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Thursday, June 2, 2011

West Coast Weekend

For Memorial Day weekend, I went to LA to visit my bro, Jennie and my mom, who was also out visiting. I'm not going to brag much but I'm pretty sure I had the cutest arrival party when we got to their apartment! 

Um, yeah.

Saturday morning, before my Mom arrived, Amy met us for brunch at their neighborhood favorite, dog friendly spot, Vivian's. Even though I feel like I've known Amy for years, this was actually the first time we met in person. 

After breakfast, we played with the puppies until it was time to pick Mom up from the airport. 

For a late lunch, Jennie wanted to take us to one of her favorite spots, Artisan Cheese Gallery, where we shared a three cheese plate, two sandwiches and a bottle of wine. 

The three cheese plate arrived on a slate board garnished with dried cherries, candied walnuts, Macadamia nuts, dried apricots and flowers. I love cheese, every kind, even the smelly ones. Our cheese plate consisted of an Aged Gouda, Challerhocker (Made from thermalized milk (a heat treatment less severe than pasteurization), wheels of this cheese cheese smell like roasted peanuts and caramel. The wheels are repeatedly washed with brine, so the exterior is slightly tacky and the interior not shy on salt. It is silky and dense and creamy beyond words.) and I believe the third was the Primadonna (A relatively mild style of a Dutch Gouda cow's milk cheese that is aged for one year. It has a distinctly soft texture and and a sweet, nutty flavor with a caramel aftertaste)

My favorite cheese on the board was the Challerhocker, which is technically a Swiss cheese, but didn't have the same flavor as your typical Swiss. It was wonderful.  This was Jennie's recommendation.

We also shared two sandwiches which I believe were the:

SPANISH TURKEY - Campo de Montelban Cheese (Cow, Sheep and Goat‘s milk from Spain), Turkey Breast, Chopped Marcona Almonds, Roasted Sweet Red Pepper, and Aioli. Served on Ciabattina, 12.50  

ROSEMARY CHICKEN PANINI - Grilled Chicken Breast, Provolone, Pancetta, Smoked Paprika Aioli, Arugula on Ciabattina, 13.00


Artisan Cheese Gallery
12023 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604


(818) 505-0207
(818) 505-0282
like us!

After our fantastic lunch, we went to see The Hangover Part II.  This wasn't your typical theater, let me tell you, ArcLight Cinemas was very posh. You picked your assigned seats when purchasing your tickets. This way, there was no rush to grab great seats. This is definitely an idea that needs to be incorporated on the East Coast. 

Not only was there no hassle to get seats, they also had my all time favorite candy, Redvines. I was a happy girl! The movie was hilarious although expected. It was very similar to the first one and because of that, it wasn't as good. But overall, it was funny. It was the perfect laugh for an evening with family and friends!

For breakfast Sunday morning, Jennie and Andy took us to one of their favorite spots, Hugo's, known for the Pasta Mama breakfast pasta. Just hearing that, I knew this was going to be my kind of place!

Since Jennie ordered the Pasta Mama (Fresh pasta scrambled with eggs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese and Hugo's special seasoning) and My Mom ordered the Pasta Emilia (Pasta Mama with avocado, tomato and cilantro) I decided on a little something sweet, the Pumpkin Pancakes (Golden pumpkin spiced pancakes served with orange slices, currants and organic maple syrup). It's always nice to have a little sweet after something savory. In the end, like typical family dining, we ended up sharing everything 

After breakfast, we headed towards Venice's Abbot Kinney to walk around a shop. On the way we made one little stop at a cute farmers market. I brought my fancy camera on the trip. I figured it would be a good time for me to use it. I did manage to capture a few great moments!

Abbot Kinney was recommend to me by my lovely friend Silvia, who used to live in LA, and mentioned this was one of her favorite streets to walk around and shop. There were so many adorable shops, galleries and restaurants. It was a beautiful day to walk around. 

We worked up an appetite from all that walking and shopping and headed to another Jennie recommended restaurant, The Golden State Cafe, for organic burgers, root beer floats and a scoop of ice cream. 

After lunch we headed up to the Hollywood Hills to say hello to some friends, four legs included. After all the excitement for the day, we were exhausted and in need of naps. We headed back to relax and get ready for our final meal of the day, Mom's Birthday dinner at Osteria Mozza.  

