Monday, October 31, 2005

Encino Deli and Restaurant

One of the things I love the most about discovering great new places in our new ‘hood is sharing them with you guys. You will LOVE this one. It is such a find. I can’t believe the place wasn’t mobbed with hordes of people.

Derek and I found ourselves in need of breakfast Saturday morning when I discovered we were out of eggs and pretty much any other reasonable facsimile of breakfast-like food. So we meandered to our local Jewish deli around the corner, and boy, were we pleasantly surprised by how good it was. How good EVERYTHING was. For starters, we walked in and though we were dressed like chores-around-the-house folk with no discernable hairstyle of note on either of us, we were greeted like celebs and immediately ushered to a nice, fat booth where our drink order was taken. The menu is extensive and has all the traditional Jewish fare: gefilte fish, whitefish, matzo brie, etc. Even sturgeon. Who eats sturgeon? Isn’t that like a giant, seamonster-looking kinda thing? I mean seriously, what is that whole sturgeon thing about? But I digress.

After much perusal, I went with the Lox Benedict. Now, I love me some lox yo, so I was not disappointed with this dish of nicely poached eggs on a fresh bagel with tasty lox and hollandaise from scratch, not from a powdery packet. Derek opted for the standard pancake sandwich situation, which was also very good with big giant fluffy cakes. Service throughout was very friendly and accommodating, but not overly attentive or intrusive. I discovered a great tip from our server. If you are served with cold, hard butter that you want to spread some time this year, set your hot plate on top of it for about a half a minute. Instant softened butter.

We stuffed ourselves and then cruised the deli counter in the front, where we discovered (with little surprise because they were so good) -- holy crap! -- this place bakes their own bagels! There’s even a window to the bakery where you can watch them being made and check out stacks and stacks of freshly made bagels of all varieties about to be baked. In the deli case are all sorts of slabs of pastrami and huge sides of salmon and delicious-looking side dishes. We didn’t get anything, but it was so fun to look and know this place is there for us. Yeeeeeeah. Best breakfast EVAR. Would have to give it two big thumbs up, baby!

Encino Deli & Restaurant
17271 Ventura Blvd. (at Louise)
Encino, CA 91316
Phone: (818) 995-4545

Thursday, October 27, 2005

You Got Served

So I visited my new friend CaliValleyGirl’s blog and got tagged. Here are my answers. You can also consider yourself tagged by reading this, or not. Whatevs.

Seven Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
1. Accept an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (shut up bitches, don’t laugh!)
2. Drive across the country in a convertible with Derek and see all the great states I’ve missed so far, taking only a few clothes, a toothbrush, and a video camera.
3. Adopt a child.
4. Go snowboarding in Whistler, Canada.
5. Check out the rest of Europe that I haven't seen.
6. Buy a cabin in Lake Tahoe.
7. Be a good person.

Seven Things I Can Do:
1. Throw a party.
2. Give a good massage.
3. Type 115 words per minute.
4. Sing I’m Tired by Lily Von Schtupp of Blazing Saddles in its entirety.
5. Cook.
6. Cut men’s hair.
7. Rollerblade like the wind.

Seven Things That I Cannot Do:
1. Math. Or anything math- or logic-related.
2. Write anything with my right hand.
3. Eat mushrooms.
4. Be on time.
5. Draw.
6. Understand why Paris Hilton is famous.
7. Resist hugging my dog when he does his daily spazz-out “My ass is on fire, can you feel my jungle heat?” dance.

Seven Things That I Say A Lot:
1. Dude!
2. Shut up!
3. I mean!
4. Whatevs.
5. I am so sure!
6. M’kay? (a la Mr. Mackey from South Park)
7. Yeah, bite me.

Seven Things I Find Attractive In A Male:
1. Sense of humor
2. Intelligence
3. Street smarts
4. Integrity
5. Good relationships with his family and friends
6. A positive attitude
7. An interest in his health and appearance

Seven Celebrity Crushes:
1. Angelina Jolie (duh)
2. Dave Grohl
3. Marlon Brando in Streetcar
4. Gary Oldman in Dracula and The Professional
5. Dr. Drew from Loveline
6. Michael Biehn from Aliens and Terminator
7. Shane on The L Word

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ballantines

I love me a little weekend getaway. It’s got to be fairly easy and close, not ungodly expensive, and has got to pack a good three days’ worth of relaxation into each weekend day. Which is why when I was planning a little getaway for Derek’s birthday, there was really only one place that came to mind: Ballantines in Palm Springs.

