“This is your home security calling,”said the woman on the other end of the phone. “We have a burglar alarm going off at your residence. Would you like me to send the police?”
That was the call I received about an hour after touching down in L.A., putting a most decided crimp in our afternoon stroll. I spent the next twenty minutes anxiously awaiting word. Finally, Kerry, who is staying at the house, called to tell me she’d run a perimeter sweep (her days on S.W.A.T. sure came in handy) and it was all clear. All three dogs present and accounted for. Not sure what happened. Although Kerry surmised she may have screwed up in setting the alarm, I highly doubted it was her fault since there was fully an hour between the time she left the house and the moment the alarm went off. The only other options are: a) Someone tried to break in and was scared off by the burglar alarm, b) The alarm system is faulty or c) The dogs were trying to escape.
Anyway, all in all not a great first day. Akemi was faint with hunger when we finally checked into the hotel. Apparently, her nine cherry breakfast feast would NOT tide her over until dinner. “I’m so hungry, my stomach and back touching!”she informed me. So we stopped off at Bouchon Bakery by the hotel where she lunched on a yogurt parfait, and I snacked on a peanut butter and jelly (excellent!) and pistachio (fine) macaron.
We were saving our appetites for Stop #1 of our L.A. food tour: Stefan’s at L.A. Farm. This one was Akemi’s call and she was particularly looking forward to it, having watched and enjoyed owner/chef Stefan Richter on both of his Top Chef appearances. Our experience was…well…mixed. First off, I have to say that the service was fantastic. Our waiter was professional, courteous, knowledgeable about the menu, and went above and beyond to keep things positive after I discovered a piece of metal in our hummus. It was our second plate of the meal and, unfortunately, killed my appetite (and, almost, one of my teeth. I made two trips to the bathroom to make sure I hadn’t chipped it). The mini corn dogs appetizers were fun but I was disappointed with the pork cheek component of the pork cheek and confit duck risotto (a diced charcuterie version over the straight braise I was expecting). Akemi was also let down by the dessert apple-cinammon beignets that were really more apple fritters than beignets. Terrific service aside, we both left disappointed, wishing we’d chosen Michael Voltaggio’s Ink or the consistently good Scarpetta instead.
We caught a taxi back to the hotel. Our driver was an – surprise (!) – actor working toward his big break. Very nice, positive guy. We spent most of the ride talking about “the business”. Sigh. You know, there are times I really regret listening to my parents and giving up on that professional hit man correspondence course.
We capped off the evening with a second visit to Bouchon, this time for coffee and a chocolate and salted caramel tart:
Big day tomorrow: Spago! The Third Street Promenade! Akemi visits a Japanese nail spa! And, of course, Martin Gero’s birthday bash! I plan to get REALLY drunk and eat all his house plants. Can’t wait!