Author Denise Hamilton and Eating L.A. blogger Pat Saperstein did a fun road trip recently, visiting many of the local dining spots patronized by Hamilton's lovelorn newspaper reporter protagonist, Eve Diamond.
In her latest book, Prisoner of Memory, Diamond gets mixed up with the criminal elements of the Russian immigrant community. One of the detective's first stops while investigating the case of a teenage boy who was murdered in Griffith Park is a Russian deli somewhere near Studio City....
So our first stop was Chenar Deli in North Hollywood. A round-cheeked young Russian woman helped us select the wonderfully smoky eggplant and red pepper dip; cabbage salad perfumed with dill; cherry-cheese pirogi, like a hearty strudel, and syrniki, hockey puck-shaped disc made of sweetened farmer's cheese, which make a perfect breakfast treat.
It was a great day of multi-culti feasting, and like Diamond in Prisoner of Memory, I went home with bags and bags of treats to feast on for the next few days. Hamilton's books, which are full of the L.A. native's actutely detailed observations and fictionalized real events like the armed robbery of a Chinese seafood palace, are a great way to get to know the underbelly of the city -- and the actual belly, as well. And what other detectives pack a bento box of noodles for lunch every day?
Hamilton is the editor of the L.A. Noir collection as well as a contributor here to Native Intelligence.