I have spoken, (written), ((bitched)), on this blog previously about the surprising downside of Los Angeles weather. Having grown up on the East Coast, activity and weather have a direct relationship as far as I’m concerned. A snow day equals microwave s’mores and watching movies on the couch all day. (I did try sledding across the street with my best friend one year. I came down terrifyingly and elegantly backwards the whole way, and sprained my ankle during what I will refer to loosely and inaccurately as a “dismount.” So, movies it is.)
The emotional payoff of a rainy day was that you could shoot for a combination of quietly productive, and indoor guilt-free relaxation. Reading a book for hours? Of course! It’s pouring outside.
In the fall the days get shorter and crispier around the edges, the leaves ignite, and you can just feel the back-to-school clock inside you start to tick. Though it’s been a long time since I have had to listen to this clock, even now September happens and I am consumed by a desire to buy pencils.
In all honesty, I don’t even know if I ever actually used pencils in school, but I try not to argue with anything in September. That’s a bad-ass month that knows what it’s doing.
The shortage of real, actual, sunny days meant that these days were exploited within an inch of their life. Picnics! Swimming at a good friend’s pool! Swimming at a good friend because they have a pool’s pool! Swimming in a freezing cold lake because it’s July, so get the hell in there! Swimming in the one square foot of space available at the overcrowded the town pool! Barbeques! Bug Bites! Sunburn!
In Los Angeles, pretty much everyday is a sunny one. It ruthlessly robs you of your choice to be in a bad mood or to do nothing and feel ok about it. The trauma of getting a parking ticket when there’s not a cloud in the sky, or of wanting to spend the day at the library but “it’s so NICE out!” is hurtful in it’s own way. Do you see this parking ticket I just got, sky?! This is when it’s supposed to start raining, because I don't have an umbrella and it will enhance the drama! Are you with me?! No? O.K.
When, I ask you, is it ever even appropriate in the City of Los Angeles to eat SOUP? Soup needs an overcast day, a snowflake, a windstorm. Soup is unwelcome and unfamiliar here. Like walking, or a helpful person working at Kinko’s.
No soup. No pencils.
But in February I was given a gift. I say it that way because I’m pretty sure everyone else actually likes the fact that it is temperate and warm and semi-tropical here, and that my complaints about the absence of seasons are not met with very much sympathy. In fact, it is quite probably WHY they have chosen to live here. So to them I say this: I completely understand, and you are definitely the better person here. But it’s hard for me to be lazy when it’s so damn nice all the time. Aren’t you running late for your hike?
Back to February. A gloomy day! An east-coast day on the WEST coast! I had waited for this. I had longed for this. I had my plan polished and ready. There was a phone tree and a code word. Much like Jason Bourne a lockbox filled with passports in a European bank was…not…waiting for me…actually. So scratch that. Yeah, sorry. Nope, no lockbox.
But that’s ok because where I was going, I wouldn’t need one.
I had trolled this stretch of Ventura Boulevard before. I have been to that Jinky’s. I have fed those meters. True, I had never patronized the tattoo/piercing establishment outside of which the Lobsta Truck stationed itself, despite its appealing double promise of cosmetic enhancement. But it mattered not.
I felt instantly at home in line, as though everyone else there had also saved that heavy navy cardigan in their closet for just such a day. A day when it would be called into action. A day when it would be needed. A day when it would most likely have clarified butter spilled on it, and henceforth be known as “the butter sweater.”
The instantaneous comraderie was born out of sweaters, and long pants, and rain jackets- a slightly more casual and ethnically diverse version of the Gorton’s fish-stick box. And lobster. There was lobster to be had. A lobster roll, specifically. That delicacy that lives along craggy rocked-shores and is enjoyed on salty coastal cloudy days. It was here for us on our New England day, and we were ready. Pull yourself together navy cardigan, it’s GO TIME.
The creators of the Lobsta Truck were driven to this feat by a whirlwind lobster tour of New England, during which they decimated delicious whole family trees of lobsters in search of a truly divine lobster roll. Anyone who has had a perfect lobster roll will tell you that it is the brain surgery of foods. Every single component has to be EXACTLY right, and if you try to get fancy it will backfire on you. The split-top roll has to be perfect, the lobster pristine, and the alchemy of what and how much is mixed into it is easily botched. To this end, the Lobsta Truck gets their lobster, as well as their bread from suppliers in New England.
Their menu is as simple as a well-done lobster roll should be. Lobster rolls with either mayo or butter, (I got butter of course. One will never get a butter sweater by ordering mayo.) crab rolls, and clam chowder. The red gingham curtains, Cape Cod potato chips, and whoopie pies, complete the scrumptious scene. My buttery lobster roll was pretty damn close to perfect. Lobster super fresh-sweet and the right kind of chewy. Roll toasted scientifically to the perfect beige. I refer to it as “Lobster Roll Beige,” but you don’t have to. Aside from being depressingly small, it was fantastic.
I will now cease complaints about the weather, because now there is an edible upside. We may still not get seasons, but we can make the delicious buttery most of a gloomy day, dammit.
Aren’t you late for that hike?