Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Coolest Kids

Without question, my friends are cooler than me.  I discover so much through them.  They expand the world of this little suburban Persian-Jew-girl in ways I could never imagine.  For the most part, I've only seen the coasts of our great nation, and I tend to follow the vacation mantra of "beachy and Spanish-speaking".  But, this year alone I will be going to a tiny mining town in Arizona called Bisbee for the wedding of two friends, and have even agreed to brave the snows of Missoula, Montana later this month.  Who am I?

And just this past weekend, my friend Kit introduced me to a truly amazing place, and totally off the beaten Tannaz path.  For her birthday, this extremely cool kid managed to round up 50 of her closest friends to trek out to a honky-tonk bar in the desert called Pappy and Harriet's, and I was one of them.  Five miles up a windy road from Yucca Valley lies Pioneertown, a 2-block stretch built as a movie set for westerns in the 1940s.  As amazing and kitschy and perfect as you'd imagine, it's the home of Pappy And Harriet's Pioneertown Palace.

I loved having a night like I'd never have in Los Angeles:  cowboy boots and twangy acoustic guitar jams are usually not my scene. But when a place has a vibe as warm as Pappy's, you don't mind the fact that it's the only bar for miles.  Barhopping isn't an option, but it's fun to be committed for the long haul to one bar and everyone in it.  And when the night's headliners, an Austin country rock band called Deadman, covered The Band's "The Weight", this city girl was dancing along with all the cowboy hats.

But you want to know about the food.  Well, it was pretty good.  Steaks and ribs were grilled on a outdoor mesquite fire, but they weren't amazing.  Tacos and quesadillas were great, made even better with homemade salsa.  But the chili -- chunky, smokey, and assertively spiced -- was the real prize. (Especially over nachos.  That's right.  Chili nachos.)
The homemade pecan pie was insanely good, and potent cocktails came poured in jam jars.  I enjoyed my margarita (well, all three) immensely.

Next morning, my friends continued exposing me to new worlds.  I'm not a hiker, but Joshua Tree is amazing.  Crazy Flinstones geology, furry Dr. Seuss trees, and badass climbers showing us up as they scaled the faces of terrifyingly large (and flat!) rocks.  I'm working on this coolness thing, but I'll never be as cool as that.


  1. did you know that the lyrics to that song are "take a load off, fanny" not "take a load off, annie"? i did not know that until recently. and really, who is named "fanny" anyway?