yes, i was gone during the jewish holidays but no, i'm not jewish (as most of you know. or do you?). regardless, i got a great deal on Virgin America to fly roundtrip to LA for a 4 nights, 5 days. it was the most fun i'd had out of NY/NJ since Cancun w/Gohm but at the same time felt very down-to-earth since i was seeing Hen and Cousin and the g-rents.
1st, the airline. Virgin America is overall a pleasant experience. Jet Blue better watch out. the seats are just as comfy (leather) but the big draw is that they have an amazing touch screen located on the back of the seat in front of you. everything is touch: watch tv (their DirectTV is still a little shoddy. it was the luck of the draw what channels worked for you and at what time) and movies ($8 per movie, but some pretty good options including at least 4 foreign movies-Hula Girls, 200 Pound Beauty, This Our Exile, Heavenly Mission); listen to music (very similar to iTunes but costs nothing. and there's also a live radio option); even order food and drinks (snacks ranged from $1-2 w/typical fare of chocolate chip cookies, buffalo chips, fruit roll-ups and drinks were all free except for booze).there was also an option to play games (i stayed away from action and stuck w/anagrams and mahjong) and pretty soon you'll be able to shop and surf the net. overall the service is very promising. plus the whole attitude of the airline is obviously geared for our generation and younger. there's an option to chat w/other ppl on the flight through the touch screen and even the PA, when making the announcement for seatbelts and safety, ended it w/: "and so once everything's taken care of we're good to go."
Hen picked me up when i arrived and we headed over to his new place. Mischa was there (yes, i want to spell his name like Marissa from the OC. what what)and he's still w/Margaret which is adorable. they're such a cute and hilarious couple. 1 second they're fighting the next they're like "i love you". and man, if you ever see them dance...Hen's new place is conveniently located in West LA (as opposed to the Valley) but the old house was so much more spacious, particularly when it comes to bedrooms. Hen's room is so tiny compared to his old one. since i got in around 10:30 pm Hen and i just stayed up talking and catching up since it's been 2 yrs since i've been to LA to visit him.
the next day we went to Brent's Deli b/c Hen claimed it was the best NY deli in Cali. while yes, it's very good, considering i'm in Brooklyn now, going to a NY deli isn't really worth all the hubbub. but props to Hen for not overhyping the place. plus he really has a thing about those pickles, which they give you as soon as you sit down. it's kind of odd, but yes, those pickles are addictive. both the new and old (new being greener and not pickled as long). plus, this place did fries exactly the way i like them. super crispy. yummy yum yum.
afterwards we cruised Third street Promenade which was good just for the fact that i haven't done that ever yet. didn't shop/anything since there's nothing there that i haven't seen before but Hen also took me to walk along Ocean Avenue to see the beach which was nice. Cali's definitely got its weather going for it. it was fun just to be able to walk around outside on such a beautiful and sunny day. while there we decided to go and see 3:10 to Yuma since i've been pining to see it ever since i saw the commercial. we kept joking about whether or not theaters would be airing the movie at 3:10 since it was close to 3 at the time. alas, they're not. we decided to go to Century City Mall since Hen claimed they had a really nice theater. except they weren't playing the movie. so the attempt to see it was foiled. instead we sat and had drinks at Ummba Grill which has very nice outdoor cabana-like seating area.
for dinner we met up w/Cousin and Barishnokov at Yu-N-Mi for dinner. for the 1st time in history everyone was pretty much on time. and then we waited 45 mins to be seated. and unfortunately everybody was starving. i kept giving Hen dirty looks b/c i felt so bad for everybody else who had basically come to dinner just for me. on the plus side, we saw Pete Sampras and Bridget Wilson walking down the street while we waited. and inside we got to see Topher Grace (1 of the true loves of my life). we ate relatively family style aside from me ordering a sweet shrimp sushi (which was good) and Hen ordering a baked lobster handroll (which proceeded to fall apart as he ate it-which is why i don't order handrolls and which i'd just said prior to it happening). we also ordered a foie grais scallop tower, 3 sushi rolls and an uni box. overall good, particularly the more unusual stuff, but i think i was more impressed w/the number of celebrity brushes i had.
