After nine days of actually buying or preparing my own lunch, the thighs have returned to Hancock Park.
At 12 40 p.m. Saturday, April 18, the driver of a 2011 Toyota Tundra pickup, traveling southbound on Highland Avenue at - according to the LAPD - an unsafe speed, swerved to avoid a 2013 Honda Civic whose driver was beginning to make - again, according to the LAPD - an unsafe left hand turn from northbound Highland onto westbound Melrose Avenue. The truck, weighing in at about 5,000 pounds, crashed into the front doors of Osteria Mozza during staff lunch.
Alex Rivera Vasquez, 36, a Mozza prep cook. was hit by debris - a falling pillar - knock to the floor where he laid - comforted by co-workers - until paramedics took him to Cedars Sinai where he was checked out and released. He is fine.
But, the front of the restaurant was in shambles. Twenty, thirty minutes after the crash, a city inspector appeared out of nowhere and said the restaurant would be closed a month. In stepped Tom Penna of ITX Construction, project superintendent Wayne Neuenhaus and their crew. Ten days later, today, Osteria Mozza reopened for dinner.
"I'm, opening up Osteria Mozza," said legendary server Ralph Waxman, as he and others waited for the first customers to arrive. "For the second time."
Today, April 28, also marked the return of my favorite lunch in town. the staff meal, which, is often - some fools say too often - roasted chicken thighs. I had grabbed the thighs on crash day and stepped outside when the boom! happened. This is a meal I am privileged to eat often, but today I savored it with a little extra appreciation and thankfulness because this crash could have been so much worse.