May 3-6, 2012: A visit to see Kyla.
Kyla and I hadn't seen each other in about 5 years when I decided it was time for a visit! I'd never been to California and she and her husband were now living out there while he got a post-doc at UCLA.
I got up super super early to take the first flight out to LA- it left BWI at 6ish in the morning! I had to take a super shuttle to get out there in time, but arriving in LA by 9:30am was well worth it. Had to make the most of my time!
We started out day 1 with some breakfast/brunch at Laurent Cafe- catching up over everything that had happened in the last 5 years since we'd seen each other. Was great that we could pick up right where we left off- no awkwardness , just great friendship. After reminiscing, and remembering high school and college good times, we headed back to her apartment in Culver City to change clothes. A hike to the Hollywood Sign seemed like a great way to spend the early afternoon. Kyla had never been so I was happy to give her something to do that she'd never experienced in LA. We drove through neighborhoods with giant houses, and weaved around until we reached the parking area to hike up to the sign. Of course once we started the walk- we saw a snake! So then we kept a close eye to make sure there weren't any others on our way up. Not too bad of a hike and the views from the top were amazing. Great to cross this off my life bucket list. :)
Heading back to Kyla's neighborhood we stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries for dinner that night. Then we headed over to UCLA to see the campus, visit Matt's office and meet Helen the scrub jay! While we were there, we took a quick walk over to the ice cream institution of Diddy Riese. So freaking good. Ice cream with whichever cookies you want. Loved it! Then I was treated to homemade pizza back at Kyla and Matt's apartment. Great day!
Day 2! On to venice beach! We parked and the walked over to the beach to meander and take in the crowd as we headed down to the Santa Monica pier. Great to visit the Pacific Ocean (another bucket list item- check!) We passed muscle beach on the way- I kept a look out for stars but no luck! On the pier we got to see beautiful parrots as well as the end of route 66 and the amusement park. After all that walking we had worked up quite the appetite. We found a taco truck nearby to get some yummy street food for lunch. Can't beat local tacos from a truck. We headed back to their apartment for a bit to relax and then out to little ethiopia for dinner. We ate at Merkato- it was my first experience with ethiopian food. Quite a meal and very tasty. Was a little strange to eat everything with my hands, but I got used to it. :) Aftewards we got froyo from the Yogurt Stop for dessert and sat outside to get some supermoon viewings.
Onto day 3. We spent the morning in Santa Monica shopping area. I needed to get a dress for Julie and Mike's upcoming wedding in Marblehead - so I was on the hunt. Luckily Anthropologie was having great sales so I lucked out with a couple of great dresses. Afterwards we headed back to Culver City to take in an afternoon movie- The Avengers! Was a fun summer blockbuster- nice to watch with friends. That evening we headed to a party with Matt's coworkers - delicious food and local beers. Lovely evening meeting some of their friends in town.
On day 4 we decided to hit the Hollywood trademark spots. We started with crossiants from Crumbs Bakery (one savory and one sweet- for us to split). We wandered the Hollywood Walk of Stars and saw the hand prints outside Grauman's Chinese Theater. Then we drove Sunset Boulevard passing by Beverly hills and Bel Air and ending up on the Pacific Coast Highway. Lunch was eaten at the infamous "In and Out Burger" and it was everything I'd hoped any more. Burger (animal style), fries and a delicious shake. Love. That afternoon we went over to LACMA and La Brea Tar pits. Got to see some wonderful art and took in the stinky smells of tar. :) Finally, we ate my last dinner at one of their local favorite Mexican restaurants before heading to the airport to take the red-eye back to DC.
Had a blast. Cali was great fun, and it was wonderful to catch up with Kyla and Matt after all this that time.