The meatball sub was delicious.

I may be a bit too content, however. My goal for the evening was to pick out clothes to wear to my luncheon tomorrow, pack swim and bike gear for our test runs tomorrow, an outfit to wear to dinner with my dad and stepmom, all of the race gear for Sunday, and another change of clothes for after that.

But what am I doing instead? Blogging.

What’s With the Strange Apostrophes in Restaurant Names?

I came home from work to find J napping on the couch–he had come home early with a mild migraine. He was still feeling poorly, so I checked e-mail and read until it was time to go vote. California seems to have a lot of elections, although the timing isn’t quite as random as when I lived in Austin. Seriously, I’m pretty sure they sometimes held elections on Saturday there. Who votes on a Saturday?

After voting, it was time for dinner. J was feeling better, although neither one of us had a specific yearning. We walked a little bit east on Venice Boulevard before deciding that we would rather head west. Eventually we decided to go to Howard’s, home of the Famous Bacon and Avocado burger. Alas, by the time we arrived (8:09), Howard’s had closed. We turned around and headed for The Ayala’s, a tiny corner restaurant featuring Cuban and Salvadorean food.

J ordered the combination plate of chicken and shredded pork, while I had the garlic chicken. Both dishes came with rice, beans, and fried plantains, which allowed me to take all the plantains while J took all the beans. (I think this may be the secret to a happy marriage.) J found his food a little too tangy, but I really enjoyed the garlic chicken.

The standout of the meal, though, was the appetizer of fried pork and yucca. Although it arrived at the end of the meal instead of the beginning, we decided that this was the dish to revisit–next time we’re at The Ayala’s, we’ll split the pork and yucca (which is crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, as if it were deep-fried mashed potatoes) and order a couple of sides.

At the end of the meal, we were glad that we had a bit of a walk home, the better to burn some of the calories we had just consumed. We also found several other restaurants that we want to try before we move away from this part of town. Venice Boulevard is home to quite an array of multicultural eateries, including Brazilian, Mediterranean, Cuban, Salvadorean, and a whole lot of Thai. Hopefully there are more welcome discoveries to come. Just before we leave.

Super Chicken

The punctuation is odd, but the food is great. Roscoe’s House of Chicken’ n Waffles is an L.A. institution. The original location is in Hollywood, but we frequent the Pico location. “Frequent” might not be the right word; after four years of saying I wanted to go there, we made our first trip in February, for my birthday.

Tonight marked our second trip. While we planned to go after the L.A. Marathon in March, the line was just too long. Regardless of location, Roscoe’s is immensely popular. (That day, we wound up at Johnnie’s Pastrami on Sepulveda.)

Fortunately, seating seems to be fairly open at 6 p.m. on weeknights. J has a friend/former co-worker who has been teaching English in Korea for the past year, and is in town for a visit. As luck would have it, he’s a big fan of Roscoe’s–so we headed out for some food that absolutely is not good for us.

I recommend the Scoe’s #1. In fact, it’s the only dish I can recommend, because it’s the only dish I’ve ordered. Two pieces of fried chicken, two waffles with syrup . . . excellent. Order the dark meat. Last time I really liked the macaroni and cheese, but this time it was a little dry. J enjoyed the red beans and rice, although I found them a little bland–I preferred the red beans (but nothing else) at M & M Soul Food.

There are plenty of other L.A. landmarks left to visit, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be back to Roscoe’s.

What Kind of Coffee Girl Am I?

You Are a Cappuccino

You’re fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.
However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.
You are a total girly girly at heart – and prefer your coffee with good conversation.
You’re the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please

Does that mean I should stop drinking lattes?

Why We Want Our Own Place, Part I

So many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • The revolving crowd of guys who hang out back drinking. Who knew a dumpster could be so happening?
  • The consistently and creatively failing plumbing.
  • The five parking spaces for six apartments (two of which are 2-bedroom units).
  • The lack of laundry room etiquette.
  • The occasional lines of unidentified white powder on top of the washing machine (I’m not sure who left it there, but I know it wasn’t either of us).
  • The total lack of insulation.
  • The weird placement of the coat closet, which sticks into the living room and creates an alcove that is the only place to put the couch–perpendicular to the TV, meaning that only one of us can sit there to watch television. That’s right, in four years we have almost never been able to sit next to each other and watch TV.
  • Most recently, the neighbor’s relatives who brought their dogs over and let them deposit nasty piles behind our car–which they left for someone else (me, apparently) to hose off.

So while the housing market may not yet have hit bottom, we’re satisfied with the fact that it’s no longer at its high point. Home ownership, here we come!

I’d Kick Myself if I Weren’t So Tired

Yesterday I was tired because of all of the swimming and biking during the day on Monday, followed immediately by the evening at my in-laws. J was setting up their wireless internet so that they can use the laptop with the webcam to talk to their granddaughter, who just turned two. Never mind that my father-in-law refuses to contemplate web commerce in any form (he has J make all of his online purchases, because apparently it’s not so bad if J’s identity is stolen)–the webcam has been identified as the very highest of priorities.

