Lazy Ox Down and Dirty

I had an awesome girls dinner at Lazy Ox. Here are some snippets from the evening:
Lizelette: Have you been to Rivera?
Jordan: Yes, it was amazing. I went there on a Jdate.
Alex: Which one?
Jordan: The one where I was a dirty little whore.
Sarah, who was either half listening or just distracted by how good our Siduri Pinot was, heard only part of that.
Sarah: I need to add “Dirty Little Whore” to my list of places to go!
Jordan: No, lovey, the place is Rivera, I’m the dirty little whore!
P.S. Thank you to Alex and Lizelette for pretending to see that as a specific Jdate identifier.

Here’s what we had:
Bellwether Farms Ricotta Fritters with saffron honey – to appease the waiting from the kitchen, nice touch, our table wasn’t that late.
Dashi Marinated Yellowtail with avocado, hash brown & tonburi – this was the best
Lengua Ravioli – second favorite
Bone Marrow Special with lentils – amazeballs
Lamb Neck Hash with toasted quinoa & fried jidori egg
Beef Cheeks – yum
Heirloom Tomatoes with cheese, torn basil & corn pudding
Beet Salad
Rice Pudding
Temporary Insanity Tempranillo
Great meal, can’t wait to go back!

Lizelette, Alex, Jordan, and Sarah at Lazy Ox Canteen

Words With Friends. And Family. At Mas.

The other day I got a call from my mother.
“What the eff game did you send Dad for the iPhone? He’s obsessed with it, he plays it all day long (pronouned oohwall day loo-wong).”
“Oh, I sent him an invite to play Words With Friends – Scrabble for iPhone, but he hasn’t accepted my game request, is he just playing with strangers?”
“He’s playing with strangers All Day Long!!”
So I sent my dad another request now that he had downloaded the software.
He accepts the game and sends me a message “No Mercy!”
Today we were discussing where to to for dinner when I get into town on Wednesday for a belated bday celebration for my dad. He wanted to go to Del Posto but couldn’t get in.
I told him to pick another restaurant and went to go turn the ALCS Game 3 on.
He goes, “OK, but what happened to that scrabble game we had going?”
I said I was busy with football yesterday but will make a move later.
“You’re leaving me too many open spots, Jordan!”
“I’m still winning, Dad.”
“Yeah, we’ll see!”
He decided on a repeat restaurant, Mas.
The last time we were at Mas was for its soft opening. My dear high school friend’s brother is part owner and we all got a table during the debut evening. We noticed a man at a neighboring table with a bottle of Sine Qua Non Ox (their 1999 pinot noir) and ooh and aahed over it. Apparently he caught wind of this and we were soon greeted with three glasses of the stuff. I all but sat on his lap in thanks. This time we brought our own, along with the 98 vintage – Veiled.
I surprisingly liked the Veiled better…
While the Veiled was my favorite part of the wine portion of the evening, one of the highlights of the conversation was the followng:
I was discussing how I had quite a few friends going through separations and I heard from someone who majored in Sociology, that studies show the hardest years of marriage to get past are 4, 7, and 24.
“24!!!” both of my parents screamed out in unison agreement.
“24-40!” they added.
Happy Birthday, Dad!

The Zuckers at Mas - (pre Jordan WWF victory)

