Tuesday, June 10, 2003


There was once a day and place when Hollywood was littered with bars with no signs, where the actual name of the bar was nowhere to be found except on the lips of the regulars (and, okay, maybe on the cocktail napkins). That day and place was, ah, probably 1995 or 1996.

Went for birthday drinks for a good pal to Vine, a bar on Vine Street, across the street from Office Depot, two blocks north of Santa Monica Blvd, and, thus, two blocks north of Three of Clubs, underneath its eternal Bargain Clown Mart signage. Vine is green -- kind of a lime green -- on the outside, with the address on the front. Inside, the decor is quite nice -- industrial, loft-style, with high ceilings (tall guys like yours truly like that), a long bar, and banquettes lining one wall. No art. Minimal stripped down lights. The music was a little odd -- I remember a reggae treatment of Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You" -- but overall, I liked the vibe.

What I didn't like was that when I ordered a cider -- a cider! well, I had just eaten a big meal, I didn't want something heavy, and, aww forget it -- it cost 7 bucks. That's just plain wrong.

Continuing our mini-trend of LA breakfast eateries, I had brunch yesterday at Hugo's on SM blvd with a former co-worker. Or, as it's often affectionately known, the Gay Denny's. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) Hugo's deserves merit as being one of the few other breakfast places offering up pumpkin pancakes. (Kokomo in the Farmer's Market and Babulu on Montana being the two other options for this breakfast treat.) I didn't get the pumpkin pancakes, though, opting instead for an eggs scramble with sausage and bacon and scallions. (They're also big on eggs scrambled with pasta, a popular choice despite the Atkins moment in which we continue to find ourselves.) It was tasty, though for the price -- $9.50 or so, and, whoa, $2.25 for iced tea -- it reflected the high cost of living in Boys Town -- Doughboys, for example, is much cheaper, with bigger portions. (Though a much bigger wait, too.)