Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Long Los Angeles Weekend: Day 1

We have been home from sunny California for a few days now and all I have to say about that is "brrrrr!" It was in the high 80s for the entire time we were in L.A. so it was quite a shock to the system to return home to frosty Chicago. It was a really nice little warm escape though and a great way to celebrate our first anniversary!

I started writing about the trip and thought I could sum up the whole weekend in one post.  Well, I can't!  So, here is your first installment....

We got in late on Friday night, but drove up to Venice for a quick cocktail with our friend Brad before we checked in and passed out. By the way, getting used to driving everywhere is really strange (as we don't own a car in Chicago), but getting used to driving in L.A. was like an out of body experience! I made my patient husband do most of the driving...

Alex & Brad. Nice face, Alex.

On Saturday we headed to Santa Monica to meet Brad for some brunch at a cute little place called Bread & Porridge. I didn't actually photograph my food here-- I was just so hungry because of the time change that I inhaled it! I had a delish roasted red pepper and feta scramble and a huge cup of coffee.

Santa Monica State Beach



Hazelnut gelato. Enough said.
 Afterward Alex and I spent the day walking around Santa Monica and soaking up the sunshine. We walked along the beach (nice to be able to do that in late October!), wandered the Third Street Promenade, and braved the craziness of Santa Monica Pier. Normally I would avoid a tourist trap like this. We have Navy Pier in Chicago (and we usually avoid it at all costs) and if you have seen one, you have seen them all. But, this was Alex's first trip to L.A. so we decided to throw all of that out the window and do all of the touristy things you are "supposed" to do when you visit. We also stopped in at Angelato Cafe, which serves over 100 flavors of gelato and sorbet. Talk about overwhelming! In a good way, of course.
Angelato Cafe on Urbanspoon




Santa Monica Pier


Santa Monica Pier

Getting shaved and taped up.
The rest of Saturday was all about race preparation. I'm not sure that I mentioned this before, but part of the reason we were in L.A. this weekend was so that Alex could run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon that Sunday. He injured his knee a week ago so we were a little worried that he wouldn't be able to compete (or finish), so he made sure to get taped up at the expo on Saturday. I love watching this because they have to shave his leg before they tape him up. Welcome to my world, hubby.


We stayed in downtown L.A. for this trip which I typically wouldn't do.  There's not a whole lot going on there during the weekends, but since you have to drive everywhere anyway it didn't really matter to us. Also, the race and the expo were being held downtown so we picked our location based on how convenient it was for the race festivities-- and we were able to walk to those.  This was especially nice when it came to the 7:30 AM start time on Sunday.  Also, a special thank you to my well traveled parents for gifting us their hotel points so that we could keep our little trip budget friendly!

Alex loves some carbs the night before a race, so we found an Italian restaurant downtown where he could get his favorite pre-race dinner of spaghetti Bolognese. Cucina Rustica was a great option-- a nice atmosphere, but still relaxed and some really good food. It was also in walking distance of our hotel-- success!  We split a tricolore salad, which is basically a California-style caprese salad-- tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices, basil, and avocado! And then I had a really good pasta with spinach, artichoke hearts, and shrimp in a tomato white wine sauce.
Cucina Rustica on Urbanspoon

Tricolore Salad


Penne con spinaci e carciofi

Stay tuned for Day Two!

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