Malibu-ing

Thursday was a pretty sad day. For the past few months many of my friends have been filtering out of the city. Several of my close friends left the city right after graduation. Immediately after graduation I missed them but I was so preoccupied all summer with the bar exam that I didn’t notice their absence immediately. Now that the bar is over more people are leaving the city. One of those people is my friend Eric who has been on the blog numerous times. With his leaving, our core law school group has been smashed. He’s only going to be in Orange County but still, I cannot run, literally, to his house for whiskey or absinthe or wine or beer.

I know so sad.

Luckily we had a plan to counteract the impending sadness. Wine, food, trolling each other incessantly and frolicking.

The afternoon started with me arriving at Eric’s, us opening a bottle and toasting our friendship, the end of the bar and my upcoming birthday!

Check the wine he had:

Flip Flop: Left Coast. In honor of the blog!

Shortly thereafter Phil and Jessica arrived in Phil’s bitchin’ 80’s red BMW convertible. We hit the 10 and drove north on the 1, top down. It was a truly stunning day.

Hey dudes.

On the way north we stopped for provisions before pulling into Solstice Canyon in Malibu. Solstice Canyon is an awesome hiking trail with a water fall and a stream.

We walked down the path to a picnic area that was shaded and really mellow. It was pretty hot on Thursday but it was nice and cool in the shade.

We even inherited a table with a table cloth on it from some other people who were leaving and we set out our picnic.

Keeping it classy with twist off top wine we bought at the gas station.

Brie, flat bread, pate, and hot flaming cheetos. Some of these things are not like the others.

We mostly just hung out, reminisced about law school and just messed around. Later our friend Haylee joined us and we celebrated her recent engagement.

Picnics always ftw.

We also harassed Eric about his inability to open the bear safe trash can.

We can graduate from law school but cannot open bear safe trash cans. Can’t win them all.

Eventually we extracted ourselves from the picnic area and made a quick pit stop by the beach for some light frolicking.

I love Malibu. I love the beach. I’m never leaving LA.

Overall, it was a great day. I miss my friends who have left but I’m glad for all the good times we’ve had.

Boston Day 2: coffee, manicures and zumba

After an action packed first day in Boston I was so relieved to be able to sleep in on Thursday. Soon after waking I reported for bridal party duty. The nearest train stop to the bride’s house is actually Harvard.

I have always enjoyed Harvard Square. There are some great restaurants, coffee shops, shopping and bars to peruse while in the area. I personally have always liked Harvard Square. It has a kind of hippy vibe, like a less intense version of Venice.

After bridal duty I checked into some of my favorite spots.

Like Crema for coffee.

Crema is an adorable and delicious café in Harvard Square. It is independently owned and if you haven’t checked it out yet and you live in Boston then you should! I ordered a non fat, iced latte.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Starbucks but this really is better. I think you can taste the difference.

Then I decided to shop at the Harvard outpost of my favorite consignment store, Second Time Around.

Second Time Around has a great selection of clothing but I wasn’t able to find anything at this location (remember I got the $15 never been worn Tom’s the day before).

I did see these, a sure sign that you are back in Boston:

Don’t worry, no Lilly Pulitzer for me. This style would never fly in LA. Don’t get me wrong: I love prep but this is a bit too much.

I also restrained myself from buying a hot pink Vineyard Vines Blazer. I called my Mom and she talked me off the ledge. That is why God invented Mom’s, to stop you from making rash fashion choices.

Then I got a manicure so I would be wedding ready (clearly, it was also time for more caffeine).

Before I got on the T to go back to Carolyn’s I decided to hit my favorite Boston cup cake spot: Sweet.

Sweet didn’t open this location until after I left Boston but I frequented the Back Bay location since it opened a few years ago. They have many delicious flavors, were recently named “best cupcake” by Improper Bostonian. They pretty much lead the cup cake trend in Boston and we all know I take my cup cakes seriously. Plus, it’s adorable inside.

After spilling my life story to the women behind the counter (“I went to college here, and moved to LA, and went to the Back Bay location, and I write a food blog and I love Susie Cakes” seriously I’m the freak show) I looked over the display cases for the perfect cake.

Facebook cupcake = sure sign that you’re in Harvard Square:

After narrowing down all of the options I settled on the lemon and raspberry cupcake.

