Despite the economic downturn, there’s still plenty of glamour in downtown Los Angeles. At Rivera Restaurant in downtown L.A. the good times are still on, with a glamorous, uber-designed setting, beautiful waiters and delicious food. The tapas-style menu encourages sharing, and the food is both creatively tasty and artistically, if ironically presented.
Above: a chile relleno stuffed with Burrata. Left to right: Black Cod, Duck Leg Confit, Dark Chocolate Torte—cute and delicious. With exotic cocktails and good Argentine wine.
A recent rainy day forced us inside at the Alcove, where seating is quite limited. As a result, we were privileged to sit very close to a birthday celebration consisting of four women and one very gay boy in Ugg boots.
After breakfast, my friend Eric transcribed this approximation of their conversation, in the manner of an online chat.
Gayboi: “My friend saw Christina Aguilera pole dancing at a club. So. He took her picture. Then he sold it for $22,000.” Birthdaygurll: “I could never, like, do that. I mean follow people around just to take their, like, picture.” Gayboi: “Oh no. he was just AT the club. And then took her picture.” Birthdaygurll: “Oh well that’s different. OHMIGOD! Did I tell you my boyfriend loves my naked feet?” MatronLady:“Like he has a foot fetish?” Birthdaygurll: “Well I donknow. I mean he likes to see my feet like naked and is always, like, asking me to take of my shoes. He just loves them” MatronLady: “Oh” Birthdaygurll: “He is always wanting me to paint my nails. He asked me to, like, paint them white” Gayboi: “So you couldn’t tell you had toenails or something?” Birthdaygurll: “I guess. Like I asked him if he wanted me to paint them with white out and make them that color. He said I guess. And then I was like no way, ohmygod. Then I asked him if he wanted me to paint them pearly-shiny white. He was, like, YESSSS!” Gayboi: “oh my was he really like a puppy like that. Did his eyes really get that big” Birthdaygurll: “They did. I haven’t done it yet cuz I can’t figure out what color to paint my fingernails to match. I mean, like, when I go to yoga people are going to see what color they are and I don’t want them to look like totally different” Gayboi: “you should just do them French.” Birthdaygurll: “THAT WOULD LIKE LOOK TOTALLY CUTE!”
MatronLady: “I wanted to ask Jeanne if she was being paid by the word. All her jokes were so long and bad” Gayboi: “Oh, I know, right?…I still haven’t been paid on that. That jewelry making was so hard the other night. I spent like hours and I was using my teeth and feet and hands and mouth and then like she just took it from me and it was done. In like two seconds. I was so jealous. Like do you do that all the time” MatronLady: “My hands hurt the next day. I don’t usually make that much jewelry. It was a total workout. Those are cute shoes” Quietgirl: “They’re new. I didn’t want to wear them in the weather but they are just so cute” Gayboi: “Oh by the way these are edible too” Birthdaygurll: “My birthday flowers? Maybe I’ll get hungry later. I have to go to the bathroom. Then we should go.
Birthdaygurll: “Sorry that took so long.” Gayboi “Would you stop saying sorry already?”
I’d keep this to myself, except that word is already out—each week it becomes harder to get a reservation. It’s worth it though, because where else can you get a delicious and interesting three course dinner for fifteen dollars? Throw in a bottle of cheap wine ($10 marked down from the regular $25) and you have a real feast at a price that’s hard to beat. The menu changes every week, and there are no substitutions, so the bargain may not go to the picky eater. In that case you can order off the regular (pricier) menu, and still compensate with the cheap wine. I’m willing to eat anything they offer though, and I’ve only once been disappointed. The food is Italian—a mix of Italian Italian, New York Italian, and a bit of California. On Hillhurst in Los Feliz, Little Dom’s is open for breakfast (also delicious), lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Reservations advised; essential for Monday night. 323.661.0055
A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, on the patio of the Alcove, I was trying to prevent Lily, Michael’s Bedlington Terrier, from noticing the dog at the very adjacent next table. This was possible only because a) the dog was sitting in a woman’s lap and b) it was wearing one of those huge cone-shaped plastic things from the vet that somehow always make dogs look like they have just dropped in from outer space. Anyway, this cone was not only bigger than the dog’s head, but possibly larger than the dog itself.
While Lily remained oblivious, I could not restrain myself from listening in on the conversation of the four thin, attractive twenty-something women who sat picking at their impossibly large brunch platters.
“Are you having a Tofurkey for Thanksgiving?” one of them asked. “What exactly is a Tofurkey,” another interjected, “Do they, like, take the tofu and then mold it into a turkey shape?” “Basically,” the one with the dog replied.
An energetic discussion of the virtues of veganism ensued, culminating eventually in this entertaining, if possibly apocryphal, anecdote,
“When I was in Paris with my father last year,” the one with the dog began, “I was starting to feel guilty rejecting so many cute little restaurants because they had nothing vegan, or even vegetarian on the menus. I mean nothing. The European’s just don’t get it,” she sighed. “They don’t get it. I tried telling everyone to go to dinner without me, but of course they wouldn’t. Then one afternoon, we saw the cutest little restaurant. It was between lunch and dinner, so of course it was closed, but the chef just happened to be sitting at a little outside table, so I decided to ask him if he could make a vegetarian meal if we booked for dinner. Well he just didn’t get it. The more I tried to explain, he got so mad, he turned red. Then, he actually chased me down the street, waving his arms and screaming ‘viande, viande!’ ”
This is not even the most amusing conversation we’ve overheard during our frequent visits to the Alcove, a neighborhood cafe frequented by Los Feliz hipsters, and a surprisingly large number of screenwriters and actors, both accomplished and aspiring. In that regard, there is something quintessentially ‘Hollywood’ about it, and why I’ve decided to call this journal of musings about life in Los Angeles Overheard at the Alcove.