Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Zany Observations

Women aren't afraid to show their bosoms before noon while shopping at Ralph's.

You can run a successful business without knowing a word of English.

The Santa Anas are scary.

The Target underground parking in Hollywood is Hell Mouth Central. Other branches: the Whole Foods parking lot in West Hollywood and the Whole Foods parking lot near the Farmer's Market. Actually, any Whole Foods parking lot in LA.

Johnny Rockets can run out of hamburger buns.

There's a casino in Torrance.

Fichus trees are creepy -- I hear them weeping. Wasn't at all surprised to find out that their roots do battle with the underground plumbing.

The UCLA dental clinic has a great supply of recent New Yorkers.

Every time I see Johnie's Coffee Shop on Wilshire, so empty and forlorn, I get sad ... please, someone buy it and restore it into a groovy, kick-ass place with great coffee. And pastrami. And corn dogs. And macaroni and cheese. And chocolate phosphates. And ...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gardens and Martinis

Yesterday GD and I decided to finally visit the Getty Center. Wow do they have a big underground parking garage. Wow does it become an inferno. We paid $8 to park and it took us something like ten minutes to find parking (admission to the actual center is free though!!!). It was Saturday. I'm surprised we didn't get into an accident. The corners around the lot are tight, and people don't drive so well. Especially people in very large SUVs. After we parked, we were automatically channeled into a line for the tram that goes from the parking garage to the actual center. The line was huge so we decided to walk. Uphill. In the heat. Only advisable for people who like to hike. It took us about fifteen minutes. I have a lame foot and was not really prepared. I imagine most people can do it in less than ten. Great views though!

It was such a nice day, we decided to skip the museum and just roam the gardens. The gardens were smaller than we'd expected, but not at all disappointing. We really liked it. Especially having visited so many English gardens, we appreciated all the little jokes, like the miniature central maze you can't enter. At first I thought -- Saturday! -- not such a good day to go with mobs of people! But it actually enhanced the Central Garden experience, which is so contrary to the usual museum experience. The Central Garden is a series of concentric circles. To get to the center, you have to walk around, the paths sort of crisscrossing. From a vantage point, you see the constant stream of people being used as part of a moving garden sculpture. Pretty cool! The actual plants and their arrangements were pretty cool too! Sadly, the maze wasn't in flower, but that gives us a good excuse to go back.

There's also a cactus garden, which can't be missed. Sadly, again, you can't go in.

We ended our day across town at Musso & Frank for martinis. Our idea of the perfect end to a perfect day. Musso & Frank in Hollywood is, of course, legendary, for having once been THE place for movie stars to dine. Movie stars like Gable and Stanwyck. Since it was our first time, we sat at the bar, which we decided we'd always do because it's just so much fun. I was surprised by how many regulars they had -- that's just so nice for such a legendary institution. I thought there'd be an atmosphere of dust and decay, with most of the customers being curious tourists, but not so! There's still quite a bit of life there. I'd also heard that the staff can be mean, but I found the staff really nice. Well, one more reason to stay in L.A.! I actually like living in the Hollywood area, except for the crazy traffic and all the noise!

BTW, the Musso & Frank martinis are just as good as they say. I really like the fact that they deliver the martinis in a little bottle with ice. That keeps the drink nice and cold! Why don't more bars do that? Our waiter, Manny (sp?), served the drinks with such flourish, it was worth the price of admission! Not that it was expensive. The cocktails were all reasonably priced, the martinis at $8.50. (Food is a lot more.) Try getting even a decent martini in London for that price! We also had a Welsh rarebit. Very different from the British variety. The Musso & Frank's rarebit was a cheese sauce served over toast points, with a garnish of very crispy bacon. $15.00. In Britain, a rarebit is almost like a souffle. There's eggs and cheese (usually blue cheese), sometimes port, poured over bread and baked in the oven until the whole thing gets nice and crispy. You'd think the LA version would be the OTT one!