Los Angeles

coffee.jpgIt’s 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, and like any well-adjusted twentysomething, I’m eating breakfast.  More specifically, I’m having brioche french toast and cappuccino at the Little Next Door on 3rd with my friend Gloria.  After living in LA for six months, I have determined that breakfast in the afternoon is exactly the sort of reckless behavior Sundays demand.

Typically in New York, Sundays amounted to consumption of greasy brunch complemented by mimosas and black coffee.  Following brunch was an inevitable headache, followed by more consumption in the form of excessive window-shopping, followed by an indulgent nap upon what appeared to be a laundry pile, but was in fact my bed.

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currywurstoutsideKai Lobach's “baby” is Currywurst, the hole in the wall sausage restaurant on Fairfax Avenue that he opened a few years ago and is fighting to keep alive and well. Small, compact, and beautiful as it is, it has not had the proper attention it deserves! Maybe it’s because in Southern California we don’t appreciate sausage stands. They are a common site, though, in Germany and are as popular and ubiquitous as Mickey D's here in America. We don’t think in terms of sausages for lunch…or dinner…and not too much for breakfast anymore, truth be told.

No, when making a lunch plan, sausages, (pork, chicken, or veal), served on a delicious homemade brioche bun, with a choice of different sauces on the side, (including my favorite aoili mayonnaise) doesn’t come readily to mind. But it should, the way Curry Wurst makes it! Served with excellent French fries on the side. My Heaven. The French fries are so good; in fact, they could be the main act.

Kai Lobach goes way beyond interesting and catapults risk-taking to new heights. He also seems to be quite fearless, but I suppose one has to be to lead a life guided by passion. Make that plural…passions.

Kai is a chef who has his own event planning business one could call celebrity driven or sustained. Born, raised and schooled in Germany, and having attended European culinary institutes, it would be natural to assume that food and cooking are his main passions. But haven’t we all been taught, assume nothing. Or, as my growly teen puts it, assuming makes an ass out of you and me. Collecting art and what he lovingly refers to as his “baby”, take first position.

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shirley_temple_sm.jpg Clementine, the great west-side L.A. charcuterie has amazing candies, too...

Ok, so I love Shirley Temple.  Anyone who thinks I’m a sap can eat me.  She was a genius.  There’s never been a child performer who could do what she did.  At the age of 3, she could sing, dance and act. 

When she uh, matured, one of the many things she did was a television show called Shirley Temple’s Storybook. It ran from 1958-1960. She did all the classics and even starred in some of them. 

As young as I was, I was aware of the schism between her matronly plumpness and the tight fitting costumes she squeezed into as she appeared as The Little Mermaid among others.  But, that never diminished my love for her.

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ImageLast night, we had an eating contest at the newest sugarFISH location downtown. Obviously, Maia won, but her dress was a lot stretchier than Anna's. We each ordered "The Nozawa" (the largest of Nozawa's signature "Trust Me" menus), but we couldn't resist adding an order of the perfectly buttery albacore belly sushi and a few other things. The large scallops (which were the daily special) had just the right amount of tang and practically leave sparkles in your mouth. The crisp seaweed was the perfect complement to the fatty, melt-in-your mouth fish in the toro handroll. The halibut was pure heaven, and the way they prepare salmon is so genius that they should practically call it something else entirely. The ikura was a little soft and not quite cold enough to balance the warm rice, and we were a little too full by the time the lobster handroll came around to properly assess it, but we think we liked it.

If you haven't been there, sugarFISH is the more easy-going, more affordable version of the infamous Sushi Nozawa. They have three locations: Marina Del Rey (which was the first), Brentwood (which feels a little like an episode of Melrose Place, in a good way) and the newest Downtown location (located in the ground floor of the historic Robinson Co. building).

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surfas2.jpgThe other day, my daughter Hannah and I stopped by Surfas. It always surprises me when she wants to go there, since their prepared food is, lets just say..um..esoteric.  She ordered the 72 layer biscuit with ham and cheese and drank a Bubble Up. Oh to be 13, 5’5” and weigh 98 lbs.  After that, as we crossed over into the store, a fellow cradling a basket of hot baguettes narrowly missed running into me as he made his way to his station or should I say ‘kingdom’, because this guy rules!

Hannah and I watched him set up the baguettes and tend to a customer at the newly established Cheese Bar. If you haven’t been to Surfas lately, there have been some delightful additions to the whole experience.

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