It was a badge of honor to see a band on its first tour.
I can regale you with stories of Elvis Costello at the Whisky, Oasis at the Roxy, back when you started small and grew, when music drove the culture and record companies signed you based on the music more than the commercial potential and slowly brought the audience to you. But today most of those clubs are dead. They were supported by the record companies, with comp tickets and tabs. Now you make it online and sometimes play arenas on your first tour. Furthermore, you’re a star today and gone tomorrow and the oldsters persist. It’s as if dinosaurs were still roaming the earth, along with human beings.
Jamie told us she could get us in. We’d been once before, for a birthday party. I was eager to go again, we said yes. Jake heard about our invitation and wanted to be included, so he and Robyn came too. To an abode with no signage for a meal with no price.
In other words, the experience was PRICELESS!
My parents were gourmets, they even had a club back in the sixties, where once a quarter they’d go to a friend’s house and have a potluck from a different country. My dad was all about lifestyle. We didn’t live in the best neighborhood, we didn’t upgrade when he made it, we stayed in the same split-level, but when it came to food and entertainment, there was no limit.
Except for wine. My dad owned a liquor store. It killed him to overpay for wine in a restaurant, so he didn’t. But if you wanted the lobster, you ordered it, but you had to finish. That’s right, I grew up in one of those houses where we heard about starving children in Europe, Asia was never mentioned, we had to scrape our plates clean, I still do, it’s a hard habit to break. As for throwing food out…I still can’t do it, not unless it’s smelly and nearly crawling with bugs. Especially with inflation, you can see five or ten bucks evaporating, I must eat it.
And when we traveled my dad always looked for the best restaurants.
And when I was in law school my girlfriend and I combed them all, the ones we couldn’t afford we had my parents take us to. But that was a long time ago, before there were so many restaurants you could not eat at them all, before you couldn’t get in unless you were connected.
That’s the world we live in, you’ve got to know somebody. I was just watching “The Florida Project” and the motel resident has a connection for waffles at the breakfast place. If you know nobody, you cannot get ahead. We live in a nation of currency, and not all of it is cash.
That’s one of the modern paradigms that overwhelms me, the plethora of choices. I like to be comprehensive, I like to know everything about a given field. But today that’s impossible, I want to know everything about a subject so I can judge it expertly, but today very few are experts. Or they’re experts in one field only.
So Wolvesmouth is a pop-up restaurant. I read about it in the “New Yorker” years before I went. It changed locations. You had to be in the know to go. And I didn’t. Until two summers ago.
And here’s where I’d like to tell you about the menus, tell the history of the place, but I don’t think I can do it adequately. I’ve heard it in detail twice, but I haven’t digested it. I like to ask multiple people the same questions over and over again to gain a feeling, to reach a conclusion. But what I’ve learned is there are different menus at Wolvesmouth, with a different number of courses.
Last night we had eight.
So, there are twenty people you don’t know, other than the group you came with. And to tell you the truth, Felice and I were the oldest people there, by decades. You see it’s a millennial thing, a young Gen-X’er thing. Where it’s about experiences more than acquisitions. Where you’ll blow high dough on an evanescent item that you’ll remember, but cannot grasp.
And there was the gay couple from the eastside. And the young marrieds from the South Bay. And everyone brought their own beverages, which were ultimately shared, and in between courses, you conversed.
You can feel lonely and isolated in today’s world. Think you know everything. And then you go somewhere and bump into new people and get excited. They’re different, yet similar. It’s stimulating. They’ve had the same experiences with a twist. The woman across the table spontaneously said she and her husband were in couples therapy. Is it that you’re freer with strangers, I don’t know, but I dig it.
So the first course was…
Oh, I’m not gonna delineate it, I’ll post a pic of the menu to Twitter for you to check out. It’s just that it had a short rib encased in a blood red sauce and potato-filled pasta which were akin to ravioli, and cabbage-beet horseradish and it was all topped with an onion ring.
And we dug in.
There’s no bread and there’s no waiting.
Usually, I fill up on the appetizers, but with food portioned out, this does not happen. Furthermore, they start right away, dinner was set for 6:30, we arrived fifteen minutes early, shortly after the appointed hour the first course arrived.
And I learned that Greg decided to get into the music business when he saw U2 at Dodger Stadium. The guy next to him was elbowing him but then when “One” was played he put his arm around Greg’s shoulder.
Jake’s dad loved the ponies, they followed him from Toronto to the track in Florida, where Jake went to two different schools in one year.
Jamie and Greg went on a cruise with her father and stepmother. She likes to soak up all the culture, Greg needs time off to rest, just like me and Felice!
And over food and wine you learn stuff about people you never knew, you become closer, I suggested we all go on a cruise together, but I doubt that will happen, enchanted moments engender promises that go unfulfilled.
I didn’t shoot any pictures, of food anyway. I don’t post on Facebook.
Furthermore, I’m not a forensic eater. I just enjoyed the taste, I’m not even sure I can remember what I ate, but I loved the mini-churro.
So I don’t want to boast, I don’t want to make you feel envious. That’s the scourge of modern society, the social network posts depicting a fabulous life that is oftentimes untrue.
But for a couple of hours last night it wasn’t.
So if you want to go you’ve got to network, find out how to get on the list. Damned if I know.
And you pay what you want, but if it’s not significant…then you’re just a schnorrer.
And I’d say the food was great.
But the people were even better.
P.S. Wolvesmouth has been going on for years, but only in this location for less. I suggest you start watching the linked video at 8:17 to get an idea:
P.P.S. The proprietor, the chef, Craig Thornton, comes from nothing. Seems all of the artistic breakthroughs come from the financially-challenged. They’ve got few preconceptions and are not worried about failing, they’re already at the bottom.
P.P.P.S. Craig wanders the room, you can talk to him, he’s not kvelling, he’s more internalized, but he’s approachable. In the modern world that’s what it’s all about, being accessible.
P.P.P.P.S. Success is not necessarily reaching everybody and getting rich. You get to define your own success. And there’s a reaction to the billionairedom of America, people who are establishing careers on their own terms, isn’t it funny that they are the ones we are drawn to most.
Last night’s menu: