Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Santa Barbara

A couple weekends ago, it was N's parents' turn to visit us in LA (which is how we all ended up on the Tonight Show). We also took a great drive up the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu, Oxnard, and Ventura, and stopped several times along the way to check out the various towns/views/beaches. N's parents rented a convertible while they were here so we drove the whole way with the top down, which was FUN.

A pic of N and Stewie on a beach in Malibu:

We ended up spending the night in Santa Barbara.
I had only heard great things about Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara is supposed to have the most beautiful campus out of all the UCs) and it lived up to the hype. It was just really pretty. That's all I can really say. While we were there, we went to the Arroyo Burro State Beach where dogs are allowed off-leash. Not only was it a fantastic dog beach, it was beautiful in its own right. Here's a video of Stewie getting used to the water there (those are my flip-flops I was holding in my hand on the left):

A little crab we spotted on the beach at Arroyo Burro:

missed the tonight show?

You can see us right at the beginning of this clip when the camera zooms out from Prince Poppycock...

Thursday, September 16, 2010


On the Tonight Show this evening, you'll clearly be able to see Nick, his dad, and his mom when the Ross Report starts. All three of them are sitting on aisle seats (in three successive rows) when Ross and a big patriotic sequined clown descend the steps in the audience. I'm across the aisle from Nick, but I think I tried to hide myself so there's probably just a glimpse of me :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

LA's Annual Greek Fest

Yesterday, N and I went to the LA Greek Fest for dinner. I read about it on LAist in the morning, and since it's pretty close to where we live we headed over without knowing much about it. And it turned out to be GREAT!

First off, the place was very organized and extremely well-run. There were tons of working volunteers and all of the signs and lines were super clear, which we really appreciated. When we walked in, I saw a man pass by holding a container of fries topped with grilled mini lamb chops, and I knew I must have them. N got some moussaka (which was okay) and spanikopita (which was REALLY good) and I got my mini chops with tzatziki sauce and fries sprinkled with feta cheese. The chops were more well done than I prefer, but for a big crowd they we
re cooked very well. And the grilled char on them...so yummy. Our eyes were so big from seeing so much good food we just downed it before I even remembered to take a photo of it all.

The proceeds from the festival benefited the Saint Sophia Cathedral (in the photo above), which made it easier to spend money at. Tom Hanks and his wife were the celebrity hosts for the event--who knew Tom was Greek? There was a lot of music and dancing on stage. Everywhere you walked you'd hear a random, "Opa!!"

I had heard a lot of great things about the loukomathes, which are something like Greek donuts covered with honey. N and I shared a Greek coffee and got our
loukomathes topped with cinnamon and chopped walnuts. They were heavenly:

At that point, we were completely stuffed, but I hadn't gotten to try everything I wanted to. So we stopped by the pastry table and got a piece of baklava and a piece of galatobouriko to try later at home.
Sadly, the one thing I missed that I really wanted was the saganaki. I love me some flaming salty cheese.

I did try both the baklava and the
galatobouriko by now. The baklava was hands-down the best baklava I've ever had! I think all the pastries were cooked by the cathedral volunteers. The baklava had a great homey taste to it, the honey was not overpowering, and the nuts in it were especially caramelized. I think most of the baklava I've had in my life so far has been prepackaged and whatnot...although it's good, it tends to be overly sweet with a strange preservative-y aftertaste to it. I had never had galatobouriko before (filo dough filled with a custard), and it was equally as good.

I love Greek food!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Point Dume, Malibu

I hit a wall with my blog posts for awhile, but I'm trying to get back into it. Been overly busy and exhausted lately.

My parents were in town last weekend. At my coworker's suggestion (thanks Kevin), N and I decided to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu with them to go to Point Dume. It was the first time since we've moved here that we've driven the PCH despite hearing so many great things about it, and it was truly amazing. A fantastic drive...we passed so many beautiful beaches and cliff sides. Along the way, we stopped at a small restaurant called Plate for lunch. My parents are really into health food nowadays, so I decided to go there since it serves "earthy California cuisine." It has four stars on Yelp, but I had really low expectations for it. It seemed like one of those ubiquitous organic/local/Los Angeles-y/produce-centered spots that I was fairly certain wouldn't be terrible, but was also sure wouldn't be notable in any way. Even the decor in the place was totally predictable. But, I have to say, the food was shockingly good. Everything was cooked and prepped extremely well. It served typical American fare; I ended up getting a BLTA (a BLT with avocado) with a side of sweet potato fries, and they were the best sweet potato fries I've ever had. Thinly sliced, crisp and light, not greasy, with the perfect amount of sea salt on them. Everyone really enjoyed their meals and my parents really loved it. It's also not overpriced, which sealed the deal for a very good lunch.

Anyway, we eventually got to Point Dume. There's free spots for about 10 cars to park where the trail begins (2 hour limit), and the best bet is to just idle there until one of them leaves, which is what we did. The next place to park is at the beach for $10, which was completely packed when we went and also so far away that it required a shuttle ride to get to the trail from.

We first descended a pretty steep sandy trail followed by a really steep staircase to get to the tide pool area. Sadly, it was high tide when we arrived so we couldn't see any starfish or the like. But the rocks and ocean were still fantastic to see and wade through. Then we climbed back up and followed the circular trail around the top of Point Dume, which is a rocky cliff that juts out straight into the ocean. The views were spectacular and the drop off the cliff is straight down. At one point we spotted a couple sea lions balancing on a single rock jutting out of the water way down below. N took this photo of me and my parents near the top of the cliff:

We also drove past Pepperdine University in Malibu on the way. My mom summed it up by saying, "I don't think any of the students here study." That campus is truly situated in paradise.

Meanwhile, it was Stewie's 5th birthday on Sept 2. Happy belated birthday to him! We've had him for a little over 1.5 years at this point. Now he's the oldest in our little 3-person family...in dog years, at least.