Kids, No Chaser

Visiting Hours

Monday, October 01, 2007 posted by Henri


So we shot down to LA this weekend to revive my soul. I'm like a Beluga whale or Narwhal and um LA is like my arctic air and something about blowholes and metaphors about surfacing and blah blah blah. Anyways I was looking weak and my wife took pity on me and we all piled into the car for a micro emergency trip to Los Angeles to try and revive my constitution.

We only had about 24 hours to spend and most of it was for the family. The kids got to see their aunt and grandparents. We swung by the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo to check out the Japanese Gardener Exhibit. Awesome. We ate some Pinkberry because it is the law. Verdict: Meh. At least when Starbucks came out the coffee was actually a bit better. Pinkberry is Penguins with a Korean design team.

So at the end of the day we were able to leave the kids with the folks and had a brief bit of night to ourselves. Driving out to Hollywood to catch the tail end of the Micallef exhibit, we laughed about how impossible it is to really appreciate the time a couple has together before kids.

I needed to get my LA fix in a short amount of time. Driving up La Brea Blvd into Hollywood really does the trick. Ahhh the mini-malls. The crazy mix of shops below Pico reflect the real heart of the city, then you move up to the bit above Wilshire which transitions into Hollywood which gets logarithmically wackier as you make a right onto Hollywood and head towards Highland. Between La Brea and Highland you're in a tourist concentration camp.

After a failed attempt to see the Micallef Show (bastards) we swung down Fairfax and hooked up with the only friends we got to see in our short visit. They had recently moved into the neighborhood.

DLOC is the Vince to my Johnny Drama. His moving into the house his job paid for him (to shorten his commute) only puts the final nail into gigantic blinking Entourage sign pointing to me. He's going to support me and I will live like a well married with kids rockstar.

Scotch. Scotch. Scotch. Then let's eat. DLOC's awesome wife drove all of us over to Canter's. Ahh Canter's. Like many places in LA, Canter's had an appeal that is not based on their food (good), service (sometimes downright nasty), or prices (not bad), but rather their history. Over 75 years now and going strong. The Apple Pan, Canter's, the Dresden room pre-Swingers, these are all places strangers can walk into and rightfully say "I don't get it". Sometimes it's the history of a place that gives it its credibility. I'm sitting in Canter's with my wife, my best man, his wife, some pickles, no kids, on Fairfax with a Reuben on the way and I'll give you three guesses how happy I was.

Oh yeah, about Reubens. I have a disease. I have a congenital need for the Reuben Sandwich. I cannot not order it. I'll order it in places that I know will completely butcher it but order it nonetheless. I can't see a Reuben and not get it. I'll order it in Tokyo. I'll order it in a Grayhound bus depot. I'll order it at McDonalds if they made it. I'll get it at a freaking 7-11 if I saw it there. I'd go to Naples and pick it over anything else if they were cruel enough to have one on the menu. It's like tourettes.


Now as much as I love Canter's, I couldn't help but wince when they asked me what kind of meat I wanted in my Reuben. What kind of meat? I ordered a Reuben. Not a Rachel, so get that Turkey the hell away from me. No I do not want pastrami either. I want a Reuben. Corned Beef mang. Sauerkraut. Russian Dressing. Swiss Cheese. Rye. No thousand island, no pumpernickel, and god almighty don't you dare put coleslaw in it. These are all fine variants I know, but in a deli a Reuben should be old school. Sorry. So my Reuben was awesome. For those that would disparage Los Angeles Delis let me remind you that I live in NoCal. NoCal has good Delis like North Korea has good haircuts.

Being back in LA I felt my spirit refilling with each breath of smog. Despite the fact that we missed the Micallef show (bastards), despite the fact that we didn't have time to go to my favorite bar or see so many of the friends I miss so much, in this tiny piece of time I got my fix for my beautiful city. And as visiting hours draw to a close, we say our goodbyes and leave heavy-hearted. But in the short time I had, I got to see my girl and tell her I missed her. That's all I really needed.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, Henri. Reveling in youthful memories about your old home town...but you gotta snap out of it! For every 10 LA transplants we receive up north we send down one unlucky bastard to purgatory in emphysema-land. I know you don't get it, being from Socal, but you gotta let go.
Sorry to see you get all weepy about LA food. You live in, what, Berkeley? Food mecca of the west coast? and you're pining for a deli? go to NYC for crissakes --that's where real deli's live. Where would you send someone who is complaining about the bad sourdough in Arizona? or someone whining about the lack of, ohmygod, like totally, silicone-enhanced, bleach blondes in Minnesota?

10:20 PM

Blogger Henri said...

Whatever dude.

11:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in California for 5 years. Every time I asked for Russian dressing, the waitresses would look at me like I was crazy and bring me Thousand Island. I used to get so pissed off, I'd just scream and yell, "Dammit. Do I ahve to do everything, wench? Just bring me some mayo, some ketchup, some relish, a few lemons, a bottle of vinegar, some vegetable oil, and paprika!"

If they ever asked me what kind of meat I wanted on my reuben, I might have to stab them with a pickle.

6:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

pinkberry = just meh, really? as annoyingly trendy as the korean frozen yogurt is, i think you have to give it another chance the next time you're in LA. the tart taste tends to grow on you with each subsequent visit.

9:27 AM

Blogger Puka said...

Dude, that post made me sick for LA. *sigh*

10:28 AM

Blogger Puka said...

Er I meant homesick for LA. *bonks herself upside the head*

10:29 AM

Blogger Yaniv said...

Canter's makes me homesick for NYC.

1:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I get is "Whatever dude"? I was hoping for a big ole rant about Rams domination in the 70's, blah blah Dodgers, blah blah beaches, LA japantown is better, blah blah hotties, gratuitous Angels, hair bands, exclamation point. What do I need to do to get a rise out of you--insult your favorite single malt?

10:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, next time you drive down, you need to take a detour off the 5 and drop by in Bako. We live 2 hours away and we miss LA too. Though not the traffic. Heh.

I don't get Pinkberry either. Next time you're down, go to Scoops or Pazzo Gelato.

2:25 PM


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