The Day We Eat All of the Foods, Tour a College, and Are Followed by Ryan Gosling

Our first day in LA proper! Let’s eat! At Sqirl! One of the city’s hippest breakfast/lunch spots, Sqirl attracts a scene that trails out the door and offered a host of gf/df options. On it!

Oh, and it’s TV’sAlexFernandez joining us at our small sidewalk breakfast table …

that we crammed with pretty much one of everything on the menu.  So, should you wait in line at Sqirl? Hell, yes. The food is crazy delicious and the staff are just wonderfully friendly and gracious! Yum!  By the way, a note about LA service industry workers: to a person they were friendly, gracious, helpful, and kind–even when and maybe even especially when they were about eight-kathousand times cooler than you were.  It made every experience even better.

Everything at Sqirl was great, but as a special highlight, I get to say that I’ve eaten lacto-fermented hot sauce, without even looking it up first on my iPhone.  And it was crazy spicy good!

Time to walk it off! Though the Adidas on Melrose did not stock the shoes Penn was searching for (“sorry, we don’t carry running shoes, we’re a lifestyle store” so much to say about this so little time before the revolution comes and we’re all up against the wal in our lifestyle shoes), we did find a bunch of photo ops along the way and on our stroll. LA is so photogenic–the lighting definitely helps.

My college-tour girl 🙂 A style all her own, ready to take on the world.  This is Harper, colleges of America, welcome her into your hearts and fall 2020 freshpeople classes.

We had time to hit up the Grove, so Miss Harper could spend the bound-for Brandy Melville dollars that were burning a hole in her nonexistent leggings pockets. And, as a bonus, we found vegan fro-yo and pressed juices and wellness shots with cayenne pepper. We’re so CA now.

We traffic-jammed our way to be late to the tour of Occidental College–actually a bunch of us were, welcome to college life 😉

Why Oxy (as it likes to call itself to make liberal arts seem friendly)? Well, Harper was scrolling through colleges on Naviance (every high schoolers college finder tool) over dinner at the Distillery, looked at Occidental, which reached out to connect with her. I said, hey, it’s in LA, want to tour it? She said, sure. And here we are! We also thought that it would offer a good sunny state (must for her right now) small college lib arts contrast to UF, which she’s touring in May.

My future world changer loved it and walked away troubled only by how she could fit all her stuff in her car to drive cross-country.

Like every college, Oxy has a Foucault’s Pendulum as a hallway decorative element.

Her father is looking into the middle distance and stopping me from asking the enthusiastic tour guide all my higher ed admin questions. But … what … why … don’t … um … okay, I’ll just whisper to myself.  Seriously, as a college insider, I will say that I walked away from this tour with a perhaps unsurprising observation that few parents or prospective students have any clue of what questions to ask or how to ask them without feeling afraid of sounding out-of-place and unworthy.  Our tour was mainly crickets–even from the dad whose daughter was wearing a vintage color-blocked Fresh Prince puffy track jacket and who was himself wearing a t-shirt that read “I’m not shouting, I’m German.”  When I did ask one of our tour guides a follow-up on gender inclusive housing and referenced OCR guidance, I thought she might melt.  Maybe it was better that I didn’t get started.

Whew, all that imagining the first kid in college made us hungry. Must have more foods! Wait, there’s an In-N-Out less than 5 miles from campus via a drive through the upscale college-town vibey enclave of Eagle Rock? Another point in Oxy’s ledger. Burgers …. fries … nomnomnom!

But, we had dinner in two hours. Time to walk it off again. Griffith Park at sunset! We were not alone in this thought: the observatory lot was full as we’re almost all roadside parking slots. We made it halfway down the hill before finding a spot. Tempers in the sunset traffic jam were not cooled by the weather, and we got to see a road rage sideshow a few spaces ahead of us. Just keep walking.

Look at these two–love them!!!

Look at that smile! Love him!!

Do you know how hard it is to get the Observatory appropriately included in an end of day selfie involving four cold, tired Kress-Davises? Hard. Hard. Hard. So many feels! But we made it and no one wound up at the bottom of the canyon.

The twinkling lights of the city below meant it was time to eat again!

Okay, so there are two Night and Market restaurants in LA, and we kept mixing them up. By we, I mean me. So, I navigated us to the wrong one first, but we were early, so we had plenty of time to get to the right one.

As we were driving along, Ned observed that Ryan Gosling was next to us. Harper judged the driver to look like an ugly Ryan Gosling. We laughed. Then, his car pulled behind us and drove, following us, for quite some time. Yep, it was Ryan Gosling, driving a sensible Audi station wagon–just as a man of the people who starred in last year’s best movie (Blade Runner 2049) and two of 2016’s best movies (the Nice Guys, La La Land) would, noted my son. Just as a parent of two kids would, noted me. He’s singing! I love you, Ryan! He’s singing! It’s Ryan Gosling! shouted my daughter, blowing kisses and making hearts out of her hands. Hey, are you Ryan Gosling? asked a dude on the street when we were all stopped at a light. Yep, he was.

But, Ryan was not going to the WeHo Night and Market (though almost everyone else was, that place was packed!), so our paths diverged. Goodbye, Ryan Gosling. See you in the movies.

We met up for dinner with Melody, longtime friend and the kids’ godmother and ate deliciously funky (pig tail, anyone?) Thai food in a loud and loudly colored N+M that played a great soundtrack of more obscure 80s bands (looking at you, Gang of Four)–note that “I ate a spoonful of chili paste” face on Ned:

The pigtail set Penn a bit off his meal, and we all wanted to hang out a bit longer, so we went to LA staple Canter’s deli for even more foods!

Some coffee, banana chocolate chip pancakes, egg creams, cold brew with almond milk (Canter’s is hip to the milks of the young people!), and honey walnut coffee cake later …

… the kids started recounting episodes of My Strange Addiction, including one involving a man with great affection for his car, that resulted in equal parts horror and humor.  Part, really, mostly horror.  Ew.

And finally, we were done with all of the foods, with Ryan Gosling, and with our first 24 hour LA day. Ned dropped us at the hotel, went to retrieve his forgotten-in-Anaheim iPad on a road trip with Alex (whole other story), and the kids and I watched a live televised helicopter chase of a stolen truck zooming through the city that took up the entire late night news. We were mesmerized, and when it disappeared into the metro train tunnel, we let out a collective sigh of disappointment. Oh, LA, you so filled with colleges, conspicuous consumption, canyons, and crazy, you overrun our days and nights!

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