Thursday, October 30, 2014
I prepared for tomorrow's GRE test by going to Lares on Pico Boulevard after work. I sat at the bar drinking a margarita on the rocks with salt. Then I ordered a take-out platter of chile rellenos, and got in my car and went home.
Lares is an old-school Santa Monica Mexican restaurant, been there for years - since 1968, according to their website. It's decorated in a kind of 1970s version of Spanish colonial baroque - all ersatz weighty dark wooden ceiling beams, crusty paintings and a backbar that looks like a Churrigueresque altarpiece.
The waiters at Lares are courtly, dignified, and also somewhat indifferent. They wear maroon-colored guayaberas. There was an older bartender who served me.
On one side of me at the bar was a young couple, casually dressed, an array of heavily laden platters before them. The young man had a hoodie pulled over his head, even inside the restaurant. On the other side of me was a courtly-looking older man who spoke in very correct Spanish to the bartenders. He finished a huge dinner platter slowly and meticulously, pronounced it "muy delicioso" and downed the last of his Pacifico beer before paying.
There was a younger, handsome bartender who spent his time ferrying to-go orders to the valets stationed out on the streets. It probably meant nothing, but the ominous sky overhead made this furtive effort seem portentous.
The sky was wild and unsettled, even before I left the office. There's a storm coming in, they say. I welcome it, because it would relieve the drought, but it still feels ominous.
Outside of Lares tonight, just around dusk, with the sun down but still coloring the tossed clouds, it was beautiful.
My chiles rellenos were delicious and warm, even reheated at home in the microwave. A good night's sleep and I'm ready for the test.