Friday began at a place where the UGs have no place being, the Jonathan Club Beach in Santa Monica. We were headed there to meet with our mentor, Chuck, and his actor friend, Dana. We’re always so conflicted when deciding what to wear when we go the Jonathan Club. After all, there is a strict dress code that Chuck emails to us in advance. The place reeks of money and since we have yet to generate any of it, we haven’t necessarily received our “Members Only” jacket. However, we dressed up second best to the jacket and actually looked like the nice businesswomen that we are. We were proud and thought we had done well with our attire.
In only UG fashion, we started off totally inept. Firstly, I screamed in mortification as Carina drove down the center divider on PCH to ensure we made it there on time. After almost dying, we proceeded to park our own car in the “Members Only” lot. We got only blank stares from the valet guys who informed us that there was no need to park your own car; after all, we were at the Jonathan Club! And if those series of “bumps” weren’t bad enough, when we got there (very classily dressed in the business attire we had spent hours picking) we were surprised to see a bunch of people having a grand ‘ol time in guess what? Bathing suits! When are we going to catch a break in this town?
***Side Note: Chuck’s favorite line about The Jonathan Club Beach is, “This is a very conservative club in a very liberal city.” Apparently, the city and the club are not the “nicest of friends.” This was later affirmed when Chuck gave us a tour of the newly added aquatics area, which the city of Santa Monica objected to and only obliged to because the JC agreed to line the pool room with sprinklers. Get it? A pool room with sprinklers! They must really hate each other, however, their unrest made our tour.
When we arrived we immediately ran into Chuck. He escorted us to the “nicest table in the club” and we sat down. Chuck asked us if we’d ever been there before (I think anyone who knows us knows the answer to that one). I responded to Chuck by saying,”Yeah, I’ve been here. However, I’m usually on the other side of the beach. You know…with the commoners.” He laughed and his friend Dana arrived. Dana Kelly is a theater, commercial, and voice-over actor that Chuck wanted us to talk to in regards to our new UG project. We were immediately impressed by Dana. He’s an actor so he, like us, was just as nervous about the facilities as we, uncouthies, were. In fact, legend has it Dana got kicked out of the club a few years back for sporting a rebellious pair of Chuck Taylors – but he insists that was in a previous life. By the way, in another previous life, Dana also kicked his girlfriend of 17 years out of HER own house – she then realized it was HER house and kicked HIM out. They are still together. Don’t fret ladies, after hearing Dana had a girlfriend of 17 years, we gave him the obligatory Beyonce “If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it” dance. He laughed and was in no way offended.
Dana was a funny cat himself. Dana, like us, has encountered many funny failures in his career. Like when he told the director of a Powerade commercial that he knew how to ride a horse and buggy when he clearly had never done so before. So you can believe he wasn’t surprised when the actor horse took off at full speed. Chuck reminded him that the pain was worth it because he was probably drying off his tears on the fat residual checks. Sadly, Dana had no such luck. The Amish Powerade commercial was pulled by Pepsi when Gatorade (Cola-Cola) sued. Dana and the UGs, when will you ever catch a break? Dana had the same good attitude that the UGs have about that kind of thing and we all laughed.
The lunch started off with little zucchini muffins that the club is famous for. We scarfed down about a million of the little heavenly zucchini muffins and the meal moved on to a special course that Chuck called in advance for the chef to prepare for our visit. Chuck is always so sweet and generous to us. He had Chef Benjamin come out to meet us and then specially prepare the oh so unctuous piece of foie gras you see below. It was prepared with seared pineapple and serrano ham. If God made butter….
For lunch I had my staple favorite – the caesar salad, which had lots of avocado and parmesan. Carina had the Jonathan Beach Club staple, the sand dabs. Dana had the crab cakes and Chuck the roast chicken, which he pawned off on us in doggie bag on the way out – or so we thought it was chicken leftovers. We enjoyed our lunch and Dana promised to help us out in any way he could. We heart Chuck and Dana and we had a wonderful time. After eating at the club, Carina and I had the grotesque feeling of still being hungry. I asked her if she really thought Chuck gave us leftovers. We reached out behind us and pulled open the doggie bag. To our surprise it was filled with the cute little zucchini muffins that we were ogling over a few hours prior. The surprise made us scream in hysterics down the 110 FWY, as we were elated bunnies.