I had been there once before with Rhonda and we had such a great time, and I knew the man would love it. Ballantines is an intimate, sweet, authentic time period little baby-hotel “with an emphasis on vintage 50s kitsch.” It is located conveniently close to downtown Palm Springs, but not in downtown, so it’s quieter and feels more like a vacation. You won't want to leave the hotel anyway. They play soothing 50s ballad type music by the pool all day, where there is a beautiful view of the mountain range; they do free happy hour with wine and beer and free breakfast (with good coffee!) every morning; there are no screaming kids at the pool; and I would be terribly remiss if I did not mention that the ladies who work at the front desk are just as kind and hospitable as can be while still allowing you to just get your chill on. Betty was there when we checked in and saw me by the pool wearing this bathing suit, with my red lips and nails, and exclaimed, “My, but you look like you belong here!” Flattery like that gets you everywhere in my book. Basically, this is where you want to go to hang by the pool in the 90-degree-sun-even-though-it's October, read smut magazines and drink beers.

The coolest thing is the various theme rooms, though, all with little kitchenettes with retro appliances. For this trip, I opted for the Palm Springs Suite, which is adorable. Private patio, bathrobes in the dressing room, happy cheery décor. But one of these times when we go, I definitely need to stay in the Pretty In Pink Suite, which is outfitted (of course) entirely in pink, with Marilyn Monroe photos and memorabilia all over the place. The photos on the website do not do justice to the major, whoop-ass, flaming pinkness of that room. When Rhonda and I went, we stayed in the 50s Musical Suite, and the girls who were staying in the Pretty In Pink Suite were nice enough to give us a tour. That’s the other thing about Ballantines – the guests. There is a nice, laid-back vibe amongst the guests and it’s hard not to end up friends with them.

So, go there. Get away. And make some friends. You will love it!

Ballantines Hotel in Palm Springs
1420 North Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, California 92262
Toll free reservations: 1-800-485-2808

Friday, October 21, 2005

No Wankers

After sitting in traffic for about a jillion hours last night due to George W's visit to our fine city (pretty sure I saw the Air Force One chopper zoom over the 10 to land at SM Airport -- I flipped it off), I swigged a glass of badly-needed pinot and then Tirza came over for a good hound-walking for the first time since that last fateful time we walked the dogs together and encountered a public wanker who had creepily followed us so we could watch him wank. Though I came up short on poo bags twice due to Babe being uncharacteristically pooptastic (I hate when that happens and I have to do the stealthy I'm-A-Crappy-Ass-Neighbor Walk of Shame afterward, but geez, she had already crapped once and used up the poo bag I had on hand), I am happy to report that there was nary a wanker in sight. Just a lovely Encino night with a giant, caramel-colored, low-slung moon in the sky and lots of good kvetching with a good friend.

Life is good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Yippeeee!

The sun is back out! The sun is back out! Woot! Woot!

OMG we are spoiled. ROTTEN.

Friday, October 14, 2005

What Is It With People These Days?

I saw this in today’s news, and I have to say, it perfectly encapsulates my feelings about people’s behavior lately. Why is rudeness so commonly accepted these days? Are politeness and common courtesy things of a bygone era? Why do people not teach their children this vital concept of civilized living?

I was pondering this question with great earnest on the drive home last night, but was interrupted by my life flashing before my eyes as someone in an SUV attempted to dart into my lane space with my Cabrio still unfortunately in it. Now, understand that as the driver of a smallish car in a dark blue color, I am well aware that it renders my car virtually invisible to most, especially to SUVs. I have to make a point of driving defensively around these types, and especially to not lurk in someone’s blind spot. My very survival depends on it. But people, this happened no fewer than THREE TIMES on the drive home. Someone would be pissed off that their lane wasn’t moving, and decide that they had to be in my lane, like, stat, immediately, NOW, and wouldn’t even do a cursory over-the-shoulder glance to see if anyone or anything was there. My poor little factory-issued horn got a serious workout last night trying to save my and Derek’s precious asses from being crushed by some idiot who couldn’t be bothered to care or notice that hi, in rush hour traffic, there ARE other cars on the road. All over the place, in fact. It is just a hard, cold fact of existence in the big city. And after bitterly swerving back into their chosen lane, I don’t even get the “Whoops, sorry!” wave for scaring the crap out of me? WTF?

