Posted by Elliot Steingart
Vacationing with a girlfriend for the first time is a chance to earn her affection while becoming best friends with bellboys, bartenders and waitresses.
Mammoth, a ski and summer destination located in the Eastern Sierras 8,000 feet above sea level, is the kind of place that leaves an indelible impression on any first time visitor like my girlfriend. The mountains are spectacular, the lakes, pristine, but what would Mammoth be without the seasonal staff members whose respect would mean everything to me.
When we arrived at the front desk of the Village at Mammoth we were greeted by Michael, a calm, but eager fellow. Michael and I took turns saying each other’s names.
“Hi, Mr. Steingart.”
“Hi, Michael,” I said.
“We have you staying with us for three nights. Is that right Mr. Steingart?”
“Yes, Michael. That’s right.”
“Would you like two room keys, Mr. Steingart?”
“That’s perfect, Michael. Thank you.”
Michael handed me the room keys and provided thorough directions to the parking lot.
We threw our luggage in our room. My girlfriend complained her head hurt, and pointed to the fire alarm which was beeping.
“Will you call Michael?” she asked.
It was okay for me to call since Michael gave me his number. I remembered it because it was zero.
“Hey, Michael. It’s Elliot. We have a slight issue on our hands. The fire alarm is beeping.”
“I’ll send someone up right away,” Michael exclaimed.
“He’s a great bell boy,” I told my girlfriend.
“He’s not a bell boy. He’s called a concierge,” she corrected me.
“We’ll agree to disagree.”
We ate hamburgers at a restaurant called “Burgers” across from our quarters. After which we visited the corner pub in the basement of a lodge. I recognized the bartender from the last time I was in Mammoth three or four years ago. He was wearing the same Hurley fitted cap, same short sleeve button down shirt too. Chris, the locals called him.
“Hey, Chris.” My girlfriend called to him. “I’‘ll have a Blue Moon, please.”
I noticed a $3 special for New Belgium’s Winter Ale. “I’ll have one of those.”
For $3 I don’t care what season it is. I did, however, notice the fine selections of whiskeys and bourbons when I spotted the one and only, Dickels!
“Ever have Dickels?” I asked the guy to my right.
“No. How is it?” he asked.
Chris chimed in. “I have a group of guys who come in after they hit the mountain and ask for George Dickel.If you like Jack Daniels. You’ll like Dickels.””
“I know Dickel’s well,” I assured Chris.
I begged my girlfriend for her gold coins and selected the evening’s music on the juke box. The Smiths and Talking Heads guided us through the next few beers which because of the altitude rendered us drunk. At 11pm Chris rang the bell.
“Last call! Last Call!”
My girlfriend could not argue that Chris was now the bell boy. I might have blurted out “Really??” when I heard “Last call” at 11pm, but Chris did not seem like the kind of guy that would take lightly to city folk questioning his grasp of Pacific Standard Time.
We awoke wanting to visit one of the lakes nearby. Of course, who better to suggest a lake than Michael?
“Which lakes would you recommend?” I asked Michael who then handed us a map and began highlighting the different lakes.
“I suggest you visit Twin Lakes.”
Michael described how to get there and I assumed that my girlfriend was listening because I was not.
“Do you have any fine dining recommendations?” I pondered.
I wasn’t sure who I was trying to impress more—-my girlfriend, or Michael.
We drove around the different lakes, jacuzzi’d and enjoyed happy hour in the village. Our last night was poised to be special as we drove forty-five minutes up the 395 to the Inn at Mono Lake, a quaint restaurant right off a stretch of highway with stunning views of Mono Lake.
“We are a bit early,” I informed the hostess. “But we do have a reservation.”
The hostess guided us to a two top nearest the window with premium views of the lake.
The hostess returned. “I’m Chelsea. I’ll be serving you tonight.”
She was still Chelsea. That hadn’t changed, but her job description had.
My girlfriend ordered a pinot noir. “I’ll have the Cote du Rone.”
“Which one is that?” Chelsea asked. “Sorry, I should know all the wines.”
