Smug Disgusting Smoothie in Hollywood

Body Factory exteriorSmug Scout recently had the most disgusting smoothie of her life. She recognizes that “disgusting” and “smoothie” do not usually appear in the same sentence. People usually associate other words with smoothies, such as “delicious,” “refreshing,” “absurdly caloric,” and even “ridiculously overpriced.” Honestly, Smug Scout does not usually fritter her money away on such trifles, especially since she could have one minuscule artisanal cocktail for the price of three massive smoothies, and she is well known for her thrift. She can make her own smoothies by repurposing fruit that she may have neglected to eat in its prime whole form and mixing it with anti-Smug “L.A. County” milk she rescues from her workplace, thus sparing it a grim one-way trip to the landfill.

Body Factory smoothie menuHowever, on the occasion under review, she and Smug Eastside Actor were in Hollywood (which Smug Scout has renamed Ghoulywood to highlight its overpopulation of grotesque, cretinous, daylight-averse residents) to attend a screening (because actors never just “see a movie,” too plebeian). They would not be able to have dinner until about 10 pm, so they decided to participate in a popular L.A. ritual: drinking coffee to delay starvation. Smug Eastside Actor suggested they go to a place called the Body Factory to get coffee, and though Smug Scout had no notion that a business by that vulgar name would have anything to offer her, she changed her mind when she saw the smoothie menu, essentially because of both what that menu boasted and what that menu left out. It boasted that each smoothie has 35 grams of protein and no added sugar. It left out all prices. This report will focus on those two elements.

IMG_140435 grams of protein/no added sugar. What does it mean to have all that protein? Smug Scout thought it meant the smoothie would dull her hunger for four hours. What does it mean to have no added sugar? Smug Scout thought it meant the smoothie would taste like fresh local fruit. She was correct about the former and dead wrong about the latter. Smug Scout is sure her hunger was dulled because that smoothie tasted so awful it befouled the very idea of eating. It had the consistency of clay and looked like wet sand, like a beautiful beach poisoned by toxic algae, some sickly pale green kind. She almost needed a boba straw, if not a scoop, to get that sludge from the cup into her mouth. You may notice Smug Scout has not told you what flavor she ordered. That is Smug Eastside Actor’s fault. He recommended one called “Body Fuel,” which promised the following ingredients: “Pineapple, Banana and well…don’t ask, don’t tell…” Does that mean the smoothie contains pineapple, banana, and a gay member of the US military? Despite Smug Scout’s distaste for the military, she thinks even that would have tasted better than the chalky, gritty slop that fueled little more than an unpleasant exchange between Smug Scout and Smug Eastside Actor, whose punishment for this failed recommendation was being forced to help her consume it. He claimed he got a chunk of something (maybe pineapple? mud?) in one sip, but Smug Scout did not taste anything resembling fruit: fresh, local, petrified, or otherwise. Sugar added, subtracted, multiplied, divided, or given a calculus test would not have helped.

No prices. What is this charade? Is it like in that Sheila E. song “The Glamorous Life” when she sings about “if you have to ask you can’t afford it lingerie”? (Smug Scout would have punctuated that differently, but she does not believe Sheila E. cared about precise, or even any, dash use.) Well, Smug Scout decided to ask. Here is a slightly embellished version of the exchange.

  • Smug Scout: I see there are no prices. Is everything free?
  • Body Factory Worker: No.
  • Smug Scout: I see. So is there some reason the prices are not posted?
  • Body Factory Worker: All of our products are priced differently.
  • Smug Scout: At least now I understand. What do the smoothies cost?
  • Body Factory Worker: All of our smoothies are priced based on transportation costs for the ingredients and may rise if there is any trouble along the way.
  • Smug Scout: So if the banana flies through a hurricane or has a bad run-in with a drug lord, I pay more?
  • Body Factory Worker: You may.
  • Smug Scout: You really don’t want to tell me, do you?
  • Body Factory Worker: I prefer to show you on this iPad.
  • Smug Scout: “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is more than just a smoothie ingredient here isn’t it?

Smug Scout cannot even remember what she finally paid. Maybe $6? Yes, after that ridiculous flimflammery, she feels like even more of a mark than before. Still, she is perversely curious to find out if other smoothies could possibly taste as disgusting as “Body Fuel,” so she plans to return to this smoothie bunco parlor.

Smug Sidewalk Ornaments in West L.A.

