It was the briefest of brief encounters, but in an instant I understood that I'd wounded him to the quick. "Eaten anyplace good lately?" was the usual question from Dan, who I knew worked somewhere on the business side of the paper I used to write for, and who liked to try Los Angeles' unusual ethnic holes in the wall. This time, instead of enthusing about Salvadoran pupusas or Korean bulgogi, I replied, "No, alas. I've just finished a piece about a really awful new Cajun-Creole place on Sunset." His face fell, and he uttered a name. "Yeah," I replied. "We just sold them a quarter-page ad for the next six months," he explained, an ad we were sure would be canceled a day after the piece came out. Suddenly his face brightened. "I always tell them," he said, "it's just one... More >>>