Mani’s Fairfax

Los Angeles, California

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Although I went to the bastard Mani’s in Santa Monica within days of moving to Los Angeles and I have a more vast compendium of memories to tap into for that location, I was no less smitten with the more cozy Fairfax location. Just the name of the road lights up in me a whole host of distant flickers. Were it not for Thos.’s refusal to compose the tableaux which is more rightfully his demesne, these little vignettes would probably be gone from my skull as are the million sparks which will not illuminate these notes, already 6.5 years removed from my somber last visit to Mani’s Fairfax.

Mani's Bakery

To be honest, Mani’s Fairfax is less for me a series of distinct memories than a smear of reflections of night windows, of driving through little Addis Ababa and its smotheringly potent coffees, dinners with classmates, walking up the road from Mani’s to the Thai restaurant with the purple glow and the iridescent paintings and warm curries, of arriving and parking on the cross street in the residential area across from the big blank convalescent home where you could see into upper rooms with hospital curtains attached to the ceilings and droning teevees running in the night playing the empty pans and scans of the city’s machinations, Thos. used to joke about comatose people being robbed as we walked by, we could almost hear their groans, or, more grimly, molested or impregnated, and those windows up high are still the closest I get to thinking regularly about Mani’s as I think about writing stories set in old folks homes with demented codgers turning back into drooling infants and dying of Viagra overdoses, of deciding not to continue my infatuation with the carrot raisin cupcakes that spackled my guts many a night in santa monica and choosing to transition into the chocolate dipped cookies so as not to dilute my habits at the other location, praying that they would soon make a vegan chocolate raspberry fortress, hearing that Danny Aiello had been spotted here but never seeing anyone of much consequence, and on my last visit, the only one in daylight, telling an acquaintance about some writing plans only to be accused of having boring ideas. I decided to stick with my plan and reveled in the fact that I might alienate those who found my writing pompous, aimless, or pointless.

It is clear that several years later I have little to transport me back into a seat at Mani’s, but, if I am ever to find myself in LA again, I would step there in a heartbeat to start over.

Santa Monica, CA

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Mani’s Fairfax

519 South Fairfax
Los Angeles, California 90036

soymilk: no extra charge

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