I Can't Believe They Forgot the Caramel.
[I did it again! I forgot to take pictures. So, these are from Yelp.]
A dense fog filled the air, growing in intensity, as it continued to pump into the room from behind the DJ booth. Sounds of early nineties Nine Inch Nails thumped and buzzed its way into every corner of the ultra exclusive basement gathering. In my hand, a milky black mix of mysterious alcohols and orange juice systematically caressed my lips again and again… and again. Looking around, I could make out the shapes of friends to varying degrees of success. Their gyrating movements chasing the beat—all as the clock melted past midnight and into the early morning.
When the time came to ascend the stairs back to reality, I couldn’t help but feel a little lost as the door gave way to glistening streetlights and the brisk LA breeze. A typical Tuesday had once again come and gone. But, where did it leave me? If memory serves me right, it dropped me smack dab in the middle of Hollywood at 2am. How on earth could I hope to sleep after such an experience, though? Thoughts of nostalgia were swirling around my head and my heart was beating just a little harder than normal. Clearly, there was only one option—food.
Taking quick stock of my location, I knew almost immediately where my feet were to take my next. So, I ventured my way up Cahuenga Blvd., past the likes of Umami Burger and Smoke’s Poutinerie (we’ll save those for another adventure) and into the 24-hour haven that is Kitchen24.
As soon as I walked in, the early morning vibe washed across every inch of me. You know the kind; the one that smells a little like alcohol and varying degrees of poor (depending on how you look at them) decisions? It’s fairly distinct and the diner was ripe with its aroma. I’ve never been bothered by it before though. So, I made my way to the back of the room and took a seat at the bar.
As time passed at a seemingly slower and slower rate, I debated on what I should indulge in. That’s the problem with most diners—too much choice. I finally settled in on the chicken and waffles, but these were no ordinary chicken and waffles. Known as the Midnight Special, this dish comes with a bacon and cheddar waffle, a spicy piece of fried chicken and some absolutely delicious, country-style gravy. How on earth could I pass up such a divine combination?
But alas, before too long it was gone. Yet, my hunger remained and given that I wasn’t the most sober individual in the room, I decided to make a bad decision of my own in the form of chocolate chunk pancakes. I will say, that while they were absolutely delicious, I was rather disappointed that they didn’t come with the caramel sauce the menu so tantalizingly promised. Come to think of it, they were sans the whipped cream too. Now, I feel really let down as I think about it. At the time though, they were the most delicious thing you could ever hope to be in the vicinity of. I guess we can call it even, if you look at it that way. But, I don't.
Eventually, the clock struck 3 and by my calculations that meant it was time for Kitchen24 and I to part ways. I called an Uber and sat outside for a good 15 minutes, as we played a fun game of, “Will he drive down to me or will I walk up the street to meet him, because he doesn't understand how addresses work?” Obviously, I won and was soon on my way home. I stared out the window and as the lights of Hollywood began to fade away into the backdrop, I felt oddly at ease with everything in the world. Perhaps it was the euphoria of dancing to decades-old music with friends. Or maybe, just maybe, it was that waffle. I guess the only way to find out for sure is to do it all over again.