Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tourist in My Own Town

A long weekend visit from my baby sister and her hubby was a fun reminder of all of the great places you may become immune to when you see them everyday.  Famous bakery Cupcakes Couture in Manhattan Beach, a mere couple miles from my apartment, was one such place.  After the requisite grubby-Mexican slop at a joint in Hermosa Beach for any visitor that lives in a place where good Mexican food is elusive, we headed to Manhattan Beach with no real plan but to meander in and out of shops.  Although I live here in the South Bay, it's not something I have done in a very long time.  We wandered into Cupcakes Couture on a whim and instantly my guests were in Heaven.  Barrie Ann instantly chose the Cupcake Wars award-winning Lemon Blueberry Cupcake, an amazing lemony cake filled with blueberry.  I chose a mini Apple Pie cupcake, described as:  "Vanilla cake with cinnamon apple sauce, topped with vanilla frosting and oatmeal crumble," and Justin crushed a Dulce de Leche cupcake.  Cupcakes Couture is absolutely going to be a go-to place for me for housewarming gifts, client gifts, as well as a place for me to gain inspiration for unique ways to use my jams and jellies.  Cupcakes and jam are a perfect marriage!
Cute sister with the famous Lemon-Blueberry Cupcake
Another must-see place for visitors to the Los Angeles area is the old-school walk-up hot dog stand Pink's Famous Hot Dogs.  Once in awhile, it hits the spot to eat something a bit unhealthy.  For me, it was a great reminder that I still have several jars of jalapeno-onion relish left that I made last Fall, and I began to dream of the myriad condiments I can make at home to create my own amazing dogs at home ~ sauerkraut, mustard, beans...the possibilities are endless.  But who am I kidding - it would be impossible to recreate Pink's, and who would even want to try?

Around the corner from Pink's, of course, is Melrose Avenue, the place to go to people-gawk, find unique kitsch, stop into a friendly bar for a beer and to rest your tired feet from shopping, and to step into another era at the world-famous hat shop Goorin Bros.  (Notice how everything in L.A. is World Famous? ;) )  This was my first visit to Goorin's...and what a shame.  Friendly, knowledgeable, honest service to help you find the perfect hat for your noggin - I'm not a typical hat-wearing girl, and I found one that I loved.
Pink's basic chili dog with fries, Lord of the Rings Dog, and Chili Dog with Kraut
Rolling into St. Patrick's Day, the blustery, rainy, cold weather actually made our choices easier ~ beach was out, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach didn't have their typical lines that we're used to on St. Paddy's Day, and parking was oddly not a problem at all.  We started the day with Green Smoothies (oranges, apples, pear, kale, & spinach) and a hearty breakfast made entirely of fresh, organic ingredients by little ol' anticipation of libations in our near future.
Flying by the seat of our pants, we ended up at Uncorked, Hermosa Beach, which promised beer tastings in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  Once there, however, my beer-swilling and brewing guests wanted to do something outside of their comfort zone and drink wine.  Wine on St. Paddy's Day?  Yes, please.  One flight later, a text from a friend pulled us back to Manhattan Beach for some green beer (okay, I didn't have green beer because it just looks weird to me) and shenanigans.  We rounded out the weekend at the Home Depot Center for MLS action, Chivas USA vs. Vancouver.  I have little knowledge of soccer, but I love sports, and I'm glad I had the chance to finally experience an MLS game, as it's in my back yard.  Great game, but I somehow missed the winning and only goal by Vancouver.  Not sure how that happened, but I didn't miss the delicious Club Level desserts - open-faced cookie and bananas foster.  Yum.  Sometimes we get caught up in the everyday and forget that the very town we lay our heads provides unique activities, gastronomic discoveries, and inspiration.  I love living in Los Angeles, and I definitely plan on living more like a tourist in my own town. xo, AB
Beers, Grub, and Soccer


  1. You are quite the hostess! Can't wait to visit:)

  2. You're coming to visit??!! I've been saving up for 13 years!

  3. Looks and sounds like you had lots of fun!