12 June 2007

city of angels, pt.2


Friday, June 8th. I was supposed to meet Mark at 9am in Santa Monica to look at a property, but there was no way that would happen after the late night. Also woke up groggy with that feeling of having been on antihistamines that ran out (which is exactly what was happening). Still, perked up a bit when Hana crisped up some thin-crust pizza for breakfast before heading out to her office. I spent the morning crafting follow-up/networking emails and such, then headed out into the perpetual LA sun.

The goal was to take a Culver City tour with Lisa (my best friend from high school), then have lunch at Meltdown with Matt, my friend-slash-(full disclosure) ex-boyfriend who’s a writer-slash-editor, then make chocolate chip cookies in time to join Mark at Elliot’s by 5:30pm for the chicken roast-off. Sounds easy. So why did it feel so hectic?

[EM note: wait… I decided after writing DAY 1 that this is far too detailed… so I will try to cut down on facts and focus more on impressions…]

Part of it was insisting on getting GOOD chocolate chips from Surfas, a chef’s gourmet supply store in Culver City. But ccc’s suck when the cc’s suck. Then there was hunting down the secret ingredient to making them crisp: corn syrup (ultimately “borrowed” from Matt and his wife Juliane – thank you!). And, picking up other ingredients at Trader Joe’s, and (recycled material) paper plates from Ralph’s… Ah, how easily one relearns the art of taking left turns through yellow lights, and the constant scanning for parking spots! But in the company of friends, it was all good.

Skipping to the party itself – the only thing I can compare it to, really, is a wedding. It was all family* and close friends (and close friends of close friends), many of whom we don’t get to see more than once a year, and tons of mouthwatering comfort food, and just barely enough time to spread the love. Mark has since regaled me with tales of struggling to cook ten chickens on the grill in time for dinner, but they pulled it off… ok, my mind just wandered off there remembering how YUMMY every juicy morsel of meat was. When the birds and the three-cheese mac’n’cheese** came out, it just turned into a free for all, and any hope of conducting a survey on organic vs. regular, honey-mustard vs. margarita went out the window.

But ultimately, the evening was a smashing success – we got dozens of people excited about the store, and willing to not only spread the word but look into real estate questions, offer business advice, etc. There was heated debate (?) as to what neighborhood needs this store the most (I think we’re leaning heavily toward the Bluestone Market model, not the Firebird Roasting Company) – and downtown has emerged as an up-and-coming contender. Through much of this, I was running around keeping freshly baked chocolate chip cookies coming from the oven and didn’t actually sit down to eat until long after the rush. Note to self: don’t let store turn into a restaurant….

Didn't crawl into bed until about 4:30amET again. But I think the "high" from the evening and most excellent meal blew the cold away.

*At least 10% of the guests (i.e. 3 out of 30) were pregnant; one was my sister-in-law Beth, who was about to pop any minute -- but still made it to the roast-off! The countdown continues....but not for long?!

**Cheeses this time were goat, Comte and cheddar.

P.S. Photo credit for top picture: Hana C. Ogawa.

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