What I did on my summer vacation (minus the vacation)

I cannot believe I’m writing a blog post titled “summer” with all the fun life and food things I did this summer. Actually, I can because I’ve barely blogged in months. I was actually out to dinner with some of my best law school buddies last weekend and they asked if I ever planned on blogging again. I’ve been busy thing summer with all kinds of things and distracted. I do love blogging and I miss the role it used to play in my life. Hopefully I can find a way to incorporate it more frequently.

Izzy likes lobster in the summer.

I still owe a post on how marathon training is going (spoiler alert: I’m training) but this post is other life things and food happenings from the last few months.

First of all, this is my most proud cooking moment of the summer:

Beer can chicken.

This is so easy. You take a whole chicken, oil it up and season it, place it over a half full beer can. You can use any beer you want because the flavor doesn’t do any work on the chicken. Rather, the beer just keeps the chicken extra moist. Then you cook it on the grill over indirect heat for 90 mins.

It took a bit longer to make this chicken because we ran out of propane (whoops) but it was still probably the best chicken I’ve ever made. Plus, it sounds complicated but it really is incredibly easy to make.

Note: the beer can is supposed to go in the rear end of the chicken and not the neck. Inset your own can’t tell my head from my ass joke here.

Another major exciting thing that happened this summer: I bought a bike!

I had some special gift money that I’d been saving from my Grammy and I decided that it was time to invest in a bike. I went to Summit Ski and Cycle at the recommendation of Joe and purchased a Vitamin A bike from KHS. This bike is a hybrid bike that is between a road bike and a beach cruiser. I’ll be able to use this bike in sprint tri’s when I decide to make the leap. I should always listen to my boyfriends recommendations. He really knew what he was talking about sending me there. The guys at Summit were so nice and helpful. They walked me through all my options, let me test drive several models around the block and even went out of their way to make sure I got the best price possible. I tried out a road bike but decided to go with the hybrid instead. I haven’t biked in a long time. If I decide to be more adventurous than sprint triathlons then perhaps I will consider an upgrade. For biking around town, going to medium length rides and attempting a sprint tri, I feel I made a good decision. A few days later I went back to pick up my baby.

I am also now accepting name ideas.

I’ve been on a couple rides with Joe and a couple of rides alone. I’m mixing it in with my marathon training and so far I really love it. I’m still getting the hang of the gears and biking in traffic and the South Bay’s killer hills but so far so good!

Note: Another bonus, Summit offered me free tune ups for the life of my bike and gave me a discount on all the accessories that I needed to buy for the bike (they threw in the water bottle holder and a water bottle for free!)

I also managed to make it to two concerts this summer.

First I saw Geographer for free at the Getty! I highly recommend checking out the free concerts at the Getty. We had to pay to park (but it’s only $10 after 5) but other than that the concert was totally free. We did, however splurge on dinner at the Getty which was fantastic and probably slightly over priced. No photos but I had an adult grilled cheese with apricot jam and prosciutto. Some of my favorite things! We also smuggled wine into the concert in coffee cups.

#WineSmuggler

The show was pretty good and it made me excited to see more concerts. I took some videos that I posted to Instagram.

Luckily I didn’t have to wait long to see another concert. The second concert we went to was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Hollywood Bowl. This was another great show.

Two world music acts opened the show: Oliver Mtukudzi and The Sun Ra Arkestra. They were both fantastic and so much fun!

Edward Sharpe was also just fantastic. I’m not as into their third album as I was into their first two but they did a lot of the first and second album so I was a happy girl.

Last major highlight of the summer: Last week was my birthday. That’s right: I’m officially old.

I started out my week long birthday celebration on the Saturday before my birthday. Joe made me homemade chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and mimosas. I even got to look at this cute dog while I ate.

After we went to Raging Waters, California’s largest water park! I had a blast but I was so tired afterwards.

On Thursday I didn’t do anything too special however I did meet up with Eric, Phil and Jessica for dinner the following Saturday. We went to a new restaurant: Louie’s in Mar Vista.

Louie’s is owned by the same people who own North End Caffe in Manhattan Beach. I love North End and my roommate works there AND had tried Louie’s so I was pumped. The owners actually came out to say “hi” which I really appreciated.

I easily decided to drink an old fashioned which is the drink of the moment.

For dinner Joe and I split bacon fries, the short rib po boy and the pork chop special. The prices are all between $4 and $16 and the plates are between being a full plate and a small plate.

The bacon fries were good. The bacon was in the form on a powder that is referred to as “bacon crack”. It was pretty good and Joe loved the tomato romalade sauce that it came with. They also offered ketchup which was cool cause some restaurants in LA are very picky about the sauces they offer. I usually don’t mind this (as long as the sauce is as good as the Father’s Office aioli) but I liked that they didn’t force their sauce on us.

I loved the short rib po boy. It was served open face with arugula, horseradish crème fraiche, and yellow tomatoes on the most delicious bun ever. I would order this 1 million times.

Then we had the pork chop. It was a pork chop with Japanese flavors with bread pudding and cranberries. It was a delicious take on a thanksgiving meal. Usually I’m not that gaga over pork chops but this was probably the most moist pork chop I’ve had… ever. It was off the specials menu.

I really want to try the desserts at Louie’s but it was a birthday party so of course I brought birthday cake! FYI- when you work at Susie Cakes you bring your own cake to your birthday party.

I ordered a 6 inch chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream on the outside and coconut butter cream on the inside. I love coconut butter cream with chocolate and we only do it by special order at Susie Cakes so I was pumped to have the combination for my birthday cake! It was so delicious. There are few food items I love more in this world than chocolate cake from Susie Cakes.

So that was most of the fun things I did this summer (at least the non running parts). I also spent the 4th of July in South Dakota (which is really fun, I promise) and went to a couple weddings. I’m really looking forward to the Fall. I have a trip to SF on the books for September, complete with my first 49er’s game and a trip to Chicago booked for October. Yes, Northwestern football and cider donuts are calling my name. Oh, and I’m running 26.2 miles through Long Beach. Should be a fantastic Fall! I’ll be back with a running update soon I promise.

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