Burning Up. Ugh.

by Matt on July 25, 2006


I think we can all agree that blogging is a labor of love, and while it does sometimes feel like a happy burden we gleefully trudge ahead, putting images and words together for all the world to see. This was my full intention this past weekend as our friends from San Francisco came down to eat, eat and eat, but in case you haven’t heard, California has melted into the Pacific Ocean, leaving only palm trees, breast implants and tons of spent In-n-Out soda cups scattered throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Everyone has died, Hollywood has burned to the ground and every powerplant from San Diego to Sacramento has exploded. California is over.

Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit. But if you’ve been in the Golden State over the past few days you’ll no doubt understand why I’m prone to being totally dramatic. It has been hot. Oppressively hot.  Like stuck-in-hell hot. Like I-can’t-function-hot.  As a human who has learned to adapt to heat and as one that thrives in warm weather (or so I thought), I chalk up my intolerance to the fact that I am Californian through and through. I’ve gone soft.  Real soft. Yes, I had my camera with me and yes, I wanted to snap fun little shots of the weekend, but damnit, I could barely lift my arm. It was hot and I was miserable.

Despite the heat, we were happy campers and dealt with the heat wave the only way we knew how: by sitting in air-conditioned restaurants eating good food. If I had a swimming pool it would have been an entirely different story. Thursday was a late night dinner at Biggs, Long Beach’s answer to the small plates craze that still seems in full swing. I really want to dislike small plates based on the trend factor and the fact that it’s worn its welcome, but it’s still a wonderful way to taste a variety of foods and when done right it’s fabulous. It’s also great when dining with more than a few people. The food at Biggs is pretty good and the room is hip and minimal, and the small Mac and Cheese was the hit of the evening.

Friday was all about comfort foods (but really, when is it not?) I promised I’d take the gang to Cisco Burger and I am happy to say that it passed the Wade Williams burger test. Of course it cannot be a controlled food experiment without the test group, so a little later on we stopped at In-n-Out.  I’m still full.

Do you repeat eat? You know, you discover something so good that you go over and over until you just can’t stand it anymore? Yea, I do too. I was in good company, too, as the gang decided on multiple visits to my local little fun Mexican kinda-like-a-hole in the wall meets taco shack called Hole Mole. They don’t do much, but they have the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. And the chorizo y huevos for breakfast ain’t bad, either. I like to use the excuse that I’m Mexican which enables me to eat beans and rice every day, but I’m just being silly. I could eat fish tacos from Hole Mole everyday because it’s just that good. Even if the name is a tad bit trite.


After hiding inside an air-conditioned house with the curtains drawn we headed out Saturday night to AOC for an amazing dinner. AOC is a personal favorite, even if sometimes it can be just ok. Saturday night it was sublime, the service was spot on, the food was excellent, and the wine choices were heavenly. Thank you, Paul! And cute lady server, don’t think I don’t know what you were thinking when we kept ordering more food. We’re big boys. Deal. And damnit, could those bacon-wrapped dates just go away? Please? They’re just too good and I can’t stop obsessing over them. Stop it now. NOW.


Sunday I spent most of the day in the kitchen (air-conditioned), packing a picnic dinner for our evening at the Hollywood Bowl. Going to the Bowl for any event is a treat and a highlight of our summer, and even if it was 104 degrees in Hollywood we were going to enjoy it. That’s what chilled rosé is for, right? But before the picnic we had to stop by Sprinkles for a few cupcakes for dessert. You know people are freaks for Sprinkles when they line up for 25 minutes in a heatwave for an overpriced cupcake, present company included. But damn if they’re not worth it. After devouring tri tip sandwiches on homemade focaccia (thank you, Adam) with pesto and arugula in our cozy box, we got rid of all the cupcakes to um, make space, yea, that’s it. The KCRW World show was fun, Os Mutantes and Thievery Corporation were great, but the highlight of the night was The Flaming Lips. I couldn’t even describe the floor show. Insane.


Despite the heat, it’s always great to get out of my comfort zone and explore this great big concrete jungle with friends who are down for just about anything, especially eating.

I love you guys!


Biggs |  722 Second Street, Belmont Shore, California 90803

Hole Mole |  421 Obispo Avenue, Long Beach, California 90814

Cisco Burger |  720 W. Anaheim Street, Long Beach, California 90813

AOC |   8022 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, California 90048

Hollywood Bowl |  2301 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, California 90068