When Jonah and I planned our Fourth of July weekend trip, we didn't realize just how ideal our timing was—we missed the worst of the 110° heat in L.A., trading it in for 70° and sunny weather in Portland, Oregon. We had such a great time visiting friends who just had a baby, and spent most of our trip testing whether it's possible to survive exclusively on donuts and beer. Other highlights include: hiking through Forest Park, blueberry picking, lunch at Bollywood Theatre, grabbing drinks on the roof of a converted high school at Revolution Hall, and catching up with friends. I missed dinner at Ava Gene's and a thousand other places you all recommended (thank you!), but that just means we need to head back soon. Here's what I'm up to this week, back in L.A.:
This weekend marks the start of Dine L.A. restaurant week, with over 300 restaurants participating in affordable prix fixe menus. I'm planning on heading to lunch at Shutters on the Beach this weekend—it's one of my favorite places to go before cycling down the Venice Bike Path, but we usually save it for special occasions because it's normally expensive.
This Sunday is also Ice Cream Alley at Smorgasburg, where pretty much every fantastic ice cream place in L.A.—Sweet Rose Creamy, Madam Shugah, Nancy's Fancy Gelato—comes together for the frozen dessert party of your dreams. Read more about it here!
When our intern Caroline sent me this recipe for Marinated Summer Squash with Hazelnuts and Ricotta with the note "This is actually life-changing," I knew I had to try it. Grilled, it has a lot of the same elements of this torn zuccihini salad, with a salty kick from red wine vinegar and brightness from the mint, but it's subtler (and more substantial) in a ricotta base. I made a few tweaks, replacing hazelnuts with walnuts and grilling rather than pan-searing the squash (because it's too darn hot to cook inside), and it was delicious. While I served it with grilled shrimp last night, I'm planning on making it later this week as a pasta!
While I rarely read short stories, preferring instead to jump into novels, I blew through two collections of short stories this weekend (one of which I read on the floor at Powell's bookstore... when in Portland!). Lauren Groff's latest book, Florida, centers on characters in the bayou and swamps, from a husband and wife to a student, and a variety of people stranded by weather and nature (stuck in a canoe and caught in a hurricane). You can read an excerpt here. On the other hand, Tiny Crimes, is an anthology of more blatantly sinister short stories that address "the underbelly of modern life;" suicides, murder, and classic noir tales reimagined.
When I read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn years ago, I read the entire thing in a matter of hours. I remember sitting in a quiet coffee shop in South Boston, where I'd intended to stay for a quick coffee, but ended up staying through two meals—I literally couldn't put it down. Had the entire miniseries been available when it premiered on HBO last night, I would have done the same. Even after reading the book, the directing (from Jean-Marc Vallée of Big Little Lies), performances (Amy Adams plays Camille), and storyline pulled me right back into the world where reporter Camille Preaker is sent to cover the murders of two little girls in her rural hometown. You can watch it on HBO here.
This weekend, I listened to Olivia Wilde's interview on the goop podcast and felt so inspired even long after the interview had ended. Beyond being an actress (and now director), she's incredibly well-spoken and driven (her parents are wartime photo journalists, and her mom is now running for congress in Virginia). She talked about why natural beauty is so important, the value of women running for office, and her decision to not get married to Jason Sudeikis. Give it a listen here.