Friday, October 26, 2012

dirt mulholland

captured on the trails at dirt mulholland last weekend...

Monday, October 1, 2012

longest run of my life

these past two days have been a virtual whirlwind, what with moving, cleaning, unpacking and a long run thrown in for kicks.

my buddy nestor and his fam are in town from pittsburgh, which gave us and kyle the perfect opportunity to reunite as the dykstra/rieber trio in full effizzect. since nestor's staying in downtown, we avoided the 405 altogether and had a bomb meal at sushi gen in little tokyo.

afterwards, kyle helped move my large furniture to the new pad using the rental truck just down the street from my old place. we hit it hard from 10:30pm thru 1:30am but accomplished the lion's share of the heavy lifting, a bit of tetris was needed to finagle a few things into the new pad, but you're talking to a dude who aced geometry in high school.

saturday i returned the rental truck, met up w/direcTV to have my place wired, made back & forth trips to goodwill, met up w/verizon to install the internet, then busted open one of my aged beers in a state of near collapse.

sunday morning i had a three hour run scheduled for trailer canyon in topanga state park, so i trudged out there and hoped for the best. armed with water, gatorade, salt caps & enough fuel, i set out with steven (training for the NYC marathon next month) and ross (ray miller 50m in february 2013) for a 15-ish mile run.

we mapped out a cr-A-zee route including a bunch of single track (the garapito trail shortly after hub junction is the bomb! 2.2m of twisting, darting, duck-under-branches-while-simultaneously-jumping-over-rocks-while-avoiding-the-edge fun) and unrelenting hot fire road thrown in. once we learned there was water available at musch camp about 12m into our run, that became our target... and we barely made it. since i was doing good on hydration, i gave steven one of my gatorade bottles and the three of us arrived at the water fountain on fumes. it was a glorious sight as we took turns dunking our heads under the spout and refilling our packs with glee. just picture three dudes in slo-mo gallavanting around a veritable oasis and that's pretty much what it looked like.

we found the tricky santa ynez trail that eventually led us back to vereda de la montura in the palisades, which is about three blocks from where we parked our car. sunday's run was officially the longest in my lifetime at 17.44m, and i felt surprisingly spry at the end of it. at two months out, i need to work on getting in long runs in order to prepare myself for north face on december 1, so sunday was a great step in preparing myself for the mileage.

this week should be a bit easier since xterra point mugu is up in two weeks, so i'll look forward to lessening the load while i recover from all the moving...

Friday, September 21, 2012

a new dawn

my current reign at my apartment is finally coming to an end.

my beloved manager (a few of you know how i really feel) decided to raise the rent, and given my past history with him, i decided that that was the last straw. it's not so much that the added amount was a financial burden, but the dude has a history of ekeing out extra money from tenants like marrow from bone.

this is the guy that has:

* retroactively raised my security deposit twice from the original amount i paid upon moving in (i had no idea that it was even legal)
* tried to blame a busted garbage disposal on me because of a blueberry (yes, a blueberry)
* tried to get me to pay plumbing charges for a clogged sink due to my LONG hair (he said that it doesn't fall under the guise of normal wear and tear)
* enters my apartment on his own without proper warning (actually any warning for that matter)
* apparently given the next door neighbor (not my neighbor, but the dude who lives in the next building over) a master key, only to see him open my apartment last week to show it to a prospective new tenant while i was half naked coming out of the shower
* tried to get me to pay him cash for him taking over the garbage/recycling for the building. when i opted to stick with my bins and take them out every week, he erupted for not conforming and to this day, reminds me in nearly every conversation we have
* labels me as difficult because i have direcTV (mind you, i cleared it with him before installing the dish when i moved in) and to this day, reminds me in nearly every conversation we have

so, i am finally and gleefully bidding adieu and am excited to move into the new joint starting this weekend. i'll be sending out an e-mail to friends & family with the new address, so feel free to send my housewarming gifts shortly after!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

brief update

apologies for the lack of real updates - i'm still battling it out over the available free memory that blogspot allocates for its members. i deleted a host of old posts and pictures to free up space, but it turns out that i was way over the amount to begin with, and all the deleting got my account just to the max of what is allowed. great.

i'm still sitting on a number of recent photos that are in limbo while i figure out what to do. i suppose i could pony up a few ducats to increase memory, but i have a hard time paying for something that i've been doing for free these past few years!

in the meantime, apologies for the run-heavy updates as of late. since taking on the coyote running training program, i've been doing a lot more running than ever (the month of august i'm at an all-time high of 99 miles and counting...), so it has definitely accounted for more of my brain space. the human body is a wonderful thing, so it's been neat to see how much one can put it thru the ringer while also seeing first hand just how strong and resilient it is and can be...