Much Ado, about Matthew

Last night, my friend Brig and I had post football dinner (Advantage LA) at Ado on Main St. It was Van Gough’s Ear when I first moved to town. Then it was something else, then it was Amuse, which was great but closed due to liquor licenses or stairway permits, blah blah blah. Now it’s Ado, pronounced AAAAAH-dough, named after chef Antonio Mure’s partner’s Grandpa from Sicily.
Turns out I’ve been following Antonio around town. He hung out with me and Brig and we closed the place down. I picked up a little on his history in the process.
He started out at Piccolo – where 5 Dudley was.
I went there one year for my bday goals dinner with Matt.
(Now I digress)
Matt is what you’d call “my gay best friend” in layman’s terms. But that implies that I met him out one night being fabulous and we quickly formed a Carrie Bradshaw-Stanford Blatch relationship. This is NOT the case. Matt is actually one of my closest friends. His mother was my first grade teacher, I was a year behind him in school. I was her favorite student and since she’s reading this and that’s undiplomatic of me to say, I’ll rephrase. She was overwhelmingly impressed with my feat of winning the bookworm contest by half a classroom length, (aka landslide), and thus began a lovely relationship of mutual respect and admiration. Matt and I both did plays, GIA (government in action), and SGA (student government action), (Yes, hi, I’m a nerd.) in high school. We both went to Penn, and we both then moved out to LA. He was the only person I knew when I moved out here. I see it too, we’ve lived eerily parallel lives.  So he’s basically one of my best friends, who happens to be gay. (a slight variation of my gay best friend…) We also both have January birthdays.
So we started a tradition of doing a birthday dinner. We pick a hot new place to dine and go out for a meal and each treat the other. Which means we split the bill as if it were any other night out, but it’s cuter this way. Matt came up with the idea to do “goals” at each dinner, so starting in 2000, we brought paper, envelopes, and pens each year. We listed goals we wished to set out to accomplish by the end of the year, sealed them up in an envelope, and then opened the envelope from the previous year and checked off what was achieved. Sometimes we’d give each other freebies, just to boost our ego being able to cross one off. e.g. I listed “Scan goals in case there’s a fire.” and it seriously took me until the night before we had our next dinner to get them in. But I did it!
Incidentally I embarrass Matt EVERY time we go out, bday dinner or otherwise. At Piccolo I believe there was an incident where I was sharing desserts with one of the four other tables in the tiny restaurant and the whole place was singing to us come candle time. Amazing meal.
Then at La Botte there was controversy over how much wine to order (a bottle to split, right??!) And I succumbed to Matt’s protest and ordered a half bottle, only to open up my envelope from last year and look at goal #1. DO NOT LET MATT TALK YOU INTO ONLY ORDERING A HALF BOTTLE OF WINE!!! IT’S NOT ENOUGH!!! I couldn’t cross that one off, but it was worth it for the fifteen minutes of hysterics it sent us in when I read it aloud. CLASSIC, no? Fab Italian, again, but the cozy ambiance of Piccolo wasn’t as strong.
Anyway, last night I had dinner plans with a girlfriend (yes, Brig, if you’re following) after watching football on the Colston Couch (only people who own Marques Colston in their fantasy football leagues can sit on it during football). I had been wanting to try Ado for a while so we met there at 9pm. It was winding down, but we sat downstairs and it was the intimate environment we were craving. Conversations with the neighboring tables, (Brig was supposed to meet the people next to us some how…) closing the place down, hanging with the chef, finishing up his Passito (Italian dessert wine) and Pastiera Nopolitana (ridiculous ricotta dessert with orange blossom water) with him before we all headed home, and a delicious meal. My ideal evening. Thanks, Antonio!!

Antonio and Jordan enjoy the Passito

Motorino – East Village

Gnarly Dudes in Flip Flops

The weatherman apparently heard that the Stuy town movie on Thursday was Ghostbusters, as the tornado hit like the gatekeeper had actually met the keymaster… It was quick, and on the UES, painless (though Queens can’t boast the same). However, it didn’t make for a lovely, dry, movie night on the lawn. So I opened a bottle of Two Hands Gnarly Dudes with some friends and moved the evening indoors.

On to the dinner portion of the evening… When we went to try Momofuku Noodle Bar and faced an hour and a half wait, I wished I hadn’t canceled our late resie at Peasant. But it turned out OK as Motorino was right around the corner, on my list to try, and could seat us in 10 minutes.
While we were waiting, a girl sitting at the open window table, turned to face the street and puked all over the side walk. Twice. The party then got up and left. The restaurant cleared the table and welcomed us to it. I explained what had happened and requested a hose down of the adjacent street. Apparently she had just done a number on the bathroom as well. Once they finished cleaning that, the sidewalk was next.

