Back to our last post, the writer's strike was settled and our TV show was going back in production. Well, off to work; maybe the restaurant was only a fever dream of two guys fed up with their existence after 20 years on the set. Anyway, escrow was dead and the show was alive and that was that.
Film production is a funny business.
I'm not talking about lunch at the Ivy or first class flights to London to urge a writer to hurry up with the third act. The film production I'm referring to is the actual making of the product itself, a process that should probably join sausage and democracy on that short list of things better left unwatched. Unpacking a truck in Malibu at 5 A.M. trying not to spill a paper cup of coffee or roasting in the sun at Vasquez Rocks waiting for the guest star to get out of the make up chair. Is it everybody's idea of a good time? Decidedly not, but it is not without its charms. There are always a few interesting, witty souls on any set. There is an easy banter and if it's a good crew, a considerable amount of levity. The paychecks are good too, especially now and there's that awesome health insurance. What there is not is free time. Sixty-five hour work weeks are the rule and combined with an unpaid hour at lunch and the commute, it makes for precious little "me-time". From 5 A.M. Monday morning to 3 A.M. Friday night the production company owns you. No seeing the kids, no mid-week meals with the significant other, nada.
We were working on the Sarah Connor Chronicles, a Fox show based on the Terminator movies. Sadly it is no longer on the air, a victim, I'm afraid of [network] misperception and unfulfilled expectations. It had a smoking hot robot (played by the fabulous Summer Glau) who, if asked, could rip the beating heart out of your chest and show it to you without a pang of remorse. What more does the American viewing public want?
Eight days back into production and Charlie sidled up to me and whispered "I can't take this anymore, I'm going back with another offer on the Echo Park property."
He was right of course. That feeling of never having left even after a five month hiatus was eerie. Hooray, we were back in the restaurant business and I could strut around my jealous co-workers describing long mornings at the golf course and afternoons with a massage therapist. The only people who didn't fall for the utopian vision of my future were the two guys on the crew who had already owned restaurants. Hmmmm? Jealousy I presumed.
A few words about cocktails, breathlessly digressing from our thrilling narrative.
One of the real joys about running the Allston Yacht Club is that it comes equipped with a full liquor license. Charlie and I have always been men who enjoyed a convivial cocktail and now we are able to foist our enthusiasm on an unsuspecting world.
Lena Headey, who played Sarah Connor (these were her Chronicles after all) seemed genuinely excited for the new enterprise. Maybe she wanted me off the set, I'll never know because I heard she had been deported. Anyway, she was once describing her dream cocktail, one that some London Barman had attempted to make her. "It would have Pear and Cucumber and lot's of vodka of course. And something else ..." Her charming English accent drifted off into contemplative silence. I, of course, was up for the challenge and tonight you can walk into the Allston Yacht Club (1320 Echo Park Ave LA 90026 213.481.0454) and get yourself a "Lena's Holiday". It is our best selling drink.
Peel, seed and chop 1 hothouse cucumber. Put in a blender with a knob of peeled Ginger and 2 cans of Pear Nectar (like Kerns). Blend and strain. Makes enough for about a dozen drinks.
2 oz Vodka
1 oz St Germain (Elderfolower Liquer)
2 oz Pear/Cuke blend
Shake with Ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice.
In all honesty, creating that cocktail was as satisfying as any day on any film set ever. Pandora's box had opened and soon we were regaling each other with ginger infused gins and Thai sugar cane liquors shaped into strange and groundbreaking and occasionally even delicious cocktails. I assiduously stayed away from reading cocktail books preferring to use a "blank slate" approach. (Charlie, on the other hand, takes a different approach and thinks about the satisfactions of wine extended into the realm of spirits.) This has probably led to some of my concoctions being undrinkable and others long established favorite ('Eureka! Gin and dry Vermouth ... and an Olive). But it's a satisfying process and you can always find somebody willing to sample even the most unlikely combinations.
Look for more drink failures by Bill and Charlie soon!