Stuff Your Face: Poppy + Rose

If I had two daughters I’d totally want to name one Poppy since I already have a Rose.  Floral themed offspring names, SO cute!  This may be one of the reasons we ventured to downtown to check out Poppy + Rose (not really).  The other, more important reason was the fried chicken (really).

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Poppy + Rose is aptly named since it is located in the middle of Los Angeles’ flower district, right next to the Flower Mart.  On Saturdays there’s a small farmer’s market out front which makes parking a little difficult.  The meters in the neighborhood are a whopping $4 per hour and 2 hour max.  The restaurant website says they validate structure parking, but I was not into trying to find where that particular lot was. We ended up parking on a nearby rooftop lot for $5 (beware: many lots advertise a $5 rate but add conditions like ‘not on Saturdays or for special events’).

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flowers everywhere

What we ordered:

Two Egg Breakfast Plate $9.50

Buttermilk Fried Chicken + Waffle $13

Plain Bagel + Cream Cheese $4

Two Coffees $5

Fresh Squeezed OJ $3.50

For about $40 we had a great meal.  Well, two of us did.  One of us just snacked on puffs and tried escaping her high chair the whole time.

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Couldn’t resist a close up of the super crispy batter.  How can you go wrong with fried chicken first thing in the morning? Added bonus: they make their own hot sauce that is delicious on these fried birds.

While the food wasn’t out of this world, and the location is a bit tricky for us Valley kids to get to, it was a nice place to spend a Saturday morning with our little family.  This place is no fuss, you order when you walk in and there’s plenty of seating + high chairs.  The service is great (we got a few refills on coffee without even having to ask), and the crowd is not pretentious hipster so you can definitely take your loud little ones without feeling like you’re intruding.

Because lord knows, the only moment of peace we got during breakfast was this photograph of flowers being still:

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Poppy + Rose
765 Wall St
Los Angeles, CA90014

(213) 995-7799

 

 

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Coffee Klatch: Paramount Coffee Project

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We LOVE coffee.  The obsession started before our year in Seattle, but intensified while we were there for sure.  Now, whenever we hear of a good coffee spot in town we have to try it.  We actually revolve our weekend mornings around making it to one of these spots since most of them are a good car ride from home base.

To be honest, most of these are hipster coffee spots in Mid City or the Eastside, and they make it incredibly hard for you to bring your baby/toddler.  They don’t offer high chairs or changing tables, and they more often than not have super cramped and minimalist spaces that make it really uncomfortable for any squirmy kid you happen to bring.  But, seriously hipsters, that is NOT going to stop us.  No, not us, the coffee obsessed and sleep deprived parents of a toddler.  We shall bring our own booster chair and we shall change diapers in the trunk of our car–priorities, right?

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One of these Saturday mornings brought us to Paramount Coffee Project.  This place was everything a hipster coffee spot required: cool servers, cramped indoor space, cute outdoor patio, mason jar serving ware, retro furniture, and slow service.  We started by ordering our caffeine.  For me a filtered coffee and for him a flat white with an extra shot. *Notice the mason jar to hold my extra coffee.

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Luckily for us it wasn’t just bench seating and there was a chair for us to attach a booster.  Now, among the 20 something singles sipping their coffee and working on their laptops there would be a 1 year old flinging porridge onto the floor.

For breakfast we ordered 1. Banana Porridge 2. Frijoles y Queso and 3. Bubble and Squeak Hash with an egg.  All three were delicious.  Most hipster coffee spots do coffee well and food okay.  I’ll say that this coffee spot had good coffee and a killer breakfast! Obviously we ordered the porridge for R, but she wanted to eat our egg whites instead, so we feasted on her left overs.  Of all three dishes I’d say that the porridge was the star.  Shocking, I know, but the winter spices added to it were perfect.

So let’s say you have a baby and you just don’t feel like being that annoying family that doesn’t realize their time for places like this has passed.  Fear not, you can still enjoy PCP coffee and treats at the to go window.

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This place was definitely worth the trip over the hill.  Now it’s your turn.  Go get some coffee!

Paramount Coffee Project

456 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

 

Playtime: Zimmer Children’s Museum

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Zimmer Children’s Museum
6505 Wilshire Blvd., #100
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Some people are amazing aunts and uncles.  Even before they have their own children, they offer babysitting services, take your kids on fun outings, and give you a break (my sister and her husband are great examples).  We are not those people.  We were married 5 years before R came along, and in that time I can count on one hand how many times we babysat/took our nieces and nephew out for a day to give our siblings a break.  I know, we were big fat turds.  Big fat selfish turds to be exact.

