Monday, April 16, 2012


I didn't have to work last Sunday, since it was Easter, which is very rare, me not having to work on Sundays, and, well, resurrection, too, I suppose.  So Brad and I decided to brave brunch together.  We had no idea where to go, or how it's done (reservations?), but we figured we'd play it by ear, and at the very least, we'd get a nice tour of fine L.A..

Well, after taking our lovely driving tour around the neighborhoods of Los Angeles, seeing line after line of people waiting to dine at all of the popular brunch spots, we figured we'd venture a different direction, to the Hasidic neighborhood.  I give us major credit for figuring that one out.  We finally landed ourselves at BLD.  It's a place I have passed and considered many times before, but never gone to because it just seemed pretty standard, by the looks of it.  Or, at least, not quirky.  And I'm always looking for quirky.

But, there was hardly any wait there, which was a good thing, but also made me suspicious at first.  However, once I looked at the menu, I was absolutely sold!  Seriously, once I saw the words "house smoked tofu bacon", I was completely on board.  Because it was by no means a vegetarian or healthy sort of place.  Thank god!  I wanted serious decadent brunch!  Still, I instantly held the chef in much higher esteem.

With that one option, I came to the conclusion that she was a conscientious and open person, my favorite kind.  Like she just truly loves the artistry of cooking and wants to find ways to get creative and cater, in some small way, to everyone, like a true host.  That's very sweet of her.  She didn't have to.  It really made me think she was cool.   Because she must have asked herself one day, how can I make something vegan and still keep my personal style? And created tofu bacon. That's awesome.  

In any case, I was, at that point, super excited to try the place.  

And it was the best breakfast!!!!  Just really different and artistic.  I ordered the Eggs Florentine and it was a fantastic little presentation.  A miniature cast iron pot (my favorite! mini! sold again! before even trying it!) with potatoes, eggs and spinach layered inside.  And a homemade english muffin on the side.  I could tell, too, because, I'm no spring chicken when it comes to making homemade english muffins.

Well, now, as much as I loved that mini cast iron pot with all of my heart, I'm not one for casserole style eating, so I pulled the different parts out and placed them side by side on my plate.  I've always liked my food components separate so that I can choose what combinations I make.  But that's just my thing about freedom and choice and variety, parlaying itself into my dining habits.  

Don't get me wrong, though, I would not have wanted the dish presented any other way!  I loved that I got to take the different elements out of a mini cast iron pot.  It really would not have been the same for me without that mini cast iron pot.  But enough about that thing (I want one!).  

Brad said that, no matter what, we just had to order a single blueberry ricotta pancake, knowing that I am generally not interested in sweets and pastries, but he was adamant.  Oh my god!  That pancake!  My palette remembers it still.  Maybe because the ricotta made it less sweet and lighter (fluffier, like it could float away) than a regular pancake.  Maybe that was the secret.  But whatever it was, we nearly devoured that whole thing along with our respective meals.  Thank you metabolism, thank you metabolism.

When we were pretty much done, it was quite amusing.  Because we sat there talking for so long, nibbling on the remaining pancake, I swear about 25 different servers came to ask us if they could clear our plates.  Seriously, it felt like a movie montage of auditions.  A choosing-the-busboy sort of montage.  So the latter portion of our time there was interrupted continually by an array of faces asking us, "May I take your plates?", "Are you done?", "Shall I clear your plates?", "Are you guys finished?", "Can I take these away?".  We stood our ground. I don't think they were in a hurry to get us out of there, because there were several free tables. I just think they were on top of it.  

Also, maybe they're just used to people being ready to flee the place immediately after their forks make their final clink upon the plate.  I did notice that when the majority of the other patrons finished their meals, that was their cue to leave.  Which to me is funny, perhaps because I grew up in the restaurant business.  And having long dinners.  That's what I love about sharing meals with good friends, the lingering.  It's not just about satiating one's hunger of the stomach, but about satisfying one's appetite for new insights and the lovely, meandering tangents of conversation and company and laughter and complex discussions and life analysis.  The long conversations after meals are usually the very best of them all.  And we just wanted to keep the option of having one more bite of that ricotta pancake while we loitered in conversation.

After that delectable brunch, Brad spontaneously took me up to a spot in Griffith Park to go for a walk.  He asked if I'd been to the bat caves, and I said no, but that I've always wanted to go.  So we walked up there, me in a dress and sandals, him in his driving shoes, while everyone we passed was in trail running gear, which is what's so sweet about spontaneity, the unplanned predicaments that make you smile.  

And when we got to the bat caves, some people were filming something, and I tried to stay positive and told Brad that it was ok, I've already seen bat caves in my life, on the North Shore of Kauai.  Well, he gave me the funniest look, but not too funny, because my friends have come to expect these comments from me.  He smiled and had to inform me that they were called the bat caves because Batman had been filmed there.  Oh, obviously.  Of course I wouldn't know that!  I come from fairy land!  That was a funny moment, and we managed to go around to the back entrance so that I could go inside anyway. So it worked out, except there were no bats.  Also no Batman. 

And when we came out of the caves, I looked up and the Hollywood sign was directly in my field of vision.  I mean, I've always seen it from far away, or right on top of it, but I've never just seen it as a huge word, like the H on the very left border of my line of direct sight and the D on the very right border.  Just that one word, right there, on the hills, and nothing else.  That was beautiful to me.  How has Hollywood so entangled itself with my heart?  How has this become my home?

In writing this, the day sounds so romantic.  But Brad and I are just the closest of friends and we really cherish how solid our friendship is, because that's not always easy between men and women, I think especially for Brad. Someone usually makes it complicated.

I guess, though, the day was romantic.  We got to soak in the romance of life and experience.  The whole day, our surroundings.  It's romantic to embrace the world and appreciate it and feel it so deeply.  These beautiful vignettes, the breeze and soft sunlight and the cool of the caves and the sweetness of old friendship and the Hollywood sign. Life is romantic.   

Leaving those hills and ending that day, I just thought to myself, can one love this world too much?  Will it think I cling to it too tightly, and just send me packing someday?  Oh, yeah, well, I guess it will.  But not from too much love.  There's no way.  Because even just in saying how much I love the world, I want to go downstairs to the park and lie in the grass and dig my toes into the dirt and look up at my old friend the mushroom tree and squint when the sun peeks through the branches and giggle and breathe and thank this place, just thank it for being what it is.  


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