Just two weeks ago, Smug Scout was in the deepest doldrums about leaving her beloved Smug east coast habitat and having to return to L.A., where she has to trouble herself with that tedious interference to her traveling, eating, and drinking whirlwind: the very job that finances these activities. Yuck. But Smug Scout was happy to receive a visitor from San Francisco, her longtime friend Smug Caustic Critic. If his name does not clearly reveal why Smug Scout loves him, she will elaborate: he makes Smug Scout laugh her head off, a rare gift. She loves his brutally sarcastic and absurd wit!
One day during this four day visit, Smug Scout and Smug Caustic Critic were walking around a local Smug epicenter, Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, when they spotted an outdoor cafe that had reclaimed looking wood everywhere in sight: sign, building, walls, fence, doorway, tables, and even tree stump stools. Smug Scout first wondered if it was a mirage, like those swimming pools and lemonade stands in boiling hot Looney Tunes deserts, but then it turned out she and Smug Caustic Critic could cross this magical threshold and order a virtuous non-alcoholic drink (but not food, as they had a difficult-to-get reservation at another Smug hotspot, Tasting Kitchen).
So a pale, wan, indifferent sylph brought them to a table and deposited some menus that seemed awfully tattered and shopworn for a place that has only been open a few months. The contents of the menu appealed to her: all organic and local produce from the legendary Santa Monica FM, cold pressed juice, and even a category called “Ageless Wonders,” which sounds Smugly spiritual, though she cannot for the life of her figure out either its meaning or its business on a drink menu. Smug Scout decided on a smoothie called Green Dream, which featured almond milk, green apples, a frozen banana, parsley, and of course kale. Smug Caustic Critic ordered some unpronounceable herbal tea.
When Smug Scout’s Green Dream arrived, of course with a green straw and in a repurposed jar, she loved it so much that she offered Smug Caustic Critic a taste. Though she hoped he would also love its intense greenness and kale-ness, his face and in fact his whole mood soured after one tiny sip. He announced that it tasted like “lawn clippings in my mouth” and even proceeded to offer a sarcastic revision of the process of making it: “They take a full lawn mower bag, extract the clippings, pulp them, and serve them in overpriced smoothie form.” And while on the subject of grass, Smug Caustic Critic slammed Kreation Kafe for its Astroturf floor material. Though Smug Scout attempted to suggest that Astroturf is practical in desert ecosystems (like L.A. had a few centuries ago) because it requires no watering and is also a sensible repurposing of discarded rubber tires, Smug Caustic Critic was having none of it. He archly informed Smug Scout that Kreation Kafe should be renamed Polymer Palace for its shameful incorporation of UN-sustainable and UN-local materials.
Smug Scout enjoys such rants and encouraged Smug Caustic Critic to continue. He denounced Kreation Kafe for promoting its reliance on local organic produce but then putting Persian Sumac and Pink Himalayan salt on the tables. (Smug Scout agrees that there is plenty of salt in the Pacific and doubts anyone in L.A. puts sumac on anything voluntarily.) He denounced Kreation Kafe for exploiting Malaysian forests for their virgin trunk wood. (Smug Scout does not know how he could look at tree stump “chairs” and know anything at all about their provenance, unless he is a dead tree medium.) And he most vehemently denounced Kreation Kafe for covering its “carbon emitters” (known to others as heat lamps or torchieres) with what he called “reclaimed Afghan burlap burqas.” (Smug Scout looked at the hole in the burlap cover, saw what he meant, and burst out laughing.)
Smug Scout was laughing and laughing…until she had to go to the bathroom. After sitting in that woodsy Smug outdoor oasis, Smug Scout was not prepared for the shockingly primitive squalor of the restroom. Remember, Smug readers: this place has barely been open three months! Thinking back, Smug Scout did not mind the backwoods experience in the Cafe Stella restroom, which really just meant cold water and nowhere to dry your hands. This one is just plain disgusting. The wall has water stains (did it rain sideways here?), the toilet paper dispenser has broken off (which actually was inconsequential, since there was no more toilet paper anyway), and the broken paper towel dispenser (not shown) evacuated its dry towels to the sink, so they were all soaked. This is not a Smug nature experience. This is a third world slum dive bar after last call. Smug Scout thinks even an outhouse could be more hygienic, tasteful and ecological than this hideous pit.
Smug Scout left Kreation Kafe feeling like a dupe. While Smug Caustic Critic was ludicrously trying to determine if the owners of the place were squirrels, warthogs, geese, cows, or some other ruminants (since he was a broken record on the topic of drinks made with the help of a lawn mower), Smug Scout was thinking that whatever creatures run this “kafe,” they are very cynical. They know that Smug customers will flock to the beautiful reclaimed wood outdoor tables, spend a lot of money on pressed and pulped vegetation, and only later discover the rank, ugly bowels. Smug Scout has thus made a decision: she will only return in a dehydrated state, perhaps even hungover. The Green Dream will taste better that way anyway.