If this last week had any theme to it, I could only categorize it as very odd. One of the highlights was when Frenchy came back from his tour of NorCal and Vegas for one more night in LA before catching his plane. This was a Monday so Josie was at work and school that night. I had this whole week off from school and decided to take Frenchy out. I picked him up from Union Station as he was returning from his previous San Diego destination. It was midday and despite the traffic I was certain would arise later I decide to have us make a stop at my good friend Tony’s house in Boyle Heights for a quick beer. He and his band The Mo-Odds (speaking of odd) just got back from a multi-city national tour that lasted more than two weeks. Tony who is a Pole with no Jewish background was wearing a shirt that read, “Everyone loves a Jewish Boy”.
When Frenchy was in LA earlier there was only one thing he wanted to do and that was to head to Venice Beach. However, the traffic getting him there and the nearly 2hr bus ride kept him away, but this time I was determined to take him. We walked the beach and I ended up getting a text message from the Brit from Barbarella. He lives in Santa Monica and so I asked if he wanted to meet up that night. He suggested Cabo Cantina on 3rd Street Promenade. Frenchy wanted a party so I took him there. There was one problem I was now at a table with a Brit and Frenchy and almost everything was lost in translation. I tweeted that I was surrounded by foreigners and that I wanted someone else to show up. Paul who was our volunteer coordinator contact for when we worked Taste of the Nation LA arrived. I was now alone with three men. Not a bad place to be. Frenchy said he wanted to eat the best burger before he left. I am not all that knowledgeable on the west-side food scene but I knew that the Comme Ca burger couldn’t be as “perfect” as the New York Times said. Furthermore, I felt ashamed to say that I had never tried a Father’s Office burger. I heard they were good and iconic but I had never tastes one. Paul, a Santa Monica resident, vouched that it was pretty good and worth trying. The boys, excuse me, men, piled in my car and off we went. I was shocked by what a small space it was; it is also a gastropub as opposed to a burger joint. I always represent Pasadena and order a Craftsmen. Frenchy and I each had a burger. The Brit who is a personal trainer stuck to a coke and Paul who said he already had a burger for lunch ordered some olives and mushrooms for the table.
My take on the burger: the meat was very good. Frenchy asked for rare and got rare. I was not that impressed with the bun but I am a bread snob. I loved the sweet onion relish and arugula. While I am not kosher by any means I am not that crazy about cheeseburgers; I normally stick to hamburgers. I tend to like meat and cheese separately, with that said the mixture of blue cheese and Gruyere was quite nice. It was a good burger but not the best. Almost all sandwiches and burgers for me have a lot to do with bread first, meat second, and condiments third.
Over the course of this meal I learned that Paul competed in this year’s Grilled Cheese Invitational and, out of the hundreds of sandwiches there, I tried his asparagus and pear pairing…how bizarre. He gained many foodie points from me. I felt bad for Frenchy that I couldn’t find him any cute American girls for his last night before he heads back to Paris. Paul decided to walk home and I took my Brit and Frenchy to one of the few Venice bars I know, The Otherroom. Once again, we were surrounded by men. Why don’t Josie and I ever have this good of luck? Finally two cute young girls came up to the bar we were sitting at and I told them that this is my friend’s last night in America. One of the girl’s said, “Oh how cool, I used to know how to say, ‘I can’t speak French’ in French but I forgot”. It was too funny. I took the Brit home and Frenchy to his hotel by the airport and he will definitely be missed. As much as I love Josie it was fun to have a day/night of boy time.
The next day wasn’t quite as nice. My tooth, wisdom tooth, was killing me. When I complained about it months ago and questioned my dentist about whether it should be removed, he responded, “I don’t see why, you have a big enough mouth.” A loud Jewish girl with a blog that has a big mouth-shocking! Something in my mouth had changed and this pain was unbearable. My wisdom tooth was coming in slightly crooked and upsetting the rest of my mouth and hitting the bone. I made an emergency appointment with my dentist and he recommended that I get it removed on Thursday and prescribed me some pain killers. Josie was having a toothache of a day as well as she got in a slight accident while leaving her work causing her whiplash and strong back pain. She called me sad and heading to get her favorite chicken in Little Tokyo. I was also sad and in pain and suggested that we should be together. We have made it a habit to ask all food bloggers what their favorite restaurant is and since Josh of Food GPS said his favorite was Elena’s Greek Armenian we had been dying to go. He gave us some pearls of wisdom: At Elena’s, it’s soup, never salad. Order falafel with hummus, veggie grape leaves, lamb and lule kebab. We followed his first three pieces of advice but deviated on the main courses.
