Sunday, August 9, 2009

Staycation Lunch Day 5: The Backyard

This week I went to a bunch of new places. I spent some time in the heart of OC, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Venice, and Santa Monica. Doing all of this in the span of four days left me pretty tired. For today's lunch, I decided to stay local and actually stuck to the plan. I made myself a DiGiorno pizza and had a few Heinekens in the backyard by the pool. Relaxing by the pool never gets old.

As far as vacations go, this has probably been one of the most enjoyable I've ever had. It went exactly the way that I planned, which is to say that I planned absolutely nothing and it was great! I probably spent less money this week than I have on any other vacation. Aside from lunch I also bought myself a couple new shirts, some dvds, and a new cd. I got to visit with a couple friends who I haven't talked to in a long time and hopefully will get to see them again in the near future.

Getting back to the money issue, my vacation really didn't cost me anything. For the past couple years I've been a big poker fan. I don't play much anymore, but when I did I would go to the casino every weekend to play some low limit holdem. Between that, and some low buy-in tourneys I made a good amount of money. This vacation is the newest item on the list of things paid for by poker. I might have to start playing more so that I can do this again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Staycation Lunch Day 4: Subway???

Yeah, Subway. Lunch today wasn't spectacular, but the day in general was a lot of fun. I wasn't planning on doing much today because I was pretty worn out after yesterday's fun in the sun. But I ended up being invited out to Venice Beach by Natalie, so I went! We picked up her friend Matt and stopped for Subway sandwiches before heading out to Venice. I had never been to Venice Beach before today and really didn't know what to expect but I knew that it would be an adventure

We got lucky and found great free parking about 20 paces from the beach. After that it was straight to the boardwalk to check out all that VB had to offer. We passed by muscle beach and saw some guys working out. They really need to wear more clothes. Some outfits leave nothing to the imagination. Then we passed by the basketball courts from the classic movie White Men Can't Jump. I was then asked to sample 3 different hip hop cds by unknown artists, but refused.

There were some rather interesting "performers" on the boardwalk. There was the Worlds Best Wine-O who had a shirt that said "Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! Help me get drunk today!" He also sang it. There were some homeless people with funny signs like "At least I'm not your kid" and "Kick my ass for $1." Then there was a guy playing guitar on roller skates with a portable amp who would follow people around as they were trying to make phone calls. He made for some great entertainment while I enjoyed a strawberry banana smoothie.

From Venice, we headed up to the Santa Monica Pier to check out things there. Again, I'd never been to the Santa Monica Pier before, so I was stoked to check it out. I snagged a slice of pizza and a soda for a quick bit of energy (very healthy, I know) then we cruised down the pier to check things out. I fought the urge to pay $6 for a picture of me with a wood cut out of Van Damme and watched some kids at the trapeze school on the pier. We saw a band playing a concert and a couple break dancing crews then headed back to the car.

It was prime traffic time, so we decided to not go straight home yet and stopped at Amoeba Music in Hollywood first. This place was the third first for me today! As I walked into Amoeba, I was just in awe of the massive selection in front of me. Racks and racks and racks of new and used music, dvds, and even VHS tapes! (For anyone under the age of 20, those are movies) There was even a free live concert in the store. The Sa-Ra and Creative Partner gave a 25 minute performance that was being filmed by MTV2.

After spending an hour in Amoeba Music and picking up 6 or 7 cds and dvds I ended up buying only 3. I bought used dvds of Fight Club and The Prestige as well as a cd by The Faint. All three for under $30. That's one great deal! I'll definitely have to go back there when I have an actual shopping list so I'm not so overwhelmed. Maybe tomorrow I'll stick to my plan of staying local. We'll see.

Since I didn't really eat anything worth taking a picture of, I'll show you guys the sign we saw while walking back to our car in Venice Beach. I can't decide if it's a clever way to meet a girl or just a pathetic attempt. You decide.

Staycation Lunch Day 3: Fred's in Huntington Beach

Originally I intended my lunch tour to be me visiting places I'd never been before. But when the weather is so nice and I'm on vacation, how can I not go to Huntington Beach for a day?

Today I went down to a familiar place called Fred's on Main Street. Fred's has great mexican food and margaritas which I've had in the past. Today I felt like a big mug of Shock Top. It's a great tasting beer which has become a new favorite for me. I'm not sure if that's because it tastes so good, or because I discovered it at Dodger Stadium. Either way, I like it and I'll keep ordering it whenver I can.

