Why does summer always tease me into thinking I’m a kid out of school with nothing but lazy days and plenty of time to figure out how I want to spend them? Don’t I wish! The M-F/ 8-7 reality means there are only so many hours to take advantage of what summer in the city has to offer. Fortunately, being in DTLA, there’s always something going on and 4th of July in Grand Park really had the city showing off its best. While it gets pretty crowded at night, we loved walking through the park mid-day and seeing the festivities getting started.
The Park, with City Hall in the background, looked beautiful.
There were two music stages, one with a DJ and one with live music starting at 4 p.m. I’m sure the night was totally happening but we were perfectly happy to roam during the peaceful, sunny early afternoon. Friends asked us to join them that evening for the long-standing tradition of fireworks at Wilshire Country Club just a few miles west on Rossmore between Beverly and Third.
A few weeks ago we got a group together on a Friday night to check out EAT, SEE, HEAR at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park. There’s a great lawn where everyone brings low beach chairs and/or blankets, tons of food trucks show up and you watch a movie on an outdoor screen. We sawThe Big Lebowski. Dogs are welcome but we left Coco home for this one.
Not great photos, but these 2 guys were dead ringers for The Dude and Walter… and, not to forget the deadest of all, Donny in the can.
Last Wednesday night we needed to pick up a few things at Urban Radish for a party Jay’s catering this weekend. Happily the shopping trip coincided with Jazz Night at Urban Radish market with the Kyle Crane Trio on the patio. There’s a different dinner menu every week– I tried the grilled trout wrapped in prosciutto and Jay had roast pork with a sweet marinade. We missed out on the full selection of sides by getting there closer to 8:00 pm but the charred romaine , soba noodles, and organic multi-hued cherry tomato salad were all delicious and since we arrived late, the portions were extra generous.
Wine tasting is also part of Jazz Night and UR has a great selection of bottles at the perfect temperature to buy and take to your patio communal seating table. These gatherings are relaxed “downtowner” get-togethers–particularly for those who live in the Arts District. A full course meal is $15 . The Curran Grenache Rosé from the Santa Ynez Valley was as good as any we’ve ever tried… described as “A very pale salmon shade. Loaded with flavors of strawberry, mango , white peaches and green apples and exotic cardamom in the nose. (A) crisp wine with a firm backbone.” at $22. And best of all, Coco was happy to be among other contented canines chilling under the tables.
Another evening we were invited to our friends’ house in Hancock Park where Jay got to be co-grillmaster–the one thing that he misses about living downtown. It was a perfect Los Angeles evening where the breeze picks up at sunset and then everything calms to a still by the time the moon rises. The lights strung across the picnic table, the pea gravel under our feet, the candles flickering, the freshness of the produce, the aroma of the grill, the fragrant trees surrounding us, and even the raccoon who ambled along the fence at one point–reminded us we’re as Mediterranean as it gets without spending 13 hours and 46 minutes en route.
And not in chronological order, but we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary on June 30th. It was a Monday night and rather than go out, we decided sometimes the best celebrations are the ones where you just stay home. It was a beautiful night and we had the upper terrace of the Eastern Columbia Building all to ourselves. We took a picnic and set it up on the little bistro table where we could look out on the lights of the city. We grazed on cheese and crackers, sipped a Sauvignon blanc, had a salad and dipped a crusty Bread Lounge baguette into the “good” olive oil and balsamic that we usually save for company. We finished the evening off with the sweetness of strawberries and blueberries bought the day before at the Larchmont Farmers market. The sweet, simple pleasures of summer…so far.