Thursday, April 26, 2012

California Get Away

Just got back from a fun little So. Cal. trip with Shannon!
While I like to revisit some of my old favorites, there are plenty of places I haven't yet visited.

I had never been to Descanso Gardens before and we both loved it! Created on a Camellia Farm, purchased from the Japanese owners for a "fair price", when they faced internment during World War II, it was just absolutely, beautiful.

Another So. Cal. favorite, Phillipe's-Home of the Original French Dip Sandwich, was also new to me. Shan and I both found ourselves "mmmming" as we ate, so good and such a unique place! French dip sandwich, pickled egg, heavenly dill pickles, homemade lemonade, coleslaw, all delicious! We loved it!

The "Best Chinese Restaurant in Monterey Park", according to several on-line sites, was indeed the best CHINESE restaurant. It was AUTHENTIC and we were the only non-Chinese in the place, which was a very large and packed restaurant. No Sweet and Sour here, oh no, we're talking jellyfish, tortoise, duck feet and an interesting complimentary, Barley dessert "soup', kind of a watery, lightly sweet, cinnamon(?) porridge...It reminded me of something a very sick person would have been fed in a Dicken's novel. Only chopsticks were provided and I did my best, which isn't saying much! Finally one of the many waiters who were standing on the sidelines, almost at attention, came over and asked, "you won fowk?" Everyone in the restaurant was eating the lovely fried, giant, prawns "in toto", just as they were prepared, heads, little legs, shell and all. I figured "when in Rome" and decided to attempt the same... I am blaming the shells for my latest bout of Diverticulitis. Anyway, Shan and I agreed that a loud outburst of laughter and conversation probably ensued once we walked out the door! I'm sure we were a comical sight., at least I was, Shan is chopstick savvy.

Speaking of Chinese Americans.Everyone knows that there is at least one donut shop every block in So. Cal. and the best donuts, in my experience, are the ones made by a Chinese cook. We, once again, turned to google to find the best donuts in our area and when we walked in and was greeted by an old Chinese guy behind the counter, Shan and I looked at each other and shared a silent, exultant, "YES!" We knew we had chosen wisely. Oh! They were good!

After visiting the Getty Villa in Malibu, we had lunch at M Cafe, an interesting place.  We were seated by the bar since we had actually missed our reservation because I took a wrong turn, necessitating 40 minutes of hairpin switchbacks through a wild Malibu canyon, (car sick, anyone?) anyway... Once we got there it was largely populated by a mix of Malibu/Hollywood Hybrids ( if I ever see one more plumped upper-lip, spray tan or insanely high wedge sandals, it will be too soon) and families with dogs and kids running around. Shan felt out of place with our conservative attire, but me... one of the gifts of getting older is, "I don't give a DAMN what they think, my money is just as green as theirs." Check out the website, it is much less "manicured" than shown, almost had a mom and pop feel to it or maybe just budget problems, but still, I liked it!
                                      It looked like this the day we were there>

So, that's it in a nutshell. So fun to spend some time with my girl, back in the land of my youth!


nana_ang_poppaphil said...

You have had such a great time, I would love the Chinese restaurant, I love the different foods..Nothing like Chicken feet, Pork buns Yum..

Shan @ Design Gal said...

Lol, you described the trip to a T! Loved every minute and had the best travel partner! Love you mom! Thanks again!