When you’re a single woman and on holiday, two things figure prominently in your holiday: men and food. With the first aspect, it’s not like you’re on the prowl for pulchritudinous males (unless you are), but it’s more like the scenery is all of a sudden beautifully peppered with gorgeous eye-candies that make you light up like a Christmas ornament. The drabness of your former surroundings has magically transformed into a veritable backdrop of vibrant colours, all sparkly and spectacular. And since you’re feeling good and tingly inside, your attention deviates towards exquisite food, the other striking facet of the holiday. I was very fortunate to have experienced both facets in and out of Los Angeles.
Let’s start with Disneyland Anaheim where I stumbled upon Death by Vader, a cup of chocolate upon chocolate – chiffon, syrup, chocolate bar, and ganache – from Galactic Grill in Tomorrow land. The play on words piqued my interest –no one really escapes Darth Vader! The chocolate sensation – killer of hips most certainly cranked up the happy level to another notch while I watched with amusement the young Jedi trainees (children who signed up for Jedi training earlier on) test their mettle against the crème de la crème of Jedis.
Death by Vader – glorious chocolate overload in the mouth and hips
Meanwhile, at the western side of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, lunch was a most pleasant surprise on a Fourth of July weekend. After walking around Eagle’s Point, Jeanné and I went to the opposite side of the Grand Canyon for some much needed repast. The place was packed to the rafters with hungry canyon trekker-tourists. Served up canteen style, each guest, who paid extra US$15 to our tour guide Angeline, got a plate of corn on the cob, grilled chicken, salad, corn bread, mashed potato with gravy, and a bottle of cold water. Walking around the Grand Canyon in the dry heat of Arizona does really work up an appetite, but the lunch plate was truly flavourful. The corn was sweet and buttery, and the tender chicken was savoury, be it white or red meat. Adding to the superb dining experience was the breath-taking scenery of the majestic canyon and a tree looming where Jeanné and I sat. It became the watering-hole of the gargantuan crows that zipped and dipped through the clear blue skies of Arizona. Gawking at the crows while nibbling on the corn, I half- expected Maleficent to come swooping down and acquiring newcomers to her crow entourage.
Lunch with a view at the Grand Canyon (west side)
Back in LA, it was one huge dessert festival. Being passionate about cupcake, it was mandatory to pay homage to Georgetown Cupcakes and its friendly rival, Sprinkles. It had been five years since I last sank my teeth into Georgetown’s iconic cupcake, Red Velvet, so it was like a homecoming for me as I savoured the moist cupcake hugged by smooth cream cheese frosting on my tongue. The lightness of the velvet chiffon cake and non-cloying frosting helped ease my guilt feeling of missing my workout sessions. With Sprinkles, Red Velvet and Black and White cupcakes aside, I tried their cupcake ice cream, or a junior cupcake sandwiching a vanilla ice cream. Delectable!
Mermaid Vanilla – one of Georgetown’s summer flavours
The iconic Red Velvet by Georgetown
Cupcakes by Georgetown – love in a box
cupcakes by Sprinkles
The sweet fest continued with a mad dash to Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar on E Union Street in Pasadena one Wednesday night. We were running late but with Mayeth’s adroit driving, we made it before it closed for the night. Seated to the right of the entrance, perusing the menu was one luscious affair as my eyes scanned the page replete with myriad choices. Our palates were eventually treated to a tango of sweetness, zest, and creaminess, as the flute of champagne with a twist of orange fused with the vanilla crème brûleé. Impressive!
Classic Champagne with a twist by POP
Vanilla crème brûleé and champagne make perfect partners
Speaking of Pasadena, Urth Café, located on the corner of Madison and Colorado, is a fantastic café for pastries, organic drinks and light-to-heavy meals. My instant favourite was the green tea latte that was smooth on the throat, which, shockingly, made a great pair with the café’s chicken soup. Splendid!
A cuppa of goodness from Urth Cafe – green tea latte for one
Who would have thought that chicken soup and green tea latte can go together?
In terms of breakfast, cheese roll from the famed Cuban pastry store, Porto’s, partnered with Starbucks cappuccino made a great morning meal. Each bite of the flaky croissant-like pastry enveloping the sweetish cream cheese was a bite of heavenly goodness washed down by coffee. It was a perfect balance between butter, sugar, and cheese. Magnificent!
One cheese roll is not enough
There was another breakfast place I managed to visit in North Hollywood except I can’t remember the name of the place. However, I do undoubtedly remember the wonderful man I was with whose choice of breakfast place was right up my alley. Vaguely recalling details, the décor of the place is contemporary: silver commingling with a black and white colour scheme that sort of blended together but not completely, a wide counter where you go to place your order plus a collage of high tables paired with “high chairs” and regular tables. He ordered the salmon benedict lying on a bed of shredded potatoes while I had buttermilk pancakes. My pancakes were good – thin pancakes dusted with powdered sugar and topped with strawberry was a flawless harmony of sweetness and fruity flavour. His salmon benedict? It exploded in my mouth – the flavours were intense and oh-so good. But on hindsight, I wonder if the explosion was solely due to the food or how I was feeling about the man sitting in front of me. One thing is certain though – the man across the table from me was undeniably breath-taking.
His salmon benedict and my buttermilk pancakes
Food and a man – singular or both – definitely add pizzazz to your holiday turning the pedestrian into the exceptional and the dull into the exciting. They certainly made my holiday more than memorable.