And don’t even get me started on the cell phone thing. I have a cell phone. I have had a cell phone that has existed as my sole telephone (i.e., no land line at home) for many years now. But it is pretty much a known fact amongst my friends that if we are hanging out, and you find it necessary to be chatty with someone who is not with us in person about something of little import (and what could be more important than quality time with moi?), you will find our visit abruptly over and I will, in the future, opt to instead hang out with a friend who is actually interested in being present during our time together. Managing to coordinate two or more people to congregate for social purposes is no mean feat these days with everyone’s busy schedules, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend any of that precious time sitting around with my thumb up my butt whilst someone chats on the phone about some inane nonsense. Don’t waste my time, and I promise I won’t waste yours.

And of course there are exceptions to this – geez, I’m not a total hardcore cruster. One night when Bunnie and I were about to have dinner, I noticed I was getting a call from Jillie-pew who was fresh out of the hospital after pumping out a wee bairn. She hadn’t yet been able to talk to me since the travails of birthing, and lives in Okla-freakin-homa so it's not like I can go to the hospital and visit, and so of course I explained same to Bunnie who was very understanding, and I promptly skulked off into the corner to talk to my god-baby-mama. There are always special circumstances. That’s what cell phones are for. Duh.

What they are NOT for is to talk to people while you are in a movie theater surrounded by several other movie-goers, in the middle of a movie. What the hell is that about? Since Derek and I usually frequent the ArcLight for our theater-going needs, I was totally unprepared for what displeasures they suffer at theaters in the valley on a recent movie venture to see The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Not exactly a light-hearted comedy if you know what I mean. There, in the middle of the theater, during a crucial moment in the film, an obnoxious ringtone could be heard several rows ahead of us. But rather than being turned off, the person actually picked up the phone and started talking! I know, I couldn’t believe it either. This is where the higher cost of the ArcLight is worth its weight in gold. People actually go to view the movie with some respect for others that are there for a similar purpose, and are not there to chat on the phone. “Hello? What? No, nothin’, just chillin’. I’m at the Promenade. Yeah some stupid movie about some chick who’s trippin’ on the devil or some shit. Ooooh, scary. What? Where you all at? Oh yeah? What you gonna do later?” etc., etc., ad nauseum. Yeah, even though he was nowhere near us, everyone could hear everything this dipshit was saying. Okay, not only is it not that difficult to turn the dumb phone off BEFORE the movie starts dumbass, but dude, if you are absolutely DYING to chit-chat, save the cost of the ticket and go hang outside and chat all you want in the lobby, you rude FREAK! I don’t get it. I really don’t get it.

Am I missing something? Can somebody please give me a clue if you have one. Please?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dont'cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Her?


I am posting this photo because hi, my friend Shannon is ridiculously freakin’ hot. Her friend took these photos as kind of an homage to the Madonna/Ray of Light album cover. I think they are so beautiful, and really come close to the original. Can you believe her luminous skin? Her lustrous locks? Her perfect straight white teeth? She makes me want to go drink 100 glasses of water and do a bunch of yoga. What a fox. This one is definitely my fave of the bunch – it makes me happy just looking at it. But you can see more of his work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whipflash/


Monday, October 10, 2005

Thought I Heard Your Voice Yesterday...

So I had a dream last night that I went over to Miranda’s house to visit and play with little Brady (you know, from Sex In The City). He was so cute with his red hair, getting into everything, full of energy. When I picked him up, he would cling to me like a koala bear. Miranda was busy talking on the phone and dealing with Magda while I played with Brady. It was a nice visit and I was happy to see all three of them.

What does this dream mean, you may ask? For me, it’s not difficult to interpret at all. It is really quite simple. I MISS THAT DAMN SHOW. So much. God, so very much. I miss it so much, I have to visit the characters in my dreams like they are my friends in life that I would go visit. Geez, I miss that show! And keep in mind, dear people, that I am most definitely NOT a TV show person. At all. I can barely sit through any of them, especially quote-unquote “comedy” shows. Whilst watching them, I am thinking of about ten jillion things I would rather be doing. I always find them so formulaic and boring that I can never get into them, despite the best intentions of my friends who swear I will absolutely LOVE this or that show. I almost never do. Sex In The City was the one true exception. I relished every single episode and its ability to make me laugh, cry and cheer. Sometimes I’ll be talking to a girlfriend and a quote will come up from that show that we both know by heart. We’ll laugh. And then there will be a wistful silence for a minute, followed by one of us saying almost tearfully, “God, I miss that show.” “God, me too,” the other will say. It is still just so sad that it’s over.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter at any of the stars or producers of the show for ending it when they did. I totally understood their reasons for doing so, and I always feel that it’s better to end something on a high note rather than let it get so played out that people lose interest. But damn, there is just no equal to fill the void since our loss of our generation’s most beloved women’s show, a clever and witty and adorable piece of art that revealed for the first time how real women talk to one another, and how deeply their bonds with each other really go. I feel an emptiness, and the emptiness hurts. So I visit my dearly missed friends in my dreams.

