Hi there, Courtney here!
A few weekends ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Josh’s parents, Don and Ann from New Jersey. We gave ourselves a loose itinerary for the weekend which included SO much food and quite a few activities; but mostly, it was about the food…isn’t it always?
Some of the places on our list to visit were Santa Barbara and Solvang (Ann’s favorite movie is Sideways, so we decided to surprise her with a day trip), Rosie’s dog beach in Long Beach, and the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena.
We wanted to take them on a little food tour of some of our favorite haunts as well as a few places we hadn’t tried yet. I’ll use any excuse to go to a new restaurant, it’s my favorite hobby! After every meal Don would excitedly exclaim, “That was SO good. That was the best one yet!” Because all of our meals were so large, we mainly ate a late breakfast and a dinner, omitting lunch altogether.
We forced ourselves to come to terms with the fact that we would not be eating healthy at all this weekend and we would probably be ingesting quite a few adult beverages along the way. After all, it was his parents vacation…and vacations are meant to be at least a little indulgent.
Haunt #1 – The Morrison in Los Feliz
This burger and beer joint isn’t shy about letting you know that it was voted in the top 100 restaurants in LA on yelp, with signs and banners posted all over the outside. But, the burger and beer lists live up to the hype. We shared nachos to start (Josh is, quite sadly, lactose intolerant so he picked around the cheese and sour cream to the best of his ability). Josh and his dad both got a bourbon barrel aged stout and I partook in Hangar 24’s redlands red ale.
The Morrison’s burgers are HUGE! We each ordered our own and when they arrived to the table we quickly realized that sharing may have been a better choice. For the table we ordered onion rings with house made BBQ sauce, sweet potato fries, and regular fries. The onion rings were big enough to be worn as bangles, and though they were quite ridiculously sized, they we also quite tasty.
While slowly making our way through our meal, we caught up a little and spent some time mulling over our schedule for the weekend. We then dropped Josh’s parents off at their amazing Air BnB in Glassel Park; complete with a 3 tiered garden in the front yard, pomegranate trees and local loving felines. They needed a good nights sleep to rest up for everything we had planned!
Haunt #2 – Cindy’s Diner in Eagle Rock
A small diner with a vibrant and vintage feel that I am simply obsessed with, Cindy’s is a spot that Josh and I try to come to at least twice a month. I am unable to eat chicken or egg products which typically makes breakfast hard on me, but fortunately the chef here makes it easy to omit poultry without ruining the caliber of their dishes. Josh and Don discussed the finer notes of the brisket hash for a good portion of the meal, but eventually we moved on to comparing books that we’ve recently read and films we are looking forward to. Don recommended “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis, a novel that somehow perfectly foreshadowed our current political climate. We’ll see if we can stomach the read. I got the chorizo breakfast scramble with no eggs and some added avocado and Ann got the Mediterranean scramble. The coffee and conversation stayed flowing, and as for the finer notes of flavor in the hash – I am still convinced that it was nutmeg.
Haunt #3 – Golden Road Brewery in Glendale
Golden Road Pub is directly connected to the Golden Road Brewery. It has 3 separate patios and is very dog (and kid) friendly. We love to bring Crumpet here for an early dinner during the week and he loves it for all the attention he receives.
We always start with a Pub Pretzel accompanied by spicy mustard and vegan beer cheese. After ordering a round of the 329 Lager to start, we discussed our plans for the evening (we were going to head to the OC fair, but the traffic was looking terrible and the parents were tired). For the evening, we opted to head to a movie and do a little antique and vintage shopping along the way.
Now, to get back to the food – I highly recommend the adult grilled cheese and the fried avocado tacos. Ann got the pulled pork, a sandwich best eaten with a fork and knife, and then rounded everything out with a peanut butter ice cream brownie (sorry Josh!). Don enjoyed a trip-tip sandwich and Josh indulged in the ShortRib burger.
I finished with the most refreshing beer called ‘Pico to Mexico’. With hints of cucumber, it was everything I needed on a hot day. After some good filling food and drink, we caught Atomic Blonde in the comfy leather recliners of the AMC Burbank 8. This is our secret movie spot, just a few blocks from the Burbank AMC 16 and across from In-and-Out. The movie was packed with amazing action sequences. The story left us wanting more, but the pub food and the popcorn did not!
