good time.
Here it is, though:
Gorged to bursting, we rolled back to the apartment and promised ourselves that we would do better about our insane eating the next day.