Monday, May 09, 2005

The Land of Wigs and Novelties

After celebrating Mother's Day by seeing the Mark Taper Forum production of Electricidad (the kind of enduring story that puts all other family squabbles in perspective), Amy and I wandered up to Hollywood to try out the latest restaurant opened by Suzanne Goin, one of our favorite chefs in LA. (For higher end, try Lucques, that's somehow both upscale and comfortable, a special event place that makes you feel very welcome the first time you go, and the food is great; for mid-priced fun, hit AOC, with terrific and surprising wines by the glass and delectable small plates.) We had some time to kill before hitting The Hungry Cat (here's hoping PETA doesn't protest my site after that abusive phrase), so we wandered about Hollywood Boulevard, something I hadn't done in years.

The good news is there's little to fear of the Disneyfication of Hollywood, at least amidst the numerous stores with tacky, peek-a-boo nurses uniforms that no doubt machine wash and the "lowrider ice cream cart" that exhibited more good humor than Good Humor and the store windows with hookahs that aren't Casablanca-cute. No dream factory here--this is the nighmare of what 20th century urban life has become, cheap ribald retail and once-lavish architecture in need of a laving. We collect smashed pennies as our tschokes of choice (souvenirs for a mere 51¢), and tellingly the one we bought had a blackened smudge over the Hollywood sign. We did see a woman, at least in her 30s, very carefully washing off the Walk of Fame star of Michael Jackson, which was an odd combo of touching, pathetic, and maybe some kind of hopeful voodoo. And over at Mann's or Grauman's, or Multiple Theaters R Us, as the case may now sadly be, tourists matched shoe prints with the stars of today, but people left the likes of Marion Davies and James Mason alone, suggesting that they perhaps deserve their multiplexes. As a side note, it turns out I can't dance because my feet are way bigger than Fred Astaire's and Gene Kelly's.

Oh, as for The Hungry Cat, it's great if you're feline hungry. (rimshot) Seriously, personable service, oysters a-quiver-ingly delicious, a tarragon tart meets seafood sweet lobster roll in the classic buttered hot dog bun. The roll is a bit too small, and isn't a Pearl Oyster Bar lobster roll, but that's only like saying Strangers on a Train isn't Rear Window. As usual with a Goin-run place, the sides are exquisite, especially the fries that are plentiful and somehow browned more than they should be yet a perfect crisp (double frying?). It's also a restaurant with one desert, which shows some cockiness of the "you will eat this and you will like it varety." The only thing we didn't like about the chocolate bread and butter pudding, served bubbling and bruleed, was we ordered only one.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's to George, the Wittiest Restaurant Reviewer on the Web...

8:13 AM  

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