something one misses, living in the small midwest, is the option to be able to eat at someplace, like Canter's in Los Angeles. A 24-hour jewish deli, opened in the 1920's.
A. & I spent a Friday afternoon walking about Hollywood.
(while K. was wowing at an interview for new job) we happened to
stop at Canter's. what caught our attention, simultaneously,
was the view from the front door--of a huge pastry case.
sights & smells of pastry goodness drew us in.
the possibility of eating a pink pastry box of rugelach for lunch was upon us,
until we glanced from the pastry case long enough to see that we were inside a deli. A very large one. And popular, it looked. So we sat. And narrowed-down our picks, from a jam-packed menu.
My turkey melt came on fresh-baked rye, crispy from the griddle. With melted velveeta. Caraway seeds crunched under my teeth. Our fries were golden chunks of potato. And an order of the "world-famous" pickles, were too sour for me. A. said they got better, the more of them you ate.
Above us was a ceiling glass-tiled in fall foliage. All around us were the cafeteria sounds. Bus boys dropping plates into plastic tubs. Water glasses being restocked, clanking around. Muffled kitchen sounds. People asking waiters questions like, How's the Pastrami today?
The longer we were there, and saw the photocopied, framed magazine articles on the walls,
we understood we were sitting someplace...famous. wondered about the movie "deals" that have been made there. or scenes from movies filmed there. famous people. drinking deli coffee, and eating fries.
We ate. And sat out a heavy rain outside.
Then we went back to the pastry case.
Ordered cinnamon rugelach, an almond horn (filled with marzipan and dipped in chocolate) and some chocolate "rolls". The russian chocolate coffee cake beckoned me, but scared me. As it was only sold by the pound. And it looked like something that might have changed my life. Down a road of dessert indulgence. The chocolate Babka was only sold in whole loaves. And I knew it would kill us with butter, if I took one back to K's apartment. (Babka has been fascinating me for awhile, I keep hoping to have an occasion to make one.)
And really, the options were so plentiful. Buttery, flaky, almond-y, chocolate-y goodness. It was overwhelming. And we left without macaroons, cream cheese rugelach, babka, coffee cake or fresh bagels. But what we left with. Made us swoon, nonetheless.
Our pink box sat on K's kitchen table all weekend. And we'd walk by, open it and pick at the goodies.
A. and I, after a weekend of eating, wondered where all the "california" cuisine was. Because nothing we ate in Los Angeles, would keep us a California-size Zero.