We spent last week in Los Angeles. Our base camp was the Ritz in Marina Del Rey. Lucky for us! THW and the baby lady flew into LAX with out an issue. We had brunch at my parent's house in Reston and they dropped us off at Dulles. As THW checked us in and had the luggage shipped, I chatted with the sky cab people. I asked if they had seen the naked man the other day and they confirmed. We then got on the new tram system -no more of those odd people movers! We landed at LAX in the afternoon and went to pick up my brother in law (BIL). We shuttled to the rental car and off to the hotel. Baby lady had her first breakdown a mile from the hotel. She didn't cry once on the plane. Not bad for a six month old baby that happens to be a lady. Jump straight to the fly fishing section by searching 'Tuesday'
In the previous blog post I stated this was a business trip for THW and that I was baby siting. I would try to balance baby sitting with fly fishing. The trip turned out to be 1/3 fly fishing 1/3 eating and 1/3 family time.
We checked into the hotel and got a watermelon cooler from the front desk. Yum. Then headed to Cha Cha chicken. We heard about this spot on the Food Network. However when I saw the following segment it was the right side up.
I ordered the coconut fried chicken. It was not as I had expected. It was crunchy and tasty but no coconut flavor to it. Maybe its because I live across the street from a Korean fried chicken joint and my standards have been elevated. Its a BYOB eatery so I went across the street for s 6 pack of beer. The dipping sauces and sides were good and I had a full belly. We drove back to the hotel.
We ventured over to Santa Monica for the farmers market. I had hoped to be dropped off at the beach and wet a line.
We parked across the street from the farmers market and walked around. The produce was awesome. So fresh and local. Not only were there vendors, there were people cooking meals. We were able to sample all the great fruits and veggies and get a late breakfast.
On display were some hilarious birds, goats, and sheeps for the kids.
Check out the fro on this bird
This chicken was hilarious looking. I wanted to pluck it to tie some flies.
i love ducks. I get to see a lot of ducks in my line of work. I find them funny creatures. These two Indian Runners were hilarious. They were very upright and ran around all of the other animals. Very charismatic.
Some killer samples of what you could order
Fresh pesto. Killer
One of the lanes in the market
More samples of food
Some pepper and okra sides for your entre
This chef had some intricate tat sleeves. He was slinging eggs around.
Berries, berries, and more berries
The selection of greens was outstanding.
This is The Chargeman. Listen to him, he knows what he's talking bout. He likes crepes and whipped creme.
You can skip ahead to fishing. Its not till Saturday night.
One thing about traveling is no kitchen to cook all this great stuff.
Bil eating a sandwich.
My torta. It was awesome. Made by former gang members, learning to cook, and cleaning up their lives.
Back to the animals, the funny bird is now sitting on top of a goat. Really?
Then the funny dark chicken gets pissed at the funny white one and it starts to pluck out its feathers and EAT them?
Off to the Santa Monica Pier. This is a group of volunteers that sets up crosses for service men and women killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. This lady was playing a wooden flute.
This lady had an outfit made out of hackle feathers
Some type of merganser?
Went to check out the people fishing on the pier. This lady caught a white towel.
Some of the fish, the only fish, caught off the pier that day.
I start to see our fly fishing feathers used in earrings. Guinea fowl, pheasant, chicken, peacock, etc.
These were in a store window
We find a Korean BBQ fusion truck. Awesome. I'm parched. I forgot my Nalgene so I didn't have anything to drink all morning. And the baby was up at 4:30am as she was on eastern time. So I had been up for a very long time and was parched.
Korean bbq fusion taco
Then its time to drive around. Not toward a fishing spot mind you. I was not in charge. When you are travelling with twins, they make the rules. We did a drive to Rodeo drive near Beverly Hills. Nothing major going on until we spot this lady being photographed. Notice anything strange?
Ok. I'll enlarge this next picture.
She was topless !
Back to the hotel for a sundowner ( cocktail for watching the sunset )
I have some time before dinner and the baby lady is taking a nap in the hotel room. I set off to Mothers Beach to wet a line. We by now have discovered free vodka drinks behind the hotel's front desk. BIL and I down two before we get a 3rd for the short walk. I have not fished the Pacific in a year so it was nice to be back in. I put on my waders and tossed out a tiny shrimpy Clouser made with a bunny strip wing. I was distracted by all the birds: egrets, pelicans, gulls, ducks, merganser etc. I was stripping my line through the water when I felt a tug. I set the hook and pulled in the following:
A tennis ball with a mussel on it. Really? That was my first catch. I was using an 8wt switch rod with 10wt sink tip, a 30-20-10 pound leader.
Some dudes on paddle boards. Seein these things everywhere I go
So we are walking to the beach now as the beach kind of sucked. I looked at the map and it didn't look to far. However we left the map from the front desk at the hotel. On a side note, I met a lady who was jogging. She has a husband who fly fishes. I gave her my card. Her husband texted me some spots to hit up. However, my phone kind of sucks and I had to delete all text messages to save room so I don't have his contact any more. He suggested I contact Gary Bulla for information about fishing around LA. Small world, I used to share a cubicle with his sister Elizabeth when I worked at Booz Allen.
