Sunday, October 31, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
a few persimmons in my favourite chair. my aunt and uncle brought them from their backyard trees in tulare.
soundtrack: tulare dust: a songwriter's tribute to merle haggard.
adapted from a recipe in "the best of sunset: 150 all-time favorite recipes" special publication. thinly sliced ripe but firm persimmons were mixed with thin slices of a small granny smith apple, tossed in lemon juice mixed with freshly grated ginger, and then coated in a couple tablespoons of corn starch. a layer of crushed ginger snaps mixed with ginger-flavoured granola and melted margarine (there's a lactose-intolerant person in the house, otherwise butter would be most welcome) was packed into the bottom of a square baking dish, topped with the persimmon-apple mixture, then more of the snap-granola mix was sprinkled evenly over the top. bake at 325ºF for 30-40 minutes.
serve with heavy cream, whipped cream or in this case, ciao bella hazelnut gelato.
Friday, October 29, 2004
i've been here for three weeks or so, and so far my celebrity sightings have been poor to middling, with one notable exception:
an extreme makeover'd guy, now working for restoration hardware in century city (look for the guy playing with his new da vinci porcelain veneers)
lance bass, with his new girly nose completely exposed to the elements, driving in his hot convertible somewhere near universal studios
emeril lagasse, signing books at barnes and noble at the grove, for the throng of uh, six food network fans
one phone call from a famous person's assistant on my answering machine (not a sighting, but still exciting)
tricky, reeking of weed, and apparently having a massive case of the munchies at whole foods
and the best: william h. macy at 101 diner
oh, and a note: for those of you who find courtney love's address on the web, that's my cousin's address, so STOP SENDING HIM MAIL ALREADY!!!!!
Thursday, October 28, 2004
i've been spending a lot of time in st. vincent medical center, and i am impressed with it, inside and out. when i first found out that my mom was to be admitted there, i was a little wary as i hadn't ever heard of it, and had only passed it by fleetingly on the way downtown. the website isn't flashy, and googling turned up very little. it is the oldest hospital in los angeles. my friend, merry, was born there, but they tore that building down soon after (the two events, she claims, are not related). it isn't the biggest in the metro area, it's quite modest in every respect, and it is well maintained. the most consoling thing--as lilly so wisely pointed out--is that it's probably better that there isn't any news on it. less chance of notoriety.
it's at the edge of downtown, on third and alvarado, near the infamous macarthur park (someone left the cake out in the rain), and the equally infamous original original tommy's™ (you only need to read the nutritional info on the chili burger to understand why it's probably a good idea that it's near a hospital). st. vincent's, though, sits in the middle of a mostly residential, quiet area, away from the heavily travelled boulevards towards the south.
the view towards downtown
i have found most hospitals to be fair but cold and sterile, not just in setting but in attitude. most hospital workers are overworked, and it's just enough that they can be civil to you while doing their job competently. here, though, from the security guards to the doctors, everyone is friendly, polite, and helpful. from the orderly that wheeled her down to surgery to the nurses in post-op, everyone made sure they knew her name and she knew theirs, and they accommodated us, her worried relatives, in every way possible. the rooms are small, but private, and we were allowed to stay in her room while waiting for news, and the nurses were very accommodating about our comings and goings. there are japanese and korean wards where the nurses are fluent in the respective languages and there is a liaison available. they will tailor meals to suit asian diets, along with other standard preferences.
the view from my mom's room--you can see the hollywood sign and griffith park observatory in the distance
anyway, i cannot say enough nice things about it. there is a very old fashioned feel to the way that the patients are treated, and the way that the hospital is laid out. everyone we have encountered seems very compassionate, and happy to be there. weird, i know. it's sort of freakish, but i'm glad for it and i'll take it.
so, my cousin and i have spent a lot of time in the cafeteria outdoor patio (pictured above). it's below street level, on one of the quieter streets, and the only sounds you really hear are from the nearby elementary school and some street traffic. it's never crowded, the trees shield you from the sun, and it seems far, far away from the workings within.
we've eaten a lot of hospital food. i have to say, it's pretty good. i'm sure my judgement is clouded by exhaustion, availability, and the fact that it is plentiful and cheap, cheap, cheap ($1.80 for a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy! 50 cents for oatmeal with as many fresh blueberries you can pile on!). there's always a fresh salad bar, a grill for made-to-order items, and, as the hospital has a meals-on-wheels program, most of it is cooked on the premises. my mom even gets a nice cup of sorbet or an italian ice on her tray. however, there is only so much hospital food you can eat, so we've also brought stuff to eat. you are allowed to eat in the rooms with the patient and i've seen big groups of people eating in the waiting rooms, but we just bring our food out to the patio. my favourite is a decidedly california take on bibimbap from la korea in the farmer's market. all the veggies are very fresh and green (there's even romaine lettuce in this one), and the rice is wonderfully sticky but firm. no egg, but the spicy chicken is an interesting and tasty substitution.
on a saturday afternoon, the caf is nearly deserted, and the sunny patio beckons. mom's okay, we're okay, all is right with the world.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
i'm in los angeles for an undetermined length of time. not for fun and not for profit, and with lots and lots of downtime (perfect conditions for blogging). since my mindset and location are hardly tropical, i thought i'd create a new blog for the mainland spell.
the title refers to the original farmers market in los angeles, built in 1934 at said address. it is basically a collection of produce and food stands, restaurants, and retail shops, but more than that, it is one of the few places in la where tourists and locals intermingle comfortably and frequently. no mean feat in a city propelled by the entertainment industry that seemingly despises its target audience (and is despised right back). it is an oasis, a nostalgic throwback in the middle of trendy developments, tony malls, gnarled traffic, and overwhelming humanity.
it is not technically the heart of the city, but it is the center of my city--my neighbourhood joint, the center of how far north, south, west, and east i regularly venture. so meet me at the corner of third and fairfax, and we'll go on from there.