Friday, May 23, 2008

When Breakfasts Go Bad

Settling down to breakfast at Doughboys on Highland, I was thrown by the wide array of options. Great to have a choice, but it seems harder and harder to find somewhere serving a simple eggs and toast option - without the biscuits, pancetta, latkes, ham and pancakes. When I asked if they had such an option, our friendly waiter asked if I was English. I felt a little offended, as if only a foreigner would dare ask for something so unimaginative. I admitted I was and he suggested ordering a side of eggs and toast.


So that's what I did - wheat toast and eggs over easy.

And here's what arrived:

Yummy, right? Not only was the toast burnt, but had been cut on an odd angle, as if by a blind person. Now don't get me wrong, the blind deserve employment as much as the next person. They just shouldn't be cutting toast. The broken piece was also prepared in the kitchen - as if to facilitate my first dry and crusty mouthful.

I should mention the toast was dry. No butter in sight - either on or off the plate. The ooze you see is the yolk, which quickly encircled the charcoal islands.

Could it look less appetizing? Yes. Could I have sent it back? Certainly. But, when it takes 30min for food this crap to arrive, I know that round 2 will take equally long and be almost as bad, by which stage I'm no longer hungry. So I ate it. Well, a little...

I know that if I ran a restaurant, I would ensure (either personally or through trained personnel) that food at least LOOKS well prepared before leaving my kitchen. Perhaps Doughboys was running a Cajun special our waiter didn't know about. My buddy James sent his eggs back because they were raw inside - that delicious translucent congealed goo state before becoming a solid. The waiter's retort: "well that's how we do our eggs". It's a good excuse for what any sane person would call incompetency. I can imagine Bush responding to critics of his policy in Iraq (or anywhere else, really), with a snigger and "well that's how I do the presidency".

The moral of the story (and you know I'll find one), is if you want something simple, (whether it's breakfast or a foreign invasion) prepare it at home. Otherwise, prepare to be disappointed. Or order Doughboys' "famous" SOS (sh*t on a shingle).

At least you'll know what to expect...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wiggy Gets Some Sun

I see many things on my strolls around Hollywood. Most are grubby, some charming, others captivatingly odd. A few days ago, I came across this - a small furry creature. It was soaking up the morning sun, quite content to lie in the middle of the street. Not a safe place of rest, but who am I to tell others what to do with their lives? That's for those smiley folks offering free stress tests 2 blocks away.

I gave the creature a wide berth, so as not to scare it off. (I know the rabbits where I live are very shy and can be startled by the slightest noise) But as I circled the animal, I became suspicious. Why was it so still? I didn't notice any movement, not even the rise and fall of breathing. So maybe it wasn't a creature after all. Maybe it was...a wig. Which is not to say it wasn't a creature. For I have observed wigs (on film sets) being carried in little cages designed for small pets. And Lord knows they're treated as fondly. So who's to say they aren't alive?

Perhaps this little one was tossed from a moving vehicle. Or maybe it got tired of repeated abuse and simply left of it's own accord? Either way, by the time I came upon the poor thing, it was quite lifeless. I couldn't help and went on my way.

Returning home an hour or so later however, I noticed the creature was gone. Where? Was it scooped up by cleaners? Eaten by rodents? Or, as I like to think, it found a better, kinder, warmer scalp to nestle on.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Great Isn't What it Used to Be

It really isn't. Take the Great American Auto Center. It's not their fault they're not THE definitive auto center. However, it is - how shall I put this - uh, reaching, to claim ownership of such a lofty title. And post it outside for all to see the blatant incongruity of sign and service. But maybe it gets people to pause for just long enough to remember their worn out brakes and consider getting them done there.

It got me thinking, though. How many times have you passed a fast food stand claiming to make "the world's best burger" or some or other "world famous" dish? Chances are, you live within a short drive of the place and hadn't even heard of them until that moment. It's a blatant lie to claim that people hundreds of thousands of miles away are settling down at their local restaurant in Johannesburg or Karachi or Maidenhead, lamenting "this hotdog really isn't as good as Pinks!"

To make matters worse, big claims just beg for big retorts. I wrote and performed a show called The Great Glendini. One witty reviewer entitled his crit "The Great Glendini isn't that Great". I guess I was asking for it. To be fair, the character in the play was a failure, who missed out on fame and was now a bitter man. I think the reviewer was alluding to that fact, as his review was rather positive. But the headline certainly wasn't going to lure any theatre patrons looking for a night out.

We're all liers at heart, of course. We may not realise it, but we lie every day. Every time a coworker asks how you're doing and you say "great", you're lying. You are. Be honest now. You're not doing great at all, are you? You're neck deep in a mortgage, car payments and you're putting off major dental work your insurance won't cover. But you say "great" because that's your stock response, it doesn't invite further inquiry and you don't have to offload 35 years of baggage that all started when Samantha stole your matchbox car and you wept quietly in the treehouse while the other toddlers played hide and seek. But I digress...

The point, if indeed there is a point, is that we should come clean. Tell the truth, even the little truths like how we really are feeling. Otherwise what's the point of asking these questions in the first place? Because it's ettiquette? Well stuff ettiquette if no-one wants to hear the answer. Then don't ask the question. I'm telling all, people. Ask me how I am, and I'm gonna call it like I feel it. If I'm feeling like crap, I'll tell you. Because you have a right to know. And I have a write to tell you if you ask.

Also, I'm downgrading my standards of what's great. It used to be that a childhood trip to NASA (which I never experienced) would qualify as great. Nowadays, I'm making ice cream great. Getting in my car and realising I have a full tank of gas is great. Heck, waking up in the morning is great. And in another 2 weeks I'll need to come up with the rent.