After an hours walk and a diminishing sun on the horizon, we get to some water. I spot something in the channel spouting water. Some sort of cetacean? Its as grainy as a loch ness monster shot but you can see the dark circle in the below pic. We hang a right and head straight to the beach. Its been about a 2 hour adventure so far.
The birds have gathered on the sand. I love getting birds on the shore with a silhouette. Just couldn't get close enough tonight.
I managed to get in a few casts and got one tug from a fish before it was too dark to fish. I got to fish at least for a few minutes so far. Our feet hurt from that long walk so we called THW who refused to pick us up. We called a cab and were amazed at how fast the direct route back was. Maybe a 2 minute drive ! The cab driver told us we were his worst customers of the day. That was not nice.
We head over to the classic California burger place. In -N- Out burger.
Just getting out of the car made me drool. The smell of onions and chow in the air. It was a rush.
I ordered a double double animal style with well done fries and a fountain drink (root beer). As for the baby lady, she just about ordered and ate everything. BIL ordered animal style fries. Stellar
A beautiful day. My plan is to get some breakfast and be dropped off where I had fished the night before. We head out to Santa Monica again to the street of Abbot Kinney.
I took a look at the map from the front desk. Lo and behold it was NOT TO SCALE which is why we though we could walk to the beach from the hotel.
Off we drove to Santa Monica for breakfast. We saw a line outside a little take out counter and lots of people sitting around on milk crates eating.
We had to park and find out what this place was. It was Gjelina. here are some of the pictures of what we ate. I ordered the egg sandwich and a biscuit with quince paste. Best biscuit I have ever eaten.
We grabbed some milk crates to sit on and watched the funny dogs and their owners pass by and grab some food and eat. It was a phenomenal breakfast.
THW scouting out the place
Biscuit and THW's huckleberry scone
Then we stopped off in Venice beach. This is some art outside a bathroom. Tom once told me that Venice was full of freaks. He was correct. What a strange place.
Plenty of feather merchants with all of the other chotchkeys and junk being sold.
One happy fly fishing family
There was a lot of equisetum growing all over Los Angeles.
We stopped off in a hat store. I picked up a new tweed driving cap. This is BIL with a funny helmet.
This guy played some songs for the baby lady. His name is David Alexandrou and he is really talented. His album which BIL purchased for the baby lady was highly produced and sounds great.
More feather extensions. They didn't want me to photograph them. I had to wait till they were smoking pot and or not looking. There was a lot of pot smoking going around. I was getting a contact buzz just walking around.
This guy must be a regular in Venice. He is in the new Red Hot Chili Peppers video. Its amazing now that I've been to just a few places in LA and am already recognizing them in tv commercials, shows, and videwos.
My plan was for now to be dropped off at the beach to fly fish and let the kids go somewhere else. But no. BIL wanted to see Hollywood and there was another restaurant that was famous in the foodie blogosphere.
Joans on Third.
It is a combo of a lunch take out, gourmet food provisions shop, and bakery. We got the Brussel sprout salad.
I got the pressed chicken sandwich with bacon and avocado.
Baby lady was all eyes. She was jealous.
We drove through Hollywood. This is the LA Ink shop from the TV.
And back to the hotel to take a break. BIL had to pack to fly back to San Fran. However he got to the airport and realized he forgot his keys to his car and house. So we left the hotel lobby sundowners and headed to LAX.
We called a friend 'J Bob' who went to UCLA and asked for a place to eat near by. He suggested the Manhattan Beach Brew Co.
One of the best if not the best burger I have ever had. It needed no condiments or sides. A side of curly seasoned fries, a pint of Lagunitas and I was in gustatory heaven. Here is what I ate:
FUCH’S OFFICE BURGER
USDA PRIME ground chuck topped with Gruyère and Maytag blue cheese, caramelized onions, Applewood bacon, arugula, Japanese tomatoes and a garlic aioli served on a toasted French roll.
There are more bumpers tickers on the east coast.
There are a lot of crows in LA. I wonder if they have West Nile Virus.
Baby lady and I drove up to Malibu and to Leo Carillo State Park. Someone in the lobby told us to go there.
The drive up was awesome. I was looking for the house where the guys stayed in Entourage. I passed a Topanga Canyon, made me think of Boy Meets World.
At some point I want to do the entire length of the Pacific Coast Highway. I'll probably need someone else to do the driving so I don't drive off a cliff.
I was not familiar with the park so I purchased a $12 day pass. Turns out you can park on the Pacific Coast Highway and walk in. Oh well.
It was low tide. I parked baby lady in the sand next to me and made a bunch of casts. No luck. It was very pretty. If you didn't already know, I hate sand. I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. We looked at the birds and rocks and some stuff that washed up on the shore. We then packed up the gear and walked up the coast. Baby lady probably had the best view of anyone getting their diaper changed that day.
The view from this vantage is in a new Subaru commercial.
Baby lady enjoying the view.
