I did not expect things at the restaurant to start out like a Viagra ad. Me: “It’s ok. It happens.” Chef: “Not to me it doesn’t. I don’t think that has ever happened.” Advertisements
Hotel restaurants are like a mash-up of The Twilight Zone and the Bermuda Triangle. Weird stuff happens. Models eat carbs in sweatpants next to dudes in Beats headphones making music on Macbook Pros, while ingenues like Scarlett Johansson fall in love with washed up old men. Ok, that last part was a movie, but you know what I mean. Hotel restaurants also swallow up chefs’ careers like the Triangle claims ships and airliners.
Aaat Laaast! You’ve heard it a thousand times, probably in the background of a jewelry commercial where some rich lady’s self-worth is confirmed by the receipt of a humongous diamond necklace. There’s the string section swell followed by the dusky croon of relief from Etta James that her lovelorn days are finally over. It is an earworm of the first order.
I’m officially done with tasteless beef. Part of this is I’m getting older, and I recognize that, despite pretending to court cardiac arrest in some of my writing like it was a hot prom date, arteriosclerosis, unlike Donald Trump’s promises to make Mexico pay for a border wall, is a real thing. I’ve already seen some of the best minds of my generation stented and statin-ed.
The world is pretty fucked up right now. Because I’m a lib, this means that certain ideas like arming children don’t really resonate with me. But, maybe you are different. Maybe you are mad because Purdue pharma worked really hard to misrepresent the safety of certain opiates, and you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of fear and loathing that you’ve channeled in to a crippling and destructive fear of the other. Either way, for both of us, the world is not working the way we expected.
In 2015, an American presidential candidate named Deez Nuts polled at 9% in North Carolina. Donald Trump rated 24% in this same poll. You know how that worked out. A nut was elected President. Though inconceivable then, I pine for the possibilities of a Deez Nuts administration now.
The King of Spain was not waiting in the bar tonight. But, if he were, I know I would have been seated first. I cannot blame the King of Spain for not yet dining at Pacific Standard Time (PST), the new restaurant from the partnership of One Off Hospitality (Paul Kahan, Donnie Madia, et al.) and Underscore Hospitality (Erling Wu-Bower, Joshua Tilden). Like me, he probably heard the name of the restaurant and shook his head. Which is to say, it feels a little weird to have a restaurant that is an homage to California produce and “California coast soul” (sadly, Marvin Gaye is not involved) named after a Western time zone open in Chicago. I suppose I’m being provincial, but if you opened a restaurant named Central Standard Time in Los Angeles serving Italian beef and tater tot hot dish, Jonathan Gold might just resurrect the LA Times rating system just to award no stars at all.
When I first walked in to Green Street Smoked Meats, I remember telling owner Brendan Sodikoff to fuck off.
A vision of bro-bar bottle service is not the reverie chef Stephen Gillanders is trying to invoke with the name of his new Pilsen restaurant, S.K.Y.. Rather, the name is a sweet commemoration of his wife, Seon Kyung Yuk’s initials. But, it is hard for me not to hear S.K.Y. and think of the cerulean-colored Skyy vodka bottle, a 1990s-era talisman for things like blue-shirted consultants booty shaking to the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s #1 hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”.
I felt like I’d walked into the secret love nest of Hugh Hefner and a crazy old bird lady. I know that sounds crazy. Like why would Hefner shack up with a bird lady? But, the dude loved quaaludes, so anything is possible. And even if he never did, Bellemore restaurant’s interior design looks like what would have happened if he had.