When I moved to the foreign city of LA, I gave myself pseudo parents, grandparents, auntie’s, uncles, etc. When you move thousands of miles away, you have to replace them, right? Well, my “LA Grandmother”, as I like to call her, takes me out for a fantastic meal at least once a month. And on Thursday night we dined at a little (literally, fairly small) restaurant by the name of Spark. Now, I have been to Spark one other time, but this time was especially awesome. Because you see, Spark now offers a special every night of the week. And this is not just your ordinary special, oh no. This is a THREE course meal for $20. Yes, that is correct. You are not reading $200; you are reading $20 for A THREE COURSE MEAL! IN LA! *FACE SLAP*. And this isn’t just some lame appetizer of potato skins or onion straws, a chicken nugget for a meal, and a Hershey kiss for desert. This meal is LEGIT. For an appetizer I had the Spark Sampler (sorry for the lack of photo, I ate it so fast, it’s as if it did not exist) which consisted of a blue crab cake, a barbeque riblet (the meat fell right off the bone. Is your mouth watering yet?) and Ahi Tuna Tartar. For my main dish I decided on the Braised Chicken with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms and Smashed “White Rose” Potatoes with Parsley Chive Butter (Please see below and try to control your hunger).
For the third course, desert, I chose the Chocolate Mousse.
And to top off this excellent meal, you can add a glass of wine or martini for five extra dollars. Again, give me a polygraph test; I’m not making this up! Now it has become a full course meal including an alcoholic beverage for $25. I know, I almost didn’t believe it myself. So what I’m basically saying is all of us young and poor folk could afford this delightful dinner! Or boys, ahem, your gal deserves a nice dinner out, ahem. Now that I have sucked you in with the food and low prices, let me tell you the best part…My LA Grandmother often says “People are so quick to complain, but never quick to compliment.” And I agree with her full heartedly. We will easily say how much we hate something, but not how much we appreciate a good wait staff and being taken care of. I’m not going to lie when I say I showed up at this nice restaurant (that was full of suits and people on business dinners) in my tennis shoes and a sweatshirt. I don’t usually do this, but it was one of those days, ok? I was expecting to show up at this place and be treated like crap on my appearance alone and it was QUITE the opposite. They were having a busy night and said we would have a 15 minute wait or could sit at a small high top table in the bar area. We decided to sit at the high top since we were both about to eat off our own limbs out of hunger. We were only at that table for about five minutes when the General Manager came up and said he could seat us at a regular table in two or three minutes. This man went out of his way to accommodate us and it was extremely appreciated. Not to mention, our server was a doll and over attentive even though she was extraordinarily busy. So, if you’re on the Westside, and looking for a GREAT meal with outstanding prices and a caring staff, please look no further then Spark. Also, don’t be afraid to tell someone they are doing a great job. You have no idea how rewarding it is to yourself and them.
9575 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90035-1215
Runyon Canyon. Ahhh…. what can I possibly say about Runyon Canyon? Other than it holds a very big place in my heart. Some people might say, “ughh runyon, that’s not a real hike” or “there are too many dogs there”. This is what I have to say to those people… a hike is only as good as YOU make it. And too many dogs?!? What are you heartless? The pooches of runyon canyon are some of the cutest and well-behaved dogs. Yes I will agree, sometimes I’m scared I’ll trip over the little chihuahua, but, its kinda funny to see their owner freak out.
Anyways, I LOVE RUNYON. Big fan. If I am not there everyday, I am there everyother day. I love running it, I love walking it, I love climbing it, yes, I even enjoy falling down it.
The thing about Runyon is that there are a variety of trails you can go on. So it really shouldn’t ever get boring. And how can you get bored running into to celebs? Helloooo they are FAB-U-LOUS! And I quote the cheesy tabloid mags “Celebs! They’re just like us, THEY HIKE!” So the trails, they range from intense, to moderate, to easy. Once you make it through the easy trail, congrats, you can tell your friends you went to runyon, give yourself a pat on the back. Heck, why not pose and take a picture to send back home. Once you make it up through the moderate trail, jump up and down, shout from the roof top, you made it past the STAIRS!!!
