I don’t watch the one that’s currently on television, but in the 90′s, when I was a teenager growing up in New Jersey, I was obsessed with the original show. I always had fantasies of living and hanging out where Brenda, Brandon, Kelly, Dylan, and the rest of the gang did – and the couple of times I visited Beverly Hills as a tourist, I really enjoyed myself.
However, now that I’m an Angeleno, I HATE BEVERLY HILLS.
Okay, that’s too harsh a word. But in general, I try to avoid it. I even go to doctors in Burbank or Pasadena so I don’t have to deal with driving/walking around there – I don’t like the confusing streets that make no sense, the horrible parking situation, the overpriced everything…the Los Angeles stereotypes of botoxed, unbelievably rude rich housewives and the obnoxious “Ari Gold” type agent – I see more of them here than anywhere else.
But alot of Friday was spent in Beverly Hills, and I have to say I actually had a pretty wonderful day.
I met up with Frank, an old classmate from high school, for an early lunch at The Cheesecake Factory on Beverly Drive. This is actually the original location! We were the first customers, at 11 am.
I started off with a slice of both of the breads – still warm from the oven. I’m not a butter person, FYI, so I never butter my bread (good olive oil is a different story). Brown bread kicks sourdough’s ass.
I ordered the cobb salad, which had avocado, bacon, chicken, egg, tomatoes, mixed greens (I left off the blue cheese) and used about 2 TB worth of the vinaigrette. Can you believe this is a “lunch size” portion? I barely made a dent in it….
I last saw Frank at our 15-year high school reunion and found out he lived in the area. We weren’t really buddies in our youth, but it was nice catching up and getting to know him now. Like I said back in December, for those of you readers still in high school and hating it, one day you’ll remember the drama and just laugh.
Frank was so sweet and paid the bill – it was also cool of him to meet me so early in the day too. I had to stop by both my manager’s and my agent’s offices – in Beverly Hills also. And you know what? Parking was easy – all three times!
Back home I took Julius for a long walk and finished the other half of my leftovers -
After answering a zillion emails it was time to get ready for the “Why Am I Doing This?” theatrical premiere – back in, you guessed it – Beverly Hills.
Abe and I decided to meet for dinner beforehand. I looked up the closest veggie-friendly restaurant on yelp, which was Chakra, and made reservations on opentable. Once again, parking was a cinch! I found a spot on the street nearby.
The space was quite beautiful – you can’t see it, but there was smoke coming from the glass wall fountain – dry ice, maybe?
They brought us some delicious fried papadums with 4 dipping sauces – I don’t know what they were, but all were mild and delicious. I think I must have eaten about 8 chips, because I feel like I had each dip twice.
For our main entrees we ordered two vegetarian dishes, which each came with a full side of basmati rice. This is the dal of the day (our waiter recommended the one with black lentils)…
…and the Thoran – seasonal veggies sauteed with spices (it had quite a kick!) and shredded coconut:
Our cousins Kristine and Steve, who were coming to the movie, wound up joining us mid-meal – we shared their Baingan Bharta (mashed tandoori eggplant sauteed with garlic and cumin) and Chicken Tikki Masala.
I had some of everything, with warm chewy naan:
It was really delicious – I had seconds of everything but the rice and we had a lot of leftovers. They were very friendly and accommodating, what with our last-minute party additions and time limitations. They got us all fed in time for the screening:
There was an after party but I was tired and wanted to get home to Julius. I had a little midnight snack – an organic peach:
It was really good! This is my first time drinking hemp milk and I liked it a lot – it’s a lot creamier than rice/almond milk.
Time to get to bed – it’s waaaay past my bedtime and I still have to take a shower. We have a long day tomorrow in the O.C. What’s up with me spending the day in places named after TV shows?!