It’s been a long while since I have posted. Among other reasons (a bone-crushingly heavy work load, ennui and existential despair…) I have the lucky excuse of having been in Paris for a bit. Yes it was cold–a Jack Londony, Fargo-ish kind of cold–but heck, I’d rather freeze my ass off in Paris than be warm and toasty a lot of places.
And the food! Happily one of my foodie friends here, who lived in Paris for a couple of years, had sent me a meaty email with advice on where to get the best macarons (Ladurée) and falafel (Chez hanna) and steak-frites (Relais de L’entrecote). So, on C’s recommendation, we set out for steak at RE, a Paris institution. Steak-frites, understand, is all they serve. You can choose a dessert or a wine, but as far as a meal, they ask only “how do you like your steak?” and they are world-famous for that steak. The line, even in the cold, was long enough to extend into the middle of the street. We dutifully queued up and right behind us came an English-speaking couple, seemingly American. We got to talking and, yes, they confirmed that they were American. In fact, they were from Los Angeles. “Oh,” say I, “I’m from Sherman Oaks. Where in L.A. are you from?” The woman gets a look of consternation, hesistates, and says, “Er, we’re from just north of you.”
Which is to say, Van Nuys. Even as far away as Paris, apparently, a person will go to some trouble to avoid admitting as much.
Mine is a simple life with small pleasures. A good lunch spot counts for a lot in my world. I live around the corner from Watercress Cafe on Woodman and so I’ve passed it a bazillion times, but somehow I’d never eaten there until recently. They close at 7 weeknights (4 and 3 Saturday and Sunday respectively) and I’m usually not in the neighborhood lunch hours, but now that I’m in on the secret, I’ll be having lunch there when I can.
We’re talking about the ultimate turkey sandwich, people. It has apple slices and herbed goat cheese and greens and it is on raisin bread. It is a perfect mixture of sweet and savory, smooth and crunchy. Watercress‘s turkey sandwich is, as the cute counter guy describes: a party in your mouth. Since the turkey sandwich experience, I’ve been back for a salad that had chicken and pine nuts and greens so good you don’t want to dress them.
(I like my greens naked, like I like my… ahem…) I had breakfast there last weekend and it was good but not as great (in my opinion) as the lunches (but then it’s hard to keep pace with Hugo’s as far as Sherman Oaks breakfasts go).
There’s parking in the back and a coffee roaster next door. What could be wrong with that?
Hours: Monday-Friday 7 am – 7 pm, Saturday 7 am – 4 pm, Sunday 8 am – 3 pm
13565 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
I saw you today on Riverside near Fulton in Sherman Oaks, while waiting in the El Pollo Loco drive-thru for a manly skinless chicken breast meal.
I tried not to stare, but I couldn’t help it. You looked so old and sad. I wonder when you last got plastered. That must have been a fun night. Now, you just sit there, rotting away. No longer useful to anyone.
Does the city even know of your existence? Are you legal? How do you feel about the whole billboard moratorium thing? Do you secretly hate those Statue of Liberty ads and miss the care-free days of the Coppertone girl? Would you like to come down and help us clean up the neighborhood?
I feel for you, Billboard. You are a slave to the machine. But, then again, so am I.
This morning, the sheriff came to serve eviction papers to my neighbor. She’d been expecting them. She is a photographer and hasn’t been getting enough work to pay her rent. She has been planning to move back to the east coast and live with family. In the meantime, she’s been waiting out the sheriff, selling what she can, and putting the rest of her things in storage. My building has fifteen units and this is the third such eviction in six months.
Less than an hour later, thanks to @jasonburns Twitter feed, I was reading about the 1 in 50 US kids who are homeless as of 2006. Certainly those numbers are far worse now. I know I pass more and more homeless people camped under the bridges on my way to work every week. On my way to the polls on election day in September, I passed a couple transporting all their worldy goods in two shopping carts down the side of Nordhoff Street, each of them held a child’s hand as they carefully wheeled their two brimming carts down the sidewalkless stretch of road. No one is bailing them out. Continue reading “Down and Out in Sherman Oaks: LA’s growing homeless problem”