Archive for LA

My three dads

Posted in joie de vie with tags , on October 19, 2010 by ana

Somewhere amidst the doom and gloom I have found this small pocket of internal happiness. Maybe it’s just that feeling that no matter what everything is going to be okay.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my cousin. We went, as we did last year for my birthday, to Pinot Bistro. In many ways it felt like we were in the restaurant scene of a movie- the large flower arrangements, the crisp white tablecloths, the dark wood paneling and the mirrors along the wall. Two different sets of posh ladies ate to our sides. The older set had burgers, the younger one salads. An elegant older woman sat at one end of the restaurant only to find out, after waiting for awhile, that her lunch date, a dapper senior, was waiting for her tucked away at another table.

I always enjoy lunch with my cousin immensely. In this crazy, twisty life I have been blessed with three men who have treated me like their daughter. The first, my real dad-a man whose company and conversation I very much enjoy. My stepdad who was one of my number one champions and whose joyful voice when answering the phone I dearly miss. My cousin has been the third.

My cousin has lived in LA all of my life and I only saw him once or twice growing up. He and my mom grew up in adjoining houses and she always told me stories about them growing up but I never really knew him before I moved here. I spent two years living at his house. Those two years were really lovely and healing for me. I moved here from NY a year after September 11th and there was this sweet, overwhelming feeling of being tucked away while I lived with him. He is the man who always asks about my tires and the breaks in my car. He is the man who put locks in the window of my old Hollywood apartment.

Today at lunch he said- I think you are going to end up leaving LA. I never thought you would because the man you love was here but if that ends you may leave. I wont lie that thought has popped in my head a lot lately. Would I go home? What would I do there? Open a bakery with my dad? Or would I go back to NY. Maybe I would just stay put.

The thought of not seeing my cousin regularly for lunch made me very sad. I very much enjoy talking about our family and about books and films with him. His dad and my grandma where brother and sister. Since my grandmother passed away earlier this year no one is left of that generation. My grandmother was a feisty woman with an incessant joie de vie. I know I have her spirit of perseverance and that is perhaps what is inside that pocket of happiness.

A very large city, indeed

Posted in 37 with tags , , on October 17, 2010 by ana

Last night we were on the west side. I never go west. Sometimes I think the beach is so close I should just drive over and see the ocean but it seems so far away. And it is. It really felt like we were in another world.

The few times a year we find ourselves out there we take the opportunity to eat at some of our favorite places- mainly Gjelina on Abbot Kinney or Mori Sushi on Pico. Last night we ended up at Gjelina with two friends and had grilled squid with grapefruit and avocado, and pizza one with lamb sausage and tomato confit, and another with gruyere and caramelized onions. We drank two bottles of Petalos, a spanish wine that I really like, and had a grand time. It was pretty and cozy at the restaurant- the wood, the tiles, the dim lights. It really did feel like we had been transported to another city, something like a cross between Brooklyn and Chelsea. Last night I think I finally got the west side’s appeal. There is something very luxe amidst its boho Jim Morrison vibe. Something very Barneys, art gallerish, designey about it. The opposite of the east side’s hipster thing.

This city is so big. Sometimes that is one of worst things about it but other times it really adds to its magic. Friday we walked around our neighborhood in search of dessert and wine. We wandered through Koreatown marvelling at how it felt like we were in a different country and not just Korea. Part of a sidewalk, taken over by the roots of the trees lining it, reminded me of Puerto Rico. The televisions in bars and restaurants, though they showed Korean television, reminded me of Spain.

That night we ended up at the HMS Bounty which also felt like somewhere else. Sitting in a booth felt like we were in the midwest and had stopped for a drink after a long day of driving cross-country. But their we were, sipping terrible wine across the street from where Robert Kennedy was shot and up the street from where the Brown Derby used to be. And then we walked home. It felt good to walk home. Walking anywhere in LA always feels special.