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!

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Traveling to San Diego & the Coronado

Saturday LCCDad and I headed down to San Diego for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon (where I set a 9 min PR, running 2:02. Read the race recap!) We packed up early…

And hit the road. But not without stopping at Clementine for breakfast, obviously.

I started the carb loading early with a bagel and lox. This is probably one of my favorite breakfast items, after pancakes. And bacon. And breakfast potatoes.

I also had a latte, which I promptly spilled all over my white blouse. I have issues. We know this.

Because of the spilling incident we had to go back home but pretty soon we finally hit the 405 South.

You might remember that one of my goals for 2011 was to explore California. Signing up for races is really a great way to explore more parts of the state. I’ve never been further South (in CA) than Corona del Mar. Dad and I decided to take the 405 until Long Beach, cut over to the 1 and then after going through the beach towns in Orange County cutting back to the 5. The ride was long but the views were gorgeous.

We stopped in Laguna Beach for Starbucks and a bathroom pit stop. I restrained myself from doing impressions from Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. I loved the area near the beach! The vibe was perfect for this beach girl.

And then we hit the road again, but stayed within view of the beach.

Before we knew it we were in San Diego. The city is so beautiful! Now I know why so many of my classmates are working there this summer.

We stopped in at the expo which was a mad house! Dad was illegally parked so I ran in, grabbed my packet and ran out. There weren’t that many freebies but I did get a new technical tee:

Not a huge fan of black running shirts (too hot) but I’m sure I will still manage to get plenty of wear out of it.

After getting out of the expo mess we drove somewhere much more relaxing: Coronado. Coronado is an island and to me, Coronado is like Martha’s Vineyard, Marco Island, and Palm Springs had a love child and placed it on the Pacific Ocean. I pretty much never wanted to leave. I was very fortunate to travel with my Dad, who wanted to stay at the Coronado Hotel. I am a very fortunate girl.

The Coronado was absolutely beautiful!

Source

The outside of the hotel is pretty iconic and it sits on the beach. I am 100% a beach girl so it was pure bliss. The rooms were also very nice! I was lucky to have my own room on this trip.

LCCDad is making a cameo in that one!

Laying on the bed.

I was a happy camper.

This was the view!

The hotel itself is HUGE! There were two weddings that I saw taking place on various parts of the beach. This place is a well oiled machine!

The rest of the day consisted of frantic sun screen applying, pool hanging and a bananas pre race meal at the 1300 Ocean restaurant in the hotel which included a glass of malbec, burrata cheese with broccoli and a blood orange sauce, seared diver scallops, mac and cheese, and an orange crème brule. I didn’t photograph but it was a great pre race meal.

Overall between the drive south, exploring a new city by running through it, staying at the Coronado and setting an incredible PR it was a pretty special weekend. Special thanks need to be given to LCCDad for an epic trip and weekend.

The past two days have been crazy busy between work picking up and LCCDad not leaving town until this AM. I am still on cloud 9 due to my new PR. I tweeted this and this true:

I’m already debating returning to the scene of the crime in August for another half marathon. Sub 2:00 or BUST!

Anyone know of any good half marathons in So Cal this summer? Or alternatively what hotel have you always wanted to stay in? I seriously want to stay in the 7 star hotel in Dubai because I seriously love luxury (I know, you’re probably not surprised)

Getting Ready for San Diego

For the first time in my life I’m packing more socks for a trip than I am shoes. I have more “things” than I have tops and bottoms. I’m packing snacks. OK, so I always pack snacks. That isn’t so different but I am packing some serious Gu.

Seriously, how do I know which pair of running socks I’m going to want on Sunday? Clearly they all need to make the trip. I’m still working on my playlist for the race and I will post it in my recap. I also am packing copious amounts of body glide because chafing is bad.

LCCDad arrived today and I met up with him after work for cocktails poolside at the W and an amazing dinner at Pecorino in Brentwood. Oh my goodness it was good. I had a grilled eggplant appetizer, pappadelle with fava beans and pesto for an entrée (the same that I had over spring break) and pear gratin for dessert. It was fantastic! Didn’t blog because I was catching up with my Dad and didn’t want to feel like I was working (plus I have an insane blog backlog right now).

LCCDad brought me a little something which I know LCCMom had a hand in picking out…

A running hat and a running watch! Pretty much the best gift ever. I need the hat to keep the sun off my face while running. The California sun is hot and this hat will prevent sunburn and wick sweat. I have never run with any kind of watch and I don’t plan to wear it for the half. Running with something new seems like asking for painful chafing but I will need this for marathon training. The watch is small and it will be nice to finally be able to track my runs. You can also see my packing list, which has pretty much every possible item I could even possibly need to run. Running takes so much more than just clothing and shoes.

