Neighborliness in the Neighborhood

Everyone loves a good chili. And goodness knows there are about three billion different kinds of chili out there. I love a spicy chili with plenty of beans. My husband’s friend–my friend, really–Zach once told me that the first batches of chili never had beans, because chili simmered all day over heat in wait for hungry cowboys passing through.

Some like it hot. Some like it meaty. We made a chili recently that called for Red Tale Hawk Red Tail Ale as a base ingredient. My dad makes a famously delicious chili with a bit of a hodge-podge of ingredients (one of my favorites of which is brown sugar). Most chili recipes require a lot of mixing, maybe even some chopping, and a decent amount of “throw this and that in at the end to taste.”

I happen to be a big fan of chili of most sorts, and I have found the best vegetarian chili out there (I’m pretty confident). It comes from Stories Books and Cafe in Echo Park on Sunset. Jeremy and I are abstaining from meat for Lent. So, tonight, after being offered a holiday from work (and so not needing to go in for my night shift), we hopped on the motorcycle headed for Stories to procure some chili for a satisfying mid-week meal.

The most glorious thing happened as we ordered our chili tonight. Every time I eat Stories’ chili, I think to myself, “I wonder if they would give me the recipe for this if I asked.” And then of course I decide, no, they would definitely not flippantly give away such a clearly incredible recipe. Well tonight, I casually asked the man at the counter, “Do you guys ever give away the recipe?” and–to my surprise–he answered, “Well, I’m the chef. I could write it down for you. I put together a few other great recipes to make this one.” And he did it! He served us our chili and wrote down his recipe on a guest check for me! What a guy. What a place, this Echo Park. What a neighbor.

Some of This and That

Another beautiful morning in this fair city we call Los Angeles. Jeremy is having a large group of man friends over today, so after waking at a nearly leisurely pace and helping him clean a bit, I skeedadled over here to Chango for some breakfast burrito and wake up time. It’s really quite pleasant to be doing all this at 10:30am on a Saturday.

A lot of small dogs without leashes keep walking into this coffee shop sniffing peoples’ pant legs until their owners peek their heads in to retrieve them. I’d like one of those. I’m working on Jeremy already because I’ve decided that we will own a Yorkie within the next ten years. I mean who in their right mind DOESN’T want one of these?:

Two days ago I found a pet rescue website with a little Yorkie named Dickens who had been hit by a car. He had a cone on his head in the picture and was going to be available to be adopted once all his broken bones were healed. I think I actually could have gotten Jeremy to get the little guy. Unfortunately, this pet rescue requires their adopters to be 25 or older, homeowners, and people planning not to have children during the entire lifetime of the dog. Whoa.

We’re redecorating our living room, which I have to say is quite an enjoyable endeavor. We both love variety, exercising our creativity, perusing craigslist, and taking trips to the fabric district downtown. Last weekend we headed down to Michael Levine’s on the motorcycle in search of new fabric for different curtains. We’re planning on going more of a blue direction, although our red curtains still do match nicely. What do you think?


We’re also looking for an old upright piano to take the place of our desk, which is sort of where the camera is shooting from.

I suppose it’s of note that I got my six month promotion at work last week. It’s nothing huge, basically a promotion you get as long as you don’t get fired before six months. It is kind of exciting though, because I am officially a “CN-II,” which means no more probationary period: I’m just a little bit more legit.

Jeremy and I still don’t have much of an idea what our next few years will look like. It’s exciting sometimes to feel like we’re still young and a little bit flying by the seat of our pants. Other times, it would just be nice to know how to plan for what’s next. I’m sure as time passes we’ll have more of that, and that peace and patience are things we’re learning to have in the face of the uncertainties of life.

As always, we hope you are well, and we hope that you always feel welcome to come see us and stay with us. I’m off to pick up the produce and listen to one of my favorite NPR programs, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.