You know those moods you get into when nothing goes well? And even though you’re obviously having the time of your life being in Santa Monica (etc etc), even if somebody from Penguin rocked up and offered you a book contract you’d manage a grimace at best?
Well that was my mood in Santa Monica. Apart from being disastrously difficult to reach by public transport (despite the 704), a woman who had clearly never had a shower sat down in front of me and I couldn’t physically move. While I was trying not to retch (the smell was indescribable) I ran through twenty million things like: this woman has been victimised by the US’s terrible social security system; it’s disgusting that there are no benefits; she might have had a catastrophic medical bill to pay; depression can make even keeping clean challenging. But despite my liberal attempts at justifying this lady’s state, I couldn’t ignore two things: there are free showers down by the beach, and that I would be on a bus with her for an hour. It was tough, but even admitting that felt hard. My one hour of hardship was nothing compared to her life, so I shouldn’t ever complain.
Second strike: We rocked up at a hotel in Santa Monica that I thought I’d organised through a PR for the one free night of my trip, but turns out I was an idiot and hadn’t confirmed it. So we were on the road sooner than we had planned to be.
And here’s where my foul mood started: even though we went to Real Food Daily, I couldn’t shift the black cloud of irritation. So, now we’ve put the meal into perspective, let me give as balanced opinion as I can of the meal.
1. It didn’t open until 11am. What is with late opening times in LA? It’s not like anything even shuts late…
2. I ordered the veggie burger with all the trimmings (seiten bacon, cashew cheese, and avocado). At 13 dollars this should be included anyway. It pushed the price up to 16 dollars which was a lot.
3. The plate was accompanied by a caeser salad with crouton chunks. These could probably be donated to the local geological society under “lumps of lava”. They were inedibably hard – I was concerned that if I ate more than one chunk I’d be returning to the UK with no teeth. Not ideal.
4. The seiten bacon and cashew cheese were absolutely delicious, and the lentil burger was ok. The best thing about the whole plate? The tangy and creamy caeser salad dressing.
5. No wifi. Do not come here if you need to arrange urgent road trip preparations or book hotels. (From painful experience).
6. The service was amazing. Our server was lovely and cheerful and friendly.
7. The bakery part of RFD looked like something out of this world. Amazing. I only wish I’d had room after the burger to try something, like a slice of pie or slab of chocolate cake. Sigh.
It didn’t manage to turn my bad mood around, but it did fill a sizeable hole in my stomach. And the server was fab – did I mention that?