Monday, August 27, 2012

bulldog 25K - aftermath

saturday's race marked the longest run i've completed (race, practice or otherwise), so i'm both proud and thrilled to have survived the 15+M course.

getting numbers out of the way, i crossed the line at 2:40:08, which was good enough to land me in 84th place out of 320 runners.

physically, i felt great throughout. i paced myself in the early goings, fully aware that the 3.4M ascent up bulldog motorway was just right around the corner. after a combination of power hiking and running, i crested the top and reached aid station #2 (corral canyon at mile 7.5) in 1:28, so all was going fine. i had them top off my hydration pack and handheld while i relieved myself in 30 seconds at the port-a-potty. i also took a saltstick capsule to replenish sodium lost thru sweat and to ward off muscle cramps, fully aware that i had a cramping issue the last time at malibu creek.

i shoved off and powered thru the next few miles of rolling hills, then sped down the steep descent of miles 10-12. we hit the single track and crossed a stream before easing into the last aid station (run by the coyotes!) at mile 13.1 in 2:18. just as i was arriving, i felt my right calf spasm, the exact same thing that came up at xterra. i took down more salt and gatorade and tried to finish out the remaining 2.5M without incident.

i adopted a slower pace than race pace to make sure my calf wouldn't give out on me and hit the last hill (dubbed the "angry chihuahua"), where i surprisingly ran the whole way up. after snaking our way down, all that was left was the last mile of straightaway to the finish. here i switched on cruise control and pretty much coasted thru, taking time to pose just before crossing the line.

it sounds like a broken record, but it's frustrating to not being able to race on your own terms. i had paced myself well - perhaps too well? - to set up the last 25% of the race, so to leave those reserves relatively untapped left me smarting for a faster time. the positive is that i still felt strong and wanted to tear up the last few miles. the negative is that once again, part of my body prevented me from doing so.

is my mind telling me to ignore the flashing warning signs and suck it up and power thru? because everybody is feeling a tweak at one point or another and i shouldn't be overly sensitive to everything? or am i being smart by listening to my body and living to run another day? and why is it that i get the cramp only at the same section of the same course, but not anywhere else to date? is it because of any trail runs in the 14-15M range, or is it because of the specific contours of malibu creek's course layout that tweak my calf so?

all valid questions i'll hope to get answers on in the coming weeks. in the meantime, it's time to savor finishing my first 25K and by default, getting my PR!

Friday, August 24, 2012

bulldog 25K - the day before

went out for an easy 4.08M run last night around the neighborhood as a last sort of tune-up in advance of tomorrow's race. threw a few things in the hydration pack and brought it along as well, just to see if it rubbed the wrong way while wearing a singlet.

tonight's plans are to carb load on pasta at fritto misto in santa monica after work, but otherwise rest up and take it easy.

the 25K kicks off at 7:30am tomorrow - the 50K runners push off at 6:30am - so i'll be sure to arrive early to take care of all the registration stuff. i've studied the course map (which lists where the three aid stations will be) and formulated an electrolyte & calorie plan, so mentally i have a strategy in place on where i'd like to be at any given time and when i should be eating.

as it's the longest distance i will have covered to date, i'm aiming to finish in under 3 hours. it's a beast of a course, what with the steep 3.4M ascent up bulldog motorway at mile 3 to go with three mini peaks in miles 7-10, along with one last killer climb at mile 13. however, i feel like my training has gone well so far, so i'm anxious and excited to see it all put to the ringer.

