Posts tagged los angeles

Eating Around Los Angeles

Let the vacation fun continue! We’ve been home almost a week, and I guess we’re back in the swing of normal lives. I think I’m experiencing post-trip depression. There’s nothing to look forward to for awhile. 😦  I need a project.  I’m thinking I’ll take Jude on a field trip this week to the Bass Pro Shop or something. I wish we had an aquarium here. I may have to haul it up to Tulsa to visit a friend and go to their aquarium.

Ok, some more Los Angeles fun. One of our hobbies is food. I really think that my husband missed his calling as either a chef or a food critic, because he loves food that much. Apparently, he has just come into this realization, because at some point during the trip, he says out loud, “You know, I think food just really makes me happy.”

No! No way! SHOCKING! 🙂  I’ve only known this for years. I look at him and say, “Um, and you’ve just now realized this?!”

taverna tonys - malibu

taverna tony's - malibu

Much of my love for LA stems from my year at Pepperdine. I had a lot of fun experiences, just exploring the city, so anytime we go back, it’s fun to revisit those favorite places, but also to find new ones too. We like to go to eat at Marmalade Cafe (in Malibu, or at the Grove in LA) as well as (OF COURSE!) In-N-Out. I confess, we drove straight to In-N-Out the second our flight landed. We’re that addicted. Jude decimated his cheeseburger — as if  all cheese on earth was to be eradicated for eternity tomorrow.

Simon had heard about Crumbs Bake Shop. Apparently there are several outposts of it around the country. Similar to a Sprinkles cupcakery, but with a more old-world/circus design (and less I-could-care-less-about-your-baked-goods attitude from the hipper-than-thou employees), Crumbs had a wide variety of delicious cupcake flavors to try. My personal fave was the Boston Cream Pie cupcake. The chocolate frosting was thick and rich, much like the Guittard chocolate frosting you can buy from Williams-Sonoma, a special treat.

Other good eats in Malibu: Howdy’s Taqueria, Malibu Seafood (inexpensive, delicious seafood – a mile north of Pepperdine on PCH), Paradise Cove Beach Cafe….

Since we had the convenience of a kitchen at our apartment in Venice, we were able to do a lot of grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market. We remarked numerous times that if we had either of them here in OKC, we would spend soooo much money, but we would be eating oh-soooo good.  The farmer’s market in Venice was also particularly fun. Those grape tomatoes were so sweet — and so poppable!

I wish I would’ve bought some of those snap or snow peas. I loooove them. And every time I look at this picture, I want some.

Let’s see, where else did we eat….  Oh! Pink Taco! I didn’t get any photos of it, but we enjoyed sitting out on the terrace and enjoyed eating some delish tacos after Jude FINALLY passed out after a no-I’m-not-gonna-nap showdown. Yeah, that was a delightful day.

On our last night in town, Simon had a special request for dinner. He wanted to go wait in line at Pink’s hot dogs, the legendary hot dog stand on La Brea & Melrose. To be frank (ha!), I don’t get the appeal of Pink’s.  I’m a Ball Park hot dog kind of girl. So this didn’t really do it for me. But my boys love hot dogs, so to Pink’s we went, and Simon is still raving about it. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, we finally got our order in and sat down on the terrace back behind. Jude also got in a great poopy diaper change in the trunk of our car, much to everyone else’s delight, I’m sure. Hey, it was cleaner than the Pink’s bathroom floor! I hate it when public bathrooms don’t have baby changing facilities.
Because I was a good sport to go along with the hot dogs (FYI, the seasoned fries were totally worth it), I got to pick where we would go have dessert. That last day in LA, we had spent the day cruising town, exploring Griffith Park and far eastern Los Angeles. I happened to spot this cute little place called MILK, and after a quick perusal of Yelp.com on my iPhone, I decided this was it. To be fair, I was first captured by their fab logo, but it turned out it was more than just form — it was function, too!

Two words, my friends: Blue Velvet.

Yeah. You heard right. Blue. Velvet. It’s a blueberry cake with LOTS of blue dye, and DELICIOUS cream cheese frosting.  

They also have a wide selection of ice cream sandwiches (homemade ice cream!) made with enormous macarons (not macaroons — macarons, little French cookies). Oh, and the homemade chocolate milk? Uh huh. Yup. Divine.The little red velvet poppers were pretty delish, too, although more red than chocolatey. (FYI, red velvet really should be a chocolate cake w/ red food coloring. If it’s too red, it’s minimal on the chocolate and is not true red velvet).

Here’s me and Jude, showing off our blue tongues. There was other, um, blueness, too. But that came later. Just be forewarned if you eat heavily-dyed food. You will see it again.

Ok, moving on from dyed, um, stuff. Lemonade! Once again, we were attracted initially by the cute design, and then we stuck around for the great food. Four fruit-blended lemonades every day round out the beverage choices, but there’s also a variety of lemon-themed desserts as well. But if you’re needing more than just lemony sweetness, we were surprised by a variety of other choices too. Pot roasts, mac & cheese, and other items were there for the taking, cafeteria-style.

All in all, a delightful culinary experience! Now, who’s hungry?

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Staying in Venice

Hey everyone! I hope you had a fantastic week. We are back from our sun-and- fun-filled week in Los Angeles. First of all, I want to say how thankful I am to my husband Simon for making our little getaway possible. It’s only because he works so hard that we get to enjoy the fruits of his labor, both here at home and when traveling. Thanks, honey!

