Final week in LA- Rejuvenation, Revelation and The Hunt for Olive Garden!

Like all trips just as I was getting settled in to LA timing and flow it was time to go. However in the last few days I did find my pacing and able to put some things in motion for the work I intend to accomplish this year. I have set a few challenging tasks, but I am very excited about the possibilities of accomplishing them all. One of them will be a wonderful gift (one of many I hope to give) to the country of my birth.

The last week in LA was hectic at the top but tapered off nicely into a relaxing last few days. It started with the incredibly schedule of celebrity interviews for StarsEntertainment.com. The highlight of those would have to be meeting Beverly Johnson. She came across as remarkably down to earth and genuine and TALL (lolol).

By Wednesday we’d wrapped all the interviews so I was able to take in a bit of entertainment that I needed to both for pleasure and work. I took in a screening of The National Theatre of London’s Live screening of the Shakespeare play Comedy of Errors at the Downtown Independent cinema. The play was done in Olde English (thoust, thine, therst)  but with a contemporary storyline. It is about two sets of twins separated early in their lives who happen upon the same city and the well ‘Comedy of Errors’ that besiege them all as a result. The show lasted 2.5 hours, much shorter than I thought it would but was absolutely hilarious at points and a wonderful experience. Have any of you been to the National Theatre or other Live events at your local cinemas? It makes for a very good outing and something different from the typical movie experience. Check it out!

Black History Month Doll Exhibit

While I waited for Nick to pick me up I gave myself an impromptu walking tour of downtown LA and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I happened upon a black history month doll exhibit which was quite comprehensive and exquisite. Then I made my way across to the city hall building walked through a bit, a farmers market was just finishing, but I was able to pick up some guavas. I then walked up hill towards the Walt Disney Concert Hall which is quite a stunning piece of modern architecture. On my way there, I encountered the Civic Center Metro Train station which I decided to check out. Very happy that I did so, it was a massive station, very clean, no attendant inside, LA has a Tap system so no tickets just tap a pass and you are through. I was told by Nick that riders are not allowed to bring food or drinks onto the metro. Possibly something the TTC should consider since Torontonians are getting ridiculous with their garbage on the trains in my opinion.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

I was quite fascinated with the structure of the Walt Disney Concert Hall but had to keep an eye on the clock since Nick was on his way down to get me and I was nowhere close to where I was supposed to be picked up. I chose not to go into the concert hall but ventured into a beautiful courtyard with a sculpted door and an interesting Peace Sculpture.I walked around the courtyard a bit took some pics and eventually discovered that I was in the complex which housed the Ahmanson Theater, the Mark Taper Forum and the Music Center, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Also in that general vicinity was the LA Superior Courthouse, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Times. At one point I found myself staring in the distance to  what I thought was the ocean. I got pretty excited and actually started walking in its direction wondering while doing so why Nick had never mentioned that downtown LA was right next to the ocean. I of course soon discovered that what I thought to be the Ocean was actually a very blue building. I figured that probably my own hungry belly was playing tricks with my mind so after that non-discovery, I headed back to the theater to get picked up and go eat!

A Breathtaking Pacific Sunset

For food that day, we decided to head down to Bubba Gump one of our favorite seafood spots located on the Santa Monica Pier (the restaurant is featured in Forrest Gump). We were starving so were very much looking forward to our meals. I went for the Accidental Fish and Shrimp and Nick had the Run accross America Sampler with a cup of the Shrimp and Crab Bisque. Sadly we were both very underwhelmed by our meals this time around. My fish was over cooked and Nick’s sampler was just not good in so many ways. Needless to say we were quite disappointed because Bubba Gump had topped our places to eat last year. We then ventured out onto the Santa Monica Pier which is quite an experience when you think that you are actually halfway out in the ocean on something of an old wooden pier. That, if let’s say one of the boards on said pier were to give way, then you would  unceremoniously end up in very deep waters. Those thoughts and many others in the same vein notwithstanding I could not resist the very stunning scenic views of the California shoreline from the pier; it’s like being on a cruise ship that’s not moving. Even more beautiful though, is to capture the sun as it sets into the Pacific Ocean! A truly breathtaking moment.

On Friday, we were supposed to have an early morning shoot for So You Think You Can Dance, however we missed it because Nick, simply slept through his alarm, I hate waking people up and figured he might have decided against going and so I let him sleep. As a result that morning was pretty light. Nick had a meeting and I worked on plans for upcoming projects. In the afternoon we decided to head out for lunch, a simple decision that turned out to be the adventure that shouldn’t have been!

Westwood Village - Hammer Museum @ UCLA

We initially decided on the Olive Garden, since I’d never been and it’s one of Nick’s favorite places to eat. We plugged in the address into Nick’s trusty Blackberry Traffic App and soon (at about 2:30pm) was on our way after taking care of some other business. We did as we usually do, followed along the directions, missed a few turns cause they did not make sense, doubled back and tried again, just happily driving along to the BlackBerry directions. We finally get there after what seems like forever, it turns out the Olive Garden was in Westwood Village, right next to the UCLA Campus, that was great, it’s a pretty busy part of town, lots of people, interesting campus, got a few pics; But I am HUNGRY!. We drive past where the Olive Garden was supposed to be and didn’t see it so we figured we should park and walk, maybe we just missed it. We entered a parking lot,(rate $10 for every 15 minutes or shop at Ralphs to get your parking validated Seriously?!)- we figured we’d just get something from Ralph’s on the way back from our meal. So we get unto the street that we were supposed to be on, walked up, walked down, there is no Olive Garden to speak of! We are both annoyed of course and hungry, look at each other, look around again, then decide to check online on our phones. Googled Olive Garden in Westwood, and after all this driving, and walking up and down we discover that Olive Garden Westwood village is closed down! ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW? I AM HUNGRY!!!! lolol.

