Waterloo & City, Callahan’s: Don’t go on me

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There is no shortage of places to dine out in the LA area, I am aware of that. But the older I get, the more I prefer to go somewhere I know I’ll be comfortable and love the food. Trying new places is risky. What if I get seated next to solo diner that eavesdrops on my conversation and makes way too much eye contact? What if the food his charred? What if the meal is beautiful and very creative but I’m still hungry after the check? Eating out is stressful.

There are a few restaurants that I can go to that I will enjoy no matter what. Waterloo & City in Culver City is one of those restaurants. I’ve been there with coworkers and with my wife for our anniversary and it’s always great. Great ambience, amazing food, it’s really all I need. But last night, I learned that Waterloo & City is closing down for a bit and moving to a smaller location. Waterloo & City is a good sized restaurant, but apparently after it closes in January, it will relocate to a “much” smaller place. The headline does say that the chicken liver mousse will be back, but I really enjoyed eating it in a private corner of the restaurant during the middle of the week.

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I’ve found that when you order charcuterie in a smaller restaurant, the people next to you can’t help but watch while you sample everything on your big wooden board. This was the case at Tar & Roses, anyway. I can’t sample under a spotlight. I need some room to plan my eating strategy. Start with a cheese? Make a little sandwich? Is this mustard? People don’t need to witness this. This is also why I need to order ramen to go. Am I supposed to use the spoon? Is slurping cool? I’ve watched ramenstructional YouTube videos but I’m still not there.

On the comfort side of things, I kinda like Callahan’s diner in Santa Monica. Since moving to LA 8 years ago, I haven’t found too many diners I like. Callahan’s is a pretty legit diner. It’s not spotless, the food is not amazing, the overall green color is interesting, but interesting in a way my Irish grandmothers may have painted their houses in the 50s, so it works for me. Well, for various reasons, Callahan’s is also closing at the end of this year. I walked by this morning and it looks like they’re removing the sign. Maybe new owners LGO Hospitality will put something great into the Callahan’s space, but it feels like the end of an era, even though I have not been around for most of that era.

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I should be eating at home more anyway. My wife is on a tear with Blue Apron, and I just realized that most Blue Apron members are making the same recipes on the same weeks. I had thought there were just a lot of coincidences in my Twitter feed (Oh you’re doing the meatloaf too?) So far the meals are about 70% good and 30% why did you put eggplant in this?

My current favorite restaurant is R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. I saw Elle Macpherson there. You don’t close a restaurant that Elle Macpherson likes. They have amazing deviled eggs. The best part about my current freelancing situation is that I have made R+D Kitchen my conference room, so when anything needs to be discussed in person with a client, we head there for lunch.

I’ve also been going to the new Dunkin’ Donuts in Santa Monica a lot. Too much, probably.

Superchunk covers Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up”

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I first started listening to Ryan Adams when I was living in Medford, Massachusetts. During long walks to the Davis Square T stop and aimless strolls around the Charles River, I fell into the Ryan Adams wormhole pretty hard. “Come Pick Me Up” was especially interesting to me in that it took the loud/quiet/loud dynamics of 90s rock to a new place, with the loud being a camp fire-y sing-a-long complete with a banjo, and the quiet being almost inaudible. Also, usually when people drop the f-bomb in a song it’s in an aggressive way, while Ryan Adams gave a nice, casual delivery of the word “fuck.” I appreciated that.

Last night, while riding catching up on my Feedly, I learned via the Consequence of Sound that Chapel Hill 90s rock band Superchunk had put their own spin on Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up,” and it’s pretty cool. Now the song feels fresh again and I have an excuse to resume my aimless strolling.

Ryan Adams plays the Wiltern December 17th and 18th. See you there.