Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Olé!

OMG people, serious, serious rave reviews coming. My dad and I did the ol’ “Let’s Drive Down Ventura Blvd. on a Saturday Night And Just Spontaneously Pick A Place” routine. Did we want Italian? Did we want Seafood? Did we want something ethnic and exotic? We just didn’t know, so we flew by the seat of our pants, poo-pooing the French places, eschewing the franchise-type eateries. As you know, this approach to eating out could be met with disastrous results, but Dad and I got super lucky. We happened upon Olé! From the outside, it looked warm and inviting, and I saw that it was a tapas place, which is always fun, so we pulled in and gave it a shot.

We sat on the patio under their patio heater thingies and were greeted by a totally sweet server who took great care of us the whole evening. Though I love doing the thing of ordering several tapas and sharing, we were so starving that we opted to get one tapa, then share two entrees. I should mention here that, like any Spanish place worth its salt, they have sangria options, but the cocktail choices caught my eye and I settled on a Midnight Kiss. Our server recommended the Filet a la Plancha to start (grilled rosemary flatiron steak w/ anchovy butter). Who would think that starting off a meal with steak would be so inviting, but it set the tone for the rest of the meal, it was just so delicious and savory (no, you don’t taste the anchovy fishy thing). I got the salmon and Dad got the Fideos Vascos (angel hair pasta, shrimp and chicken in beer reduction sauce). We shared each and man, they were awesome.

It’s too early for lunch, and I’m getting hungry already just thinking about that place. So yeah, total thumbs-up. Oh, and since we got there early, there wasn’t much of a crowd, but by the time we left, the place was jumpin’. Reservations recommended.

Olé!
13251 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
(between Coldwater and Woodman)
Tel: (818) 986 3190

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Goose Whisperer

One thing I love about living in the valley at this time of year: Geese. You will hear this distant sort of funny little honking sound, like one goose told a joke and they all kind of share a chuckle. Then you’ll see them, gracefully flying overhead in formation, their long necks stretched out and bobbing as they fly, softly honking into the breeze.

First thing this morning as I let the dogs out back for their morning business, I heard that gentle honking sound and looked skyward. A flock of geese (oh wait, I think it’s gaggle)… a gaggle of geese flew overhead and I was filled with this warm, fuzzy kind of feeling.

When I was little, my grandparents had a house on the lake in Tahoe where they would live several months out of the year, and then head back to Van Nuys during the cold months. My bro and I would go visit and spend weeks at a time with them. We would be playing in the backyard or on the dock, checking Grandpa’s bait trap for minnows, and we would hear the geese coming from a few houses away. We would scram at high speeds to the house and up the stairs to the kitchen, where Grammy would give us day-old bread to feed the geese and ducks. She would usually come out with us to feed them, as she had a special relationship with a certain goose named Oscar. Geese mate for life, and Oscar would make an appearance every day with his beautiful snow-white wife, Carmelita. But his loyalty to Carmelita didn’t stop him from having a very deep, albeit platonic, relationship with my Grammy. Oscar would run after you and hiss and try to bite your toes if you came anywhere near my Grammy. Seriously, he was like a pit bull on 'roids. But when he sat next to Grammy, he was suddenly Mr. Charming Sensitive Guy. She would ask him about his day, to which he would softly coo his replies. I am convinced my Grammy was able to interpret Geese as she always replied to his mumblings and they carried on a conversation like this for several minutes with equal amount of give and take. He would gently take chunks of bread from her hand. He would quietly give his take on current events, discuss the weather, gossip about the neighbors. After they were all caught up on their niceties, Oscar would stand up, wriggle his bushy, feathery butt, round up his bitch, and head to the next house that would give him carbs. To this day, it is among my very fondest of childhood memories. My Grammy is no longer with us, but she remains the only Goose Whisperer I have ever known.

What a nice way to start the day, seeing the geese through my sleepy eyes and thinking of her.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Halloweenie

People, I ain’t gonna lie. I love me some Halloween. I love dressing up and being someone else for a day. This year, I decided that since I didn’t get to dress up last year, I would be TWO different people for a day this Halloween. One costume would be work appropriate:

I won the costume contest at work for this one. $50 gift certificate is mine. Wheeeee! I have to say, I have a newfound respect for pregnant women everywhere after lugging around this pillow over my belly all day. I was like a human incubator! And I had a nice white-trash accent to go along with it. I cruised the office in character asking everyone for beer and cigs. And doesn’t Miata look cute? She reminded me of a sexy muppet.

. . . And one costume I would wear later for attending the West Hollywood Costume Carnival wherein it would be appropriate to be boobylicious and scandalous:



This was our little pre-party. Doesn’t Bunnie look just like Kim Catrall from SITC only with a pink wig? She looked hawt! The girl with us who looks semi-possessed by Satan is an opera singer, and sang a few bars for us which was made super-creepy by her Corpse Bride costume. But it was so cool.

We had too much fun at the carnival. Bunnie nor I had ever been (I know, the shame, being a native Los Angeleno and all), and it did NOT disappoint. The only bummer: my dogs were seriously barkin’ by the end of the evening after walking around in my big huge black boots. I could barely walk by midnight. And then it’s impossible to find a cab to get back home. I practically crawled into my front door at nearly 2 a.m., totally exhausted and filthy with sweat from dancing to the Spazmatics, but other than that, dang it was a blast! It totally sucked that I had to work the next day. I tell ya, I just can’t rage like I used to on school nights.