Never Growing Up in LA

I spent the past weekend south of LA doing an assortment of mostly childish things intermixed with some really delicious food. So if you are in the LA area and want to act like a kid, read on!

My boyfriend had never been to an amusement park before so the first thing we did when we got to LA was go to Disneyland. We’re rather lazy so we didn’t get up for the park opening but we did make it there by 10am! One of the first things that struck me was how everyone at the park seemed really happy and into Disneyland. A huge percentage of the crowd had Mouse ears in all shapes and designs on their heads. The workers also seemed quite joyful, especially during Mickey’s parade. We had a really fun day there just enjoying the atmosphere and rides; our favorite rides were Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain.

The Drummers during Mickey’s Parade

If you are visiting Disneyland, I highly recommend getting the MouseWait app to know how long the wait is for different rides and for different foods (the food at Disneyland is ok; we had a reasonable lunch at Jolly Holiday and a decent churro and Dole whip. Disneyland allows you to bring food in so I would suggest doing that). I also definitely recommend getting Fastpasses so that you don’t have to wait in line. It’s free and you just take your tickets and schedule when you would like to come back for the ride; you can find a tutorial here. The Tomorrowland attractions seemed most popular so get those Fastpasses while you can. By using the Fastpasses, we never waited longer than 20 minutes for any ride.

For dinner, we decided to drive south to Santa Ana and had some very tasty tacos at Taqueria El Zamarano. They have super delicious tacos (chicken, lengua, al pastor, carnitas, fish, shrimp on homemade tortillas) for super cheap ($2.00 each!). They also make a refreshing agua fresca from cucumber and have half liter bottles of Mexican coke, which were great accompaniments for the spicy tacos. Their guacamole is also creamy and rich. The people here are also uber friendly so just go!

The next day, we went to 4th Street Market in Santa Ana for some great coffee at Portola Coffee Lab and fried chicken from PFC and baked potato fries from Wagyu Chuck (also run by the Playground guys). The fried chicken was crispy and tender and came with a sweet lime/agave sauce. The baked potato fries were really awesome; skin-on crispy potatoes with a soft center. 4th Street Market has plenty of seating and also an outdoor area in the back where local bands often play. We finished off our lunch with dessert from Chunk-n-Chip. I was a bit too full to get a full on ice cream sandwich but I did get a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip (tasted like crushed mint leaves and chocolate) and their orange blossom. Both were not too sweet and tasted very fresh.

We spent the afternoon at Huntington Beach where I decided that I had not flown a kite recently enough. Luckily there was a kite store right on the main pier. The store had all manner of kites for professionals but also some cheaper ones for last-minute kite-flyers. So we purchased a kite and set off to fly it on the beach. Flying this kite was extremely easy. All I had to do was unwind the string and let the kite go and the wind did the rest. It stayed aloft with very little effort and we could walk on the beach with it following happily along. Huntington Beach is huge and was very empty. We even saw a whale from shore!

After the beach, we ate a really delicious meal at Manhattan Beach Post. They say that their portions are tapas-sized but they are really more like small entree-sized so only 2 dishes per person is enough. Not knowing this at the time, we ordered most of the seafood section of the menu. This turned out to be a great decision though because everything we tasted was fresh and delicious. My favorites were the diver scallops and the loup de mer.

After this weekend, I took off my kid hat and put on my sunscreen and headed out into the desert to Joshua Tree…

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