Posts Tagged With: things to do

LA’s Food (aka, I have a food market addiction)

I am addicted to food markets.

Which is funny, considering my entire family used to think I was the pickiest eater in the world. Turns out I’m just a natural-born pescatarian & fresh-food eater. Which makes food markets the perfect place for me. Find a delicious curry-potato side from this stall and an egg-covered salad in that stall…

And now that we’re all hungry – you know why I was excited to try Los Angeles’s Grand Central Market when I went to visit a West-coast friend.

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market opened in 1917, and has been open ever since! The vendors have changed a bit over the years, but it stills has some grocers and other staples. Now, of course, it is a celebration of the diverse food landscape that LA has to offer. The atmosphere of a food market is also an unmistakable draw for me. The loud hum of conversations, the energy of hungry people deciding which line to stand in, and the slight chaos of finding a place to sit are all a part of food market charm.

It only took me walking one round to decide what I was going to order. A hot & fresh Sweet Thai Coconut Pancakesgourmet grilled cheese with avocado from one vendor…. and SWEET THAI COCONUT PANCAKES from another. Somebody hold me, because I could eat Thai coconut pancakes every day if I knew where to find them.

I first discovered these delicious coconut-milk-based pancakes in London. They’re made in a specific, indented pan, so they’re all perfectly round and identical. The shape of the pan also allows them to be delicately crispy on the outside, and delightfully creamy on the inside.

Everything in the market was delicious, of course, but I honestly can’t remember much else than being reunited with a coconut pancake vendor. Seriously… it had been over a year since I last enjoyed some!

North Hollywood

My other tasty LA food experience was in NoHo. Since it seems like half of my university moved to Los Angeles after graduation, the friend I was staying with drove us to meet up with another of our friends for brunch.


It was an overcast day right before Spring felt like hitting California. So we walked to The Fat Dog. For me, simple is best when it comes to brunch. So I ordered eggs with maple sausage, toast, and potatoes. And since I was on vacation and it WAS BRUNCH, I decided to try the champear – some bubbly with pear cognac and garnished with a pear slice.

If you ever see champear on a menu – order it and thank me later.

I have officially brunched in NoHo, which I believe means my hipster cred is now permanently established.

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A Tower with a View: Giotto’s Campanile

I struck out on my own to climb Giotto’s Campanile, the tower right next to Florence’s Duomo.

Of course, I meandered around at first and found a bar to grab a quick espresso. (Buongiorno! Vorrei un caffe, per favore. At this point rolling my R’s was getting easier.) I watched a few street vendors painting in the piazza, and heard several fellow Americans attempting their Italian. When I felt I had given the espresso enough time to energize me for the climb, I got in the ticket line for the Campanile.


413 steps up. 413 steps down.

Luckily there were a few floors between the ground and the very top so I could stop and catch my breath. The stairs were very narrow and winding – if you’re any more claustrophobic than I am it might get uncomfortable when you’re halfway up. But in my opinion, the view was definitely worth it. Each of the five levels had an even more fantastic view.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged…


Deer everywhere on the scenic walk from the bus stop to Chatsworth


IMG_2236It is a truth universally acknowledged that a 4+ hour round-trip journey to see a major Jane Austen landmark in one day is totally reasonable.

One Saturday I took a train (plus a bus & 30-minute walk through a breathtaking field/park) to go see Chatsworth House. By itself – and by that, I mean without the literary history – Chatsworth is a gorgeous house with plenty to admire and learn about. Structures on the grounds date back to the 16th century, the architecture and interior decoration are amazing, and there are countless pieces of near-priceless artwork throughout the house.

I also may or may not have worried about getting lost in the property’s small forest gardens.


If you make it out to Chatsworth, do yourself a favor and set aside an hour or two just to wander the paths around the grounds. They are breathtaking – figuratively and literally, if you decide to traverse all 5 miles of possible walking paths! It takes 20 gardeners and many volunteers to maintain – and their efforts are well worth it.



Of course, thanks to Jane Austen, there is a Pride & Prejudice section in all of the gift
shops. (As well as the Darcy bust used in the 2005 P&P movie.) The house and grounds were used in the 2005 movie, plus the BBC miniseries adaptation of “Murder Comes to Pemberley.” I immediately recognized the gorgeous grand entryway and staircase from the miniseries. And who could forget the magnificent fountain to the side of the house?


Inside the sprawling house mansion, the story of the property itself was told. The Cavendish family has called Chatsworth home since 1549. That’s sixteen generations! From the lives of the servants to the military service of the owners in The Great War and World War II, each room displayed clothing, items, and plaques that took you back in time. Of course, in the modern day, financial management of the estate is difficult without charging an entry fee and turning it into a tourist attraction.

The entire day was a perfect solo exploration, full of history, architecture, and the English outdoors. The pictures really do the day more justice than I could describe.


“Excuse me, ma’am, would you mind taking a picture of me?”



now THESE are some stables











“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. ” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Page 1

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