Tag Archives: Le Clafoutis

Star gazing…

25 Degrees Restaurant, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

On Friday afternoon, Gabriel and I headed to L.A. for the weekend. We stayed at the Roosevelt on Hollywood Blvd., one of the historic (read: oldest) remaining hotels in the area. It has recently undergone some renovation, but apparently our room was still in need of some, as when I had decided to take a shower and stepped in the tub, the faucet assembly was missing… just a tube stuck out from the ceramic tile. After about an hour and several visits from the maintenance crew, the faucet was in place and I was able to take my shower. I thought it strange that they would rent a room out without all of the plumbing intact. Even with the renovations, it had a somewhat grungy feel to it; perhaps the painting technique used on the tile in the bathroom, which made it look dirty, and the enamel chipping off the bottom of the tub or the haphazard spackle beneath the black paint on one of the walls of the room, or even the not so clean duvet cover (though the bed was very comfortable). My 11 year old son and I had a good chuckle about the shag bag in the mini-bar (he said something about the folks who stay here were more concerned about the shag bag than the missing tub faucet… ahhhh, such wit!).

The food, however, was excellent. We ordered room service twice and both times the food was excellent, though costly. The lemon curd pancakes were definitely memorable. On our final day’s stay we went to have breakfast in the restaurant downstairs, 25 Degrees. The food was tasty but again quite costly.

Click for enlarged view

Something must also be said of the sumptuous lobby area, which has retained its majestic presence. The bellhop and valet folks were very polite and on it. I’d made an appointment for a massage out by the pool area and got there a bit early. The scene by the pool was very uh… hip? It made me feel about 20 years older than I should have been to set foot in there, but I had to wait until my therapist, Brick, came to bring me back to the massage cabanas. The security person screening the folks at the entrance to the pool told me to go ahead and kick back on a lawn chair while I waited but there wasn’t any shade and I wasn’t in a bathing suit. The massage was fabulous and will have to become a semi-regular treat.

Photo of L.A. taken from the roof of the Griffith Observatory

The initial purpose of this little get-away was to attend a private viewing (for Friends Of The Observatory) organised by the Griffith Observatory from 3AM to 5AM on the morning of September 1st of the Alpha Aurigid Meteor Shower… though there was no guarantee that the meteors were going to cooperate. We awoke at 2:30am and headed over to the observatory and settled in on the lawn with our tea to watch the sky. We were rewarded with about a half dozen or so meteors (more I’m sure, but these are how many we witnessed ourselves). We were also able to view some of the exhibits inside to observatory, as well as have a peek through the Zeiss telescope. We’ll have to go back soon!

Dinner on Saturday night was enjoyed at our constitutional: Le Clafoutis on Sunset, and preceded by a visit to Meltdown Comics. As always, the food was excellent. Now if only this insane heat would finally break!

For love of the arts…

Mixed Media piece by Barron Storey – mine, all mine

The little family and I had quite an amazing day yesterday. We kicked it off with a visit to the Bert Green Fine Art Gallery to see an exhibit of Barron Storey’s work.

It was quiet during our visit so we had a great time chatting with Barron about his artwork (and mine–I received a mini art lesson on composition, with a reinforcement as part of his signature in the book I had him sign) and Steve and Barron discussed motocross racing (Barron raced ‘back in the day’ and was even state champ for about a year and a half!).

I am now also a proud owner of one of Barron’s artworks, which he is discussing with me, above. It was wonderful to be able to get up close and personal to his work, and see all of the built up layers, which doesn’t translate when you look at a reproduction in a book. He is currently working on the reprinting of the Marat/Sade journal with Carl Wyckaert, which will once again become available to all of us who missed out on the first printing.

What impresses me the most about Barron’s work is how he is able to translate his very personal experiences into works of art, transfiguring them by including elements from other sources, such as characters from plays he is working on, and elements from his immediate surroundings, all juxtaposed with iconic elements that are loaded with the emotional force that drives the piece.

I’ve shown his work to some of my (non-artist) friends (via the Life After Black book), whose perception of his artwork is so vastly different from my own. They find its rawness frightening and form their opinion of his character based solely on the darkness of his work (i.e., if his work is so dark then so must his soul). They don’t see that the dark in the work is a way to work out the anguish and lift the weight bearing down on the soul… much like David Lynch’s work. Some express this more superiorly than others, by far. I’ve still got a lot to learn about “letting ‘er rip.”

For a very late lunch we went to Le Clafoutis on Sunset. I have to mention that except for the first time that I’d eaten there, where I hadn’t cared for the dish I selected, the food has been consistently excellent and I’ve not been disappointed in my selections. Steve ordered chicken ravioli, which was tender and subtly flavored – delicious. Gabriel ordered the angel hair pasta from the list of kid’s items. The portion was huge but equally flavorful. For dessert they both ordered tiramisu, which was creamy perfection. Today I had the veal piccata, which was tender, flavorful and excellent. For dessert I ordered a raspberry “napoleon.” It is so rare to find an all cream (versus custard) pastry of this kind that I should have taken several to go as well. The raspberries in it were fresh and made it simply delightful! Our waiter was very sweet and attentive, and he told us that the dessert was on the house since we were so nice, which he declared to be a rarity. While we were pleased to be treated to dessert, I was also somewhat discomfited that our normal behaviour was considered to be something out of the ordinary. Southern California is definitely an interesting place in that regard.

Did you know?
That what is commonly called a napoleon in the United States is otherwise known as a milles feuilles (thousand sheets or leaves), in reference to the puff pastry from which it is made?

Well, in exchange for “the boys'” good behaviour in the gallery, I had to submit to the rest of the day visiting Universal Studios, and spent most of that time wiping stuff (read: water) off of my face. We had time for only two attractions, since the wait in line for each was so lengthy that there wasn’t time to see more. We went on the studio tour, which was quite entertaining, though I got splashed and sprayed with what I am hoping was water throughout the tour. I always enjoy getting a look at the sets. Will Smith was filming up one of the “streets” but while the tour guide mentioned that he at times comes down to the trams and greets the visitors, he did not do so this time. Our next attraction was Shrek in 4D. Again, the “4D” had to do with more interactive water being squirted in my face, and after the third or so time I’d wiped off my face (thankful for the 3D glasses shielding my own prescription glasses) I was about ready to stick some gum over the top of the chair in front of me to block the little holes from which the water issued forth.

We capped off the evening with a very late dinner (or was it an early breakfast?)… at IHOP on Ventura Blvd.