All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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The last time my badass boyfriend, Miles, was in town from Little Rock – it was over 100 degrees nearly every day of his week-and-a-half long stay. Hot like the temperature recorded on my drive to LAX – in that photo above.
That is the heat reading on one of my two trips to get him at LAX (as his first attempt to leave was thwarted by the total incompetence of American Airlines – a fact that also allowed us a few extra days together so – there’s that). Driving round trip from Hollywood to LAX is usually unpleasant, at best, but when it is 105 in your house & you have no air conditioning, you find yourself quite content on the 110 south in bumper to bumper traffic – because it is your only access to free AC. Even the typically irritating fact that you cannot access the carpool lane because you are alone in the car is an inconvenience that rolls off you like the sweat on your own back. Sweat that has dried & even causes a little chill as you blast the AC into your face so hard that your hair looks like a fright wig at the happy reunion with said beau.
The result of the uncivilized & oppressive & unyielding heat was that Miles & I spent far too many daylight hours in air-conditioned public places – usually ones with bars. Not jail bars – but “belly-up-to-the” bars. Bars with friendly bartenders. Bars serving cold beer & the kind of acidic, unpleasant wine that most bars serve by the glass. MMMMM! That’s livin’!
The first time I picked him up at the airport, it was literally 105 in Hollywood so we went directly to Mission Cantina because Miles had a taste for Mexican food & because they serve this Pasadena-made beer – Craftsman 1903 – that I really enjoy. He got a chicken burrito & I got a couple of fish tacos.
Our only issue on this day was that they had all their doors wide open & it was only a few degrees cooler in there than the oven just outside the doors. I had sweat rolling down my legs and when a gal is wearing shorts & sweat runs down her legs – well – does the word “incontinence” mean anything to you? It isn’t a pretty picture.
So – the next time I picked him up at the airport (an hour after dropping him off there) it was still 105 outside. So – we decided to try a new place we spotted on our drive back home – Spitz. I had never heard of it & the exterior gave nothing away as to what we might expect inside. Here is the inside:
They had Golden Road AND the Craftsman 1903 – both made locally. I’m a fussy beer drinker so this pleased me a great deal. So – Miles & I ordered beers & checked out the menu.
Nearly everything on the menu had a carnivorous & vegetarian option! That is a great thing for me (a vegetarian) & my “all meat all the time” boyfriend. Unfortunately, neither of us were very hungry so we ordered only the Street Cart Fries which we were promised would be amazing. And they were!
Somehow, despite being loaded with a lot of damp toppings, these fries remained crispy & delicious. Then we noticed – MY GOD – it was happy hour! So I ordered a glass of white wine & Miles got another beer. The wine was far more drinkable than your average happy hour white & served in a real wine glass AND it was a deep pour. Suffice it to say, I will be returning to Spitz!
On a hot Sunday, Miles & I staggered in from the heat – and I mean it was Africa hot – to 3 Dog Cantina. I’d considered the place before but a peek inside revealed it to be MASSIVE & with a sports bar vibe. Neither Miles nor I can tolerate sports so this place has been on the back burner. Until that boiling hot Sunday. We entered 3 Dog Cantina!
Promptly seated in one of those huge booths by the window, I checked us in on Four Square because, as I’ve said before, I am a huge dork. And because, sometimes, you get a little reward. This check-in rewarded Miles with a free beer! Bravo! I ordered this cucumber margarita & it was pretty awesome.
If I’m not mistaken, Miles also ordered a lemonade & a Coke with his beer & they were served in huge Mason jars.
Here is the menu.
Not a fan of mahi-mahi, I ordered shrimp tacos & Miles got fajitas.
The food was great, the room was very pleasant (despite sports on every wall) and it wasn’t crowded so we lingered as long as it took Miles to eat ALL of that chicken – which he did. A miracle.
On the last full day of Miles’ trip, the temperature dropped into the nineties so I decided we could brave an outdoor meal. We had been planning to try the Golden Road Brewery Pub and so try it we did. It was even bigger that 3 Dog Cantina & offered indoor seating, outdoor seating & outdoor games. Empty, it had the vibe of those massive bars in – like – Ensenada – that cater to college kids. The sheer optimism of the size of it was intimidating. Being there when it is crowded must be brutal. But they had parking & it wasn’t crowded so we pressed on.
HERE is the menu. Far more creative than I have come to expect at pubs. I ordered the avocado fritters & the banh mi (because I have never seen a veggie one before). Miles, predictably, got ribs. And we both got their Point the Way IPA.
I’ve had fried avocado before & found it mushy, warm & gross. THESE were crispy & delicious.
I cannot comment on the ribs but Miles seemed to enjoy them a great deal & he ate ALL of that hunk of cornbread. I guess southerners like the cornbread crumbly while, southerners say, Yankees like it wet. As a Yankee, that was news to me – though I am definitely in the “moist with fresh corn added to it” camp. Miles, if you haven’t figured it out, is a light eater despite the fact that (or maybe because) everything he chooses to eat is heavy. Meat meat meat. If it is fried – even better. “Vegetables” for him include (and are almost limited to) mac & cheese & french fries. How he stays at 135 lbs at 5’6″ – I will never know. Especially when you factor in the beer. By I digress.
That is the banh mi. In fairness to Golden Road – I am not a huge tofu fan. I don’t dislike it – as in – I will not avoid it but I never add it to anything that doesn’t already include it. I don’t buy into that whole “Vegetarian? My god! How do you get your protein?” bullshit.
So – I found the tofu in the sandwich sort of pointless & replaced it with the fried avocado. Also, in fairness to Golden Road, they offer a sandwich with the fried avocado. And the bread was ridiculously awesome. So, next time – I will get that fried A.L.T. they offer. And there will be a next time because it was distinctly pleasant to sit out on their big porch & drink their beer & nibble the goodies they offer.
So – there you have it! Four new joynts to try out – whether you are a degenerate carnivore, a persnickety vegetarian or just an inveterate drunk. Enjoy!
In closing – here are two completely unrelated but cute little animal posts. You’re welcome.