fingers crossed and wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

white jeans

during lunch, i picked up a pair of white jeans at the gap, which were on clearance for 14.97 - down from $69. i don't quite know what to say about this, other than the fact that it's my first pair of white jeans... ever.

i'm not even sure if i can pull them off - they scream euro trash - but i'll take a chance on anything for $15 or less. how do they even work? are you allowed to sit down anywhere? how often are you supposed to wash them in order to preserve their bright sheen? and aren't you not supposed to wear them after labor day?

all questions to ponder...

taper time

we're four days away from saturday's bulldog 25K race, so this week is technically time to taper any hard runs and ease into race day. however, tuesday night's training session was a speed workout and it was tough to dial down the pace when you're rarin to go. i ended up running about 6.3M at a variety of paces, then whisked off to my softball game at 8:30pm, where our team proceeded to get trounced by 20+ runs. ouch.

the weather in socal has been unbearably hot the past ten days, but this weekend's forecast promises cooler temps, which would be heaven sent. last year's bulldog was 106 degrees, so it's hard to fathom going thru a punishing 15.7M course in that kind of heat. fingers crossed!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

montana de oro state park + morro rock

day 2 brought about free breakfast next door at the cute organic bistro good tides. because our b&b doesn't have a liquor license or its own kitchen, they have deals with three of the restaurants next door to comp guests staying at the inn. heidi went big w/the sweet potato waffles and i opted to fuel up with their breakfast burrito, as we had a hike looming.

after perusing the trails of nearby montana de oro and morro bay state parks, we settled on the valencia peak trail: a 4+ miler out and back with the option of extending to two other peaks (oats and alan).

on the way up
on the way down

we crested the peak in no time, but due to time constraints, we opted to turn back so we could spend some time on the beach, a stone's throw away from our parking spot at the trailhead.

after an hour of tomfoolery, we decided to make a pitstop at the bakery la parisienne and combine that with the sights of morro rock, a gigantic stone edifice that one can literally drive on to.

the rock
morro power plant

we headed back to the b&b for a quick change prior to dinner in downtown morro bay (and by downtown i mean one street - main st.). we settled on shawn's on main and were very happy with our decision. we split a calamari appetizer ahead of my main of rigatoni w/housemade sausage & dijon sauce, which was straight up bomb haha.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

morro bay - day 1

drove up to morro bay on saturday to spend a long weekend with the better half, and to escape the stifling socal heat! 

along the way, we pulled over for lunch at montecito café and dessert at here's the scoop.

it being my first visit, the best way i can describe montecito is old money. let's just say we automatically brought down the age median, and by a lot haha. at lunch, the couple next to us finished up and went to retrieve their car from valet parking... and out comes this honker of a rolls royce that was the biggest sedan i've ever seen.

we arrived at morro bay close to 4pm and finally got to unwind. it's a quaint little town along the central coast, but it's a beautiful, idyllic setting - not to mention the weather reminds me of SF. our B&B was literally right on top of the water, so views from even our 2nd floor room were stunning. they offer complimentary wine and chips/salsa (what, you haven't heard of this combo?) every evening at 5pm at the mexican joint next door, so we eagerly walked over to take full advantage.

stone's throw from our room
on the pier

dinner was at giancarlo's, an italian/meditteranean spot on morro bay's main street. prosciutto-wrapped mission figs and flatbread w/homemade italian sausage were the highlights of our dinner, but i was horrified by what took place shortly after. we were stuffed but chose to look at the dessert menu anyway, and got excited over their chocolate soufflé. i found it odd that there was no mention of it taking 20-30 minutes to prepare (that's the usual from my experience), but whatever, it gave me a chance to use the restroom. when i came out, i saw them set what looked like our soufflé in the microwave to 1:15, and away it spun as the timer counted down.

sure enough, as soon as i got back to the table, out came the soufflé! no words could describe the disappointment i felt - not only for them to cut corners like that, but to charge $9 for what was an already made dessert! i'm still shaking my head days after, and feel the need to visit roy's hawaiian in order to satiate my desire for a proper chocolate soufflé...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

coyote run - sullivan canyon/ridge loop

extended myself this morning at sullivan canyon for a nice long jaunt. was planning to do an out and back of about 6-7M, but played follow the leader w/pedro & erin and ended up getting to the top alongside ross & maria. since we made it out that far, we opted to take the single track back via sullivan ridge, making it a loop of 8.63M.