My girlfriend kindly pointed to my wine of choice. We ordered bruschetta to start and a 12 ounce New York Strip and a pork chop for our entrees.
“The pork chop will take 25 minutes to prepare. I thought you should know that,” Chelsea mentioned.
“Perfect,” I responded.
Chelsea returned to refill our bread. As she motioned for the bread basket, my girlfriend was reaching for the basket herself. At once, Chelsea’s arm got stuck under my girlfriend’s arm. My lovely girlfriend had put our waitress in a Chinese arm lock.
“I’m so sorry!” Chelsea apologized.
“She’s aggressive towards waitresses. You better watch out!”
When our entrees arrived we admired the lake while enjoying the richness of the meat. We recalled Michael’s recommendations and Chris’s affinity for Dickel’s.
“Do you think Chelseas knows Michael and Chris?” she asked me.
It was the million dollar question, but the billion dollar question was to come. We would leave the next morning and wanted to make scrambled eggs. We had a problem. There was no butter in the condo.
When Chelsea came back, I closed my eyes, pretended she was Michael and mustered the courage by asking, “Do you have any butter?”
My girlfriend entered the conversation. “Sorry, we are trying to make eggs and don’t have butter.”
“We have a whole stick of butter but I might have to charge you for it. I’ll see what I can do.”
I left for the bathroom and when I came back my girlfriend said an elderly woman notified the bartender that Chelsea didn’t know what she was doing. I found that hard to believe because when she came back with a to go box I peeked inside and found a half a stick of butter.
I added the amount on the tip and below where I signed my name I wrote a little note that said, “Thanks for the butter.”
The memories of Mammoth will remain, and the friendships with those who took my money will forever be in our hearts.
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June 20, 2012 | 11:13 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
“Dating Elliot Steingart”
I’m tired of writing about myself, so I asked my girlfriend to write about me.
“I have been dating Elliot Steingart for close to three months now. I like how he sends me special sneak previews of his blog. Even when I need to get to sleep Tuesday nights, since I like his blog the best, I will stay up late to read the brand new “Some Reservations.” Of course, when my Dad reads his blog it can get awkward when Elliot talks about sex with his lady friend…
I like spending time in his sleek and modern studio apartment. Elliot constantly asks what I think of his apartment and I give him approval by saying, “Your kitchen table is great.” We have to sit in different parts of the apartment to get a different view. It’s hard because in the studio there is not much undiscovered territory. Every time Elliot finds a new spot he gets excited. “I like this spot, great view of the apartment. New vantage point. What do think? Do you like my place?”
I appreciate how he always does his “chores.” To Elliot chores include folding a blanket to put away in his closet and wiping the kitchen floor with a paper towel then asking me “What’s the best way to get clean the bathtub?” I usually end up washing the dishes and am still trying to introduce him to a Swiffer. He says he has one but the floor is still being cleaned with paper towels. He’s currently out of paper towels, and the floor is not clean.
Elliot is very helpful when it comes to finding my favorite television programs. Each night, like clockwork, I ask “Is there any crime on television?” and he never lets me down. “NBC should have some good crime. Or should we watch 48 hours?” He says, as he flips deftly through the cable guide. I know I can count on a man that can find me some good crime.
I can always rely on Elliot to motivate me when we run. Not only is he a top-notch personal trainer, lightly tapping my ass every block to keep me going through the torturous hills of Los Feliz, but he often saves my life, as I like to step out in front of moving vehicles. I can’t tell you how many times he has yanked me back from certain death as an SUV whizzes by.
I’ve never dated anyone like Elliot who does imitations in the nude. Whether it’s weighing in for Weight Watchers, pretending to talk to his coworkers or doing an impression of a celebrity, I am always surprised when he does so without wearing pants. It keeps me on my toes. One of his best impressions is Arsenio Hall. Elliot loves Arsenio and he often hoots and pumps his fist like Arsenio did the time he won Celebrity Apprentice. It’s endearing, except after sex.
Elliot isn’t perfect and he tends to lose his temper when I do things like spill red wine on his jeans. In my defense, we were in a cemetery watching Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Kruger was creeping towards us. He often is too honest telling me things like “your skirt looks it came from an old ladies closet” or “that belt is weird.” He wants me to know what is on his mind. Most often it’s not what a lady wants to hear.