Yes I Can Get a Hose Down!


The pizza was awesome. Doughy but thin crust with a little char. The octopus app was delish, the meatball was OK. I got the Brussels Sprouts Pizza. MMm MMMm MMMm. And our bottle of red was packed with nice fruit and a few questionable decisions. Thanks Motorino!

North Fork Bachelorette

For the life of me, I couldn’t fall asleep last Friday night. I had just rocked out to the Sister Sparrow and Orgone sets at Sullivan Hall and decided to head home at around 1:30am to make sure I got a decent amount of sleep. There was not an available taxi in sight in the area and after waiting over 30 minutes and wandering around with my arm in the air trying different corners (what?), I stumbled upon the 6 train and decided to go the subway route. By 3am I had made it to the Upper East Side, only for my body to fight in protest that we had flown 3,000 miles west, not east, and refuse slumber. So when my alarm went off at 8:00am granting me enough time to take care of Louie’s 14 year old puppy routine and pack for the weekend, I had to mind alpha my body and take charge of this east coast time zone.
Only five minutes late, but still the last one there, (sometimes I like arriving alphabetically), I met up with the girls at our mid town limo pick up location. Mike, chauffeur extraordinaire, from Crossroads Limousine was about to take seven sassy women on a Long Island Vineyard Tour for a bachelorette. So we cruised across Long Island, blasting Billy Joel, and venturing to explore the grape world of the North Fork.
It was a glorious day, weather wise, company wise, activity wise, etc. But to be honest, none of the wines were that memorable or dazzling. The whites definitely outshone the reds, but nothing I wanted to take home with me (and I’m usually so much easier with wine than with men, wait… I’m not.)

Jason's

Our first stop was Jason’s. There was another bachelorette party of 20 + girls all seemingly under the age of 25, and all in pink custom printed tops. Immediately upon entering I exclaimed, “Crap, Lauren! We forgot your penis hat!” No one was rattled, mostly because there was no such hat left behind. This was the one stop where we didn’t get to taste all of the wines, which I didn’t like. What if I missed the one I’d want to buy? Give me a sip of each, please! I think the winner here was the Reisling. I was the only one who could handle the Merlot; it was smoky, like mama takes her scotch, so I didn’t mind so much. Anyway, onward to stop #2.

Macari

Second stop was Macari. These were some of the best of the bunch. I actually wasn’t completely turned off by their Chardonnay. (I’m an ABC – “Anything But Chard,” but I’ll always try it just in case…) Not surprisingly, their first chard had a splash of Sauv Blanc in there. This helps.
At one point I turned to Lauren and said, “Look at that cute old man with his pants up to his boobs.”
Lauren (who’s possibly my funniest friend) responds, “That guy has proprietor written all over him.”
Mr. Macari sure does keep his ribs warm.

Laurel

The third stop was Laurel Lake where we had lunch that was pre-ordered through the tour. The lunch was crap, next time I’ll pack a picnic basket for everyone, but we had to include some solids in the diet for sustainability purposes. This stop had the best staff and a really low key vibe. The guys always made sure we had wine in our cups and weren’t at all stingy on the pours.
They also had a musician doing a little acoustic set.
“Hey Liza! Play something that doesn’t have lyrics involving someone wanting to die,” we requested.
“Oh, you girls just missed the happy set.”

Osprey's Dominion

Refueled with some carbs and ready for the second leg, Mike safely deposited us at Osprey’s next. We had to shut off my iPod with The Greyboy Allstars cranked up in the limo and subject ourselves to what seemed to be a Kenny G cover band in the mid-lawn pagoda at this one, but we managed to enjoy ourselves. (Actually, it was beautiful.) I pulled out a move from my 21st bday (when people were buying me more shots than I could handle and I’d cheers them and throw the booze over my shoulder instead of down my throat. “Jordan, we can see you do that!” they said. “What, I’m pacing myself!” I retorted,) and tossed some of the samples on the lawn at this one. First of all, drinking all day requires skill, if it wasn’t worth drinking, I won’t do it. Second, the other wineries had dump buckets, the lawn was just asking for it!