it was toasty near the top, but the canyon does a great job of providing cover for most of the trail. i only had one water bottle, but made it last until i got back to the car...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

trip to morro bay!

and... heidi is springing for a weekender to morro bay in celebration of my upcoming birthday! it'll be the first time for either of us, and because of the recent warming trend out west, good weather theoretically should be in store...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

tuesday speed workout

tonight's practice was our first speed workout, which consisted of a negative split time trial at brentwood country club. the goal was to do two loops - one loop is 2.1M - with your second being faster than the first. we'll end up doing this workout once every five weeks in order to assess pace improvement.

and mission accomplished! did the first loop in a slowish 17:39, but completed the second in under 16:00.

afterwards, we all grabbed some food and walked over to coach jimmy & kate's pad to go over numbers and watch the olympic track & field events. next up is thursday morning's trail run at sullivan canyon...

Monday, August 6, 2012

more memory!

looks like my blog is running at blogspot's capacity right now, so i'll need to either start deleting previous posts or fork over for more memory to my existing account to handle all the photos, videos, etc.

it'll still be up and running, but at the moment i can't post additional pics until i work out the kinks. thanks for understanding and stand by...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

trail kamikaze - meet & greet

on friday night, coaches jimmy dean (yup, like the sausage), kate & blue hosted a little meet & greet at their brentwood pad to usher in the new coyotes for their training program - dubbed trail kamikaze - starting saturday, august 4.

the intimate soiree drew about 35 of us in total, where we got to mingle, watch the olympics (and the giants pound the rockies!) and meet our fellow teammates in a casual and fun setting. even more impressive was getting to see the effervescent jimmy dean and his beautiful wife kate's impressive medal collection from their respective races. everything from the LA marathon to the western states 100 mile endurance run "buckle" was on full display and definitely provided inspiration for those in attendance.

the neatest part of the night was unfortunately a bit of public speaking: by chronological age, each of us explained who we are, how/why we chose the coyotes, our favorite race to date, and which race/event we're aiming to achieve. sadly, i had to wait quite a bit before my name was called, but by the time i spoke up, they had me contemplating changing my goal from the trail marathon at the north face endurance challenge to the 50k (31m vs. 26.2m) at the same event.

of course, the next several weeks will go into determining which event i ultimately land on, but it was exciting to hear everybody's story and i couldn't help but walk away dreaming bigger than i had before. go big or go home right?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

coyote run - temescal canyon

make it 2 for 2 in getting lost on the trails at temescal canyon this morning. at the last coyote run three of us took a wrong turn and ended up on the asphalt near the park entrance, and today a different three got sidetracked and turned it into a 7.3M run.

all good though; made a few new friends in helen (recently ran and completed the western states 100 miler) and nicola (a brit who's making the transition from road to trail).

excited to meet my new coyote teammates tomorrow night at the kamikaze kick off event!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SF trip

just booked my flight to san francisco the week of my birthday, so i'm looking forward to seeing friends & family while i'm up there!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

exciting news!

a somewhat downer of a monday turned bright in the evening when i got a text from kate of coyote running welcoming me to their new trail kamikaze training program!

i'm excited at the prospects of training with a team, and to get put thru the rigors of training for a goal - in my case trying to get faster, stronger (mentally and physically) and more efficient in my pursuit to become a better runner.

i've gotten to this point on my own, but making the leap from a half marathon to 26.2 is another step altogether. plus, the north face trail marathon is looming on december 1, so what better way to prepare for it than to learn from fantastic coaches and people!

