Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mixing work and pleasure: Part 2

Friday night's dinner plans with Ashley and Mark begins with Ash making reservations at an Italian restaurant in Irvine called "Z Mario" that she said had moved locations but was an amazing Italian place. Ashley's friends, Tawny and Jeremy, join us there and as we walk in I notice two things: the decor of the restaurant is very minimalist and modern (doesn't feel like any Italian restaurant I've ever been in) and the restaurant is completely empty. COMPLETELY. The hostess leads us back to our table in the back of the restaurant and we walk by a dance floor and a bar...hmmmm. When she gives us the menus, everything is over $30 an entree, and there is nothing remotely Italian offered. It turns out that the owners of what used to be "Z Mario" decided to turn their cozy Italian restaurant into a trendy lounge/uber expensive place to eat. We quickly decided to pick up and leave and find an actual Italian restaurant and ended up at Villa Nova in Newport Beach. Apparently, this is the spot where Joe DiMaggio took Marilyn Monroe on a blind date, pretty cool stuff. I ordered the manicotti and it was delish!

After dinner, Ash and I talked the night away and made a late-night run to YogurtLand. Again, I found that SoCal has a myriad of awesome frozen yogurt places and if I lived there, I would make a point to visit a new one each week! The next morning, Ash displayed her domestic skills and made a hearty oatmeal and scrambled eggs breakfast before we headed out to do some serious shopping. Actually, I did some serious shopping and Ash was my lackey, helping me find cute summer work outfits and making sure I did NOT buy more tank tops. I scouted out some great deals at Old Navy (50% off stuff already on clearance!), H&M, and Forever 21 and ended up with 5 cute tops and one classy skirt for $60.00.
We then drove up to Westwood, where I was going to meet up with Rachel. We stopped at Diddy Riese, a classic dessert place near UCLA that offers their famous ice-cream sandwiches for $1.50. You get to choose two fresh baked cookies and your flavor of ice cream and the result is a sweet tooth's dream!

The rest of my weekend getaway was spent with Rach in Santa Monica. The last time I had been in Santa Monica was for a college spring break trip with ADX when we stayed in a motel where homeless men were using the windows as mirrors to shave. Let's just say staying in Rach's apartment was quite a step up from that. We took a coastal drive to the Malibu area and gawked at the ridiculously huge mansions that people live in. For dinner that night we went to the Third Street Promenade and ended up at Barney's Beanery. This place has the most extensive menu I've probably ever seen....they have everything from chili bread bowls to fajita plates to burgers to pasta dishes to meatloaf. And for those that love their potatoes, they have 25 different kinds of potato skin options. Needless to say, it took quite a while to decide what to order. After dinner and strolling around the Promenade, we went back to Rach's place and ended up watching "Little Women" (what girl doesn't love Christian Bale as Laurie?) on her laptop in her comfy bed before dozing to sleep.
It was so refreshing to sleep in until 11 the next morning, it's a foreign feeling to wake up feeling well-rested! Rach then suggested a brunch destination that she had tried before, called Jack and Jill's. A restaurant that has a name derived from a nursery rhyme is enough to catch my interest so off we went. Another delicious dining experience. What I liked the most was that you get the option of these mini-blueberry cakes with your meal and they were so good! After stuffing myself yet again, it was time to head back to Sac. I am so grateful I was able to visit with so many close friends during this work trip...many thanks to UCD and taxpayer money =)


Meg said...

Looks like you had a fun time in SoCal! I laughed outloud when you mentioned ADX's Santa Monica motel... there were so many countless shady things about it!