After my huge caloric intake yesterday at Pink's Hot Dog stand, I decided I'd better run. So when I arrived at Fred's with my stomach growling I wasn't surprised. I ordered some chicken taquitos to go with my giant beer. Not a huge meal, but I knew that the beer would fill me up. The taquitos had some melted shredded cheese on them as well as a good helping of guacamole. My stomach was thankful and stopped growling.

After lunch, I cruised around Main Street and bought a couple new RVCA tshirts. One was on sale, the other just looked to good to pass up. Then I rented a bike and apparently thought I was Lance Armstrong because I went on an 8.8 mile ride. The bike that I rented was a beach cruiser which means riding home against the wind is hard as hell! My legs were burning for the last couple miles.

The workout was good preparation for the night though. I met up with Michelle, who lives in HB, and I got to hang out with her and some of her friends for the night. We had a few drinks, talked about her birthday celebrations, and laughed it up at a cool dive bar called Suds. It was good being able to catch up some since we hadn't hung out in over a year.

Today took a lot out of me. So I'm probably going to stay closer to home tomorrow and just relax by the pool. Gotta work on my tan some more, you know?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Staycation Lunch Day 2: Pink's Hot Dog Stand

Today I decided to throw caution to the wind and calories too! Pink's Hot Dog stand in Hollywood has been around for 70 years. I've only been around for 28, but I still had never visited. This iconic eatery needed to be visited this week.
I gathered a few friends to head out there with me today which was nice. Thanks again Jeff, Brandon, and Tracie. Like Jeff said, "There's nobody I'd rather be stuck in traffic with than you guys." It's a good thing we like each other, because getting home from this place took about 2 hours. The long car ride home was worth it because the hot dogs were amazing!
Every different hot dog on the menu sounds amazing! We all had a tough time trying to pick just one to order. I bounced around between the Mulholland Drive Dog, LA Philharmonic Dog, the Bacon Chili Cheese Dog, and the Planet Hollywood Dog. You will have plenty of time to study the menu and flip flop orders because there is always a line. We waited in line for about 45 minutes before placing our orders.
I finally settled on the Planet Hollywood Dog. It's a polish sausage (mild or hot) with grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, 3 strips of bacon, and nacho cheese sauce (pictured above). Pair that up with an Orange Crush and you've got a meal!
The rest of the gang ordered the Mulholland Drive dog (10" stretch dog with grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, 3 strips of bacon, and nacho cheese), the Bacon Chili Cheese dog, and the America The Beautiful Dog (12" jalepeno dog, bacon, pastrami, lettuce, and chopped tomatos). Everyone was full after finishing their hot dogs but I'm ready for dessert. If you're going to eat bad, you might as well go all out. I need some ice cream now!


It's been another long time since I last posted anything here. This week I am on vacation. I'm not going anywhere, so it's a staycation. My goal for this week, to cure my boredom, is to take a lunch tour around Southern Cali. Yesterday it began and I wrote about it on my facebook page. Just thought I'd share it here now as well.

My SoCal lunch tour has begun. Today I woke up not really knowing where I wanted to go for lunch but for some reason prime rib popped into my mind. Not wanting to break the bank on the first day of my staycation I decided to go to the Carvery.

I head down to South Coast Plaza a little after lunch time and start wandering around the mall in search of some prime rib. I don't usually come to this mall and I'm starting to remember why. On my way to lunch I see the following stores: Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Coach, D&G, Versace, Cartier, and Prada. Needless to say, I don't stop in any stores while visiting for lunch.

Arriving at Lawry's Carvery, the restaurant is fairly empty. I order the Lawry's Prime Rib Original sandwich. It's 6 oz. of prime rib with au jus, horseradish and Carvery potato chips served on ciabatta bread. It was prepared very quickly. I didn't have to wait more than about 3 minutes. There's not much to say about the sandwich, it's pretty much amazing! The sandwich tasted great dipped in the au jus sauce or with a dab of horseradish. Even the chips were good with a little horseradish on them.

I finished my lunch faster than I had anticipated. But then again, it was prime rib and I'm not a vegetarian. I'd definitely recommend this place to anyone up for a good prime rib sandwich with a side of eye candy (you too girls, I saw a few metro looking guys there today). But I would suggest leaving your ATM and credit cards at home, just in case you decide to browse around the mall.