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Comfort Food - Issue #15

Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy
A Palm Springs Friday night

perfection.
perfection.
I entered this week absolutely exhausted. I took my kids on a whirlwind San Francisco weekend, after a whirlwind week at work and had a big week ahead and I was just hoping to get to Friday vertically.
At about 2pm, after my meetings were all done, I went to a long lunch with some friends and was so so so happy.
I have a lot to do this weekend. A lot of video editing, a lot of writing marketing emails (like 30?), a pitch deck to revise, and two decks for upcoming Zooms to build. But I am also taking time and space to breathe and exhale.
I had lunch with Ben and Samara, who I met via Chairman Mom, and have rapidly become our go-to family friends for a load of reasons. Doesn’t it feel magical when that happens? When your entire family gets along with every member of another entire family?
(Ok, Eli doesn’t LOVE their dog, but Eli doesn’t love our dog either…)
Evie and their eldest are in particular BFFs, and you know if you’ve ever been a new kid in school, how vital a best friend can be.
We were going to go to the Barn at Sparrows but it was full, so we went to Spencer’s, which I hadn’t gone to before. It was such a 2 pm on a Friday, Palm Springs spot. It’s in the tennis club and it is like a Palm Springs version of the Ivy. Valet parking only… but the Valet is a whopping $3.
I saw the meatloaf on the menu and thought “MEATLOAF!” I have been craving it, but our kitchen is under construction so I’m not really able to make it. But then I thought, “Do I really want a meatloaf at 2pm sitting on a patio in the sun?” That would feel like a great decision for about five minutes.
I had a Cobb Salad instead, and you know, it was everything you want a Cobb Salad to be. Chopped, blue cheesy, and served in basically a trough. They seemed to be out of eggs and so they put generous pats of cream cheese where they eggs should go. You know what? Weird but wonderful. The creaminess blended with the creaminess of the salad and the HALF AN AVOCADO on top.
There was nothing healthy about this salad. That’s my thing with salads. They are never as healthy as they promise, so I only eat them when it’s what I want to eat versus trying to “be good.”
B&S also just moved to Coachella Valley, and we talked about how uniquely like living in a resort it is. And tried to figure out… why that is?
We’ve lived near beaches, and it doesn’t quite feel that way. We’ve lived in beautiful places, and they don’t feel this way. One of them said it’s the first place they’ve lived where they don’t feel antsy to get on a plane. I realized, I feel the same way. I love San Francisco, but leave it constantly. Even when I’m going to SF, I’m excited, but I also hate to leave here. I feel a pull to stay.
We don’t even really leave our house much.
It’s like you fall under a spell of expansiveness and mountains and heat and detox and water and quiet. We hear it over and over again– people who come here for the weekend and never leave. People who buy a second home here, and it suddenly becomes the primary home.
I am so restless by nature in every way. Which is why I was a great reporter, I’m a serial entrepreneur, etc etc etc. This is the only place that makes me feel at rest.
I told you at the beginning of this journey that I had a feeling this move was what I needed in some way, even if I didn’t really want it.
We looked at our watches, hours into lunch, and remembered we had kids who got out of school at 3 pm. Well, that’s what after care is for, right? They took Evie her laptop, which she’d left at my house, since she was having a dad weekend and that simple thing felt so small town and wonderful. We planned to all trick or treat together.
I came home, worked, watched Hustle and took a nap.
I asked Paul what he wanted for dinner. Oh, the expansiveness of nothing to do and no one to see for two and a half days. I’d been craving this weekend.
Lisa Cron– one of my fav people on earth– emailed me apologetically to ask me something, “I know it’s your sleep weekend!” I always have time for Lisa, no matter how tired I am. She is one of those people who replenishes me, not exhausts me. We planned to talk on Sunday, and so I headed out for a run.
I’ve been running a lot at night here, whereas I usually run in the mornings. I’ve really been loving it. I don’t get to run at night in SF. I almost tripped once, because it gets super dark. So I just go slower now. I am running way farther than I had been, my muscles just craving more and more. It also means I drink less wine at night, and it gets all my stress of the day out. It also means Paul handles dinner more, which is good for both of us. Sometimes I need to just leave at dinner time or I’ll always do it.
But I had a dinner plan this night.
I was still thinking about that meatloaf!
When I asked Paul what he wanted for dinner before my run, he groaned and said, “No matter what I decide, you will say you don’t want that and suggest something better and I’ll be like ‘YES! that!’ So just tell me what you want,” he said.
“Let’s get some to-go meatloaf from Billy Reed’s and watch a movie.”
No one saw that coming. Not even me.
Billy Reed’s is like a Palm Springs mashup of a cafeteria for the early bird crowd and a midcentury relic that any gay man would love. Mahogany bar and the bartender in a tux, but there are wheels on chairs. We ate there once. It’s not exactly the finest of fine dining.
BUT, it’s exactly where you want to go if you are craving a homey meatloaf.
Paul insisted I was f-ing with him, but he was wrong. “Fine I’ll call your bluff,” he joked.
I decided to run there. I ran past it, I felt so good. I ran about five miles, and then sauntered into Billy Reed’s bar, sweaty, to watch the Dodgers win, ordered a martini and a meatloaf dinner to go, with mashed potatoes and a baked potato, garlic bread and a salad with….. 1000 ISLAND DRESSING! Why don’t we eat that more???
“Tomato sauce or brown gravy?” the bartender asked.
“I don’t know, which one do I want?” I said.
“Brown gravy” he said with such assurance I wondered why he even asked.
He’d been the bartender here for decades and his 19 year old son had just started waiting tables. His son was hung over but tried to pretend he doesn’t drink. Dad – the career bartender– didn’t buy it. It seemed like a well rehearsed bit, but one that effortlessly fit along with the maroon upholstered bar chairs and the regulars.
Paul came to pick me up so I didn’t have to run with a gigantic takeout bag home. It was a delicious feast while we watched “Deathtrap” and cuddled with various animals on the couch. I gave Paul his nightly highly-moisturizing foot massage, that’s become our Palm Springs tradition. The desert had already given me everything I needed that afternoon and evening.
Such a perfect day of Palm Springs and only in Palm Springs fare, I’m leaving it there this week. Also, it’s time for a bike ride to Sherman’s and my Saturday tuna melt. See you next week. Thanks for reading (and forward to a friend FFS!)
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Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy @sarahcuda

I'm the founder of Pando and Chairman Mom. I live half time between San Francisco and Palm Springs, ferretting out the best food between the two. Food is my love language.

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