Pindar for Magic Hour

Since Mike was mistakenly under the impression he was taking us back to the city, when he learned he was leaving us at our hotel in Riverhead, we decided to add an extra stop, Pindar. This one had the best wines yet (or maybe our buds were failing us at this point, can’t be sure.) But we got a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc and a bottle of the bubbly and went out back to enjoy the Magic Hour with the vines.

Our accommodations for the evening were at The Hotel Indigo, a cute boutique hotel with pretty nice rooms, comfy beds, a pool, and a painfully slow restaurant. I seriously wound up having to eat my eggs benedict (which wasn’t even what I ordered) out of a to go box at the Jitney bus stop Sunday morning on my way to make it back to the city for first football Sunday kickoff.
After a dip in the pool and a shower, we pulled it together and got in a $10/pp (what is this, New Orleans during jazzfest!?!?) cab ride to Amarelle in Wading River.
Great choice. Dinner was lovely. My fresh strawberry cosmo made me forget I don’t go for girly drinks. And the Pinot Noir was the best red we’d had all day (2008 Fin, Finnegan’s Lake, CA). Lauren and I split the lobster crepe (Mmmm) and seared scallops with crispy leeks (good). She didn’t touch my clams because of the bacon sprinkle (best part!), and I wasn’t the hugest fan of her fluke (insert your own “kitchen fluke” joke here). All in all, the perfect end to a perfect day.
Cheers, Lauren!
Cheers, North Fork!

Bay Cities, Longboard Red, and Dr. John at the Pier

My favorite time of day is called “The Magic Hour,” (aka The Golden Hour for its photographic offerings). It’s the hour right before sunset (so about the last hour of daylight.) The sun is low and lights up the air with warm orange tones. I originally thought of calling it “The Laughternoon” because it was the late-afternoon (well, in January at least), but it seemed like a misnomer to me. For although it brings on a natural high, it’s not really a giddy high. It’s more peaceful and beautiful. I think I’m going to take a picture for a photo journal every day during this time. (We’ll see how I do with that one…)
Yesterday I wound up on the beach just south of the Santa Monica Pier during The Magic Hour. We were setting up for this season’s final Thursday Night Twilight Dance Series with New Orleans legend Dr. John headlining. A few tapestries, sheets, and blankets spread out on the beach, plus a bunch of surrounding votive candles in sand filled paper bags created our little lantern village.

Setting up "Lantern Village" at the pier.

Large Godmother. Works. No pickles.

I had made a stop at Bay Cities Italian Deli, a Los Angeles landmark. I had a friend in from NY that was joining us. Any time I have an out of towner visiting I usually insist that they don’t leave with out having a Bay Cities sammie (or In N Out, but who’s still late for the train on that one?) The go-to order is The Godmother. If I’m “watching my figure” I’ll go with a turkey. But as my friend Mike’s declared, “I’d eat a turd sandwich on THAT bread!” You really can’t go wrong. As a pseudo bi-coastal girl, I often am faced with the “Which city do you like better?” question (NY vs. LA), which I staunchly refuse to answer. But I’m compiling a list of assets for each. It’s a pretty well balanced list. Bay Cities = Advantage LA.

I was not the only one to try this!

While I was browsing the deli aisles, I also grabbed a bottle of the Point Break red blend from Longboard Vineyards. This was our one stop the last time I was up in Sonoma for my friend Megan’s 30th bday dinner at Cyrus. The winery is owned by surfers and their tastings are a blast. A fellow taster was a man donned in polka dot trousers. One Cabernet in and I, of course, was asking if I could play Twister on his pants. We also were making friends with the staff, naming the Syrah “The Jewish” one… because it had a big nose, etc. Not surprisingly, our whole party didn’t even make it through the caviar course at dinner. We thankfully had the rental van parked right outside on North St. for him to snooze in. Clearly, this was the bottle I was choosing from the Bay Cities selection.

