Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in LA

Piles of Leaves - Not!

To most of us Thanksgiving evokes recollections of family gatherings and tables full of comfort food. When I was a kid we'd get up, watch the Macy's parade, then pile into dad's buick wildcat and make the road trip to my cousins.

Once there we'd spend the day throwing frisbees and footballs. Then we'd move inside to play some board games. The whole time my uncle's big wooden RCA console TV would be flipping from one sporting event to another.

Then the food took over. It would start with deviled eggs and move on to the serious stuff. Turkey or ham would reside next to mashed potatoes, stuffing and an annual jello experiment (usually loosely interpreted from a recipe in Parade.) The meal would be finished up with syncopation of coffee being perked in a tall chrome percolator soon to be served with the pies; apple, cherry, pumpkin, and mince.

We'd then groan, sleep and wake up to see mountains of leftovers being wrapped in foil.

Nowadays my family has scattered like seeds in the wind. Without a matriarch demanding we all come together, we instead plan alternative holiday adventures with friends from church. This year we spent 3 days in Los Angeles.

Day One:
Thanksgiving itself was spent at Universal Studios. The day was a sunny 70°F. In a word; perfect. Crowds were pretty light netting short waits for even the best attractions.

Universal's Atlas Fountain and Mandatory Photostop  

We found that Universal has a lot of renovation going on right now and some of the popular (but tired) attractions like Backdraft are now gone. Perhaps in recognition of its reduced state, they offered us a 13 month pass for the same price as their normal $77 one-day admission. Hey, that worked for me as Miss M and I can now plan to return in the spring to see the new Transformers attraction.

Inside the park were lots of shows, music, and the new King Kong in 3D attraction. It replaces the elaborate old mechanized King Kong attraction that was destroyed in the backlot fire a few years ago.

We finished up the day amid the lights of CityWalk. I stopped and watched the I-Fly skydivers. Next trip over I am going to fly.


CityWalk is Ready for Christmas

We then went to have a turkey dinner at Dinah's near the Hughes Center.

Day Two:
After sleeping in on Black Friday the group assembled at the King's Hawaiian Bakery in Torrance for a full-on island style local boy breakfast; Char Sui on rice, Portuguese sweet bread french toast covered in coconut syrup. All washed down with a big glass of POG (passion, orange, guava) juice and Kona coffee. It was soooo good. Breakfast alone made the trip worthwhile.

After breakfast it was off to Hollywood and Highland. We window shopped, checked out all of the star's hand and footprints in the forecourt of the Chinese Theater and enjoyed the endless parade of ambulatory schizophrenia oozing along Hollywood Boulevard. 

Sid Grauman's Iconic 1927 Era "Chinese" Theater

One of the 200 Hand and Footprints At Graumans

We stepped across the street to admire the exquisite detailing of the restored El Capitan Theater and the lobby of the oh-so-haunted (and very wilted) Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. We then tried to guess the authors of each of the life stories on the "Road to Hollywood" in the Hollywood and Highland's plaza.

The Ceiling of the Outer Lobby of the El Capitan

The Hollywood Roosevelt

Hollywood and Highland 
The Road to Hollywood Snakes Around the Plaza

We were took in a matinee of the dazzling new Hollywood themed Cirque show called IRIS at the gorgeous Kodak Theater. Although we've enjoyed about a dozen Cirque productions over the years, I easily rate IRIS second only to the Beattle's Love at The Mirage.

Day Three:
On Saturday we slept in again (note the trend). After breakfast we made our way to The Grove / Farmer's Market to enjoy the street scene, shop, and have lunch. The Grove was totally decked out for the holidays and filled with families.

The Grove's Huge Tree

From the Farmer's Market we were off to Santa Monica to experience the 3rd Street Promenade at Sunset. It was filled with people. But it has gotten a bit edgy. There are still dozens of street performers (some that were darned good) surrounded by an armada of street people and panhandlers.

We parked at the renovated Santa Monica Place (the roof is now gone and the foodcourt is on three!) Once we found the food court we ate dinner. 

Street Violin

Sunset Over the Pacific
From the Roof of Santa Monica Place

We ran out of time and did not get to the Hollywood Forever cemetery. And we found out that Paramount does not operate its VIP tour over Thanksgiving. 

Guess we'll just have to return!

Love to all.

Roadboy's Travels © 2011

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