Tag Archives: restaurant

26 — The (Birth)Day

Since my birthday was on Sunday, Mark decided to give me something really nice for my birthday — a beautiful Sunday brunch at a restaurant called Castaway, which I’ve actually written about before.

We had so much fun, ate so much food, and drank SO much champagne. Well, I did. I put the “endless” in “endless” mimosas.

Anyway, Mark and I were sure to take a picture with their pretty Christmas tree before I got silly brunch.

We’re cute.

Soon enough, however, we were seated.

We got started right away with the mimosas (I wasn’t messing around).

And then, it was time to eat!

There were SO many options from which to choose. There was a breakfast bar, a homemade omelet station, an oatmeal bar, a Meditteranean bar, a Mexican bar, a seafood bar, a make-your-own pasta station, and a huge dessert area. I might even be missing a few things.

My first plate:

That’s a cheese blintz, scrambled eggs, potatoes with peppers and onions, and a tiny almond croissant. I had only a bite or two of everything, though I did mostly finish the potatoes and eggs.

There was also a cappuccino station, which was awesome.

Mark tried to put whipped cream in mine. It didn’t work out so well.

It’s okay, though. I went back for another.

Much more manageable. 🙂 Especially since the other one looked like this after a while.

Embarrassing.

Anyway, we digested for a bit and then went back for more. This is mac n cheese, beans & rice, cheesy broccoli, a stuffed grape leaf, and orzo salad. My eyes were a lot bigger than my stomach. I could barely make dents in most of this, though I did love and nearly finish both the mac n cheese and orzo salad.

It was a carb fest.

And don’t forget, I was still drinking.

At this point, I couldn’t really bear to eat anymore, but Mark (who had been to this brunch before) told me dessert was the best part. So, I went and got samples of all of the things I thought looked good.

That being said, this is all I ate of that plate:

What a waste. 😦

I was also surprised with a piece of tiramisu with a candle in it!

This wasn’t so much “eaten” as it was “posed with.”

Being full stopped me from eating the cake, but did not stop me from downing my mimosa(s).

Happy birthday to meeeee!

Poor Mark.

After we finished eating, we went outside for the lovely view.

And, since we clearly hadn’t taken enough pictures, took some more.

As my sister said on the phone when she talked to me twenty minutes later, “Hey, Drunkie.”

Anyway, the rest of the day was spent shopping at the Americana in Glendale (I got myself some birthday presents in the form of some fun shirts at Forever 21!) opening presents from other people, taking more pictures with each other, and finally, eating the tiny amount of Chinese takeout that I could stomach while watching Happy Endings.

Some presents highlights include…

A homemade ornament from Mark, which is supposed to be us dancing but kiiiind of looks like we’re making out.

What a creeper.

A really cute shirt from my friend Jacky…

An incredibly thoughtful, healthy, low-sugar focused gift from my fiend Claire, who reads KWH (hi, Claire!):

Those are coconut crystals, agave, and dairy-free chocolate chips.

Isn’t that the sweetest, most KWH-friendly gift, ever?

I was also graced with many a card, an un-pictured gift card from my lovely friend Amy, and many, many a bottle of wine.

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I guess people think I like wine?

Thank you so much to everyone for making my birthday special, but thank you especially to this guy, who made it perfect.

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I am a very, very lucky girl.

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Splash

Upon arriving home, I jumped right in. (Does that work well with the title, or what? Total coincidence, too, since I’m about to write about a restaurant called Splash.)

My flight was delayed, so I got in around 6:45am (I was supposed to get in at 5:30), at which time my admirable mother picked me up. We got breakfast, we went home, I gave my dad a big hug, and then I promptly took a two hour nap. I usually tough the jetlag out, but I had a big day ahead of me.

After I napped, I took a shower (sorely needed) and then my mom and I were off to pick my best friend, Will, up from the train station! We spent the afternoon catching up by the pool and then it was time to go out to dinner with my family to celebrate my dad’s birthday.

