Jason’s restaurant may be serving the most interesting food in Manhattan. Not interesting in the way Wendy described city food of late: “I went to one place and everything had foam – it looked like someone had spit on my duck.” Rather, it’s interesting for its simplicity, for the ability of his chefs to uncover the complexity of food flavor in the base ingredient, rather than trying to construct the nuances from a marriage of disparate foods. In that sense it’s cuisine that’s radical in the truest sense, exploring the root and source of food. The concept (as much as there is one; the tone of the place is more organic than contrived) is European dishes, prepared in the vernacular, the sort of things you can imagine a nineteenth century Basque farmer or Italian fisherman eating. The restaurant’s name, in fact, is taken from the name for a type of onion, taking the metaphor of radical, or root, one step further. The staff on the floor is as interested in food as the kitchen staff, and if you have a question and they don’t have an answer, you may find your waiter pulling a book from the small culinary library to look up an answer. I’m making it sound pretentious just by trying to write about it, and that’s a great disservice to the ease and style with which Jason has pulled it all together. The success of August, from the decor to the food to the service to the satisfaction you feel at the end of your meal, is simply natural.
It’s 415 in the morning. I’m heading to the Chelsea Hotel. It may be a night of literary legend. New York, New York.
My friend, my friend. Ciao.
New York, New York
There’s something civilized about a Bloody Mary at the Oak Bar.
The rain has abated, the clouds have cleared, and a breeze has taken away the humidity. Dinner with Spud and Marty Mart. We were just discussing that the New Yorkers have left, and the city is filled with tourists. Marty Mart met a sailor, in port for Fleet Week, and she’s nervous about meeting him. Her hair. She wants to wash it, and Spud is declaring that “look, I have products. I have curly hair, too, at least until nature has it’s way and I’m forced to shave my head bald.” He’s somehow shifted the conversation to the rise of the temperature and the emergence of girls in spaghetti strap dresses. Marty Mart wants me to finish up the blog post, so we can go to dinner. “I want something like vegetables, something . . . green.” She shaken her preoccupation with the sailor man and has turned to spinach. Nevermind the Popeye connection. Just saw a commercial with Ori in it. Marty Mart was screwing him at one time.
Marcella has been texting me from Monaco. She sent a camera picture from some yacht she’s been sailing around on. She says she’s never seen so much champagne.
Hey girl what’s it like to be in New York
New York City, imagine that, tell me
What’s it like to be a skateboard punk rocker
Leroy says send a picture
Leroy says hello
Leroy says keep on rocking girl
Yeh keep on rocking
– Michelle Shocked, “Anchorage”
Holly Golightly said fuck it all and fuck shoes and fuck clothes and wore a Hello Kitty tshirt and jeans and said she couldn’t be bothered anymore and if anyone thought to question her style they could fuck off or come look in her closet, but she wasn’t getting dressed up. New York City in the rain, the smell of wet concrete and wet leaves and wet garbage, and standing off a corner in the street in Astor Place, the steamy sewer smell coming from the curb. It curls up around my legs and waste and picks up the smell of curry from the shop down the block. Marty Mart met up with us at Schillers Liquor (a place her friend Kate helped to open) and they drink cheap rose and I have a Bud and everyone at the table is on to the fact that the waitress and I are making eyes at each other. I love women in New York. In a restaurant in L.A. everyone is so concious of who is paying attention to them; here you can stare at a beautiful woman (so many beautiful women) and maybe after a few minutes her eyes dart away from whoever or whatever she is giving her attention and she glances at you for just a moment and a smile creeps up at the corners of her mouth. Marty Mart and I are meeting up in the rain. Meeting up at 68th Street for coffee and a disaster movie. Spud is somewhere. Don’t have keys to his place but he’s here in Manhattan somewhere so why worry. Somewhere.
You can spend HOURS looking up people you know, and people in your neighborhood, to see who the big campaign contributors are in your ‘hood, and among friends and family. I live in Hollywood, so as one would expect the vast majority of contributions around Los Feliz are to the Democratic candidates. The biggies obviously donate through their accountant or lawyer’s offices:
Some of the fun ones I found:
10866 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Madonna Ciccone Ritchie
1185 6th Ave
New York, NY 10036
Chairman & CEO
10451 Bellagio Road
Bel Air, CA 90064
Here it is after 4pm and I’ve yet to put one word beyond the point at page 50 of the screenplay that I was at hours ago. Holly Golightly just called from Queens. We’re trying to put together some sort of schedule for my trip to New York next week. I just need to get a new suit at H&M; and eat dinner at Jason’s new restaurant, August. Other than that I think I’m just going to roam the streets of Manhattan in search of bars and adventure.
I’m leaving for a barbecue at Chez Aluka in a few minutes anyway, so there goes plans for this weekend’s writing session. I have been commanded to stop at the Armenian grocer to buy tabouli mix, along with the hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts, bread, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, sodas, and ice that I’m bringing to the party that I’m not even hosting. The burden of disposable income.
I’ve had two boiled eggs and a gallon of coffee and nothing else have I consumed all day. I can feel the roots of my teeth buzzing from caffeine.
Also found in my notebook today, was this strange snippet of character development I must have been working on for a short story: ‘Olivia – sold her eggs to a fertility clinic and then spent the money on patio furniture and a Macintosh.’
I was very disappointed in not winning Lotto yesterday: it was May 22nd and my Mega number was 22. It was meant to happen, so why didn’t it?
Tabouli? What kind of barbecue has tabouli?