Monday, July 30, 2012

this weekend

the rest of the weekend was pretty relaxing. joined up with some friends on saturday afternoon for beer pong practice - don't laugh, we have two teams at the upcoming hollywood tournament - then had dinner w/heidi at chego later that night.

sunday morning we went for a hike at westridge, where temps hovered in the 80s around noon. i did bump into a few coyotes at the turnaround, so it was cool to follow along for most of the difficult ridge back. but it was tough sledding! saturday's long run in conjunction with the heat wore me out...

the rest of the evening was spent watching a bit of the summer olympics, but the whole tape delay thing is throwing a wrench in my plans. not quite as exciting to watch in primetime when you learn who won gold earlier that morning...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

point mugu - training run

since my running partner was tied up this weekend, i decided to get out to point mugu to test out the 18k course that we'll be running come october. i've been there before - only for shorter distances - so i wanted to get a gauge as to how difficult the added length is.

and... it's difficult haha. in all the other runs, we've managed to avoid cresting point mugu, so today was a different story. i resorted to power walking up part of the stretch before arriving at the base of the peak. from there, i think i took a wrong turn, because the path went straight up to the US flag adorning the summit. there's a path on the other side going down, but it's so steep that i actually went slower (didn't want to become a human boulder) down than up.

they join up on the other side, then i used my growing sense of feel and awareness to plot out which direction i was supposed to be headed. i finally connected with la jolla fire road, and from there it was another good 5 miles to paydirt.

the next 2M on the overlook trail were a fight to keep my legs churning until reaching the ray miller trail, a final 2.7M of breathtaking downhill. i tried to do another sub-7 min mile on the home stretch, but had to settle for 7:16 instead. the added mileage to point mugu peak definitely took a toll, as my pace was uniformly slower on each of the last 5M.

nevertheless, i completed the 10.3M run in 1:50:16, good enough for a 10'42" pace on a difficult track. amazingly, it bumps my mileage in the month of july to 80.99, which easily eclipses any monthly running output in my lifetime. the most encouraging thing about all this is that my legs and feet are still holding up - with no pain or joint issues to speak of - for the moment.

i have the bulldog 25K trail race in exactly 4 weeks...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

coyote run - westridge

thursday morning's run took us back to westridge, one of my favorite tracks in the repetoire. somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 peeps came out this morning, including a nike rep inviting all of us to test out their new nike+ training program (akin to their popular running program, except it measures characteristics like how high you jump, etc.) at a premiere event in hollywood friday.

did the difficult ridge on the way back, as i found myself trudging up the ascents and bombing down the hills w/roberto. i've officially applied for the coyotes' training program that starts august 4, so fingers crossed that i get selected to take part.

i figure if i'm going to attempt my first trail marathon on december 1, what better time to start a program that's going to help me achieve my goal?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the dark knight rises - recap (non-spoiler)

watched TDKR in IMAX on sunday, and despite a frenzied fervor and nearly-impossible expectations to live up to on the heels of the dark knight, the film delivers the goods.

the longest film of the trilogy at 164 minutes, the plot has lots of ground to cover and many storylines to flesh out, a breeze compared to nolan's labyrinthine inception. for me, TDKR is the most emotionally gripping of the three, which is no wonder since it features the series' best work - and the meatiest scenes - from christian bale, michael caine and gary oldman.

while the film doesn't have a lightning rod performance that can compare to heath ledger's academy award-winning turn as the joker, a beefed-up tom hardy definitely garners chills as bane, a nefarious chap bent on shaking up the system.

the thing that nolan has been able to achieve is to subvert the superhero genre as a whole and create a serious piece of entertainment art, even touching upon the types of issues that our world is facing today: economic instability and anarchy against the backdrop of terrorism.

plus, he found a way to tie up the entire trilogy with the perfect ending - one that leaves the audience with a number of questions as to the direction warner bros. will take now that nolan, bale and company have finished their work on the caped crusader...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

bulldog 25K training run #2

the event organizers for the upcoming bulldog 25/50K race held training run #2 on saturday morning, so i dragged vim out there this time, as he'll be joining me for the race on august 25 as well. temps were already in the low 70s just after 7am, so today was a good day for heat acclimatization.

chose the same strategy of power walking up bulldog motorway while running on the flats, and that seems to be the right formula for me. weirdly enough, i arrived at the top in 81 minutes - the exact same time as my run a few weeks back. since vim had to make a "fecal withdrawal" along the way, it gave me a 10 minute break to catch my breath up top and refuel.