Simon found us these really cute little vacation apartment rentals, the Venice Paloma Suites. Having not been terribly familiar with Venice from my Pepperdine days, I thought ok, let’s do something totally different than our norm. We had also considered staying at the Venice Beach Eco-Cottages, so we made sure to do a drive-by when we were there. For the record, they are just as precious in real life as they are in the photos. More on that later.

our street

our "street"

Like the eco-cottages, the Paloma was also just as perfect in real life as it was in the photos. No bad surprises here. Remarkably well-designed for a small space, we were pleased as punch with the entire arrangement. It was perfectly decorated and very spacious. I really have no complaint at all with the experience and I would stay there again. The beds were pretty comfy (memory foam mattresses!), the kitchen was well-appointed, and there were TVs in each room. The location was close to the beach, (one block!) and it was very quiet. Oh, no washer & dryer, but apparently there was one in the building? Never explored that option.

The only downside is that there is no on-site parking. You take a five-minute walk to an enclosed garage in a new-construction apartment building. Kind of a pain.

To be honest, the neighborhood was on the fringe of sketchiness. In other words, I wouldn’t have felt super comfortable walking around the ‘hood by myself at ten o’clock at night. Did we feel unsafe in our apartment? Never. It was totally private, and we had to have a key to even get in the gate. However, just walking a few blocks to the north, we were in an adorable part of town with lots of shops and cafes to choose from. In fact, one morning, Jude and I walked from our house all the way up to Santa Monica’s 3rd Street promenade, a distance of about 2 miles. More on that later, too.Isn’t this fun? In the hallway, there was a long row of hooks to hang your stuff on. Surprisingly practical and extremely useful, especially since there was minimal closet space. Hmm… good idea!


All in all, we were totally pleased with our Venice experience. The Paloma was the perfect spot for our family, with lots of room for Jude to run around, and with bedrooms for him and for us. The entire time, I kept thinking, “We would have been miserable in a tiny hotel room.”  Alternately, if we had stayed in the eco-cottages, it would’ve been a totally different experience and would not have had enough room for all 3 of us. (side note: It was in a neighborhood, much further from the beach, but very well-designed and close to Abbott-Kinney, the hipster street (also with lots of fun shops and cafes). This neighborhood did not feel iffy at all, and had lots of beautiful landscaping, cute houses, etc. So. Something to keep in mind for your next getaway, no?)

All in all, I’m almost sad to be home! It was such a perfect little vacation for us, and I wish I was back on Paloma Court, laying out on the chaises longues and enjoying the (non-humid) sunshine. ::sigh::  Oh well, we’ll be back.

Lots more LA stuff to come!

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Weekend Getaway: Los Angeles!

You may have noted my  insistence as of late on how badly we’ve wanted to get out of town recently. Travel has always been a part of our lives. As a kid, Mom & Dad always took me along on trips all the time; at spring break, for example, Dad would go to CME classes and Mom and I would explore whatever city we were at until he was done with his conference. I feel like traveling as a kid has been an influential part of who I am as an adult. It made me see that there was something different than where I was from – different places, people, architecture, culture, etc. Simon and I hope we can continue to do the same for Jude.

Part of the fun for us is finding a cool place to stay. It seems there are two schools of thought on hotels: (1) get something as inexpensively as possible because, after all, you won’t be spending much time there; or (2) go ahead and get something fun because staying somewhere cool is all part of the experience. In my opinion, when you stay somewhere lame, you definitely don’t want to go back to the room, so you end up finding any excuse NOT to go back.

Anyway. Did you see the post I did on the Venice ecocottages? We seriously considered staying there, and it became one of two top contenders. In the end, the Venice Paloma suites won out. Simon found them, and they look really cute. I’m especially glad, now that we have a baby, to have the extra space to spread out, as well as the convenience of a kitchen. Being cooped up in a tiny hotel room when J goes to sleep at 8pm just sounded like a whole lotta not fun.

Check out these photos – that subway tile! And in blue, no less! I love it!

I really can’t wait. I’ve been giddy all week with anticipation! We even got a fantastic airfare — a direct flight, no less! Do you know how DIFFICULT it is to get a direct flight to anywhere but Dallas from Oklahoma City? It was providential, I have no doubt. So come June, we’ll be outta here!

I’m especially looking forward to taking J around LA. It has been one of my most favorite places since my days at Pepperdine University, nearly (gulp) 10 years ago. I’ve been back several times since, and I am so thankful that Simon loves it too. It’s just so much fun. I’m thinking that we’ll take Jude to the Farmer’s Market, and explore Griffith Park. I’d like to revisit the Huntington, as well. And of course, many a trip to In-N-Out and Diddy Riese. And Pinkberry. And Malibu. Oh yes, looooots of Malibu. 

For our first anniversary in 2006, we stayed at the darling Maison 140, a member of the Kors hotel group. It was designed by Kelly Wearstler, and it was just so much fun. I love looking back at the pictures of that trip. We ate at Electric Karma, an Indian restaurant, for our anniversary dinner. And then followed up with cheesecake in Brentwood.

And then in 2007, we were there for Mom & Dad’s 50th anniversary trip. Actually, we stayed in a gorgeous rental house with the entire family in Laguna Beach, but we stole away for a couple of day trips up to LA. So I’m counting the days — can’t wait til June!

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