Paris Hilton, Pinot Noir & Moi

Devouring Lamburgers and Juicy Gossip at Plums

Photo by John PickelleThough I'm one of her most insatiable admirers, I have to admit I'm terribly disappointed in Paris Hilton's recent activities. There's no excuse, none whatsoever for the disrespect she's shown the public. After all, how's one to enjoy the celebutante's videotaped sexual escapades when the whole bloody thing's shot in nightvision!? I mean, we're hardly talking about the invasion of Iraq, mes amis, pre-dawn insertion or no.

If additional videotapes are forthcoming, one hopes viewer-friendly technology will be employed. But even with a slow dial-up connection on my computer, the now infamous, three-minute clip allowed me to achieve a blissfully self-induced petit mort, the after-affects of which left me ravenous. So I loaded up my portmanteau with a half-dozen scandal sheets featuring Paris' puss, and made my way to Plums Café for a Pacific Northwest-styled dejeuner.

Plums is a charming little bistro run by the equally charming Kim Jorgenson, who hails originally from Oregon. The moniker connotes warmth and quality, but according to Jorgenson, there's a ribald story behind it. Seems that at the tender age of 19, she was a waitress at the Studio City Denny's where her Sunday clientele included a pimp. One morn, this mack-daddy arrived in a Silver Shadow Rolls Royce with three workin' gals in tow; and over hotcakes and sausage, he remarked to his ladies that their server looked a lot like one of his other girls, named "Peaches." Soon everyone was referring to Jorgenson by her pimp-given nickname.

When Jorgenson started her own restaurant/catering biz nine years ago, she initially wanted to use this sexy sobriquet as a DBA. But "Peaches" sounds more like a gentleman's club than a stylish café. In keeping with the fruity theme, she went with Plums instead, which seems somewhat less naughty.

The interior of the establishment is done mostly in birch, with modern tables and chairs, hardwood floors and a few paintings from Oregon artists. There's a deli counter where one can order food to go, and outside is a pleasant patio encircled by a whimsical wrought-iron fence and various plants in large stone vases. Over the patio is a skylight, and there are lights and heaters about to indicate that Plums eventually intends to do supper, though Jorgenson is cagey when it comes to pinning down a date.

As it was a pleasant afternoon, I plopped myself outside at one of the green plastic tables provided to study my gossip rags. A fetching young blonde waited on me, instantly diverting my attention from the perils of Paris. I'm a sucker for a pretty face, and when it accompanies excellent service, even more so, as was the case with this fair lass.

I started with a cup of chicken tortilla soup, accompanied by a sweet, rosemary-seasoned scone. Certainly, chicken tortilla soup is a well-known SoCal item, but I'm not one to be bothered by trivial inconsistencies, especially when the soup is so damn good, with thick pieces of chicken and tortilla, and big chunks of fresh guacamole.

Next came my lamburger and my glass of Pinot Noir from Oregon's Lorane Valley. I've never had lamburger before, unless you count the lamb tartar I've eaten at Lebanese joints. But I can report that Plums' lamburger is smashing, with oregano, garlic and bits of feta cheese mixed into the burger itself. The feta gives the lamb a muskier twang than usual, which for a lamb-lover is a welcome lagniappe. I also enjoyed the sesame-seed bun, a product of the house oven and not fresh from some plastic bag.

I wasn't overly fond of the Pinot Noir. There are just some things California does better, and vino is one of them, but this Lorane Valley red is an adequate, inexpensive table wine and does not interfere with the food. I rounded off the meal with a jumbo cup of coffee and a piece of marionberry cheesecake, and no that doesn't come with a side of crack. Yes, Virginia, there isa marionberry native to Oregon, sort of a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry with a milder taste than either. After scooping the last of the cheesecake into my swinish kisser, I suddenly felt quite horny again and headed home for another Internet tête-à-tête with my beloved Paris. You see, I can attest that Paris by night works far better than a boatload of Viagra.

Plums Café, 369 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 722-7586. Mon.-Fri., 7a.m.-3p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 8a.m.-3p.m.; lunch from 11p.m.; breakfast all day on weekends; www.plumscafe.com; full bar; lunch for one, minus drinks, $18. Major cards.

 
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