The Grind

Grind Burger Bar, Palm Springs. September 2013

The stairs lead up to the Grind Burger Bar on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Jake had moved there at the beginning of the month and we would make the 2 hour drive out to visit him every week or so. Our visits included the obligatory dinner with full restaurant critique. Dining with the three of us was always an adventure, and woe betide to the chef who didn’t get our order exactly right. Burger medium instead of medium rare? Send it back. Fries lukewarm? Send them back. Pasta overcooked? Send it back. Why bother eating if the food isn’t what you want. Especially if you are paying for it. Jake was a professional chef and for a while worked in some of the very best restaurants in Venice. T and I both cook and we expect our restaurant experience to be at least as good or better than what we cook at home. It rarely is.

Our first foray to the Grind was okay. The burgers were pretty good, juicy, flavorful, and the garlic fries were delightful. Our second try wasn’t as successful. T’s burger was overcooked, the fries were cold; I can still hear Jake saying, “Send it back, Mom.” I hear him in my head any time we dine out and the food isn’t what we ordered or cooked properly. “Send it back, Dad.”  We had to send her burger back twice. If a restaurant that specializes in burgers can’t cook a flipping’ burger properly, they shouldn’t be in business. They’re goddamn professionals, supposedly. In fact that last time, we actually had the chef come out and promise to personally cook our food. It turned out okay, it was more like we were just tired of pointing out the failings. Needless to say, we never went back.


Houston’s, Pasadena

Houston’s Restaurant, Pasadena. July 2013

For a brief while, Jake was staying in Pasadena where we would visit him from time to time. Things weren’t going particularly smoothly for any of us at that point, and after one stressful visit, we stopped at Houston’s on our way home for martinis and dinner. They make an excellent martini, and their steaks and burgers are delicious. I have co-opted one of their signature appetizers, the grilled artichokes, and make it frequently at home. Steamed, cut in half, basted with olive oil and fresh garlic, and grilled over mesquite charcoal for a few minutes. This was my first night-time, outdoor photo, and the walkway seemed to beckon to us and welcome us in. That’s the front door on the left with the glowing square of light. I guess we really needed those martinis. After cocktails, artichokes and dinner, we felt much better and made the trip home without event.