Whole Foods

When Gelson’s had their grand re-opening (they had been a Mayfair) in Silver Lake a decade or so ago, they had all kinds of free stuff…I remember we stopped in on our way out to eat and wound up eating so many free samples we just went back home to digest. Yesterday the Whole Foods (née Ralphs née Hughes née Market Basket) had their parking lot fair to announce their brand new Silver Lake store and they one upped Gelson’s with food trucks. Yup, food trucks. Why provide free eats when suckers will flock to your event and buy their own? OK, they were giving away potato chips, different colored potato chips even, and you could spin the wheel to see if you could win a whole bag of different colored potato chips. My wife said there was a very long line to spin that wheel. They used to have soup lines in this country. Now it’s spin the wheel.

All out of vanilla Haagen-Dazs

(2010)

Was out  late last nite. Saw some great bands in a little Mexican dive in Lincoln Heights. I love the East Side. Silver Lake used to be East Side. Maybe not the tops of the Swish Alps, but in the lowlands, along the boulevards, and almost everything south of Sunset. It was Latino and gay and leather and punk rock and bohemian with traces of hippies and hints of jazz even, left over from the Soap Plant daze. Alas, Silver Lake is so Westside now. I remember years ago watching a blonde–one of those ultra blondes–walking down a nearby street with tits like grapefruit. Perfect orbs. You could teach geometry with those things. I stared a minute and thought Good Lord, what has become of my neighborhood? It wasn’t much later at the Mayfair (now Gelson’s) that a gorgeous power blonde–she had to be an attorney, just had to be–stormed up to the manager on perfect legs and screamed You’re all out of vanilla Haagen-Dazs! She was livid. Gave him hell, the poor bastard. He apologized. She said something wealthy and angry. My wife, watching, burst out loud laughing.

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Turkey

So as always, I just went out to get the turkey. I always wait till Thanksgiving Eve, because I prefer a fresh turkey. The frozen ones are so plebian, so hoi polloi, so common. So I went to the Ralphs on Colorado in Glendale, since our Ralphs is now an empty shell where a Ralphs used to be. Made a bee line for the turkeys. Unfortunately the frozen turkeys were no longer common, they weren’t even uncommon, in fact they were gone. The fresh turkeys were gone too. All that remained were two organic, free range fresh turkeys for those easily guilt ridden, but $66 for a turkey seemed nuts. They had lots of hams, though, and even more chickens, and I briefly considered getting a roaster and a lot of breading. Instead, I got back in the car, and after a winding but traffic free excursion through hills with fabulous views of Forest Lawn, I made it to the Vons on Los Feliz. We used to shop there ages ago, but apparently Glendale is rich now, as the prices were ridiculous. But they had turkeys, lots of turkeys. Frozen ones. Ran out of the fresh ones days ago the guy at the meat counter said. He picked a bird out of the cooler. This one’s thawing nicely already. Just soak it in the sink and watch TV all night. Sigh. A people’s turkey. Feeling the Bern. I dumped it in the cart and headed towards produce. And what beautiful produce it was too. Lush and green and ripe and snappy apple red. All I needed were Brussels sprouts. They had one. One single Brussels sprout. It looked like an absurd little cabbage. All about were the bits and pieces of sprouts, like there’d been a Brussels sprout riot. I considered getting the last one and letting my family fight over it, but no. I even looked for frozen Brussels sprouts, but they too were gone, meaning there are more than a few people in Glendale who can’t cook. No one seemed to be interested in the frozen Brussels sprouts in butter sauce. So I wandered about doing some last minute shopping and marveling at all the beautiful women doing their last minute shopping too. Suddenly the Vons in Glendale, in the wrong part of Glendale at that, is a babe magnet, like an Armenian Beverly Center. Though they were of every race and color, actually, lovely, and young enough to be my daughters. Grand daughters. Life, even in a post-racial society, can be cruel.

In the car again, heading up Brand. How would I face my family tomorrow without Brussel sprouts? The only time anybody ever eats the damn things is at Thanksgiving when it’s the law. Somewhere in Atwater it hit me….Gelson’s. Maybe they would have them. They would be solid gold, but they would have them. Which they did. They even had parking. I grabbed two packages full of the things. Gelson’s wraps their Brussels sprouts in little mesh bags. Very neat. Not a hint of a riot. The pall of familial holiday disgrace fell away and I walked though the aisles full of confidence and swagger, two big mesh bags of Brussels sprouts dangling from my hand in one hell of a manly metaphor.

Incidentally, you can spend $120 on a turkey at Gelson’s. I saw one, eighteen pounds, $120. That’s twice as much as the organic free range bird at Ralphs. Maybe these turkeys were organic, free range and veterinarian-assisted suicides.

What an inane post. I wrote it in my head as I drove between stores. Maybe I need a hobby.