Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
That was over five years ago and I hadn't made it, until today. Debbie and I, taking advantage of my last weekend house sitting in LA, ventured over to La Canada to wander around.
Ironically it is just as far from Culver City, where I was staying, to La Canada, as it would have been from Orange County. But that is neither here nor there.
For only $8, and free parking, you are given access to over 150 acres of garden delights. We stopped first for a late lunch at the outdoor cafe, catered by Patina. Good sandwich and salad fare. What is killer is the outdoor seating, set beneath a lovely pergola and beside a serene water feature. It was very relaxing and the set the tone for our visit.
Since neither of us had ever been there we should have taken the 50 minute tram tour for $4, but we were late and impatient, so we didn't. We just started walking.
From the roses we meandered through the Camellia Forest and Oak Forest, which are lush and green. It provided amazing shade and a few breezes to help us cool off. It was hot! There are lots of trails in and through this area for those who want to explore more and have a more strenuous hike.
Since we got there late we didn't get to see everything. Next time I want to make it to the Lilac, Iris and Japanese Gardens. We got lost in the rose garden for a few hours. Couldn't stop taking photos. I will definitely be back!
If you go remember that La Canada is hot! Bring sunscreen, a hat, good walking shoes and lots of water.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
One of them is a HUGE baseball fan. Since they're from Ohio her team is the Indians, as losery as they may be this year. So to please her we went to an Angel's game.
Not wanting to shell out serious cash we opted for the cheap $12 seats. I have never been in those seats before. I now know why they are called nose-bleeds. Those stairs are steep! My friend's daughter is a dancer, in really good shape and we were all lacking oxygen by the time we got up there. Yikes.
We all sat down caught our breath and decided that we could wait til the end to go to the bathroom.
Bad thing about those seats, vendors don't go up that high. We only saw one, the lone hot dog vendor willing to climb up there. So sad. Since the daughter is the young one we made her go get snacks. LOL. The food at Angel stadium is really pretty good - Carls Jr, Panda Express, CPK in addition to your usual baseball fare.
We were so busy yakking and catching up we really didn't watch any baseball. I guess that's what ya get when three girls go to a game. Didn't really matter, it was a blow out against the Angels, they lost like 6-0. Or at least that was the score when we left in the 7th inning.
I like baseball for the socializing, always fun to go with friends. Lots of great memories there. My favorite are give-away nites and when they show fireworks. That night we got a tin-cap Angel's hat, courtesy of Claim Jumper. That was worth the $12 and they threw in a little baseball too, nice.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Alright. I could not imagine what would constitute such amazingness. I mean there already was Red Robin that does a decent burger, but you can't really customize. I haven't been back since they had the audacity to eliminate my favorite burger, the Pizziola. But there is the issue of those fantastic thick steak fries that never end. That is a HUGE selling point. Have you had the garlic fries, so good.
Then there is Fuddruckers. Their burger is good. You can pretty much customize and they have an extreme condiment bar. You get your choice of size, etc but they're bankrupt and restructuring or something. That is bad hamburger mojo.
Don't get me started on In-N-Out that is just not in the running. There was once this great greasy joint in West LA called, "Mo Betta Meaty Meat Burgers." That place was slammin' and you can't say the name enough, it in and of itself inspires delight. The whole burger, steak fry, soda combo ROCKED!
So how good could The Counter be? What would they have to bring to the hamburger conversation? I was thinking it was going to be some shi-shi place that gave you a dinky burger with a wasabi-teriyaki sauce and called itself a new twist on burgers.
But I am here to testify that The Counter is this shiz. It is ultra modern and the burgers are big and juicy. You can choose a chicken, turkey, lamb, beef or veggie burger in your choice of size on your choice of bun, go old school with the sesame, healthy with whole wheat or get crazy with the market selection, the flavor of the month. This month its rustic ciabatta. Then you have your choice of 12 different cheeses (1 included), 21 different regular toppings (up to four included, more extra), 9 premium toppings and your choice of 21 different sauces (1 included, more extra). It is a choice overload. Kid you not.
I was dumb-founded. I had no idea what I wanted to taste. I thought about going with one of the pre-fixe burger choices, but that would be just silly.I had the beef burger with sharp provolone cheese, mixed organic greens, red onion and a delicious chimichurri sauce (market place selection) on rustic ciabatta bread. My friend got a beef burger with gruyere, carmelized onions and black bean/corn salsa on ciabatta. Each of our 1/3 burgers were about $10.00 given extra selections we requested. The ciabatta was a dollar up charge and fries are extra.