Yes, we have our religious differences like Elliot calling Jesus names like Jesus Christopher. But in the end this Episcopalian really likes dating a Jew and I think we get along very well, but I don’t believe him when he tells me that Billy Crystal was mentioned in the story of Leviticus.
In conclusion, dating Elliot Steingart is just swell.”
Hopefully, she’ll write my next blog: “Elliot Steingart, World’s Best Lover.”
June 13, 2012 | 11:46 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Aviv, one of my best friends, must decide this summer if he and his girlfriend, Moria will stay in Tel-Aviv where he’s lived the last two years or move to the U.S.
Aviv planned an entire trip to show Moria around America. Their stop in LA was my chance to not only show them a great time, but convince them to stay for good.
Vivo’s one of the nicest and most loyal friends I have. I knew he was a good friend when freshman year at UC Santa Cruz he gave me a ride to the airport. I knew he was a best friend when he picked me up from the airport. Plus he loved hockey and laughed at what I found funny. Only Vivo and I would obsess over our neighbor Anna Peters simply because her last name was Peters.
If I could convince my work partners to offer discount tickets on my company’s website and persuade my girlfriend to give me all her quarters so I could do laundry, I surely could convince both Aviv and Moria to quit their jobs and move across the globe to Los Feliz.
It would take a two pronged approach where I would first win over Aviv and then slowly coerce Moria. I wouldn’t meet Moria until Saturday night so Vivo, our buddy Todd, and I could all have a night in Los Feliz. Friday would be an easy going night where we could reconnect and hit a few of the local spots on Vermont. Aviv crashed on my two person love seat, the perfect sized couch for a small point guard.
I awoke early Saturday morning feeling motivated to step up my game. I turned on the Xbox to play NHL 09, a favorite video game of ours.
“Want some action?” I asked.
“Sure, whatever you want,” responded Vivo.
“Best of 3. Loser buys breakfast.”
The first two games of the “Breakfast Classic” were tied at the end of regulation. I won the first in overtime. He won the second. Game three would decide who would buy the breakfast burritos. Mike Richards on a great feed from Jeff Carter put it stickside past Marty Brodeur to end it once and for all! I enjoyed my breakfast more than usual and took Vivo to my favorite store, “Bling Circus,” where we tried on vintage baseball hats for a half an hour. We complimented each other’s taste in fashion like teenage girls at an H & M.
Because Vivo had not spent much time in Los Feliz, I took him to the driving range where after shanking most of our drives to the bordering neighborhood of Silverlake, we agreed to a putt putt challenge, the inagural “Griffith Open.” Each hole was worth a $1 in the first round. During the second round we would average the best overall score with the winner receiving a free lunch. Another close contest would end on the 10th and final hole, a self-made par 3. Aviv overshot his initial putt. I undershot. His next putt was towards Silverlake. Mine found the hole. Lunch was better than usual as we enjoyed a 20 ounce schooner of Newcastle and an order of chicken wings.
I felt like I was doing my best to convince him to move back aside from taking all of his money. We drove back from the course listening to KDAY’s back in the mix weekend while wearing our new LA Raiders and Golden State Warriors snapbacks. It felt like we were best friends from 1993.
“You have to wear your snapback tonight,” I told Vivo.
My girlfriend came by with a whole picnic ready for “Nightmare on Elm Street” at Hollywood Forever, a quintessential Los Angeles summer experience.
This was my time to make a favorable impression on Moria whom I embraced with a warm hug.
“What do you think of Aviv’s new hat?” I asked her.
“It’s ugly,” she said.
“I think it’s pretty cool.”
In the cab I needed to get to work. “So, what do you think of LA so far?”
“It’s nice. It’s not what I expected,” Moria said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“The houses aren’t that big.”
“Aviv said you were staying in a mansion in Beverly Hills?”
“Yes, it’s nice. I just thought it would be bigger.”
