#expectations

I expected to write another entry in this space on Thursday, but instead was distracted by the cocktail menu at Cinco. Fridays are usually low-key and allow for creativity, but I was zonked-out tired and lacking inspiration to craft further prose. Saturday would have been another good chance to put pen to paper, but instead I baked in the hot California sun on the golf course. And a newly discovered whiskey hangout in Long Beach distracted me from sharing any further late night thoughts. I could have been expected to write on the Sabbath but instead was convinced to complete a weekend of golf, far out in the desert followed by deliciously routine evening pizza. Monday was a day of recovery and re-hydration and caring for sunburned skin. So it is now Tuesday, and I should be expected to be so distant between entries.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

I am guilty of having preconceived notions of what I will like or dislike, without having ever actually tried. Most foods I grew up HATING were vegetables or seafood items that I wasn’t properly exposed to or gave a fair chance to experiment with. I had certain expectations that I would not enjoy asparagus or sea scallops, so why would I ever choose to eat them when I can be fat and happy on pizza and pork instead? Of course, since I have grown older and matured and taste buds have died off, I have been much more willing to try new things. My penalty for not finishing a home-cooked meal was an early bed time. I am still scarred by the notion of Sloppy Joe’s on mom’s menu, though we can now joke about the time when I took my seat at the dinner table, saw what was on my plate, scooted my chair out unceremoniously, put on my pajamas, and went to bed. At 6:05.

Continuously I am presented with new California situations and with those come certain expectations. Cinco did in fact live up to the idea of being a trendy spot filled with good-looking people and creative cocktails and cleverly plated appetizers under a hip soundtrack. It was suggested that I try Blind Donkey, and I had attempted once before, but got cold feet when I saw the crew of hoodlums lingering outside. This weekend I gave it another shot and it was well worth the effort. The night got off to a good start when I crossed paths with another patron who was also wearing a Blue Jays hat. In California. Perhaps it was a premonition and early celebration of the Troy Tulowitzki trade and Canadian march to the playoffs. We dapped and went our separate ways and I found my way at the bar and ordered a double tumbler of Corsair Quinoa Whiskey.

I somehow limited my liquor intake Saturday night knowing I had an early morning wake-up for another golf adventure Sunday in Corona. Perhaps that was because of being sun-baked earlier, then replenishing calories with an Italian Beef at Portillo’s. We have traveled further out to play in the name of better courses for better value. We easily skated through the first 13 holes in a competitive match before catching up to other golfers ahead. Thankfully we joined with a friendly pair for the last few holes who literally pushed us up the steep summit at Glen Ivy when our golf cart ran out of juice to scale the mountain. The final hole features a 200 foot vertical drop from tee-box to landing area, the highest drop of any golf hole in the United States. I think the limited available water and altitude change wore out my patience, but the tall boy of ice-cold Tecate at the 19th hole was the perfect cure-all.

It is hard to know how to react when my phone rings or when an unexpected text arrives. My default reaction upon meeting someone new is that things didn’t go well or that it was a one time only event or that she was not impressed. Perhaps my Midwesternness is too much to assimilate to California. Or I shouldn’t have worn Chuck Taylor’s to a nicey food dinner. Or failing to properly operate a GPS or show up punctually or find a parking spot in a timely manner is ultimately too much to overcome. Or maybe she was totally out of my league after all. I will continue to enter each situation with eager expectations and hopefully open the cover of the book and willingly read the whole story.

Its Taco Tuesday. Put your game face on:


The Best Taco Shops in 23 L.A. Neighborhoods

Long Beach

El Torazo 
What you’re getting: Anything on Taco Tuesday
Uh, on Tuesday, every taco is $1 (except $2 fish tacos) and beers are $1.25. If you’re going anywhere else, you’re making a mistake.

Culver City

Tito’s Tacos 
What you’re getting: Hard shell tacos
Haters gonna hate on this Culver City institution that specializes in hard shell tacos stuffed with beef and covered in iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato, and fluorescent yellow cheese. But here’s the thing: it’s the best hard shell taco stuffed with beef and covered in iceberg lettuce and fluorescent yellow cheese you’ve ever had. The only thing better than a Tito’s Taco? Nothing. Nothing is better than a Tito’s Taco.

Echo Park

Guisados 
What you’re getting: The sampler platter
There’s too much competition for the original location of Guisados to be the best taco in Boyle Heights, but in Echo Park, it isn’t even close. The handmade corn tortillas. The sultry braises. If every taco place on this list had a six-taco, $7 sampler platter, the world would be a better, taco-ier place.

Pasadena

Arturo’s 
What you’re getting: Chorizo tacos
This truck favorite of Jonathan Gold’s had a longstanding rivalry with the also-great, on-the-same-block El Taquito Mexicano, and there’s really no going wrong at either spot, unless you’re team Gold, then there kind is.

via Thrillist LA

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