Day 261

I do not usually write at the end of the day, but it has been a very busy and packed day. Last night I did not get to bed until 2:15am, after a long and great day. I did start the shake with a meal replacement shake and a cup of coffee, and then I headed out.

I started at my rabbi’s house, where his wife made me a plate of food (rabbi, wife, you get it, right?) that was tasty and healthy. It consisted mostly of eggs and avocado, and it was delicious. While it was my intention to be there for an hour or so, we ended up chatting until 1:30pm, at which point I drove to Beverly Hills.

The Grand Havana Room is an exclusive private club that has many members whose names you will know. I sat down with two very good friends, and before long there were nine of us around the table, many of whom I knew from previous visits to the club, plus a couple of new guys who were equally great to chat with. I ordered a scotch (which I later realized was a $40 dram), and later a café latté. When those friends left, I joined another friend’s table (which was planned weeks ago), and we sat around discussing and solving the ills of the world, all the while enjoying fine cigars, plus another cup of coffee.

It was 8:30pm by the time I walked out, and I realized I had not eaten since 10:00am. I was meeting other friends in Glendale, and I had the choice of an amazing khachapuri (an Armenian and Georgian delicacy that is essentially a personal pizza with lots of bread and cheese, plus an egg in the middle) … or I could go to Zankou, an Armenian rotisserie chicken restaurant that was always a favourite of mine. While I can get chicken anywhere, and khachapuri is hard to find in the parts of the world I usually frequent, I also knew that the chicken was a much more weight management friendly option (although still not perfect). I opted for the chicken.

After dinner I went to the cigar lounge where I used to hang out when I lived in Glendale, where a bunch of guys (all of whom I know pretty well) were playing poker. The plan was for me to wait there and smoke, waiting for my buddy (with whom I was staying) to finish playing. They wrapped at 12:15pm, and he and I headed back to his place. I knew I had an early morning, so I decided to pack my suitcase before going to sleep. All I had to do in the morning was wake up, shower, get dressed, put my sundries into the suitcase, and head out.

I indeed started early, arriving at the breakfast restaurant by 8:15am. I had an incredible avocado toast with an egg, plus a couple cups of coffee. I saw a friend for a bit, and then headed back to the rabbi’s house. Today is the day when the community is invited to finish building and decorating the succah (for the upcoming holiday Succoth). I knew they were expecting people to start coming in the afternoon, but I was meeting two friends – one for lunch at 11:45am, and then one for a cigar at 1:15pm), and I wanted to sit with him to talk one last time before I leave. Also, while I love his wife, I am glad she was not home, lest she feed me again!

While I did meet Orrin and his son for lunch, I did not eat, having finished my breakfast only a couple of hours earlier. We sat outside and I smoked a cigar while they ate (it is a cigar-friendly terrace). While I wanted to keep the chat going, I had to then drive to Woodland Hills, where I was meeting Bob.

The owner of the cigar lounge (do you see a pattern to this trip?) recognized me, and asked why I never showed up. You see, right before I left for Canada, I met him at the lounge where I was a member, and I promised to come by and see his new lounge. I had been there, but not since before he took it over. I promised I would, right after I got back from my ten-day trip. That ten-day trip turned into I never ended up coming back to California, and so he thought I left him hanging for sixteen months. We sat and discussed many things about the cigar industry. Yes, Bob came by for a while and we caught up, but what was supposed to be a 90-minute stay at the lounge ended up taking up my day… and evening.

As we were halfway through our third cigar, the owner invited me to join him and several of his members at one of their houses for a barbecue. I went, and it was a great evening. They barbecued carne asada (essentially steaks), and because most of them are Jewish, they invited me to say the prayers over the wine and challah. We sat for a couple of hours, then Johnny and I had to head out. He drove me back to the lounge (where I had my car), and we parted ways. I drove to my hotel, and am happy to be in my room. It was a long and wonderful day.

I had two meals today, both of which had more bread than I would normally eat, but were mostly good nonetheless. Aside from the challah, dinner was mostly protein and salad. I do not expect that I will pay too dearly for it.

Tomorrow, I am driving to Disneyland, where I will spend the day with my wife and her son. While I have very little interest in theme parks, it will be a great day… and at the end of the day, we are building a droid, which will be fun. Mostly I am looking forward to hugging my wife, which I have not been able to do since she drove me to the airport on Monday. I will try to eat well during the day, but I am scared of what options there will be at the Disneyland park. I am crossing my fingers.

Have a great day folks!

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