Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nudist Nacho Night

My best friend Ally and I have been through a lot together. A lot of brownies, even more coffee, and pants-peeingly hilarious madcap shenanigans. But we have just experienced the absolute strangest day that we have ever shared.

Some background info: We are both extreeeeeeeemely modest ladies.

I purchased a 24 pack of toilet paper several weeks ago, and have been bringing it into the house one roll at a time because I cannot be seen carrying that much toilet paper. Toilet paper as an object is not ladylike and so I transport it disecretly, like a controlled substance. And she has managed to brush her teeth without me actually witnessing it for over a decade. After 11 years, we still feel weird even blowing our noses in front of each other. Flossing in the other’s presence? Would NEVER! Changing in the same room. Absolutely not. We are very much the product of a Puritan culture we both continually reference, as though we easily recall stepping off the Pinta that cloudy fateful day.

When we decided to treat ourselves to a spa day the other day, we failed to realize what we were getting into. Or more accurately, what we were getting ourselves out of. And that would be clothes.

Picture it: Koreatown, Los Angeles CA. A blustery Friday in November. We’ve been planning this forever. Now prodded by a looming Groupon expiration date, we had made it happen.

We skipped into the huge spa on Wilshire eager to escape the stresses of daily life, such as the fact that I accidentally purchased a body wash with a fragrance titled “Silk Whimsy” (lame), and that guy who works at Starbucks who leans bizarrely far into the car at the drive-thru. He’s not a threat, and he brings coffee with him, so I will always let it go.

But still. Automobiliar personal space is defined by whether or not the rolling up of my widow would decapitate you.

They handed us our elastic waist khaki 1980’s day-camp counselor shorts at the desk. Although, I must state that they were unflatteringly long enough to be considered very short pants, rather than shorts. The oversize mustard yellow spa logo T-shirt happened to us as well. Mustard yellow is nobody’s color. But this charming uniform, which struck me as exactly what one might desire to wear after having a surgical procedure done, was for after the hot-tubbing, warm-tubbing, cold-tubbing, steaming, and sauna-ing that laid ahead. We had laid down over ten dollars (so, eleven) for some aggressive relaxation (so, oxymoron), and we were going to sous-vide ourselves if it killed us.

It nearly did.

Because: We took the one towel apiece that we were handed, and headed for the de-stressing chamber. Which is where we saw the most stress-inducing sign either one of us could encounter.

“No clothes allowed past this point.”

My eye twitched. She blinked repeatedly. Several moments passed.

No problem. We’ve got towels. We grandly unrolled the towels that would save this day, and just as they made that towel-unrolling snap the unthinkable brutality of the situation came painfully into focus. They were just shy of cocktail napkin sized.

What happened next was a blur. I’m an absolutely Out Of Control blusher. Tell a dirty joke, and I will laugh heartily and appreciate the cleverness of it all. But I will also turn the color of strawberry doughnut frosting. For a long time.

So in this nerve-rattlingly revealing situation, and considering the full-body mortified blushing it resulted in, I’m positive that I quite closely resembled the Pink Panther.

He didn’t get to wear clothes either.

We stretched our scrabble-letter sized towels as seam-splittingly far as they could possibly go-so not far at all-and spent the afternoon negotiating which feature it was most important to conceal at any given moment. For the next four hours we did not make eye contact with each other, had several in-depth discussions about whether or not we should try brushing our teeth with the giant bowl of tooth salt provided (everyone else seemed to enjoy it juuuuust fine), and even watched about half of a Korean sitcom with no subtitles  while sitting on opposite sides of a sauna staring straight ahead.

We gave each other plenty of notice when one of us planned to change locations so that proper precautions could be taken.

By the time we could change into our jaunty and shapeless post-operative summer camp wear, we had never valued an outfit more. We had seen everything this literally Naked City had to offer, and now it was time for clothes.

A day of incredibly stressful relaxation makes a girl quite hungry. And makes two girls absolutely ravenous.

We had lived through Naked. Now we needed Toppings. Things covered by other things. Coated, Dressed, Accessorized.

Nachos coated with spicy aioli, dressed with guacamole, and topped with cotija cheese and pico de gallo would do nicely.

We peeled out of Koreatown our teeth freshly salt-brushed, a product of our willingness to bandwagon, and headed for NachoTown. 

Also frequently referred to as the vacant lot on Burbank Blvd, slightly west of Lankershim.

I make no secret of the fact that I deeply and almost irrationally love food people. I am drawn to them. I want to know them. I adore what they bring to the world, my life, and on this night, what they bring to North Hollywood.

Adam and Stevie are food people. They dream it up, fix it up, and give it out. Adam and Stevie made me Nachos. Adam and Stevie are princes, you guys. When I ordered the California Love Nachos, because watching the meet-cute of black beans and cotija cheese brings me great joy in life, they claimed I must sing the song.

And I did. Most likely more of it than they required or expected. Rapping is something I do not do well, yet frequently do anyways. Like bowling, or making popovers.

Here’s the deal: The chicken is marinated for days, and somehow you taste every day in there. It's trippy. The chips are the smilingly crunchy delivery guys for the guacamole, perfectly salted and as smooth as the silk whimsy body wash that I use resentfully while muttering.

The TNT sauce. Have it. Creamy-Spicy is not the easiest combo to lock down. They do it. It’s a cycle of burn-soothe-burn-soothe-burn-soothe that is not to be missed. 

These are meal Nachos. These are “Who Ate My Nachos?! Oh, I ate my Nachos,” nachos. You will start with the usual dipping procedure, loading blackbeans, citrus sour cream, fresh pico de gallo, and TartSaltyAmazing shredded chicken onto your chip. Then you will grab a fork because you can’t wait any longer. Then you will eat the tortilla that lines your bowl in three bites, as though getting rid of evidence of a crime. And then you will take a deep breath and start rifling through your perpetually disorganized purse/briefcase/fanny pack/satchel/novelty coin purse from Tampa that they clearly bought you last minute at the airport, to see if you have cash for another order.

Because since nachos technically could be considered part of any course, legally speaking you can actually eat them for every course.

Legally speaking.

November Nudist Nacho Night.

It happened to me. It can happen to you. Just open your heart, and bring your own towel.

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