Tomorrow morning I head out with my Dad for the drive south. We will probably meander down the coast, drop in at the expo and then pool hang in the afternoon. We’re staying at the Coronado which should be beautiful! I can’t believe I’m running another half marathon in 48 hours. Can’t wait to share the experience with all of you!

In the meantime, if you want to read about my training and race goals, click here!

Saturday Brunching

Saturday I drove east to Silver Lake for lunch with my awesome cousin Joe. Joe is actually my mother’s cousin which makes him my first cousin once removed (I think). I love hanging out with Joe because 1) he’s been in LA forever and knows a ton about the city 2) he is a great conversationalist and is up on politics AND popular culture 3) he reads Dlisted which automatically makes him good people. We had brunch at Local. I’ve been to Local before but never blogged about it.

Just like last time I ordered this amazing apple and pecan pancake.

Guys, this pancake was insane. The roasted apples with cinnamon and pecans? Yes, please. This is one of the thickest pancakes that I’ve even had. I didn’t eat the whole thing because obviously I had to save room for this glorious plate of bacon:

Food porn. I’m not even kidding. I know a few weeks ago I said The Griddle has the best bacon ever but I think I need to revoke the title and give it to Local. This was the perfect combination of crispy and chewy. Amazing. If you are on the east side or just want a great restaurant in LA to try, you should hit up Local.

After brunch we hit the Silver Lake FM which had blood oranges! I haven’t seen them on the Westside in a few weeks. Literally, my heart skipped a beat and I bought like 7. Overall, a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Tomorrow LCCDad arrives in LA and Saturday I leave for San Diego! I’m starting to get excited and a little bit nervous for Sundays half marathon. Fingers crossed it goes well!

Anyone have awesome weekend plans?

Joan’s on Third

If my first week of vacation was all about catching up with friends, the second week of vacation was all about large lunches, reading and shopping (post to come on my new business casual work wear acquisitions). Wednesday I went to the opening of Lemonade in Brentwood and on Thursday I went shopping at the Grove and then took myself out to lunch at Joan’s on Third. I’ve been to Joan’s for cupcakes before but never for lunch.

Joan’s was busy (as usual) but way less busy than it would be on a weekend. I love everything about Joan’s. They have a cheese case that I just want to dive into <- not even kidding. I placed my order at the counter and was lucky to snag a table outside.

My tour of the Chelsea Handler catalogue continues…

To drink I ordered an iced tea.

Soon enough my sandwich arrived. It was a tough decision but I ended up getting apricot glazed ham with brie on wheat. Obviously, brie and ham is always going to be my go to.

The sandwich was delicious! There was brie but not too much. The bread was very grainy and delicious. I sat in the shade, read my book, sipped on my iced tea and enjoyed my sandwich. Pure lazy vacation bliss!

The staff at Joan’s is great. I wish I could say the same for the other patrons. While I was in line there was a group of women I will refer to as the plastic surgery gallery (really, why does anyone do anything to themselves that makes them look like they are going through a wind tunnel at all times?) and they were on their phones while ordering. The cashiers were trying to tell them to order as a group on one register but because they were on their phones they didn’t understand. It was obnoxious.

Then while eating my sandwich, another patron waiting for a table threw a hissy fit, was incredibly rude to the server and basically demanded a table that wasn’t rightfully hers. In order to appease the women the server ended up asking me to move half way through my meal to a table in a lesser location. The staff was very nice to me as they asked me to move, clearly they were in a bind and they made things right with the drink refills but I was shocked at the audacity of the customer to basically demand another customer to move.

Other customers aside, the staff was nice and tried to be accommodating. The food was amazing as always. I snagged a cupcake on my way out, same as last time which was tasty! I will be hitting Joan’s again, but maybe only to go.

Any dining horror stories of other patrons? I consider myself a pretty low maintenance diner so I was shocked someone would cause a scene just to secure a table in a certain location.

In other news!

My little brother started a blog! He is spending the next 10 weeks in Cameroon doing civil engineering work. If you want to travel his exploits in Africa, you can follow his blog. I am so proud of him going out in the world and making a difference.

Lemonade: Brentwood

This little vacation of mine has been perfectly timed! I saw a tweet on Tuesday night that Lemonade in Brentwood would be opening for lunch on Wednesday. Because I had the day off I decided to check it out!

Lemonade has several outposts in LA including in Downtown, Venice and West Hollywood. Yesterday they opened one in Brentwood (which is super close to where I live, very conveniently located). The concept behind Lemonade is that the food should be delicious, simple, and is served cafeteria style. It’s like a grown up lemonade stand! This has been on my to dine list for a while and I was so excited to check it out on opening day!