We went to a fancy-schmancy restaurant on the Sound, Splash.

We really enjoyed being in the sun and then watching the sun set over the water.

The idea behind the restaurant’s serving method is awesome — everything is served family-style, so everything is meant to be shared. Amongst the five of us, we got four appetizers, four entrees, and… oh, ten drinks? It was MORE than enough, but that doesn’t meant we didn’t do our very best in finishing it.

Drinks

I only captured mine, but I got a coconut martini…

And a blueberry mojito…

Appetizers

So, like I said, we got four to split amongst the five of us. These were our options:

We got the Firecracker Spring Rolls…

The Thai Style Lettuce Wraps (my second favorite)…

The Blue Lump Crab Cakes…

And the Crispy Beef Tip Skewers (my favorite — which totally surprised me!)…

Entrees

Again, we got four to split amongst the five of us. These were our choices:

We chose the Macadamia Crusted Swordfish (my second favorite)…

The Sea Bass Baked in a Banana Leaf…

The 5 Spiced Grilled Chicken…

And the “Shanghai Style” Filet Mignon (again, my favorite — so weird!)…

My (super packed) plate full of tastes:

Everything was absolutely delicious, but obviously the meat dishes were my favorite in each of the courses. I was surprised because my second least favorite appetizer was the one I’d chosen (the crab cakes) and my least favorite entree was also the one I’d chosen (the sea bass). Maybe I should let other people order for me from now on?

After dinner, we took a bunch of pictures by the water so we could capture the magic of the evening.

We also didn’t let it stop there — we were feeling pretty good from the cocktails and decided that we needed to keep the fun going. We headed to a mini-golf course (and may or may not have picked up a six-pack on the way…) and had a lot of fun being “that family” during the game.

No regrets. We all had a blast. It was a perfect first night home.

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Sunset Dinner at The Castaway

As I mentioned in my weekend post, I went to a sunset dinner on Sunday. Amanda and Andy came into LA so we could go to dinner at a restaurant that Mark and I have wanted to try for a while — The Castaway in the hills of Burbank.

It was arguably the most romantic date I’ve ever been on. Too bad Mark’s like my brother, huh?

The vibe of the restaurant is like a tropical vacation restaurant. The second you arrive, you feel like you’re at a resort. I liked that a lot! What a wonderful way to escape for a few hours. You feel very far away from LA, despite that the whole draw of the place is that you’re looking over it. 🙂

It’s a sort of pricey restaurant for people like us (by which I mean young people on a budget), but they have a great prix-fixe menu for the Sunset Dinner. It comes with soup or salad, an entree, and a dessert. This is, in my opinion, a really good deal for $19.95 — especially when you take the view into account!

In reading Yelp reviews, I was under the impression that the service sucked and the food was lackluster, but that the views made up for it. The views were beautiful and the service did suck, but I actually thought the food was pretty great!

The bread was so good.

In fact, between a few slices of bread and the delicious salad, I filled up before my dinner came. Whoops!

I made it work, though.

I ended up eating the broccolini and half of the potatoes and then just took all of the chicken and the remaining potatoes home. I did, however, manage to finish my cheesecake. Priorities, people!

I didn’t get coffee, but Mark did, and I thought this picture was so pretty.

We were all really happy with our experience, even if Amanda and Andy don’t look like it. 🙂



How could we not be, with these views?


Pretty, right?

Anyway, that meal ended up lasting me for three meals! I used the chicken and potatoes for not one, but two salads — both yesterday’s and today’s lunches.

All in all, not a bad deal for $19.95. 🙂

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Three Days of Not Not Drinking

Yes, I purposefully used a double negative there.

Today has been busy enough that I kind of straight up just forgot to post. I just looked at the clock and it was 4:00… when did that happen?

So much is going on lately. I love my new job — love it. But it also keeps me busier than either of my last two jobs did, which makes it harder for me to post (don’t worry, I’m still here!). I think it’s awesome that it keeps me so busy.

