Okay, so I still can’t believe this trip was real. I have to give you a little backstory before I tell you our tips on how to visit LA in less than 48 hours. In mid-August were shopping at Kroger, not even our favorite Kroger (I’m picky about grocery stores) but the one closest to our house. I saw one of those beer displays that say “post a picture, win this contest” and thought “hey, why not?” We were making burgers, so why not grab some beer to go along with it.
Fast forward about six weeks and I get an Instagram message from Golden Road Brewing Company letting us know that we were the Grand Prize Winners! The Grand Prize was round-trip airfare (for two), two nights in a hotel, and a $300 debit card to use for food, travel, etc. I still didn’t believe it until we boarded our plane and headed to the West Coast. We left Columbus around 11:30am EST, stopped for a little layover in Phoenix and then landed at the Hollywood airport around 3:30pm PST. I won’t lie, I felt like a celebrity getting off the plane because you walk straight onto the tarmac to be greeted by sunshine and mountains. Then, I realized that this airport is smaller than CMH and it’s actually a necessity to get off on the ground because they have one terminal. Whatever, it was still amazing. We dropped our bags at our hotel and heading downtown for our happy hour reservations at Broken Spanish.
This cozy little spot is in downtown LA, about 2 blocks from the Staples Center. The Chef, Ray Garcia is a native Angeleno and “draws his culinary inspiration from the city’s rich culture, the wealth of Southern California produce, and classic training.” His menu boasts flavors stemming from his Latin heritage with an influence of being raised in Los Angeles. Our first happy hour dish was the ablondigas, rabbit meatballs with bacon and salsa chipotle. They were UNREAL. I could have eaten an entire bowl of these and then asked for seconds and thirds.
I couldn’t get the greatest picture of these but they are fried chicken necks. I know that sounds horrifying but honestly, they were so good and I applaud the fact that they are using the entire animal. That’s real sustainability and I fully support it. Plus, they tasted like an even better chicken wing.
Their dinner menu looked wonderful too, but we were just staying for happy hour. We enjoyed a MaMargaritand an Old Fashioned with Mezcal, which gave it a crazy smoky flavor to it. Then, we thought it was a good idea to also get the Cazuela, a “fun to share” drink. Here I am not sharing the “fun to share” drink. It has Mezcal, Pisco, Hibiscus, Blanc Vermouth, Grapefruit, Honey, and Lemon in it and it’s served in this cute cup with a flower. I could have had about 4 of these.
I mean it comes with the best cubed/crushed ice too and I want to recreate this beverage. If anyone knows the bartender at Broken Spanish, give them my number.After our first adventure in LA, we headed to Koreatown. The Beard found this super cool little bar within a bar that has Cocktail Tasting Menu. While we were waiting for our reservation, we sat at the bar at The Normandie Club and had a few drinks there and chatted up the loveliest bartender. I swear the people in California are absurdly friendly and they make the best drinks. I probably looked less cool going into this hidden bar because I forced The Beard to take my picture. Oh, well. The Walker Inn is a super small bar inside of The Normandie Club that has perfectly curated cocktails and features a seasonal The Walker Tasting Menu. The Tasting Menu is a five-course, two hour long, cocktail menu complete with a theme and delicious beverages. I couldn’t take pictures because it was crazy dark in there but the theme of our menu was Day/Night at Sea and I had the best “bloody mary” I’ve ever had in my entire life. After about 47 cocktails and barely any food, I was FAMISHED. Right next door to the bar was a place called Cassell’s Hamburgers and it was adorable. I’ll tell you that I actually ate most of this in the morning and we hailed a Lyft back to our hotel to pass out immediately. This fried chicken sandwich is buttermilk fried chicken breast, slaw, pickles, mustardy mayo, apricot hot sauce all served on a parker house bun. It was fantastic and just the hungover breakfast I needed the next day. Other than just galavanting around Los Angeles on Golden Road’s dime, we also won a trip to visit the Golden Road Brewery. Since that wasn’t until 2pm on Saturday, we decided to do a little sightseeing. Here I am being a nerdy tourist. My biggest disappointment of the entire trip, In-N-Out Burger. I have wanted to try this cult burger for years and I always had intense FOMO from living in Ohio and being stuck with McDonald’s and Wendy’s. I didn’t enjoy it at all and I’m literally so sad. I think I might need to fly out again just to give it another chance.
