Diary 3|12, 13|2017: My Food World Always Too Busy. Railroading. Pardo’s.
DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Sunday, March 12, 2017.
Why Not Take The Train To Los Angeles?

I’m kind of a basket case after the hyper-busy day yesterday. It gets worse after I inspect the new pile for today. I have a CityBusiness column to write (about Station 6, which I think will prove to be one of the best new restaurants of the year). Lisa Ekus sent me the deadline for the reworking of my cookbook. It’s due May fifteenth. That’s enough time for me to do all the rewrites three or four times. Rouse’s Market wants me to write another piece for their slick magazine. And I look at the check from my talk last night, and the figure on it makes me smile.

And then I spend an hour with my radio show. Meanwhile, the Marys are having their own fun across the lake. I take a long walk, then a long nap. That’s when I realize what’s making me feel weird: we shifted to Daylight Saving Time overnight, and my world is running late.

AmtrakLocomotiveI eat a slice of pizza from the refrigerator and look over the schedules and fares for a train trip to Los Angeles on board the Sunset Limited. With the sleeper charges, it comes in at just over a grand. This is much more than what a flight would cost. But I have four nights in the railroad equivalent of a hotel room. Three breakfasts, four lunches, and two dinners are also part of the first-class package. When I tell her about this plan, Mary Ann endorses it immediately. She spends more than that every time she goes to L.A. And she goes there frequently, what with our son and grandson and their family waiting to add their special happiness to our lives.

A sleeping-car roomette aboard the Sunset Limited.

A sleeping-car roomette aboard the Sunset Limited.

It turns out that son Jude and his wife will be going to San Francisco for a meeting the day after I arrive. Great! I will go with them, and we can do some advanced eating and wine sampling when they are free. Daughter-in-law Suzanne is a gourmet, more than Jude is. The plan leaves me with three or four days in L.A., which is not long enough for me to become a pest in their house.

The trip will be around the summer solstice. That gives me months to savor the prospect of a ride on my favorite train, the 2000-mile-plus Sunset Limited, the oldest train name in America.

Monday, March 13, 2017.
Pardo’s For Lunch.

Life returns almost to normal. I’m still running behind on a couple of articles I need to write by Wednesday. Mary Ann suggests that we go to Pardo’s, one of three five-fleur-de-lis restaurants on the North Shore (the others are La Provence and Dakota). Pardo’s tones down its menu for lunch, but it still is quite appetizing. The soup of the day is a reddish-orange, thick potage into which ground chorizo has been stirred. I love soups like this, and I gobble it down. A few amuses-bouche come out, and so does an unexpected salad.

Amuse-bouche.

Amuse-bouche.

Pardo’s inherited a wood-burning, stone pizza oven from the predecessor in its building. They don’t use it a lot at dinner–they say it would express the restaurant’s goals inaccurately. But it works as a lunch. The day’s version is meatless, with mushrooms filling that gap, several cheeses, and a light presence of tomato. It’s much too big for the two of us to put a dent into, but I will get late-night mileage from it in days to come.

Owner Osman Rodas appears as we’re well into the entree. He apprises us of some ambitious plans he’s considering. I promise I will keep them quiet, to prevent other restaurateurs from springing the ideas prematurely.

Back to the grind at home, I still am not finished the CityBusiness column when it’s time for the radio show to hit the air. After the show, I move to the church where NPAS holds its rehearsals. Our show, with a theme of dancing, premieres this Friday night. I’d say we’re ready for it, but our director never lacks another way it can made better. She gives soprano Carol and me some pointers for our duet, “I Won’t Dance.” We haven’t had a perfect version yet, but that’s the way it always goes.

Pardo’s. Covington: 69305 Hwy 21. 985-893-3603.

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