Due to the massive crowd at the cemetery we placed our blanket on the cement where Vivo and I put our arms around our girlfriends, enjoying white wine, green olives, and buffalo mozzarella. Moria settled back into Vivo’s lap falling asleep as Freddie first appeared on the big screen. Though spooky, I empathized with Freddie since we both have very long nails.
After the film, Moria and Aviv came back with my girlfriend and me. We sat around my kitchen table and talked like grownups. Moria told us how family is important to her and talked about her father and how she liked Los Angeles more than San Francisco.
“I want to live in a big house,” she said.
“There are lots of big houses in LA,” my girlfriend added. “Some of the houses in Bel Air go on for miles.”
“I want to have a big family,” she replied.
“How many kids?”
I found out the same time as Vivo that he’s going to be having four kids. The Brady Bunch seemed to like LA. Why couldn’t the Levys?
Before their flight Vivo drove back over to Los Feliz with Moria to say goodbye. We met at Coffee Bean and drove up the Griffith Observatory, my last ditch effort to show Moria the best views of the city of Los Angeles. “This can be yours,” I said. “You can be a star.”
“I don’t want to be a star,” she said laughing.
Does anyone know a real estate agent? We need to find them a big house quickly.
June 6, 2012 | 11:11 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Since renegotiating my premium cable package my life has improved exponentially. I have a girlfriend and a wide selection of PG-13 movies. It’s satisfying to know that my needs are met almost automatically.
I know that life’s pleasures don’t always come on demand.I try to make the best of the situation or else fake it the best I can.
For many reasons, I thank my girlfriend for having her period this week. For one, her menstruation has become a source of inspiration for this blog. Periods test a three month relationship. What was once a quick fix for us is now a shared sacrifice. I’m part of the period cheering her on as she conquers the latter days of her menstrual cycle. Periods are like a 5k for vaginas and I’m there at the end to give her a big hug, and pat on the back. If she’s up for it, I’ll take her out for fro-yo.
You have to make the period fun, and lighthearted. Thanks to Showtime On Demand, she and I watched “The Beaver.” Mel Gibson played a very convincing manic depressive psychopath. The movie wasn’t the most uplifting period piece, so the onus fell on me to come up with some better activities.
Running low on ideas, the two of us visited Albertsons twice in the last two days. Secretly Albertsons is a perfect place to spend time with your girlfriend. It holds a special place in our hearts.
On one of our first dates I told her to meet me at Albertsons where we could buy a bottle of wine before figure out our next move. First she had to find me without using a cell phone. A certain amount of risk was involved. I didn’t want to be caught redhanded holding a hard salami stick. I swiftly wheeled past the seafood and took a hard left at the deli. I ordered the $4.99 deal which is two chicken breasts and two salads, and then I asked for half a pound of turkey breast. I was asked “what’s next?”
“I’m going to check out someof the aisles,” I said. “Maybe buy some pineapple juice.”
She caught me deliberating between Dole drink and Minute Maid. Three months later we are buying couscous together. I am staring at the beer specials when I hear, “Come on. You’re not buying any of that stuff.”
Thankfully I’m reminded that we are cutting down on weeknight drinking. I’m also working on avoiding lottery scratchers, my greatest vice. When I thought I was making progress, Albertsons introduced their Sizzlin’ Summer Sweepstakes. With each purchase you have three chances to win a new gas grill or up to $500 cash. I have a burgeoning Sizzlin Sweepstakes collection. So far all I’ve won is 50 cents off Keebler Club Crackers.
To improve our chances we have agreed to go splitsville on our collections. We are trying to combine all of our pieces and match them to see if we have some winners. It’s a temporary solution to my bad lottery habit.
After work we’ve started running and hiking past white people walking their dogs through the residential part of Los Feliz. More fresh ideas will come soon, I hope.
Sometimes devising plans for you and your girlfriend gets tricky, just like writing a new blog every week. The beauty of having editorial control is I can write about my girlfriend’s period and praise Mel Gibson on the Jewish Journal’s website. The best part about having a girlfriend you really like is it doesn’t matter so much if she is on her period. It all works out in the end. At least it did this month.