On the flip side, I was very satisfied with my mini cupcakes from Sprinkles cupcake at the Glendale Galleria. Since we were staying in Glendale and that’s where the brewery is, we decided to do a little shopping on Saturday morning. It was a super cute little area with a HUGE mall with a Target attached, so basically my dream place. There was a whole strip of yummy food spots too, including a Shake Shack, which we clearly should have gone instead of the former burger spot. After our fun little shopping trip, we finally got a chance to visit the brewery! Golden Road Brewing was created in 2011 and has seen some awesome growth over the past 6 years. We got a little behind the scenes tour at their original location in Glendale, California. First though, we had to try some of their beer and I opted for their Mango Cart. This beer is named after the street cart vendors in California who sell fresh fruit like mango and watermelon and it sure tasted like fresh mango. Yum.
Safety first before heading behind the scenes. I think these goggles look good on me, definitely a new fashion statement. Orange is definitely The Beard’s color. Their facility is just a little bit larger than ours in Columbus. I guess that’s what happens when you produce over 45,000 barrels of beer every year! While on our tour, we even got to sample super fresh Mango Cart which was pretty delicious. In addition to those brews, they make a pretty wide variety. You can’t get them all in Ohio, yet. Read about all their options here. Our tour ended with another super fresh beer, Melon Cart, that had been canned less than an hour ago. You can 100% taste the melon in this beer and it’s one of those drinks that makes you want to jump straight into a pool on a hot day. Delicious. The vibe in the brewery was pretty cool, there were people of all ages, including a ton of kiddos. But, it was a series game for the LA Dodgers and filling up fast so we skipped dining there and headed to a tiny little taco stand a mile down the road. It was delicious and I ate it so fast, I didn’t even take any pictures. Well, I didn’t get any food pictures but I did get a picture of the outside of El Sauz Tacos so you can get somewhat of the experience. Again, the service here was so ridiculously friendly. Why isn’t the whole country nice? Is it the sunshine? The tacos, the beer? After we got our fill of tacos and beer, we decided to be a little touristy and head to Hollywood. First of all, it’s absurdly touristy and a little frightening. But, you gotta do it because you never know when you’ll be back. I will say I did appreciate finding sunglasses for less than $10 because I left mine in Columbus. Also, it was pretty cool seeing all the Hollywood Stars and the Walk of Fame.
Since we had had our fair share of Lyft rides, we decided to walk to our destination, Pink’s Hot Dogs. It was only a mile walk but it sure was an interesting mile. Regardless, we made it and boy oh boy, were those hot dogs delicious. I’m not even kidding, the hot dogs were actually so good. The Beard got the Philly Cheesesteak Dog which is a 9in strech dog with grilled steak, grilled peppers & onions, American & Swiss cheese. I got the Brando Dog which is a 9in stretch dog, mustard, onions, chili, and shreded cheddar cheese. We got cheese fries to split and she did not skimp on the cheese sauce. I see why this place is famous, their system is perfect, the food is good and the service was wonderful. Our last day! We had a noon flight, so we had a good part of the morning to get some breakfast and mosey around. We stopped at Porto’s in Glendale and so did the rest of the city. It was packed and for good reason. This Cuban Bakery had everything I wanted and more, plus it was insanely inexpensive. The iced lattes weren’t the best in the world but they had caffeine, they were sweet, and they did the trick.
Overwhelmed with decision, we ordered several different options. They had two cases and each one had hundreds of pastries in it. It was like DisneyWorld for pastries. The Beard got a few savory items, a potato ball and a croquette which were both yummy but a little different. I got three pastries (because, vacation), a pineapple and cheese danish, a guava roll, and a cheese roll. They were unreal and I could have eaten like four more of each.
We also got this magical little fruit tart to share that was so fresh and yummy. Plus, all these pastries were under $10 which literally blows my mind. They also had an insane cake selection that had its’ own separate line. Please, bring one of these to Columbus, I’ll be your number one customer. Well, there you have it! Our whirlwind trip to LA in less than 48 hours. Have you been? Where else would you say to visit? Tell us in the comments!