Los Angeles in less than 24 Hours

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Southwest Airlines provided props to celebrate 2019.

Most people visit Los Angeles for longer than 24 hours, unless they are going for business. I have flown down and back many times for a business meeting from Sacramento. Southwest Airlines makes it possible to say yes to attending a meeting in person. Southwest Airlines also makes it possible to say yes to welcoming the New Year with a show at Largo.

Sarah Harriet and I flew to LAX on the 11:55 a.m. flight. We had a relaxed morning and good night’s sleep. The flight was full-ish but all of the Rose Bowl fans would have flown the day before or earlier. We grabbed a Lyft to our hotel. While we took surface streets to The Elan, the traffic was light for Los Angeles.

Sarah Harriet gifted the tickets to see Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert at Largo for Christmas, so I gifted the hotel room. On this visit The Elan was a let down. Small room with light pouring in no matter how you close the curtains. It was a great location though. We were able to walk every where until the following morning when we headed back to LAX.

We walked to eat Plancha Tacos. This taco joint in a strip mall (some of the best food in LA is in a strip mall). We tucked in to a yummy Mexican feast. Then we walked past mostly closed shops (good on these merchants for taking a holiday and giving their employees the day off). We checked out a bakery and decided everything looked too sweet. If they had a fruit pie or a bun with a little bit of icing they’d have had a sale.

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The view of Los Angeles from the elevator banks in Beverly Center..

We walked on to the Beverly Center. At first we weren’t sure if it was a parking garage or a shopping mall. We rode escalator after escalator and then found the mall. This was unlike any mall in Sacramento as it had all high end designer shops like those on Rodeo Drive. We window shopped and then returned to the hotel.

Although we didn’t feel that hungry we wanted to eat before the 8 p.m. show because neither of us enjoys eating late at night. We used Trip Advisor and Open Table to decide to try Taste on Melrose.

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Courtyard tree at Taste on Melrose.

We had the choice of the courtyard (outside with heaters) or inside. Although it was January it was still more than 10 degrees warmer than home, so we said “Courtyard!” The service was slow but the food was really delicious. Just right was the Melrose vibe.

To get to the show at Largo we had to walk just a few blocks back towards our hotel. Largo is a club that seats 300 people and the posters gave us the impression it is where Sarah Silverman and other comics try out material. We asked for our tickets at Will Call and couldn’t believe our luck! We had front row seats!

We  didn’t know what to expect from Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert–two of our favorite authors who are friends–certainly not dancing for more than 5 minutes to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Can’t Stop (I always thought it was called Shindig). We laughed and laughed because they fully committed. I kept thinking “Don’t they realize how long this song goes on?” It helped to set the tone of vulnerability and fun.

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No photos allowed during the performance. 

You can hear the resulting conversation between Bell and Gilbert on The RobCast podcast. There are two episodes. I won’t spoil any of the good stuff, except to say that it was so much fun. One weird part of our experience was the woman sitting next to Sarah Harriet who must suffer from sleep apnea. First she was all into the show, then she got up and sort of tried to sneak out about 15 minutes in. Then 30 minutes later she comes back with coffee and noisily adds cream and sugar and chugs it down. Ten minutes later she is snoring loudly in spite of Bell and Gilbert talking no more than 10 feet in front of us and lots of audience response. The person next to me was frustrated and said, “Nudge her!” Sarah responded that she had several times. Afterward I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when Sarah said that when she elbowed the woman, the woman elbowed her back without a pause in her snore. It takes all kinds of people in the world. We’d go again in a heartbeat to hear Bell and Gilbert (preferably in Sacramento–we have the Crest Theater!)

After a restless nights sleep, which often happens when you are nervous about getting up in time for a 6:50 a.m. flight out of LAX. Southwest delivered again.  This time there were many elated Ohio State and disappointed Washington University fans in the airport. We were home by 9:30 a.m., before we left the house the previous day.  Kind of amazing when you think about it.

 

 

 

Yum, Yum: Huckleberry Cafe

Huckleberry Cafe on Wilshire Boulevard
1014 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA

I love traveling with my children. Sarah Harriet and I just got back from a 28 hour trip to Los Angeles. We got tickets to see Rob Bell perform Everything is Spiritual; he was taping it in Santa Monica. (The movie will be available in a few months.) So off we went on our adventure.

Coffee and breakfast egg sandwiches.
Sarah Harriet taking a sip of really good coffee at Huckleberry Cafe.

I keep a file on Los Angeles because it is an epicenter for terrific food. On I’ll Have What Phil’s Having (pbs.org) he spotlighted Huckleberry Cafe on his Los Angeles episode. I wrote Huckleberry, Santa Monica on a National Geographic Traveler article from November 2015. We took our time getting up on Friday morning and arrived at Huckleberry about 9:45 a.m.

20151218_095750There was no line when we arrived and a friendly staff person greeted us and helped us figure out where to order. The menu is on a big chalkboard and at first we thought it was too hipster for us. We both landed on the breakfast egg sandwich. I also ordered a maple bacon biscuit.

The plentiful staff works together really well to the benefit of the customer–the mood is light and bubbly.

20151218_095745We sat down with two delicioso cups of coffee–mine decaf, Sarah’s regular. The biscuit arrived first and I dove in. Yum. The bacon enhanced the experience without overwhelming. The maple frosting was just enough to make it sweet, not too sweet.

The real awesomeness was yet to come. As Sarah said after taking her first bite of the breakfast egg sandwich: “This is the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever eaten.” Super good toasted bread with over easy eggs, gruyere cheese, aioli and arugula. It was a perfect accompaniment to great conversation.

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Best Breakfast Egg Sandwich Ever!

We watched the line expand and contract as a regular stream of diners came in, were served, dined and left. (We figured out there is parking behind the building as people came into the back entrance.)

We were reluctant to leave. The chalkboard menu featured Mary’s Fried Chicken–a reason to return soon for lunch.

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