or better titled “How Guy Fieri cost me $500″. Just about two weeks ago my husband and I were watching Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and we were hungry at the time. That was our first mistake or brilliant idea, depending on who you ask around here. Phil said look at those egg rolls! He was talking about the ones from the North End Caffe in Manhattan Beach, CA. See where this is headed? I came in from the kitchen and sat down to watch the show with him and we simply drooled over the cafe’s specialties of Pasta Carbonara with fresh pasta, the Kahlua Pig Monte Cristo Egg Rolls and the Fuego burger. We tossed around the idea of a weekend trip out west and suddenly found ourselves booking flights, using Phil’s benefits to fly stand-by, and arranging our accommodations. I have a friend who graciously offered to not only put us up for a few nights but to also play “tour guide Barbie” for a weekend and take us around southern California for a few days.
Off we were on quite the adventure. I knew we had plans to eat out a bit but in the end we ate at restaurants for almost every meal but breakfast. I mentioned our plans to a passenger I was sitting next to on the plane and he said to enjoy “our gastronomical adventure”. I laughed and said we only planned to visit two particular places, the North End Caffe and an In-n-Out burger place since Phil’s co-worker said he just “had” to go there, being a burger lover. I had no idea we’d eat out so much in four days’ time.
Here we are with our food and a picture of the egg rolls. I can’t say enough about the burger and the egg rolls alone would take me to CA again any day.
This is the Fuego burger which we shared along with another sandwich. We were so full after lunch but we managed a walk down to the beach to view the Pacific Ocean.
Next we were whisked off for a nice drive up the Pacific Coast Highway towards Venice beach. We stopped and people-watched while we walked and shopped for souvenirs. I found a cute stone turtle for Jake, he collects them. We saw a few shops for medical marijuana which was sort of a culture shock. Then we kept on going up the PCH with stunning views of the Pacific ocean like this:
We had perfect weather for touring, it was about 79 degrees and sunny. We made a stop in Malibu for coffee and enjoyed the view of the hills used during the filming of MASH. We passed through Oxnard and ended in Ventura where we toured a mission and enjoyed a walk out on the Ventura Pier in the early evening, just as the sun set.
We ended our evening with a stop at a restaurant in Santa Clarita where we enjoyed tri-tip for our first time. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but the food was really good.
The next day we spent touring the Vasquez rocks and the Mojave desert area around my friend’s house. It was so cool to see the various terrains and mountains of California. We had burgers at In-n-Out for lunch then went to a local place in Lancaster, CA called Bex. I have to say the food was good but there was a huge issue with the kitchen which resulted in our meal being served very late and us getting free desserts. After the wonderful Parmesan fries and BBQ Tri-tip sandwich we had no space for dessert so we took them home. My friends arranged for a birthday ice cream to be brought to our table for me, even though it was 2 months past my birthday, and the staff did their clapping and singing thing. It was really funny.
We spent Sunday in Hollywood and downtown LA. We walked on the Walk of Fame, saw the Chinese theater and the Hollywood sign from the Kodak theater. We had our pictures taken with some of the impersonators as well as this wax statue of Shrek.
Then we drove toward downtown for the Original French Dip sandwich at Philippe’s which has been there since about 1908. At that point my friend dropped us at our hotel so we could begin our travel day bright and early. Well let me say I was not bright and being early didn’t help. We were bumped off the first flight to Houston where we were stopping for a connecting flight back to Cleveland. We spent the entire day in Houston and were bumped off of 4 flights before finally getting on a very full flight to Pittsburgh. At least we were within driving distance and we decided to rent a car at midnight and drive home. We had two meals in the Houston airport. If you ever have to spend the day there try Ruby’s Diner for a nice over-priced burger or salad.
We had a great adventure and visit with our friends. We are tired and ready to get back to some healthy eating and slow-paced life. That will start right after I return from my retreat this coming weekend. Oh and next time I watch triple D, I’m going to turn it off and go cook a fantastic dinner.