Haunt #4 – Wild Oak Cafe in Glendale
This is another one of our main breakfast and lunch spots located in an old filling station in Chevy Chase estates. Ann is a doughnut fiend and loves Wild Oak’s Nutella filled cronut (truth be told, she had no idea it was a cronut, but that’s OK!). Wild Oak’s dining area is a patio with about 15 tables and is incredibly dog friendly. They make fresh juices and smoothies and have many options for both vegans and vegetarians. I am neither of the above, but I do love the vegan breakfast burrito here (egg and chicken free, SCORE)! And when we are feeling truly in the mood to binge, their beer-battered sidewinder fries are enough to end all wars peacefully. Don and Ann got breakfast bowls, Josh got the regular breakfast burrito with eggs, sausage, bacon and avocado, and I ended up grabbing the turkey mozzarella club which comes with incredible seasoned potato chips.
Haunt #5 – Chucks on the waterfront in Santa Barbara
Truth be told, we tried to go to Sides Hardware and Shoes – A brothers restaurant, in Los Olivos but since we were dumb and didn’t think to make a reservation on a Saturday night, we couldn’t get in. So, off we drove back through the winding roads of wine country back to the gorgeous town of Santa Barbara. After another unsuccessful attempt to get a table at Brophy Bros., we wound up next door at Chucks. While it wasn’t our first (or even our second) choice, the food was completely on point and the wine list was ripe with local Santa Barbara wineries.
Josh and I started with raw Pacific oysters and they were fresh and salty – fun fact: I used to HATE oysters. I had tried them on my 28th birthday and was disgusted. But they slowly grew on me over the years and now I crave them often!
The table enjoyed garlic butter jumbo shrimp, and a seafood pasta as well as a seafood stew. All the food was fresh and scrumptious. And the view of the boatyard painted with the setting sun was phenomenal!
Haunt #6 – Colorado Donuts in Eagle Rock
the donuts here are insane!!! They have every crazy thing you could imagine. Coco puff donuts. Donuts with Twix baked into them. Apple fritter bear claws. Maple donuts with actual bacon on top. Oreo donuts with whole oreo’s. Cronuts of all flavors. Reese’s peanut butter donuts…and then, every other kind of donut you could possibly want or imagine. My mouth is watering just thinking about it – I don’t even have much of a sweet tooth, but I took one for the team and indulged in a few bites of each. Crumpet, on the other hand, did not, much to his chagrin.
Haunt #7 – The Attic in Long Beach
The Attic on Broadway became famous for its “Flaming Hot Cheeto Mac’n’Cheese” and Bloody Mary bar. As with most places in Long Beach, the service here is top notch!
While no one at our table actually partook in the flaming mac’n’cheese or the bloody mary’s (although, I did have a michelada), we did enjoy a reuben sandwich, monte cristo sandwich, belgian waffle with bananas and cream, and a delicious blue crab and shrimp omelette with home fries. The staff here is funny, personable and knowledgable and always makes me miss my Long Beach days of bopping around and waiting tables.
Haunt #8 – The San Fernando in Glendale
This new spot has just opened right across from the train tracks. It has a train depot ambience and as soon as you walk through the door you can tell it has an altogether chill vibe. Josh started with a jalapeno whiskey drink called ‘The Imposter’ and I had a cucumber gin drink whose name is (unfortunately) currently escaping me, we paired those with a meat and cheese plate.
Dinner was almost at an A+, with the exception of when the chef came out and loudly exclaimed that there were no substitutions for the Cuban sandwich Josh had asked for no cheese, as is usual. This was just a little off putting as we were the only table in the restaurant. But I blame it on the freshman blues. Josh ended up with a burger topped with pork belly that blew his mind and all was right in the world. We will 100% go back there.
Haunt #9 – Eagle Rock Public Brew House
Oysters again! The last spot we hit on our weekend of indulgence was the Eagle Rock Brewery Public House. There is also an actual Brewery located a little further into Los Angeles that we have yet to visit. The menu is incredible and all of their beer is of their own crafting. We took Ann here for brunch the last time she visited, and she loved it so much it made it on to her “Must Visit Again” list this time around. We got there a little early, so we were forced to spend an hour sampling food and drink from their “Tweener Menu” before ordering from the full dinner menu.
Josh and I always like to start with the house made chips with malt vinegar aioli, and of course, the oysters with Ann and Don squeamishly watching from the far side of the table as we partook. Josh also managed to try every single one of their beers via their unique wood-board flights. Our highest recommendation is the Cod sandwich, which Josh, Ann and Don all got! It’s too big to be able to fit your mouth around, so as the owner Ting told us “You need to smash and bite”. Perfect advice! The light battering, large filet cuts, spicy coleslaw and tangy aioli make this sandwich extraordinary down to the last bite.
just like that…
the long weekend was over…
Every single spot we tried was phenomenal but after four and a half days of straight eating, I don’t think I am ever going to be truly hungry again. In fact, Josh fasted all day Tuesday and still never felt hungry! Guess it’s time to jump back on the Whole 30 wagon and ride it till the next vacation…
See ya soon!!