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L.A. First Timer

For the very first time I have actually set foot on California ground.  Excluding layovers in San Francisco, Oakland, L.A., and San Diego, I had never actually been out in the California air.  This all changed this past weekend when I went to go meet Bryan in L.A. after his Boeing conference.  Friday I jetted out of work early to get on my 4:30 flight to LAX.  By 7pm, Bryan and his friend Patti were picking me up and taking me to Hermosa Beach for dinner.  We had dinner near the pier at a restaurant called Meditteraneo with an excellent dinner featuring Spanish small plates and delicious sangria that was right up my alley!  The three of us enjoyed the bistecca with polenta cake and mushrooms, prosciutto wrapped dates (bomb!), fried cauliflower with romesco (bomb!), pork, seafood in basil cream sauce, and a caprese salad.  We walked down the pier a bit before heading to Patti’s apartment in Redondo Beach.

Hermosa Pier at night.
Hermosa Pier at night.

Saturday morning we met Patti’s boyfriend, had coffee in the apartment before heading out to the beach to rent beach cruiser bikes.  Once I had my cruiser we were off on their very extensive beach bike path.  We pedaled to Manhattan Beach where we parked our bikes and headed to brunch.  We had a good brunch with endless hour-long mimosas before heading back on our bikes to continue pedaling north along the coast.  We biked all of the way to “The Jungle” neighborhood in Marina del Rey (8.5 miles) where we stopped again for a brief ice cream stop at Playa Provisions.  We biked back the way we came all the way back to Redondo Beach to complete our 17 mile ride.  It was cloudy and cool the whole time which was such a shocker to everyone.

Our bike ride.
Our bike ride.

Bryan and I changed and took the rental car to Hollywood which took us about an hour from Patti’s place.  We wanted to walk the Stars and we did, the whole length, not realizing that it is 1.3 miles in length with a roundtrip of 2.6 miles.  We were exhausted and really shocked at the caliber of the strip.  We got back in the car to drive back towards the beach via Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard and with a detour through Beverly Hills which was really beautiful.  The sun was already setting on us at 8:30, which is an hour earlier than Seattle, and we made our way to the Santa Monica for dinner.  We found a highly-reviewed place on Yelp called Cha Cha Chicken which had amazing Caribbean food and was BYOB.  Bryan and I devoured our plates; me with the jerk chicken, plantains and slaw and Bryan with the jerk chicken enchiladas, beans and rice and plantains.  Amazing food and environment and we licked our plates clean!

Bryan's jerk chicken enchiladas with rice and beans and plantains.
Bryan’s jerk chicken enchiladas with rice and beans and plantains.
My jerk chicken with decadent plantains and slaw.
My jerk chicken with decadent plantains and slaw.

Sunday morning after Bryan and I slept in we had brunch with Patti in her apartment before heading to the beach for lounging.  Sunday was a gloriously sunny day with a high of only 73 and a light breeze but a strong sun which made for a perfect temperature for the beach.  We sunbathed, took walks on the beach and Bryan even managed a run on the boardwalk.  After we had our fill of sun we walked back to Patti’s apartment (1 mile walk), showered, packed and said our goodbyes.  Bryan and I left with the rental car and made one last stop before the airport.  We headed to Baja California Fish Tacos for just that, fish tacos.  We each order two fish tacos and a shrimp ceviche tostada and went straight to heaven.  The fish tacos were so amazing.  We left rather stuffed and happy, dropped off the car at the rental car agency, shuttled to the airport, flew home, took the light rail and then bus to our house and were home by 10pm.

Killer fish tacos!
Killer fish tacos!
Shrimp ceviche tostada with toppings from the topping bar.
Shrimp ceviche tostada with toppings from the topping bar.
Bryan's jerk chicken enchiladas with rice and beans and plantains.
Bryan’s jerk chicken enchiladas with rice and beans and plantains.

Great mini vacation from Seattle.  L.A. was interesting, both good and bad and much of what I expected and much of what I can’t really figure out.  I’m glad to be back in small town Seattle though!

Chelsea

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