I’ve been in Los Angeles for the last few weeks, keeping my isolated, elderly relatives company (i.e., my mom, dad, and aunt, all living separately and barely speaking to one another) and helping them a little bit to keep their lives in order. That’s not really fun to talk about, so I’ll skip that.
But I did have some fun during the first week, because my old friend Don came down to visit from Santa Cruz. He just retired at the beginning of the year, so he has time like that to kill. And having a visitor was a good excuse to go do some fun things.
We hit the Cabrillo Marine Museum, for starters, which I guess they are now calling the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. It’s a little bit worn down these days, and you have to feel sorry for the octopi in the little tanks. And, yeah, it’s funny to see the same species of big crabs and lobster they have down in aquariums (aquaria??) at the Redondo Pier for sale for eating in the museum as animals to ooh and ah and revere. But, admittedly, the lobsters are way more impressive at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium because they were probably especially huge and old to begin with and now they’ve had twenty or thirty years there already to grow even bigger. Top tip: chat with the staff. They’re friendly and full of amazing information.
Another fun thing we did was go to Guelaguetza in Koreatown in Los Angeles. It’s an amazing and lively Oaxacan restuarant, so, full of mole and dishes rather other than what you probably think of when someone says Mexican food. We showed up on a Sunday, without reservations, which we got away with only because we were slow enough out of the starting gate (honestly, retired people! Get two of them together (i.e., my friend Don and my mom) and it’s like herding chickens because they aren’t goal-oriented or deadline-oriented at all anymore) that we didn’t get to the restaurant until 1:30 in the afternoon. So, although Guelaguetza was hopping, filled with mainly Mexican and Chicanx families out for a special Sunday meal and sporting a live mixed Anglo/Chicanx band alternately putting a rock and roll spin on Mexican tunes and a Mexican spin on rock and roll, we only ended up having to wait 20 minutes for a table.
The food was definitely an adventure. I supposed we could have asked for paper menus, instead of using their website on Mom and Don’s teeny tiny little phones, which was awkward and inefficient since you could only see one or two items at a time instead of the whole menu all at once. So I ended up ordering something that I had no idea what it was, except that I figured it would turn out to be some sort of cooked shape of masa slathered in mole and cheese. That tlayuda turned out to look like this photo. Ignore the stray bit of avocado there, which I stole from my mom’s ultimately far more sensible chicken dish because that crispy, pizza-esqe tlayuda, while really good and totally interesting, was screaming for fresh veggies. Some lettuce like arugula would have been amazing, for instance. Also, I can’t recommend the mole negro, which is what’s on there. It was way too sweet for this. Unfortunately, the veggie tlayuda they offer doesn’t have mole, since mole almost certainly has chicken broth or something similar in it. (Yes, I was being a bad vegetarian, but as long as nobody has told me there’s chicken broth in something like mole sauce, I sometimes let that slide. After 36 years as a vegetarian, I’m allowed a tiny bit of occasional leeway!) But, honestly, the food was great and I would totally go there again, even though it means driving all the way across LA for us to get there.
After eating at Guelaguetza, we then hit Craft Contemporary, a little museum/gallery across the street from the Tar Pits that I’ve been trying to go to for decades, but every time I’m in town, they’re closed because they’re in between exhibits. But this time was the charm… that Sunday they were opened for the first time in months. And their Strings of Desire exhibit was awesome and inspiring. It’s amazing what people can do with embroidery thread! You have to go, if only to see the works they had by Erick Medel. He machine embroiders canvases from photos he’s taken of Los Angeles life and they were incredible and moving. I’m tempted to throw my anti evil social media company principles to the wind and join Instagram just so I can follow him and see his posts.
But, back to my friend Don. As I said, he just retired at the beginning of the year… from his job as a librarian in Salinas, California. He has such interesting things to say about this, I interviewed him for our podcast. Check it out!
2 thoughts on “Further Adventures in Podcasting”
Aw, I’m sorry I missed you in LA! Usually we spend a few days down there around the holidays, but this time the kids all came up and we stayed home.
I’ll drop you a line next time before I head over to see my folks, just in case! But, really, I’m DECADES overdue for a day trip to SB. Please tell me that the Cantina is still making great burritos in IV.