Ewan Chung at ChocovivoSmug Scout was delighted by a recent visit from her friend, Smug Eastside Actor, to her distant Westside neighborhood. To help him recover from his long journey, Smug Scout suggested walking to a miniature Smug restaurant row (only three places) where they had the exciting prospect of racking up a jaw-droppingly high bar-hopping tab in just a few hours. However, before they reached their first destination for $14 petite artisanal cocktails, they passed by a business that arrested their attention: ChocoVivo Dark Chocolate Tasting Room. Now Smug Scout was already familiar with ChocoVivo chocolate from having tasted and purchased some at two of her local FMs (long before the store opened). Smug Scout finds it more than acceptable, for it features all the required markers for Smug chocolate: handmade (by a woman no less), small batch, no animal products, apparently the barest minimum of non-white, non-imperialist, non-racist sugar (Smug chocolate is never so vulgar as to be sweet), locally made with allegedly local ingredients like sesame seeds and black peppercorns (maybe India is closer to Los Angeles than Smug Scout thought), and an exclusive price ($6/bar).

ChocoVivo tree stumpHowever, as she and Smug Eastside Actor were thirsty for their artisanal cocktails and adamantly demand alcohol in any establishment billed as a “tasting room,” they really only stopped to gape at the sidewalk ornaments. What are these woodsy curiosities? They are tree stumps on wheels that are chained to the sidewalk. Both have scars from amputated limbs, suggesting that these “stumps” were actually segments of a large log, not its base. One of them shows off a bouquet of local vegetation (i.e. sidewalk crack weeds), placed rebelliously near the edge. Of course, what makes these rolling imprisoned not-quite-stumps especially Smug is their utter lack of practical utility. You may think they are seats, though that is a lazy and superficial interpretation. One of them is clearly a table for the flowers (thus giving that one some practical utility for the vase). The other one might work as a seat, if an unstable one, or even perhaps eco-friendly transportation, though you will not get far without a chain cutter. Or could ChocoVivo want to start an urban version of the logroll? In any case, if Smug Scout wants a seat that is backless and spinning, she prefers that it be a bar stool (at a real bar, not a chocolate bar). If she wants “Earth-sensitive” (see endnote) transportation, she prefers a Radio Flyer wagon because she can at least put Smug local produce in it (along with a Smug local child, if one is at hand). If she wanted anything to do with a logrolling contest, she would move to some place where they do that (hillbilly backwoods flyover territory near a river) and become a lumberjack.

Smug Scout did not go in for an explanation, though. She knows she is overflowing with sarcastic rhetorical questions, most of them better left unasked. She knows that certain recipients of sarcastic rhetorical questions think she is an irritating smart aleck or even a dimwit. She knew it was time to put a drink in that big mouth of hers. She and Smug Eastside Actor ditched the sidewalk logjam and relocated to some aggressively uncomfortable plastic architectural bar stools that gave them crippling backaches. Those punitive stools are at a place called A-Frame, which Smug Scout believes to be a reference to the medieval torture device known as the Scavenger’s Daughter, though the owners may claim the name refers to the shape of the building, which originally housed that vile mass-produced pancake slinger IHOP. Well, the bottom line is this: Smug Scout wishes all stools were decorative and made of reclaimed wood. 

Endnote: Credit to Smug Barrington Bartender for that word pairing and Smugly unnecessary capitalization.

That chocolate? Go get it!

Smug Scenes from the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market: Iconic Shoppers

Smug Scout knows she has been very remiss in her writing duties, if not her actual Smug scouting duties. She has been as busy with the latter as ever, especially during her summer vacation. Now that she is in Portsmouth, she feels very inspired again, most likely due to its uniquely jaw dropping level of Smugness. She has already spent two Saturdays at her favorite Smug epicenter, the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market. She is happy to report that virtually nothing has changed since last summer, but in the almost nine hours of amazed and amused viewing, often sneakily from the periphery, she captured some iconic images that she would like to share with her readers. You may be tempted to critique Smug Scout for photos of middling quality, but keep in mind that she was using her zoom lens to avoid unpleasant confrontation with her unwitting subjects. She is still not sure how she would have explained to some of these locals why she was taking their pictures, but she knows any attempt would have gone poorly or even worse.

