Wednesday I went to yoga for the first time in a couple weeks. It was a wee bit challenging, but it felt good. I did a volunteer shift at KCRW for their pledge drive in the afternoon. It was fun. The phones weren't super-busy, but it was nice to be there and meet other KCRW members. And there were delicious macaroons!
Thursday I got together with Helene. She picked me up from the auto shop where I was getting my oil changed, and we went for a nice long lunch at Figaro in Los Feliz. I got the spinach and salmon salad, which was good, but the lemongrass dressing makes it look as though it's full of boar bristles. Not the most appealing visual. Helene got the steak tartare, which was delish! We talked about music and fundraising, and film and fundraising. We were going to go to a movie at Los Feliz 3, but the service was quite slow at the restaurant so we decided, rather than hurry, we'd just get dessert instead. So we ate a light, fluffy piece of cheesecake and some chocolate mousse, and discussed why a mutual acquaintance of ours sucks. I was a little overstuffed by then. French food is a bit rich for me, but boy do they know dessert. We strolled around a bit, looking in the cute boutiques on Vermont, wishing we could afford to actually shop there. Then we browsed the shelves at Skylight Books, and I ended up walking away with Rick Steves' "Europe Through the Back Door," a travel guide that's going to help me plan my next adventure. So far, Rick's gotten me through the UK and Spain, and hasn't let me down.
Friday morning I got up early. I liked my first volunteer shift so much, I decided to do another. I toughed out the early wake-up so I could be in the studio when "Morning Becomes Eclectic" came on. No magical opportunity to talk to Anne Litt or Jason Bentley presented itself, unfortunately. Afterward, I trekked back to the East side, and went to another yoga class, this time with Tony himself. Great class, but I'm still sore. I went to see my little buddy Greyson, and my bigger buddy Jessie. We walked down to Wrap Express (which is way better than the name suggests) and got lunch. I had a veggie plate that included brown rice, grilled veg, hummus, and some kind of garlic sauce. I got them to give me corn tortillas, rather than pita. They had something I'd never seen before: rose hip juice. It tasted like a less-sweet version of tamarindo. I liked it. Greyson made friends with a nice little boy named Nicolas, but then he got all cranky, so we had to hurry back to the house to feed the voracious little beast. Jessie got him down for a nap eventually, so we had a few minutes of undistracted time to have a grown up chat. Jessie's such a good mom. It's definitely not easy.
After leaving Jessie's, I went to a place I fear over all others: the mall. Alex wants a bathrobe for his birthday, so I'm trying to find him a nice one. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the mall? The whole place smells of the most cloying perfume. As soon as you get away from the smell, someone walks by wearing the wretched stuff. You can't escape it! At least it wasn't crowded, but I didn't find what I was looking for either.
I met up with April, her sister Allie, and Maree at Dtox spa in Atwater Village for their monthly happy hour. It was pretty cool. I got a great stress relief massage (the perfect solution to mall stress), and there was lots of free wine and snacks. The DJ wasn't so good, but oh well. After we'd all had our treatments, we went next door to Bigfoot Lodge, but we were all pretty tired, and April had to get married the next day.
Saturday was a big day. I got up early again, and Alex took me, ehem, the long way to First Entertainment Credit Union to open a savings account. He's ever so proud of himself. We tried a new place for breakfast - Modern Eats on Rowena. It was alright. Nothing out of the ordinary. The Picture and the Frame had a short but strong practice. Rickett hooked up his old guitar amp as a vocal monitor for me, and it sounded pretty rad with the reverb turned up.
I went to my voice lesson, then jetted out to Simi Valley for April and Loren's wedding. It was really really nice. They were very low-key about the whole thing. They really just wanted to have a party, but I thought they had a good balance of sentiment and light-heartedness. The bride wore apple green, which I loved! And interesting delicious (virgin) shrub cocktails were mixed up by Wunderbar.
Sunday morning we got up early and drove to Santa Barbara to cash in a wine tasting voucher I got from Travelzoo a while ago. It was for Rideau Vineyard, which had a semi-obnoxious New Orleans theme, but really solid wines. I legitimately liked all 5 or 6 wines we tried, even the whites. Our guide was an older Irishman named Shay, who is basically Alex in 40 years. They were pretty much wearing the same outfit. He gave us a little tour of the vineyard and told us about the varietals they grow there (all Rhone), and the grafting of European varietals onto wild American root stock that saved wine grapes worldwide from extinction. Really! A bug that attacks grapevine roots devastated vineyards across Europe, but wild grapes from Arkansas were resistant to it. So even the finest of French wine grapes have American roots. Go USA. Way to be good for something.
This was my favorite part of the trip:
Ponies! Little teeny fat ponies!
AND little teeny mini donkeys!
After the tasting we went into the charming little town of Los Olivos for a late lunch. A little too late for me. I was already cranky. We had gazpacho at a charming place that used to be a hardware store, and still retains the name.
Those are garlic blossoms, by the way. No bigs.
We were still hungry, so we went down the block to Los Olivos Cafe for a second course. I was rather set on that place since I went there in 2008 with Nik and Nate on the way back from Outside Lands in San Francisco. It's not quite as swell when you can't eat gluten, but the tapenade was fab.
It took forever to get back to LA, but on balance it was still worth it for a beautiful day in the California countryside with my honey.