Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Beverly Hills and Hollywood and Cut...

I just got back from an amazing trip to California. It was the first time I have been away from Sebastian for more than a night. It was fantastic though. I went down there with my half brother and half sister. It was so much fun getting to know them a bit better and of course, being in California wasn't half bad either!! So, I'll talk about the first day, and leave it at that for now...

On the first day I got there, Ryan and Kim picked me up from the airport and we went straight to Beverly Hills. We stopped at a neat shopping centre that was like an outdoor mall above a parkade. I have not seen anything like this, but it was very neat. I needed to eat, so grabbed a burger from Fuddruckers. It was sooooo tasty!! After that we wandered around checking out the shops. I found an Elmo computer game for Sebastian and some clothes for Jeremy. Next up we drove around Beverly Hills. Kim bought a map to the stars homes, so we plugged different addresses into the tomtom (thanks Chris), and found our way to the homes of Tom Cruise, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston etc. It was lots of fun!! After that, we headed to Rodeo Drive. Kim and Ryan grabbed some lunch at a little Mexican eatery and then we had Sprinkles cupcakes for dessert (for those of you in Calgary, think Crave, only it has been around much longer, perhaps the inspiration for Crave). I had a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing. Yum, yum, yum. We wandered down Rodeo Drive and then back up the street we could actually afford. It was neat. 

We still had some time before dinner so we headed for Hollywood. We went to the Kodak theatre, saw the Hollywood sign, Grauman's theatre with all the handprints of the stars, the walk of fame with the stars of the stars, the place where they film the Jimmy Kimmel show, and finally stopped for sodas and floats at the Disney Soda Pop shop. They were delicious. It was a weird store though, half Disney merchandise, and half this soda shop. Disney also has a movie theatre right beside as well.

Finally, it was time to head out for our fancy dinner. We were eating at Cut, which is a fancy steakhouse by the famous chef Wolfgang Puck. Previously, I've eaten at his Spago restaurant, as well as his cafe's in the airports. Always good food, and of course, expected nothing less this evening. The restaurant was inside the Wilshire hotel (same hotel from Pretty Woman). We valet parked our ford mustang and headed in. Chris and Jeff had gone there in July and raved about it, so we were quite excited. We got the menu and knew it wasn't going to be a cheap dinner (we knew that ahead of time, but this confirmed it, haha). We got various recommendations from the server and then went about our decisions. 

Okay, so this is a pretty high end steak house. They bring out the meat for you to look at, so you can see the difference in the various cuts etc. They serve Kobe beef from Japan, as well as a hybrid US version of Kobe as well as just plain old aged steak. I decided on the hybrid Kobe US version filet. But to start I had an asparagus salad with warm bacon dressing and poached egg. It was amazing. Kim had a salad of sorts and Ryan had a tomato salad. To go with the steaks, we chose pureed potatoes, sweet corn and onion rings. All the sides were fabulous and the steak itself was absolutely amazing. Probably one of the best steaks I have ever had in my life. We also got sauces for the sides. Bernaise sauce, wasabi butter, some mustards and a red wine sauce. They all went fantastic with the steaks. 

And then there was dessert. Ryan ordered an angel food cake with berries and ice cream. Kim ordered a banana creme brulee pie, and I had a chocolate soufflee that came with creme fraiche, chocolate sauce and ice cream on the side. They were all fantastic. 

It was about this time that Kim had gone to the bathroom, and on the way back came across Jerry Springer. We had all been excited about possibly spotting a celebrity of some sort and who it might be. Well, Jerry Springer wasn't really anyone's first choice, but it was still pretty neat. He was hanging out in the lobby waiting for his dinner guests to join him. 

Well, not too long after that, we were almost ready to leave, still entranced by the meal and everything, when I notice a chef come in. I said, "hey, I think that's Wolfgang Puck". We have about 3 or 4 Wolfgang Puck cookbooks and have made many of his recipes. I have also eaten at his other restaurant, Spago, in both Beverly Hills and Las Vegas along with the faster food version of his food at the airports. I have been a big fan of his for many years, and was so very excited to see him. Moments later, he was at our table asking how dinner was. It was so neat!! I was beside myself with excitement. Not only did we see Jerry Springer, but now we had actually met the owner of the restaurant himself, Wolfgang!! A few minutes later, we were almost ready to leave and asked the waiter to take a photo of the three of us. He agreed and suggested perhaps we'd want to have the chef in the picture, so, not only did we meet Wolfgang Puck, he also came back for a photo with us. I was beyond happy!!

So, how much does eating in a place like this cost, you might be wondering? Well, for 3 of us, the bill itself came to $482!! That's in US dollars. So, it was definitely one of the more expensive meals I have ever had in my life, but like the commercials say, dinner $482, enjoying an evening with family and meeting the chef that started the place, priceless!!

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