I feel slightly disgusted (and embarrassed) for saying this but from there we went for round three! We headed to Carina’s favorite new spot, Cham Korean BBQ in Pasadena. Here’s Carina’s review on Yelp.
We had gone by the new “Korean Bistro” last Sunday but sadly, it was closed. I was both intrigued and impressed by the rich wood decor and I was determined to come back. We got there and we were immediately showered with Ricardo’s love. And by love, I mean welcoming exuberance. He was sweet, funny and oh so charming. He introduced us to the proprietor, the staff, and head chef. The head chef used to work at AOC on Third and came to Cham earlier last month. Her work at Cham has primarily been to fuse Korean BBQ with the ethereal complexities of French bistro cuisine. I was in love. From the light salads to the tasty beef that sparkled with residual robust bits from the cast-iron skillet, everything was fabulous.
We sampled a medley of small plates that could fit any budget. I especially liked the Korean rice cakes, which had a semblance to Italian gnocchi, but were in my opinion, much more delicate and intricately crafted. Below are some pictures.
Watermelon salad, potato of the day, rice cakes, bibimbap with bulgogi.
My favorite part of the experience was when Ricardo, who is half Panamanian and half Chinese, told us that his longest love affair has been with food. I can guarantee that the UGs will definitely be stealing that line. Perhaps the best vantage point in the restaurant is the view you get across the street where you can see the poor chumps on the treadmills at the Pasadena LA Fitness.
After the food comma we induced ourselves into, we decided to part ways and take a brief nap before heading to Art Center College of Design for the viewing of senior projects. A friend of mine, Owen Gee, of Nicely Observed invited me a few days ago and we thought it might be a good way to get in on what’s new in the art world. Plus, I’ve been looking in to the Masters in Media Design at Art Center. Anyone been through it? We got there late (of course) but managed to get through the product design, graphic design, and photography exhibits. Fun, fun, fun! I’ve never seen such a cross section of cute guys! Carina and I were in heaven. We tend to be attracted to a lot of the starving artists, who also don’t have a cellphone or a checking account. When will the UGs catch a break? Ha! No, we are committed to staying single. After all, we have an empire to build.
From Art Center, we moved on in to Koreatown for some Karaoke with Erin on her last night in LA. We got to Brass Monkey where, sadly, the party was dwindling for the downtown crew but picking up for the UGs. We didn’t karaoke, well because, we shouldn’t sing in public but we met up with Carina’s classmate, Jig.
Owen Gee knew of a sweet after party, so we trekked off to Echo Park. Side note: with every passing drink Carina began enthralled by saying “ONG” and telling everyone that he had the coolest name ever. We got to the party after several wrong turns and Owen Gee fearing for his life driving with a UG. The party was still in the works so we mellowed out and decided to grab a pre-party drink(s) with Jig at El Chavo. We had only 20 minutes before last call and made it just in the nick of time.
We had the famous margaritas at El Chavo and Carina was mad that the Dolly Parton bar was closed. The awesome bartender, Chris, said that was the old people side that closes at 11pm, no wonder Carina loves it. We both polished off two margaritas and some tacos (which apparently was our bartender’s dinner – oops! ). Carina shocked all the patrons and got our bar mates to leave after saying, “Who do you have to f@ck around here to get some more chips?” The people on a date next to her spit out their drinks and proceeded to leave as soon as the awkward turtle receded. At this point in the night, Ms. Carina was a bit drunk so she was incoherently rambling a bit. At one point, she turns to me and says, “I just want to be in love.” I responded by saying,”What? Do you think you’re a bunny in a meadow! Stop talking like that. You’re going to ruin our empire if you go falling in love like that.” She laughed and agreed. I have to keep that girl in line sometimes. I think I am going to make her sign a no love contract until we make our first few million.