It feels like some semblance of normalcy is returning to Brentwood as more and more people get vaccinated.
Last month, I reported on getting my first shot over at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. I said I was very impressed with how efficient the whole process was.
For my second shot, I was sent over to UCLA Ronald Reagan, in Westwood. It was the same, terrific, experience: Everything moved smoothly and quickly; the guy administering the shot was friendly, calming and informative.
I also got fairly knocked out after Shot Two; I was moving at half-speed for the next two days, and I took a lot of naps.
My wife was on a slightly different schedule; the week after my second shot, I drove her over to UCLA Ronald Reagan for her second shot.
While driving into Westwood, I noticed lots of eateries were open, so while she was getting her shot, I zoomed over to Barney’s Beanery and ordered a big fat burger with bacon, bleu cheese, the whole bit. Plus some fries.
I ordered my gigantic burger with huge, delectable, steak cut fries to go. Sure enough, my wife texted me just as I was leaving the restaurant, bag in hand, telling me she was all done getting her shot. I picked her up, we drove home, opened the bag and wolfed down the burger and fries.
She said she didn’t want a burger before I ordered it – she’s not much of a burger and fries type – but how could she resist? I gave her a third of everything, and since the quantities were so ample, there was plenty to go around.
I don’t think we’d consumed anything quite so wonderful in over a year.
We are now getting adventurous. We took a long walk last Sunday, culminating in a rest stop at Maria’s Italian Kitchen in Brentwood Village.
We both ordered a slice of pizza – I like the Boulevard, she prefers the Mediterranean – and we ordered beers as well. We ate outside and the sun felt great. People seemed chatty, happy to connect.
I hope the new outdoor dining setups we see on the sidewalks in front of places like Kreation, Katsuya and Mendocino Farms become a permanent feature of Brentwood life. I hope strangers keep talking to strangers.
It occurred to me how much money we’d saved in the last year by not going to restaurants. I actually took up cooking in the last year, new for me. Every Friday night I try and surprise my wife with some new treat.
But once in a while, one just has to have a burger from Barney’s Beanery or pizza from Maria’s. At least I feel that way.
I will miss Pizzicotto. That’s gone now. Same with The Brentwood, now Baja Norte.
There was a cute little French place we liked that opened, pre-COVID, on the first floor below Chin Chin, just to the right of Burger Lounge on San Vicente. But that’s gone now, too.
I saw a sign on the window the other day that said Rosti Tuscan Kitchen would be opening in that location.
I think that’s a sure sign that life is returning to normal: It takes an act of bravery to open a restaurant while the pandemic is still on. Then again, maybe restaurants are about to see their best year ever, as people feel more liberated and ready to venture forth.
They say timing is everything. Maybe I should take my newfound skills as a cook and open a restaurant in Brentwood. Chicken Pot Pie, anyone?