L.A. extravaganza

We were in L.A. with my daughter, Tori, over Christmas and New Year’s. Since the kid has never been to L.A. before and since it’s such an interesting place the first time, we wanted to give her as grand a tour as we could in the time that she had.

The best view of the Hollywood sign without having to hike is on Mulholland and Canyon Lake drives. You can park there, and on one side is the Hollywood sign and on the other is a great view of the city. Click here for a map.

Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with my camera phone

Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with Adrienne's camera phone

Mike and Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with my camera phone

Me and Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with Adrienne's camera phone

Later we went to Miceli’s on Hollywood. It’s an old Hollywood Italian restaurant where movie stars like Marilyn Monroe used to hang out. The food isn’t very good but the atmosphere is pretty neat. The ceiling is covered with chianti bottles, and it’s very dark in there.

But the service was terrible. I guess when you’re famous, you don’t have to try anymore. Seriously, man, bring me my Coke already. Damn.

Micelli's, Hollywood

Miceli's, Hollywood

Mike and Tori under a ceiling of Chianti bottles at Micelli's, Hollywood

Me and Tori under a ceiling of Chianti bottles at Miceli's, Hollywood

Not very good spaghetti and ravioli at Micelli's, Hollywood

Exceptionally ordinary spaghetti and ravioli at Miceli's, Hollywood.

While in Hollywood we walked around along the Walk of Fame, with all the stars, and went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and looked at all the handprints in the cement. I think you’d be surprised at how tiny celebrities are. Their hands and feet are itty-bitty.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood

It never occurred to me to visit the La Brea Tar Pits, but Tori suggested it. Good call, kid. What a neat place.

Some creature stuck in the tar at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles

Some creature stuck in the tar at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles

It will shock you to know that we also went to a bunch of restaurants.

Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

Mike at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

Mike at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

The famous Big Boy Combo at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA

The famous Big Boy Combo at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA. Some seriously good food here. Burgers, shakes, fries. What a treat.

Here’s a picture of Adrienne in high school at the other Bob’s in Glendale. Wooo!

Bob's Big Boy, Glendale, 1983

Bob's Big Boy, Glendale, 1983. Adrienne is top right.

We also went to Pann’s, another mid-century diner. Pann’s was the restaurant in Pulp Fiction — different location, but they’re both identical. I did not yell: Everybody be cool, this is a robbery! Figure they’ve probably all heard it before. I did call Adrienne Honey Bunny at one point, but she just glared at me, so I stopped.
Pann's, Los Angeles

Pann's, Los Angeles

Tasty burger and fries at Pann's, Los Angeles

Tasty burger and fries at Pann's, Los Angeles

Dinah's Fried Chicken, Glendale, CA

Dinah's Fried Chicken, Glendale, CA. Surprisingly, Dinah's wasn't very good. It was only OK. It did, however, get us on a great discussion about our grading methods. I gave Dinah's a solid C: Not bad, not great; it was OK. Adrienne gave it a B-minus. Apparently, I'm a harder grader than she is.

Mmmmmm, ambrosia, Dinah's, Glendale, CA

Mmmmmm, ambrosia, Dinah's, Glendale, CA

Something else we did that was unexpectedly cool: Backstage where the Rose Parade floats were being made. I’m not much of a parade person, but this was fascinating. Never realized how huge these things were. And I also didn’t know the rules about how every float must be 100 percent covered with plants. Weird.

Rose Parade float in progress

Rose Parade float in progress.

A huge room full of roses getting ready to be put on floats, Pasadena, CA

A huge room full of roses getting ready to be put on floats, Pasadena, CA.

Another float in progress, Pasadena, CA

Another float in progress, Pasadena, CA.

Mike and Tori on the catwalk overlooking the Rose Parade floats being built

On the catwalk overlooking the Rose Parade floats being built. Not entirely sure it was OK that we were up there. But nobody said anything.

Samples of some of the plants being used on the floats

Samples of some of the plants being used on the floats.

Mike and Tori in front of the real Chinese Theatre and in front of the Hollywood float version of the Chinese Theatre.

Tori and me in front of the real Chinese Theatre and in front of the Hollywood float version of the Chinese Theatre.

Overall, I had a great trip. I think Tori did, too. She seems to enjoy herself wherever she happens to be, which is a nice quality.

I’d also like to thank all of Adrienne’s family for putting up with all the dumb touristy stuff we wanted to do. Thanks, too, for all the hospitality.