Monday, August 31, 2009

...I'm late

Very late.  Sorry.

In the past 3 months (yikes) I've:

taken several cooking classes (woo!)
gone to LA (more below)
asked for a full-time position at my job (scary!)
was going to be offered a job I wasn't ok with taking, so gave my notice at the job (MORE scary!)(but I'm still there for the time being, under contract which is great)
attended two lovely weddings
read some books
taken a kayaking course
made 437 dumplings (for reals)
celebrated a friend's engagement (eee!)
gone wedding dress shopping - with success!
bought a new laptop
signed up for sewing classes, more chinese classes, and more cooking classes.  Momma's gonna LEARN.

So, LA.  I went with a friend we'll call Med, who had a medical licensing exam to take.  The planning went something like this:

Med: Hey, can you get me a hotel deal in LA?
J-Bird: Hmmm, it's about $140/night.
Med: Dammit.  Motel 6 it is.
J-Bird: Huh, if I go with you it'd be $49/night.
Med: Each?
J-Bird: Total.  So, hope you're cool with having a roommate!

It was a lovely trip; while Med studied, I read/worked/tanned, and after her exam we went shopping, sightseeing, eating (oh, the eating), and one night, she watched while I drank most of a bottle of champagne (that I'd bought for her, natch) and then acted the fool as a result.  But in a more culinary vein (because we know where my tastes lie), here are the highlights.

In Manhattan Beach, I recommend the Rock n' Fish (particularly the Oak-Grilled Artichoke.  If you're lucky and  they're on special, just get 4 and have those for dinner).  Afterward, if you have room (I did, but Med was aghast that I even entertained the notion), head just up the road to the Manhattan Beach Creamery for some ice cream.

In Santa Monica we had a lovely meal at Trastavere (website seems to be down), an old-fashioned Italian place.

In Pasadena, head to Marston's for breakfast, and have the French Toast (it is a revelation).  For lunch...I don't remember what it was called.  Look, go to the Westin Pasadena, and ask the concierge (an older black man) about his favourite Mexican place, and then go there.  But don't eat too much, because for dinner at Madeleine's you want to have room.  That one was a splurge, and highly worth it.

When we weren't stuffing our faces or shopping at Anthropologie (so much love), we were checking out Huntington Gardens and the Getty Center, which were both incredible.  Be sure to check out the desert garden at Huntington, and just go walk around the Getty.  We didn't go even go in, the architecture is so amazing.  Come to think of it, Huntington has a library and museum we also didn't check out.  But who wants to be indoors when it's so gorgeous outside?  Remember to pack drinks, though.  It gets hot!

And of course, you can't go to California without visiting In n' Out (Med had never been!).

All in all, a great (and filling) trip.


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