Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cool Hand Luke

LA is known for it’s consistently beautiful 72-degrees-and-sunny weather, but lately that seems not to be the case.  Over the past few years, it feels like perpetual summer. Either I’m siding with the scientists acknowledging that global warming is indeed an issue we must tackle, or I’m blaming my offspring for causing my internal body temperature to never dip below 1000 degrees. Whatever the cause, given the outdoor LA temps in the excess of 90 in December, May thermometers soaring to the double digits, and this week’s triple digit heat wave, I’m concerned I may spontaneously combust. 

While I absolutely love our house and life and am thankful every day for the blessings we have, when the Devil decides to turn up the world’s thermostat, I become a raving b*tc# and the only thing to cool my internal fire is a good soak in a body of water. We’ve already been to the beach seven times this season alone. Aside from my days training for the Malibu triathlon, that number exceeds the total number I’ve been to the beach in my ten years here. Today, thanks to the generosity of friends and their parents, C and I were able to spend 90% of the day submerged in an infinity pool. For those of you who, like us, don’t yet have their own icy cool blue expanse in which to dip your toes, below are some of the ways we’ve best found to beat the heat.

Go to a butcher shop and stand in the meat locker. I jest of course, but I honestly did ponder suggesting this and ending the post, it’s THAT hot.  

I’m not exactly sure when this opened, (I could look it up but it’s late and I’m tired) but this wonderland of a public beach house feels like my own personal Beverly Hills Beach Club. If you avoid going on the weekends and go instead on the dollar splash Mondays where you pay, you guessed it, just a mere dollar, you can wander up to the ticket window anytime after they open and buy yourself a poolside setup. $10 for adults, $4 for children and you have access to a beautiful pool, a chaise lounge, umbrella and a decent bathroom/changing area. There’s also a rec room filled with games (and air conditioning), a splash pad, a restaurant and oh yeah, the BEACH. I suggest splurging for the all day parking pass because despite the fact that you think your toddler will get cranky and want to leave, he won’t and you’ll all be having a grand old time until they’re ready to close the place down. Plus, staying late is the best way to avoid the traffic if you live anywhere East of Santa Monica. 

If you go on the weekend, get there early or honestly, don’t bother. You’ll end up walking so far from the parking and will likely spend half the day interpreting the signs: did you read them properly? Can you park here? Will your car be towed? But mid week, this place feels like a college town during spring break. Peaceful, quiet, perfect. Head down towards The Sunset Restaurant. Pay the kind parking folk $8 or so and continue on your merry way until you can’t drive any further. Park, set, up a beach blanket and an umbrella and let the sound of the waves and the sights of the sparkling blue water and the bluffs remind you of why you moved out here in the first place. If you’re super organized about it and want to bring an amazing picnic, stop by the Malibu Kitchen in the Lumberyard and pick up a delicious feast. It’s quite possible that once you unpack everything, you might want to start paying taxes on your set up as you’ll never want to leave.

Secret Beach
I debated putting this spot on the list as for the past 10 years I’ve felt like it was my personal secret. This was the beach I visited on my first trip to LA, and once we parked on the side of the road (next to Geoffrey’s), climbed the few stairs to the gate that looks like it’s locked (it’s not) and made our way down the tree canopied path, the view we were met with was THE reason I moved out here. Calm, serene, surreal. While it’s definitely NOT the place to lug your toddler and all your gear due to all the stairs, it IS a great place for a romantic rendezvous with your sweetie. Coincidentally, it’s also the site where I met the Haasbund. Needless to say, I heart this place.

Everyone and their cousin knows about this place so it’s no great revelation, but it is a great spot to spend a hassle free day at the beach. We’ve spent the past two birthday’s celebrating C at this particular shoreline and we plan on going again to mark his 3rd trip around the sun (which happens to be tomorrow). I promise more details on his party in a separate post but seeing as I’m technologically challenged, I still haven’t been able to download the pictures. I’ll get around to it. (Hopefully before his 4th birthday).

For those of you not up for a drive to Malibu and more interested in staying cool locally, I suggest crashing a hotel pool befriending a hotel concierge and asking to use their pool. If all else fails, bite the bullet and pay the day fee at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. The hotel recently underwent a renovation and is a low-key spot to hang poolside.

Barring these suggestions, the best I can offer is cozying up to a neighbor with a pool, especially if you arrive with a pint (or four) of your own specialty ice cream. You can wow the crowd with this recipe I tested out last week. If that doesn’t score you an invite, then you need to find some new friends, but in the meantime scoop some into a cone and enjoy it old school style on the front stoop. It may not involve a swim suit, but it is a bona fide good. old-fashioned way to keep cool.

Olive Oil Ice Cream 
(adapted from Bon Apetit)
1 ¾ cups whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel
½ cup raw cane sugar, plus 2 tsps
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (I’d opt for a fruity one, if you don’t have that on hand, zest either an orange or a lemon and add to the mix)

Bring milk, cream, salt and sugar to simmer in medium saucepan, stirring to ensure sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. 
In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and 2 tsps sugar until pale. Gradually whisk a bit of the warm liquid mixture into the yolks and then whisk the yolk mixture back into the remaining mixture in the saucepan. 
Cook over medium heat and stir continuously until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If you have a sieve, strain the mixture over a bowl set in an ice bath. Whisk in the oil and let cool, stirring every so often. 
Once cooled, process according to ice cream maker instructions.

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