"It's not much but it's ours"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


My friend, Sybil, is the most tolerant of women. When she began to make her Excel spreadsheet of “things to do when Simon is in town” (did I mention she is a scary, geeky sort too?) I was allowed generous input and she did not bat an eyelid when I told her I wanted to spend a day doing the tourist thing.

So, early on day four of my sojourn to La La Land, we set off from her home in Culver City along the clogged freeways to Hollywood where we ( and by “we” I mean “I”) spent a happy few hours walking along the rather tawdry Hollywood Boulevard looking at the stars embedded in the paving stones and the hand and footprints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The crowds were gathered around some of the more famous modern names. Tom Hanks was popular, so was Stallone. But, for me, it was the quiet forgotten corners of the forecourt which held the real magic, Cary Grant, Abbott & Costello, Rex Harrison, Myrna Loy and, of course, Humphrey Bogart.

We had intended to have a mid-day Martini at Musso & Frank’s but got our timing horribly wrong and arrived on a day it was closed, so headed across the street to the equally famous Pig & Whistle to share a plate of passable calamari and a tuna melt sandwich, while we watched a few old school types in another booth talk about how good the old days were.

Next up on Sybil’s list, a drive to Burbank and a two-hour wait in line to attend a taping of The Jay Leno Show, a truly American experience. When we were finally seated, the great man himself appeared to whoops and hollers as people from Nebraska clawed at each other to get to t-shirts thrown to the crowds. A fun experience although, I am not sure Sybil appreciated my contented purring during the interview with the luscious Selma Blair.

Finally, across The Valley for supper at another much hyped restaurant in Glendale, Palate. Specialising in small plates, five of us worked our way through the menu, beginning with the horrendously named “porkfolio” a plate of charcuterie, which should have its name changed to “blahfolio” for presenting as bad a selection as you would get on a take away platter from Morrisons. Much better were two mason jars filled with well made potted pork and chicken, which we smeared onto wafer thin and crispy crostini.

Of the main courses we shared, duck with pomegranates was probably the most successful, although Sybil sucked up a plate of Pork Belly with Ham Hock Hash in rapid time too. Less successful was a risotto with Brussel sprouts and black truffle which managed to lack any flavour despite the fungal goodness.

A cheese course merely reinforced that America is where good cheese goes to die, but a chocolate pudding, rich and creamy, showed that they know how to ace desserts.

All in all as good a meal of its type as I have had in the city so far and in excellent company. A bill for $44 didn’t cause too many tears either.

Off to Santa Cruz tomorrow for a few days. Back to L.A on Friday.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering about the answer to the quiz in yesterday’s post. The stairs, situated in Silver Lake are from The Music Box (well done JimT) the hysterical short by Messrs Laurel & Hardy. If you have never seen it, shame on you.

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Blogger William Leigh said...

Ah...the classic Brussel sprout and truffle risotto...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 5:08:00 pm  

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