I’ve been all over the place, in terms of my knee, because I completely settled on having knee surgery and then made a complete 180. I ended up deciding not to get it (at least for now). I found this fairly devastating but I do agree with the reasoning of those who talked me down (Mom). I’m not going to lie, though — seeing that light at the end of the tunnel disappear before my eyes was not easy. There may have been some tears.

I was basically busy all weekend. Also, I had this idea that I wouldn’t drink this weekend and then I drank Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Whoops.

On the bright side, I think I exercised my belief in balance beautifully. As in, I only had one drink (or the rough equivalent thereof – you’ll see what I mean in a second) per night, and I paired them all with very healthy meals.

Anyway, as soon as work was over on Friday night, I headed over to Blue Palms Brewhouse to meet up with Mark, Andy, Amanda, and their friends Travis, Marissa and Brett.  I’ve been excited to try this place ever since the first ColLAboration Pop-Up Beer Garden, since the owner of this bar is one of the partners in ColLAboration.

I got a beer flight.

First, I had the Maui Mana Wheat, which was nice and light and infused with pineapple. Next, I had the Triple Rock Tree Frog Scotch Ale, which was full of flavor. I also got the Drake’s Expedition Red, which was super yummy (probably my favorite) and had really nice caramel notes. Finally, I got the Coronada Idiot IPA, which was hands down the worst beer I have ever tasted. Seriously. Never, ever, ever get it. Ever. I had everyone at the table taste it and not a single person reacted with anything but a sour face. Don’t worry, though, the first three tastes more than made up for the last one.

The food there is also awesome. I was actually really impressed.

I got the Blackened Tofu with Vegetables.

It. Was. So. Good. I nearly cleaned my plate. Also, huge thumbs up to a brewery for offering such a healthy and wholesome meal.

Everybody got something different and everyone seemed to enjoy their meals. Marisa and Travis also ordered a few sides/ appetizers, both of which I sampled. They got the mozzarella balls (yum!) and sweet potato fries.

Both delish.

The people were pretty great, too.

I may or may not have spilled beer all over poor Marisa and myself.

Whoops!

Ended the night with a picture with one of my BFFs. 🙂


I spent the next night with another one of my BFFs (who had also been at the bar the night before).

Saturday night brought a somewhat overdue (since Mark had been sick) dinner with Mark to thank him for taking me to and from the airport when I went to Texas.

We went to one of our favorite Thai restaurants, Chadaka Thai in Burbank.

I got some hot sake (love that stuff) and split it with Mark. Mark also got a couple of Champagne Juleps.

We had a $50 Groupon to fill, so we went all out!

As such, we also split an appetizer — veggie-filled spring rolls.

Now, you know I eat vegetarian about 75% of the time, but I was randomly really craving meat that night. So, I got Panang Curry with Beef and asked them to add vegetables. I didn’t get any rice.

It was perfect and I was happy!

And apparently drunk, or so that picture makes me look.

We were supposed to go to see Hanna (the movie) that night, but we ended up getting really into a project we were working on and spent the night (and the next morning!) on that, instead. No regrets. It was a blast!

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a wine tasting with my lovely friend Claire.

This event was sponsored by a NESCAC (a college association) alumnai group out here in LA, and since Claire and I both went to NESCAC schools, we decided to partake!

The event was held at domaine LA, which is a new (I think?) wine place in LA.

There were three kinds of wine to try. The first was light and sweet, the second was jammy (my favorite!), and the third had kind of a big taste to it. I’m not sure how else to describe that one.

I enjoyed small tastes of all three, but I really loved the second one.

The event also included a sandwich from the Lardon Truck, which was pretty cool.

They were serving the frisee au lardon sandwich, which you can read about here:

I told them I didn’t want the bread and therefore couldn’t get anything with my ticket, but they were super cool and made me a salad, instead.

Claire got the sandwich, though, so I can show you what the meal actually looks like.

