SQIRL, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Sqirl is so famous to me I can barely believe I’m here. I always have a swell in my heart when I see the Hollywood sign and I haven’t seen her yet, but I feel the swell. The LAness of what I’m doing is too much. The day is on fire before it’s started.

We have London > LA jetlag, the best kind of jetlag. We are lively and enthusiastic morning people. We’re at Sqirl at 7.30 am and I’ve already been for a run down a silent Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Faced with this blackboard, I am giddy. It’s the actual Sqirl blackboard and I am actually about to eat sorrel for breakfast.

I list off the items I’m going to eat, enough for three people – to my boyfriend and to no one and to myself and to whoever. And then, feeling a little more relaxed, I check back to see how long the queue is, and the queue is still not long but it’s getting longer, and – wait, what? – there is Mark, a person I know. Mark works for an American restaurant group and lives in New York and I have only ever seen him in London, where I live. He looks at me, shakes his head, closes his eyes to clear the debris, opens them again. I shout: “WHAT THE HELL”. And the man in between us doesn’t want to be in between this display of radical joy at this hour of the morning, so he kindly drops back a place. We thank him animatedly but he doesn’t want to be thanked. His friend isn’t here yet anyway.

Mark is doing work stuff in LA. Is he? He doesn’t know really. Because he just came from Istanbul and the last person he expected to see in the early morning Sqirl queue was me.

Everything is wonderful. We have seats outside. Mark needs to try everything for work reasons and we need to try everything for life reasons, so between us we try everything,

California avocado fanned out like this is all a dream. A sorrel pesto rice bowl with an egg on it– tart, fresh, crisp, supreme. A slab of brioche heavy with creamy-fresh ricotta and jam, like I’ve seen Kiernan Shipka order on Instagram. Another slab of brioche laden with chocolate and nut butter, like nothing I have ever seen. Some cookies.

Our coffees are gone. Mark has to work but says we should head up the road to Intelligentsia… You could walk, he says, but you’re in LA. We drive up to Silverlake’s Intelligentsia, a café that is the blue of the sky we will see in full later, when we’re at the Griffith Observatory. This is a two-coffee day. This is a two-coffee day and my heart can barely take it.

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