Thursday, January 31, 2008

I think I've given up on finishing Europe. Right toward the end it got boring... that or I just don't like ending things. Probably both - more on my dislike for endings at another time.

Let's talk about my FAVORITE thing: Pete's coffee and a GQ magazine in Larchmont.

So over the last couple of months, I've discovered that I love walking down to Larchmont in the morning to get coffee and read. It has becoming a habit, with a number of quirky rituals, and I'd like to share some of them with you...
This is a phone photo of Larchmont. It is one of the very few non-LA, LA locations... It's a single street, about 2 blocks long, almost entirely pedestrian traffic, great restaurants, shops, a news stand, a stellar wine and cheese shop, and my favorite coffee/reading location.

When purchasing your morning coffee in Larchmont, one has numerous options: Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Noah's bagels, Sam's bagles, Botega, and Pete's. Now I love bagles, but I can't eat them on an actor diet. And nothing against Starbucks, but I'm just enough of a trendy brooding artist type, to refuse to be a regular trendy brooding Starbucks customer. Botega's is owned by rude people. And Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf gets direct sunlight... So Pete's is the best choice.

It is on the east side of the street, so in the morning it's always shaded (important for a boy from Colorado who doesn't like too much heat). And there are tables outside - usually full by 9am, but if you get there before that, you shouldn't have a problem. (Or rather, I shouldn't have a problem. I don't want you to go there and take my table.)

I always order a small drip coffee. I'm getting to know the employees - and a person would be hard pressed to find a cooler, more friendly group of people behind any counter in LA. I try to order from Cela or Pete (yep) who are both musicians, and both super awesome. My coffee costs $1.65. I add a splash of non-fat milk, at the counter, and two splendas once I've been seated at a table.

I always listen to my ipod when I drink/read. I guess I'm not as much of a trend breaker as I thought. Right now I'm on a serious Imogen Heap kick. And I usually take two forms of reading material: one I should read, and one I want to. Usually it pairs off something like this: Brothers Karamazov and GQ, or VARIETY and Harry Potter, or LA Times and New Moon (by Stephenie Meyer... my current guilty pleasure, about vampires).

It's worth noting here, my GQ ritual. GQ is a great magazine. It's not perfect, but for my likes and personality, it's a pretty close fit. Culture, fashion, wine, politics, music, etc. Skewed a little more left than I usually go... but whatever. I live in LA. I ALWAYS read each GQ the same way. The first day I get the magazine, I sit down and tear out all the double paged ads. Today there were 19, (19 actual pages, so 38 numbered pages, out of 178 total in the magazine. I don't want to look at that crap) and 3 of those little cardstock inserts that fall out when you flip the pages. Also, I tear out the cologne ads and save them. They go in my sock drawer for obvious reasons. Today there were two... which is a significantly smaller number than normal. I guess after Christmas their sales must go down. This is ALL I do on the first day. I "clean" the magazine.

On the second day I set aside to read, I go through and read all of the short thematic pieces - Usually a page on wine, seasonal fashion, movies coming out, etc. I dog ear anything I want to remember or tear out. Then I spend each subsequent day, until I'm finished with the magazine, reading 1-2 editorials per sitting. These I also dog ear in case I want to reference Huckabee's interview with friends or a piece on Kanye or a story about a PTSD Vietnam Vet (below). Then I patiently wait for the next magazine to come.

One of the coolest things about this time, is that it makes me significantly more productive throughout the rest of the day. Any time I've lost by sitting and reading, I make up quickly because on these days I'm more excited and energized.

When I finish this edition of GQ, I'll post my favorite parts. And if anyone wants copies, I'll post em :)