IMG_1143Smug Family: Smug Scout loves watching Smug local families arrive and depart, ideally without screeching sound effects. Though this picture does not show the wealth of detail she wishes it did, you will still notice some classic Portsmouth FM hallmarks:

  • The Radio Flyer wagon has a Whole Foods tote bag filled with produce, while multiple onions roll around loosely in a layer of dirt at the bottom of the wagon. (Smug Scout may have made up that last detail, but she did see onion stalks sticking out.)
  • The parents are carelessly dressed, as if they purposely wanted to provide a dreary, sloppy backdrop to their colorful daughters. The mother’s hair is a nest of frizz, while the father wasted not a second on brushing or shaving.
  • The girls have their hair in some youthful feminine style and wear brightly colored sundresses. The girl in blue with the pink Crocs unwisely takes after her father in shoe taste, though she has not yet advanced to the murky, rank dishwater color scheme he prefers. (N.B. At one time, the Smug Barrington Bartender told Smug Scout that Smug children prefer to wear Crocs in two different colors, but Smug Scout has yet to see this. She suspects that the Smug Barrington Bartender knows of other epicenters that outdo even this one. She wonders why the Smug Barrington Bartender is withholding these locations from her.)

Loading the Forrester Loading a Subaru: Smug Scout does not plan to move to Portsmouth, though she dreams of it often. However, if she were to move here, one of the first things she would do is buy a Subaru Outback or Forrester. Then she would go to the Portsmouth FM and take part in a ritual that occurs with astonishing regularity:

  • Buy many plants and flowers
  • Leave them lined up on the sidewalk (no fear of theft here!)
  • Retrieve Subaru Outback or Forrester from parking lot
  • Drive back to sidewalk
  • Park Subaru
  • Slowly load plants and flowers into trunk
  • Arrange and rearrange plants, flowers, and other purchases
  • Depart 15-20 minutes later, maybe longer if another Subaru does not pull up to do the same thing in the same location

Smug Scout realizes this activity may sound terribly banal, but she simply cannot believe how many owners of Outbacks and Forresters engage in this ritualistic activity every single week. She wonders if the Subaru owners manual instructs its drivers to have gardens established through these exact means. (“You may NOT buy plants or flowers at Lowe’s. You MUST seek out a local market. You may NOT load them carelessly or quickly. You MUST display them tastefully in the trunk.”) So fascinating, these Smug New Hampshire natives with their Subarus.

IMG_0904Hairy and Tattooed Shoppers: You simply cannot spend five hours at the Portsmouth FM without seeing all manner of excess hair and tattoos. Smug Scout grabbed her camera when she saw this archetypal couple (left). Note intentionally wild and style-free hair, colorless outfits, and ghoulishly pale limbs with indecipherable images tattooed all over. Smug Scout is not, however, impressed that these otherwise Smug locals did not bring reusable bags or third world woven baskets with them. Even if they forgot their bags/baskets, they could have bought new reusable totes from Black Kettle Farm or the Seacoast Local organization (motto: “You are where you eat”). This next one (right) did better in the Tattooed shopperecological department. Though her hair “style” is equally slapdash, her outfit equally dingy and drab, her skin equally ghostly, and her tattoos equally garish and impossible to interpret from the safe distance Smug Scout was forced to keep, this hairy and tattooed shopper at least had the good sense to bring a large third world woven basket and fill it with flowers, herbs, and greens that she, in classic Portsmouth fashion, arranges for display more than protection. Some of those flowers may be beheaded if someone–for example, a terrifying looking uncouth visitor from the backwoods interior of the state–bumps into her roughly, but she will probably make sure to be nowhere near such yokels.

Stay tuned for the second part of the Smug scenes from the Portsmouth FM series. The next one features a new age farm, a precious local band, and kale. Start brewing your Smug White Heron tea. Smug Scout will have the post for you very soon.

Smug Restaurant in Culver City: Akasha

By now you probably know that Smug Scout spends a lot of her time (and probably half of her salary) in Smug restaurants, which are flourishing these days as more and more customers have Smug demands when they go out to eat. Let us discuss the most obvious indicators of a Smug restaurant:

  • Reclaimed wood everywhere possible (floor, walls, tables, chairs, bar, restroom accessories, clipboards to display the check, restaurant signage)
  • Old fashioned yet industrial light fixtures, such as exposed Edison bulbs or other oddly shaped bulbs dangling on wires
  • Complete farm names listed for each menu item
  • Only in-season produce, even when that means a menu limited to greens, root vegetables, and citrus
  • Cocktails with small batch spirits and local fruit, vegetables, and herbs, all coming from the FM that is most local to the restaurant (except in Portsmouth, where the one single, if monumentally Smug, FM does not have enough produce to supply more than a handful of low volume restaurants for a very short season)

