Hey, soulless meanie! (You know who you are.) Why won’t you help out someone in need this holiday season? I found out the hard way that my friends and dates have no problem refusing or ignoring me when I asked them to help me donate presents to families in need.
As a usually single childless adult, I find that the warmth of the season often eludes me. When I was forced to help my Jewish mother decorate 11 varieties of Christmas cookies to be plattered and gifted to the garbage person, I felt no tingles whatsoever.
Then one year I was visiting my sister for Thanksgiving and saw how her law firm was collecting toys for children. As a kid, I remember plucking a name off the giving tree in the Pony Village Mall and returning with a wrapped gift for “Lucy, Age 4.” I was inspired to seek a similar charitable opportunity in the Bay Area. That’s how I found the Concord-based nonprofit Uplift Family Services, an amazing agency that sponsors a “Foster Santa” program for families in need. Uplift sent me information about a family, along with a wish list. At the time, I was dating Paul, a CEO; he and I had a great time shopping and wrapping the gifts while listening to John Denver and the Muppets. I remember how excited he was by wristlet Scotch-tape dispensing.
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Years ago my friend and I arrived at MOCA in downtown Los Angles for an art party. The line went down Grand, past Walt Disney Concert Hall and stretched around the block to First Street. My friend exclaimed, “This art party is no Bon Jovi!” Apparently, a Bon Jovi concert was the only event she’d consider waiting in line for longer than an hour.
I rarely go to La Note in downtown Berkeley. Weekend brunch waits are even more enormous than their pancakes. You can arrive at 8 am and still wait. Long lines for breakfast in the Bay Area are why I’ve patronized Doyle Street Café in Emeryville for years. Unfortunately, the secret got out and the wait is now long even for their mediocre food.
The food at La Note is not mediocre. It’s good, almost sometimes maybe great. I judge a breakfast place on the eggs. For the love of god, please don’t overcook eggs. I always undercook eggs. This grosses some people out but those people are wrong. My scrambled eggs at La Note this morning were perfect. I also ate bacon, sourdough toast, and some of my date’s raspberry oatmeal pancakes but the eggs were the best part.
The ambience at La Note is just OK. I’ve heard the back patio is super nice. My favorite breakfast places look like dumps in Concord or they’re in strip malls. Some are dumps in Concord strip malls. La Note looks nice ish. There are probably some chicken knick-knacks around.
Finally, my date’s grapefruit had a hair in it. The hair was like really in there. As he pointed out, “There are scarier things we can’t see in our food.” We think our waitress might have said, “Good luck to you guys” referencing the fact that we were on a date. That was odd but she backed me up on the fact that a Diet Coke is a superior beverage choice to coffee first thing in the morning so I loved her for that. Go to La Note on a weekday.
The salad Nicoise is also good