Thing of the Week: Draught Negronis, Beaches, Iceland

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Draught Negronis at Red Sauce

A new restaurant named Red Sauce opened up in my neighbourhood, and I am in love with it. I am going to marry it, and change my name to Laura Jane Red Sauce. I have eaten at Red Sauce three times in the past three weeks, and I feel like at this point I'll probably have a nervous breakdown if I ever go a week without eating there again. It's so chill and easy and cutesy and skeezy. It reminds me of a place where characters in one of Liz Barker's stories would go. 

The first time I went to Red Sauce was with Carly on the night of a blizzard- we ate spicy broccoli rabe, these perfect sassy charred little peppers that you dip into a thin, buttery white sauce, and Clams Casino, which was a pretty special experience. I wonder how many times Dean Martin ate Clams Casino in his life. Probably once a week. We also had the garlic knots, which are psychotic, and I ate a half muffuletta sandwich. I didn't retain the experience of eating my half muffuletta because I was very drunk on Negronis at that point. Obviously the shining star of Red Sauce's existence is that they have NEGRONIS ON DRAUGHT, a concept so strikingly tailored to how I need life to be that I am genuinely surprised it's a real live beverage and not just a line from a blog post I'd write about what life would be like in PERFECT HEAVEN. And they truly are heavenly, and six dollars, and are problematically, or maybe non-problematically, boozy. Most importantly, they are served in a chilled ceramic cup. People really underestimate the extent to which a chilled vessel can elevate the hopefully-alcoholic beverage it contains. 

The second time I ate Red Sauce was with Laura F and Teri. We shared two orders of the garlic knots, which I regretted the next day when I felt like I was pregnant with a twenty-pound lump of garlicky bread baby. No disrespect to the garlic knots, though. Just don't eat two orders in addition to eating two desserts and like seventy appetizers and a Knuckle Sandwich, which is a breaded patty thing made out of braised pork trotters that you eat on a roll with (hey hey!) red sauce and more of the spicy rabe, which is such a badass vegetable. I wish I could show you pictures of all the delicious food I'm describing, but my old iPhone Dan Humphrey died of natural causes last Tuesday and I never backed up my iPhone so now they are all lost to time. RIP Dan Humphrey.

Last night I went out on a date to Red Sauce with myself. It was one of the best "dining alone in a restaurant" experiences I've ever had. The servers weren't up my butt and really seemed to respect the fact that I just wanted to chill out and read my book and not be sold to. The mini-Caesar was out of this world. It was aggressively garlicky and the croutons had a sort of melt-in-your-mouth consistency to them that I have never experienced in a crouton before, but now will feel the absence of in every subsequent crouton I eat. I had a non-drunk half-muffuletta and I was into it. I don't have much to say about it. It's just a really solid and no-bullshit piece of food. My one regret is that I only drank one Negroni. I want to exclusively drink them (AND WHITE WINE. DON'T WORRY, WHITE WINE! I HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOU! LOVE YOU!!!) forever. I feel like my love for Campari really means something about me. One of my dreams in my life is to find out some person I hate doesn't like Campari, look them in the eye and say, "I don't respect that." 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Teens on Beaches, Sadness on Beaches, Wine on Beaches

i. Last weekend I found a copy of Jones Beach by Joseph Szabo for seven bucks and I bought 
it. Even if you don't think you know Joseph Szabo you probably do; he took the photo on the cover of the perfect album Green Mind by Dinosaur Jr., for instance, and he took this groovy picture that everyone always posts on Tumblr. I don't love Jones Beach and I wish it was Teenage instead, but whatever, it's fine, it's great. Above is my favorite Jones Beach photograph, mostly because the kids look like extras from my book. They're smoking Larks. They're going to eat supper at Red Sauce tonight.

ii. Like many people who exist in my immediate Internet universe, I'm pretty crazy about that new War on Drugs record. "War on Drugs makes me feel all the feelings Kurt Vile fails to make me feel" is something I keep thinking and feeling kind of bad about, although I'm sure Kurt Vile's life's all right without me. I just never can really find myself in a Kurt Vile song, but with War on Drugs it's like boom! There I am. There we are. To me Lost in the Dream sounds like being sad on a winter beach - but a perfect sad, the sort of sad where you're entirely sure no one else in the history of everything has experienced this particular tone or dimension of sadness before. It sounds like being stoked on your own sadness. Also I love how he's always going "Whoo!" It's the deepest whoo in all the world.

iii. I got my taxes done on Wednesday. My accountant's office is by the beach in Santa Monica, but it used to be in the Valley, in Encino. On Wednesday I was like, "You like it better here?" and David goes, "YES. Oh my god. I told myself, 'Dude, you're not allowed to complain anything ever from now on.' I smile all the time." It was so cute. David rocks. After our sesh I went down to the pier and got a plastic cup of wine at the fried-seafood place and gazed out upon the sea and thought how sad it is that no one ever pays writers gabillions of dollars for anything, and then I got over it and walked around listening to War on Drugs and to Ex Hex. When I went back to my car someone had parked psychotically close to the driver's side door, and I left them a note saying they should listen to Big Star. Then I went to Wild Flour and got a piece of pepperoni pizza for supper, and then I drove back to the east side of Los Angeles and impulse-stopped at Sweet Rose Creamery on the way. They had oro blanco ice cream and I didn't know what oro blanco meant but I liked the name so I got it; turns out oro blanco is "a cross between an acidless pomelo and a white grapefruit." The oro blanco was candied and the ice cream had nice soft hunks of ginger cookie hidden inside, and I had them pour some hot butterscotch sauce all over it cuz what the hell: tax day is the perfect day to eat like a six-year-old at her own birthday party. Pizza and ice cream for everyone.

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: Going to Iceland

I'm going to Iceland tomorrow.

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