However, one indicator that may be less obvious is the frequency with which kale appears on the menu. A truly Smug restaurant will heavily feature kale, at least two or three types, generally curly (i.e. Scottish) and black (i.e. cavolo nero) in at least five dishes on the menu. What is it about kale? Smug Scout does not really know. Smug Scout thinks rainbow chard is prettier and Bloomsdale heirloom spinach tastes better. Perhaps kale is Smug because the foodie cognoscenti had to rescue it from its previously obscure, unpopular status, just like an extremely ostracized acne-bespeckled nerd with braces and head gear who grows up, becomes buff, stars in SNL, and is suddenly hot.

But of course Smug Scout loves kale, and she loves a Smug restaurant in Culver City called Akasha that stars kale in many menu items. In fact, it is her favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, perhaps the entire West Coast (and is even a formidable opponent for Smug Scout’s favorite East Coast restaurant, Fore Street in Portland, Maine). Because of her frequent and enthusiastic visits, she knows the owner, the chef, several of the servers, and of course all of the bartenders. The bar manager/ sommelier/mixologist, Lisa, has even become a wine tasting friend. Smug Scout believes it is rare for someone to be so equally skilled as a sommelier and mixologist. Lisa is also proud to offer cocktails that are free of bacon (such as the persimmon/pomegranate punch and citrus jalapeño margarita in the above photo) though she has not yet made one with kale (please, Lisa?). You can surely understand why Smug Scout fantasizes about living above the restaurant and going there every day.

However, she does not fantasize about working there, because, as at any Smug restaurant, there are some vile and repellent customers. During a recent visit, Smug Scout saw some people in this category. She was sitting at the bar, as she prefers, when a group of four people arrived. She would describe these people as members of the aged arrogant moneyed lower classes, she thought perhaps “industry,” as they say in L.A. First, they imperiously displaced everyone near them in order to commandeer corner seats at the bar. Smug Scout scowled at this sense of entitlement. But the real irritant with such people is when they order food, because aged arrogant moneyed lower class people have a lot of special requests, none of them Smug. Smug Scout overheard a highly annoying conversation between a bartender and a grizzled large-nosed leathery female, whose primary goal in life, from what Smug Scout could tell, is being the unsightly spoiled wife of one of the short squat balding wealthy men. Smug Scout is not impressed by this level of ambition. Smug Scout will not replicate the exact conversation because the bartender’s answers were far more polite than the unsightly spoiled wife deserved. Thus, the below conversation is how Smug Scout would have handled it (and proof that she is highly ill-suited to work as a bartender in Akasha or any Smug establishment):

  • Smug Bartender: Would you like another glass of wine?
  • Unsightly Spoiled Wife: Yes, and we’d like to order some food. We would like a Caesar salad, but why is this one made with kale?
  • Smug Bartender: The chef prefers kale. The customers prefer kale. Customers have told us they would like to see kale in every single dish on the menu, not just half of them. One customer even wants it in all the cocktails, but we will not be indulging her.
  • Unsightly Spoiled Wife: But kale doesn’t belong in a Caesar. We want romaine.
  • Smug Bartender: We do not serve romaine.
  • Unsightly Spoiled Wife: Do you have any lettuce?
  • Smug Bartender: We do not serve lettuce. We only serve organic locally grown seasonal greens.
  • Unsightly Spoiled Wife: Well, can you put any of them in the Caesar?
  • Smug Bartender: I do not believe the chef cares to make a Caesar with mizuna or  frisée.
  • Unsightly Spoiled Wife: The nerve! Then we will have the chicken wings.
  • Smug Bartender: People like you are the reason that dish is offered. Our kale eating customers do not gnaw on the wings of a bird with more brains and refined taste than you have.
  • Unsightly Spoiled Wife: I hope the chicken wings at least do not come with kale.
  • Smug Bartender: No, but before those chickens met their untimely end, they feasted only on the best organic local kale, so you will be consuming kale, just once removed.
  • Unsightly Spoiled Wife: I can’t win here, can I?
  • Smug Bartender: No, but let me bring you that glass of wine. I will refrain from adding a purple kale garnish.

You can certainly see why Smug Scout is not cut out for such work. She has no tolerance of those who choose chicken wings over kale. She wishes Akasha would remove that dish from the menu, just as she wishes to see kale in the cocktails, but she still loves Akasha more than any other restaurant.

