It was raining when Nicky picked me up at LAX. I had not seen her in almost a month and she started right in with a constant flow of LA speak after she complimented me on my tan.
"Fuckin' LA drivers don't know how to drive in the rain. Too many accidents from too many retarded drivers," she said as she cut off a black SUV. "Oh and I saw Aaron Sorkin the other day in front of the Beverly Hills Library. He's apparently got blonde highlights and was with an unidentified blonde, who was too classy to be a hooker."
"Oh my God. I think some old guy had a heart attack at Wahoos Fish Tacos last night," she continued. "And the other day, some asshole in a Mercedes cut in front of me at the light near Olympic and I chased him all the way up to Fountain before I caught up to him and screamed, 'You obviously have a two inch cock, you LA Douchebag!'"
Nicky had been reading about my complaints regarding the Aussie version of bacon which is essentially Canadian bacon that's barely cooked. In Byron Bay, the cooks at The Balcony actually fried the bacon substantially a lot longer which made it the location of best bacon in Oz for me. Nicky bought a new package of bacon for me and offered up a scrambled egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich on toasted Italian bread upon my return to America. How could I say no? I craved iced tea so much that I drank three Snapples inside of a few hours.
One morning last week, I made Nicky drive me to John O'Groats, the home of the best French Toast in all of LA. Their bacon is some of the most melt-in-your-mouth bacon you will ever taste in your life. And the iced tea was so delicious that I had three glasses. The service is always slow there, but after spending a month outside of the US, slow service here is as good as fast service overseas.
One night Nicky made Chicken Delmonico, which was breaded chicken breast served in a creamy mushroom sauce over a bed of garlic-mashed potatoes. I almost jizzed in my pants it was so good. On Saturday night, I made pasta... ravioli with an arrabiata sauce made from scratch with Spicy Italian sausages.
Ravioli with sausages
We made either omelets or scrambled eggs for breakfast with the leftover ingredients from dinner the night before... mostly onions, scallions, jack and cheddar cheese, portobelloo mushrooms or either bacon or spicy Italian sausage. No tomatoes or peppers for me in my eggs.
On Friday night, we met up with Jen Leo and Shecky for dinner at Cliff's Edge in Silver Lake. Leo had some good news to announce as she showed off her swanky new engagement ring. I had insider knowledge about the impending engagement as Shecky spoke about it a couple of times during our time in Oz together. Shecky scored the perfect rock for the perfect girl. And of course, they will be getting hitched on 7-7-07 in Las Vegas. Of course.
Silver Lake is LA's version of Williamsburg. A couple of years ago, new residents flocked to Silver Lake as that wave of hipsters slowly morphed into LA douchebags. It used to be a crappy neighborhood along with Echo Park, eventually regentrified, and now there's plenty of SUVs, fusion restaurants, tanning salons, and cafes.
Cliff Edge is a California/Italian/Mediterranean joint on Sunset Blvd., which is hard to find from the street. They serve most of the meals in a secret outdoor courtyard. It wasn't that cold, but since I was dining with three SoCal natives, we ended up eating inside. The food was moderately priced and we ordered crab cakes and brushetta to start. Since I returned from Oz a total alcoholic, I drank red wine while Leo and Nicky had mojitos. For dinner, I opted for a filet mignon with gorgonzola cheese and spinach. I did not even touch the spinach and Leo offered to eat it for me since she knew that the only time I volunteer to eat veggies if there's a prop bet attached to it. Shecky had the shrimp risotto, Nicky had the rib-eye and Leo ordered the lamb chops. After dinner we walked across the street to a micro-pub called Good. We drank Good's Blonde Ale while we played Chinese Poker. Of course, I got whopped and ended up down for the night.
For the super bowl festivities, Nicky made her infamous chicken and chirzo chili with grilled cheese sandwiches on Texas Toast. Talk about a kick ass meal to eat along side beers and red wine.
Chili and Grilled Cheese
Yeah, I only put on about six pounds in Australia, but I put on another six since I've been back in LA after stuffing myself with all the foods I missed like iced tea, crispy bacon, a cheeseburger from a diner, French Toast, and a good old fashioned US steak.
I did not have any jetlag and was back to normal within one day, whereas Shecky had jetlag for almost a week. I slept over 10 hours the first day back mainly because I barely slept on my flight home and was up for 36 hours straight. Also, my four weeks in Oz was essential a four week bender. The first two days back, I slept off my four-week hangover as I racked up an unusual amount of slumber.
I spent most of my waking hours answering several thousands emails that have cluttered my inboxes and checking out the thousands of photos I took. Been junking some, fixing others, and figuring out which ones to post to the blogs or upload to my Flickr. It's going to take me a few weeks to get all of them sorted.
Showcase went on two different auditions for commercials, while both he and Nicky embraced Black History Month and paid homage to "Sing like a black girl month" and performed several selections from Dreamgirls.
I also had a deadline for High Roller magazine. I must admit that I forgot when the deadline was. When my editor emailed me about the progress of the Aussie Million piece, I asked him when it was due. He said, "The deadline was today." Yikes. I promised him I would get it done in 48 hours and cranked out 3,100 words in less than a day. Now I heard that I might be the cover story. That's great news considering I found out that I'll be having to take another paycut with a different magazine that I write for.
Since Jen Leo loved Smokin' Aces, we went to see it at the Grove at 10:40 on a weekday night, a time that I knew would not be too crowded. For a two hour flick, Smokin' Aces went fast, which is Joe Carnahan's latest homage to the fast-paced quirky ensemble action flicks similar to the Quentin Tarratino, Guy Ritchie, and Tony Scott genre. The first two and half acts were great but it fizzled in the last twenty minutes or so. Aside from that, I could I not dig a flick where random hookers fall through glass tables? Ben Affleck barely gets any screen time and Jeremy Piven (aka Ari Gold) did a bang-up job as the Buddy "Aces" Israel the Vegas entertainer. Alicia Keys made her big-flick debut as one of the contract killers hunting down Buddy Israel.
I also watched Munich, Spielberg's flick about the Mossad agents who tracked down the leaders of Black September, a PLO terrorist group that masterminded the Munich Massacre at the Olympics in 1972. Inspired by true events and based on the book Vengeance by George Jonas, Munich was an entertaining spy flick. Lots of action. Lots of people dying. Lots of things to think about. The actor who plays James Bond (Daniel Craig) is also playing a Mossad agent along side Eric Bana.
Nicky had a the latest episodes of Heroes, Studio 60, and The OC on her TiVo. I slowly caught up on all of those shows while smoking tough on her couch. I fly to NYC tonight on JetBlue and will be in the air for the most recent episodes of Heroes and Studio 60. In Australia, The Simpsons were on for like three hours every morning during a summer marathon and then I'd find myself watching cricket for random periods of time on one of three Fox Sports stations. Aside from an episode of Dawson's Creek, that's pretty much all I watched in OZ.