LOS ANGELES, October, 2014, Los Angeles, California

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The boyfriend and I went to LA in October. My little sister had just started her Freshman year at USC and the boyfriend has an office in LA so can work there any time. Plus he’d never really been and we have tons of friends to visit there. My mom, stepdad Robert (but we don’t really use terms like “step” and “half” in my family, as I’ve written about in earlier blog posts) and other little sister Sofia also flew out. The boyfriend and I stayed in Silver Lake with our good friend Tyler (you may remember from “My Week With Tyler” post). We saw a lot of friends, went to USC a couple times, including a football game (woah is USC different different than Oberlin)(Also you can’t drink at college football games and all people do is complain about how they can’t drink), I spent some  quality time with the fam and we all ate way too much (I mean, what else are you supposed to do on vacation?!). We even got to borrow our family friend’s JEEP CONVERTIBLE, so I was in full fledged “Clueless” mode (I may or may not have played “Kids in America” every time we got in the car)(and then dressed up as Cher Horowitz two weeks later for Halloween). My parent’s stayed with my Aunt Barbara in Studio CIty and she threw an early birthday BBQ for Robert and I invited all my friends. Studio City is technically the Valley so I had the chance to use the phrase “Looks like we’re going to the Val party”, which I said way too many times.  It was a fun trip and instead of giving you an entire run down here are some things I did/liked:

Mohawk Bend: This “vegan” restaurant was our first stop when we landed, still intoxicated after the plane ride. I say “vegan” because the menu has a plethora of “non-vegan” options, which they clearly mark “NV” (really). We got over the “LA-ness” of the place when we realized they had over 70 California beers on tap and the food was really good. Just try to forget that you’re eating veganaise and no matter what anyone tells you the “Buffalo Colliflower” does not taste like chicken wings.

The Real Inn: Our family friends who loaned us the Jeep recommended this place. By the way their names are Christine and Scott and they are awesome and have a awesome house in Laurel Canyon. Across the street from the beach in Malibu, right off PCH, this place is a fried food paradise. It’s an old school fisherman’s hub right by the Malibu trailer park and a defunct motel. I had chicken fingers because I don’t eat anything that swims, and even though they had a strong taste of fried shrimp, it still rocked. Definitely not the Malibu hot spot you think of but my favorite kind of place.

Lyft: Sure they have these cabs in NYC and Chicago but I really loved using it in LA. Anyone with a (newish) car and drivers license can drive so you meet a whole cast of characters while hitching pretty affordable rides. Plus it’s a great alternative to Uber and there less than ethical practices. (Literally too many links about this to post just one)

Sqirl: Everyone I know is obsessed with this place so I had to try it. Located in Silverlake, it’s a little lunch place that was apparently famous for its jams is constantly packed, serving strong coffee and fresh organic food. I had yummy shac\kshuka but should have ordered more bread. It was good, we tried to go again but the line was too long.

LACMA (LA County Museum of Art): I felt a little silly going to a museum in LA when I never take time to go to the amazing museums all over my own city but the boyfriend and Tyler were working and I felt like being a tourist (plus the Getty was closed). They have a very cool permanent collection of modernist: Picasso, Miro, Warhol, etc… as well as some interesting installations. My favorite was a light installation by James Turrell that made you feel like you were being abducted by aliens.

Waze: This app is the shit. It’s like google maps + twitter. It never lead me wrong and saved the boyfriend and I from countless fights driving around LA. Once again, this app is available all over, but people are super active on it in LA and is super helpful in such a driving heavy city.

Bottega Louie: My baby sister (the USC Freshman) wanted to go here. It was over the top but super delicious. Bonus points for every blogger ever posting photos of their beautiful desserts. Also pink himalayan sea salt shakers on every table. Plus every blogger and there mother LOVES this place.

Native: All week long I was trying to find a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding the following weekend and I stumbled into this place and found the perfect one! Right across the street from the Celebrity Center (Scientology is weird) in Franklin Heights, this little boutique is super cute and has great prices. They also gave the boyfriend and me beers while I tried on dresses.

Korean BBQ: For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to and neither can Tyler. He says to look up “All you can eat Korean” on Yelp and this will be the top place. We gathered a bunch of boys and my one girlfriend and we ate all that we could plus some. I was beefed over on the plane ride home the next day.

Playa Provisions: It was my last day in the LA and we still hadn’t been to the beach so we decided to go on the way to LAX. Tyler took us to this adorable restaurant in Playa Del Carmen, everything homemade, organic and beautiful. Just across from the beach and 15 minutes away from the airport. It was the perfect goodbye meal.