Langer's first Godmother experience

Whit's Bahn Mi Sammie (SANS CILANTRO for mama!)

Whit also brought fixings for Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwiches. I went to visit some other friends and hang with their kids when he broke out the cilantro.

Whit’s Bahn Mi:

Meatballs:
– 1/2 lb ground pork
– 2 t garlic, chopped
– 2 t green onion, chopped
– 1 T chinese 5 spice
– salt/pepper to taste
– Mix everything together. Form into little 1-2″ balls. Bake for 8 min. in a 400 deg oven. Turn. Bake another 7-8 min. until brown. Remove, cool, and slice in half.
Sandwich:
– 1 french bagutte
– roman lettuce
– kimchi
– sliced/diced carrots
– chopped green onion
– spicy mayo (2 parts mayo, 1 part sriracha)
– chopped cilantro (optional) (NOOOOOOO!!!!!)
– assemble as desired.

Onigiri from Sunny Blue

My mother is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in Summer 2003 and finished chemo in Summer 2004. We planned a big trip for the three of us (Betti, Jim, and Jordan) to go on a safari in Africa in the fall of 2004 so she would have something to look forward to through her treatment. With her new lease of life and up close encounters with Botswana‘s wild life, she decided that she wanted to go on a trip every year! Who were we to argue.
The 2005 trip was to Japan. We brought along my dear friend Deb as Zucker child #2. It’s always best to have a buffer. And I limit my portion of the trip to 10-14 days. The folks can go for as long as they want, but any more daily family time with me is ill-advised.
There’s an entire novel’s worth of stories to write about this trip. But the topic I’m going to discuss here is our favorite snack discovery, Onigiri. They are little triangular pockets of rice stuffed with various fillings and wrapped in nori seaweed. You can find them anywhere there, from gas station convenience stores to high end markets.
Sunny Blue has recently opened on Main St. in Santa Monica, bringing these treasures right to my back door! (well, across town, but still…)
They call them omusubi, or onigiri (pronounced with a hard “g”).
I tried the beef miso, spicy salmon, and tuna mayo. (Which I’d rank in that order). They didn’t have a wide variety of flavors (or my favorite – ikura!) but the ones they had they made well. The rice was warm and the nori was nice and salty and crispy as it should be. At less than $3 a pop there’s not much better in the afternoon pick me up department.

Onigiri to go from Santa Monica's Sunny Blue

Herbie Hancock 70th Birthday Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl 9/1/10

Tonight was Herbie Hancock‘s 70th bday. Minutes before hearing this news I had turned to Beansie and said, “Man, Herbie’s looking good!”
“How old is he?” asked Beansie.
“I don’t know, but he’s basically looked the same for the past thirty years.”
“I want a sip of whatever water he’s drinking!” soon became my facebook status.
The show was great. His first set was more acoustic, straight up jazz, with an all-star line-up: Wayne Shorter on sax, Terence Blanchard on trumpet, Esperanza Spalding on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. (And Nathan East on bass for a hot minute).
The second set was his funkier, electric stuff mixed with “The Imagine Project” (Band members: Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Lionel Loueke – guitar, Pino Palladino – bass, Greg Phillinganes – vocals/keys, and Kristina Train – vocals).
Kristina Train, (aka “Chihuahua Hands” because it looked like she was petting a small dog with her left while she sung… distracting, but if you looked elsewhere she sounded pretty good. Just grab the mic with your left, K. Train!), belted through renditions of John Lennon’s Imagine, Peter Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up (which I sang all the way home), and Bob Dylan’s Times Are a Changin (with Lisa Hannigan on vocals – sounds Irish, looks Asian).
Other guests included India.Arie on vocals for “Imagine,”
Zakir Hussain on tabla and Niladri Kumar on sitar on “The Song Goes On,” (apparently with a pre-recorded vocal track by K.S. Chithra. We were wondering who else was singing…),
Juanes on vocals for “La Tierra” (Laney’s dad’s favorite Columbian),
Susan Tedeschi on vocals (can we say “girl crush”!?!?) and Derek Trucks on slide guitar on “Space Captain.”
And little Paulinho da Costa on percussion trading licks with Herbie during “Watermelon Man” (my mother’s personal fave of Herbie’s). He’s adorable. We must rival each other in height. Though the perspective up in our section is skewed. “Please tell me that’s a child,” I asked of the center dancer in the Debbie Allen Dance Academy “Tatamant/Tilay/Exodus” number. (Yes, yes it is, Jordan.)
The dirtiest piece was the second song of the second set (right after “Imagine”) but for the life of me I can’t get a song title. What good am I?

