Friday, April 24, 2009

California Dreamin' Part 1

Markus and I just got back from a vacation to California. It was wonderful. He has a ton of friends from New Jersey who now live in Southern California so we decided to visit Los Angeles and San Diego. Chris, who was Markus' Best Man, lives in Santa Monica where we stayed and acted as our tour guide. He was awesome! We saw so many things that we wouldn't have found on our own and got to hang out with him and his girlfriend, Alexa, in the process. They were both at the wedding but I was so busy I hardly got to spend time with them. It was great getting to know Alexa and spend more time with Chris. Here is Alexa and I in front of Chris' apartment:

The first day in LA we walked around Santa Monica while waiting for Chris to get off work. Being my first time on the West Coast, I was amazed at the landscape. I have never seen ocean next to mountains. The water was so dark set against the white sand, mountains and cloudless blue sky. This was my first glimpse from our hotel:

And here is my first touch of the Pacific Ocean:

Ice cold! We went shopping along Third Street Promenade and I got a really cool pair of jeans that you will probably see in every picture after this. Here is Markus carrying the bag. It looks like he went shopping in the ocean. That night we picked Alexa up from the airport (she lives in San Francisco) and headed to Hollywood for dinner at Mario Batali's Mozza where I saw my first famous person, Seth Rogen. But the highlight of the evening was the food. It was the best pizza I have ever had. Thanks, Chris and Alexa!

The next morning Markus and I ventured out on our own and ended up in Larchmont Village for breakfast and site seeing. This is where my 2nd star crossing occurred, Ross The Intern walked right past us. For those of you who don't know who he is click here.

After breakfast we met Chris and Alexa and headed up the coast to Malibu where we saw breathtaking views from the PCH. One of the nicest drives I've taken with the exception of the 2 hours it took to get back to LA. We stopped at Malibu Seafood on the way and had lunch. It was the cutest place, set just off the main road with picnic tables overlooking the Pacific.
Then we headed further up the coast to a beach off of the main road. This is when I realized I was meant to live in Southern California. Imagine waking up everyday to this everyday!Malibu was everything I expected and more. I still can't get over the ocean/mountain/sun/sand combo. It makes it worth the traffic and smog that comes with living in the city if you are within driving distance of this:Oh, and there are wildflowers everywhere you look! All of the flowers that I have tried growing in my yard that don't get enough sunshine grow in abundance in Southern California. It was like someone from the heavens opened their hand and sprinkled seeds in every direction. It made me very happy!
And for people who want more than just wildflowers but don't have the yard? They have community gardens! What a lovely idea. So every once and awhile you would be driving through a neighborhood and see one of these:

How clever of those Californians!

The next day we did some more investigating of Santa Monica and stumbled on some great coffee shops and a Farmers' Market. I forgot my camera that day and was bummed because the market was so cute! It had all kinds of organic produce, live music, and really good people watching! Since we couldn't take anything back with us we got some cherries and raisins to snack on. They were delicious! Afterwards Chris and Alexa took us to brunch for Dim Sum. It was yum yum! I don't have any pictures but imagine every kind of dumpling you could every want and then some. We were pretty full after lunch so we decided to lounge by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. We even ran into another one of Markus' high school friends, Vinnie, hanging by the pool. Some of you might remember him as Adam Banks from the movie The Mighty Ducks. I guess I can count that as my 3rd star sighting!

Sunday night we headed to Long Beach for pickled eggs, hot dogs, and a mini Madison High School reunion. I even got to see my friend, Devyn, who used to live in Richmond and now lives in LA.

Thanks, Devyn for coming out!

Anyone who knows Markus and his group of friends knows that there is a strong bond of friendship and also a lot of silliness that goes on between them. It amazes me how close they have stayed throughout the years and I hope their friendships continue because I really enjoy this group and their significant others. And I say this in the most loving way possible but most of the time they revert back to High School when they get together. Not a side many people get to see of Markus. As seen here:and here:
Nipples and tongues aside, the place we went to was pretty cool. It's what you would call a dive bar and they serve hot dogs, beer, and their specialty, pickled eggs. Imagine a hard boiled egg that has been pickled. They were delicious, I had 4! I also had "The Special", a hot dog on rye bread with cheese and pickle. If you're ever in Long Beach, check out Joe Jost's. Thanks Dan and Casey for the invite!

Part II of our trip coming soon.


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