Thursday, November 6, 2008
OK, I promise I do have lovely pictures of beautifully presented food for you all, but first I have to go on a rant.
I just returned from a "presentation" about the future of development in Downtown LA. I am all for the gentrification of downtown, it has been a creepy ghost town since the residents of the Victorian homes of Bunker Hill were kicked out in the early 50s. Only Little Tokyo and the loft district around Alameda and 3rd, home to Al's Bar, ever had a breath of life in it. But the new LA LIVE "Campus" is a sea of cement and chrome, plastered with giant screens blaring commercials directly into your cerebral cortex. It is a flagship in the homoginization of America.
LA Live has their own "security" to supplement the LAPD, in very sheriff-like outfits. I wonder if somewhere underground they have their own jail/dungeon. Something made me feel like I was in a movie where man's hubris, like with the Titanic, would lead to its imminent doom. Pave it over and paint it green; fake palm trees with hidden security cameras; all set to incessant images and blasting music from those gigantic videotrons.
More screens and more speakers
One of the PR women said she lives near Universal Citiwalk and rolled her eyes at what a nightmare it is to visit there. She doesn't realize the irony that they are just building another Citiwalk in someone else's neighborhood. One more Downtown Disney. One more Promenade. And now they are encouraging you to move in. Who wants to live at Universal Citiwalk? Who wants to live inside the mall?
I am not a flight attendant but I play one on TV
The future of downtown LA
At least the Variety Arts Center building still stands
I asked where in the model The Pantry was
Not nearly enough cars
LA on the clearest day since the invention of the internal combustion engine
This is some kind of music center or something with a recording studio that they are building
Everything is so pointy and sharp
I thought it was cool they were solar, but those aren't solar panels. They are just there as a design element
I imagine this tacky old Holiday Inn must just make them insane. I asked about it and they had a very smooth answer as if they love it there right in the middle of all of the fancy, shiny buildings.
The PR people kept touting it as the "Times Square of the West". That's exactly what we need. We don't have enough traffic and chain restaurants yet. I hate to be a big wet blanket on the starry-eyed developers' visions of the future, but it just reminds me of THEY LIVE. By the way, if you have not seen the movie THEY LIVE you need to rent it immediately. Like now. Get Magic Christian while you're at it too - which continues the "Can anybody be bought?" theme, which brings us to the culinary portion of this rant. To sell the idea of the LA of the future, we were wined and dined as never before. Can Chinois Salad in a Cup make me buy into Live LA???
We were hosted in the offices of the still-under-construction Ritz Carlton Hotel and Apartments. These people are serious about selling this idea. For about 7 bloggers and guests (as in lil' ole me) they had Wolfgang Puck catering set up with a cold buffet, passed hors d'ouvres, a carving station, cheese plate and dessert station. They also had a well-stocked bar. I did a little mental calculation, and along with the gift certificates presented to the bloggers, the event probably cost about 10 grand well before the salaries of all of the salespeople.
I can't help sneaking into the "kitchen"
First the passed hors d'ouvres:
parmesan chip with carmelized pear marscapone (kicked ASS)
filet mignon on crostini
tuna tartar in a cone
chinois salad in a cup (b-o-r-i-n-g, but OK - it's a signature "dish"
What is this? Did I even eat this? Looks like tuna tartare on a blini. No, that's puff pastry. Hmm... wonder bloggers??? Any of you remember?
I asked the bartender to make me something "fun"
And after the "doots" - a cold buffet. The chicken was dry and boring, but the filet mignon rivaled the most tender I have ever eaten
Then after that, a hot buffet with carving station
I definitely had sufficient horseradish
the desserts were lovely, if a tad sweet. Of course, who could really eat anything else? The shining star was the cheesecake cone - so whimsical. Sherry Yard is definitely innovative.
We were also able to check out the model apartment for the new Ritz Carlton Homes.
We decided to take a few pictures as if we really lived and blogged there. The next thing you know, some of us were climbing in the bathtub, spilling drinks, and generally acting like howler monkeys. Maybe we do need to live in a homegenous police state. A nice buffet, a few fruity drinks and we quickly degenerate into anarchy.
Best random moment...
"Where is the restroom?"
"Next to the VAULT."