I hadn't been back since last May - time to see if enough time had passed since our breakup and if LA and I could get along alright.
I took off Thursday after work and flew into hazy LA.
Hit the runway at LAX right at sunset.
Just in time for rush hour. I picked up my rental car (a nice little VW) and headed over to Mike's place to kill a little time. Little did I know I didn't actually have time to kill, because Facebook messed up the time zones on my event, and people were already there. Whoops.
I'd figured it be easiest to stay Westside til rush hour was open, so I had a group of friends meet me at my favorite - yep, 800 Degrees. Meatball marinara with artichokes and ricotta, I've missed you!
These fine folks came to see me, and it was so great. I've missed them, too.
After stuffing ourselves with pizza (I seriously could've eaten a second one), we walked over to Diddy Riese for some sweets. The humidity was wonderful and I just wanted to swim in it! And swim in Masato's beard.
This girl cracks me up. She came all the way from the valley to see me, and I was so glad.
You take the 405 to the 105 to the 110 to the 91 to the 5....
After dinner I drove Mike home, and we stopped to see Rachel at her place since it was her birthday. I was loving this friend catch up time.
Then off to Hollywood to see Haleigh and Brandon and stay at their place. Parking is a nightmare on Beachwood, but thankfully they were coming back from somewhere and picked me up, since I had to park at least half a mile away.
I woke up the next morning and hung out on their patio under this leaf, taking work calls and answering emails.
Of course I love seeing the two of them, but their place is so convenient to fun!
After I wrapped up some work, Haleigh and I headed over to pick up Cher so we could grab lunch at Sycamore Kitchen. So so good. Also, so expensive, as I can't resist all the goodness there, and I'll spend $25 for lunch. Yikes. Their donuts are so rad. I had the rye chocolate chip cookie.
And that awesome pork belly BLT.
After stuffing ourselves, we headed to Runyon Canyon to walk it off. I wholly agree with this sidewalk sentiment. And Haleigh has a hilarious photo of me trying to stand in the right angle to take this, but I will not be posting it. It's so awkward.
Masato came and met us. He's always up for a hike or a run.
Back at the house I cleaned up and got ready for Caribou. Trevor came over and we walked to grab a bite. Not at Cafe 101, but man, what a place this is.
We stopped first a at donut shop right before they closed. LA is such a donut town, and I am willing to try them all. Then we walked to a little Thai place in a strip mall next door. We walked in and didn't really see anyone, then I saw the cash only sign. Eeek. Turns out we did have enough, but no one seemed to be working. We took a seat anyway, and soon the nicest, cutest Thai lady came over to take our order. She was wonderful, and then brought us a stack of magazines to read while we waited. Next time you want a hole in the wall Thai that's good and affordable, go to Thai Pepper.
We ate our donuts on the walk down to the Fonda.
Ah, the show was so good. I loved the four-piece band, playing what you know from the album, but having the space to build and expand and add more magic in the moment to tracks. The lights were great, and I looked around a few times at those around me - eyes closed, smile on the face, heads bobbing, some dancing breaking out. I almost went again the next night.
The next morning the rains had cleared the skies, and Haleigh, Brandon and I headed up Beachwood to hike the Hollywood sign. The trail has been closed off a bit more since I was last there, and parking is harder, but it's still possible. Especially when you're staying on the same street.
I requested lunch at ink.sack and it hit the spot.
Celisse and I tried to give up sugar for Lent, but she gave me a pass to try Salt and Straw ice cream. Marcello came over and picked me up, and we headed to Larchmont. The sky was great.
The line was a bit long, but they generous with samples. I tried the black olive brittle and goat cheese - wowza. A bit much to have a full scoop, so I went with almond brittle with salted ganache and a special LA chocolate flavor that was excellent.
I'd wanna live in this neighborhood if I could.
I wanted to see a movie that night, and couldn't decide on a good time in a good location, so I went to Trevor's. I introduced him to House of Cards, then we watched Ida, which I really enjoyed. Trevor made a snack and made me take a bite without looking - hot chili jelly - yikes. My mouth burned.
Sunday morning came. I drove to my old Sunday School class in Westwood to see friends and say hello. Then I headed south to Huntington Beach to see Kari Ann and check out their midsingles ward. It was so lovely to see her, and I ran into even more people afterwards during the meal after church.
Then it was a quick drive back up to LA for tacos with friends just before I had to head to the airport. Downtown LA - I miss you.
We were all supposed to meet at my favorite taco truck in Lincoln Heights, but I arrived a little early and it wasn't there! Total bummer. Maybe because of the rain? I let some people know, and the bailed - rain and traffic, not a good combo. Good thing King Taco was close by. Jonathan and Trevor met me there. Always a good idea - tacos and sopes.
My last view as I left LA. I dig these two.