Tuesday, July 5, 2011

That's Very FlatIronic...

It hasn’t happened since third grade. Not like this.

The year was…let’s just say early 90’s. I’m really bad at year/age/grade conversions, and usually when asked how old someone is I respond by indicating with my hand approximately how tall that person is. It’s not a great way to answer the question, but it does prove that I have at least actually met the person they are asking about at some point.

In any event, back to third grade. I was a triple threat. I had oversized 80’s Michael Keaton tortoiseshell glasses. (cool) I had a nice and boxy catholic school plaid jumper SLASH saddle shoes combo going on. (cooler) Lastly, I had a fondness for spelling and reading comprehension that was known throughout the land. (coolest)

Believe me, if you saw this pint sized commodities broker in knee socks and peter pan collar coming towards you holding a copy of Death Be Not Proud, you knew she meant business.

And this was the BEFORE. Believe me when I tell you, that things can allllways get worse.

There were two things I felt I were missing-I really wanted braces. Everyone had them, but my teeth were insolently straight. I was left out of every rubber band controversy, and I never got to miss school for orthodontist appointments. So there’s that. I also felt somehow that I could really improve my “look” with a perm. Because a perm meant that you had long, flowing, ringlet curly princess hair. Kind of a Daphne Zuniga/Pantene commercial/brunette mermaid thing. I realize that Daphne Zuniga rarely had curly hair, but in my head she did, and I was about to become her.

Courtesy of that place that does hair in the Southside Mall.

I had the great fortune to grow up with parents who both had, and still have, a great sense of humor about life. They were fun, they were interesting, and most of the time, they were messing with us. They must have just constantly looked at each other and said: “This is going to be Hilaaaaarious.”

My childhood.

Specifically, I am referencing a cherry-red Navajo print button-down shirt, which cemented my place as the first 12 year-old Native American art gallery curator in the world.

Back to what I refer to still as “The Perm.” It doesn’t sound so bad like that, but when I say it out loud, I make it reeeeeeally ominous and creepy.

I sat in the chair, hair wound extra tightly up around a variety hour of bright rollers in meticulous rows, looking like a colorful little triceratops. As soon as the first one came out, I instantly realized my mistake. I had short hair. I was not a perm girl. I did not have a “perm face.” What. Was. I Thinking.

And so I forged ahead through the next couple of years with a tiny horrible afro. It was with me through spelling bees, and chocolate milk lunches, and family vacations. Making suburban life a little edgier.

And so, when a couple of weeks ago I got the second worst haircut of my life, I needed instant medication. I had stepped out onto the street with a bizarre Lisa Rinna/Martina Navratilova hybrid, feeling “The Perm” panic all over again. I have included this photo of me in the shadows to at least give you a vague idea of what I mean. But believe me, I was in no picture-takin' mood. Note the explosive nature of my half-mullet in silhouette. Possibly meant to ward off predators.

I needed to feel better. I needed to feel great. I needed the Flatiron truck.

I am a huge supporter of farm-to table restaurants, but this takes that idea one step further to farm-to-STREET cuisine. So first of all a flatiron steak is one of the tastiest you can eat. It comes from the shoulder of the animal, and is extremely flavorful and tender. And Timothy, owner and maestro of the Flatiron truck, knows exactly what to do with meat. Don’t try to get crazy with it, just let it be as great as it is. And pair it with things that are equally as remarkable.

For example, I had the Flatiron Farmer’s Market Salad. It really was all the great things you see at the farmer’s market but think “what the hell am I going to do with all that lettuce.” Nobody is that virtuous. Unless somebody does it for you. And Timothy, God bless him, was virtuous on my behalf. Extremely fresh lettuce and carrots, the lightest dressing, a serving of that un-messed with flatiron shoulder-y goodness, and a snowy topper of parmesan cheese, which ups the ante anyway you play it. It was a perfect dish.

I suddenly thought it might all work out. Before, my only plan was a V for Vendetta baldness that I was really hoping to avoid. Suddenly I had options. Suddenly I had the kind perspective and optimism that only perfectly cooked animal protein can give you. And suddenly I had a Pork Burger in my hands.

Chorizo and ground pork, manchego cheese, bacon jam, pickled red onions, and arugula. Last meal-type stuff, you guys.

It really was like a completely assembled puzzle of taste. The pork chorizo mix, a complete revelation. Bacon jam. Not as good as it sounds. MUCH, MUCH better. Salty and familiar- rounding out the bite of the pickled onions. And there to level the whole umami-burst: green n’ spicy market fresh arugula.

Ok, let’s recap: steak, salad, a WHOLE pork burger. I could’t…possibly…eat…another…bite….right…after…these…FRIED GREEN BEANS and GRILLED DONUT HOLES. Bad haircuts make a girl hungry.

Ok, and here's your reward for reading the whole thing. Don't say I didn't warn you. And just remember-brushing it out doesn't help.


  1. Hahaha! This is hilarious! :) Love that first picture of you as a little girl. And that farmer's market salad - YUM!

  2. This is one of your best. Love the old photos (three feet?). I live in Phoenix, but your articles make me wish I was in LA!!!

  3. now i am craving steak AND a burger :-) but you really made me laugh!

  4. Oh Frances, you are so darling. I had a very, very similar picture of my hair in 5thish grade. The. worst. perm. ever. I can relate girl!
    The burger the donuts. Holy crap that all looks amazing. There are often food trucks next to Brian's office in Burbank on Ontario St. we should meet there for lunch. I MISS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!