Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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Ladies lunch at the Academy

Gunfire from the practice range at the Police Academy is quite a bit louder on campus than half a mile away on the Elysian Park western trail. Otherwise the Academy is busy but tranquil. We're here for the aforementioned ladies lunch, Cindy Bennett, my daughter, Madeleine, and I. It's a classic old campus, with stone gates, classy-looking swimming pool and in-house diner, which toward the end of lunchtime is packed with cops of all stripes, a few lawyers and a few civilians, like us. We just want lunch in a neighborhood place we never see, except in passing, driving to the 110 on Academy Road. We pass the Quick Draw ATM, walk around the side of the building. The restaurant has three horseshoe counters and a long row of booths. On the backs of the counter seats there are little metal clips for hanging up your hat. I don't see any hats, either on the seat backs or on anyone's head, though of course the room is full of gear, mostly hanging on hips. Cool vintage photos in frames hang on the walls. The waitress is very friendly, brings crayons and paper and a free lemonade for my daughter, tells me chicken tenders are available for kids, though they're not on the menu. In the booth next to ours a rock-and-roll-looking middle-aged guy with long dyed hair sits with three cops. I do a double take and then turn my attention toward my own table. We place our orders and talk about art, skin care, blogging and Madeleine's vocabulary. After a while it seems we've been waiting quite a long time. People are leaving the diner. The din is low enough that now we can hear the K-Earth 101 oldies songs over the restaurant P.A. We wait through "Long Tall Woman," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "Black Magic Woman." Then the waitress appears with the first of a string of apologies. She says they're making it now. The booth behind us rises and I see that rock-and-roll dude is wearing dark cop-looking cargo pants. Undercover. Well, not here. Finally our lunch arrives, and it's on the house. It's good, too.

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