Wednesday, January 11, 2012

life (lahyf) | vacations

Last week I was in LA visiting my folks and technically it was a "vacation", but it wasn't somewhere new I was visiting.  It was a place I lived in, but regardless I had days off from work and the only way I wanted to spend 3 full days in LA?  Eating my way through all the restaurants I love and miss that I can't get in Chicago.  It was the perfect vacation! 

Immediately after my parents picked me up from the airport at 8am, we headed to The Grove where where ate my weight in egg whites, turkey sausage and shared a stack of pancakes from Dupar's.  I'm not a pancake person, so believe me when I say that these pancakes will convert any savory breakfast fan.  They're fluffy, light, not too sweet and are perfect enough to eat without syrup.


After having a huge breakfast, I basically starved myself the rest of the day to indulge in my favorite pizza place for dinner, Pizzeria Mozza.  You really can't go wrong with any pie you order because what makes each pizza so delicious, aside from the one of a kind toppings, is the amazing pizza dough made from the genius mind behind La Brea Bakery, Nancy Silverton.  I indulged in a cheese-less pizza and a delicious green salad, but left room for dessert because on the way home I made my parents stop at Yogurtland to curb my craving of tart pistachio yogurt topped with mochi and fruit.  I love Yogurtland so much (way more than Pinkberry or Red Mango) and wish I had money to open a franchise in Chicago, but sadly I don't. :(


The next day, my parents and I took a stroll through Manhattan Beach, CA with my uncle's dog Bailey and had breakfast at one of my old haunts, Uncle Bill's Pancake House.  I used to work in El Segundo, not too far from MB, and on days when we could sneak away for a long lunch we'd make our way to Uncle Bill's for all day breakfast items like french toast topped with cheddar cheese and bacon or breakfast potato stroganoff.  Sitting outside along the strand, eating a fat kid's breakfast with 80 degree weather, was pure bliss.  Later that day we picked up my favorite asian chicken salad from Rascals Teriyaki Grill and made me wonder why Chicago doesn't have more teriyaki joints.  On the West Coast, they're as common as Chipotle's, but in the Midwest they're nowhere to be found.  Maybe I should get some Asians together and we petition to open one?


My last day rounded out by making a mandatory pit stops to Coffee Bean for a Vanilla Ice Blendid and See's Candy for lollis, but we saved the best places for last.  Since we were going to be in Burbank watching a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, I made my parents go to Porto's Bakery for lunch.  I can't stress enough that if you're ever in the LA area, make a trip out to this cuban bakery and try one of the guava pastries and potato balls - they're truly life changing.  The place is always packed no matter what time you go, but the lines go quick and it's worth it...trust me!  For dinner, we kept it low key and although I really wanted to fit in more of my favorite eats, I landed on filling my craving for Zankou Chicken.  This Mediterranean take out may not look like a big deal, but for $8 you get the best roasted chicken served with hummus, pickled vegetables and a garlic sauce that I dream of at night.



Needless to say, I ate a lot on my 3 day vacation and although there are times I do miss living in LA, truthfully, I miss the food more.  Even though there were many non-food related things I wanted to see or could have done, all the food stops were enough for me.  For me, vacations are an opportunity to soak up local culture and enjoy food you won't get at home...and I did just that.

|Does food play a huge role in your vacations?  Do you like to research the best places to eat before getting to your destination or do you let food be secondary to seeing tourist attractions?|



18 comments:

Sabrina said...

mmmm you just made me so hungry!!! especially for Cuban food, I love Papa Rellenas. whenever my grandma makes them i have her make me double since they are such a treat to have.

Amy said...

Yummy!!! I could go for some pancakes right about now...

Alyssa said...

First off, DROOL! OMG. It really sounds and looks like you had a wonderful time. Definitely part of what a great vacation is all about!

When I am away food is definitely a huge part of the trip. I like to befriend the locals ASAP so I can find the best local food.

Mel said...

Everything looks and sounds so delicious. Seems like a perfect trip to me!

LC said...

this looks like a delicious trip, my kind of vacation!

DOWNTOWNCHICAGOBARBIE said...

You looked like you enjoyed some great food. Those pancakes look great. I would like to travel more this year if I can. I need to soak up some cultural.

Small Town Gal said...

Oh my, your pancakes make me want to eat breakfast again! They look soooooooo fluffy. I love those See's candies. I can eat them all day long.

Small Town Gal said...

Oh my, your pancakes make me want to eat breakfast again. They look soooooooo fluffy. I don't like pancakes which make you feel you're eating a lot of flour. Love the See's candies. I can eat them all day long.

DiamondsandTulle said...

yum yum yum! pancakes sound so good right now!

xx Vivian @ http://diamondsandtulle.blogspot.com

Rebecca said...

One of my favorite parts of vacation is being able to try foods that I can't get at home.

Annie said...

Those pancakes look amazing :)

Annie
The Other Side of Gray

eek said...

We are definitely all about the food when we go on vacation. I especially love finding delicious vegetarian places so I don't have to worry about what I pick off the menu!

just tututiny said...

OMG - these photos look amazing, makes me hungry!

YES - we only travel to places with great food. I go to Toronto 3 times a year for their fresh fruits imported from Thailand ;) I knew we are food fanatics!

hope you had a great new year my dear.

Lisa - respect the shoes said...

Oh all my vacations revolve around food - it's almost the best part! I'm a savory foods person too, but I can't turn down a stack of perfectly fluffy pancakes!

aurea @ pricewise events said...

Wow, your post made me drool! What a vacation you had, those are really amazing food you've eaten! :D

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) said...

OMG I'm so jealous, you hit all my favorite places-- my mouth is watering thinking about Porto's (papas rellenas! the pork sandwich!) and the garlic sauce at Zankou's. I was a huge fan of Dupar's breakfast too. I always load up on tacos and seafood when I'm in L.A., especially fish tacos.

Sarah said...

MMmm...this all looks yummy!!

Ashleigh said...

Bookmarking this for my next trip to LA in March, everything sounds fab! We like to do a little discovery on our own but recommendations are always part of the plan as well.