Food, West and East

I took took weeks off to head out west and then back east to the Jersey Shore. It was nice to escape and go offline for a bit. Of course, we had a few good eats along the way, so thought I’d share.

First stop in Los Angeles was In-n-Out on our first full day. This is hands down the tastiest and cheapest burger I have ever had (my top 3 are In-n-Out, Shake Shack in NYC, and BLT Burger in NYC). Of course, nothing really beats a burger on your own grill (or my Dad’s grill, specifically). I read “In-n-Out Burger” by Stacy Perman this spring. It was a great history of the the chain, all the tragedy that has followed, and the focus on a producing a premium product. I have to say, what I love most is that you can taste the cheese on the burger. I stopped getting cheeseburgers at most places because I found you couldn’t actually taste the cheese. So why waste more calories? I had to order Animal Style, of course (translation: with grilled onions). I even had my fries Well Done (translation: fried longer to be extra crispy)

This is actually the In-n-Out in Westwood, talked about in the book. It’s a very modern design, and apparently the founders didn’t want to take away from the focus on food, so this was the last of this type.

On Sunday we were a little healthier. We started the day at one of MB’s Peet’s, which is in Beverly Hills (next to the Starbucks, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf).

I saw signs for the Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market driving there. As you know, I’m a fan (see my previous posts). And this one was a huge winner. What we are missing in our own Greenmarket are the fresh fruits – figs, dates, peaches, yellow watermelon (at least that’s what I thought it was). The figs were fabulous and I ate the entire basket over the course of a few days.

I love purple, so here are some of the eggplants:

We made one of our Crunchy Salads that night, accompanied by Lambrusco. Joe K, a friend currently living in Florence who we recently saw in NYC, told us Lambrusco is all the rage in Italy. So we chilled the sparkling red wine and had some with dinner. It was light, refreshing and perfect for summer. Trader Joe’s wine came through for us.

Walking on the Third Street Promenade, we ran into ANOTHER farmers market. This time, we grabbed a bag of white peaches from the one guy who hadn’t packed up. These peaches are actually from the Walnut Creek farmer’s market, but thought they would express the idea:

And then we took our juicy fruit over to the grassy area with the ocean view (I asked, there is not official name for it, but you know what I’m talking about). This is a shot from our grassy spot:

During this trip, I was introduced to the It’s It. MB mentioned this delightful treat, like it was a gift from the heavens. We tried to find it at Safeway in southern CA, but had no luck. I need to mention, that during this search, I thought I was looking for Itzit and didn’t realize it was in the freezer section.

On our trip north, we drove through King City and made a pit stop. There is nothing to see here, I just needed a beverage! But I had the brilliant idea to check again (it could be the fact it was 102 degrees and that prompts thoughts of ice cream).

And here it is:

Apparently, it’s a treat known to the Bay Area. The original version is vanilla ice cream sandwiched between 2 oatmeal cookies and covered in chocolate. DEEElightful!! They were first made in 1928 and haven’t changed (as you can see by the box). They disappeared at some point in the 70s when Playland-at-the-Beach, a beach spot, was demolished. But the frozen treat was missed and came back.

There were lots of good eats in San Francisco during our time there (herring salad, yummy cake, grilled steak, watermelon salad, salsa verde…).

My trip didn’t end on the west coast. I flew back late Monday, arrived at 12:30 am and caught a bus to Ocean City, New Jersey. This is a spot that holds quite a few memories, since we used to gather there with family. You know how you can walk by something and it smells like a memory? That is how Brown’s Donuts is for me. It had been a few years since I’ve been back, but I’ve smelled a yummy/grease smell occasionally (I know, this may not be appealing to some of you!). And it reminded me of Brown’s.

And here they are:

Three little pieces of hot, greasy goodness. You can watch them come out of the fryer (and it looks like the same one I remember as a girl). Note the grease stains on the paper plate. I ate all three.

And a nice close up:

Brown’s was started by Mr. and Mrs. Brown back in 1976 (wow, whoever was born then must be ancient!). And they are still there. The little shop has seen some expansion over the years. But the donuts are the same.

It was a great 2 weeks. I saw friends, family, and new places.

A parting beach shot before we head into fall (and all things pumpkin and spice, yay!!):

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