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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Summer Nights

I already have gushed plenty about how much I love summer. This Friday was particularly awesome because I got to hang out with Bloggers and sing songs at the top of my lungs here…

Who doesn’t love that? Friday there was a Grease Sing a Long at the Hollywood Bowl.

Basically you get to watch the movie outside, on a big screen and singing is highly encouraged. I love musicals so I fully participated in the loud singing.

But first, I high tailed it over to The Alcove to pick up my dinner.

I’ve been to The Alcove several times but I’ve never blogged about it before.

After looking over the menu I knew exactly what I wanted! I also grabbed an iced tea.

And this cookie. Isn’t it beautiful?

Then I made my way over to the Bowl to meet up with Kaitlin, some of her friends and Kelley and her husband Irving. I always have a fantastic time with these ladies!

Thanks, Kelley!

For my dinner I had the blackened salmon sandwich. This sandwich, like all sandwiches at the Alcove was pretty much amazing. Look at the HUGE portion of avocado. I have been eating a ton of salmon as of late and this sandwich continued to feed the obsession.

There was also spinach and a lovely spread on the sandwich. On the side there was an apple and pear slaw. It was unconventional and crisp. Perfect health conscious side dish!

I brought one of my favorite summer adult beverages: Sam Adams Summer. This reminds me of summers in Boston and it was the perfect pairing for a night at the Bowl.

Then we settled into our seats. One of the best parts of the event was the people watching. There was a costume contest and there were tons of people who got really into it. The actress that played Frenchie was the MC for the contest and they did a little tribute to Jeff Conway who died recently.

As usual, Grease was fantastic. It really holds up on a 5th or 10th viewing. It was fun watching the movie with the peanut gallery all around. Anyone who has seen Grease as an adult and as a child knows that the movie is actually really dirty. It was fun seeing all the adults laughing and all the little kids being confused by the adult themes.

Going to the Bowl was a great way to kick off summer. I can’t wait to make it back!

Blogger Picnic

Saturday was a beautiful day! To celebrate I got together with some awesome LA area bloggers for a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl. You can access the bowl whenever you like if there isn’t a show. There was literally no one else there.

Best Seats I’ve had at the Bowl, ever. Way more mainstream than that time I snuck in to see Tom Petty.

My picnicking buddies were Kaitlin, Amanda, Lea, Lynn and Eden.

Kaitlin and I (photo credit to Amanda)

Amanda, Eden, and Lea

Lynn, Kaitlin and I (photo credit to Kaitlin- as always, I love how your camera makes me look!)

It should be noted that we took over not 1, 2 or 3 boxes BUT 5 boxes. Oh yes. There was that much food! I brought my Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad.

Kaitlin brought veggies and hummus and almonds

Lynn brought granola bars (um, they were amazing) and muffins with fig jam (!)

Eden brought cold cuts and mini quiches & Amanda brought chips, hummus, dips, cheese and drinks.

And Lea brought veggie bars

I had 3 plates FULL of food, but I only took a picture of plate 1… I was distracted by all the tasty food.

I left the event with an awesome food baby and some rocken’ tan lines. I had a great time meeting hanging out with old friends and meeting some new LA bloggers!

What did you do this weekend?