Monday, August 31, 2009

down California I-5, destination: Hollywood

Onto a new subject! If those of you are still with me, I am now in L.A., affectionately known (to some) as LaLa land. Not to confuse you, the posts from Japan were from last year, and now I am posting in real time. I chose to drive this time, for the experience, the visiting different people, and the drive up highway one on the way back to Sausalito. Yes, I am a California native and have never ever ever ever driven highway one between LA & the northern end of Big Sur.

The drive down was easily accomplished in 6 hours (that even includes a stop for lunch at a very marginal Indian Restaurant (photos to follow). I am so optimistic when it comes to food. The hand painted signs on the highway advertised "healthful Indian food". At least it was a little different than the Carl's Jr., Wendy's and Taco Bell choices at most roadside stops. I entered the air-conditioned "oasis" to fake plants, various hanging glittery decorations, and a large menu board. I quickly scanned the menu, as I didn't want to get too off track from my drive. I chose the Lamb Biriani, the server asked, "Is that all?," as if the $11.75 dish would not be enough to feed my senses. Oh yeah, "and a chai", I responded. A bad Indian soap opera was playing on the T.V. across the room, dubbed with English, and blaring loud enough to distract the 2 other tables of travelers.

The Biriani arrived and was basically a large plate of rice, smattered with a few chunks of braised lamb shoulder. The spice was actually quite right, a little heat, but not too much, but way too little sauce and way too much rice. Now I understand why she asked if that was all I wanted. The chai had not yet arrived and so, in very bad restaurant etiquette (yes, I am a bad girl most of the time), I got up and asked for a Raita to accompany my meal (instead of waiting for the server to come back). the Raita arrived and was even more disappointing than the Biriani, a bowl of thinned yogurt, studded sparingly with shredded raw carrots. Not a cucumber in site. Eeeghads, "please make my chai to go," I asked as she brought me the check and still no chai. The bill was $18.

I was only in there for like 20 minutes, max, which thrilled me to stay on schedule and make it to Hollywood by 3:30 (I left Sausalito at 9:15am). My ride was accompanied by a book on (multiple) CD's: Haruki Murakami's "Kafka on the Shore". I had ordered this CD series through Amazon a few weeks back, and was shocked it came in a large set of 15 CD's about an hour each. Haruki Murakami is my favorite author and I am pleased to say that this book on CD is as captivating as all of his other books that I've read.

I arrived at Ricardo's incredibly hot (90 F) Hollywood apartment at 3:30 on the nose (i'm such a planner!). After about 1/2 hour I motioned for a walk and a beer. We walked the 4 blocks up and around the corner to Sunset Blvd and the Cat & Fiddle Pub which had a nice outdoor courtyard area. If one didn't know it, you could have been in Barcelona, Mexico City or, well, Hollywood.

I'm surprised that the air is so clear here in Hollywood, as the fire up in the Northeastern part of LA county is burning out of control. Here's to prayers and luck to all the firefighters (including a good friend of mine, I'm sure) for a break in this stifling weather.

Now off to our friend Joe's house in West Hollywood for a little cold wine and cheese, and then to La Mozza Pizzeria for dinner.

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