Now that we’re parents we totally get how terrible we were.  Just one afternoon that R can spend with her Auntie and we can just be us is priceless. We decided it was time to change our ways and took one of our nieces out for a fun afternoon with R at the Zimmer.  (BTW-It is MUCH easier to manage a child when you are childless, so if you are not yet parents do that whole babysitting thing NOW!)

This place was perfect for both the 1 year old and 4 year old.  It is like a huge play space that is really centered around imaginative play.  Some of their favorite parts of the museum were the real life jet that they could pretend to fly, the water table games, the pretend grocery store, pretend home complete with fake fireplace, and the ball pit.  There was one room for itty babies to crawl around on gym mats and a snack room with tons of high chairs and a couple of vending machines.  We spent about 2 hours there and we had to convince the 4 year old to leave. It was definitely a fun time had by all, even the very exhausted adults.

A few tips for your trip to the Zimmer:

  • Take your wallet and phone with you and ditch the diaper bag in the snack room cubbies.  You’ll be chasing your child around and those bags are just too annoying to lug around.
  • The museum isn’t marked with a big sign you can see from the street, but is located in a Jewish foundation building on the north side of Wilshire Blvd.
  • There’s a free parking lot if you are visiting the museum.

Hope your trip to the Zimmer is as much fun as ours was!

 

 

 

Playtime: The Treehouse, Tarzana

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The Treehouse
18600 Ventura Boulevard
Tarzana, CA 91356
Isn’t there some study that proves dogs have similar intelligence as children until the age of 2? I thought I heard that once.  In any case, I’m finding my experience to prove that one true.  Even though I’ve never actually owned a dog for more than 24 hours (but that’s a story for another day). Check out my non-scientific list of ways dogs and toddlers are similar below:
1. Dogs love to play, as do toddlers
2. Dogs respond well to praise, as do toddlers
3. Both love games, mealtime with R proves this one to be true
4. You can teach both “tricks” (where’s your nose?)
5. They both love cuddles
6. I think they have a very similar receptive vocabulary for a while
7. They need exercise
That’s where this whole Treehouse comes into play.  We went there one afternoon as a way to “exercise” R.  We try to leave the house at least once a day because when we hang out at home all day she basically lounges on her butt until bedtime since we have such a small condo (serious lack of motivation from this one).
The Treehouse had only been open for 2 months, making it sparkly and new compared to other playspaces we’ve visited (major plus for a semi-germaphobe like myself). Here are some pros from our visit:
  • relatively large space
  • cute toddler sized eating and lounging area
  • lots of window seating for parents
  • really cool obstacle course for kids
  • well sized section for babies under 2
  • lots of snacks and drinks for sale in case you forgot your snack bag

The only thing I think it could use was an extra bathroom, since there was only one.

R had a blast doing the parts of the jungle themed obstacle course that she could manage. She loves climbing, so it was perfect for that.  If you have a child under the age of 5, this place is great to kill a few hours.  I’d just say to avoid any rainy days or school holidays, because indoor playspaces are kind of chaotic on those days.  But on any other weekday I’d say pick up an iced latte, head over, shell out $10 and watch your little puppy, er…kid have some fun.

4 Day Getaway: Carmel and California’s Central Coast

About a month ago we began our  journey from Seattle to Los Angeles (maybe one day I’ll post about this epic journey of ours).   We initially wanted to stop at Big Sur, but after 7 days of traveling by car, we were just ready to be home.  We had two weeks to recover, and then we were ready to hit the road again to see what we had missed on our way down the Pacific Coast.

We decided that Carmel, Big Sur, and Monterey were the spots we wanted to hit up.  We got a recommendation to stay at this resort called Treebones because I’ve always wanted to go glamping in a yurt, but of course our last minute ways prevented us from getting a reservation.  Next time…

Instead we stayed at this place in Carmel Valley called Quail Lodge Inn.  It was a perfect place to stay.  Highlights for me included the pool, bocce ball, putting green, and the best organic complimentary breakfast I’ve ever had at a hotel.  The weather was gorgeous, and we were able to soak up the sun by the pool by ourselves a couple of days.  Ah, the joys of traveling Tuesday through Friday.