The soup was good but didn’t blow us away as we hoped it would. We still had to order our standard side of lemon slices to add to it. The pickled cabbage that comes to every table was something we had to ask for more of. The falafel and hummus plate was also good but not great. The main thing that blew our mind was the vegetarian grape leaves. It was stuffed with rice that carried a delicious risotto consistency and was our favorite part of the meal. When it came to the main course I had the quail and Josie had the chicken kebab. Neither was bad but perhaps if we didn’t stray from Josh’s choices we would be more in love. Also we are used to dining with a happier outlook and we, Uncouth Gourmands, know that mood plays a big part in the dining experience. The pain in Josie’s neck and back and mine in my tooth whenever taking a bite wasn’t adding any points.
For the UGs are Mediterranean/Middle East food heart still belongs to Cafe Bravo in Glendale but Elena’s had a good fight and we will give her another chance when the UGs are in better mental and physical spirits. Also, foodies/bloggers/readers we want to know all of your favorite restaurants in case we forget/forgot to ask. Please post them in comments and let us know if you will accompany us.
The next day we had something on our calendars that we were looking forward to for a long time, the Top Chef Premiere party at My Last Bite’s house.Tony, who I mentioned was back in town, and I have an ongoing plan to do tennis, wine, and movies on Wednesdays. However, due to both our schedules it rarely works out or happens as we plan. I was on pain killers and wasn’t feeling up to playing but I knew we had to bring a dish and beverage to this party. Tony, who is an expert gardener and bread maker, I knew would be able to help me out on the cooking front as I was as loopy as can be. We headed off to the UGs new favorite grocery store, which he was the first person to introduce me to, Super King Market in Altadena.
At one point he suggested we either poison all of the bloggers in attendance or we stick out with a show stopper dish. I opted for the latter and it became similar to the 12 Days of Christmas song as I talked him out of first 30 quail and then 1 duck to finally agreeing on 2 chickens. We decided to stuff the birds with brown rice, raspberries, grapes, walnuts, and onions. We also proceeded to find aphrodisiac tea which we placed in the rice water to infuse the rice with love potion. If anyone got lucky that night you have us to thank. The dish became very similar to a medieval dish and Tony decided to name it, “Charles Martel Chicken” in case anyone asked. Tony taught me that cooking grapes was one of the yummiest ways to eat them. I was somehow under the impression that freezing them and/or having the peeled for you by Samoan men wrapped in a diaper like thing while fanning you down with palm leaves was the way to go. Since Tony did so much of the leg work we decided to invite Tony and his lovely girlfriend, Zena, to the party. We figured we were bringing two chickens to a party, we should be able to let two friends tag along.
When we got to the party one of the first things we heard someone say was, “Who brings chicken to a party?” The Uncouth Gourmand Girls responded the only way we knew how, by saying, “We actually brought two chickens.” The hilarity ensued. We saw many of our foodie friends: The Delicious Life, Food GPS, and Freshman in the Kitchen. We were most excited about meeting the famous My Last Bite, Jo, who is a Twitter celebrity and a chef groupie, I apologize I have no better word. Those are two titles we covet and she does it the best and effortlessly as there are pictures of her with Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, and Eric Ripert under her “Chef Photo” section. She is just so cool and a rockstar in her own right, after all, she performed one night only at The Whiskey. She and her husband have a sound proof music room, a tent in the backyard equipped with couches and a full bar, and multiple TVs in every room. They are just so cool and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are just as charming and sweet as you can imagine. My friend Tony was a little drunk and suggested karaoke, Jo, the awesome host found him the Wii game with a microphone and proceeded to sing Tom Jones with him as she hooked it all up. Also when Tony was leaving he attempted to grab a bottle of wine, I gave him the eye of shame and he put it back and grabbed a couple of bottles of beer from the fridge as has he grabbed our remaining chicken. I figured that was okay as he went on and on about how there was a beer at the party that had a very old recipe, like from the Egyptians, and that he read about it in National Geographic Magazine. When Jo and her hubby, Peter, saw this man carrying chicken and unopened bottles of beer they applauded him. Jo even offered him more and stuck bottles in his pockets and in his handmade leather purse. His girlfriend, Zena, was mortified at his uncouthness. Josie and I loved that the hosts approved of such uncouth behavior. We met a ton of people there that we only follow on Twitter but don’t personally know like EstarLA, Daily Wine, and Kevin Eats. One of our favorites of the night was Limer35 who knows what UG girls like and got us beer and some of HeySmell‘s chocolate chip cookies whenever we asked. Those cookies were so OMG with french butter and fleur de sel. However, they retail for $4 at Artisan Cheese Gallery so we definitely ate at least $16 dollars worth of cookies for free and were delivered to us at this party, it was heaven. Also, I apologize to Mozza2Go, the maker of the truffle mac and cheese, and Eli of Freshman in the Kitchen, and Josie’s dress maker because over the course of the night I heard Josie take credit for making the pizza, the mac n’ cheese, the flour-less chocolate cake one bites, and her own dress (respectively). It was a great night and I am glad I Tivo’d Top Chef because I missed a lot of the show by talking and laughing with you fine folks.
