Who: Phil Donohue, Writer/Director/Iced Tea Aficionado & boyfriend of Miss Figueroa-Kulp
Where: Greater Los Angeles County
1. Philippe’s. As a general disclaimer I feel that it would be a bit disingenuous of me to refer to my prospective day as my “Sweetest” for nothing I will be partaking in will be the least bit sweet. So, for the sake of accuracy, I would like to dub this My ‘Savory’ Day which will begin at the leisurely hour of noon. I will wake from my modest adobe here in lovely South Pasadena and take a brief ride on the Gold Line to Philippe The Original, the purveyor (and in my humble view originator) of the French Dip sandwich. Philippe’s embodies what Los Angeles once was and I what I like to pretend it still can be. My order in perpetuity is the hand carved Leg of Lamb with Blue Cheese, double dipped in Au Jus for maximum saturation, a side of Potato Salad, and two Iced Teas, which will be the first two of many to help sustain my life force throughout this most savory day. Since it’s Thursday I will be perusing the L.A. Weekly to mentally catalogue the possible festivities of the upcoming week.
2. South Pasadena Farmers Market. I can only enjoy a day as decadent as this one will prove to be because of my weekly pilgrimage to my local Farmers Market. Unlike any other Farmers Market that I am aware of, the South Pasadena incarnation does not end before I wake and stays open until roughly 8 pm. One Miss Figueroa-Kulp will join me in the picking of fresh produce that will hopefully cleanse my body with the only semblance of nutrition my insides have just recently begun to see. After this decidedly green act is complete I would like to sit out on the patio of Nicole’s to share a bottle of Etienne Dupont Organic Cidre, a newfound favorite, while soaking in that famous So Cal sunshine through the particle polluted air.
3. The Sunken City. In my perpetual state of wanderlust, part of the joy I get out of my love/hate relationship with the city is attempting to uncover gems buried within the various municipalities in this sprawling clusterfuck known as Los Angeles. Lately I have been gravitating to the harbor towns of San Pedro and Long Beach and one of the standouts of all of my urban-exploratory endeavors has been the Sunken City. Although most popularly known as the backdrop where John Goodman spreads Donny’s ashes onto the face of The Dude in The Big Lebowski – for me, the Sunken City most encapsulates the beauty, and wrath, of nature combined with the thrill of trespassing. In its most literal form, the Sunken City is a stretch of the San Pedro coastline that inexplicably sank into the sea below. What is left are the jagged remnants of homes, road ways, and street car lines adorned with graffiti that concretize a more objectively accurate definition of “street art”. Although not particularly legal (you have to jump a small concrete wall at Point Fermin Park before sliding through a small hole made under a metal fence) nor particularly safe, I will be damned if there is a better place to enjoy the setting sun.
4. Joe Jost’s. The Dive Bars in Long Beach have an unsullied reputation for being actual, un-ironic dives. The only downside to this is many base their patronage on the likelihood of whether or not they will be stabbed – a thrill for some, a deal breaker for others. One establishment you have a pretty strong chance of not being stabbed is Joe Jost’s. Not unlike Philippe’s, this bar embodies a by gone era – a true blue-collar watering hole (sharing its namesake and building with a bait and tackle shop for Christ’s sake) is one of the oldest continually operating bars west of the Mississippi. The bar snacks also hearken to a nearly, and for some gladly, forgotten era; Pickled Eggs served with Hot Sport Peppers with a dash of pepper on a bed of pretzels or Joe’s Special – a Polish Sausage stuffed with a pickle spear topped with a slice of Swiss Cheese with Mustard on Rye Bread. These may not sound all that appetizing on paper but are hard to avoid while drinking down a slightly less than delicious Busch Draft.
5. Beachwood BBQ. I am mostly likely overextended at his point but I will not let that thwart my final act of decadence. Beachwood BBQ in neighboring Seal Beach has become an unlikely choice for my frequent visits as per its proximity to my home. Yet, unlike most restaurants, where I tend to return on the basis of re-experiencing my favorite dishes, the entire menu of Beachwood is so indulgently delectable I have hardly scratched the surface. With that being said artery clogging delights I have yet to try such as the Tater Tot Casserole; a dish served with Porcini dusted Taters cooked in Duck Fat and topped with Smoked Cheese Curds and Duck Gravy, would be the appropriate dénouement to this most savory day. After a dish like this it is unlikely I will be able to do much anything but be filled with regret and look forward to a much necessary detoxification regimen.