I just got back from a week in L.A. AMAZING, SUPER FUN, AWESOME TRIP!!!! Not only did I have a blast but I've never felt so loved in my whole life. I am sooo stinkin' blessed with the best friends and family on the planet. *swoon, swoon*
I took an overwhelming number of pictures so I'm going to post these in groups. My first group (surprise, surprise) will be DELICIOUS THINGS I ATE!!! Family Shmamily, Friends Shmriends... let's talk about ISLANDS. :)
I got off the plane, was picked up by the Ipod and we did not pass go or collect $200, we immediately drove to Islands. Islands is a burger chain in California, Arizona and Nevada. It is NOT in Chicago. *tears* As much as I love mom & pop shops, this Hawaiian bungalow themed restaurant is a chain that I can GET BEHIND. (And has also added to my behind- ahem). I started my trip with Islands. I also ended my trip with Islands. SO WORTH IT!!! Amen.
THE HULA BURGER W/ A SIDE OF RANCH
I ATE IT.
THEN, Camille made us try an enchilada. I am NOT an enchilada fan--chimichanga girl all the way & this was a D*MN GOOD ENCHILADA. You heard it here. Word.
I got half a rotisserie chicken with two sides which could feed an army. Their rosemary potatoes are super flavorful which I wasn't expecting in the way they looked (DANG GOOD!) & their mac and cheese was nice & sharp. I hate velveeta-esque mac & cheese. You can tell this is homemade. AND they give you a state-of-Texas size chunk of cornbread!! YUM!!!
Folks, this ain't even the tip of the iceberg...
Next I went to In N Out. In N Out is a place that had to grow on me when I first moved to L.A. Their fries are an acquired taste because they're handcut (which I always love) but cooked in vegetable oil rather than... ya know... beef lard. They taste different. But when you smother your fries in cheese, thousand island dressing and grilled onions (aka: 'Animal Style' on their secret menu), they are DIVINE. Everything is fresh, fresh, fresh and prepared daily. You can tell!
IN N OUT CHEESEBURGER MEAL
WITH ANIMAL STYLE FRIES
I ATE IT.
Are you ready for more!!??? I went to The Arclight which is a movie theater chain in Los Angeles. It's a little bit more expensive but the tickets are assigned seating. AWESOME. Especially when you're trying to get eight seats together for the midnight showing of Harry Potter (more pics to follow on that!)
The Arclight has the BEST caramel popcorn. Garret's in Chicago wins all contests, of course. But this corn ain't no Cracker Jack quality! It's really delicious.
CARAMEL CORN AT THE ARCLIGHT
I ATE IT.
Speaking of desserts... my seesters and I went to Aroma Cafe on Tujunga Blvd in North Hollywood. It's sister store is Alcove in Los Feliz. They serve REALLY delicious food and it has the best patio. They also serve $137 pieces of cake but can you really complain when a) your cake looks like this and b) it's the size of your face?
BANANA CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE
I ATE IT.
I could only eat four bites. It was sooo rich and slightly too much for me. I think the bananas had a rum glaze on the top and that tasted a bit weird to me with the other flavors. My seesters got carrot cake and a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The Ipod got an apple cinnamon crumble cheesecake. My sis Jo said her yellow cake tasted refrigerator-y. (Technical term).
This was my favorite. It was absolutely delicious without being too much. Yes, this ginormous piece of gooey cheesecake was 'just enough.' ;) If you ever go there, I highly recommend their turkey panini. I think that's the one thing in the entire state I didn't eat on this trip. HA!
Next this little piggy went to Eagle Rock to visit one of my favorite places... THE OINKSTER!!! I think I enjoy it so much because of the name... SU-WEEE! OINK, OINK!!! Ipod & I did some damage.
We are not alone, however!!! Guy Fieri's been here, too! I can check this off my 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" list!!!
Check it out!!!
CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH & FRIES
WITH GARLIC AIOLI
I ATE IT.
THE ROYALE BURGER
I ATE IT.
I couldn't decide between the two and have only ever had the chicken sandwich. So I ate half of both & brought the rest home for my seesters. SO FREAKING GOOD!!!! :) :) :)
If you're ever in the Pasadena/Eagle Rock area, you'll LOVE it. It's called 'The Oinkster' people!!!???
My last night I went to Mama's house and she and Mama's Momma made dinner for me. They don't just 'make dinner' either... The table is always set beautifully, there's always some kind of appetizer munchies and dessert. The way I feel at their house-- completely taken care of and loved-- is EXACTLY the feel I want at my MandiCakes storefront. I can't tell you how special and loved I feel when I'm there. They're just the best people in the world!!! I am sooo, sooo lucky!!!
And they make the most DELICIOUS food!!!
Who makes a salad like this for their friends!??
WHO, I ASK YOU!!!???
That's right. Only Martha Stewart. Except this is BETTER because its 8,000% less Stepford wife and a 1,000,000% more comforting. :) :) :)
DELICIOUS & BEAUTIFUL HOME COOKED MEAL
I ATE IT!!!
They made me delicious tender steak and veggies with rice which I forgot to take a picture of because I was busy stuffing it into my piehole. But for dessert, helloooo... Peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream!!! SOOOOO GOOOD!!! I ate my face off. I really did.
Mr. Peabody was stuffed to the gills, too!!!
And those were most of my food adventures in L.A. this past week. JEALOUS!!??? You should be!! Tho I've gained 836 pounds (HA!) but well worth it on my vacation. :) :) :)
To Gluttony & Back-At-Home-Sugar-Withdrawl (It huuuurts!!!),