We split an order of 50/50 fries - skinny fries and sweet potato fries. The sweet fries were a bit bland but the zesty sauce that came with it made all the difference. I'm not a fan of the skinny fry but I'd get the sweet fries again, because of the sauce.
Total bill was about $30.00 with the drink. I loved it. It was a great treat! You could return a thousand times and never have your burger the same way twice. Think about the possibilities. I will be back!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I was driving past Cinema City Theatres today in Anaheim and in small print see the words, "My Fair Lady, May 12." What?!
Every second Wednesday, throughout the year, they present their Classic Cinema Series. Fabulous movies like Goldfinger (June), Casablanca (October), and White Christmas (December) will be brought to the big screen once again.
Cinema City also offers first run movies at only $5 before noon, $6 from 12-6 p.m., and general admission is $9.
Looks like I will be frequenting Cinema City a lot this year.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Seated up high in Los Angeles, among the skyscrapers, you are sippin' the drink of your choice and feasting on chips and salsa.
The chips were thick and crunchy. The salsa nice and spicy, chunky not runny and oh so flavorful. We shared a taco platter ($12.95), three tacos with rice and beans. We ordered two carne asada and one chicken. The flavoring was the same on both and it was gooood. The margaritas were not skimpy on the tequila and at $10/ea about average on the price. I must say it was all delicious and the service was quick and friendly.
The outdoor bar cleared out at about 10:30 p.m. but the music was so loud that you could not easily carry on a conversation. Still a fun place to go with friends before or after you see a movie and if you're young enough before you hit the clubs.
My friend and I both realized that about 10 years ago 11 p.m. is when the night got started but in our mid-30s it's time to go home.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
After a year-long wait my friend finally got two tickets to see a taping of American Idol.
I usually only watch the beginning of the season and then the last few weeks. I'm fickle like that, I admit it. My favorite of this bunch was Siobhan and Lee. Siobhan was eliminated last week, but Lee's still going strong. I think he has gotten better since I saw him last, in the top 24.
Turns out she only got tickets for the dress rehearsal, but I was still in, why not. It's one of the great perks of living where we do.
We arrived at CBS studios at 12 p.m. dressed "trendy and hip with closed-toe shoes" per the guideliness she received with the tickets. The line at the Genosee gate was already about 50 deep, so we took our place to wait.
Waiting at another gate, not far from ours, were those going to see Dancing with the Stars. To attend that show you have to dress like you're going to prom. Wow. Lots of stilettos, glitter and hairspray happening!
We are set to wait an hour or more, in the sun, to just get into the next waiting area. Finally at about 1:30 p.m. we walk single-file through the metal detector, no phones or cameras. Then we wait another hour and a half on benches outside the set. However, they do have a water cooler and port-a-potties for us, it isn't all bad. We get acquainted with those around us and even run into someone my friend knows, it's a small world.
Finally at 3 p.m. we go inside. I'm surprised that I'm really quite excited. All of the waiting really builds anticipation. We file in, like good school kids, and are are seated right behind the judges table. If this were the live show we would have been on camera the entire time. This is usually where the family and friends of the contestants sit.
It is just magical to be there, to see in person what you only usually see on tv. I was instantly surprised at how very small the set is. It's amazing how much smaller it is in person. I could hear murmurs of the same thought echoing in those around us. Someone even said, "I could sing here, what's the big deal." But once the turn on the lights, wow! The set is transformed. Since most of it is metal and mirrors it becomes gigantic, foggy and scary. Now I can see why they're nervous.
The actual performance area this week is only about 15' x 12'. The majority of the stage space is taken up with the band. It is Sinatra week after all and we'll get to see Harry Connick, Jr, the mentor, who will be on hand to rehearse with Ryan. Harry is funny, charming and oh so hot in person. He doles out a few hugs and autographs to the pit. Very congenial and nice.
In total, rehearsal takes about an hour. Most of the taped segments of the show aren't ready. We hear lots of banter back and forth between Ryan and the staff. He's really quite funny. He interacts a bit with the audience and trade one-liners.
Each contestant goes through the songs and are given last minute instructions on where to sit and run through sample questions from Ryan. The judges were not there, we instead saw their stand-ins who always offer positive feedback to the contestants working out last minute kinks in their songs.
As a person who loves to see how it all happens, I was in my glory. We tried to get tickets to the real show, but we didn't get from the set to the next line in time. We did however return to On Camera Audiences to put on names on the waiting list again.