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Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

If you’d asked me 10 years ago if I wanted to got to Los Angeles or what I thought of Los Angeles I wouldn’t have had much to say. I’d never been there and after 9/11, I’d pretty much written off the US as a holiday destination.

Then in 2006 came the offer of a whirlwind work trip to Los Angeles. Just a couple of days in Beverly Hills for, of all things, to celebrate the hit soapie The Bold and the Beautiful. Even the man processing my visa application at the US consulate in Perth thought that was pretty funny.

It was a quick trip and at times a lonely one, being the only Aussie on a foreign press junket where English was not the first language of choice. I extended the trip a couple of days (long story) and managed to fit in a movie junket and a visit to the LA Times Festival of Books. Anytime I saw little kids I got homesick; my son was only two at the time – he didn’t want to talk to me when I got back.

But I got a taste for LA. The crooked palm trees. Starbucks. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Bagels and boiled eggs. Even filter coffee with half and half. People were friendly. Waiters were friendly. Food serves were enormous and servers always wanted to load me up with take away.

I started of at the Elan in West Hollywood, before moving to the Avalon in Beverly Hills for a few days to attend the Bold junket, including a night at a club to watch Ronn Moss perform. It was all a bit surreal.

No one walks in LA, so the hotel staff kept reminding me, but I managed to clock up some ks on foot. Cabs were expensive. I think it cost me $50 to get from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica. Cabs also work in districts and I was surprised you couldn’t walk on to the street to hail one (that’s a New York thing).

I became determined to return with the family and we managed to save up for a family holiday in 2009, clocking up a near 30 hour economy long haul flight from Perth to Brisbane (or was it Sydney) and on to LA and then finally, JFK in New York.

I’ll save New York for another post; we were so sad to leave the Big Apple we nearly cried, even though LA was still to come.

Pictured above are some of the places we’ve come to love in LA. First, the Farmers Market at the corner of Third and Fairfax. It has been a mandatory stop on each visit, whether for a coffee at Short Order (apparently now closed) or some Mexican from Loteria. It was literally the first place we went to after picking up our hire car in March 2012.

Next, Venice Beach. That place can be a whole lot of crazy. But there are some great restaurants and hidden patisseries tucked away, not to mention the canals. We loved the fact the staff at the Starbucks near our hotel in 2012 knew our orders by heart within about a day.

And last but not least the Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica Pier, beautiful by day or night. I just love Santa Monica. I’ve never been on the wheel or attractions (see previous post about  fear of heights and add rides to that) but we have eaten at Bubba Gump and had coffee along Third Street Promenade. So many cool places to eat and shop around there.

A lot of people say they hate LA; it’s polluted, there are to many homeless, it’s dirty. They hate LAX, they hate the queues at LAX, they hate the security at LAX.

So much of this is in the eye of the beholder. I love to see the Downtown skyline. I am always amazed by the 16 lane freeways, the traffic snaking down Santa Monica Boulevard. The streets and boulevards that seem to run from coast to airport and across the entire city (on my first trip I tried to walk from one address on Wiltshire to another not realising they were MILES apart -this was pre Google maps).

Work has fortunately taken me back to LA four winters in a row; one year it was freezing and we had to buy coats before a function but every other year, the weather has been crisp but beautiful. One day I hope to experience the heat of an LA summer holiday and get to really indulge in a hotel swimming pool.

In other circumstances, in another lifetime, maybe I’d have lived and worked in LA. Sadly it’s a city that’s become unaffordable for many; read why here in LA Magazine, absolutely my favourite monthly magazine (I’ve been subscribing for maybe three years now through Zinio, having become quite the fan when I found an edition in my hotel room back in 2012).

So for now, I thank Los Angeles for the food, the fun times, the memories…and the photos, of which I will post more in coming weeks.

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Pasadena at Dusk

Pasadena at Dusk

 

In the year, gulp, year that has passed since I last posted, a lot has changed.