Josie spent the night at my house that night and took me to my dentist appointment the following morning. I took a heavy duty pill called Triazolam an hour before we left and my dentist was correct it produced an amnesia like effect. I have zero tolerance for pain and asked to be sedated. I know drugs make me very emotional and warned Josie of this ahead of time because I remember once being hysterical with my mom that there was no steamed cauliflower after a dental procedure. Perhaps Josie should be typing on this episode but I am afraid of what she may say I said/did. I have no memory of coming home but I know Josie was here most of the time and then left to pick up my prescription and to go to a doctor’s appointment of her own. When woke up I was alone and in pain. I called my mom who is on vacation in Hawaii and was crying because I couldn’t find a hair tie. By the time Josie came back I was making us papaya sorbet, not that complicated I have a VitaMix it takes 3 minutes, and she gave me the hair tie off her wrist. She then proceeded to do everything I wanted to do and was the best Uncouthy Bestie I could ask for. We watched discs of Will & Grace and, although it hurt, she made me laugh by logging on to Match.com and showing me her profile picture which was the two of us but the thumbnail that Match chose was just on my face. I laughed asking her if that is why she was getting so many virtual winks. She whimpered because it was sadly true. Josie is iPhone and regular Coca-Cola and I am Blackberry and a Diet Coke head but we compliment each other so nicely. The PR girl, Kat, from Formula Pubic Relations that we met at Blogger Prom sent us the new Coca-Cola bottles to try out and we loved them. Josie was into the modern yet retro design and liked that the inside was also aluminum. I, on the other hand, was high on drugs and emotional and said something of the effect of, “How did she know that I was Diet Coke and you were regular Coke? I can’t believe she sent us both she must really know us and loves us.”
Friday, was perhaps the oddest of all these days. I finally understood why Josie was calling me Chipmunk, as I consciously looked into a mirror. We were still not at top form but as we mentioned a few weeks ago we wrote a treatment for a reality show basically our blog come to life. We have been getting a little Hollywood and have had meetings with people we couldn’t have imagined. A couple of weeks ago at a meeting with a TV executive we ended up spotting Harvey Levin at the table next to us at BOA. We have people interested in being our managers and we are learning a lot about showbiz. We also have learned the importance of connections as a friend of a friend passed our treatment on to a real Beverly Hills agent and we had a meeting on Friday afternoon. We were eating yogurt and bananas in my car on my way there. The valet laughed at the sight of banana peels in the cup holders. The woman we were meeting with was fantastic. Halfway through the meeting I looked at her and said, “Josie and I kind of share a brain and I just want you to know that I can say with all certainty and without talking to Josie alone that we both adore you.” She loved our stories of Frenchy and the Brit and it was a perfect match. Once again, why isn’t this happening in our love lives? Anyway, long story short we now have an agent. Who would have thunk it? We are represented by the lovely and best Claire Best of Marsh Best & Associates! We left the meeting stunned and thrilled and we learned from the valet guy that Brad Pitt’s office occupies he same building. When Josie called her aunt to tell her the good news, it was the latter half of the information that she was excited about. Again, it was a lovely but strange week of surprises. Claire, who is neighbors with Zack Braff, invited us to a party at her house that night in the Hollywood Hills with an interesting mix of fabulous women. The table was filled with lawyers, directors, models, and more from Australia, The UK, and Minnesota. Josie and I brought lettuce wraps with a ton of fresh veggies and fruit in a papaya seed dressing. It was a magical night and I really had to pull Josie aside and say, “Did you ever imagine that today we would be at a party in the Hollywood Hills with our new agent?” The answer was, of course, no. This will always be known as the week I lost my wisdom…tooth and we gained an agent!