Four random observations from the first day of the first trip to Los Angeles – a good R&R chance. (note: have some encounters in Assateague and Ohio to yammer about – will get to them when possible):
- One of the more durable maxims of this day and age is that if you want a pleasant airline experience, you probably need to turn to a foreign carrier. Certainly Virgin Atlantic and Sri Lankan Airlines in recent excursions have delivered the goods. US Airways, is pretty terrible. Of course, with DCA being a major hub for them, the short trip is too much to resist. Anyway, after racing through the terminal in Philadelphia to catch the flight to LA, US Airways had their entertainment menu published with the various crappy movies and crappy food selections. Of course when someone asked about the movie, they said “oh we haven’t done these in two years.” Also there was false advertising with the WiFi on the flight. Of course, captive audience.
- LA in September is much cooler than I expected. 66 when we landed, has not gotten much warmer. Compared to DC, it is much more – well, fall-like … somehow that feels like an upset to me.
- Given the normal views of the city on TV, the pavement and palm trees and such, one got the impression that LA would be sort of ersatz and concrete, like Atlanta is to a large degree. But homebase for the trip is at Silverlake – a surprisingly quaint neighborhood that actually evoked a bit of Park Slope in Brooklyn. Furthermore, staying in a house designed by Richard Neutra (look at the view!) it is hard not to feel refreshed.
- Had dinner at Cru. Cru is a raw, vegan, gluten free restaurant in the Silverlake area. Obviously this theme is out there for me (or lots of other people). American vegetarian food for me is usually bollocks, since the history of vegetarian cuisine represents a deviation from meat – there is always a bullshit protein like quinoa or tofu trying to act like meat … as opposed to South Indian which simply enjoys what it is. So – I was very pessimistic going into this, though I was excited to try a “trendy, California” thing. Imagine my surprise to report that it was in fact remarkably good. I ordered a vegan mushroom soup (creamy, hearty – they cooked it, so I did cheat). The entree was this jicama ravioli with a raw cashew “cheese” and an uncooked herbed tomato sauce with an arugula salad on top. This was delicious. The sauce had good flavor, basil-y (almost like a marinara salsa if you can understand) and the cheese was not at all disgusting (like vegan cheese slices). The dessert was a coconut chocolate mousse cake – also tasty and convincing – I did not notice what was missing. Cru is not the cheapest meal ever, but absolutely wonderful. My tablemates had the vegan chorizo on tostada, and the “chorizo” made of pumpkinseed was wholly satisfying. This is an Appalachian State over Michigan level shock and surprise – seriously.