 

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The entire way down from Seattle, I was so impressed by the beautiful Oregon Coast.  But, let me tell you, California’s Central Coast may just be a tad more beautiful.  The specific shade of blue green here is amazing, and the amount of wildlife we saw was spectacular (whales, otters, jellyfish, pelicans, cormorants, seals, sea lions).  Check it out:

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1. A scenic stop off of Highway 1, near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.  It’s a short little nature walk that overlooks a little cove, waterfall, and some picturesque rocks.  Perfect for a stop to stretch your legs on the way home.

2.  Sunsets at the beaches in Carmel.  Just about any beach here will offer you the most incredible sunsets.  I recommend getting a seat on the beach about 40 min. before the sunset on your weather app.  Bring some snacks and relax.

3.  China Cove at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.  We really wanted to go down to the freezing water, but it the stairway was closed for renovation.  Look at that blue green!

4.  Our first stop at Point Lobos, we saw tons of seals and sea lions here.  We were lucky that it was such a clear blue day, normally the views are limited and covered in fog (just another form of beauty, I suppose).  Point Lobos was my favorite stop of the whole trip, there are tons of trails here, and if you’re not into long hikes, there are short nature walks with amazing views.  You must get here early though.  There is very limited parking, and access is $10.  Once the lots are filled a line builds up at the gate and you wait until a car exits before the next car can go in.  We got there at 10 am on a Wednesday and it we didn’t have to wait.  You could also park along the road and walk in to enter, but it’s kind of a long walk.

This was such a relaxing and peaceful trip.  Perfect for a romantic getaway from LA if you don’t mind driving 5 hours or so to get there.  Besides, the drive itself is part of the vacation with its scenic views.

 

Crash!

One way to end a week long funk is to get into a major car accident.  I’m thinking that deep down I knew something was going to happen and I wanted to avoid it/brace myself for it (hence the funk).  On Saturday our car got destroyed and I actually felt better after.  Weird!

To sum up the incident: We were turning left onto a busy street and a car (with no stop sign) hit us on the driver’s side of our car.  The air bags went off, the door was completely destroyed and the front/rear fenders were also damaged.  The other car had a tiny of its bumper fall off.  Here are the two cars involved in the accident:

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I’ll let you guess who won.

When we got out of the car, which smelled like something was burning, we discovered our glasses had flown off our faces, my neck and back was suffering from serious whiplash, and S’s hat had somehow ended up on the car floor.  There are multiple sad realizations that came from this accident:

  • The accident was probably completely our fault.
  • Our insurance rate would most likely go up.
  • Our car could be totaled or at least out of commission for a long while.  (My dream car!)
  • Our bodies hurt.

But there was one thing that I was elated to realize:

  • We were both going to be okay.

In the moment of the impact, my initial reaction was “dang, that hurt.”  But as soon as that thought crossed my mind I looked at S to make sure he was not hurt worse than I was.  There was a moment of panic.  “What if he’s hurt!?!” And then, a great moment of relief.

It took a freakin’ car accident to get me out of my funk and be grateful for this life!

Counting Down To Reality

So far this Seattle adventure has been like a dream.  We live in downtown where we can walk to amazing restaurants, shopping, and cultural centers.  We really are lucky.

my hoodEven though we have a good 5 months left, I’ve always been a ‘glass half empty’ kind of girl and I’m afraid we just won’t have enough time to do all the things we want/eat all the things we want before we go.  I’m actually even more afraid that our embryos are going to stay frozen forever because my body just isn’t ever going to be ready for a baby, but let’s stay on the bright side.

We just discovered Greenlake.  It’s basically Seattle’s version of the Silverlake reservoir, but WAY prettier.  We came here on a brisk Saturday afternoon and it was packed with runners, bikers, walkers, and dogs.  I definitely want to come back with my running shoes on.

photo 2What’s more, we discovered Mighty-O donuts in Greenlake.  I read about it on one of those  “Best Donuts in the Country” lists from Daily Candy.  Since the Daily Dozen mini donut stand in the Market made the list, I knew it was worth a try.  It was one of the two donut shops in Seattle that made the list.  I am SO glad we went.  If you happen to stop by this amazing donut shop, I recommend the french toast donut.  It tastes like the airiest, fluffiest cross between coffee cake and a donut.  For days after our visit I couldn’t stop talking about it–and I don’t even like donuts!  I wish I could go back every morning for this deliciousness.

photo 3New tactic: Everytime I worry that my uterus is defunct and my ovary is about to implode, eat a donut.