Sometime between relaxing and dinner, I went to check in for my flight and realized I had booked the wrong day to fly back. Crap. So, I guess LA was going to be seeing me for one more day. Oh well, at least I didn't have to pack that night.

Jennie had been wanting to dine here for some time now and was excited when we finally made a reservation. I was excited for Italian food. After Austin and all the LA Mexican food, I was ready for some pasta!

My Mom and I started out with some delicious salads. I had the Butter Lettuces 
with hazelnuts, bacon, gorgonzola dolce & egg. It was wonderful. Mom wanted to try something different than me and went with more of an antipasti salad. Unfortunately, their menu on the website doesn't list it.  Both were fantastic.

Jennie wanted fish. I looked at her and said really? But, Jennie went with the fish. She had the Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut con pepe verde to be exact, with a side of Fried Potatoes with Rosemary. 

Andy, Mom and I all had a pasta dish. Andy had the Tortilini in Brodo, I had the Tagliatelle with Ox Tail Ragu and Mom had the Orecchiette with Sausage and Swiss Chard. Everything was amazing. The pastas had so much flavor and were perfectly cooked.

As previously mentioned, it was my Mom's birthday, a big birthday at that, and dessert was definitely a must for this party group! I snuck away to the "ladies room" to give our server our birthday dessert order. We first saw the Bombolini while being seated and knew it was the perfect dessert for the occasion. The Bombolini is fried donughts rolled in sugar covered with Huckleberry sauce, Huckleberries and Vanilla Gelato topped with a candle and Happy Birthday, lead by my bro. 

Really early next morning (the dogs don't sleep in at all, I was up at 6:45 every morning) which was now just my Mom's last day, Jennie and I cooked breakfast for Mom. We had this birthday breakfast planned for days and even though we had a fabulous dinner the night before, we still wanted to cook! 

Jennie made her famous Sour Cream Pancakes while I cut up Blueberries, Strawberries, and Bananas. We decorated the table with her birthday flowers and cards and sat down to a lovely breakfast. 

Before we dropped Mom off at the airport, we had a quick lunch outside, with Oliver who was also flying back to Tulsa with her, at one of Andy and Jennie's favorite LA Mexican spots, Don Cuco's. The tortilla soup was a hit for the whole table and perfect light lunch. The weather was amazing. I didn't want to leave. 

Since I wasn't flying back to NYC that day, I headed out with Andy, Jennie and Gabe to Hollywood Sports Park for a little paint ball action. Yes, you read that correctly. What is more perfect than paint ball on Memorial Day? 


After hours of paint ball, which was unbelievably fun but exhausting, we stopped for dinner before heading home to shower. Yes, shower was the first on our priority list that evening. 

Jennie left early the next morning because like normal people who don't have to take "Stupid Days" off, she had to work. Andy and I spent the morning together. We went to the Griffith Conservatory to walk around and then grabbed a burger at In-N-Out before dropping me off at the airport to head back to New York City!

The flight was long and I was exhausted after the fun weekend. However, it was great to get my feet back on the ground in New York! 

I hope everyone had a wonderful and eventful Memorial Weekend! Now, back to my interior design based blog...


  1. That cheese plate looks really good! I'm a huge cheese fan too, although I've never tried the stinky stuff. lol

    I love that picture of Amos at the observatory (the one that's from the front, not the rear. haha). He's such a cutie. So is Oliver, for that matter. :D

    Glad you had a great weekend -- and survived the paintball game! I don't think I'd ever have the guts to play paintball. I'm a wuss.

  2. The food sounded delightful.!
    In fact... it was making me hungry.!

    You have an excellent eye for photography.!

    The pups are so cute.!!

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend.!
    And, I hope that your Mom had a lovely birthday.!!

  3. pinkplainangel- ElleJune 3, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Wow, Alexis you are sure excellent at the photography. I loved all the places you described.

    Hugo's sounded amazing. I've never had pasta in the morning and it looked all so good.

    Love the snapshots of the berries, jewelry and such. You really capture each moment perfectly.

    Pics of Oliver and Amos are so adorable. You and your family all are so beautiful.

    Glad you had such a great time!