Holiday weekend 

Greetings from DC! Before this weekend is over, wanted to remember the relaxing trip to Irvine last weekend.

Friday afternoon, we made our way to my favorite beach-Crystal Cove. We had lunch and drinks at the Beachcomber and then napped in the sand. A pretty a nice way to kick off the first weekend of summer!

Friday night, my mom barbecued a delicious trout and grilled veggies. I can’t wait till we get a BBQ at our house-it just felt so summery to enjoy a fresh grilled dinner. The next morning, we had brunch at the always delicous Alta Cafe. I love their chai lattes.

From there, David and I drove up to LA.  We were eager to check out the new Metro line from downtown to Santa Monica.  During college, the thought of one day taking a metro from downtown to the beach seemed like a total fantasy.  You know that scene in Her when Joaquin Phoenix takes the subway to the beach? That movie came out just two years ago, but even then, the visual just seemed too dreamy and unreal.

So, we had to check it out.

We parked near the Civic Center station and walked around Grand Park. It’s beautiful! There were families picnicking on the grass, and kids playing in the fountain, and it was just an impressive public space.

From there, we hopped on the Red Line and then quickly transferred to the Blue Line.

The station was packed. The extension opened a week earlier, but I still sensed a buzz of excitement from everyone as we waited to board the Santa Monica bound train (were they all married to urban planning wonks, too?)

It’s a good thing it was so crowded.  Plenty of people = lots of eavesdropping to fill the 50 minute + metro ride. Which seems long, but when you factor in traffic, parking and the fact you’re riding a metro from DTLA to the beach-not bad at all.  We were kind of geeking during the ride-our 22 year old selves would never imagine hopping on a train to make that trip.

Once we got to Santa Monica, I was even more grateful we took public transit. It was so crowded.  We realized we didn’t really have a plan-the journey literally was the destination-but after listening to a group of Australian tourists countdown the minutes to happy hour on the train, I was thirsty. We tucked into Water Grill for some drinks and appetizers.  The ocean view made it all feel extra vacation-ey.

On the metro back, we stopped to check out Grand Central Market.

Thankfully, it was late in the evening, so I couldn’t be tempted by the incredible macadamia nut milk latte at G and B coffee, but it reminded me I want to try to figure out how to make it.

We walked through the pretty courtyards and gardens at the Disney Concert Hall after an unsuccessful attempt to get closing time tickets to the Broad.  The building looks awesome!

The next day we had lunch in downtown Long Beach before heading back to my favorite beach.

I love late afternoons here. Trying to think of places in the world that invoke the same level of peace, awe (at the dramatic natural beauty) and comfort thr afternoon at Crystal Cove brings. I don’t know-it’s a special place.

Sunday evening, my mom barbecued a delicious steak and veggies for my dad’s birthday dinner. She also made a new appetizer I’m eager to recreate: grilled rosemary bread with grilled peppers and pimento stuffed olives, topped with TJ’s manchego cheese.  INCREDIBLE. A perfect post-beach appetizer.

Very thankful we got to be home to celebrate my dad’s birthday together. And enjoy that delicious flowerless chocolate cake :)

Monday morning, my mom and I did a quick walk through Bommer Canyon before we hit the road.

It’s funny, since we’re no longer students  and now live in a fairly season-less state, the months can kind of blur together. It was nice to take this mini-vacation to mentally mark the start of summer and a new season. Even though the move from Oakland to Stockton isn’t too significant distance-wise, the summer weather is VERY different. I’m actually kind of excited for a summer that feels like summer, and hoping for some pool and sun (and sunscreen :)) time. We’ll see if this enthusiasm wanes after several steaks of 100+ days…

Speaking of summer-happy first weekend in June!

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