Trendy clothing shops, the latest desired restaurants and bakeries line 3rd Street in Mid-City LA. There’s always the opportunity to spy a casually coiffed celebrity purchasing coffee or lunching at outdoor seating. Despite this illusion of a covetable locale, looking closely there are for lease signs on every block. 3rd Street could use an infusion of more customers willing to spend their money to show off the latest fashions or to eat cutting edge cuisine. However, I only go there once a month to visit my esthetician. I’d spend more money there regularly, but to ride a bike to 3rd Street isn’t a pleasant experience and once I get there bike parking is barely existent.
So I arrive at my usual esthetician appointment at Matty’s on 3rd Street. I park my bike next to the building, enter and find that my esthetician’s gone. She left no word. Took her appointment book–gone. Desperate I try their new esthetician and let her do my brows but I knew I had to start looking for another one.
I don’t enjoy bad mouthing businesses because I know how much time, money and effort small business owners invest to keep their businesses afloat, but face it–in my backyard Silverlake isn’t the place you go to find a good esthetician.
My sister says, “Go to Pamela at Wildflower on Laurel Canyon Blvd. Yours waxed your brows too straight. I always thought it looked like you had caterpillars running across your forehead.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?!”
“I thought you knew.”
“I hate riding out to The Valley,” I whine. “There’s large boulevards and fast moving traffic. The streets are de facto freeways!”
“Take the red line.”
My problem with 3rd Street wasn’t the entire trip. I mostly ride through low traffic 4th Street. 4th Street runs through Koreatown, Little Pakistan then Hancock Park, so it’s a ride redolent of spices, roses and garlic but once 4th Street ends at Park La Brea, I have to jump on 3rd. What a miserable beat up street with equally miserable driving. I rode my bike over there for 6 months and I was already thinking about a change and now it was made for me–a new esthetician means a new bike adventure to The Valley. I am taking my business and dollars from Mid-City over to Laurel Canyon Village where I surprisingly find that it was more comfortable and friendlier to someone using their bike to spend their money.
Taking the red line to its terminus in North Hollywood, made for a low stress enjoyable short ride to my esthetician. As soon as I get off the train, the Chandler Blvd bike lane begins at the North Hollywood Metro Station. Once I pass two industrial blocks, Chandler becomes a tree lined corridor with apartment buildings and houses on either side of the street. In the middle of travel lanes is the Orange line with a bus only street. Why don’t we have anything like this near downtown?
I’m so enthralled with my enjoyable ride that I ride right past the Laurel Canyon Village exit. I ride all the way to Coldwater Canyon. I make a U-ie and make it back to Weddington Avenue the street that runs next to and parallel with Laurel Canyon Boulevard. I avoid the crazy, speeding traffic on Laurel Canyon and ride down the residential Weddington. My new esthetician is right at the corner and I arrive smiling, excited about my new find.
On the train ride back I decide to get off at Western and Hollywood Metro station and take an Active Shopping trip to Thai Town to search for mirin, a Japanese cooking wine, and curry leaves. One of the best things about riding a bike is the easy and convenient ability to stop and drop into any store. There’s no worrying about driving past the store then once arriving, beginning the frustratingly futile search for parking.
Silom is my favorite grocery store in Thai Town. Usually they have my favorite Asian condiments and ingredients but I’m not as fortunate this time, because they have a new brand of Mirin and only kefir lime leaves. I didn’t find what I want, but I fill my bike sacks with large bottles of teriyaki marinade and sauce for the price of a 12 oz size at a major grocery store. I either use teriyaki or miso in marinades for my salmon, so I use it a lot.
Riding from Hollywood, I decide that I need eggs so I ride over to Traders. I find more than eggs to fill my bike sacks.
Here’s an easy Thai inspired dessert I adapted from epicurious.com–Banana and Mango Spring Rolls with Coconut-Chocolate Ganache:
For the Ganache
8 oz cream of coconut
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
2 oz butter
I make a day ahead and leave at room temperature
For the spring rolls
8 spring roll wrappers
4 Ecuadorian bananas (tiny bananas cut lengthwise)
2 Filipino mangoes (kidney shaped ones peeled, pitted and cut into ½ inch strips, 3 inches long)
Heat the coconut cream until steam rises from cream. Pour over chocolate whisk until thoroughly mixed add butter and grated ginger whisk to incorporate.
Take a spring roll and arrange it diamond shape in front of you then add 1 banana slice and 2 strips of mango in the middle of the spring roll wrapper horizontally. Take the pointed end at the bottom of the diamond and fold it over the fruit. Then fold in the sides. Brush some of the beatened egg on the unfolded portion of the diamond. Then roll the folded wrapper to the top of the unfold point to a complete roll completely covering the fruit.
After rolling up all the fruit, put enough oil into a caste iron or heavy skillet until it’s 1 ½ inches deep. Heat oil until the oil pops if you add a drop of water. Be careful not to get burned by the popping oil. Fry spring rolls 2 at a time until golden brown let cool slighty.
Plate the roll by drizzling the ganache on top of each roll. Makes 8.