16 October 2023

How do I say this without sounding corny ...

Kat Daddy's in Lower Alabama ... a different LA
I love Los Angeles
. All of it. But, here in this very expensive city, the rush-rush-rush all day long-long-long really does make one feel as if they are, well, draggin' arse.  About ten years back, I gave up, sort of, and so am about to make a decision to "keep up" once again, as it were regarding a new career choice.  LA offers lots of professional choices. To be continued.  But, I'm thankful to a friend (two actually) and a cousin who is a brother from my mother's sister, for their kicking me (politely) in the arse because I was draggin' a-double-ass.

Amongst cities in California, I've lived in LA neighborhoods in South Central and Inglewood, Korea Town and Malibu Canyon (tucked into the Santa Monica Mountains where mountain lions and bobcats and coyotes and roadrunners and deer and raccoon and cranes and red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons and wild parakeet and great-horned owls and well, all such animals live -- in fact, just down the road apiece from where I live, the ubiquitous they -- truly mad people -- are about to build an "animal bridge" so that these aforementioned animals can transverse Hwy 101 safely ... a $50million double ugh).  I've lived behind the "Orange curtain" (Orange County) in Newport Beach and in Irvine (both of which many people still consider and call "LA"), and I've lived in the Valley (San Fernando to be precise -- which many Westsiders would like NOT to consider part of LA). Los Angeles has many (read, hundreds) of neighborhoods, each unique and ugly and beautiful in their own way.   I mean, c'mon, there are 11 million of us living here, so it figures, am I right? You could literally make a movie about all of them. In the last few decades Echo Park or Los Feliz or Hollywood or Silver Lake are the only cities that seem to make a dent on the writers' imaginations of these geo-prejudiced films -- I myself plead guilty of a yarn set in K-Town.

Food covers a host of (lack of) cultural sins for many of these more challenging neighborhoods which are dirty and dangerous and oft-dull.  But, good food overcomes, brotha. Good food overcomes all manner of bad neighborhoods, bad neighbors, suspect food trucks, restaurants with "C" health ratings, and even ugly architecture.  Bland design, the horror! but the unfortunate ho-hum ubiquity of many parts of SoCal. But that good food, gawd dang, it's good when it's good. When great? Holy cow it's sooo good.  Like Jonathan Gold good. Jonathan Gold, legendary food critic, within weeks of discovering he had pancreatic cancer, passed away -- he the casually nonplussed cool writer with the platinum palate.  He was a foodie god around these parts. He knew LA / SoCal neighborhoods like no one. His reviews, insights, encouragements, and taste will hereafter be missed. I've gotten to know many LA writers (of magazines and newspapers and online zines of all sizes and import) over the years. He's one I'd have wandered endlessly strange LA lands to meet and treat to a luncheon meeting. RIP JG the other.  Here's what Nancy Silverton (Mozza) had to say in the LATimes.
“He, more than any chef, changed the dining scene in Los Angeles,” said longtime friend, chef and Mozza co-owner Nancy Silverton. “He really was the ambassador for our city.”
So, if, no, when you come to LA, just know that when I say hundreds of neighborhoods, I mean it. You can enjoy or get offended by each and every one of them. But, if you come to LA, come also looking for good food, you'll appreciate the journey regardless of the architecture that may be lacking.

See you when you get here, Dear Reader.  If you know your dates of arrival I'll pick you up at LAX!

1 comment:

Caleb Garcia said...

Hi Johnny, such a delight to see the old blog resurrected. What a treat. You have a unique insight to LA having lived in so many places. Not many will know about the animal bridge but we do. Always great to read your words. They're so cinematic.