Back in November, when I first started Cozy Caravan, I was sitting in my high school bed room, buried in a variety of fluffy blankets, and likely sipping some form of an almond milk hot beverage. I was still reeling from post-Portugal, post-Renn Faire, post-graduation emotions, and unsure of what my life would like in the next year. I've since gained at least some degree of perspective, and I am for the first time ever (don't judge, please!) paying my own rent. I have a place where I buy incense and a place where I do yoga and a 7-11 where I buy watermelon Slurpees.
New things! In the past few months of my life, the amount of newness has exploded on the canvas of my life like an air compressed confetti gun. There are new colors, new apartments, new friends, new love, new jobs, new disappointments, new stressors, new surprises, new cameras, new pizza places, new beaches, new Banh Mi, and NEW BLOGS.
My friend Brett is a fellow east-coast transplant and Renn-Faire veteran. Back in college, Brett and I would climb on furniture at improv parties. In Pennsylvania, Brett and I would climb on picnic tables and encourage kids our age to finish their pints (all while maintaining proper dialect, duh.) In Los Angeles, Brett and I sit on the patio of Vietnamese street food vendors, eating Banh Mi and drinking salted strawberry and and plum Vodka sodas.
There is certainly no shortage of Vietnamese street cuisine in LA. We went to East Borough, located just down the road from my apartment in the cozy Culver City, where they had all sorts of tiny taste treats at a super discounted Saturday Happy Hour price. One them being, Banh Mi. Banh Mi is a pork belly sandwich with flavors influenced from when the French colonized Indochina. In addition to bringing armies, the Frenchies brought baguettes! And thus the history of the Vietnamese sandwich was forever altered. Today Banh Mi typically comes with a lil bit a mayo (Frenchies), and pork belly, fish sauce, cilantro, and some form of pickled veggie (Vietnamese). It's good.
I was super spoiled, because the very next day, Mish and my dad flew in from the East! They had a few hours to kill before making their way down to San Diego, so we strolled through the streets of Abbott Kinney, perusing $120 panties (cute, but no), and finally parking our tired tushees on the wooden seats of Gjelina.
Even at 3pm on a Sunday there was an hour wait, and it was totally worth it, folks. As were the mass amounts of gluten consumed. Mish and I shared a bottle of champagne, and my dad happily made his way through an El Segundo brew. The garden was filled with a variety of other persons, including trendy Venice youths sporting fedoras and sweet lovers clutching hands. There were kisses, strokes, hand-holdings, and private glances that I completely invaded.
Gjelina deserves a special round of applause for their pizza. When it comes to bread, tomato, and cheese, simplicity says it best. A creamy burrata graces it's bread bed like a pillow, and a basil leaf is the stray t-shirt that a lover threw to the side in a heat of passion. The mushroom fontina was splendid as well, and delicately decorated with sprigs of thyme. Leftover crust was used to ice-dance across a pool of olive oil. Our server asked if we ready to clear the plates and we frantically shook our heads, protective over the last few nibblins.
The surrounding area is also quite the treat. Ivy climbs the red brick walls, and mason and wine jars decorate the ceiling. Before leaving or entering you can see that Gjelina has a neighbor, aptly named "Gjelina: Take Away." When you're in a more on-the-go spirit, you can grab a piece of pizza or salad or both, and either take it/them back to your Venice loft to consume with reruns of Seinfeld or dine there on the street. There were some people doing this as well. I took pictures of them. Maybe illegally.
To sum up: where there are new things there are new pizza places. New pizza places need new documentation, and thus Cozy Caravan (PART TWO! ASHdsjfsdjlHHUUHHS!!!!!) is born! It's coming into the world wearing little peach booties, and only slightly more equipped for the real world than it's predecessor.
Change is good. Change tastes good.