Sigh.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Le Petit Cafe

I have a confession to make. I often like to dine alone. The perks are many: no waiting on someone else’s indecisiveness, no having to make polite conversation whilst trying to concentrate on savoring my meal, being able to sit and read neglected magazines that I never seem to find the time for, etc.

But that’s not what I need to confess. What I need to confess is my unabashed dumbshit-ness. See, I have extremely close access to this adorable little French bistro. And unlike the stereotype about French people, when you walk in there, you are greeted like a VIP, even if you are just a lonely little scrappy valley beotch table-o’-one like me. They have fabulous things on the menu like duck confit, sandabs, trout almandine, lobster bisque -- some of which I have sampled in the past and loved. So what does Yours-Dumbshit-Truly order every time she patronizes this establishment of such delicately flavored, authentic, sensitive-palate-catering cuisine?

A turkey burger with fries.

Wait, wait, wait, you guys, lemme explain. Hold on a sec. Please don’t hit the little x-marked close window button. Seriously. I’m really not THAT lame. There’s a good reason. See, I’m not much of a meat eater, and actually prefer the flavor of ground turkey over greasy hamburger meat, so as you can imagine, my quest for the perfect turkey burger has run far and wide. And this place has it: Slightly smokey-tasting, juicy, perfectly grilled turkey patty, topped with just-so, perfectly melted, quality cheese, topped with the perfect amount of perfectly thin-sliced produce, topped with some kind of sauce that is akin to Thousand Island, but no, it tastes far, far better than mere Thousand Island, and all of this is surrounded by a perfectly toasted bun. Basically, the thing is a perfect, perfect work of art. Every time. Did I mention it’s perfect? And the fries?

Oh. My. Lanta.

I try to avoid fried food whenever possible, but geez, a woman can only be so strong. These are perfectly thin-cut and crispy little devils that just beg and cry out to be eaten. The whole meal is close to what I imagine it would be like in a perfect world if In-N-Out would make a turkey burger, but then again, at In-In-Out you can’t order a nice glass of cabernet to go with your meal, and you can’t have the luxury of sitting in this cute little place, alone in your own world, eyes rolling back in your head with every bite while a sweet, adorable server checks on you periodically with a smile and respectfully lets you have your foodgasm. You think I’m exaggerating? Try it. I dare you.

Afterward, while walking down the street back to my place of business, I find myself looking at the ground, grinning and giggling to myself like I have a secret, running my fingers through my hair, walking with a swing to my hips. It is just like after a good shag. Remember that song by Joan Osborne, “My Right-Hand Man”? This is my Right-Hand Burger. That’s the power of Le Petit Café’s Turkey Burger with Fries.

When you go, ask for Danielle. She is adorable. Tell her Stupeet American Girl sent you.

Le Petit Cafe
2842 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 829-6792

Monday, October 03, 2005

Spot The DBV

Sitting in traffic? Bored on your regular commute and sick of all the same crap they play on the radio all the time? Do what Derek and I do when we’re bored on our drive home: Play Spot-the-DBV.

It’s really very easy. Douche Bag Vehicles come in many shapes and colors, but the fundamental requirements are the same:
1) Must be a Mitsubishi or Honda Civic or some non-descript cheapie Nissan-esque car (Bonus points: Stolen BMW logo on the back).
2) Must be lowered to within one inch off the ground.
3) Must be stripped of mufflers to produce unnecessarily and obnoxiously loud engine sound.
4) Must have tinted windows (Bonus points: Advertising on the windows for the tinting company).
5) Must have huge drag racer-style spoiler on the back.
6) Must have huge, super-shiny rims that cost more than the car (Bonus points: spinning rims)
7) Must be painted an appropriate DBV color. Acceptable colors include Complete Tool Teal, Dipshit-sparkle Blue, Shit-for-brains Sunburst Orange, and Small Penis Purple. Of course, other colors are acceptable so long as they scream “LOOK AT ME – I’M A DOUCHEBAG!”

Now, try to catch up to the DBV and get a load of the Douche Bag behind the wheel. Does he have spiky hair so sharp and shiny that it looks like it could cut your hand if you accidentally touched it? Does he slouch way low in his seat? Extra points.

Try playing Spot-The-DBV for endless hours of entertaining distraction. If your commute is on the 405, you’ll be especially in luck spotting these special creatures. Happy Hunting!