Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name ...

... or at least the employees know it enough to say "Hi, (your name here)" instead of just "Hi."

As noted several times in this blog, I was furniture at the Albany Pump Station and I must concede that I still miss my peeps there—especially the bartenders who let me put in orders just after the kitchen closed, who had the kitchen make me entrees that were no longer on the menu and who let me drink a free round when I helped pick up barstools after the place closed. I loved that bar as my Third Place, not home, not work, but that place that provided a respite from the other two.

Despite being in Los Angeles almost twice as long as I lived in Albany, I've failed to become a regular anywhere. They know my face more or less at an Indian restaurant near the office and I've been to a Cajun restaurant/bar plenty of times, but no place has captured my heart and wallet with regularity and ergo I have not found that Third Place.

But are things turning? Perhaps ...

Thanks to genuine heavenly deliciousness and the magic of Twitter, my fellow editors at L.A. Youth and I have fallen in love with Sprinkles cupcakes. The cakes are moist and not overly sweet which lets the frosting star but not overwhelm the cake, like a great ensemble cast in a movie with a great director. As the resident Westsider, I most often draw the "pick up Sprinkles on the way into work" role.

Going to Sprinkles, despite being in the heart of a particularly pretentious section of Beverly Hills near Rodeo Drive, is actually fun. The short line typically has friendly people sharing a mutual excitement for the best sweet treats ever. And then there are the employees who take "friendly" to a new level. They smile and are probably almost as sweet as the cupcakes. Not shockingly, all the front of the house employees are cute girls, while in the back is the only place I've seen men or older people.

This past Saturday with the debut of the salty caramel, I was on cupcake duty again. And when I ordered the girl who took my order said, "I'm sorry I have to ask your name again."

I know it's only cupcakes, but when a place you love gives you just a little love back it honestly preys upon the little kid in me who wants to be liked the popular kids.

Also, my goal is to become a regular at the Eagle Rock Brewery by the end of the month. I've been each of the last two Sundays and will be there every Sunday, even though it's across town. My love of the ERB is a clash of my values, though. I love supporting small, local business started by cool people who make beer! But it is lots of gas and pollution.

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