Sunday, April 18, 2010

Venice Canals & Hollywood Clubs

On Saturday, I went to Los Angeles with Chad and Laurel to see his cousin, Jourdan Bordes, DJing at a club in Hollywood. We would be staying in Venice at a friend of Laurel's, so we drove up early at 1pm to hang out.

Venice Canals in Los Angeles
Chad in Venice
Darcy and Danny live on Ocean Avenue right next to the canals. I have seen them many times on television and in movies, but I have never visited them. I thought they were pretty cool, crossed by numerous white bridges and interesting houses lined the shallow waterways. I guess there used to more canals back in the day, but the city filled them in because they were not being properly maintained.

Venice Canals in Los Angeles
Venice Canals in Los Angeles
Exiting the canals, we walked along the Venice Boardwalk. It was pretty crowded, even though the sky was a bit overcast. A great place to get medical marijuana if you need it, I discovered. We checked out the pick-up basketball games, the dancing roller skaters and the skateboard park next to the beach before walking back for dinner. Darcy cooked an excellent Chicken Pesto.

Basketball at Venice Beach
Skate Park at Venice Beach
I was seriously tired when we left at 11:30 to go to Hollywood, but I rallied quickly with a Red Bull. We arrived at Circus Disco on Santa Monica Boulevard after midnight so the list Jourdan put us on was already closed. Too bad, we had to pay the cover. Circus Disco is a gay club most of the week, easy to tell by the giant naked Michelangelo statue directly inside. I liked the layout of the huge club, two stories with four large rooms containing different music. Jourdan would start spinning discs at 2am in the LMD (Love, Music, Dancing) room, but the headlining DJ, Ronski Speed, was missing. He couldn't make it because he was stuck in Europe due to the erupting Iceland volcano suspending all flights.

Bat Cave at Circus Disco
Bat Cave at Circus Disco
It turns out that two areas of the club were transformed into the Bat Cave, a monthly Gothic bondage fetish party. The place was filled with elaborate costumes of the black and white variety. When we entered the first room crowded with dancers, our first sight was a bent-over woman in a g-string getting lightly spanked with a large collection of short whips and crops. Later in the night, we found her repeatedly kicking a man in the crotch who was wearing only a tiny Speedo. On the other side of the room, two topless women were taking turns getting tied up with ropes.

Bat Cave at Circus Disco
Bat Cave at Circus Disco
In a back room, a loud Goth band was playing with two bikinied dancers on either side. I don't know if it was the sound system, but I couldn't hear the lead singer shouting the lyrics over the guitars and keyboards. It was the same problem with a second band later on. We really stood out on the Goth side of the club because 95% of the people were in costume.

Bat Cave at Circus Disco
Bat Cave at Circus Disco
That was all very entertaining, but we spent most of our time dancing in the LMD room with the electronic DJs. I liked that they performed on a stage in front and frequently mixed up the beat. Instead of the Dun-Dun-Dun-Dun, Da-Da-Da-Da, Dun-Dun-Dun-Dun you hear all night long at some places where my head feels like its gonna explode. Jourdan was really good when he came on, dancing and interacting with the crowd as he mixed the music.

LMD Room at Circus Disco
Jourdan Bordes at Circus Disco
This was one of the best times I have ever had at a club. I never had a chance to get bored. I really liked the courtyard where we could escape for brief respites from the heat and pounding music. And if you are hungry at 3 in the morning, you could get Mexican food at the taco truck without having to leave the club. We ended up leaving at 3:30am and got to sleep after 4. Before we drove home on Sunday, Darcy cooked a good breakfast when we woke up late. (Eggs with zucchini and goat cheese plus raisin toast) Darcy and Danny were excellent hosts, very cool people.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Favorite Meals in San Diego

A list of favorite meals around San Diego. (In no particular order)

1. Pasta Pronto - The Linguini with Pesto at this Del Mar restaurant is the closest to the pesto dishes I ate in Italy. The first time I had pesto was in Genoa, where it originated, and I love when I can eat somewhere that reminds me of it.

2. T.G.I. Fridays - Pepper-Crusted Pork Chop with Mashed Potatoes and Onion Rings. I don't care for T.G.I.F. that much, but this pork chop is amazing. It is perfectly seasoned.

3. Royal India - Butter Tarka (butter, green onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and spices) with Chicken. A royal curry served with white rice and Nan bread. If I wanted to drive downtown more often, I would get this at least once a week.

4. Juanita's Taco Shop - The best place to get Flautas, the crispy flour rolled tacos with shredded beef. I love these things with the salsa fresca. Very cheap too. Great with a Horchata to drink.

5. Wendy's - The best fast food burger is Wendy's Bacon and Blue. It is limited time only, but I hope they keep this bleu cheese burger longer. It reminds me of the burgers we cook on the 4th of July every year. I have them hold the sauteed onions though.

6. Borelli's - I have been ordering the Meat Lasagna with Meat Sauce since I was a little kid. My favorite, no other lasagna compares with Borelli's masterpiece. I love their simple garlic bread too.

7. Vigilucci's Trattoria - Their Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola on top is the best steak I have ever eaten. I have ordered it many times and it is always so tender and flavorful. It is one of their specials, not listed on the menu.

8. Nikos - The Gyro with Chicken Souvlaki plate is so good, I get it once a week for lunch in Carlsbad. I just order the usual. It comes with my favorite greek salad. Their dressing is better than anywhere else. With the rice and bread, it is a huge meal.

9. California Pizza Kitchen - I love their Chicken Tequila Fettuccine. It is the tequila-lime and jalapeno cream sauce that makes this dish so magical. I always want extra bread to sop every last drop.

10. Outback Steakhouse - Their Victoria's Filet with Blue Cheese may not match Vigilucci's, but it is the best of the rest. Combined with a caesar salad, a baked potato with all the toppings and their honey-wheat bread, I'm in heaven. Sharing a Bloomin' Onion is great too.

11. Noodles & Company - Pesto Cavatappi with Parmesan Crusted Chicken. I love it with the Tomato Basil Bisque, a piece of warm Flatbread and the side Tossed Green Salad. The rich soup is what makes this almost a perfect meal.

12. Little Moore Coffee Shop - Whenever I crave an omelet, I go to this spot in Leucadia. Their omelets always have the perfect mixture of egg, cheese and the different fillings. So many places mess up this important ratio. My favorite is the Chili Cheese Omelet with hash browns and a side of cottage cheese.

13. Wahoo's Fish Taco - Banzai Burrito (carne asada) with red sauce. The tender carne asada is marinated in teriyaki and I love it served wet with the red chili sauce. I like the combo with black beans and the seasoned ahi rice.