Los Angeles

To be honest I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of LA. I had heard that it was smoggy, the driving was bad, it was stinky hot and it was sort of a big tourist trap full of plastic fantastic people. But I do have a few friends who live there, either full of part time, and we had our baseball tickets so off we went.
We had a rough time when we first got there with Dollar Rent A Car, a story I won’t go into here. By the time we headed to the accommodations (for the second time that day) we just wanted to eat. On our first trip to the apartment we had passed a place called Tommy’s which looked like an average burger joint; the prime selling feature was the large amount of parking and the fact that it was around the corner from our apartment. We decided to pull in and take our chances and we ended up with a winner. Tristan said it was literally the best burger he had ever had. We were actually at the original Tommy’s, though they now have a few locations. The original burger is one with chili on top (I opted out), and looks like a heart attack on a plate but it really hit the spot.
After we got settled and had a little rest we headed up to the Griffith Park Observatory. The park and the telescope were really great to visit at night, and we took in the city views. Following that we went to a place that our friend Kris had recommended El Conquistador. The menu was standard Mexican fare but the margaritas were the real star. The atmosphere is also worth the visit.
 

Another stand out in the fast food arena was Pinks Hot Dogs. We were warned there would be line ups, but we went mid week and at an odd time (around 3pm) so we really didn’t have to wait very long. And boy was it worth it. Tristan had the Today Show Dog which featured 2 hot dogs, chili, guac and other assorted toppings, I had the Emeril Lagasse featuring a few spicy items. They have a patio out back where you can eat in the shade, these are not walk and eat dogs.

We had dinner out with friends two nights in the city. The first was with my friend from high school Phil, who works in Pasadena. He recommended a place in Silverlake called The Red Lion Tavern. A solid German tavern the menu featured large portions of authentic fare and a great beer list. The night we were there a man was playing the keyboard and his first song was “I love LA” by Randy Newman. Big points.
On our final day in LA we had two stand out meals. We drove out to Santa Monica and walked along the sand all the way to Venice Beach to take in the scenery. Venice is a trip and while there are tons of small cafes on the board walk one just off the main strip caught my eye, a place called Larry’s. The patio was nice, and with a sophisticated menu and quirky cocktails it was a great place to relax. The photo of the pizza seen at the end of the entry is from Larry’s
We drove back into the city that night to meet our friend Micheal for dinner. He had made reservations at The Little Door restaurant. The restaurant is noted for being one of the most romantic in the city and for good reason. The primary ceiling in the restaurant is a living one made of incredibly dense vines. Totally beautiful. The food was excellent – but the price point is pretty high. We had been pretty good in LA so we were ok with a bit of splurge.
And that was pretty much LA from a food standpoint, a few things we found helpful:
  • Had Dollar Rent a Car not screwed up we would have had a GPS (they had run out even though I had reserved one) – I cannot stress how much this would have come in handy. To avoid massive roaming on our smart phones we had to use the wireless at the apartment, Google Map our day and then write it all out by hand before leaving for the day.
  • If you take in a Dodger Game don’t bother with the All You Can Eat – those Dodger Dogs are terrible. Also bring your passport if you want to buy beer and look younger than 60, they don’t accept any other out of country ID.
  • It sounds cheesy but the Star Tour of Homes we did was actually pretty fun. Particularly because then we could both look around without being worried about directions. We did this one and got the kids price, see if you can negotiate for it. Our tour went through more than just the homes and included Rodeo Drive.
  • Our only really “celebrity sighting” was at The Grove shopping mall in the food court. We were eating at a Cajun restaurant and this guy, was sitting next to us. But every time I read People or US they always have photos of celebs shopping at The Grove, probably a good bet for some kind of sighting.
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