Once a month Matt and I take a real day off. It’s too difficult to take two, but we have managed it. We take this time to regroup and inspire ourselves outside our work environment, way outside. We love to skedaddle over to Palm Springs with cookbooks and swimwear but we don’t always make it that far. Lucky for us that we live and work on the east side of Los Angeles so the west side with it’s cool beach winds and bohemian lifestyle feels far enough removed to count as a getaway.
Last Wednesday was one of those days and because I knew we would have the day off ahead of time, I prepared the night before with a manicure, for it is our hands not our backs that get beat up the most in kitchen work. For men, hands that speak of their daily work is honorable but this same evidence on women is just ugly. My mother always told me to cover my toes if I couldn’t paint them, and I have applied that rule to my hands if I am given a day of leisure.
With my nails as blue as the nearby ocean, we visited my favorite boutique of all time Planet Blue and then parked my Dad’s beefy Corvette on Abbot Kinney (top down, radio blasting Springsteen- yes, we are both originally from the 'burbs Matt and I). We were headed to GTA which is marked by no signage whatsoever outside of it’s massive windows that directly open up to a kitchen as cozy and rustic and expensive as many of the area’s private homes must be. Sides are displayed on a marble counter in mismatched ceramic and pewter family style serving bowls and their menu emphasizes a steadfast reliance on produce from local farmer’s markets. They're curing their own meats and baking their own bread but they’re doing it all in the back because this place is meant to feel casual and fast- exactly like my most treasured eateries in New York that offer no seating outside of stoops (NYC) or milk crates in alleyways (GTA).
I’m certain with such a thrilling menu prepared with undeniable enthusiasm for seasonal fare that it will be changing often so do try to make it there pronto style because I’m still dreaming of the roast beef sandwich we ate. Yes, roast beef sandwich. It’s served with soft, fresh bread and the most tender and rare roast beef to ever dance around in your mouth with horseradish hollandaise so this ain’t no Arby’s pick-up. GTA gets props for their pizza, and it’s really special, but that sandwich and the memory of it will linger in my senses until I get my hands on another.
For dinner we stopped at Tavern for two reasons. Suzanne Goin and President Obama who recently ate there. The menu was similar to my long time favorite restaurant Lucques, with simple yet perfectly prepared dishes that arrive to your table with such sophistication that you feel unworthy to dive into them and mess up the plating. Honestly though, it was the bar menu that left the biggest impression because we are American enough (read: Springsteen, Corvette) to still be seduced by a flawless burger. It’s side of triple fried french fries should be renamed to tempura mashed potatoes because that’s exactly the texture they possessed. I quiver to recall them. We washed our gluttony down with various fruit muddled cocktails which curbed the blow of our swelling waistlines.
Back on our side of town, we still had some room left to try out Mother Dough where they’re making traditional pizzas with more depth than any other pie I have eaten outside of Naples. The dough was light and bulbous with little ornamentation- the patience and care that went into it's construction was palatable. This place is so close to us, we look forward to revisiting especially since it's walking distance to Bar Covell.
All and all we ate, we shopped, and I felt we looked pretty good doing it with (my) manicured nails and (Matt’s) Corvette, well it’s actually my dad’s Corvette but for this glorious day of R &; R it was ours and with the wind blowing through our hair we suppressed all concerns of calorie counting so that we could indulge and learn and enjoy from one side of the city to the other. A highly recommended, good ole' stars and stripes, livin-it-up kind of day 'cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run.