The penultimate part of my american road trip was to visit the iconic city of Los Angeles. Home to Hollywood, Venice Beach and a lot of confusing roads. Highlights for me would be eating an Umami Burger and an In’n’Out burger, lowlights would be getting lost trying to find the hollywood sign.
In under a week, my camera guy and I managed to drive from Las Vegas, through Death Valley, on towards San Francisco and finally towards Los Angeles before heading back to Las Vegas. That’s a lot of driving to do in a week.
I’ll be honest, I can get pretty ratty when confined to a car space with a single other person for nearly one week solid. My energy drained and feeling homesick, I probably didn’t give Los Angeles the love and adoration it demands.
With such a limited time in each place, I’d also decided I’d stop trying to cram in all the tourist things. Despite this being my first time in LA, I knew that it wouldn’t be the very last time. So instead, my checklist involved mostly things I wanted to eat.
Harriet’s LA Checklist
- Eat a burger from Umami
- Eat a crab
- Go to In’n’Out and order some burgers
We arrived in LA late in the night and checked into a motel/hostel/hotel type thing. I don’t really know what you call them because we don’t have the same in England. The room was small and boring and there were shared bathrooms with other guests, but once again, the mattress and pillow were perfect and for the three nights I spent in LA I slept like a baby.
That first night we met up with our new friend Luis who works for a company that I’m thinking about also working with in the future. Luis was probably my favourite person I’ve met out of the entire trip, he’s fun and an expert in his field. He has this enthusiasm for his job that makes listening to him truly enjoyable. He’s also got one of the most creative mind’s I’ve ever met.
Luis is also great at driving, and LA is a city he knows better than I do. We all went to Umami Burger which was fairly empty since we arrived close to closing time. The decor is simple but nice, except perhaps for the goats head on the wall. The staff were nice and the menu sounded delicious.
I ended up going for the Truffle burger, mostly because my friends ordered the other burgers on the menu first. I don’t know how I feel about truffles in burgers, they have a strong taste and can be perfect with certain dishes, adding them to something doesn’t make it gourmet.
The burger was however delicious. My friend’s burgers were more delicious, but I had no real complaints about my own. I would certainly go back, and Umami certainly rivals some of the better burger joints in London.
The following day, my first full day in LA, I went to hollywood to walk the walk of fame. I was actually shocked by just how many stars are there. I thought it would be just one street and that I would recognise all the names, but it was actually lots of streets, hundreds of names and most of them I didn’t recognise. It was actually fun to find someone you did know, and point out and maybe take a photo of.
I hadn’t realised that they also showed TV stars and singers, not just movie stars. Actually, Sir Patrick Stewart had a theatre picture next to his name so I guess they do theatre people too. Oh and cartoon characters, those were probably the ones I recognised the most, such as Winnie The Pooh or Tinkerbell.
I went to see Interstellar at the Adobe Cinema, a film which everyone raves about and since I had missed out on Gravity I decided that this would be a film I shouldn’t miss out on. The film was fun, different to what I expected but it works within the normal lines of Science Fiction. I can understand why people compare it to Space Odyssey though. Quick question, why do Americans not have sweet popcorn at the cinema? It’s the best popcorn. I don’t mean the caramel stuff either.
After watching the film the sun had already set but camera guy and I decided we should go find the hollywood sign. We drove up Beachwood drive where there are some insanely cool (and probably insanely expensive) houses. I saw the sign but it wasn’t lit up and camera guy couldn’t see it at all so we drove back down.
That night we went to Santa Monica Pier and spent most of our money on at the arcade. I kicked ass on pacman, and he did pretty well with Fruit Ninja. Between us we got enough tickets to give out to about 5 different small children, making their evening. It’s fun playing games, but it’s fun making a child smile.
For dinner we went to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I’ve never watched Forest Gump but I’ve been told to by many people and it’s high on my list of “to watch” films. The service I received there was probably one of the best I’ve ever had, and the waiter was lovely to explain what the dishes were and which ones to pick. He was so friendly and nice and ended up giving him a 30% tip.
I ordered the steamed shellfish bucket, ticking off number two of my things to eat list. I also had an amazing cookie dough desert, and I have to say, America, you know how to do good food. It’s probably a goof thing I don’t live in the states otherwise I would be the size of a medium/large truck. I had crab legs, lobster claws, mussels and clams. All with a good mix of mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, butter sauce and garlic. Amazing.
It was a great day, a good night and a fantastic meal. I might not have seen any celebrities, or their houses, and I may have missed lots of opportunities to see people in the industry, but it was a fun day and despite how tired I was, I think I managed to make a great first day.