My pal Sam invented this thing called 'Cultural Friday'. Each week we try to do something interesting, like go to an art show or museum or film or, uh, casino (ok, that only happened once and it was totally necessary).. today we ventured into Griffith Park to commune with nature.
We trekked up to Amir's Garden, known as the park's 'oasis within an oasis'. Around 1971 a brush fire burned a substantial portion of the chaparral in the hills, and Iranian-born immigrant Amir Dialameh decided to rebuild it by hand. Each day, 7 days a week, he hiked up to the garden carrying tools and plants. Amir planted eucalyptus trees, liquidambar, ash, pines, jacarandas, and magnolia-- his motto was "In the land of the free, plant a tree". Nice.
Then we headed to 'TravelTown', which seems to be a collection of trains. There's even a fun-sized one for kiddies to ride around the park. I like this little skunk guy.
Next, we went to Atwater Village.. to Thee Magical Grocery Known As India Sweets and Spices. Sam shopped for cardamom and lentils, then we shared a giant Dosa, which is like a huge pancake stuffed with "fillin'". The crazy part is that the "fillin'" consisted of raisins, carrots, green peppers, and coconut which sounds thoroughly disgusting, but was actually delicious!
In our quest for even more deliciousness, we made a beeline back to Sam's and baked insane vegan cupcakes.. I'm not vegan, but Sam and her dog are (although her dog, Lala, has been known to scarf down sausages found on the sidewalk in an act of canine rebellion), and I'm always up for anything as long as it is TASTY. We baked two different kinds, double chocolate espresso and chai latte, taken from Isa Moskowitz's crazy 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World' cookbook. And yeah, they were GOOD.
That's Sam, chef extraordinaire and four-time Jeopardy champ, about to savor the 'cake. As an addendum, I'd like to post that as I type I am listening to Gram Parsons' 'Greivous Angel' which in itself is quite lovely.. but as far as rich kids who morphed into country-folksters, he doesn't work for me like Townes Van Zandt does. TVZ 4EVA.