But you won’t find any selfies posted here.

Nor will you see photos of my kids.

Instead, here are a couple of my favourite things about Los Angeles.

The wonky palms.

The crazy freeways – so big, so many lanes, so fast – but somehow safer that Perth where no one can merge to save themselves!

And Starbucks. Yeah Starbucks! Frozen soy frappes/frapuccinos rock!

 

Starbucks frozen soy frappe

Starbucks frozen soy frappe

Hollywood or bust

Hollywood or bust

 

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So here I am on a Thursday night updating my social media.

Logged into Twitter.

Added some connections on LinkedIn.

Reset the password on a Yahoo account that had 400+ unread messages…why do I have four email addresses again?

This blog in particular is long overdue for a post.

It’s not like I have been idle. I’ve had all the actual work writing to contend with…often requiring interviews at odd hours. Oh, and a family…kids parties…life…etc etc…

Anyways, here are some links to pre-written ready-made content and photos!

Recently I got the chance to chat to Daniel Dae Kim whose work I have been following since the days of Angel.

Read about his time on Hawaii Five-O here:

Earlier in the year when I was at the TCA Winter Press Tour in Los Angeles I attended the session for the new Shonda Rhimes drama Scandal starring Kerry Washington.

The lovely Annabel Crabb was happy  to chat about her new season of Kitchen Cabinet – she has high praise for the cooking skills of WA Senator Louise Pratt. Not so much so for poor Joe Hockey‘s barbecue prowess and the fact his oven still had plastic on it!

In an ideal world, I’d have posted the links to the kids’ movie reviews in the school holidays, not several days after they finished. Yes believe it or not, I watch TV every day and still go to the movies too!

Mwahahaha here’s Hotel Transylvania with the voice work of Adam Sandler “blah blah blah” , and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days with general silliness.

And let’s call it a wrap with Perth’s Mandy McElhinney aka Rhonda the safe driver soon to be known as Nene King.

 

 

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Three days into winter in Perth and it is still feeling a bit like spring.

In fact our weather in the past few weeks has reminded me a lot of California.

So, time to crack out some more holiday snaps, this time, from Yosemite National Park where it snowed on us quite unexpectedly, in spring.

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Having missed the chance to dine at a Wolfgang Puck or Mario Batali establishment in Las Vegas, I used the very handy OpenTable service to book a table at Pizzeria Mozza in Hollywood on our second last night in Los Angeles.

My mouth is watering just looking at these photos. My favourite dish – a tie between the squash (zucchini) flowers and the arancini.

We took a risk visiting a pizzeria/Italian restaurant with Ms11, who has life threatening dairy allergies but our server went out of his way to allay our fears, even ordering new bread to go with her mussels.

For the record she ordered a second serve!

Ms11 usually misses out on dessert but Mozza even had dairy and egg free sorbets – so she rocked three courses that night. A great feast to farewell LA and the USA.

 

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I get sick of people saying they don’t like LA, they’re only using it as a transit stop, that it’s dirty, blah blah blah.

I for one, think there’s much beauty to be had and found in and around the City of Angels – not to mention good food.

When the sun came out the weekend these photos were taken it was impossible to get anywhere near Griffith Park Observatory, which was a shame, as the previous visit it was closed, and the city was clouded in fog (as opposed to smog, I think!)

Not wanting a several mile hike from the car, we parked and took photos from afar. And soaked up the views. Of LA.

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Sun set over sea lions

San Francisco’s famous sea lions at Pier 39

Sunset over Manhattan Beach, California

Sunset over Manhattan Beach, California

One of life’s simplest pleasures, watching the sun set. Beautiful anywhere in the world. The first photo was taken on our first day in San Francisco at the famous Pier 39.

 

The second  was taken while racing the clock at Manhattan Beach south of Los Angeles.

I had visited in January and spent a day on a sound stage nowhere near the beach so getting to see the sun set in April was a bonus.

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