When Richard Johnson departed his post as editor of celebrity gossip giant “Page Six” after 25 years in order to spearhead The Daily’s “Flash,” he also left behind his native New York and made a move to Los Angeles. So far, he says we’re treating him well out west, though he still longs for delicatessens like the ones back home. “I’ve gone a couple of times to Nate ‘n Al to get a pastrami sandwich,” Johnson tells us. “I used to live around the corner from Katz’s and I love pastrami. It’s not even close.” He is, however, feeling L.A.s mobile munchies and doesn’t feel too nostalgic for Manhattan street meat. “Some of these food trucks are phenomenal,” he says, “They’ve got a Vietnamese one that comes by with bánh mí that’s insanely good. They seem to be better than the carts in New York where all we get is Halal food, which I sometimes like to eat, but I don’t like to smell it every time I’m walking up Sixth Avenue.” To see what other dietary adjustments he’s made, check out this week’s edition of the L.A. Diet.
Wednesday, May 11
I had a couple of fried eggs that I made at home. Butter, salt, pepper, and that’s just about it. I have one of those Italian espresso pots where you put the water in the bottom and it’s forced up through the coffee grounds into the top. They call it a “nine cup pot”; I guess it’s like nine ounces. So it makes two nice-sized cups of coffee, and I generally drink the whole pot. I’ve got another coffee machine that makes steamed milk, so I basically make myself a latte and I have to say, depending on the quality of the beans, it’s the best you can get.
I didn’t get out that much this week, so I was eating at the cafeteria here a lot. I had a bowl of chili and a glass of water for lunch. For dinner, my wife made fried chicken and a salad. She cooks more than she used to in New York. It’s hard to order-in here. We tried a couple of times, and it would take like an hour and a half. And we had a bottle of red wine. That’s one of the great things about being out here; these California Cabernets are fantastic.
Thursday, May 12
I had a bowl of Cheerios mixed with Raisin Bran at the cafeteria. It has cereal and I’ve found the sum is greater than the parts, that they’re better together than they are alone.
For lunch, they had an andouille sausage, which was pretty good, better than the chili.
For dinner, we went to a dinner party at a friend’s house where I helped barbecue some rib-eye steaks. And there was corn pudding and Parmesan cheese, and before that, there was some sausage made from wild boar. It was quite a feast. The steak was great. There’s nothing like a good steak that’s prepared well.
Friday, May 13
I skipped breakfast because I was running late. But for lunch, I had a bowl of Italian wedding soup and garlic bread from the cafeteria. It was stolidly mediocre. There are restaurants close to here, by L.A. standards, you only have to drive for like five minutes to get to Spago or Mr. Chow. I like going to Mr. Chow, because it’s fairly reasonable and I like the food there. I especially like the drunken fish.
We had Thai food for dinner down by the Third Street Promenade at a place called T’s Thai. I had panang chili and a grilled-shrimp salad, and we shared steamed dumplings. I like spicy foods and I like Thai, and this was pretty good.
Saturday, May 14
I had eggs again that I made at home, only this time I put them on an English muffin.
In the early afternoon, we went to a school picnic and had pasta salad and fried chicken. It was a potluck and somebody brought a strawberry shortcake that was really good.
For dinner, we had poached salmon in a cream sauce with spinach fettuccine that Sessa made. We had that with a bottle of red.
Sunday, May 15
I went for a long bike ride, and then I met up with some people on the beach. They had just gone to a place called Bay Cities for sandwiches, which is supposed to be very famous. And they’ve got some method where they order in advance so they don’t have to wait on line. And they got me something called the Godmother, which is an Italian hero and it was very good. Evidently, they bake their own bread at Bay Cities, so that’s the key to a good hero: the bread.
We were picnicking there at the Anneberg Community Beach Center, which is a great spot. I guess Marion Davies, William Randolf Hearst’s mistress, lived there for years and then it eventually became a public facility. Unfortunately, it was really windy that day.
That night all we had for dinner was just popcorn and miso soup. Sessa was making miso soup at home. I’m not so sure how much from scratch it was, but she cuts up the scallion and gets the miso paste from somewhere. The popcorn I had before. I just had a craving.
Monday, May 16
I started off with a chocolate-glazed doughnut at the car dealership where I had to take my car for maintenance. I had the coffee there, too. It wasn’t so bad; it was one of those machines where you hit the button and out it comes. It was perfectly drinkable, though.
I had a very boring chicken noodle soup and salad for lunch at the cafeteria. I’m sorry I didn’t go out more this week.
For dinner that night, we had trout, brown rice, and asparagus that Sessa made. Pretty healthy. With a bottle of red.