Taking a portal back to Fandom was roughly a billion percent better than flying. Rather than getting to the airport several hours early, followed by a long flight in recycled air, indubitably sitting in front of a small child that squalled and kicked and next to a large man who thoughtlessly encroached on her space, Kathy could make her way to wherever the portal was scheduled to open with only minutes to spare, and then boom! She'd step through and be in Fandom. Okay, actually she'd step through, have a few weird layovers and pitstops, and then, boom! Fandom, but it was still better than flying. A layover in the Dimension of Blue was infinitely more interesting than a layover in Cleveland.
On a whim, she'd scheduled her portal to open not far from the diner that Gorgon had introduced her to over Thanksgiving break. It wasn't much to look at, everything scrupulously clean but rather faded and worn. More than one of the booths had rips covered by duct tape, the air always smelled heavily of brine, and the colors and decor looked like they hadn't been updated since the seventies. Between that and the giant neon pickle outside, most people gave the Pickle Hut a pass. Kathy couldn't say she wouldn't have done the same if she had seen it under other circumstances. But the people who judged this book by its cover were seriously missing out on some of the best food in the city. Certainly on the best kimchi Kathy had ever tasted outside of Koreatown.
The Pickle Hut specialized in all things pickled. They had a whole separate menu for different kinds of pickles to try, including a pickle sampler platter and another featuring different kinds of pickled vegetables from all around the world. Pickled eggs, pickled beets, pickled jalapenos, pickled mango sauerkraut...if it could be pickled, it was probably on the menu, somewhere. Even pickled herring, which Kathy was working up her courage to try. Their main menu featured traditional diner food, especially burgers (that often featured pickled whatevers) and milkshakes (that generally didn't, though they did offer a pickle-flavored shake for the daring), both of which were always oversized, really thick, and amazingly good.
If Kathy hadn't spent most nights flitting around the rooftops of Koreatown at an easy jog of thirty miles per hour, she'd probably have to start worrying about how many burgers she'd eaten this trip. And since she had plenty of time before her portal was scheduled to arrive, Kathy had ensconced herself in a booth and ordered a lunchtime special with extra fries and an monster-sized oreo cookie shake.
This was way, way, way better than airport food.
[For the other LA native and open for phone calls]
- The Pickle Hut, Los Angeles, Sunday Afternoon