Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Los Angeles Adventure Day

People, people.  It is time to explore the diverse land that is Los Angeles, California. I'm a California girl for life, and I'm still finding out new things about this wonderful and terrifying city. These pictures were taken on one day of my trip, so you can imagine how busy I was on the rest of the days. 

We will begin this tour at The Americana in the Glendale portion of Los Angeles--a lovely shopping area with grass where kids can play and there's more rich people than you can shake a stick at. Sounds like a great time to me! 

 Next we had a lunch appointment at Cafe Gratitude. And so we (me and my mother) left the beautiful Americana. We thought it would take a while to get to our lunch restaurant--more on that later--, so we left early and then had a half hour to kill. Alas, we took the time to shop! It was a really rough day. 

Near Cafe Gratitude on Melrose Ave. was a little antique gallery called Melrose Gallery and Antiques--emphasis on antiques. It was not terribly impressive from the outside. Just glass windows and some chairs out front. But then we walked in, and it was one of the most beautiful stores I've ever been in. And I've been to the Galeries LaFayette in Paris. If you don't know what that is, then you'll just have to take my word for it. There was gold falling from the sky. Literally. (Sometimes I like to use "literally" incorrectly.) Fairies were dancing on my feet. Literally. It was so pretty we decided to have an impromptu photo shoot. Take a look.

Doesn't that make you happy? I couldn't afford/ didn't have a pressing need for a chandelier at the moment, but I came across the only home decor accessories in the entire store. Some deer. Is "deer" the plural form of "deer"? "Deers"? Wikipedia says it's "deer". I believe it. 

Cue deer photo shoot:

Oh man. Normally Marilyn looks serene on this cover, but with the deer on her, she looks scared it's going to eat her hair. Ahh...comedy.

After this, we went to lunch at Cafe Gratitude. Maybe if you're a vegan, you'll like this place. Jason Mraz is a partial investor, and it was run amok with hipsters. But--and this is a big BUT-- I was unimpressed. I liked the menu; the names of the food were cute and clever. But the food was too much for me to handle. For example, I'm a meat girl. I've always liked it. I like steak. It tastes good. A burger? Delicious. Some chicken? Get in me. Salmon? Swim into my mouth. But I'm also a vegetable girl. I like a good salad with my meals. We go to the farmer's market every week. I choose organic, if you will. So while I eat beef, it's from grass-fed, kindly-treated cows. A happy cow makes for better meat. Word. 

But I was willing to expand my eating horizons and check out this vegan thing. Until I saw the menu. They had a BLT on their menu. "Why?", I wondered, considering they don't eat meat. And what I saw shook me to my very core. Instead of bacon, they used maple-flavored toasted coconut. I cannot abide by that. Coconut is no replacement for bacon. It just isn't. Try as you might, it will not compare. But I wasn't hungry enough for a BLT so I continued on down the menu to the hummus. That's vegan-y, right? Wrong. Apparently hummus--made of garbanzo beans--is not vegan enough. It was almond hummus which contains no garbanzo beans but is instead almonds crushed up. I tell you now, ALMOND PASTE IS NOT HUMMUS. You cannot take out the main--and practically only-- ingredient of a dish and still claim it's that dish. Almonds crushed up is NOT garbanzo beans crushed up. It isn't! It isn't!!

Phew. That was exhausting. Anyways, I will step off of my soap box for the moment, and say that the atmosphere of Cafe Gratitude was lovely, the drinks were good, and if you're a vegan, I'm sure you will enjoy their coconut bacon substitute.

Walking. Walking. On up the mountain. Next we decided to go on up to the Griffith Observatory which has a beautiful view of the city and a cool little movie to watch once you get there. On the way up the mountain, we saw this adorable little side street cafe on Fern Dell Dr., The Trails, and we had to make an impromptu stop. It was just too cute. I'm glad we did! I got a hot chocolate and some strawberry-rhubarb pie; both of which were delicious. I highly recommend it. Plus the atmosphere is incredible. You feel like you're in the middle of the forest in a quaint town, when in reality, you're in the center of a metropolis and the 101 is just a few miles away. It was a nice reprieve from the bustling city. There's lots of mountain trails and things up there, so you can go get some exercise and then come back to the cafe for a post-hike cup of coffee. Perfect!

After our little stop, we continued on our way up the mountain to Griffith Observatory. My mom wanted to take me there because they show movies there. These movies are in a room with leaned-back chairs, and they show movie about the sky IN THE SKY. It's really relaxing. I think the lady next to me fell asleep. I don't blame her one bit. Those chairs were comfortable. 

This is the view from the observatory:

So not too shabby. We ended our very long day by going to Casa Bianca. Now, I almost don't even want to mention this restaurant because it's so good that people happily wait an hour outside in the cold to get a table. So I'm afraid if I tell you, the line will just get longer and longer. Lucky for you, I have journalistic integrity up the hoo-ha. So I will tell you about my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. I've been going here since I was a kid. It's my Cali equivalent to a big plate of comfort food. Don't take my word for it, this once was Obama's favorite italian restaurant. NAME DROPPING.

All in all, a fine day spent in the city of Los Angeles with my ma. Had I known I'd be taking a lot of pictures, I would've spruced up a bit, but you don't always get to look good on your days of adventures.  Words of wisdom. Quote it. 


  1. so lovely that you and your mother got to spend some time together! sounds like a fun time. that antique shop looks so cool!! i love all the colorful chandeliers and chairs. great discovery :)



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