Monday, April 20, 2009

I Like LA

OK- I'll say it outright; I like LA. In the past I have been hesitant to give myself over to feelings of affection when discussing or contemplating Los Angeles. Maybe it has to do with some sort of inane sense of loyalty I hoard for New York. I think I convinced myself somewhere along the way that you're either a New York Person or an LA Person. And I decided to come out strongly in the New York category, by stocking up on black turtlenecks, memorizing dialogue from various Woody Allen films, and developing an affinity for a cramped, indoor existence. Also by being a vocal LA sceptic.

During this most recent trip, I decided that liking LA did not make me shallow or superficial. To begin with the weather is spectacular. Well, there is nothing revelatory about that observation, but really, the positive effects of living under such a gracious and brilliant sun cannot be downplayed! There is a kind of freedom that comes with such easy conditions, a kind of freewheeling joy.
Obviously there are lots of perks and advantages to living in Southern California, The food and produce has to be on the top of that list. Four hours after landing at LAX we found ourselves enjoying little plates that seemed to be magically replenished at a restaurant called AOC. The French blue cheese was my favorite thing of the evening, that and a sighting of Jim from The Office, who casually walked past our table.
The most memorable meal we had was at Cafe Talesai, a Thai restaurant located in a modern and clean looking strip mall around the corner from my parent's place. We started off with corn fritters that were small, and crispy-crunchy, and full of fantastic flavor and texture when eaten with the cucumber sauce it came with. The spicy stir fried eggplant confirmed my new status as an eggplant lover. It was fragrant and sweet and left you with a nice spicy kick. The eggplant itself was firm and almost fish-like in texture. And then the pad thai...the glass noodle pad thai, made me realize that the pad thai from my local Thai restaurant is gluey and woefully inadequate. Sometimes knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and I fear I won't be having Thai food again for quite some time.
And then there was the Farmers Market at Venice Beach. I don't know how to describe the pure joy I felt as I walked through this cornucopia of color, sound, taste, smell. The strawberries looked like they were stocked by Central Casting, they were perfect and plump and bright red. They tasted as good as they looked; sweet, juicy, and completely unblemished. We got a round of fresh OJ for everyone (kiddles, hub, et moi) which was sucked down to it's last drop. The imbibing experience was made more delightful by the benevolent California sun shining on our bare arms. I almost felt as though I was drinking sunshine in a cup. There was a bluegrass band that provided the soundtrack, and pony rides for the kids. The Farmer's Market was where I decided to let myself like LA.
OK, true, I'm yet to have a memorable slice of pizza in Los Angeles. And I won't even discuss the bagel situation. But there is a lot of good stuff in LA. Adding a splash of sun automatically makes everything taste better.

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