So you have made it through the easy, up the moderate and you are feeling brave. Your thighs aren’t as sore today as they were yesterday from the stairs, so you think, why not do the “intense” trail. So you begin your hike upwards, and upwards, and upwards. You begin to slide around a bit, there is a lot of loose dirt, sand, gravel and rocks. Your breathing gets heavier. You begin to think out loud, the sun feels a lot stronger up here than down there. You’ve made it, wait, no, that was only part one, you look up and realize that over there in the distance is the YOU’VE MADE IT mark, not where you are standing. So, what do you do, go back down? Remember how hard it was going up? Well the harder it is to go up, the easier it is to go down…fall, roll, slide. No. You decide to finish it, you are no loser. So continue the hike. But enjoy it, look around take some pics.
Wow, what a view huh? Over looking all of LA, breathtaking.
You are so close to the top, keep going…. YOU HAVE MADE IT! WOO HOOOO congrats! I’m not going to post a picture of the top of runyon, that is a image you will have to capture yourself once you…. CONQUER RUNYON.
OH! One more thing…
Last evening around 6:30pm my world was turned upside down. My head spun with excitement while my knees wobbled with joy. Something truly out of the ordinary happened. Before last night, we had only dabbled and fooled around, but this…this was something special. My Fresh and Easy virginity was taken from me in the sweetest way possible.
Ever hear about Fresh and Easy stores? I didn’t until a few months ago when a co-worker walked past me and told me she was going to Fresh and Easy. I have terrible hearing so I replied, “Fashion…what?” To which she replied, “No, Fresh and Easy, it’s like a cheaper Trader Joe’s mixed with a cheaper Whole Foods”. Hmm…interesting.
After entering the sliding glass doors and grabbing a basket, I started down the produce aisle. I looked left – a bag of avocados for under $3?! To my right – Apples for .50 a piece?! Down below – Romaine Lettuce – $1.99? What’s this? What’s this? There’s magic in the air…as well as tofu for .99! Oh Lord, you are too good to me! And just when I think I can’t be surprised anymore, I discover Special K Chocolately Delight cereal (my all time favorite “healthy” cereal) for just under $3, by far THE cheapest I have found it.
These stores aren’t very big but they sure pack a punch. Not only was the place very clean the staff was friendly as well. A few stock boys asked me if I was doing alright as I perused the aisles of goodness. Now don’t get me wrong, I have quite a large soft spot for Trader Joe’s but one thing TJ’s doesn’t carry that Fresh and Easy does is Lean Cuisines. Scoff if you must, but these have become a busy girl’s life blood. If you’re lucky maybe I’ll make a post about my (un)healthy obsession about those gems. But finding a place that carries those along with lots of cheaper fresh veggies and fruits gets some major points in my book.
I shopped around for about a half hour. Taking in everything this place had to offer me. If I didn’t have a prior engagement I would have spent the whole evening with him. But I know there will be many, many nights to come.
So I started the checkout process, all of which was self-scan. My personal favorite kind of scanning. I filled up two cloth shopping bags. If you use these kinds of bags you know that they are larger than your average shopping bag. They were filled to the tip top and I had to do a double take at the total. $40. Forty dollars is all I spent for three-four weeks of food. This including fruit and vegetables. It was a great surprise for someone who wants to eat healthier but still needs to live paycheck to paycheck.
I think the bottom line here is, if you’re looking for some cheap produce or healthy alternatives, Fresh and Easy is a place to be reckoned with. Plus, if you sign up for their e-mail alerts, they periodically send out coupons for $10 off type things. So they do have some incentives there too.
Thanks for everything, love. You sure are Fresh and by gosh you are Easy!
So now that our blog is up and running, I’m super duper excited to start dishing about our LA adventures, experiences, and future endeavours. We are turning the page of a brand new chapter in our lives and we are sooo excited to be able to share it with everyone. So, tell your friends, your grocery store baggers, the weird guy who is ”coincidently” always at the same Starbucks as you, your family and loved ones. Lets spread the word, because LA Queen Pins are here to stay!
Welcome to all things FABULOUS and HOLLYWOOD!
We are 4 girls from the midwest out to make a difference in this male dominated entertainment world.