Loved the décor. Super clean, white and crisp. I got there around 1 and they were busy but I was able to get a great table. Before I sat down I went to the counter and picked my meals. Lemonade serves a combination of salads, proteins, soups, entrees, and sandwiches. Because it was my first visit I tried 1/2 portions of several salads and one of the proteins.

I have to give credit to the staff at Brentwood Lemonade. They were fantastic! They had great recommendations, made sure that I knew what I was doing because it was my first visit and were very attentive and chatty after I sat down. They made my dining experience wonderful.

This was my plate:

4 salads:

  • Brussels sprouts, shaved parmesan and balsamic
  • Drunken soy chicken, soba noodles, peanut, creamy sesame
  • Sweet potato and pistachio
  • Roasted parsnips, rosemary red onion, honey and blue cheese

Plus 1 protein

  • Seared Ahi Tuna with a crushed orange ponzu (in the middle)

All of the food was delicious. I love the idea of being able to split portions and try different things. The sweet potatoes and the drunken chicken were my favorite but they were all tasty.

Obviously, Lemonade serves several types of Lemonade. My server recommended watermelon rosemary and who am I to argue with a tasty sounding recommendation?

Holy yum. This might be my favorite lemonade, ever. It was crisp and not too sweet. Plus the rosemary flavor gave it a little something extra. Normally I am a black, unsweetened iced tea girl but this drink is the exception to my rule (bonus points if you get the movie reference).

As usual, I couldn’t resist getting dessert. I opted for the peanut butter milk chocolate crunch bar.

Can you blame me? The peanut butter was creamy, the rice krispy was, ah, crispy (?) and the chocolate smoothed the whole thing out. I only ate half while I was at lunch because I was so full! There were so many other treats that I want to try soon.

Overall, I am glad Lemonade has moved into my hood. The staff was friendly and the food was delicious with plenty of variety. This is definitely going to be one of my go to places in the future.

The Griddle

Here is the thing about law school finals: they last for over 2 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I need all that time to study but after a week of working in near isolation I needed a breakfast/vent session with a good friend. Danielle and I decided to hit The Griddle in West Hollywood for giant pancakes and a catch up sesh (which included statements such as “that was HARDLY discussed in the class so why did he test us on it?!”, “8:15 AM for a 4.5 hour final?! That is a violation of my Civil Rights!”).

I’ve been to The Griddle once before, pre-blog when I had only been in LA for about two weeks, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since so I was excited when Danielle suggested it.

Thing that is awesome about The Griddle?

You get your own personal French press!

The Griddle is known for their HUGE and super sweet pancakes. I’m sure there is other stuff on the menu besides pancakes but seriously, why bother? The fact that the pancakes are so large and sweet informed my choices. I only ordered one pancake and I chose one of the “less sweet” types.

Danielle went for the Nutella French Toast:

See what I mean about large and sweet? I didn’t save room for a bite of her French toast but she said it was delicious.

I opted for the Honey, Cinnamon and Rolled Oats pancake.

In the words of Danielle, “even when we go to The Griddle you order something healthy”. HA! Only healthy because of the rolled oats and I love rolled oats. I only ate about half of this pancake. Can you blame me? The pancake is literally bigger than the plate! The oats cut the sweetness a little bit and the honey was just the right amount of sweetness. Oh, and obviously we added maple syrup.

We also ordered bacon, you know, to chase the sweet pancakes with.

It was so good that Danielle couldn’t wait until after I took a picture to dig in.

Overall, I still love The Griddle. Perhaps because I went for the first time a week or so after arriving in LA it feels like quintessential LA to me. I need to go more frequently and remember that it’s a great place to bring out of town visitors. The lines on Saturday and Sunday are insane but we didn’t have to wait early on a Thursday so check it out on a weekend if you can because otherwise you might have to wait for an hour for service.

What is your favorite breakfast dish? I don’t really like eggs all that much, so for me breakfast is all about pancakes and bacon!

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.

Saturday means…

Latte from Espresso Profeta in Westwood

Starting the day with a latte from Espresso Profeta! Not only is it the prettiest latte in Westwood but also the best in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I love Starbucks and Coffee Bean. I can hang out in the arm chairs at “It’s a grind”. However Saturday AM isn’t Saturday AM without an Espresso Profeta latte. The frothiness of the foam mixed with high quality espresso is heavenly. Also, the staff here knows coffee. Seriously, they know coffee. Don’t argue with them or ask for a large size, you will get stared at like a freak if you expect a jumbo 20 oz beverage like you would get at Starbucks. The drink might not be as large but it is far, far better.

Espresso Profeta
1129 Glendon Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024