Monday, part 1: SMOKED SALMON!

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As I’d predicted the night before (prior to conking out around 9 pm), I had a bit of a hard time getting out of bed the next morning.  I’m glad I did, though, because for breakfast we (Angie included this time!) went to Aroma Coffee and Tea Co.

Aroma is on Tujunga Avenue, one in a line of cafés and boutiques that all exude rich hipster.  They abut a neighborhood filled with gorgeous houses of a moderate age, including a couple haciendas (a style to which I’m partial).  We circled the block in an attempt to find a parking place, gawping at all the pretty houses, before parking just shy of Tujunga and walking the rest of the way.  As Mom explained en route, all the big head-honcho producers and directors frequent Aroma.

We stepped inside and looked at the breakfast menu, and I about had a fit of joy.  Why?  Because they actually served smoked salmon.  I’d fallen in love with smoked salmon during my three weeks in England (more about that here).  The stuff I bought at Target and the stuff I found in my favorite sushi didn’t really cut it for me, so I was feeling pretty smoked-salmon-deprived at this stage.  But anyway, we all ordered breakfast and lattes.  I amused myself while everyone else ordered by giggling at this:

Blood orange soda

That’s blood orange soda, if you can’t see it too well.

Ah, Project Runway.  Gif courtesy of tumblr user netscapeme.

We sat out back, on the patio.  The sky was clear, and it was just a brilliant day in general.  Mom took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

Dad and Claire

Dad’s on the left, and Claire’s on the right.

Dad and me

Our food came somewhere in there.  I got really emotional over the smoked salmon.

Smoked salmon

That’s a poached egg on top of smoked salmon on top of a potato pancake. I’m drooling just from looking at it.

My breakfast was excellent, as was my vanilla cinnamon spice latte.  Everyone else’s breakfast was just as excellent.

Also, I’m pretty sure this guy was at the table next to ours.

Aasif Mandvi.  If you’ve seen The Internship, this guy played the Google boss. Image from monstersandcritics.com.

Eventually, we left Aroma.  A kind passerby took a picture of us outside the place.

Dad, me, Mom, Claire, and Angie outside Aroma, looking quite spiffy.

That’s actually Claire’s coffee. Somehow, Dad got stuck holding it.

Before this trip, when we were still in the planning stage, we’d talked about spending Monday at Universal Studios.  That… definitely didn’t happen.  Mom suggested we go to Mulholland Drive and just putter along there for a while.  Nobody had any objections, so that’s where we went.

Fairly early on, we spotted a scenic outlook and parked there.  This particular scenic outlook not only had an excellent view of LA, but it also allowed us to see the Hollywood sign.  Of course, we took a lot of pictures.

View of Los Angeles from the Mulholland Drive Scenic Overlook

The view.

A rather steep dropoff, populated heavily with poky-looking bushes and grass.

Yikes.

The Hollywood sign, viewed from a distance

Claire and me holding hands while jumping off a low bench thing

Scenic, right?

After we’d had our fill of precarious rock formations and Dad had wiggled the car out of our now-very-tight parking spot, we drove on.  We didn’t stop at any more scenic outlooks, but that didn’t stop me from taking more pictures of the views.

View of Los Angeles from Mulholland Drive

Dang.

I’m pretty sure I was the only one paying any real attention to these.  Mom, Claire, and Angie all professed to be nauseous, and Dad was driving.

Mom and Angie did freak out, though, when they saw a fire station.  Not for any reason you might think of, I guarantee it.  No, they freaked out because they’re both in the Emergency! fandom.  (Here, enlighten yourself.)  “Is that station 51?” they kept asking each other.  As it turned out, it wasn’t.

Eventually, we ended up near Bel-Air.  Dad parked the car at another scenic overlook (for what reason, I don’t remember), and the rest of us stayed in the car.  Mom, of all people, was the one to cue up the Fresh Prince theme song on her phone and play it.

By this point, we were pretty thirsty.  LA has no QuikTrips, either, so we were at a bit of a loss as to where to get something to drink.

Then Mom had a brilliant idea – Santa Monica Pier.

Next time:  I’ll interrupt this travel-writing streak to talk about my quarterfinal game.  Get excited.

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