Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Fairer Coast

I am possibly the only native Californian, or current New York resident come to think of it, that has never been to Las Vegas. Or at least I was prior to Friday. After a couple of very busy weeks Paul and I fled New York last weekend for the warmth and sunshine of the west.

My first impression of Las Vegas? I could not fathom how close the airport was to the strip!

The late afternoon sunshine beckoned, so we headed straight for the pool for a quick dip. But not before purchasing some shorts for Paul who, despite the fact that we were headed for some of the sunniest locations in the country, had not seen fit to pack a pair. You can take the Englishman out of England...

And then we met up with some dear friends to eat some even more dear food for dinner.

As one of our dining companions remarked, the price is not indicative of size. Or perhaps it is, the relationship just happens to be inverse.

Halfway sated, we piled into cabs and headed to UNLV's Sam Boyd stadium. I was thrilled at the prospect of a short drive...I had spied UNLV on the (very short) ride from the airport after all. As it turned out, the stadium itself was in the middle of the desert. But eventually we arrived...along with the rest of the city. And we were faced with "the claw".

Rumor has it that this stage set up requires 5,000 people to set it up...each time. But no matter, it was for U2 after all. They deserve no less. We were happy for them and their giant claw.

Bono proved that he could still hit the rock star stance...

...and the Edge showed us a swagger like no other.

The production rivaled that of the best over the top pop concert you can imagine...

...although I have to admit that the live video feed from the space station was a bit much...and a bit confusing?

After a long cab ride back to the strip and a few drinks, we were snoozing away happily in our massive hotel room bed. And then up the next morning to the airport, the less said about which the better (do not under any circumstances ever try to find food at McCarran Airport).

A short while later we were cruising in our red Impala (jealous? no, I didn't think so) down the streets of Los Angeles.

We soon entered the snarl of traffic that often dominates L.A. highways...

...and after many hours we arrived at our destination: El Compadre.

The lovely Amy joined us for a margarita and some much needed Mexican food.

Paul and I were so excited to finally eat that we could hardly speak.

Thank goodness Amy is a beloved friend and could excuse our poor conversation!

That night we headed downtown

to check out another excellent band with a long history...

I was so thrilled that Lexi, who I hadn't seen in much too long, was able to make the trip up from Orange County with her husband (not pictured here but I assure you very cute) to hang out with me and the very dapper Daniel.

Paul and I ducked out before the night got too debauched, as we had a full schedule the next day. Family time in Orange County!

After a brief stop off at my grandparents' house to check out the lemon tree

we were off to Laguna Beach to meet with up with my aunt, uncle and cousin for lunch.

My aunt had chosen the most amazing spot...Madison Square Garden Cafe...

a veritable treasure trove,

which also happens to make utterly delicious food in a beautiful garden setting!

After stuffing ourselves full of ahi tuna salad and german apple pancakes, we headed up the hill to my aunt and uncle's house for a few photo ops.

The beautiful family, including my amazing age-defying grandparents (grandma and grandpa are 86 and 90 respectively...I never quite get over the fact that both of them still have naturally brown hair). As Paul says, they are in better shape than some of his friends.

I insisted on a walk on the beach afterwards

as I had been itching to get my feet in the water ever since I landed in L.A.

Very few things in life feel as good as the ocean rushing over your bare feet.

We all indulged in a big delicious Italian dinner at Alfio's restaurant on the way back up to L.A., and after a quick night cap down the street from our hotel with a few friends, we headed to the Pink Dot for our nightly pre-bed bottle of water.

The next morning, after a luxurious night of deep deep sleep we dragged ourselves out of our crazy animal print bed

and ambled across the street to the greatest breakfast place in town.

I sat in the sun and drank a carafe of coffee, mulling over how stunning the weather was and how relaxed I felt and how little I felt like getting on a plane later that afternoon.

We took a spin in the rockin' Impala through the Hollywood Hills, ogled the views...

and then came back down to our charming little hotel (we've decided it's the go to for weekends when the Mondrian is feeling too pricey) and lounged by the pool for a moment.

And then we took off down La Cienega to LAX. Back to New York. Now I'm waiting on that crisp sunny fall weather that I always rave about. So far I've got rain and gloom. Fingers crossed!


My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

OH, Laura. I really enjoyed your tour...and jealous of the concert in Las Vegas..that looked so great ! I love stuff like that....

L.A.....I was only about 3 1/2 hours north of you in San Luis all looked like familiar territory....

Looks like you had a great time...

you might have just missed our "cool down". It is actually pretty cool and windy today..yipeee... but looks like back up to 80 for Halloween. NOT YIPEE....

more later,

The Townhouselady said...

What a great post! I wholeheartedly agree about most of the fine dining in Vegas. I was there last year and hungry the whole time. LOL

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

Bono and then LA?! Wowza. I had the best meal of my life..and best experience at Daniel Boulud in Las Vegas.

Your grandfolks look amazing!!

Thanks for sharing. Loved the journey.

Jane said...

that looks liek a fantastic trip, I have never been to either LA or LV, and aren't U2 great live. And I love the finger size photo if you hadn't done that I would have thought it was a large serving. And isn't it amazing how warm weather relaxes you!!? xoxo

Laura [What I Like] said...

My Farmhouse Kitchen - Oh no! Here's hoping it becomes cool and fall-like for the great holiday weekend.

Townhouselady - Thank god it wasn't just me!

Mel - Boulud will have to be a stop on my next trip there, most definitely!

Jane - I have a feeling you'd really enjoy feelings on Las Vegas are a little ambiguous if I'm honest. U2 were loads of fun, and yes, all that warm weather made me feel completely languid and relaxed!

Mlle Paradis said...

Laura - thanks for stopping by mi casa. You know Randy's donuts are v. good. They made some donut blogger's "top 10 donuts in the country" list! You keep stoppin by my blog girlfriend and you'll be buying that ONE WAY TICKET back to Cali. p.s. OMG those raviolis were kinda SMALL?!!!!

Laura in Paris said...

I prefer the delicate ravioli .. to the over sized donut and wouldn't mind that the price is inverse to size ...

Millie said...

What a fab time you guys looked to have had Laura - I could feel the warm LV/LA sunshine just permeating through my computer screen! These quick trips are often the best, you given me the incentive to plan one quick smart.
Millie ^_^

The Brocantess said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Hope you had fun in LV and LA. I am heading to the latter next week. Can't wait!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Mlle Paradis - I had no idea Randy's Donuts were any good! I just thought the sign was good fun.

Laura in Paris - Normally I would agree...I'd rather have less of a truly sublime expensive item but this was not what I would call sublime and it was unconscionably expensive!

Millie - Yes, I've inspired myself to take more of these short little trips!

The Broncantess - Enjoy your trip!

Lucinda said...

Looks like such a fun trip! Next time call when you come to town, I'm always up for a flaming Margarita at El Compadre.

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