Super-L.A.-tive Saturday

So, I was informed that we had “plenty” of time to have breakfast at one of my favorite places – Stratford Court Café in Del Mar.  It’s a great little open-air patio that makes excellent frittatas and always affords good people watching.  After that, The Beloved input the “first stop” into the GPS system… 109 miles… hmmm.

Imaging my surprise when we began to drive into the heart of Los Angeles!  For those that don’t know San Diego or L.A. – Los Angeles is typically referred to a the annoying place you have to figure out how to “drive around” when heading to more interesting places in The Golden State.  I thought we might be headed that way — but I never dreamed it was our destination!

We headed in I-10 (sorry, “the 10”) and exited around Korea-town.  Needless to say, I was equally intrigued and confused until we rounded a couple of blocks and we were at one of the coolest places in California (which I had never been to…) – The La Brea Tarpits!  You see – I love science and wild-animal shows, and dinosaurs, etc.  But one part of natural history that’s always gotten short-shrift are the great animals that died out at the end of the last ice-age – about 10,000 years ago.

The park and accompanying museum are really fun and interesting for folks curious about this part of North America’s history.  The tar-pits are naturally-occurring asphalt ooze that seeps up from underground chambers and has been for thousands of years.  Mammoths, mastodons, bears twice as large as a modern grizzly, dire wolves and saber-toothed cats (not tigers – apparently they’re more related to the modern bobcat that the tiger) all roamed the western part of the continent and would occasionally get stuck and die in the tar.  Literally millions of fossils have been excavated there, giving researchers one of the best ideas of a functioning prehistoric ecosystem.  And yes, animals – mostly birds and rodents still get stuck there in it today.

Following our visit – another address was input and we were off for lunch.  We stopped outside a non-descript little place on Pico – The Apple Pan.  In business for nearly 60 years, its famous for its counter-only service and limited menu – burgers and fries.  It is essentially what In-N-Out Burger was modeled on.  Very good cheese burger and fries – and yes, I finished it off with a big old piece of apple pie with homemade whipped cream – its my birthmonth, don’cha know.

Full, but still game – we were onto our next adventure.  A shuttle bus for a visit to the Griffith Observatory.  What an awesome place!  The observatory is a public landmark in L.A. and has recently been renovated and expanded (the expansion all underground) to include new and updated exhibits – and was only re-opened last Fall.  As the Beloved knew, as a child, I’d always wanted to be an astronomer, so the stars, planets and galaxies are near and dear to my heart.  We saw the new planetarium show which was THE BEST one I had ever seen – a wonderful synthesis of science and WHY people do science and why we’ve looked at the stars for millennia in attempting to understand the universe and our place in it.

Finally, we were off to wet our whistles and this was the last adventure for the day.  The Beloved knows that I love to watch tv-shows about aliens and unexplained phenomena for fun.  So, of course, there’s no better place to get a drink than The Bigfoot Lodge!   Part schtick + part grunge + fun bartender = great bar.  I even got a birthday shot of tequila!

Lastly, we made our way to our West Hollywood hotel, which was very hip and monochrome (mostly blue-grey) and we had a few snacks before heading to bed.

Let’s see…
Favorite breakfast place
Prehistoric animals
Classic burger + fries
Astronomy and planetarium
Bigfoot bar

Yeah – she knows how to make a pretty perfect Surprise Saturday for me.  And we needed a good night’s sleep for what was to come the next day too.

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24 thoughts on “Super-L.A.-tive Saturday

  1. I went to the tar pits and observatory as a kid, but I don't really remember them. I've been meaning to check them out again as an adult. I've been to Apple Pan as an adult though! Mmm-good. Bigfoot looks fun, and the hotel swanky. Interested to see what Day 2 looked like.

  2. My favorite part of "The La Brea Tar Pits" is that it translates from Spanish to English as:"The The Tar Tar Pits." So entertaining. Sounds like you had a great trip!

  3. I went to high school not far from the Apple Pan. Some of those guys have worked there for over 20 years! Many of them are ex-convicts and this was a way to get back into society. And I can't believe you at an entire piece of pie!! Especially after a burger.You might like the book, The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater. The La Brea Tar Pits and LA in general play a role in the story. It's a kids book, but Neil Gaiman wrote the jacket blurb.Sounds like your birthday month is off to a good start!

  4. I second what Grandma-P said, that your Beloved knows what you like. How cool. The Bigfoot Bar looks like fun – I love the Sasquatch National Forest sign.

  5. Wow, sounds like an awesome Saturday all around. I loved the Tar Pits when I went there with the fam. It was hotter than hell in downtown LA that day though, and being around the hot tar only made it worse. But it was very neat.
    I loved the Observatory as well (we went there on a different trip to SoCal), but didn't know they'd expanded. I might have to try to get there again soon! I especially loved when we were driving up, and went through that long tunnel, and I realized that it was the tunnel from the end of Back to the Future Part II. I might've freaked out a little bit…!

  6. Cori — that cracks me up — I've been telling people that all morning… ;)
    Maybe that's why one of the academic wings at the museum was The Department of Redundancy Department… ;)

  7. So awesome! And what a blessing to have found someone in life that truly knows you (I know this from firsthand experience). It always makes me teary eyed when I see two people that are perfect for each other as you and The Beloved are.
    Oh, and now I want to go see "The The Tar Tar Pits" too!

  8. I've never been to the observatory. We almost went on Saturday (when giving my friend G a tourist's tour of LA) but decided to go to the Getty instead. Now I really want to go there! Maybe for my birthday. :)

  9. Oooh, I've heard about the Tarpits exhibit! So cool. I think a baby mamoth was just discovered, no? Saw a great film about that Russian scientist who found the one in the ice block.
    Museum is beautiful. Is that your wife with the wolf display?? Wow she's beautiful. Love her funny mug for the camera. ;)

  10. What an awesome day! You've got a great beloved.I've been to the Tar Pits, back when I was in CA for a year, which would have made me 13 at the time. It was a blast then…hopefully when my kids are around that age we'll do a across-the-US road trip and that will definitely be one of the stops…

  11. Sounds like you had a great time! I've been wanting to make it over to the Observatory for years. Was down in LA 5 times this year alone and never made it. Definitely a spot to catch. Hope you had as wonderful a second day!

  12. We moved to the Valley in 1956- so I lived there for 31 years before I moved to Tucson. Then I moved back in 2000 and for five years worked south of downtown. I moved back to Tucson 2 years ago and I'm begaining to miss LA again. Los Angeles will always be my "Home Town" regardless where I live. Griffith Park and the Hollyhock House are 2 of my favs! :-)

  13. By the way next to the Tar Pits is the L A County Museum of Art which includes Architect Bruce Goff’s Japanese Pavilion. One of my favorite buildings (a work of art in itself) by a great architect!

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