Smug Farmers’ Market Find: 11/4

This week’s Smug Farmers’ Market find is not a vegetable, a fruit, a mode of display, or even putrid compost: it is a human, and it is Smug Scout’s nemesis. Now you may think it an unwise use of time to scrutinize the Smugness of other FM shoppers, but Smug Scout simply cannot help comparing herself and her Smug habits to those of every single person she sees at every single FM she visits. Part of the very essence of Smugness is how you rate in a Smug closed system that virtually no one cares about.

Sometimes a person comes along whose superior Smugness takes  Smug Scout down a few notches. Such is the case with Smug Basket and Container Woman. While Smug Scout was selecting local organic Early Girl cherry tomatoes, of course individually, she spotted a woman who also selected them one by one, but this woman put hers in an organic cotton mesh bag. At this point Smug Scout inspected her competitor’s diverse other receptacles. In addition to multiple organic cotton mesh bags, she also had large European plastic containers and green plastic pint containers. All of these sat Smugly in a basket hand crafted by a barefoot native child in some famine-stricken banana republic. Smug Scout felt good about her Sea Bag, a recycled sail tote made by native Maine women, until she saw the woman turn a contemptuous eye to the Sea Bag’s overflowing reused plastic bag collection. This woman did not deign to speak to Smug Scout, but if she had, this is how the conversation would have gone:

  • Smug Basket and Container Woman: Your bags look over-reused and toxic. I would not dream of carrying around so many old plastic bags when I can use organic cotton mesh bags that I wash with eco-friendly detergent in my own harvested rainwater.
  • Smug Scout: Who are you? Zeus? Chaac? Indra?
  • Smug Basket and Container Woman: What kind of crazy talk is that?
  • Smug Scout: You are mythologically illiterate if you do not know the Greek, Mayan, and Hindu rain gods.
  • Smug Basket and Container Woman: What does that have to do with your filthy old plastic bags?
  • Smug Scout: It has everything to do with your filthy organic cotton mesh bags. It does not rain here. You could not possibly be harvesting more than a few drops of acid dew every night. 
  • Smug Basket and Container Woman: I live in Portsmouth.
  • Smug Scout: Of course you do.   

Smug Scout readily admits that many others out-Smug her. She is not a resident of Portsmouth, Brooklyn, or San Francisco. She does not drive a Prius, buy vegan shoes, or live in a repurposed shipping container full of Scandinavian reclaimed wood furniture. She even takes pride in her absolute refusal to buy an iPhone. However, since she also has a thriving and carefully curated collection of German plastic containers, she will not let Smug Basket and Container Woman out-Smug her for long.

Be Smug during a weather catastrophe

Smug Scout is very sorry that so many of her loved ones (and some much less loved) are suffering through this hurricane or cyclone or “superstorm” or “Frankenstorm” or whatever bogus made-up word it is called now. However, she is proud that many intrepid Smug scouts in that glowing Smug epicenter, Brooklyn, had their Smug priorities straight while shopping for the best Smug products to get them through days of homebound isolation, days with nary an Apple gadget to keep them company or to connect them with hundreds of indifferent acquaintances across the country. How does she know to be proud? Here is what she read in the New York Times (the only paper worth reading):

“If New Yorkers were reluctant to leave, they showed no reluctance to shop, hitting the stores and emptying shelves of batteries, bottled water and, in the case of the Fairway market in Red Hook, Brooklyn, kale. Multiple Whole Foods Markets were scenes of bedlam.”

Smug Scout understands that emergencies call for kale, though she wishes she knew what kind, even as she knows that people who do not live in California may get cross when she asks that. She feels that Red Russian kale would be the most festive kind to get through an unprecedented weather catastrophe. However, since it is an actual emergency, she would make do with the ordinary curly kind. When the whole East Coast has been so devastated by a storm surge that local farmers are concentrating somewhat more on staying alive than harvesting Smug crops, it is important to remember that kale is kale is kale. 

