Epicurean Tour of Los Angeles

A couple weeks ago I took a trip to L.A. to visit my brother. It was relaxing and sunny, and of course, very delicious. I made an effort to try as many places as I could while I was there, and see as many sights possible. The natural beauty in southern California is amazing – referring to the landscape and scenery of course, as L.A. is not famous for their naturally beautiful citizens … if you know what I’m saying 😉

[Sunset Blvd. at sunset]

On my trip I sampled food of all sorts – cheese and wine at the farmer’s market, wine and tapas, the most delicious Mediterranean chicken, burgers, lobster rolls, the list goes on.

One of the best meals on my trip, surprisingly enough (though probably not to the locals), was at Zankou Chicken, a Mediterranean fast-food type joint. It’s tough to do justice to the meal through feeble words, so you’ll just have to take my word (until you can try it for yourself) that it is the best chicken and lamb that I have ever eaten.

Another one of my favorites, was Aroma Cafe. The laid back atmosphere and fresh food felt so West Coast. We had a blue cheese kobe burger, lobster roll, and the best herb salted french fries I’ve ever had. Oh … and we also lunched alongside Michelle Williams. NBD

I spent some time in Pasadena and happened upon an old-time soda shop that has been featured on the Food Network called, Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain. The burgers and sandwiches were ok, the onion rings were pretty darn good, but the ice cream and chocolate soda was awesome!

The banana split sundae we got was HUGE, but you can see we didn’t have a tough time making a dent in it.

My brother had to work part of the time I was there, so one day I decided to borrow his car and drive myself to Santa Monica beach to see the sights.

I went to the beach, which was beautiful but cold! I’ve never been to a beach where mountains are within view, so it was quite a sight for me. There were some interesting characters around Santa Monica beach, but that’s to be expected at any tourist spot. I had read that there was some great shopping nearby, so I wandered over to the Third Street Promenade, which is completely closed off to vehicles, and shopped (and bought) around. By the time I was feeling accomplished and hungry it was late afternoon, so I strolled over to a nearby spot that had been recommended by a friend called, Fraiche.

It was about 4pm, so I ordered a cocktail, oysters, and mushroom pizza from the happy hour menu. ‘The Grape’ cocktail hit just the right spot, and the oysters were fresh and REfreshing. The mushroom and fontina pizza was filling and yummy.

Since I was on vaca, I decided to splurge a little and ended my early evening meal with something chocolate … The chocolate purse dessert was quite good – it was a chocolate ganache/mousse tasting concoction that was wrapped up nicely in phyllo dough and served like a present, accompanied by vanilla ice cream and candied walnut. My only wish, was that the chocolate had been warmer, that would have really put it over the top.

An additional restaurant that I visited, though didn’t take pics at, was AOC wine bar. The cheese, vino, and small plates at this small wine bar were all delicious. I strolled over to this place after spending some time (and buying some shoes!) at The Grove; it was the perfect pick-me-up. I had a delicious assortment of cheeses, the most memorable of which was a firm sheep’s milk variety from Wisconsin called Dante. All of that, paired with olives, figs, fresh bread, and nuts all paired well with the dry, fruity wine the bartender poured me.

Overall, the trip was a wonderful departure from my daily grind and I can’t wait to share details from my next trip.

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