Today, though, it’s my own fault. I know not to stay up until 11:30 when I have to get up at 6 a.m.–that’s why we have TiVo (well, one of the reasons). And I didn’t even enjoy this latest version of “The Andromeda Strain.”

Swimming and Biking and Cupcakes, Oh My!

One of my friends describes a cupcake as “the perfect ratio of frosting to cake,” and I think she’s got a point. She also describes my brother as “a sweet little cupcake baked by the devil,” and I think she’s got a point there, too. Someone’s got cupcakes on the brain, and I’m keeping her company.

A few weeks ago I made a trip to Sprinkles for cupcakes. Today I continued my unofficial cupcake tour of Los Angeles with a visit to SusieCakes on San Vicente. Our refrigerator now contains three cupcakes–one vanilla, one lemon, and one coconut. I, on the other hand, contain one vanilla cupcake. SusieCakes describes their cupcakes as “frosting-filled,” and based on the one I’ve eaten so far, I have no idea what that means. It was delicious, though, and I’m looking forward to the other flavors.

The cupcakes came on the heels of a strenuous afternoon. J and I did our first ocean swim in preparation for the triathlon (less than two weeks away! Aaaaagh!).

Here’s what I learned today: sixty-degree water is very cold. It’s extra, extra cold when you leave your wetsuit at home. But I steeled myself to the cold water and swam. I actually did get used to the temperature, but I missed the buoyancy provided by the wetsuit.

After that we went biking on San Vicente, which has excellent bike lanes–even for me and my fear of biking downhill. San Vicente is not at all steep, but I’m a downhill wimp. I admit it. Oddly, I’m not bad on the uphill portions.

Oh, yes, I earned these cupcakes.

More Disappointing Than Tragic

What does a girl have to do to get a meatball sub in this town?

Yesterday J set out for adventures with friends, and these adventures included using the car, which meant that after my friend picked me up for coffee, I was on foot for most of the day.

For the portion of the day that included laundry, this was no big deal. However, when J called to say that he and his friends would be eating copious quantities of BBQ at the Bear Pit (previously discussed here), I realized that I would need my own hearty late lunch/early dinner.

One of our favorite local haunts is The Coop, a tiny hole-in-the-wall pizza place with no seating, cash-only sales, and amazing New York style pizza (New Yorkers, don’t start with me. It may not be exactly what you’re used to, due to the water–see, I know–but it’s good). Since J doesn’t like vegetables on his pizza, and I can’t eat oregano, we usually get a large pepperoni and Canadian bacon. That provides plenty of meat and avoids the sausage.

The Coop also makes excellent meatball subs. Their posted Saturday hours are 11-9, so I figured I’d call and place the order, then walk over and pick it up. But no one answered. That suggested that they might be closed, particularly given the holiday weekend. Just in case, though, I walked over and discovered that they were, indeed, closed. On the way back I stopped at the sandwich shop on the corner of Palms and Motor. I can’t remember it’s name, it’s changed ownership at least once since we moved here, it’s nothing special. And, as it turns out, they do not have meatball subs. I toyed momentarily with the idea of a Philly cheese steak sandwich, but then realized that I had no confidence in their ability to make one–and that it would not meet my needs. A cheese steak sandwich, no matter how good, is not a meatball sub.

From there, I headed over to Kristina’s Italian Kitchen, on Overland. Now, according to the Citysearch-provided menu, they do have a meatball parm sandwich. But their in-house menu showed no sandwiches at all (thanks a lot, Kristina’s!)

In the end, I came home and reheated the leftover portion of a chicken quesadilla from Baja Fresh.

Distance walked: 1.4 miles

Meatball subs eaten: 0

Stumbling Around

I’ve been exploring those little widgets that a lot of sites have at the bottom of articles. Not all of them turned out to be particularly interesting, but I’ve become instantly addicted to one.

StumbleUpon lets you identify your interests, and then shows you websites that correspond to the topics you’ve chosen. In one day, I’ve been introduced to the Encyclopedia of Spices, Writing Realistic Injuries, and the Random Title Generator. Now I want to write a book titled “Darkness of the Misty.” I think it’s a guaranteed best-seller.

It wasn’t all stumbling today. J and I were planning to go to the pool, and then in the late afternoon we got a thunderstorm. Now, it does rain in Southern California, in spite of the song–generally in the winter, which is our traditional rainy season. But thunder and lightning are very rare at any time of year. This afternoon we got downpours, noise, and a light show. Naturally, the pool was closed. And then the storm passed, and by the time we got to the pool it had re-opened. It turned out to be a wonderful time to swim, because very few people were in the pool.

Now the air outside feels cool and clean, and inside I have lots of websites to explore. What could be better?