Pondering Visitors Both Local and Extraterrestrial

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Mayor Bob Frutos and his wife Laura with Morrison’s owners David Angulo and his wife Lynette Romero.

You would have to be from another planet to have missed all the recent news about unidentified flying objects, or what the government calls “unexplained aerial phenomena.” 

Am I a believer? Let’s say I’m not a disbeliever. Just as with Sasquatch, ghosts and the possibility of members of congress working harmoniously across the aisle, I believe anything is possible, and that many things happen that are unexplainable or that we’re not capable of fully comprehending.

Clearly, if we are being visited by intelligent life forms from other galaxies, they would have to be far more advanced than us. So far advanced that, to date, they know they should only reveal themselves to commercial and military pilots and those relatives we all have and go to before an election to see who they are voting for so we know who defiantly not to vote for.

I do have to say, it does bug me that in a world in which just about everyone has a high-definition, color, motion-stabilizing camera in their pocket, the only video footage that ever gets captured of these UAPs are grainy, blurry, shaky, black-and-white images that make the “Zapruder” film look like it was shot with 21st century state-of-the-art technology. 

If we are being visited by other worldly beings, would I like to meet these advanced souls, if in fact they possess souls? I’d love it! And I wouldn’t be shy in telling them just who we earthlings are. I would reveal that we are a people obsessed with many things. I would freely admit that near the top of our obsessions is the consuming of a dark beverage derived from roasted beans which is available on just about every other corner, along with various forms of protein that are either tucked between a folded circle of flour or corn, flanked between two pieces of bread, or sprinkled along with cheese and the sauce of a tomato over a layer of baked dough. 

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Among those who came out to have dinner with the mayor at Morrison’s were Romik Hacobian, Lusine Simonyan, Tamala Takahashi and Paul Herman.

I would, however, hold back on dishing on our juicer obsessions until I established a quid pro quo deal so I could get enough of the goods on them to write a book, one that would provide a payday that would enable me to hobnob in a glamorous world of scintillating company while sampling gastronomical delicacies and sipping exotic libations in even more exotic of locales (although I would continue to write this column).

If, after cutting my deal with the aliens, they were to ask me what makes for an earthling’s perfect day, every scenario would include eating and drinking, preferably in a restaurant, pub or café. 

While I’m sure the extra-terrestrials would be too far advanced to need plant or protein-based substance, I would go on and on with great exuberance telling them about what pleasure earthlings derive from sinking into a leather booth in a dark-paneled room or sitting on the patio of a café and having someone bring them whatever they want to eat and drink. I would explain how wonderful this experience can be for celebrating a special occasion or with someone you are romancing, you love, you are doing business with, or whose company you enjoy. I would let them know it’s an experience, I believe, we of Earth missed the most during the pandemic.

I was talking about that very thing with Mayor Bob Frutos the other day and he agreed. In fact, because hizzoner shares my feelings, he has decided to let all Burbank residents know where he will be dining over the next few weeks. 

“I thought it would be a great way to support our restaurants as the city rolls out the Chow Down Burbank program, which encourages everyone to support our local restaurants,” Frutos said.

“Burbank is a community in which we all love to be sociable,” Frutos told me. “It’s a part of our fabric — getting together, neighbor-to-neighbor — and the pandemic ripped that away from us. But now we can get back together, and I want people to know that my wife and I are supporting our restaurants and would love to invite everyone to come out, enjoy a meal, and feel free to come over to my table or invite me to theirs to talk, ask questions and tell me how they are doing. I see it as a step into repairing the fabric of our community.”

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Former Burbank Police Commission member Nat Rubinfeld and his wife Alma enjoyed dinner with the mayor at Morrison’s along with the Burbank-based Chulada Spices owners Gema and Rey Sanchez.

This past Monday night, Frutos and his wife, Laura, kicked off their restaurant crawl at Morrison’s, which is owned by David Angulo and his wife, Lynette Romero, the Emmy Award-winning journalist, anchor and reporter for the KTLA 5 Morning News.

“David and Lynette had just opened their doors and 30 days later they were closed down,” Frutos said. “It’s hard enough to get a new restaurant up and running in the best of times, so that was devastating for them. But they held on, and that’s why I wanted to start off at Morrison’s. I will be doing this at other restaurants as the weeks go by and announcing where I’ll be on the city’s Facebook page.” 

On Monday night, a patio full of Morrison’s diners who took the mayor up on his invite, visited with Frutos, Angulo and Romero as they table-hopped to chat and pose for photos.

“We’ve had so many customers tell us how they don’t know what they would have done — that they would have gone crazy — if they didn’t have the opportunity to get take-out or eat here when they were safely allowed to during the pandemic,” Romero said. “In return, we’re so thankful for their support. We didn’t know when we would see the light at the end of the storm, but our customers kept us going and sane.”

Angulo agreed. “We’re so appreciative that Burbank welcomed us and supported us during a scary time,” he added.

Romero said that, to some extent, she feels as if she, her staff and their customers are getting to know one another in a new way.

 “We hired so much of our staff and served so many of our customers during the pandemic when they were all wearing masks,” she said. “That is how we met and knew them, and it has only been recently that we have seen their entire faces for the first time — their smiles and their teeth,” she added with a laugh. “Seeing their smiles is the light — it’s a wonderful reemergence from the storm.”  

Oh, and as for me, if by any chance the aliens do make contact, my plan is to invite them to join me for one of the mayor’s upcoming dinners. I figure it will be a great way to enjoy a wonderful meal and support our restaurants while fulfilling their request … to take them to our leader. 

 If you would like to know when and where the mayor is planning the next stops on his restaurant crawl, follow the city’s official Facebook page.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.