Archive for March 31, 2010

L.A. = Lots (of) Attractions

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2010 by poojaland

I headed down to L.A. last week to spend a few days running around town for various meetings. I’ve been working with a cache of folks down there for nearly five years now, but had never met any of them face to face, so I finally got an opportunity to do as much. I had meetings from when I landed on Wednesday morning through Friday evening, and then I went off the clock and hung out with one of my BFFs, “S,” through Sunday afternoon.

I actually lived in L.A. (specifically Northridge and Santa Monica) from 2000-2003 while I was in grad school. I did revisit the city in December of 2006 to help with a work event, but I was helping some co-workers put on the event, so I don’t count it as a true business trip. Plus, we had one rental car between three of us, so I didn’t really do much around town on my own. Anyways, once I decided to hang out those extra couple days on my own time on this trip, I immediately started coming up with a list of favorite restaurants and hang outs I wanted to head back to. Thankfully, S was willing to entertain me (this was key not only because I of course didn’t want to drag her anywhere she didn’t want to go, but also because I’d have returned my rental car by then and wouldn’t have any transportation!).

Here I am posing with the chicken brochette. On my right is the huge glass of BN's delicious white sangria.

I was able to hit up nearly everything I wanted to — except my favorite bakery/late-night eatery, Mani’s — and also enjoy some of S’s suggestions. I had chicken brochette at Bossa Nova in West Hollywood (chicken brochette = boneless, skinless chicken wrapped in bacon, deep fried and served on a bed of gorgonzola cream sauce; the WeHo BN location is at Robertson and Santa Monica), delicious bread and pasta at Fritto Misto in Santa Monica, yummy breakfasts at Toast and Jinky’s … yes, I did a LOT of eating! For work alone, Wed.-Fri., I had three lunch meetings and two breakfast meetings.  S and I had been thinking to hike Runyon Canyon over the weekend, but on Saturday, we stuck close to her place to let her furniture delivery folks in (she’d just moved), and on Sunday, we instead decided to grab breakfast and then walk around Santa Monica, on both the Promenade and beach area. The weather during the week had been warm and pleasant, but on the weekend, the sun really busted out, and the temps were in the upper 70s/low 80s — a bit much for this Seattle gal!

Saturday night we went to a night of sketch-comedy by the Groundlings, an improv/comedy group that’s up there in reputation and fame with Chicago’s Second City improv. I think Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig both started out with the Groundlings. It was a mostly fun night, though I didn’t find it consistenly funny. I definitely want to check them out again next time I’m in L.A., but on an improv night instead.

Some random bits from the trip —

  • I’d forgotten — but then was quickly reminded — how bad the smog is in L.A. Ick! I’m spoiled by the blue, blue skies we get in Seattle, along with the great views of the water, mountains, forests, etc.
  • The water quality, as I think most of the rest of the U.S. knows, is really awful in L.A. as well. Drinking water has this funky taste to it, and the shower water is “hard water,” which means it’s more difficult to get a good lather going with one’s soap/shampoo (or with mine, anyway!), and I felt like my hair was never truly clean of shampoo/conditioner/product residue.
  • I used a GPS to get around, for the first time ever. It was super, super handy. I do have an iPhone, but the GPS allowed me to not have to deal with looking down at my phone, hitting a button to get the next direction, etc.
  • All the people I met with were really friendly and nice, and also very attractive, and all of their cars that I saw — with the exception of one guy who I think had an Escape hybrid — were Audis, BMWs or Mercedes-Benz’s. Holy intimidation! I drive a Camry! S pointed out that maybe some of them are leasing their car for appearances’ sake..
  • Getting around L.A. sucks most of the time. The various parts of the city are so sprawling. You spend a lot of time in traffic, even on city streets, and at any given time of day.

All-in-all, it was a good little getaway, and I had fun being away “on business” (I even got a corporate American Express card for this trip!), meeting my cool partners down there, spending time with S, and of course, eating so much delicious food. I had bacon every single day!