headed up bulldog
the top at last!
when bulldog is too easy
quick group break

just past the parking lot at corral canyon, we came across two strange individuals that had us shaking our heads. the first was a somewhat out of shape dude gasping for air while holding on to his empty 12oz bottle of water - the only source of hydration he took on this 14.2M trail run in heat! outside of the entrance as well as a campground near mile 12, there is no water source to be found in the park, so i'm not sure what he was thinking...

the second occurrence had a girl catch up to us, then seemingly wanted to tell us her life story while opening up her backpack and showing just how much water she brought. she went on and on about how heavy her bag was, if she brought the right amount of water or too much, can you guess how many pounds it was, how is she supposed to go hiking in hollywood tomorrow since she might be sore after today, yada yada yada. one look at vim and we decided to get the F out of dodge... and quick, before she glommed on to us to run together.

no small feat after 8m
obligatory photo op

settling back into a groove at around mile 8, vim started to slow down a bit and told me to take off and meet up back at the car. it's always tricky in instances like this, because one shouldn't abandon their running partner just because they're having a slow day. at the same time, if one has to slow down to the point that they have to alter their mechanics and aren't getting the proper training out of a run, that's an issue as well. there was still at least 6 miles to go, so after a bit of hemming and hawing, we agreed to meet up at the car.

after a few rolling hills, it's pretty much a straight descent for 2.5M from mile 9 onwards, so i happened to find a pacer in front of me and rode her hip the entire way down. she never looked back to see who was breathing heavily behind her, so for that i thank her haha. when she stopped to refuel at the bottom, i told her great job and thanks, and soldiered on.

the last two miles were a slog especially in the increasing heat (80s now), but i had enough water (thankfully i brought two handhelds along with my 50oz bladder) and kept hydrating throughout. i finally made it to the picnic benches at the start, grabbed some shade and gladly took a load off. my final time? 14.2M in 2:47, the exact same time as training run #1. so weird!

Friday, July 20, 2012

huckleberry - kouign amann

celebrating friday with this tasty treat from huckleberry. today's flavor was apricot, but the real star are the crispety, crunchety layers bound by the sticky caramelized sugar. delicious!

taking the plunge...

the day that i never anticipated happening in my lifetime - is coming.

i haven't officially registered as of yet, but i've already mentally committed to participating in my first marathon in december! specifically, a trail marathon (why make it easy?) at the north face endurance challenge in san francisco, taking place december 1-2 at the gorgeous marin headlands. the all-weekend event actually has a host of distance options to choose from: 10K, half marathon, marathon, marathon relay, 50K and lastly 50M for the elite ultra marathoners.

when looking at upcoming races, i factored in terrain, date and location... in that order:

terrain because it had to be trail and not road. i've done the majority of my training on the trails, so it's my comfort leven and preference because of the sheer rush one gets from being outside and connected to nature. plus, i don't think i'd be able to finish 26.2M with the all the pounding from cement.

date because i'll need ample time to step up my training regimen to accommodate the extra miles. i acquitted myself well at my first half at xterra malibu creek in april, but going from 14M to 26.2M is a whole different story. literally, i didn't have another mile in me when i finished the race, so adding another 12 will be a beast.

the encouraging thing is i returned to malibu creek a few weeks ago to get retribution, and i fared much better physically the second time around. after finishing, i felt like i still had a few miles left in me, which was a good sign.

location because it should be somewhere scenic! the north face event jumped out at me because it's at the marin headlands - close to home (my family can root me on!), decent weather (hopefully it won't be raining), and the views on a clear day are breathtaking.

i'm both nervous, intimidated yet excited about diving in. even as recent as a year ago i had zero aspirations to run a marathon, so i've come a long way in just ten months. between the gradual improvement from hiking to parkour to trail running, entering a few races from my first warrior dash to april's trail half, and reading a few books (haruki murakami's what i talk about when i talk about running and christopher mcdougall's born to run in particular), i've gained proper inspiration from a multitude of sources, and think i'm finally ready.

