Saturday, June 23, 2007

Let's eat: The Colony Cafe

The Westside-Pavilion adjacent Colony Cafe is, as famously described in the Los Angeles Times magazine before its demise, a project that Lily Tartikoff conjured up for her daughter Calla. My take: Colony Cafe isn't a vanity project: It's all about the food.
Colony Cafe features sandwiches, burgers, and dogs; its other side, Papa's Porch, features sweets, including a pomegranate limeade that is tart and delicious (I could easily alternate between this and Clementine's ginger limeade like, forever). S and I met there on a recent Saturday; at 12:30, the mostly outdoor tables were not crowded, and we lazed on the front porch, oblivious to the noise of Pico just a few steps away, over our lunch.
S went for the vegetable sandwich: veggies, hummus, and sprouts on whole-grain bread, wholesome and delicious. At the other end of the spectrum, I had a chili dog; the Nathan's dog had bite, the chili was mild but not wimpy, and the matchstick fries I had alongside were difficult to stop eating. They come in a garlic version, too, pictured above -- but that's where I wimped out. There was Nordstrom to conquer across the street, preferably without fire breath.
The Colony Cafe is at 10937 West Pico, near Kelton, across the street and a little west of the Westside Pavilion, and is open daily 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. I will certainly be back; nice to have another choice in that nabe for the weekends when the Apple Pan crowd gets aggressive.
photo from supermod via Flickr.

Eagle vs. Shark: Crazy, in love

In Taika Waititi's brilliantly, hysterically funny Eagle vs. Shark, Lily (Loren Horsley) and Jarrod (Flight of the Conchord's Jemaine Clement) meet cute: She crashes his animal costume party, her older brother in tow. Oh, and she's dressed as a shark; the host, her longtime crush, is dressed as an eagle. When her shark (who uses a great nom de game) beats almost all comers at Fight Man, Jarrod falls in like. Well, sort of.

This is a cockeyed romantic comedy about two oddballs who would seem like total losers if the rest of the New Zealand that Waititi shows us wasn't so weird all around them. Like characters in a song by They Might Be Giants come to life, Eagle vs. Shark and its characters have nuance and rhythm, and a completely nutty logic. All of the homes we enter have images of animals on their walls: Jarrod has a cougar head above his bed, and at his father's house, there's a German Shepherd on the wall like a family portrait (let's not even mention the card-playing dog tapestry). The animals aren't just there for entertainment purposes: Everyone in this film envies their power.

The characters all want to be more than they are; they want to step forward, but they can't. Jarrod takes an ill-advised step but can't back up; he's too committed to the wrong story. Lily can't speak up for herself for the longest time, until Jarrod challenges her with his illogical behavior. Then she is not only able to act, but also gives Jarrod the empathy he doesn't get from his loopy family.

"I'm a loser," he says to her.
"Doesn't matter," she replies.

Eagle vs. Shark makes that one of the most satisfying romantic exchanges all year.

Both Clement and, especially Horsley -- who displays a range of emotions while distractedly chewing her lower lip -- shine in their roles. The supporting cast is fine, too, from Cohen Holloway's porn-obsessed hacker, whose computer appears to be an old 286, to Rachel House's seen-it-all, tracksuit-dealing older sister. The music, largely by The Phoenix Foundation, moves things along nicely.

And, even if the quirky couple's bizarre charms begin to wear on you, Waititi has kept his film admirably compact: it's just under 90 minutes long.