afterwards we attempted to go to Cabana Club for Cousin's friend's bday but the line was insane and it was such an Asian scene. while we made it through the 1st hurdle w/o waiting in line, the $20 cover that Hen and Barishnokov would've had to pay to get in was reedonkulous so we went to Lola's instead. ironic story: earlier that day, Margaret, Hen and i were watching The Hills and it was the episode where Lauren was saying how much she loved Lola's and we'd all been commenting about how that place must be so packed w/all the free publicity. and now coincidentally, that's where we end up. it was hilarious watching Barishnokov drink martinis but as it turns out, that's what Lola's is known for. i had a peach martini which was pretty good (i'm not actually a big martini fan anyways) and i really enjoyed the big piece of fruit at the bottom.
Hen had to do some work stuff on Saturday so i sat around watching pilots while he dropped of cupcakes at his boss' house (yes a little kiss-ass but hey, whatever it takes). i had the opportunity to watch Gossip Girl, Sam I Am, and Reaper pilots. before all of you. YEA!! plus they were all pretty good, even Gossip Girl, which i gotta admit i was so gonna pass on. i got hungry waiting for Hen so i'd eaten the leftovers from Brent's and also ate his leftover potato salad making sure to leave his pastrami-corned beef and his pickle alone in order to avoid getting dirt rubbed in my face (the unfortunate downfall of Hen's brother who had the audacity to eat his Brent's sandwich last time). when Hen got back we went to the Grove to walk around and windowshop where a saw a 3rd rate celebrity inside Barney's co-op but for the life of me can't place. but i will. it bothers me every time i think about it.
that night we went to Holly's for Hen's roommate Ben's gf's bday party. o yea, almost forgot, guess where we went to dinner beforehand: CPK. probably the only blight on the entire trip since why-oh-why would i want to go to CPK when i'm in LA? not that it wasn't good, just: i can eat that here. anyways, the party was amazing: great DJ playing danceable songs (gotta give props to LA for always playing good music vs. NYC lounges/bars. hello? enough w/the 80s rock. let's stick w/the top 40s and hip-hop & R&B); they'd booked the whole lounge for the birthday party; table service; and a nice little porch to go outside and smoke w/o having to actually leave the club. we stayed till closing (which is 2 am btw. i had no idea that LA nights end at 2. that's also kinda lame).
on Sunday Hen took me to the Pacific Palisades Farmers' Market which was really fun. plus we got to eat a little of everything and i love free samples. i'm still regretting not buying those marinated greek olives. instead i got some lemon almonds (surprisingly delicious and obviously a big seller), dried mangoes and a block of organic vegetable jack cheese. Hen got some kettle corn which i munched on and am totally regretting not having purchased too. we had brunch at a local place where i had an amazing southwestern eggs benedict (jalapeno cornbread, poached eggs, turkey sausage and black beans on the side).
later that day i went by the g-rents' in Rowland Heights, which is Asian mecca to me. bubble tea and chinese food up the wazoo. i love it. i haven't seen the g-rents in a while and while it was great to see them again, it was kind of sad. grandpa's gotten really skinny and grandma is at the beginning stages of Alzheimers. considering how vibrant they were from when i was younger it was upsetting. it's also incentive to go and see them as often as i can now while i still can. on the way back to Hen's Cousin took me by another non-fat pinkberry-ish place. i guess Cali's got the grasp on it since Pinkberry showed up there 1st and now all the original Korea transplants are popping up there too.
while Cali was awesome and i had a great deal to fly there, for me, nothing's ever for free. i made the mistake of leaving my digital camera in my checked bag and while in transit someone stole it. i'm so upset. particularly since it was a gift from Gohm and it was amazing.