I actually look forward to them – my Bar Method classes. I can’t wait to get to the studio after work for some good old fashioned tension release – the kind that doesn’t involve alcohol, inane reality television or eating chocolate. I excitedly announce to the Twitterverse, “Can’t wait for Bar Method tonight!” and regularly turn down social engagements that conflict with my class schedule. It isn’t until about 15 minutes into the gut-busting workout that I realize, “Damn, this hurts.”
It’s not just a little hurt – it’s a big hurt. I’m huffing and puffing, turning a shade of red that could stain a rug, and silently cursing the instructor who is commanding me to do yet another 16 reps of thigh tucks. The entire session is misery, yet when I’m lying on the floor post-workout, my head clear of all neurotic thought, all I can think is, “Wow, that was amazing. I love Bar Method!”
My experiences with the Little Next Door, the cutesy French cafe on West Third Street, seem to proceed in much the same fashion. I love the restaurant and am the first to suggest it when a friend wants to meet for lunch in West Hollywood, yet, when I’m there I want to strangle the waiters for the impossibly slow service.
I grumble with dissatisfaction as my stomach digests itself waiting for my bowl of carrot parsnip orange soup.
I groan when I see my server walk right by my frothy vanilla latte that’s been sitting on the counter for five minutes getting cold.
And I want to get up and walk out when I finally get my darn soup and can’t eat it because my friend doesn’t get her bowl of French onion for another ten minutes.
But then I taste the latte with its soft cap of foam and subtle vanilla undertones. And I savor a spoonful of the carrot parsnip orange soup ($6) that envelopes my mouth with the perfect collusion of sweet from the carrots and bitter from the orange zest. Then the quiche lorraine ($8) arrives – a haughty square of egg, ham, cream, and cheese a top a field of tepidly dressed mixed greens. Each bite better than the next, I marvel over the quiche’s texture that is somehow both rich and light at the same time – like a savory souffle.
Suddenly I don’t mind that I have to use both my arms to wave down a busboy to get a refill of water. And I don’t mind that my friend and my quick lunch has taken two hours out of my Sunday. It’s all forgotten because the rewards of eating the well-prepared, thoughtful food make the slow service a mute point – just like the pain of a Bar Method work out becomes a distant memory after class.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the cute French waiter doles out a free lemon macaron with our dessert – a perfectly executed doughy chocolate chip cookie ($1) and the restaurant’s version of an Oreo. ($1.50) It’s sweet finishes like this that make me such a glutton for Little Next Door’s punishment. It hurts so good.
Little Next Door
8164 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (323) 951-1210