The hardships that have come with the coronavirus are obvious and really bear no repeating here. But, it is undeniable that extraordinary circumstances, as it usually does, has produced extraordinary answers and practices. Here’s 7 things we’d like to see continue once we are released into the New Normal.
AL FRESCO, AL THE TIME
We like things outside in California. We create outdoor rooms in our homes and sunscreen is a normal part of our daily grooming regimen. The outdoors are the very reason a lot of us moved here—have you ever heard someone say they came to the Golden State because they’d heard such wonderful things about the recirculated air?
So, eating outdoors has always been a perk of living here. And now, it figures to get perkier. Long Beach is opening up streets, sidewalks and parking lots to expand restaurant seating; rethinking public space to help satiate our mutual love for eating outdoors while helping those who feed us make a buck.
Those that have read my writing have long known that I am supporter of what urban design nerds call “complete streets,” meaning that streets are for everyone—not just cars. It hasn’t always been an easy thing to argue: Car culture in SoCal is as ingrained into our brains as is the need for sun but if this pandemic has shown anything, it isn’t just the fact that our skies become significantly more gorgeous and clear. No. It is also that we can reimagine how we use our public space—and with 70% of our public real estate handed over to our cars, it is time that we re-approach the almighty road as something more than just a speedway.
This isn’t to say it will be easy, there are all kinds of issue of responsibility, liability and feasibility, but the payoff is way, way worth it for beautiful, fun, useful, delicious outdoor space. (Brian Addison)
EIGHT O’CLOCK CHEER
We really do appreciate what the healthcare workers and first responders do. You can set your watch by it.
Haven’t you had the experience of hearing your neighbors making a racket and just when you were going to complain, it suddenly dawns on you that they’re cheering to thank the folks we will never be able to thank enough?
You also know that it’s 8 o’clock, so that’s nice.
We like the 8 o’clock cheer because, for a minute, it connects us and reminds us that we’re all in this together. And by this, I’m not just referring to the pandemic, but in the health of the city, state and country. That we are dependent to and for our fellow citizens.
We like this so much that we would like it to not only continue but be expanded. Let’s have one night we cheer for teachers. Perhaps we could have rotating days when we cheer for different professions, organizations or individuals.
And if you think it doesn’t matter, I was with you a little more than a week ago. Then I went to cover a parade between healthcare workers at Memorial and St. Mary health centers and first responders. When I interviewed some of the healthcare workers I asked, probably a little snidely, that given how hard their every day is, did a minute of us cheering from the comfort of our home mean anything to them?
They were emphatic that it did, one telling me “Oh, you have no idea how much that matters. How much that helps. Yes, we hear it. We hear it!” (Steve Lowery)
This city has had an interesting, Ike and Tina-like relationship with bicycles, spanning periods when there was great enthusiasm at constructing Long Beach as the most bike-friendly big city in America, to a time almost immediately after that bicyclist and motorist seemed to just get on each other’s nerves.
But the stay-at-orders has put an entirely new spin on things as people found themselves looking for economical ways to get around while also allowing them a point of outdoor contact. Riding a bike not only lessens the amount of carbon dioxide a quick trip by car would needlessly add to the air, but also turns the errands you’d normally feel obligated to run into an adventure worth the exercise. During the pandemic, local bike shops have seen a “bicycling boom” with more customers buying not only new bikes, but lugging old or barely ridden bikes out of their homes for tune-ups.
In a story I did about bicycling’s renewed popularity, Aaron Rickel of bike shop Pedal Movement said that, “stocking inventory is difficult right now as suppliers are running low on inventory. People are seeing the importance of transportation and exercise during this time … We think people started realizing staying healthy and getting outdoors is still an important part of life. So they began pulling their old bikes out of garages and realizing they needed some work done to get them up and running.”
Here’s to hoping people will continue to see the value of getting some fresh air and a feeling of freedom when it doesn’t necessarily make sense to isolate our ourselves in a car. (Asia Morris)
I think we can all agree, no matter your outlook politically or culturally, the concept of cocktails-to-go is the greatest thing, ever, and were including human fellowship and puppy’s breath in that.
Cocktails-to-go combine those things we value so much as a people: cocktails and taking cocktails with us to someplace where we will comfortably consume the cocktail. Cocktails-to-go are so great that the first time you have them feels like the first time you entered a bounce house and wondered, where has this been all my life and how can I ensure it never goes away?
And that’s what we’re asking. Please, do not make Padres (above) stop sending cocktails out the door in adorable science experiment bottles. Please allow Portuguese Bend Distillery to continue to push out the door its Mai Tais’ in what appear to be giant Capri Sun bags; and all the others.
Now, there may be someone out there who scoffs (SCOFFS!) at the idea of folks buying liquor to go, they may find it unseemly or unsettling. They should know that liquor to go is actually a tride-and-true concept, that there are stores that sell liquor to-go right now. They’re called liquor stores, you can look it up.
All that cocktails-to-go added to the liquor store model is the ability to procure expertly made drinks easily and transport to someplace where you can enjoy them responsibly with other people or, you know, by yourself if you’ve just kinda had it with people. They can be the worst. (SL)
FOOD TO-GO, STAYS
One of the more interesting adjustments our chefs and line cooks have had to face is creating food that holds up when thrown into a to-go container and delivered to our doorsteps.
Chef Ross Pangilinan has admitted that he has struggled with this and that struggle definitely makes sense: We’re talking about the man largely responsible for Patina scoring its Michelin star and a talent that has taken over the Orange County food scene with his gorgeous plating and witty takes on California’s pan-cuisine. With his first restaurant in Long Beach opening in the middle of a dine-in shutdown, Pangilinan has had to rethink things, like how does one make a tostada that remains crunch upon delivery?
Even Chef Michael Procaccini of La Parolaccia has said that he has to alter his pizza dough recipe and cooking times so they uphold better when in travel.
It’s tricks like these that chefs should never give up on—and hopefully, these to-go-friendly plates will remain in existence because, even though we’ve been locked up in our houses, when things go back to normal, you can bet we’re still gonna want a night or two at home having great food. (BA)
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Okay, so, cleanliness. I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that I wasn’t washing my hands after every trip to the grocery store. Even when I did, I definitely wasn’t singing Happy Birthday twice in my head to ensure that the germs I’d picked up touching grocery carts, tomatoes, door handles and the like, were vanquished and in turn, would not make it to my virus-vulnerable eyes, nose and mouth areas.
That’s certainly something I’ve implemented into my life a lot more often, and more thoroughly, and something I’m sure all of you will agree we should keep doing now, and if this pandemic ever ends. (AM)
C’mon, how adorable is that? The above is from DOGZ on 2nd Street. It’s clean and, no doubt, refreshing. Why wouldn’t we want to continue to have this in our lives?
You see, it’s important to remember that many of the best things in our lives are developed in times of enormous stress and need. For instance, radar was developed during World War II. Now, are we saying cocktails-to-go are as important to the nation as radar? Yes. Yes we are. Because like radar, they provide a measure of comfort while protecting us from space aliens. (SL)
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