Gordon and I stopped at Kendall’s for our soup and wine before going to Disney Hall last night. It was packed; we couldn’t even find a place at the bar. I guess we’ll have to make reservations if we want to eat there before a show. Crap. We used to have the place to ourselves. No more. So we walked down the street, looking for a restaurant. We considered the restaurant at the Broad Museum but it’s really expensive and neither one of us wanted that much food. But I filed the place away for future reference. It’s getting great reviews; I want to try it. We wandered over to California Plaza. We perused the menu of the Blue Cow and decided their sandwich menu fit our needs. The staff was friendly and attentive until we got seated. Our waiter asked us (at 7) if we going to a show. We told him we had a concert at 8. We were assured that wouldn’t be a problem. We got a jug of water and I got a marginal glass of Malbec. Then we sat. At 7:25 I flagged down another waiter and asked where our waiter was. We needed our food and we were running out of time. What was particularly galling was the table next to us, who came in after us, got served before us. We chatted with them while I sweated whether or not we should cancel our order; I didn’t know if we’d be able to stuff our food down in time. The couple was from Utah and were going to the same concert we were. They were lovely people and said they were having a wonderful time in LA. Our conversation ended when we finally got our orders; I got a BLT (it takes 25 minutes to makes a sandwich?) and Gordon got the Tri-tip plate. Both were delicious. But we had to stuff them down. We asked for our check when we got our orders so we could just pay and get the hell out. The food at the Blue Cow is great but don’t go if you’re under time pressure. I don’t think they know how to handle pre-show crowds yet.
Gordon and I ran back to Disney Hall in time to pee and took our seats right before the concert started. Esa-Pekka Salonen was back in town conducting a Sibelius program. The music was all very good although the entrances were a little ragged. He’s been gone for eight years and the new orchestra members probably weren’t used to the way he conducts. But he brought a new interpretation to Finlandia which was particularly bombastic. It was a shouted ‘hello’ from Finland. Then the orchestra performed Sibelius’ Symphony #6, Six Humoresques featuring the LA Phil concert master Martin Chalifour (wonderful), and Symphony #7. The music was good but I didn’t find it too involving. My attention was snagged by Esa-Pekka’s suit. When he was music director here I remember him wearing plain black suits with black shirts. Very nihilistic. Last night he wore a modified monkey suit. The front looked like a simple business suit but when he turned around two wedge tails hung down. It was a mullet of a coat. The pants were ankle-length, skinny-legged hipster pants. The skinny-legged pants made his patent-leather shoes look enormous–sort of like clown shoes. I think he’s been hanging out in Europe too long. One of the other patrons told me he still has his house in Brentwood because his kids go to school here. They were born here and consider themselves Angelenos. Doesn’t sound like Helsinki has much charm for them.
Anyway, we’ll have to plan our dining schedule more carefully so I don’t have a stroke before the concert. When did downtown become so popular? I used to have to place to myself.