It’s #nationalgrilledcheeseday and no, these are not the fixin’s for some out-of-left-field creation (although....the possibilities are there....).
What we have here is the remedy for all things that ail ya, specifically the flu like symptoms that accompany the administration of every flu shot I have ever taken. I stopped getting flu shots decades ago, as I always got super sick following the inoculation. I chose to risk getting the flu trusting that my body would deal with that shit and emerge even stronger the other end, as it has with every single other affliction, trauma, and seemingly-debilitating circumstance over five decades.
This time is different. To be sure, I was hella reticent about taking the Covid vaccination – it came out so fast! why would I want to pump any more poison into my body? how can anyone trust a government that can’t even manage to police it’s own police forces?
Then I took a breath and considered the science. I had conversations with physicians that I trust. And I reflected on the big what if… What if I actually contracted Covid knowing that I could have taken steps to prevent it? Then of course there’s my family - the potential risks and costs to them.
So when Marvelous Mia managed to get next-day appointments at the Maryland Mass Vaccination site in Hagerstown MD for her Dad and I, it was unexpected but more than a little welcome. Because for me - Not You, You or You over there, holding onto your PreJudgments for dear life and shaking your head - for my Self, the decision to take this vaccine arrives after significant research, a whole lot of soul-searching, and the realization that it’s time to do what feels right for me regardless of the external influences.
I still feel like crap.
Taking one’s medicine often has that effect.
Over the past few years, new as well as, uh...seasoned, friends have inquired about my favorite places to eat, experiences to enjoy and sites to see in Los Angeles. Tiring of the frequent search for the list of go-to spots, it finally occurred to this aging modern Bedouin to document this in more than some haphazard list, save it in the notes section of my laptop and eliminate the panicked search. Can I tell ya'??.....It still takes several minutes to scour the several dozen notes saved on my computing machine.
Solution: Sharing it with you here, on my oft-neglected blog. Now I know exactly where to find this baby for the occasional update and can share it with the pasting of a hyper-link. Viola!
NOTE: This not is by no means exhaustive. As a matter of fact it's my intention to flesh out these entries with a bite more context before the end of spring. A couple of other places also popped into my mind as I type this intro. If you can get your hands on one of the list of 100 best LA restaurants by the late -great Jonathon Gold, do it. I promise it to be well worth the effort to find it, then research to identify which establishments still operate. If you encounter trouble locating one of his annual rosters, drop a line and let me know.
In the meantime, I offer my humble musings of good times and good eats in the City of Angels. If you have any additions, drop a line and let me know. Remember to check back for the occasional update
I could go on endlessly about LA, it’s been a year since I've been back so you’ll want to confirm these places are still around. LOTS of cultural things to do, and food for days in and nearby that city. Off the beaten path: Like poetry slams? Check out The Poetry Lounge on Tuesday evenings. If cooking is your thing, go to Now Serving, LA’s only book store catering to all things culinary, I’m pretty sure they will ship any books you don’t want to schlep back in your luggage. Spend an evening at Dockweiler Beach where you can literally light up your night at the public fire pits. Lastly, but definitely not least, check out the nearly unknown museum of African American Art located, are you sitting down….ON THE THIRD FLOOR OF MACY’S. That’s right, at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Macy’s on the third floor, you will find a collection of work by African American artists.
Three of my favorite eateries:
Truxton’s near LAX & Santa Monica
Huckleberry also in Santa Monica
The Ramen Joint near LAX,
Alta on Adams
Post & Beam in. Baldwin Hills
Il Romanista Pizza in El Segundo
Lasa - a Filipino restaurant in Chinatown - in the same building as Now Serving.
Clearly I find it impossible to limit myself when it comes to food in LA. Actually, that applies to food anywhere. Almost forgot:
Little Fatty in Mar Vista (on the West Side) and swinging back to East LA...
Wait! One more - Sunday Gravy. Love this Italian place and the siblings that run it. If you go, tell them I said hi!
Lastly, a drive up the coast is always an experience on it’s own! I did it once with my kids, from LA to Santa Cruz, and found it to be just as exhilarating as our cross country drives from DC to the coast.
Or.....Better Late Than Never....
Already one solid week into this Black History Month and the pull of procrastination threatens to overwhelm my high- minded intentions for this abbreviated month. With an initial momentum fueled by the replacement of #45, the confirmation (as if we needed one) of the prevalence of white rage coddled by the dual justice systems, I conjured a plan to post snapshots of my own family’s Black history to supplement my primary objective for this month: to screen 28 movies and television shows in tribute to the celluloid endeavors of our people.
As February continues to ebb, the best path towards this short term screen goal - at least the one most aligned with my own schedule - most likely involves the screening of four or five television shows during the next two Sundays.
Either way, Boyette’s Black History ScreenFest kicks off Wednesday February 10 with Mississippi Masala. Director Mira Nair’s tale of two cultures on a romantic collision course introduced audiences to Sarita Choudhury and qualifies for this list thanks to the leading man Denzel Washington. Do I need to state the obvious inspiration for choosing this particular selection? I think not.
The works in my list appear in no particular order except how they occurred to me. The cannon of Black film is extensive (of course it could be larger) holding enough selection to overwhelm this Hollywood-adjacent popcorn lover (soy sauce, hold the butter, thank you very much). A few parameters helped narrow things down:
Following Mississippi Masala, we move on to Within Our Gates by Oscar Michieux - the oldest known surviving film made by a Black director. At least that’s what the internet tells me.
What classic movies made your list?
Check this space on Friday morning for my weekend picks!
UPDATE 10 Feb 2021:
Unbelievably, Mississippi Marsala does not appear on any streaming service! #RookieMistake
However, as the adage goes: one door closes and another one opens. In lieu of gazing upon Denzel's star turn along the Gulf Coast, let us head over to Tinsel Town with Robert Townsend's "caustic satire about the dearth of substantial roles for black and Hispanic actors in Hollywood" [Garin Pirnia, Vanity Fair March 2017] - Hollywood Shuffle. It's been a long minute since I watched this classic work, with a message that still resonates.
To recap: Kicking off Black History Month ScreenFest tonight with Hollywood Shuffle accopanied by a bowl of popcorn fresh out of the air fryer!
Last month I neglected to credit the author of the recipe used for my maiden challah making experience: The one and only Melissa Clark (IG @Clarkbar) from the oft-referenced New York Times Cooking website.
This untraditional loaf called for olive oil, fresh squeezed orange juice as well as a bit of orange zest. Because I'm slow on the uptake the orange flavor surprised at first bite; stil, the bread itself was delicious and texture - lovely. All in all, we called it a very solid effort on my part. Although the strong orange attributes threatened to overwhelm my palate’s expectations, I couldn't stop eating it, neither could marvelous Mia who shared my feeling about the citrusy presence.
The following week, I decided to work with the same recipe, with my own adjustments: Omitting all things orange and replacing it with honey.