September 04, 2018

A Lady Who Lunches

When I first started traveling and exploring, I spent a lot of effort pursuing culinary experiences—some interesting, historic, or otherwise notable eatery or drinkery that I could find while visiting Jon in Boston or working my way through Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, Miami Beach, or Austin on a business trip.

Maybe I missed a lot of architecture or cemeteries in those places I ate and drank my way through.

But I don't think I flushed my time there down the toilet.

When I see something, I always want to know what it tastes like. If it's sour or putrid or gamey or pungent, I'd rather know and spit it out if I have to.

Since moving to California, I've spent most of my mealtime eating simply at roadside diners and Googie coffee shops, maybe discovering where to find good pizza on the West Coast, certainly enjoying a margarita or two and sampling some of our local beer.

But I haven't crossed many of those "Places You Should Eat Before You Die" off my list. And I'm a sucker for lists—and crossing things off of them.

So, every now and then, I'll devote a slot of time I could otherwise spent working or writing or adventuring on an empty stomach by filling my belly.

Because I haven't yet struck it rich in California—in neither gold nor black gold or even white gold—that means it's usually lunch.

For one of those lunches, I hauled my cookies over to Providence, the James Beard-nominated, double Michelin-starred, Jonathan Gold favorite fine dining experience that's a rite of passage if you're a foodie in Los Angeles.

Normally, I'd have to wait for somebody to take me to a place like Providence. And charge it on a corporate card.

But the restaurant provides a loophole for those of us on the outside looking in—and that's lunch.

Oh, it's still really expensive for someone who primarily sticks to all-day breakfasts and BLTs. It's extravagant enough that I didn't bother to invite another lady to lunch with me, so as to spare any embarrassment over having to decline because of cost.

Of course, I've been there. Quite often, I'm still there.

And so, with credit card in wallet, I went to Providence by myself, asked for a table for one, and enjoyed the one and only time I'll ever be able to go to Providence (probably)—me, a lady who tries to lunch when she can.

I gladly popped into my mouth a goo I didn't understand.

I folded a bright green leaf in half and pretended it was a taco.

I toasted to my toast—and to myself.

I marveled at how fancy the sea salt cellar was, with its tiny, red-tipped, bamboo paddle.

I tried to tenderly fork my fruit de mer with as much tenderness as whoever had plated it.

I squealed at the sweets set before me.

And when more came, I squealed again. What a delight.

And again, as I placed my take-home muffin in a fancy, gold-foiled doggie bag.

Maybe I shouldn't place any importance at all on having a good meal at a nice place where you're treated like royalty—even when you're limping, the zipper on your purse is broken, and there's a rip in your underwear.

But I do, because I can't quite get ride of that little girl who was afraid to ask her father for Happy Meal money on field trip day—and who spent her allowance on Arby's at the mall instead of stickers or toys.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Ladies Who Lunch
Photo Essay: Brunch at a Hollywood Chateau

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