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Chillin’ at the Veggie Grill

Since the first time I visited Los Angeles I noticed a big building on the corner of Sunset and Laurel Canyon with signs to the vendors inside called 8000 Sunset. Today I decided to venture inside and walk around for a bit. Sushi Dan’s, the Veggie Grill and Pinkberry lined the courtyard filled with tables, benches and palm trees.

Totally stepping outside of the box I went inside the Veggie Grill, a small restaurant with a completely vegetarian menu. Skeptical, and a complete meat lover, I did a soup and salad combo: Bean Me Up Chili and Baja Fiesta salad. The soup was totally filling and amazing, for having just beans. The salad was so fresh. Avocados, papaya, romaine lettuce and cilantro, what seems like a California favorite. The herb has been in almost everything I have eaten since I’ve been here.

The rest of the menu was full of “chillin’ chickin'”, veggie-steak burgers, ‘sweetheart fries’ and kale sides. The fries will definitely be a necessity the next time I stop in. Healthy but delicious. To mix things up a bit, each day there is a different soup of the day. Today’s was chickin’ noodle.

Sitting outside in the sun of 8000 Sunset was nothing like sitting on a deck of a restaurant in downtown Milford. Even without the waterfront views the palm trees seemed to make up for it. Maybe my next venture will be to an ocean front restaurant in Malibu.

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June 26, 2010 Posted by | Restaurants | Leave a comment

Is it a location thing or a Generation thing?

So I have been slacking on this here blog lately. With a friend in town, I have been busy. But he is gone now so I am back to my laptop and exploring Lala Land.

One of the biggest things that I have noticed in my 23 days in L.A. is how different — and  by different I mean self-centered — the people are and I notice this mainly while I am at work. Coming from a suburban town in Connecticut I worked in retail and the customers were FAR from pleasant. Pushy and demanding to say the least. I figured when I moved here, the customers would be pretty much the same. Well I was right, but in L.A. they are like Connecticut’s customers on steroids.

It’s one thing to ask for help; it’s one thing to want to separate your transactions to get the best deal for your wallet; it’s another thing to be rude and cause a scene. While I am ringing up customers and on the phone (clearly multitasking already) I have had customers walk in and demand: “I need to find this!”

Um hello, I will be with you in a moment.

As my roommate and I bitch to each other about our days at work he suggested to me that it’s because of all of the Generation Xers in Southern California. But that makes me think, is the rudeness and demanding-ness an issue with the people of Los Angeles, or is it the Generation above me. I’ve always noticed how the Generation Xers raised their children, run their homes and lived their lives. Definitly not how my parents lived and definitely not how I was raised. They seem to be much more selfish and less focused on their children then my parents’ generation were while raising my generation.

While at work I can do nothing but laugh. Laugh at the customers who get upset that they are getting a shirt for $20 and not $3. Laugh at the customers who get upset that we are remodeling our store to make it look fabulous, so in the moment we may not have every single item our company has made. And most of all laugh at the customers who yell and scream at anything they can.

I just hope I don’t get like that. There are much more things to worry about than saving $4 on a shirt.

June 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunshine and shopping

Today I decided to go on an adventure. Alone. I drove over the hills and through the woods to a little place called the Grove near West Hollywood. Planning my day fabulously I decided to drive right as rush hour was coming upon the Los Angeles freeways. Instead of getting stuck on the 101 (look at me talking in L.A. freeway lingo) I took the canyon roads through the hills.

Growing up in Connecticut we had highways. Straight highways. And our surface streets — the Post Road, Bridgeport Ave. — all straight as well. Here the canyon roads are built into the side of mountains. Anything but straight. And to add danger to the winding roads: everyone is in a rush. So if you go the speed limit as your car is following the narrow line of cliffs and the base of mountains, someone is behind you trying to push your car forward, faster.

Once I got to the outdoor mall and got out and walked around it was surprisingly relaxing. No crazy hustle bustle that is in Connecticut, indoor malls. Just sunshine, and shopping. Stores like Nordstrom, Abercrombie and Fitch, Barney’s and my biased favorite, the Gap all lined the streets of trolley tracks.

For lunch I went upstairs to the dimly lit Cheesecake Factory and sat at the bar. Now I have never been to a Cheesecake Factory so I was very skeptical, expecting frozen, processed-tasting, over-priced food. To my surprise my Renee Special was delicious, and fabulous on the wallet. A small salad, cup of lentil and bacon soup and a chicken salad sandwich all for less than $10. I couldn’t even touch the sandwich so luckily I have lunch for tomorrow.

The one downfall of the Grove, which seems to be a regular here and probably in any city. Paying for parking. At least this place takes more than just cash.

After my fabulous afternoon, I hoped back on the 101 and sat in traffic to get back up to the Valley. But it was okay because I spent my day with two of my favorite things: Sunshine and shopping.

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Exploring, Restaurants | Leave a comment

Burnt in 20 minutes flat

So my northern-Italian/Irish skin has never really been a fan of the sun. So we joked when my best friend Jenn bought me 10 SPF tanning spray for my birthday, when my cheerleaders bought me Aloe for my end of the year gift and my aunt gave me not one but three face moisturizers with SPF for a graduation gift. I knew moving to Southern California would give me more opportunities to burn but in Connecticut sitting outside for a few minutes never really hurt.

Today, it did.

As I read my book outside by the pool — a new pastime of mine — I started to feel that not so nice feeling I unfortunately know all too well. After a mere 20 minutes outside in the L.A. sunshine I’ve already begun to turn a nice shade of red. So I closed my book and came inside. I guess I am going to have to ease into this whole sitting outside thing.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So long for now.

Somewhere above Illinois or Missouri I began writing my thank-you letters for the fabulous graduation party my mother through me last weekend. As I got to my brother, sister, and friends I couldn’t help but cry. On the plane, with strangers surrounding me. I wasn’t just saying thank-you for my gift and coming to my party, but I was also in a sense saying good-bye for now. Or as my grandfather would say: so  long.

Instead I put my thank yous away and decided I will write them at another time. On a much more emotionless day.

As my plain crossed over from Arizona to the dry Southern California dessert I realized what a culture shock this would be. Although I always thought it would be an easy transition, moving across country, I guess I never really realized how different it would be. The suburbs of historical Connecticut and the city of Los Angeles can’t be more different.

My first experience in LA traffic was a 40 mile stand still on the 405 caused by a car accident which took us two hours to drive 20 miles away. That would never happen in Connecticut. Watching the news this morning, the weather wasn’t told by cities or neighborhoods but instead by “beaches,” “valleys,” and “desserts.”

So although I was saying so long to my old life over the midwest of the country but I was saying hello to my new life as I flew into the Golden State.

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Family and friends | Leave a comment