Best Swordfish Ever

If Rolex ever built a city, it would be Beverly Hills – all blingy and big in the face. I’m not sure I like it — or dislike it — though I always find the parking to be a bit of a challenge.

And, trust me, those older dames wandering around in tight leather pants and spikey heels are no help.

I don’t leer, I marvel: How do they stay aloft on their Givenchy stilts? How do they keep their facelifts up? Invisible puppeteers?

Beverly Hills. It’s the people that make it so damn special.

You also have to wonder: What exactly are its architectural influences? Disneyland? Six Flags? Mesopotamia?

At Dayton and Rodeo, there’s that one little lane with an European flair. It curls up and around like a palace entrance, the world’s most-expensive back alley.

Not sure where it leads because I can’t afford any of it, but its cobblestoned and sort of alluring and romantic.

Being the last romantic in America, I always pause over it, the way you pause over hillbilly weddings or jack-knifed trucks.

When I’m there, at the entrance, I sometimes wish I had one of those old dames clutching my arm, in the leather pants and the spikey heels. We’d wobble up the lane, me catching her, her catching me – cute, like in the movies, back when they still made movies that were any kind of cute.

Speaking of great dames, I heard from my beautiful fiancé Angie Dickinson the other day. It’d been a few months (eight), and Butterscotch – her pet name – vowed we’d have lunch soon to discuss the wedding menu and flowers.

I suggested we just elope to Vegas. She suggested Tuscany. That’s where it stands right now: Vegas vs. Tuscany. Blackjack vs. Bistecca alla Fiorentina.

Our first fight. Sigh.

Speaking of weddings, we have another one coming up next weekend. They’re like football games, these weddings, a bunch every Saturday.

This one features the lovely and patient older daughter. It will be her second marriage.

Her first came 17 months ago at the height of the pandemic, limiting the ceremony to six people, one of whom was the monsignor, another of whom was Finn, the winning groom.

Well, she’ll marry him all over again next Saturday – a good sign. This time, the older daughter wants to go big, recreating the ceremony, then inviting every thirsty/mouthy Irishman she can find to a fancy reception.

I explained to her that if an Irishman stays in LA long enough, he will morph into a highly verbal Jew. To me, that’s an upgrade and one of the prime reasons I’ve stayed in LA. Eventually, I might even become a rabbi.

Anyway, my daughter’s second wedding will be a grand affair…homemade cupcakes … domestic beer.

And you can guess who’s paying for all that.

Still to be determined: The maid of honor…Rapunzel or Catty Cakes? They’re both super photogenic. And what role will White Fang play?

As you know, my life is a Marvin Gaye song. I float along, not accomplishing much, wearing old bell bottoms and too many mood rings, a hippie-dippy victim of a world that spins a little too fast for me.

I prefer it that way, of course. Every time I’ve taken initiative, it has backfired, either financially or spiritually. Posh could’ve told you that.

Indeed, LA used to be one of those places where you could just float along on its Bohemian wind currents. More and more, it requires actual effort.

I find that motivating.

I mean, I drove to three different Beverly Hills parking lots the other night before finding a spot that worked (one wanted $24 for two hours).

And, like a life twist in a Capra flick, my nav system took me the wrong way, down some skinny streets with castles on each side. I felt a little trapped and aroused at the same time.

That’s how you know you’ve been in LA too long: Grotesque real estate really starts to arouse you.

Then Paget happened to call, my guardian angel – an edgy PR mogul who for some reason has taken an interest in my fading career, probably out of sympathy, I suppose.

Figures I’d get a guardian angel like him.

As I explained to Paget, LA is a little overwhelming for a simple country boy like me, even after 31 years.

I told him that just making it safely to Beverly Hills felt like an accomplishment – up over Coldwater, zooming through that crazy split at Mulholland, where some drivers just fly straight off the cliff and into Nicholson’s pool.

Now I was wending my way through these chutes & ladders streets to a fancy seafood joint on Wilshire, where I was to dine with my lawyer friends, Rob (a stickball pitcher of some renown) and Linda (the world’s most-beautiful attorney).

