Friday, July 2, 2010

Fancy LA eats + IOWA awesomeness 5000

I went to LA recently and it was fabulous. I know, I know, you're thinking 'Lauren all you're going to talk about is how you and Justin Timberlake ran into each other and fell in love', well don't worry, I won't bore you with stories about how I hung out with my hollywood BFFs (I did not), or how JT fell in love with me (status pending).

Actually While I was there I stayed on the Anaheim side which means that instead of fancy cars and designer clothes I saw a lot of Disneyworld fanny packs and scrunched 80s tourist socks. You know the kind I'm referring to. That's right Dad, the ones I weaned you off of earlier this year.

I digress. I love traveling for work because I can order fabulous food that I would not have the resources or know how to make at home. Below was a once beautifully presented tower of fruit and seafood (mango, avocado, crab) from M&S grill. I remembered to take the picture post first bite. Just use your imagination. It tasted absolutely glorious.
I also ordered the red velvet cupcake because any slight reference to Steel Magnolias and the armadillo cake gets points in my book.
So I was in LA for a trade show and generally speaking trade show food is continental breakfast at the comfort-inn level in quality so pictures are not generally necessary. But there, out of the blue, came another installment of : ADVENTURES IN NEW FRUIT. I was intrigued. Apparently that fruit with the Encino man hairdo is called a Rambutan (similar to a lychee?) It was the same texture as a grape, with little to no flavor and with tons of work to get to the edible part.

It was gloriously sunny and perfect weather the entire time I was there. Ahh palm trees, so vacation-esque.

One of John's old roomies and friends from college lives in the area so we grabbed dinner one night at a fun Sushi place in downtown Fullerton.

Yummmm...... Sushi......

Except when they load it up with mayo-like substances. Dude, that ruins the flavor.

Although the majority of the rolls were DEE LISH, this one tasted like crab salad on top of the roll. Both hard to eat and kind of bland. Not my scene.

This was my date for the evening. Jackson, aren't you happy that I've showed the world such a completely flattering photo of you eating? It reminds me of the time I went to a sushi place for a first date. TERRIBLE idea. Not only is my hand tremor not conducive to graceful chopstick usage, but they make rolls the size of your fist, and you don't have much choice but to shove the whole thing in your mouth and hope you don't displace your jaw.

Soon after my return to the Show Me State, I left for the annual Carroll Sister's weekend. My mom and her SIX SISTERS have been having an annual sister's weekend every year since I was in junior high. The date and location changes, the jokes and the people are generally the same. a winning combo. This year there were 7 sisters + 4 nieces + 2 aunts + 2 sisters-in-law.

My godmother/aunt/summertime roomie hosted this year and made it so fabulous!

There was a murder mystery the first night. My character was Cinderella (Beth to her friends) which meant that I got to bring out my MORP dress from college. MORP = prom backwards, which we used as an 80s theme. Mom has been trying to get me to throw this out for years (as, obviously, I've been storing it at her house). By the grace of god it fit and if it wasn't so uncomfortable to sit down in it I'd wear it all the time.

What is a weekend together if not ALL about food! We had lots of healthy options this year, go us! (and go Aunt Anne for coordinating it!)

Other highlights of the trip include: Yoga, taught by yours truly (mostly stretching, but it counts), water color lessons, decoupage art time, a HILARIOUS talent show where I played the spoons. As usual, my great Aunt Marilyn steals the show and I even videoed but I couldn't get it to post here so just imagine Betty white dancing to NOW that's what I call music 2010.

We went to a charming house on a charming street in a charming town (star's hollow, anyone?) that a Russian family had converted into a restaurant. I suppose there is a reason that the Russians aren't known for their culinary skills (or healthy eating, yikes), but the ambiance and the company made it a thousand times better than any chain restaurant we could have gone to. Below were our Russian eats.
A potato salad in a kaiser bun that had Beet eyes that stared at me. Plus a cream of mushroom soup that was SO SO SO GOOD. I'm pretty sure it was heavy cream with mushroom flavor, but I'm not complaining.

I got the vegetarian option and am so glad I did. I hadn't had acorn squash in forever! It had honey, brown sugar, butter and cheese on it. I picked around the cheese as the squash was plenty flavorful with out it. Also the asparagus came wrapped in a puff pastry, cute and delicious! That other thing was a combination of four cheeses and was uber heavy. Lots of flavor but after a couple of bites I literally had to get up and walk around the block.

Can't wait for next year's Wisconsin adventure!!

In other news, I have been playing Words with Friends like it's going out of style. I play John, my brother, my cousins, my college buds, and John's sister. I freaking love it. I also documented my highest scoring game to date, where I got nearly 600 points. Nerdy scrabble high five!

Also last week I made Jenna's (of Eat Live Run) Vegan Lentil Loaf and it was SOOOOO GOOD. Even John begrudgingly approved. It made an awesome weeknight meal in the following days too.
Two thumbs up!

Currently it is 85 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, my calendar is chalk full of fun stuff going on and I am happy as a clam. YAY summer!