Smokin on the Left Coast

A little freelance work of mine took me to Los Angeles, California from Tuesday to Friday last week, and after being trapped in New Jersey with these god-awful snowstorms, it was so nice to see palm trees and feel the warmth of the west coast sun. The one thing that has been sparse in my life during this stinking winter is the ability to smoke cigars outside. But I can tell you this… I sure as hell made up for things with my few days spent in the Golden State.

lax-airportThe weather wasn’t actually fantastic – mid 60’s in the day and high forties at night – but god dayum, it was so much better than 26 degrees and 26 inches of frozen white annoying stuff. I smoked four to five cigars a day and it was pure heaven. Before breakfast I sat in front of the hotel, propped up in a comfy chair and enjoyed a mild Montecristo to start the day. The hotel was at the airport so I kind of relaxed and watched the large metal birds just take off and land for half an hour. It’s quite therapeutic doing so, especially when accompanied by a cup of Java and a good smoke.

90_rated_cigarsThe guys I rode around with during the daytime are not only great dudes, but cigar lovers as well – lucky me. So as we drove all over southern California creation, puffing away while I got to see all the sites, and all the mind numbing traffic as well. I brought several large ziplocks filled with tobacco sticks and it was like Christmas in Hollywood for the boys. La Gloria, Camacho, El Rey Del Mundo, Troya, and Fuente filled the air – but air that also stunk like the back of an old Newark diner. Let me explain…

MercedesTwo of the guys I was with drive 1980’s Turbo Diesels – had the engines converted, and now both cars run on French fry grease. Yeah, I know… how Kalifawnya can you get. They go to a local french_fries430x300_newburger joint and actually do the owners a favor by taking the used oil off their hands. With gas over three bucks a gallon and their job taking them all over the state, the guys have saved a ton of money running on onion ring residue. The only drawback is that it’s kind of stinky and sort of wrecks the waff of a Punch Grand Cru torpedo. But okay, so what… I had to deal with a little oily stinkage, but it was worth it as I ramped up the Romeos and Pounded the Partagas throughout the Valley, down Sunset Strip, and the posh whereabouts of Beverley Hills.

Dinner is what messed the Jersey folks up, as after a long day of work, we gathered to eat around nine o’clock each night. But the problem is that 9pm west coast time is really 12am east coast time, and eating a big dinner at midnight is just so bizarre to say the least. And while the California smoking laws are insane, you can still smoke outside, and a great big-ass maduro or Cubano made for the perfect dessert while the others were scarffing their tartuffo and crème brule. The restaurant manager brought out offerings from his personal humidor filled with “real-deal” Monte #2’s while pouring us some Balvenie Double Wood on the rocks. Damn…you want to talk about the perfect ending to grilled lamb chops in a port wine reduction? Yeah, it was like 2:30 in the morning, and we had to get up at 7am… but the time difference worked in our favor as 7am is really like 10am for us Jerseyians. Or is it Jerseyites? Ah, who really gives a rat’s ash. We had an amazing time.

I probably smoked about 15 cigars in a three-day span and it was so mentally rewarding. Sure, I stunk a tad, but the French fry oil masked some of the tobacco goodness. The gorgeous women, scenic palm trees, amazing food, and great camaraderie certainly made it a trip to remember. So I ask the gods to please melt this wall of white stuff and bring springtime to the east coast so I can partake in the act of outdoor cigar smoking once more.

Til next week my smoking Dudes of the blogosphere,

Tommy Z

JR CIGARS Blog With the Zman

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