The cake was lemon with raspberry jam filling and a cream cheese based frosting. You couldn’t really taste the cream cheese; it tasted more vanilla-lemoney. This was probably the best cupcake I’ve ever had from Sweet. The frosting wasn’t too sweet and the lemon and raspberry flowed together effortlessly. Raspberry and lemon might be one of my favorite fruit flavor combos ever.

I also bought a “frosting shot” for 50 cents. I enjoyed it on the way to the T. I knew that the cupcake had a cream cheese based frosting and I was really craving some butter cream.

Is this not the best concept ever? I think it is!

After cupcakes I clearly needed to workout. Carolyn invited me to go to Zumba with her. I had never tried Zumba before but I’ve read all about it in the blog world. I was pretty sure I would be totally lost for the entire class and I went into it expecting to sweat and just jump around to compensate for having no clue what I was doing. Overall, I LOVED ZUMBA! I seriously am going to work this in as cross training. UCLA does offer classes and I need to make it a priority after classes start again. Zumba is a hip hop and Latin based dance class. Seriously, it’s socially appropriate to booty pop; I am so there! The class was intense but not too challenging. Even though I was sweating buckets I didn’t feel like I was working out. It was epic.

Afterwards we enjoyed wine in a public square near Carolyn’s house. It was a perfect vacation night!

What would be your perfect vacation night? Drinking wine with friends, having fun and laughing my tush off is pretty much perfection in my book.

Epic Saturday II

Immediately after leaving ColLAboration the fun continued with a trip to Henry’s, an awesome grocery store near Kaitlin’s house. Obvi the Two Boo’s join too!

We were in need of provisions, like cheese, crackers, and salami.

So inappropriate Andy.

We got back to Kaitlin’s chilled with Mark and ate cheese so quickly that I didn’t get a picture of it. What can I say? I love cheese and crackers so much.

After stuffing our faces with cheese we made our way to Umami in Studio City.

I’ve only ever been to Umami in Santa Monica, so I was excited to try a new Umami. The menus at the various locations are different and I had my fingers crossed for cheesy tots. This location was hopping when we arrived and we had a 45 min wait for a table. But that was OK because we know how to have fun while waiting for a table.

Photos + Shopping

FACT: Amanda looks good in children’s hats.

After a wait we finally got a table. Only problem? 6 of us were stuffed into two two-tops. We got awkward and we got cozy.

Still cracking up over the look on Andy’s face!

While the service left a little bit to be desired, I have to say that the décor was awesome. I loved the wall paper and the chandelier.

Because of all the service issues our server brought over complimentary truffle cheese fries. This improved everyone’s mood!

Then we dug into the menu. I’ve been to Umami several times before and I knew exactly what I wanted for dinner:

Manly burger, here I come. I mean, smoked salt onions, beer cheddar cheese and bacon? Sign. Me. Up.

What can I say about this that I haven’t said before? Juicy burger, beer cheese (tons of it, dripping), onions, and a soft bun. I am not a big burger eater but I will love this one forever. I know I should venture out of the menu but this is pretty damn perfect.

Sadly, there were no cheesy tots to be had at Studio City Umami, but they did have tempura onion rings!

While I had my heart set on cheesy tots, these rings were delicious! Super salty and the tempura was way crispier than traditional onion rings. These are probably in the top 5 of the best onion rings I’ve ever had. Yes, I rank onion rings. Is that weird? I didn’t think so.

After a very filling and very tasty meal I made sure that I saved room for cake! Kaitlin made a Snicker doodle cake for Mark’s birthday.

Happy birthday Mark! Make a wish!

Can I just brag about Kaitlin’s baking skills for a second? This cake was yummy and the flavor was off the chain. You know when you get a flavored cup cake or cake slice and you can barely taste the flavor? Isn’t that annoying? That was NOT a problem here. The cake literally tasted exactly like a snicker doodle! I only had a small slice because I was so full from three beers, cheese, crackers, burgers, and two rounds of fried goodies.

Overall, I love the food at Umami but the service we received left a lot to be desired. Kaitlin put a lot of effort into trying to make the night special for Mark and the service kinda put a damper on the evening. I don’t want to get into the details, but I received much better service at Umami Santa Monica.

What do you do when you have crappy service? Amanda and Kaitlin took the reins dealing with the questionable service (specifically, charging for things we weren’t supposed to be charged for, rudeness) and I was glad because normally I’m too intimidated to complain.