The salad was amazing, so I can only imagine how fantastic the sandwich was.

So anyway, so much for not drinking this weekend. But I think I had a pretty solid reason to do so each of those nights!

Two more things…

First, don’t forget to enter my Pretzel Crisps giveaway! It ends in two days.

And second, I’d like to encourage you to sign a petition close to my friend Whitney’s heart and which really falls in line with my ideals.

From her email:

“I just signed Slow Food USA’s petition against legislation that would criminalize taking photos or video of farms.

If you, too, believe that a well-managed farm should have nothing to hide, and that consumers have a right to see how their food is produced, please join me in signing their petition:

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5986/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6675.

Let’s send a clear message that consumers have a right to know where our food comes from. WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CLEAN, WHOLESOME, NATURAL and ORGANIC FOOD!!!!!! “

I mean, right?

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She Runs LA After-Party

Part of the She Runs LA experience was that, the night after the race, Nike held an after-party at Nokia Theatre Live in downtown LA.

This was quite an undertaking, I’m sure! Amongst the companies present at the event were Bliss, Coke, Zico, and Luna. I’m sure there were others, but it was kind of hard to access any of the booths. It was packed!

We were there as Media, which is always fun. I forgot to take a picture of my pass up-close, but Katherine didn’t! I stole her picture:

Upon walking in, we were greeted with the “Pink Carpet.” How fun!

Before we found some other bloggers, Sarah, Katherine, Amanda and I took a picture together.

Anyway, like I said, the event was totally packed. It was hard to really indulge in any of the activities, much less breathe, so we kind of went off to the side (I, for one, am not really a crowds person).

We took some pictures against the fun pink-lit background.

We also took some normal, albeit pink-infused, pictures.

Like I said, there were a few activities going on. There was some video game activity, for instance, which you could see from the escalator.

There was also a Nike shoe stand, where Sarah posed with some sneakers.

Sarah also got pretty excited about the Diet Cokes.

Soon enough, we also found Kelley and Lea!

Eventually, the doors opened for the show, which included performances by Mike Posner and the America’s Best Dance Crew Winner, We Are Heroes.

However, that’s about as long as we lasted. We all kind of quickly tired of the crowds, were getting really hungry, and none of us cared that much to see either of the performances.

So, we headed out for a bit…

But first, we took some more Pink Carpet pictures.

After that, we headed to the Yardhouse, next door, for some dinner and drinks.

Amanda and I both got the Red Rocket, made by (and very similar to) the same company as the Double Red Rocket we tried and loved at the Pop-Up Beer Garden.

I also got the Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich.

Sarah, who sat across from me, got the Lobster Dip. She let me taste it and it was amazing.

Good food, good drinks, good company. 🙂

Last but not least, we headed back to the event for a little bit to pick up our goodie bags. I got mine from a (very cute) guy who worked for Nike (but had a Luna shirt on).

The bags included a sample of Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner, a new Luna Protein bar, and an individual bag of Pop Chips.

Anyway, all in all, it was a good time!

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Ladyface, Take Two

This past Thursday,  I had the pleasure of returning to Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie. Some of the faces were the same and others were different – for Ladyface, anyway.

That one was the same.

Mark and I got there early, so we hit the bar and got the night started. Happy Easter weekend!

I was really sad that they didn’t have the Russian Lullaby anymore (my favorite!), but I decided to try the Ladyface Anniversary Ale. I can’t remember what Mark got. I did not care for the Anniversary Ale at all.

I still drank it.

Eventually, we were joined by our wonderful friends! Enter Amanda, Andy, Sarah and Chris. This group seem familiar? We are awesome.

I guess I didn’t catch a picture of Sarah? Sad.

We then went outside to our table, where we had a really pretty view.

At this point, I got the Worker’s Co-Hoperative. I liked it a lot more than I liked the Anniversary Ale. It was hoppy. You probably could have deduced that on your own.

