Monday, November 8, 2010

Love at First Wright

Probably my favorite thing in the kitchen right now: this Russel Wright sauce boat, found at the PCC flea market over the weekend. Its fusion of design, function, and craftsmanship makes it a perfect object. (Sorry about the title of the post, but terrible puns like that are why I get paid the big bucks.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Warren Zevon's Favorite Burrito

Check out this excerpt from Wonderland, a 1977 Dutch documentary about the LA singer-songwriter scene featuring Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Linda Ronstadt (then-girlfriend of governor-elect Jerry Brown, also governor at the time). In the clip, Zevon pays a visit to Echo Park’s own Burrito King, back when the neighborhood was considered, according to his own lyrics, “the outskirts of town.” Here, he also calls Burrito King’s cuisine “some of the finest Mexican American food in Southern California.” Perhaps that was true 3+ decades ago, but the last burrito I ate from there gave me a horrible stomachache. Maybe I just didn't order right; Zevon recommends the machaca burrito.

Remarkably, the corner of Sunset and Alvarado nowadays appears pretty similar to the way it did then, creepy American Apparel billboard notwithstanding. Burrito King continues to shares the strip mall with a liquor store and a cleaners, though names and precise locations may be different, and Pizza Buono still anchors the southwestern corner. Even Sunset Auto Spa seems to be just a more modern iteration of the business that stood there before. But it’s a bit sad to see, in the clip, the big old houses around the corner from the carwash, knowing that they’d be demolished and replaced by a bunch of ugly lofts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mystery Mushroom?

I guess this would fall under the "comma" part of Food Comma, being that I'm not entirely sure this thing is organic matter, let alone edible. I discovered this alien life (?) form as I was pulling weeds in the front yard. At first glance, I pegged it as a big mushroom, about 2 inches in diameter; on closer inspection, I noticed part of the purplish top layer appeared to be peeled off, revealing a gelatinous-looking core. A fallen bird egg? It seemed way too big, and anyway there are no nests nearby that I know of.

Digging the thing out with a stick, I felt a slight resistance that, say, some decaying rubber ball discarded in the dirt might lack. But then its tapered and somewhat pleated bottom end suggested a sort of balloon, and the way the thing feels both firm and squishy reminds me of, like, a silicone implant. Yeah: creepy. I showed it to Mr. Comma, who immediately remarked on its resemblance to a puffball, a mushroom-like fungus. I left it outside overnight and apparently none of the various Eagle Rock wildlife (squirrels, possums, raccoons, skunks, birds, cats, lost dogs) so much as took a sniff at it, as far as I could tell. I know the next step is to cut it open, but I'm a little scared . . .