sarah On The Go! takes LaLa Land

This is a brief account of my trip to Los Angeles last weekend. Some memories and moments for photos were beyond what I could produce for you guys. I knew I wanted to blog this trip, but I realized after standing under the Hollywood sign, overlooking LA, that pictures wouldn’t give you what you wanted anyway. You know how it goes. Sometimes memories are better left locked down in our minds.

Day one: Meetup at 2:30 a.m., drive to JFK airport in New York City. Next was to absolutely hate the plane ride with a passion because United Airlines is the worst when it comes to seat space, customer service and overall flying a plane (turbulence to the max). Once we landed, it was all about getting the rental, hotel room and plans in order. Night number one included bangin’ Mexican food at Mas Malo in Downtown Los Angeles. We were all a little jetlagged, but of course, lots of responsible drunkness ensued as we found ourselves in the Rainbow Room, a famous bar on Sunset Blvd. next to an equally famous Roxy.

Outside Mas Malo, Downtown LA

The second day we started with a yum, free continental breakfast the Best Western had and headed off to the American Horry Story house. The Emmy-winning FX television show is among my favorite of all time, and the set being on 1120 Westchester Place was only 20 minutes from our hotel. As uber fans, this was the coolest ish we did in a long friggen time. At night we got ready for Nobu, a fabulous (expensive as shit) Japanese restaurant in downtown Los Angeles that cost a bunch, but the creamy spice snow crab was well worth the $40 dollar price tag. Still water cost us $9 bucks… sparkling- $10. As excepted, none of us complained, we wanted to eat right- real, good.

One thing we had on the itinerary was Universal Studios. It only (sarcasm) took us an hour to park before we headed into the park which was totally redone as haunted everything. The main reason for our visit: The Walking Dead! They had a great haunted recreation of the show. We happened to stumble upon a woman who worked at the park and after seeing our confusion (there were so many people and attractions) she handed us a “front of the line pass.” We soon discovered that without it, the wait would have been 2 hours for a 10 minute walk-through. It was fantastic! Any Walking Dead fans out there in Hollywood or Orlando should check it out. We then took a studio tour by tram car where we got to see movie props like plane crashes and the Bates motel and house (Psycho).

Late night we got Carl’s Jr’s burgers, bought a case of beer and had a fantastic dressup party in our hotel room.

We saw the Hollywood Walk of Fame, ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, shopped in Beverly Hills on the famous Rodeo Drive but it just wasn’t us. I can’t go into shops whose pants are more than $50 bucks. I know, I’m cheap. I wanted to hit the coast, so we went over to Venice Beach and that’s where I fell in love with California hardcore. Not only was the weather perfect, but the beach was breathtaking. From down the boardwalk we could see the Santa Monica pier and all the beautiful scenery that sat behind it- the rolling hills. The landscape is so different than where I live, where it’s tree after tree, woods and no mountainous type of terrain that I can see at all. We walked the strip encountering many oddly wonderful people.

I bought alot of art, for myself and others. I even got a little peace sign tattoo. We ate lunch off the boardwalk at Nikki’s and it was perfect. There were no windows, Red Hot Chili Peppers were on some kind of playlist, and the restaurant was filled with young, vibrant adults. I just adore Venice.

Later on that evening we ate at Beso, Eva Longoria’s restaurant. The food was fantastic, as I had a filet, of course medium rare. The service not so much. I’m not too sure if it was because I had told our waiter we were tourists from Connecticut, but we are still good tippers nonetheless. Actually, with a menu where everything is totally and utterly expensive, he should be giving us the best service- he never came back to ask if we needed new drinks, or how our food was- we waited forever for the bill without new cocktails. Bummer.

Here are some more pictures (not really in order), and let me tell you I took about 500 of them, so this is just a slice. I can’t recall my whole vacation on this blog, there are no words for some of the experiences. There are also some moments on the trip when a photo just wouldn’t do. It’s all in my memory.

If I Start Walking Now…

Would I get to California in time for the Walking Dead Red Carpet Premiere? If that is what it is going to take to save me a couple bucks, then I will get my best sneakers ready. Give me a date, AMC execs! My friends and I are planning a trip to Los Angeles to be super-crazed Walking Deadhead bystanders at the hit television show’s premiere in October. Of course, while we are there, we will be hitting up all the things that have enticed me to visit the City of Angels some 10 years ago.

So what exactly are those things? I know I want to be fork-deep in fine food, and equally up to my elbows in carbs and grease from the nitty-gritty low-key eateries that have made my mouth water 3,000 miles away on shows like Man vs. Food, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and No Reservations.

Walking Dead series regulars Norman Reedus (left) Steven Yeun (middle) and Executive Producer Glen Mazzara

I want to skip the long lines trying to be someone I am not at clubs that make me wait two hours to maybe get in, and opt for a show at the Roxy or Viper Room. I want to travel on the Pacific Coast Highway, get stuck in the notorious traffic, and soak in the fumes from the California-plated cars and trucks- yes, you read correct. But when I have had enough of all the bustle and noise, I want to find a beach (like that should be hard) to tan my face with real, natural sunlight, and watch people on the piers; rollerblading, skateboarding, jogging… enjoying a different life than I lead at home.

As I finalized my vacation to Aruba this past month, I told my travel agent my plans for the October California trip and she told me that it was in fact, the best month to travel to the Golden State. She said that the weather is perfect, not too hot and not too cold. I asked her what I needed to know before traveling, and she responded, “there’s a lot to know, depending on the kind of trip you want it to be. Do the research before you go.”

Amen to that. I love the idea of doing research. Not only can I learn a little or a lot about a place than I ever knew before, but I am better prepared when I touch down. So that is just what I did, and for once I could not possibly a loose itinerary of any kind. There is too much, and while we all have our ideas of what we want to do, bouncing around from San Diego, to San Francisco back to LA is unrealistic.

We [friends] decided collectively that it would be a very long weekend. Leaving on perhaps a Wednesday and back to our drab home state of Connecticut on a Monday. That would give us four full days to explore. This is not that much time to really see everything we want, so making the most of our vacation is key.

First, the reason we are there in the first place, the Walking Dead. Yes, I am totally obsessed with the show and want to sneak peaks (from a distance, probably) at the stars of the show, including writers, directors- creators.

But what is there to do after that? I am all over the place. Someone help me. Who has been to California before? I still need to figure out a number of things that even the research could not help me with:

1. Where to stay

2. Where I have to eat

3. What I have to see (museums, landmarks, guided tours). I am not at all opposed to a good guided tour.

4. Where can I visit in my time frame that is of reasonable distance. Is San Fran, San Diego, etc. out of the question?

5. What airline is best from New York to LAX? I have heard that Southwest is the worst, which is why I ask.

Who out there in cyberworld can offer some advice? How can I make my first trip to California the best trip to California. I want to keep things budget-friendly, but still be able to take in as much as I can.