Anyway, now that you have your kale (and presumably enough red wine and local artisanal spirits to get you through the hurricane as well as a few subsequent nuclear meltdowns), Smug Scout would like to propose that since you also have a great deal of time, no electricity, and a refrigerator full of eggs on the brink of inferior edibility, you will certainly want to make a gigantic kale Caesar salad. Open your cupboard, open your darkened refrigerator, and quickly remove the following staples:

  • Burgundy crimson garlic from that garlic guy in Los Olivos
  • organic stone ground Dijon mustard in the handcrafted pot you brought back from Paris (or Dijon itself, like Smug Scout)
  • raw cold-pressed organic apple cider vinegar
  • homemade mayonnaise or Veganaise (use local eggs from Brooklyn community gardens!)
  • organic California olive oil (unless you New Yorkers have a better idea)
  • hand-ground (by you) hand-harvested (woefully not by you) Guerande sea salt
  • hand-ground Tellicherry pepper from the Malabar coast of India
  • hand-squeezed local Meyer lemon juice
  • sustainably fished anchovy fillets from small community boats off the coast of Sicily

Smug Scout does not know how you prefer to eat your kale Caesar salad, nor does she really know how to make one herself, so just put those ingredients in the bowl in whatever proportion looks good to you. Next, take one of the ten loaves of artisanal hay-smoked multigrain bread you fought with an angry Smug mob to buy before Sandy rudely washed out your emergency shopping trip. Chop it into chunks you would label rustic and place them over your Bodum Fyrkat portable charcoal grill from Denmark until they acquire some attractive charring. Then place them as you see fit on your kale Caesar salad. Finally, grate some Reggiano on the top.

With your kale Caesar salad ready, you should light a candle, open a few bottles of wine, and settle in for an old-fashioned evening unmarred by the tyranny of devices. Smug Scout wishes you the best.

N.B. If you want to read the whole New York Times article quoted above, here it is:

Smug Farmers’ Market Find: 10/21

This week’s Smug Farmers’ Market find is a green pumpkin called Marina di Chioggia (center of photo).  In Italian this means “Chioggia sea pumpkin,” but Smug Scout prefers to say “Marina di Chioggia” because it is much more Smug to use an Italian name that is totally unknown to most people. She learned this practice from Smug restaurants that refer to ingredients in the most undecipherable way possible in order to make diners feel like dumb Americans abroad. For example, seasonal local expensive restaurants will never offer something so pedestrian as black kale. It is “cavolo nero.”

So now that you have your Marina di Chioggia, what do you do with it? Of course you could spend hours turning these lumpy rocks into gnocchi or some street food from the Adriatic coast. Good luck with that. Smug Scout approves of the Smug recasting  and overcomplicating of unfussy peasant dishes, but she simply does not have an electric chainsaw to cut her Marina di Chioggia. Perhaps you are better with knives than Smug Scout, but Smug Scout knows exactly what would happen if she tried to cut it with even her sharpest knife: she would come close to severing half her fingers while the recalcitrant pumpkin would sail across the room and most certainly crash into her full wine glass. No.

Instead, Smug Scout believes you should use your Marina di Chioggia for an arts and crafts project. Now as you probably know, Smug Scout does not spend a lot of time on arts and crafts. She likes the idea of crafting Smug artisanal products, but a pesky obstacle called her grueling full-time job gets in the way of this ambition. Today, however, she has an easy project to propose to you: a Smug fall harvest tableau.

Materials required:

  1. One large Marina di Chioggia
  2. One small table


  1. Pick up large Marina di Chioggia
  2. Place on small table

Smug Scout saw this Smug fall harvest tableau at one of Santa Monica’s Smug epicenters, a cafe called Huckleberry. She will review it in a future post, but in the meantime you can replicate its Smug fall harvest tableau in your own home. Just do not let any rude visitors insult it. Here is a sample dialogue to follow in case anyone does.

  • Rude Visitor: So where’s the so-called “Smug fall harvest tableau”?
  • Smug Scout: Right in front of you!
  • Rude Visitor: You mean that ugly green pumpkin on the table? How could you possibly call that a “tableau”? You must think “tableau” means table in French!
  • Smug Scout: Please forgive me. It seems I have insulted you.
  • Rude Visitor: What?
  • Smug Scout: Obviously the bumpy skin of my local organic Marina di Chioggia reminds you of the cystic acne that plagued you all through high school. Probably college, too.
  • Rude Visitor: I did not have cystic acne!
  • Smug Scout: Fine, call it an accident with battery acid. Look, just go get some cheap plastic tableau from Target. You must think that is American for Tar-ZHAY.
Remember: you are not Smug if you prefer vapid beauty in your vegetables.

