January 19, 2010

Landing in LA, the plane was so buffeted by wind it felt as if we were being flicked around by angry gods in a celestial game of badminton. Torrential rain pounded the pavement, and every truck spewed an enormous wake on the freeway, making it almost impossible to see. Then the sun came out, bright, shiny, hot, a benediction.

I'd forgotten that LA was like that, forgotten that the winter weather here can be so extreme it makes you feel small, humble, out of control. It's so different than back east, where winter gets you in its grip and keeps you there. At home, when the snows come you hunker down, knowing the there will be little respite until the spring.  Here, you are in a constant state of expectation.

I think the food is driven by the weather. I don't mean it in the usual sense, that food is different here because the growing season is so long. More importantly, the food is different here because there is a constant sense of expectation. You never know what wonder might be lurking around the next corner.  You might drive up an ordinary street and encounter the world's best taco truck. You might  turn into a mini-mall and discover Masa. Anything seems possible – the sun could come out in a storm – and so you open up your mind. There is always hope.

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