Guys like me can’t have too many lawyer friends: Eisen, Murphy, Stoner, Callahan, Millertime, Billable Bob. Seems I know a million attorneys, and only one or two pastors.

Think about that: There are only two pastors in LA, and I know them both.

Anyway, the stone crab claws, an appetizer, sold for 60 bucks. It was that kind of restaurant.

Best grilled swordfish I ever had, though, and the grilled gin was really great too.

The restaurant (Ocean Prime) did something with the wedge salad I did not quite understand – seemingly scooped out the bottom of the head of lettuce, then used it like a bowl for the tomatoes, bacon bits, blue cheese, etc.

I wanted to autopsy this salad, though it didn’t seem the place or the time.

And if you’re into sauteed mushrooms at all (who isn’t?), these had a butter-leather-pine flavor.

FYI, I look at a sauteed mushroom with the same murderous urges Hank Aaron once felt for fastballs fat over the plate.

Then the dessert: Some sort of peanut butter/chocolate mash-up that would make Jesus forget his dad.

Dear Lord, I am loving Beverly Hills more and more. Good deals on houses here too, apparently. So I might consider moving in. With all the weddings coming up, I’m on the westside a lot these days, maybe too much.

I’m also here a lot to help raise my granddaughter, Catty Cakes, though my input seems dated and of another time.

Like when I explain “moxie” to her, one of life’s most-vital concepts.

“You know, your new grandma might be Angie Dickinson,” I told Catty Cakes the other day.

“As you know, she played Feathers in ‘Rio Bravo,’ totally stealing that final scene with the Duke,” I explained.

“That’s what they call star power,” I told her. “Angie Brown, the scrappy kid from North Dakota, had what they call star power and moxie.

“And so do you, kid. Moxie. So do you.”

The party subcommittee of the Happy Hour Hiking Club is currently accepting suggestions for our Thanksgiving weekend adventure. Or maybe it’ll be the following week, we’re not sure. As is the current practice, the subcommittee squabbles a lot over petty issues while accomplishing pretty much nothing. Please email trail/tavern suggestions to letters@ChrisErskineLA.com. Meanwhile, the company store is fully stocked with books and super sexy t-shirts, should you need an uncommonly thoughtful holiday gift. Info: ChrisErskineLA.com. Cheers and thanks.

10 thoughts on “Best Swordfish Ever

  1. One of your most delightful posts EVER. Suitable for framing. Thank you for the “Bistecca ala Fiorentina” reference. It immediately transported me back to the only trip to Italy I ever took. Way back. I believe is the best steak in the world. I am with Angie. You can go to Vegas on your anniversary.

  2. I’m craving swordfish at 9:30 in the morning. It’s like I just finished The Old Man And The Sea. A delightful travelogue of our own little Monaco. Only one argument: I love Marvin Gaye, but with all due respect (and I’m saying it like they say it in Jersey) I would suggest your life is a lot closer to a Jimmy Buffet song.
    P.S. After a tough day Thursday I did a taste test and it’s conclusive: Gin and tonics taste much better when drunk out out of your trademarked G&T Society tumblers.

  3. Nobody writes L.A. better. Nobody. Quirky fast moving turns phrase after phrase that sweep your mind swiftly around like a 270 degree freeway on-ramp, his metaphor the freeway itself: rapid streaming (sometimes? Two A.M.?) with oblique views of the heart of things (and his heart) flashing down the alleys of the side windows like passing headlights at night, creating little icy spasms of vacuum that shiver and pull you this way and that with the cool beauty of an old soul in a heated visceral world. A Hemingway sentence of a writer in a digital universe of starts and stops, streaming bits, attention deficit mania, phone thumb hypnosis, 24 hour video abstraction—blinking blindness of an accelerating chaos.

    Imagine eating in a Beverly Hills cavern with a butterscotch blonde (another old soul) across the table—sunlight in heels. It takes an alien (31 years in) to really see a country, language genius to report it. What a breathless trek. He IS L.A,

    In losing him, The Times lost consciousness.

  4. No events coming up? Let’s make up something…and I never go to the Westside. Irish girl, born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. And…newly confirmed Catholic. Life is good.

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