Lemonade stand: Last days of summer (spons)

These Kia videos my kids and I did in September have become like a scrapbook book for me.  It was the last days of summer, and as it turned out, the last days of Campanile.  Though we didn’t know it yet.  In this charming episode of Vivien, Rex, Daphne and their 2013 Kia Sorento we use it to help sell some cool drinks on a hot day. I know they are my kids, but jeez they are pretty cute here. They did love serving the lemonade.

Yes, today we would do better as a hot chocolate stand. It’s shot very prettily and it’s in the parking lot of what was Campanile with Alex, who was the best valet guy making a cameo.   The La Brea Bakery sign is in the back, though they too have been forced to move up the street by the change of lease holders ( dead to me).

It’s a sweet nugget of time. Check out the nice car with the power folding side mirrors! Maybe I folded them to fast.  I didn’t see the predatory restauranteur breathing down our necks.

it’s getting real

We are now 36 hours from the close of Campanile.  It’s been a month long wake.  Great to see people, lots of drinking, yet tinge of sadness.  It’s hard to write about as I’m going through.  I did finally cry yesterday.  I was talking to a total stranger. A friend of a waiter who had a kind face and without expecting I blubbered for a few seconds.

My sister’s said “we want to be there for you for the last night, to support you.”  Really, why?  I thought at first, so deep is my survival denial.  But, now it’s sinking in.  The epicenter of my husband’s professional life and that which we schedule most of our family life around is closing it’s doors.  Forever.

PACKING UP Mark's OFFICE

Will there be other projects, jobs?  Sure, but the place where my husband cemented his reputation, where I accidentally walked in one day and met the man I would marry and have babies with is closing.  Forever.

I saw the chef and restaurateur who are taking over the building in there the other day looking at the space with their architect.  Sizing up their remodel.  I said nothing.  I turned away.  LIke seeing a body measured for a coffin before it’s cold. That chef blabbed to a food blogger before Mark could speak to his staff.  I have nothing to say to him.

This reminds me of when I had to sell my house years ago post Madoff.  One more fucking loss.

I am an optimist and I always try to keep it together for my kids and show them that no matter what the core is our family.  But, I have to find a way to process this, feel it so I can move on.  I think that’s often the hard part for parents. How do you go through your own emotional crap without inflicting it on your kids?

I’m going to shoot “Vivien’s Campanile” today.

campanile kid

My support, sisters, mom, niece

A video of how she has seen it. Per her request I cannot share it outside of our family.  I want to record her memories, her special hiding places.  My dear step daughter Vanessa has come out from NYC for the close ( and happily missing Sandy).

siblings

It’s great to have her here.

our friend Jack
My sister Cecily and Mark

Hugs from friends and regulars

I still am not clear how I feel… maybe next week I’ll know.

Fine Dining Tramp

The announcement of Mark’s iconic LA restaurant, Campanile, closing has met with many stunned expressions.  Regular folk commenting on their Facebook page or in person how sad they are, how much they will miss it.  I love the respect and attention Mark and his staff are getting.

My sister and I couldn’t help injecting some humor into the final days. We created “Occupy Campanile” shirts.  The slogan, “So, we can still eat like the 1%”.  

I have had a lot of insomnia trying to conceive how it will feel on November first when we can no longer go there.  How will Mark feel?  I can’t wrap my brain around it.  They are doing a final blow bash on Oct. 31, all you can eat and drink for $89 ( the year they opened).  Black and White masked ball.  I’m taking the kids trick or treating, then deposit them with a sitter and go to the final soiree.

What time should the drunken crying start?

Lot’s of taxis will be called and I’m having the sitter spend the night and take the kids to school the next morning. I’m fully expecting Mark and I to be wiped out. I’ll be hung over, but I think we will both be emotionally exhausted.

However.. I’m enjoying every last minute of Campanile.  Vivien looks at me after we have done her homework, “Are you going out tonight, AGAIN?”

“Yes, I told you I’m going out a lot to the restaurant.  I’ll be home in November rocking back and forth in a dark room.”

Every night, it’s with someone different.  I’m a fine dining slut.  One night with my sisters and mom.  The next night with my friend Inge Lise, the other day I had a lunch date and a dinner date in the same day.  I walked to dinner to work off lunch. Two in a day. Such a fine dining hussy.

Then the kids and I got dressed up and met up with my “school husband” my co room parent Jasen and his son.  We also brought Flat Holden, a representative of our friend in Nashville, and enjoyed the last ever fried chicken night at Campanile.The next night I went there with a couple. Such a harlot.

Then I went with my entire dinner club, past and present, and a couple of babies.  It was my dinner club that lead me to meet Mark and then get asked out by Mark.

Magic moments have occurred here for me, and many others.  I’ve been so fortunate to have this dining salon to meet old friends and make new ones.  I’m not taking this lying down.  I’m sitting up, chatting and eating.

What a way to go.

Better start cooking: crispy eggs

Since Campanile is closing at the end of the month I’m going to have to step up my game.  Granted, Chef Peel will be home more so I might get some home cooked meals, but I am usually the cooker or at least the Executive Chef.  So, While I’m running to feast at my husband’s fantastic restaurant for dinner as much as I can I thought I’d start on breakfast.  When Vivien was little we went out to breakfast a lot, but Rex doesn’t have her ability to sit still so I’ve been working on creative breakfast for longer. This recipe came about the other weekend after I had made bacon for Rex. I cooked this in bacon fat with a small pat of butter for flavor.

1 corn tortilla, 2 eggs, ( you could use olive oil instead of bacon fat), butter, salt and pepper, boring taco cheese. When I do it again I will also add a little diced onion in the saute.

Cut up the tortilla in small strips. Put in iron pan with olive oil, don’t be stingy

I’m trying to make a crust.  Cook till you see it brown on the edges, about 5 min.

crack in two eggs and pierce the yolks to spread around.

throw on the pre grated taco cheese.  Could I use better cheese? yeah, but I always have this stuff on hand because the kids like it on their tacos and I’m in a hurry and don’t want to chop or grate anything in the morning.

then, flip it over

There it is.  It looks like fried potatoes.   I meant to eat half and give the other half to Mark, but I inhaled the whole thing.  I was full till 3pm!

 

I need a better name then “crispy eggs”.  Any ideas?

Campanile is closing: Roller coaster

I have felt like a jet pilot having to keep focus on the task at hand as missles are coming at me.  Steady.  I had to get some work that was on deadline as my sister Carole called, “Is it true?”  She said with pain in her voice.

“yes, it is”.  I had to hang up.

Word was leaked to the press that my husband’s famed restaurant is closing.  ( Just today a wonderful look at Campanile by Jonathan Gold and it’s impact was published in the LA Times)  It didn’t come out of the blue as he has been unable to secure a lease in years.

My stepson called from college that he heard about it from a text from a friend who had read about it.

Mark and his former wife Nancy Silverton started Campanile and La Brea Bakery more than 23 years ago.  They were a smash hit.  They had met at Spago and brought their collective talent to this project (after their divorce he bought her out and she went on to do other successful restaurants).   La Bakery was sold in 2001. They also must leave the space.

I feel like I have been on a roller coaster of feelings.  I’m trying to enjoy the place while it is here and express appreciation to the people who make it work.  But, one day soon when I drive by it’s shuttered doors it’s going to be like looking at a corpse.