Today has been one of those days that can only happen when you are a mom blogger in Los Angeles.
it began with an email from Daphne Brogdon, a writer I was aware of through the LA mom blogging community, but had never met.
"Dear Fellow Bloggers: Some of you I know well, others not as much, but I wanted to invite you all to lunch I'm going to host July 10th at my husband's restaurant, Campanile. "
Hold on. I know the wife of one of LA's star chefs? (because now that we're emailing one another, I can call her a friend, right?) The man behind one of the city's best restaurants I've never dined at?
I let that news sink in a little before reading the rest of the message.
"It will be a small group and give you an opportunity to get to know City Councilman Eric Garcetti. I'm not raising money, but I want women of influence in the city to talk to him, ask him questions, voice concerns. He can get to know you as well. We have known him and his family for years and are impressed with his character and vision for Los Angeles."
Well, there you have it. As a member of the MOMocrats, I couldn't turn down an opportunity to meet the man who may be the next Mayor of Los Angeles. And a meal at Campanile had (almost) nothing to do with it.
So that's how I found myself in a private room with the Councilman and some of my favorite LA bloggers. He was charming and smart, and interested in hearing the concerns of a room full of local moms (including the Councilman's own mother, who is a kick in the pants).
And he does indeed have a vision for Los Angeles: as a city of neighborhoods where the people and businesses and public institutions work together instead of against one another... as one that makes good use of technology (instead of relying on the current antiquated methods that didn't work all that well 50 years ago). Garcetti is known for implementing new technology when he was president of the LA City Council, and said he would be interested in pursuing an alliance with Code For America. He wants to be L.A.'s "high tech Mayor."
But the conversation really got intense when we talked about the one subject that will ALWAYS engage a room full of moms: what to do about our public schools.
Councilman Garcetti used to teach public policy at Occidental College and USC, so he has some first hand experience with education. We also learned that he was a Rhodes Scholar. He told us of inroads he made with poorly performing schools in his council district, and how he believes schools need to be re-integrated as the centers of community in our sprawling, complicated, multi-ethnic city.
He gave each of us an opportunity to talk with him one on one; urging us to contact him to continue the conversation. And I think he really meant it; that if I email him with more questions (and I have a bundle), he'll actually answer.
As for the restaurant: every morsel we tasted was delicious, from eggplant burrata to Chef Mark Peel's famous grilled cheese sandwiches. Dessert was a parfait of lavender-infused chocolate ice cream with the best chocolate chip cookies I've tasted in a long time. I was proud of myself for taking just a few bites. Let me tell you: it wasn't easy.
And Daphne couldn't have been any more gracious - and funny. (It turns out she is not just a blogger but a comedian, too. And now that we've met in person, I've decided I get to start referring to her as my friend. Because that is the rule.)
I walked away feeling very important: after all, I had just enjoyed a meal in one of the city's best restaurants with the man who may be our next Mayor.
Then it was back to reality: Megan and I stopped off at home to check on our dog before running back out to grab some groceries... And we locked ourselves out.
With no way to get back into the house, we decided to walk to the air conditioned, wi-fi enabled comfort of Starbucks. (Did I mention the uncomfortable boot protecting my broken toe? Or that I'm wearing an uncomfortable lady shoe on my other foot? Or that it is frickin' 100 degrees out?)
And let me tell you: it wasn't an easy walk, not with trying not to trip over the uneven sidewalk on my street, which is dotted with shallow-rooted trees. Earlier this year, the City Council declared that LA homeowners are now responsible for sidewalk repairs in front of their property (not that the City has been taking care of it anyway, even though by law, they were supposed to).
I guess I should have asked Councilman Garcetti about that. Good thing I know how to reach him.
Learn more about Eric Garcetti's campaign for Mayor at http://www.ericgarcetti.com/.
DISCLOSURES: As impressed as I was with the Councilman, I have not yet decided who will get my vote in 2013. But this meeting gave me the incentive I need to begin researching the candidates who are in the running -- and Garcetti definitely has a head start. In fact, the more I read about him, the more I like him.
Those of us who attended the luncheon received a gift card that will enable us to return to Campanile for some appetizers. I can assure you that as I've wanted to sample the food there for something like 20 years, I would have written about the restaurant anyway.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad