There were times this weekend I almost thought I was back in Israel. As we drove around the neighbourhoods of Pico Robertson, every third store was kosher, and every second restaurant had some reference to Judaism or Israel. I was giddy with glee as I found neighbourhood haunts to take Stephane to, and I found kosher shops to keep us stocked for our few months in a very non-kosher desert. It was great to get away for a day despite the fact that I really don’t love Los Angeles. The traffic is terrible, the drivers could rival those in Israel, and it really is very crowded, but there is no denying that the culture is fabulous.
Even though we were a few days early, the purpose of our trip into LA was to celebrate my sister’s birthday with he LA crew. Regardless, it was a great excuse to escape Palm Springs for a while and spend some time in the big city. When we arrived in LA we settled in at my sister’s Beverly Hills apartment, and then started our 24 hour eating spree with brunch at Factor’s Famous Deli. The food was delicious, and the best part was that they still had their Hanukkah menu, meaning that we could continue enjoying potato latkes another day! The fact that every restaurant and store in the area had noticeable Hanukkah displays made the environment that much more welcoming, and the food couldn’t be beat!
After we all ate enough to render each of us in a deep food coma, it was back to Elana and Brian’s apartment for some R&R before dinner. We got in the holiday spirit with the Grinch that stole Christmas, and wrapped up our movie afternoon with a family favourite – Fiddler on the Roof. As the hours ticked away it was time for us to start getting ready for the main event of the evening; my sister’s pre birthday Japanese dinner extravaganza!
Dinner at Benihana was scrumptious. We had a party of 18 people, and Elana couldn’t have asked for a better time. My mom and I split salmon, shrimp, and decadent scallops (sorry Stephane I had to cheat this once), most of which we had to take home, and most of which my mother dropped on the floor as we were leaving the restaurant! Luckily we managed to save some leftovers for Jasper! After dinner it was back to Elana’s apartment for a good night sleep. We tried to stay up to finish Fiddler, but by midnight we were all asleep.
Brunch + Lunch = way too much food!
The next morning we all woke up, got ready, and met Brian and one of his 4 brothers at the famous Shwartz’s Bakery, where we enjoyed Shakhukah, bagels, cream cheese, and pastries! I was so excited to find a bakery I could bring Stephane to when he comes as we will need to frequent as many koser establishments as possible while we are in LA. We were so lucky to have a visit from our little brother (dear family friend), Peter, who came to visit us while we were at Schwartz’s, and it was a wonderful catch up with one of our most dear family friends. After brunch it was straight off to meet one of my mom’s oldest and dearest friends, Sharon, her mother, and good friend Harris (the PR wizard who put OPI nail polish on the map!), at one of LA’s most famous Persian restaurants. We weren’t very hungry but the food was so good we forced ourselves to eat a scrumptious meal of exotic rises, chicken, and flavoured soups. Elana and I were also given the most wonderful presents to help each of us start our future lives as wives and partners:
When lunch was over we said our goodbyes, packed our bags and headed back to the beautiful desert. It was nice to get away, but even nicer to return home. Especially when you have someone this cute waiting on the other side:
I miss you every second of every day, friend, and love you forever and always.
Until we meet again <3,