Now, three out of four times at the Bowl this summer I wound up in hysterics (and the show that didn’t get me was the night before I woke up with a man-down for four days cold). None of them are P.C.; I’m a terrible person.
At the BBKing/Buddy Guy show there was an African American lady, drunken stuporly screaming her conversation through out the show. At one point she turned around and yelled, “Anyone want some BLACK EYED PEAS?!?!” I lost it.
At the Nevilles, I commented Aaron’s chorizo on his forehead and Laners nearly choked on her own oxygen.
Tonight, we wanted to commemorate the final Jazz Wednesday Bowl evening with a group shot and Laners picked the only breathing man in the city who has never operated a camera to take on the task. He tried taking the picture twice, FAIL on both. We found another girl to try; she turned to him and said, “Ya, you’re holding the camera upside-down, dude.” I have little self-control when it comes to the giggles. Laughed right in his face.
(Similar to the time I took a pic for the lovely gay couple coming out of Alice Water’s Chez Pannise in Berkeley and we went to look to see how it came out, and one of the guys accidentally pressed “back,” and up pops a fully frontal, FULLY nude, sprawled out on the bed, picture of him. DIED! Embarrassed Showmance Will.)

Thank you Hollywood Bowl for our Summer Wednesdays!!!

Herbie Hancock's Seven Decades Bday Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl

Lou on Vine with Laners Thursday 8/26/10

The last time I went to Lou, I was not done up. I had lost track of time and when Amy arrived to pick me up, I had barely gotten ready to go out. So I threw on clothes, grabbed a purse and left. We were only supposedly going to see the new Chase baby. I got in her car and said, “Baby Alton will love Aunt Jordan sans make-up, right? So let’s just go.”

After an hour of playing with the 5 day old and asking the new parentals, “Are you pronouncing his name “ALL”ton like the road in Miami or “Al”ton like the dude from The Food Network, and getting the response, “Oh… we’re pronouncing it “All”ton, like Alton Brown from The Food Network, and me saying. “No you’re not, but got it,” we decided we were ready for the adult portion of the evening. No. Not a strip club, just no baby. I was coming off of the master cleanse and was SUPPOSED to be limited on what I reintroduced to my system, but this is always a big FAIL for mama. I rock at the cleanse. I suck at coming off it. So when Amy and Jon said. “Let’s go to Lou!” there wasn’t much in me to protest.

As soon as we walked in, there were waivers and cameras flying in our faces. Apparently, The Travel Channel was doing a program on bacon and was filming the Lou segment to feature the Pig Candy. Of course, we wound up being interviewed to attest its glory. Even not-veg-but-not-pork-atarian Amy took a bite for TV. And, if we’ve all been following, I’d now been filmed for cable, adorned with zero make-up. So, I’m not the vainest vulture in the woods, but I would have preferred to at least have mascara on… The episode will air in November. Stay tuned.

As soon as I walked in tonight, I got greeted by the entire staff. “Oh, hi, Jordan! You have make-up on tonight!!!”

“Thanks for noticing guys, I’ll have a glass of your jammiest.”

Jord and Laners at Lou


Mmmmm, Scallops and Corn Pudding!