Monday, September 10, 2012

David Lynchian Dinner Diversions

My favorite things about David Lynch films include but are not limited to:

…characters going out in a normal, everyday fashion only to be side swept onto some surreal journey through the underbellies of humanity.
…the gritty old school joints a’la dirty diners, grease-floor slicked delis and dive bars with semi-macabre/vaudeville, aged and melancholic backgrounds.
…the slightly lewd and lascivious secondary characters that populate the aforementioned travels.
…the always cheeky ingénues.
…the often pompadour-coifed or subversively clean-cheeked beaus of said ingénues.
…the way you secretly want to crawl into these worlds and disappear for an afternoon.

…which is sort of what the Cute Gardener and I did last Thursday after innocently enough just going out early for a burger at the tail end of an ordinary workday to escape the presidential convention onslaught that had besieged us already all week on television …

We started out by visiting Golden State on Fairfax in Los Angeles for their Thursday night lamb burger. Not bad with a decent glass of pinot for a burger joint. The Greek salad that accompanied was really good with juicy capers in the mix. The guys at the counter appreciated the CG’s SPAM tee-shirt, commenting that he’s surely got good taste in meat and even though the only other guest in the house was a famous rapper and his entourage (I know my daughter would laugh at me for this because I always see famous people that I know are famous by sight without knowing who they are by name), the place quickly filled up to brim while we were seated to serve a diverse assortment of the eternally hip peppered with the unassumingly normal.

We took a left hand detour when leaving rather than going straight to the car to Canter’s as I am hard pressed to pass up the opportunity to buy some rugelach from a Jewish deli counter when I see one. Like stepping into a time warp on cheap, hundred years waxed over tiles, there were the same old men eating pastrami in the vinyl booths that may have been there forty years before. I ordered two each of the tiny pastries in fruit, nut and chocolate versions for later and we were on our way.

Before reaching the car we walked by a senior living center where it seemed the entire population were perched in their wheelchairs watching us young-uns stroll across their three feet of line of vision as if we were far more interesting than another year of political news coverage in their lives.

Then a mysterious staircase leading nowhere.

Then driving through West Hollywood on our way to the freeway, we were distracted by the lure of BevMo sales and ended up in the bowels of a parking garage where an elevator delivered us to deals on my dark blackstrap molasses rums and the GCs cognac.

We noticed that one of the old bastions of old Hollywood movie star hang-dom was on the corner so we decided to stay for a drink. The Formosa looks like a Chinese restaurant from the outside but from the inside appears more like a dim, Palm Springs-retro, gay cabaret club. Smoky red light, plush red vinyl booths, and walls plastered with famous people of yesteryear, it is dive-y in that ultra glam way that makes you want to sit on a stool and watch individual dramas ensue as the night goes on and the drinks go down. We ordered a round drinks while perusing the menu and noticing a bizarre assortment of Chinese mixed with American cuisine. The bartender and waitress seemed to be caught up in a passive aggressive flirtation the entire time we were there which provided some entertainment as we decided against our better judgment and ordered a plate of Landmark Ribs. A huge pile of meaty bits was put before us tasting like day old slabs of meat splashed with ginger water. But we still bought a second round because we discovered there was a cocktail list and it had things like a Marlene Dietrich on it. Always a sucker for anything slightly Lucille Ball-esque, I opted for the honey, gin and lemon rich Bee’s Knees (one of her favorite phrases).

Arriving home much later than originally expected, we managed to bypass the droning on of more speeches and settle down with our dessert to catch Jon Stewart’s humorous take instead.

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