Barfly

by DebL
Published February 21, 2008

Coming Soon: Sainte Rocke Restaurant, 2nd & PCH in the space previously occupied by the legendary Pitcher House, and Brix 1601, PCH, HB in the 24-Hour Fitness building. Brix is said to be fine dining while Sainte Rocke will be a dining and live music venue…
Never Doubt the Master: Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain, Les Halles resto, NYC, author of Kitchen Confidential and star of the Food Network’s docu-eat-ary “No Reservations,” says, “Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit” and while I have never quite understood the lifestyle, I wouldn’t say I’m that harsh – at least not out loud. To prove I have an open mind, I agreed to lunch at a veg resto with my veg roommate – I felt it only fair as she has to deal with pasta boiling on the stove and the aroma of garlic wafting through the apartment everyday, guinea wop that I am. After a noon yoga class at 24 Hour Fitness, PCH, HB, we headed to an RB vegetarian resto I’ll code-call “Apathetica.” You’ll soon find out why. The space was well decorated with Moroccan/Indian/Asian accents, dark wood tables, chairs and benches with satin pillows and unique detail touches like the toilet paper holder in the bathroom -- a long bamboo stick suspended by red ribbon. I respect a restaurant that can pick a theme and stick with it – no chicken Caesar salad on this menu! Unfortunately, here ends my love affair with “Apathetica.” Our server spoke in strange uppity whisper lest she speak too loudly and knock her “chi” out of alignment. I asked about the soup of the day. There were two: spicy corn chowder and lima bean. We inquired further on the corn chowder but the server couldn’t describe it because she never tasted it. I then asked if it was new and she just hadn’t gotten a chance to sample. She said, “I haven’t tried everything on the menu, come on!” At that my eyes went wide and I slunk back in my seat staring at her as she continued, “I mean, if you worked at a restaurant, do you think you would try EVERYTHING on the menu?” My answer: “Um, yes, and I do work at a restaurant and I have been in the business since I was 12 years old and I was required to taste the entire menu at every restaurant I’ve ever worked.” The soups came out and were the blandest things I have ever tasted. Luckily, there was a condiment tray by the register from which I took salt, pepper, Tapatio and something called “spike.” Since I had never heard of this spike spice I asked our server what it was. “I don’t know,” was her answer. Can you feel the steam coming from the page yet? So I asked her to please ask the cooks what it is. She then tells me that the cooks probably wouldn’t know what it was either. What?! Was I being South Bay punked? I asked her how in the hell could the cooks use a spice and not be able to identify it? “They don’t eat the food, they just cook it.” She came back to the table with an industrial size canister and told me to enjoy reading the label. I had to laugh at this point. I was not surprised when the main courses came out bland, bland, bland. We barely touched them but I asked for mine to go – it was rice, vegetables and tofu and later I rinsed it all off, sautéed some garlic and oil, threw in the meat, added a little parm cheese, browned lightly and made a tasty dish. Thank goodness the Bull Pen was nearby – we ran over for a shot of Jameson to wash the experience away…
Questions? Comments? Contact DebL at BarflyDebL@aol.com. ER