Smug Farmers’ Market Find: 10/14

This week’s Smug Farmers’ Market find, Hawaiian eggplant, comes not from the usual Sunday Mar Vista market but rather the Saturday Silver Lake market. Smug Scout was excited to visit a market in L.A.’s Smug epicenter but then was a bit dismayed to find that it was not all that Smug and has no chance of knocking the Portsmouth FM from its throne.  Smug Scout is sure that Smug Portsmouth residents will feel righteous pleasure at the thought that the state of New Hampshire, despite its short fertile season (July), hardscrabble land (thin and rocky soil, scoured by glaciers), limited produce options (mostly flowers and greens), and homogenous farmers (a diverse mix of tenth generation Northern Europeans), offers a market much more Smug than anything in California, the country’s agricultural center and home to more FMs than anywhere in the world. You lose, Cali!

So how exactly did this Silver Lake market lose? Well, aside from Smug Scout’s Smug Eastside friend (pictured), many of the other shoppers did not look either affluent or its local variant, affluent in poor backwoods communist clothing. In fact, if Smug Scout were asked to free-associate, she would use words such as “slovenly,” “cretinous,” and “ghoulish” to describe many of the characters she observed. Seeing them walking on pavement painted like an all green Twister board did not help.

Furthermore, unlike in Portsmouth, this market really is just a place to buy produce, not one to “see and be seen” (at least Smug Scout fervently hopes that is the case). There was no entertainment for the Smug under five set unless you count a JonBenét Ramsey wanna-be (probably aside from the getting murdered part) who was singing and dancing in a way most of us would call obscenely mature. Her only audience was her agent (who may have also been her mother), an oily photographer (who did not appear to work for any legal publication), and a dog (who according to market rules should not have been there in the first place). Smug Scout does not believe this “entertainment” would be wholesome enough, let alone sufficiently law-abiding, to take place in Portsmouth.

But finally one of the crucial reasons this market is not that Smug is its prices. They are simply too low. The produce quality and variety would qualify for Smug status everywhere else in the world, but here the gorgeous vegetables and fruit are tastelessly displayed on synthetic golf putting mats. The prices match these cheap and unsightly tableaux. And this brings Smug Scout back to the beginning, back to the Hawaiian eggplant. She got a gigantic bag of those sexy bi-color phallic nightshades for one dollar.

Ultimately Smug Scout is sold on the Silver Lake FM and her delightful Hawaiian eggplant. She got that eggplant, multicultural organic heirloom tomatoes, puffy sugar snap peas, and beautifully deformed bell peppers with parasitic attachments–all for the price of one shrunken head of conventionally grown lettuce in Portsmouth.

Still, whatever money Smug Scout may have saved on vegetables she then immediately spent in triplicate at an outrageously Smug lunch spot called Forage. “Forage” is about as Smug a restaurant name as anyone could craft. Can you beat that, Portsmouth?

Smug Yogurt Fail

Smug Scout was recently shopping at her favorite Smug amusement park, one of her six local Whole Foods stores, when she saw a Smug product she first discovered in San Francisco: Straus Family Creamery European Style Organic Plain Lowfat Yogurt. Products with such wordy gobbledygook names are automatically Smug, but the fact that this is the “creamery” (Sonoma County does not have plebeian dairies) used by Bi-Rite for its ice cream is all Smug Scout needs to know (see Smug Scout’s post on Bi-Rite Market and Creamery, an epicenter within an epicenter within THE epicenter) . The container provides further information about this yogurt’s sterling Smug credentials:

  • “European Style” tells us that Straus (please pronounce with a German accent) rejects “American Style,” which means sour and flavorless.
  • The container sports hand-drawn looking pictures of cows and grass and spoons along with faux handwritten text.
  • The back of the container boasts “organic, local, & sustainable from field to spoon” which suggests pampered vegan cows, Marxist farmers and no evil corporate middlemen.
  • The yogurt is made in what Smug Scout believes to be a dazzlingly artisanal way: “incubated” in stainless steel vats, of course in small batches that take “over ten hours to make.” Wow. It is not made; it is born.

So clearly this yogurt passes Smug muster, and Smug Scout could end her post here were it not for the fact that this yogurt is driving her insane. As you should already know, Smug Scout eats yogurt every day with granola and local, organic fruit. When she first opened her Straus Family Creamery European Style Organic Plain Lowfat Yogurt, she was shocked by how runny it was. She did not need a spoon. She just poured it into her reusable plastic Bircher Müsli container. Then she tasted it. It did not taste either European or European style. It tasted like sour mass market American yogurt. Smug Scout has eaten a lot of yogurt, if not yoghurt, in Europe, and she has never felt that “American Style” sour shock in her mouth.

