The Summer of Chaos: Food on Hollywood & Improv

Week two and week three look remarkably similar to each other, so I’ll group them together. On the surface, things look like they are stable, but the flux is increasing and I feel like we are walking on shifting sand. We somehow managed to avoid sudden trips to Halifax, Chicago, Quebec, and Denver… so far (fingers crossed, knock on wood, insert stability voodoo here).

Week Two & Three: Hollywood

Our room at the Roosevelt is better for the next two weeks; I’ve been calling it the apartment but really it is an open concept room with a giant walk-in closet, hallway, and enormous bathroom. The defining feature is it has a shower big enough for us to do yoga in. We have a fridge but no kitchenette. There’s no access to laundry. But, we make it work.

Food… Cheap and Easy

When eating in Hollywood the rule of thumb is to avoid eating at hotels and on the strip. It will cost you triple what you’d normally pay. Imagine paying $30 for an ok hamburger (and if you order room service, that $30 burger could be a $50 burger). People do it. Don’t be that person.

Here are five of the two week’s food discoveries:

LA Bite. This is a service that will deliver from a large list of restaurants to your door. I’ve seen LA Bite blue bags everywhere in Hollywood; it seems to be muscling GrubHub out of LA. This makes me happy because GrubHub doesn’t allow people to use a credit card with a Canadian billing address to purchase food. Note: this is not high on the “cheap” list but certainly is easy.

Los Balcones. Peruvian food is one of the new shining stars on our dinner destination restaurant list. Great food and single meals that can easily feed two. As an added bonus, there is an endless flow of cassava chips and salsa verde.

Qwench. Acai bowls. This is why we started going here for breakfast; but note, one bowl can easily fill two people and they take a while to make. Everything is fresh and organic. Their juices are pretty popular with the fit LA crowd. Be prepared to line up.

Rise-n-Grind. This is labelled as a Stumptown Roasters cafe though I think that Stumptown would be horrified if they knew the cafe used the cheapest and nastiest soy milk on the market, which destroys the taste of their soy-based espresso drinks. Still… the great thing about this cafe is that at breakfast you can order a fresh focaccia sandwich and it comes in a tightly sealed container. This makes bagged lunches easy. Thus… my morning coffee sucks… but lunch works out.

Bite Me Kitchen. Go to their site. Pick your healthy meals for the week. And, they show up on your doorstep in the morning before you head to work (in a nifty refrigerated bag). At the end of the week, leave the bag on your doorstep and they will take it away. Awesomest. Thing. Ever. I feel like Calgary would benefit from this type of service.


We’ve been planning our weekend excursions around hotels that have laundry machines… but in Hollywood, it’s perfectly normal to live in an apartment building that doesn’t have laundry facilities. So, what do people in Hollywood do when they need their laundry done? They hire a laundry service: The Hollywood Laundry is one of the more popular. They charge $1.25 per pound and have a 10 lb minimum. Call them. They pick up your laundry. They do your laundry. They bring it back to you. It’s almost as efficient as a dhobi wallah.

Summer Camp: The Second City Improv

The entrance to Second City is barely noticeable as you walk along Hollywood Boulevard. And, the stairs that lead up to the second floor of the building are a workout. But, these stairs have seen a lot of people walk up them over the years and the alumni list reads like a who’s who of the entertainment industry: Alan Alda, Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Jim Belushi, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Mike Meyers, Joan Rivers, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray… and the list goes on and on and on…

Well. They offer Improv Comedy classes for kids too. Where they teach the basic fundamentals of improv and the method used by comedy programs like Saturday Night Live and Whose Line Is It Anyway. In fact, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie are alumni too!

I feel that everyone can benefit from improv classes. Especially kids who are trying to figure out who they are, trying to get comfortable in their own skin, and figure out that they can use humour to their advantage. Honestly, this has been one of the better summer camps that we’ve done in California… where La Niña spent every single day of the week laughing!

In terms of a successful camp, it was hot and cold for us. The kids, instructors, and group dynamics in week one were “the best-est.” But, everyone cycled out and we had a new batch of people for week two. The result was no synergy and lots of drama. It was a lesson for La Niña in team dynamics. By the end of week two she was able to effectively identify different bad behaviours, cliques, bad people combinations, and manipulate all of the above. She’d make a really good consultant… not sure if I’m happy or horrified by this realization.

Next Destination

Palm Springs.

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