Friday, July 14, 2006

LA's Other Brown Haze: Tap Water

The greatest fuel any human can put in their body is generally the most overlooked on any menu—water. It might not be the sexiest or most thrilling item served during a night out, but water can make or break a meal. One friend of mine, who waits tables at an unnamed restaurant chain, recently recounted a tale of a customer concerned about “LA death water.” Said customer assumed the kitchen came equipped with water filters to protect its clientele. As anyone living in the city can tell you, coming home after a week’s vacation means clearing out the murky water stored in your pipes before cooking or cleaning. When it comes to ordering water at restaurants, there are a few keys to enjoying your water while avoiding the murk.

First, ninety-nine percent of restaurants do not filter their tap water. Classy establishments may offer bottled water, but filtering the free water flowing from the city treatment plants is a rarity. Tip number two on ordering water: get your water ice free if you want to gauge its true taste. The chill of ice water masks any bizarre flavorings in a glass of H2O. Water without ice also adds a bit of European style and sophistication to the dining experience. Lastly, take advantage of restaurants that provide a quality bottled water. I don’t mean the usual Crystal Geyser or Dasani, or even atrociously priced fizzy water. Nothing satisfies so subtly as smooth, clean French or Italian bottled water. For a less expensive Eastern treat, give cucumber water a shot some time (Mr. HANA at Westfield Century City). It’s not an every night of the week decision, but once in a while it gives your body a break from the red, white, and amber. You can even drive home safely without guessing how many margaritas equals a DUI.
—Jeremy Millington

Pioneertown Landmark Saved by Firefighters!

It's fire season, folks, and as much as we live in denial about it, every year it comes, and this year some of our neighbors aren't going home--so keep 'em in your thoughts. This year it hit early in the desert near Yucca Valley, in a place called Pioneertown, an outpost Hollywood built in the 1940s as a location for Gene Autry, the Cisco Kid, and a horde of Westerns.

We've been to Pioneertown a handful of times and are particularly fond of it's self-appointed city center, Pappy & Harriet's on the downtown drag. A cool and dark oasis from the hot hot hot summer sun, it also boasts a meat-lovers barbecue menu, a great bar, and live music from a lotta country, rockabilly, and bluegrass performers that you Have heard of.

Miraculously, Pappy & Harriet's and most of downtown Pioneertown was saved by our favorite superheroes, firefighters, who are apparently now fighting two large blazes that are promising to combine.

Sadly, many Pioneertown residences didn't make it. Once the fire passes, they're gonna need some business to rebuild their homes and city revenues, so take a side trip from the Springs or your Cabazon fix, or plan a getaway and visit Pappy & Harriet's Palace in Pioneertown, right next to Yucca Valley.