Driving towards Olive Garden in Burbank

Thankfully we had to purchase something at Ralph’s so decided on some chocolate bars (Snickers) and Goldfish. We just needed something to tide us over till we got to the next Olive Garden; which of course is on the other side of town in Burbank. Yes it would have made sense to just choose another restaurant, something closer to us maybe- since after all we were sooo HUNGRY- but no, that would make sense and Nick and I don’t always do the most sensible things! So off we were again in search of Olive Garden, this time in Burbank. Thanks to GoldFish and Snickers, our hunger was slightly abated, we went through the Beverly Hills Mulholland Drive area to get into Burbank. Mulholland is a very swanky, tree-lined area with stunning homes. We eventually got on the winding hills heading into Burbank and finally what felt like 2.5 hours later (crossing highways, almost running out of gas and braving late afternoon LA traffic) we were there.

There it was, Olive Garden, ready, open and waiting…did we actually go to the Olive Garden that we drove across Los Angeles for? NO of course Not!! Why after all this drama did we not go into the Olive Garden as planned? Well because we saw an Outback Restaurant and we just had to eat there! Of course your next question is why? Well for two reasons really; the first being that we were really hungry and in desperate need of protein (read MEAT) and to us pasta just wouldn’t have done the job. Second, we just had to eat at the Outback Restaurant, in honor of a very similar adventure in Toronto. Yep,  Nick and I together in the car searching for an Outback Restaurant which the GPS told us was there and we later found out after much driving was closed!!) Thus in honor of that adventure we thought we owed it to ourselves to eat at the Outback Restaurant. So finally we were seated inside of a restaurant ready to order! We both got the ribs; they looked amazing a good size-able serving that seemed to have delicious potential. Unfortunately to our great disappointment the ribs fell flat; they were just too lemony the sauce didn’t hit that spot. UGHHHH so much for driving almost 4 hours to eat! Maybe we should have just stuck to the original plan and gone to The Olive Garden eh?!!!! After that we picked up a few items from Target, headed back into LA, stopped off at the Grove to pick up our favorite fudge which we almost forgot and then headed back to the hotel to prepare and pack for our trip in the morning.

Hands up for Maggiano's Apple Crostada!!! YUM YUM YUMMMMY!!!

By far our best food moment in LA has to go to Maggiano’s Farmers Market in Los Angeles who again killed it with the most delectable Crab Cakes and then simply blew me away with a divine Apple Crostada in Caramel Sauce for dessert.

Me Behind the Mirror



I started this post while waiting to board my plane back to Toronto…This trip to LA was a revelation and a rejuvenation of sorts. I discovered for the most part that I like being left alone in the mornings. Without even trying I just go internal and sometimes it takes me a long time to get out unless I absolutely must. Which means that I can make for a challenging traveling companion. I am not a good one let’s say if you like to start the chat from the minute the sun shows her face. There are also moments when I just need to not be ‘on’, to not speak or engage if you will…which again can be a challenge for a traveling partner. So I am thinking that trip around the world one day might be best done alone :). or at the very least it will have to be with someone who can traverse my many moods without offense. The flight home was relatively uneventful, I listened to classical (Tchaikovsky and some amazing piano and violin concertos) pretty much for the full flight. I slept for the most part and then woke in time to experience the very shaky and windy landing into YYZ. Needless to say I was happy to finally be on the ground, I was unusually happy to be back in TO. But as always when I walk through airports I found myself looking longingly at the people in the departure lounge wishing I to was about to board the plane for yet another adventure! Oh don’t get me wrong this was a remarkable first trip of the year and if all goes well I am hoping to take a few more in 2012. So I have no doubt I will be back at Pearson International Airport pretty soon and I am very much looking forward to it!

P.S For those of you ladies who asked me to take pics of gorgeous men or give them your numbers, there weren’t very many that I saw. The few that I thought were hot enough were always coupled up and it seemed a tad inappropriate to ask them to take a pic with their girlfriends or wives standing right there. I did lust after them from a distance and I think I lusted enough for all of us. Honestly though there really weren’t that many that I saw…especially of Black male kind.

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Again another long post. So thanks to those of you who made it to the end. What about you have you had your first adventure for the year yet? Have plans for a big one coming up…we’d love if you shared with us. Even if you don’t  Let’s DO This people.

Special thanks to Nick Rico and StarsEntertainment.com for yet another great adventure in LA and Artistile our sponsors who made the trip possible!

Well that’s it for this trip!~

Until the next one and of course all the other adventures in between, I am yours always

A Traveling Black Chick


About Traveling Black Chick

A silent seeker. Living Loud! Fascinated with the world! Producer, Director, Writer, Traveler, Entrepreneur

2 comments on “Final week in LA- Rejuvenation, Revelation and The Hunt for Olive Garden!

  1. Currently it looks like WordPress is the best blogging
    platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

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