leave your inhibitions at the door
On the second day of our California trip, my nephew had to do a few errands so I tagged along to see more of the city.
I always find that doing really mundane things is the best way to see what life is really like for those who live there. Makes sense, right? I lived in Chicago for over 30 years and I rarely went to the museums. They’re great, but it’s not really seeing the city. Driving around that morning I got to see the neighborhoods, the traffic, the local shops.
In exchange for free lodging, I offered to cook some Filipino food for our hosts that night, so I asked him to take me to an Asian market. He did better than that – he took me to a Seafood City…
I’ve been to hundreds of Asian markets, but have never been to a strictly Filipino market. It was like Oz, if Oz had a wizard that was really into longaniza and spam.
We also stopped by a Jollibee – THE fast-food chain in the Philippines – where I tried their famous fried chicken and spaghetti. The chicken was good but nothing special and the Filipino-style spaghetti was, um, interesting….
The noodles themselves were standard, but the tomato sauce was sweet like ketchup. Mixed in it were hot dog slices and small cubes of Spam. Then, for extra weirdness, it’s topped with a shredded cheddar-like cheese.
I know I have one of the strongest stomachs around, but even that was a little too much for me. It probably didn’t help that it was 9:30 AM.
I recovered sufficiently enough for lunch at Urth Caffe in Santa Monica with a cousin I haven’t seen in decades. Her daughter suggested the place as its the quintessential, trendy, healthy SoCal place where people like Jake Gyllenhaal or Jessica Alba go.
Neither Jake or Jessica were there. Nor was the ugly Jonas brother. Worst of all the no-shows – the poached egg on my pizza. How the hell does a place that’s known for its baked goods and breakfasts NOT HAVE A FUCKING EGG?
Other than that, the food was ok. Although I would’ve thought that a kale salad would’ve been so 2011 on the West Coast.
After lunch we checked out Santa Monica Pier –
Really touristy, but I was happy to learn what really happened with Prince….
We also hit Venice Beach –
where we saw more evidence of the city’s crack epidemic
Next up: The Coast
Previous – LA Day One