We also took a little nudey photo shoot with Tyler and I may have posted a photos from it. But don’t worry, it’s super tame.

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MY BELATED BIRTHDAY SLASH PETER’S ACTUAL BIRTHDAY PARTY / RECIPE: HERBED LAMB KEBABS, September, 2014, Orient Point, NY

First off, let me apologize for my long blogging hiatus. Let’s blame it on a combination of Mercury Retrograde and being crazy busy at the restaurant. Now that my ruling planet isn’t sucking the life force out of me and my bar manager has returned from her month long vacay, I promise to be posting again at least once a week. AND share more recipes! So let’s begin with a belated post about my belated birthday / my roomie Pete’s actual birthday party at his family’s home in Orient, NY!
If you remember from earlier posts, I lived in the Hamptons for about 6 months while the boyfriend was farming in Ammagansett. It was the worst!
It was so over crowded and expensive, it would take 30 minutes to drive to the beach, which often, you’d have the pay for! We never went out, barely went food shopping, TG we had unlimited free vegetables! I haven’t been back since. The North Fork is the other side of the end of Long Island, kind of like the Hamptons, but it doesn’t suck. The beaches are rocky (which makes for great photos!), the houses are quaint and even during the busy season you still feel the small town country vibes. Orient Point is the very last town on the North Fork. It’s an adorable little village with great antiquing, little shops and it’s quiet! It’s a popular vacation spot but has yet to blow up. Though as I’m writing this I can feel it getting more and more popular. There are already Brooklynites that have moved out there, notable my favorite little sandwich shop/ microbrewery (my dream establishment), Fork and Anchor. The popular Brooklyn pie shop (and one of my favorite cookbooks) Four and Twenty Blackbirds even has a pop up shop there! The Treiber;’ have a sprawling but cozy and impeccably decorated home they allowed up to co-opt for the weekend. I was excited to have our friends come enjoy the Trieber’s beautiful country home and check out a part of Long Island many of them had never been before!

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DODGE POWER WAGON RALLY, July, 2014, Cavendish, Vermont

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Every other summer the boyfriend’s extended family (his mom’s brother-in-law’s brothers, to be exact) throw a Dodge Power Wagon Rally at their family’s farm house in Vermont. Before last weekend I had never heard of let alone seen a power wagon, though I found out plenty about them and the people who love them over the weekend. You can learn more about the Dodge Power Wagon, but basically they are vintage pick-up trucks, made between 1945-1980 that are super bad ass. There is a whole community of Power Wagon collectors, many of which congregate at the rally to talk shop, show off their rides, swap parts and most importantly, go off roading. People drive from hundreds of miles away, some with crazy souped up cars too nice to even drive, most towing beat up old wagons, all to ride, drink and EAT. Continue reading

BADGER BROTHER REUNION, July, 2014, Keesville, New York

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I had only planned on taking a couple days off to visit my sister in Cape Cod. The boyfriend, however, had a family Dodge Power Wagon Rally to attend in Vermont that weekend. On our last night he decided to take a detour en route to Vermont and visit our friends, the Brothers Badger. The next morning I decided ditch work and join. Dan and Dylan Badger used to live with my boyfriend when he was a farmer in Vermont. The boyfriend and Dylan farmed together, while Dan was a Brewmaster at a well known but not worthy of a link brewery. I used to love visiting the boys up in their little home in Woodstock, VT. They brewed their own (delicious) beer, killed their own meat and always had a plethora of farm fresh or home grown vegetables that they were all more than willing to cook up. They introduced me to fun that is the game Careers and the “Heart Attack Roll” (cream cheese wrapped in steak, wrapped in bacon). Dan and Dylan had moved to upstate New York over a year ago and had just finished building their Ausable Brewing Company, and we had never visited them. Continue reading

CAPE COD FAMILY FIESTA, July, 2014, Sagamore, Massachusetts

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I need to preface this post with a quick explanation of my family tree. I have what you may call, a unique family situation. Both of my parents have been married and divorced three times each (that’s five marriages between the two of them) and I have several brothers and sisters of varying ages and colors. Even so, in my family we don’t distinguish between “step”, “half” and “full” siblings. We all love each other and that’s all the matters. But just for a  reference, I have attached a nifty family tree I’ve come up with over the years as a quick explanation. See below. Continue reading