Along with all the birds, we saw a rabbit and some tiny birds. There wasn't much fishing to do so we doubled back to another spot that I saw on the way up.
We drove back and at least one of us was able to nap on the way to the Malibu Lagoon Park. According to the name and this image, the area was a lagoon at one time. The river has since broken through.
I found some piles of kelp along the shore that allowed me to cast above the waves. There was too much vegetation in the water to fish. We took pics and headed back to the hotel.
Lots of shore birds here. They were eating flies on the kelp.
Like I said, lots of shore birds.
Water going out of the lagoon. It was once dammed up.
Hummingbird. I spotted some red flours before I saw the bird. Birds were the first organisms to see the red color of the light spectrum, pretty much any red flower is going to be bird pollinated.
Some ducks taking off. Lots of them on the Pepperdine campus.
Today found us in Long Beach. We started fishing the lagoon without much luck. This is the spot where I caught that corbina in 2007.
A couple was walking by and wanted to take out picture for the local news paper. They took my camera to get some shots of me and the baby lady together.
Tossing some line with the baby lady.
For reference if you want to fish this spot, here is what you should look up.
Next images are NSFW a bit, so be careful. Scroll past quickly if Lumberg is watching.
The things you find/catch when fishing.
The lagoon is so close to these houses. I would love to live here. I'm on a golf course. Meh.
We cross the street and head to the beach. The waves are barely there. Just lapping up against the shore. I put the stroller in the sand and we wade out to my knees. I tie on a shrimpy Clouser.
This is my flats fly box. It started on my honeymoon in 2003 and has grown and decreased over the years from flats trips to Hawaii and Florida.
About 20 min in I feel a subtle tug on my line and set the hook. I come into contact with a corbina on the other end. It was very exciting. Baby lady's first fly caught fish. A tough one to get on a fly rod. We pull it in and the thing throws the hook before I can get a picture of it.
I switch up flies to a white Turneffe crab. I toss the fly out again on a sinking tip and slowly strip. After a half our or so (with the baby lady now napping in the stroller behind me in the sand) I feel another subtle tug. I set the hook and pull out a small halibut.
Honestly, I never thought I'd catch a halibut on a fly rod. I put it in my twitter @robsnowhite and facebook but never thought it would happen. Can't tell you the thrill of catching a fish on a fly that you never thought you could get. Wish it was on one of my own patterns.
I had to wake up the baby lady to show her my catch.
Time to pack it up. I was hungry. We drove up the beach to the Yard House ($7 just to park!) and had an awesome lunch.
I ordered the truffled fried. Holy crap these are good. Then I got a club sandwich. I had to get it because I love club sandwiches, and it had bacon and avocado. I took my time eating as Kirsi was napping. I was looking out over the water.
A bunch of helicopters started to hover above and it was really loud. Glad that I had finished eating by then.
I ordered a Firestone IPA and a Lagunitas Pils. Too many beer choices so I got what I can't get back here in Virginia. I also like the club soda so I had one of those.
Kirsi napping. It was a bit chilly. Glad she was not complaining. I think this is the first time the two of us had gone out to eat together.
The beer menu. You thought I was kidding right. This is when I wish THW was there to enjoy some pints with me. I'm glad I've gotten into craft beers. It gives us one more thing to bond over and enjoy together.
I still had some time left before I had to be back at the hotel. I decided to go to one of my favorite fly shops, Bob Marriott's. I plugged in the name to my smartphone and got the directions. Kirsi and I drove over there and it was awesome.
Walking to Venice Beach
Then we stopped at Kogi for some of David Choi's famous Korean fusion bbq. I had the burrito and hot dog and they were freaking awesome. I had some cans of Tecate with me so people thought I was drinkin Coke. The flavors were insane, the texture was awesome. Glad we finally got a chance to eat here after seeing this food truck (the one that started the whole revolution) on the food shows.
Beef spare rib burrito.
Beef short rib taco.
Back up to Malibu.
There was was a lot of kelp in this spot. Casting was not easy.
So I moved to the other side of the rocks to fish the open water. I hooked up on my first cast.
Time to leave Leo Carillo and head back to the hotel to pack.
Some pictures taken in Long Beach with the point and shoot.
Using the Buff to keep baby sun free.
Schools of baitfish.
A passerby took this pic of me with a halibut.
The birds were super close. That's one under the rod.
We had dinner the last night at Lukshon. Best meal I have ever eaten.
The chicken lollipops we so good we had to order another one.
The Bhutanese rice with lamb bacon was one of the most flavorful things I've eaten. The Shanghai matzoh ball soup ruined Passover for me. The dan-dan noodles were so spicy and the szechuan peppercorns numbed / intoxicated me to the point that THW had to drive us back to the hotel. I'm thinking about getting some of those pepperorns to infuse vodka for bloody marys.
We got up early on Saturday to drive back to Gjelina. We had the same breakfast. There was a certain actor from the Shawshank Redemption eating next to us.
We flew home with out incident. The baby didn't cry once on the way there or back.
I can't wait to return to California.