I also got the Fish & Chips, which were just okay. I haven’t yet tried food at Ladyface that I’ve loved, but I think I need to start ordering whatever Andy orders. He’s pretty good at that stuff.

Sorry, I completely forgot to take a picture. Blame the beer. That, or my growling stomach.

I didn’t forget to take a picture of my last beer, though! Well, first, I got a taster. I totally thought it was free, and it wasn’t, but it wasn’t a big deal.

I still got the full glass, of course.

This was the Ladyface Red Rye, which was pretty good but totally paled in comparison to that amazing Red ale that I got at the Pop-Up Beer Garden.

Anyway, all of the beer was good, I just didn’t find a total winner. It happens. It didn’t even matter, because, as usual, it was all about the company.

It took a few tries, but we were all over the group shot.

We’re fun.

The funniest part of the night was when Chris and Mark wanted to share French-pressing duties.

Aww, friendship.

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Mark’s Birthday Party

You may remember that Amanda, Andy, Katherine and I spent Saturday afternoon at a pop-up beer garden. This was supposed to be the beginning of Mark’s birthday celebration, but sadly, he ended up with something else important to do this afternoon. No big, we started the fun without him.

We decided to continue the celebrations with a mini wine-and-cheese gathering at our apartment. At this point, Mark was able to join his own party. 😉

First, Andy, Amanda, Katherine and I stopped at a supermarket for some provisions. Katherine and Andy posed with some sausage. No big deal.

Appropriate. It’s what we are.

At home, we enjoyed a little champagne (well, those not driving did) alongside some cheese and crackers.

The crackers were in the form of Pretzel Crisps and water crackers, both picked up at the Wine Riot.

Next up, we started the official party at Umami Burger in Studio City.

Well, we tried to, anyway. Even though we’d called ahead and talked to someone who assured us it would be otherwise, we still had to wait over an hour.

Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of a pretty awful dining experience. This was quite the surprise, since our experience in Santa Monica was so fantastic.

Anyway, we entertained ourselves outside, at first. Here is a picture of Katherine and me.

We weren’t really posing for us. We were posing for what’s behind us. Look closely.

Yup.

When we got bored, we ended up going to a few stores around us. We entertained ourselves by taking pictures with hats in the Gap.

All hats courtesy of the Gap except Andy’s. That’s his. Obvi.

Anyway, when finally we got seated at Umami… boy, did we get seated.

These two tables are meant to sit four altogether. Potentially, we could have fit three on either side and still have managed to be somewhat comfortable. But, because Umami’s chairs are so absurdly big, they squeezed four people over there. It was pretty ridiculous and we (well, they – Amanda and I were okay) were totally cramped. The host and waitress both promised to fix it and then didn’t.

Here are our neighbors, who were basically at our table.

At least they were friendly. 🙂

Things looked like they were going to improve when we were offered free dessert. When we reminded them that we’d brought cake for Mark’s birthday, we were offered a free appetizer, instead. Hooray! So we got cheesy truffle fries.

Bloggers in action:

But then, we were charged for them later and basically ridiculed when we mentioned that they were supposed to be complimentary. Hmm…

Also, the waitress spilled water all over Amanda.

Mistakes happen, but poor Amanda.

Then the food came. Well, most of it.

For my entree, I got the Port & Stilton Burger, which comes with blue cheese & caramelized onions.

It was okay. I liked the Umami Burger, which I got last time, better.

On the side, I got smushed potatoes.

Sadly, though, we didn’t get any of our side sauces until two thirds of the way into the meal. Those are pretty necessary!

This was one of my favorite moments of the evening:

Katherine was still enjoying the effects of the afternoon. 🙂

I had also made Mark a Snickerdoodle cake! Here he is blowing out the candles.

I like Andy singing in the background there.

The cake, sans candles:

And cut into:

My slice:

I wish the experience at Umami could have been better, but it is what it is!

At least our friends are awesome. 🙂

Happy birthday, Mark!

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