The last day in Southern California…I’m pretty happy with how we spent it.
First things first– picking the little guy up from college (which is the same campus where we got married, although neither of us is an alum. Whatevs) and taking him to his favorite place on earth.
He would probably subsist completely on plain cheeseburgers and Dr. Pepper if he could; thank God he can’t get to the nearest In’N’Out on foot.
Anyway, so we go nom on this staple of our (collective) childhood with Mongrel, and then when I ask about his finals, he starts talking about Nietzsche. With fluency, and with opinions about whether he was really anti-spirituality, and how he doesn’t like him as much as Darwin, but he’s still pretty epic. Right…..me too.
We couldn’t monopolize him for too long, because clearly college finals are an entirely different animal these days. So we dropped him off and proceeded downtown to kick it while waiting for Smash and Caitlin to be free to play. And somehow this day turned into a self-guided food tour of LA.
First up was Intelligentsia Coffee, where Mitchell from Modern Family was chillin with his java, but we did not take a picture. Because we are cool about celebrities? Probably not, as we are rarely cool about anything. Instead, we meandered over to a farmer’s market and I finally got to introduce M to pupusas. They’re from El Salvador, and are basically corn tortilla pockets filled with pork and cheese. They were a staple of the summer after 1L at my office, and are basically heaven. If heaven were just terrible for you, but tasted amazing.
We also made friends with a vendor selling flavored goat cheese, and it actually pains me to talk about how delicious this stuff was. He kept handing us wooden taster sticks with dollops of cheese, and it was a great sales technique in the same way that holding a gun to my head would have been. He was basically forcing me to buy this cheese by letting me try it. We ended up getting the Honey Lavender and Garlic Herb flavors, largely because M wouldn’t let me buy all ten. (Something about how we were “about to get on a plane.” I wasn’t really listening.)
Poor Cait was still stuck at work, so we made a detour to this place called the Pie Hole to pick up dessert for later. It was allllmost in Skid Row (but not) and then once we parked we realized it was across the street from Wurstkuche. What I’m trying to say here is that I could live happily on this street.
Basically, I could live happily in this pie shop. It’s become a running joke between us that Boston, for all its glorious advantages, is a pie wasteland. Once, when we lived in Cambridge, I was overcome by a pie craving that took us (in VAIN!) to four different restaurants and a few grocery stores before I settled for Dutch apple from the freezer section. Literally, there is no berry pie to be had in this entire city.* Disaster. So you can imagine my reveling in the existence of this little shop.**
A menu that changes daily. Written on scrolls of butcher paper. Yes, please.
So all of this was great, of course, but it was merely a prelude to getting to see two of my favorite people in the world. Cait may be the originator of being “obsessed” with anything and everything, but I am really and truly obsessed with her. She is a “kitchen table” friend. Does that make sense? You don’t need to do anything to have fun with her. You just sit at her kitchen table, talking to her and eating goat cheese on walnut bread and drinking wine out of mason jars…and think about how you seriously couldn’t be happier.
But obviously it gets even better when Smash shows up and you all stumble out to the random Korean BBQ restaurant down the street. Chopsticks and many, many tiny dishes of vegetables? Feel great about that.
Pretty sure she was telling us about music festivals in Denmark at this point…
…so, that’s happening.
Smash obviously makes a far better kitten than I do, but it’s something I’m working on. That was some strange milky sake, but not as strange as the Korean mafia lighting up in the restaurant as we left. (At least, they were the K-town mafia according to M. We thought they were just two girls awkwardly and illegally smoking, but he seemed very sure.)
And as for the pie…well, it was ok.
That’s obviously a blatant lie. It was spectacular, and I felt morally obligated to rein myself in so that I didn’t eat it all. I guess two pieces for four people was the “right” amount, but what is “right,” really? Isn’t it about seizing all the pie you come across and enjoying life to the fullest? Carpe Dessertum or something? Whatever. I love these people, so I shared. (Sorry love, but the ladies both look amazing, so it’s an autoshare.)
So, that’s basically how I would spend an absolutely perfect day…family, friends who are family, and an awkward amount of incredible food. Good lawd, I am excited that we move home soon. The thought that this could be a frequent weekend occurrence gladdens my very soul.
*I am aware that this paragraph has been reprinted in the dictionary under “First World Problems.”
**It had to be really chill reveling, because all the salesclerks were intimidating hipsters.