Los Angeles: A Big County with a Small Dream

I’ve spent a long weekend in LA before and enjoyed it very much. We had stayed in Marina del Rey and kept to the Venice Beach/Santa Monica area except for a drive on Rodeo and a quick jaunt to see the Hollywood sign.

This year, I made sure that LA was on the itinerary for our road trip. Right after Saguaro and before Yosemite, I had a full day scheduled for exploring the area.

On the way in, we had to stop in La Puente to drive through the famous Donut Hole (Greg loves donuts). This also gave us the chance to do some cheap food shopping and planning.

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We stayed with a friend in South Pasadena, very close to some filming locations of a favorite movie of mine: Halloween. Our first morning there, I made sure to visit the now-remodeled Myers house, Haddonfield High, and the hardware store from which Michael stole his infamous mask. I was in horror heaven! (I was a bit too afraid to go on the Myers house’s steps, though.)

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From there, we headed to Santa Monica for Bulletproof coffee. (I think it’s mostly BS, but it’s something that I expect Californians to buy into, and I’m obv just trying to fit in.) We scored a -FREE- (how?!) parking spot and walked along the bike path.

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We made a lengthy stop at Muscle Beach so I could show off my deteriorating skills. I had a magnificent “California” moment: we walked out onto the sand and some kids were playing KYLE’s new album while I had a view of the Santa Monica pier and hills in the background. Beautiful.

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Since the pier was soooo close, we had to walk out onto it and saw quite a few people enjoying themselves on the other side of the beach. It was hot, so I was jealous.

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We baked in the sun, remembering that we forgot sunscreen, and walked back to the car. We got in to find a cool lunch spot, then realized the place we picked was a two minute walk away. We didn’t have to give up the free spot!

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The locale was La Fiesta Brava, a really great, unexpected Mexican joint. We were in-and-out in a matter of minutes and enjoyed some really good tacos while we were there.

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Next up was a walk on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. It’s pretty much all the same, so we went until we were tired of it and turned around. I guess I don’t frequent too many boardwalks, but everything here seems so California. Don’t worry, I was wearing my Vans, of course.

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Yet again, we went back to the car, planning on walking through the Main Street shopping area. Just as we moved the car, I made the realization again that we could have just walked from the car. Luckily, we scored another free spot on the same street.

We walked along the shady street and stopped in places like Giant and Muji. Though I was just window shopping, I’m always on the market for free stickers.

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We had already had a pretty full day, so we settled on getting some more famous donuts for Greg at Randy’s in Inglewood (always up to no good) before heading back to Pasadena.

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We did some essential shopping at Target before finding a good burger for dinner. We decided on Umami Burger in Old Pasadena because they have impossible burgers.

I was all geared up for an amazing food experience, especially because one of their new specials involved truffle oil on the burger, but I was sadly unimpressed. The burger patty was falling apart, and the truffle oil concoction had the consistency of gravy and a spicy flavor with only the slightest hint of truffle. The fries were okay, but the burger was a huge mistake.

We concluded our time in LA by watching the beginning of Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia with Hate. We had a wonderful night of sleep before lazily making our way out to the Sierras the next day.

LA is huge, and I have seen the smallest fraction of it, but I LOVE what I’ve seen. California is one of those places you hear about and idealize so much, but I can say from experience that it definitely lives up to the hype.

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