To make matters more irritating, Smug Scout cannot seem to use up this runny, sour non-European style yogurt. After over a week of non-European tasting Bircher Müsli, she was shocked to see how much was left in this gargantuan 32 ounce container. It seems like a bottomless container. It seems like every time Smug Scout eats some, the remaining quantity doubles. It is a yogurt version of that ancient Greek monster called the Hydra. Smug Scout will not throw it out either, because she refuses to waste things. She does not even dispose of moldy cheese. She grates off the outer layer and rather than throwing out those unappetizing blue shavings, she simply adds them to some Smug version of macaroni and cheese (she prefers the German version, Käsespätzle) and calls it “sharp.”

Last night, in an attempt to get closer to the bottom of this bottomless yogurt container, Smug Scout prepared an extremely spicy Indian dish (Tofu Vindaloo with local, seasonal, organic vegetables, if you must know) just so that she would need a large portion of raita. She even threw in multiple jalapeños with all of their seeds to make her mouth so inflamed that she would not care about sour, runny, or fraudulent “European Style” yogurt.

But this morning Smug Scout became quite cross when she saw how much yogurt is still left. She supposes she will dump it in the blender with some local, organic fruit. She supposes that will make approximately ten smoothies.

Next time she will get Fage again. She will gladly pay the extra three dollars. Anyway, she probably gets “billions of beneficial bacteria” in all the moldy cheese she eats.

Smug Apples

Smug Scout just received an amazing gift from a friend who went home to the East Coast for the weekend: a half peck of Macoun apples. This gift made Smug Scout reflect on what used to be her favorite season before she moved to Los Angeles fourteen years ago: fall. Where fall used to mean crisp, chilly, smoky air and leaves turning beautiful colors, here it means wildfire season with foul, toxic, smoky air and leaves (not even to mention the entire landscape) turning black and ashy. Wildfire season also means NO Macouns. As far as Smug Scout is concerned, Macouns are the only apples worthy of passionate praise, and they only grow in a limited area of the East Coast, specifically in what is known as the tri-state area, or, for those from other regions, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It is a bounteous region whose specialties cannot be grown or replicated anywhere else. (Yes, Smug Scout is exactly that kind of impossible ex-New Yorker. Please do not even get her started on bagels, pizza, and corn on the cob. She is absolute in her condemnation of any impostors that come from the west–and be warned, that means west of New Jersey.)

Well, it seems Smug Scout has digressed from her topic of the only truly Smug apple, the Macoun. She is not sorry. There are simply times that she needs to express her contempt for L.A., though she does not forget that she can eat local, organic strawberries while her tri-state area family and friends are shoveling snow off their turnips.

So, if you are from their privileged region, you know what Smug Scout is talking about. Otherwise, here are the reasons that Macouns are as Smug as Smug Scout herself.  You could even say they are the Smug Scouts of the apple world. Why is that, you ask?

  • They only grow in three states. You can see they have chosen well. They have not chosen new states. They have not chosen poor states. And they most certainly have not chosen red states. How arrogant and aristocratic of them!
  • They only grow from the end of September till the beginning of November. They give you a time limit because they refuse to spoil you with excess or overindulgence. They know all about the contempt of overstaying one’s welcome. You can see they know all about Granny Smith.
  • They do not keep well. They despise cold storage. You will not abandon them for months in some dark, overcrowded hole. They prefer light, space, and plenty of reclaimed wood for display and sale. If you do not give them what they want, they will punish you by turning to flavorless mush.
  • They do not like to travel. They refuse to travel in steerage class, which is gloomy, cold, and inhospitable. If they must fly, they prefer to be in their own comfortable half-peck bags, ideally hand-carried onto the plane by a tri-state native to her longing friend on the West Coast.
  • They simply will not be degraded into cheap products or mass distribution. You will not see Macouns in commercial apple sauce, conventional baby food, public school free lunches, or absolutely any fast food or chain restaurant. They leave those proletarian duties to their sadly inferior working class relative, the Red Delicious.

There you have it. While you may have thought apples were too pedestrian and American to be Smug, you can see how Macouns even outdo the likes of wild arugula and organic persimmons. Now, if you will excuse Smug Scout, she needs to go eat one immediately.