bring it on!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

point mugu hike

got out for a hike at point mugu on sunday, since heidi has never been and she was jonesing for something a bit longer than our usual 5-miler. i had run a slightly longer route w/vim just a few weeks ago, so there wouldn't be any serious cartography needed and we could just enjoy the weather and the trails...

paraglider incoming
vast fields
end of la jolla fire road
blaze of glory

we ended up doing around a 7.2M hike, which is pretty much the shortest loop one can do at the park. the longest is around 11-12M, which involves ascending point mugu itself and what the xterra race will entail come october.

cyclist enjoying the view
reminds me of kauai
end of ray miller trail
where's waldo?

point mugu state park
9000 west pacific coast highway
malibu, CA 90265

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

eats - fig & olive

hit up sunday brunch at fig & olive on melrose for the first time, and was treated to quite the ambiance and nice meal. the surprisingly vast seating area is broken up into counter, main dining room, patio and the upstairs, while the kitchen is hidden behind a wall full of olive oil.

since we were both hungry, we opted for the prix fixe menu, which consists of a cocktail (bellini, sangria, bloody mary, etc.), a first course, a main course, and either a coffee or tea to complete the meal. between the two of us, we ordered:

* fig & olive salad - apple, manchego, gorgonzola, tomato, walnut, scallion, fig balsamic & arbequina olive oil
* french toast - house made brioche, strawberry rhubarb compote & vanilla whipped cream
* south of france poached eggs & salmon - poached eggs, toasted olive oil bread, marinated salmon, citrus, ricotta, avocado & scallion w/mediterranean fries & mixed salad
* grilled thyme chicken paillard - free range marinated chicken breast w/lemon thyme, arugula, spinach, brussels sprout, pickled red onion, almond, tomato, haricot vert, bell pepper, caper, lemon & picholine olive oil

everything was tasty, but the two most memorable dishes were the french toast (so fluffy! so decadent!) and the chicken paillard (a veritable taste explosion). it's definitely a place i'd be open to return to for dinner, perhaps at dineLA going on right now?

fig & olive
8490 melrose pl.
w. hollywood, CA 90069

Monday, July 16, 2012

cassie & andrew's wedding - segerstrom hall

saturday saw the marriage of my friends cassie and andrew, who met cute while at grad school in michigan. the festivities all took place at segerstrom hall in costa mesa, quite the curious selection because i once attended a yo-yo ma concert here. i was like, are they getting married on stage?

signs pointing the way
segerstrom hall

it turned out to be quite the beautiful and classy location, as all the glass and marble in the sparkling atrium lent an air of sophistication to the intimate proceedings. not only that, but my cousin caroline - who was in the bridal party - was able to come down early and help make everything go smoothly.

cass making her way down
mr. & mrs. ohm!

their wedding vows were really sweet and heartfelt. cassie's were especiallly touching, so it was neat to see the normally genial andrew do his best to fight off the oncoming tears. we were directed up one flight of stairs for drinks and hors d'oeuvres and were treated to specialty cocktails for each the bride (strawberry vodka + champagne) and groom (mojito remix). each of the bridesmaids made individual toasts to cassie, but sadly linda and caroline were inaudible due to both being reduced to blubbering messes.

table locations
open bar!
an emotional caroline
second floor

one thing i have to mention is that the food at dinner was superb. the first course was a delightful summer crab and avocado salad, followed by either marinated halibut (heidi) or steak w/mashed potatoes & grilled vegetables.

the new couple's entrance
where they met
wedding theme
spritely ceiling

i'd be remiss not to mention their first dance, which started off as a lovely ballad... which turned into a hilariously choreographed assault backed by run DMC's ol skool jam "tricky."

a waltz...
then speed round!
andrew & mother-in-law
dance party

one of the many thoughtful touches at the wedding was none other than a photo booth complete with costumes and props, to memorialize the event for both parties. heidi and i took great pleasure in mugging for the camera before signing their guest book with glee. they also had gift bags for everybody to take home, which included everything from flip flops - perfect for the ladies to rest their weary feet - to candy and snacks they've come across in their travels to various countries.

it really was a special night to remember and it couldn't have happened to a better couple. congrats cassie & andrew!