Summer is here…let’s celebrate with (spiked) lemonade!

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I love summer…always have, especially when I was a kid.  No homework meant care free days to do as I pleased.  Now it’s a little different since my work schedule doesn’t allow for as much free time, but summer is still great nonetheless.  Mostly because of the weather and abundance of activities.

This will be our first summer in LA.  I’m told that while it’s warm, it doesn’t get ridiculously humid like Atlanta.

We live about 5 miles away from the closest beach.  My husband is not a fan, so you probably won’t find us there that much.  In fact, I don’t like to lay out in the sun that much either.  But since we do live so close, I want to take advantage of it on occasion… to feel the sand on my feet and play in the water with Zoe.

Downtown Culver City

We are about a mile away from downtown Culver City and yesterday marked the first 3rd Wednesday event for the summer.  Many of the business were participating in a spiked lemonade contest and offering little snacks to promote their food.  There was also live music on the streets.  So we walked downtown to experience the festivities and crowd which was extra large due to the opening of the new Expo Station.  We now have a metro stop pretty close to our place.  We haven’t been to downtown LA yet, so I’m looking forward to that ride.

We stopped at a couple places to sample their lemonade, but quickly decided to get a bite to eat at one of the restaurants we haven’t tried yet.  Ugo Cafe is a cute little place on a corner with outside seating.  We both have high expectations for Italian places because it’s the one type of food I have mastered.  I don’t often order pasta because I am usually disappointed – as Zubair was with his Rigatoni Bolognese.

For an appetizer we ordered meatballs which were okay; but mine are better.  Zubair proudly remarked that he finally perfected my recipe meaning now I add enough spicy red pepper for his liking.

I had a side salad and an individual pizza with caramelized onions, pancetta, and fontina cheese.  It was satisfactory, but lacked balance.  I compared it to my preferred and probably favorite gourmet pizza of all time from Gigi’s Market and Cafe in Red Hook – fig jam, goat cheese, pear slices, and arugula – the perfect combination of salty and sweet.  The one I had last night was too salty from all the pancetta.  I only ate a third of it then brought the rest home for today’s lunch so I could add some pear.

The best part of the experience was that it almost felt like a real date.  Zoe feel asleep in the Ergo carrier so we put her in the stroller; and nearly had a baby-free dinner out!  The first in a very long time.  So while the food lacked in personality, the company did not.

Little Z and me
in front of the Cowardly Lion

After dinner, we crossed the street for Cold Stone Creamery.  It was good, but way over priced if you ask me.  I cannot rationalize paying more than $10 for 2 small, single-scoop ice-cream cups.

Then, just outside, there’s a patio in front of the movie theater and Culver Hotel, with a giant life-size statue of the Lion from Wizard of Oz.  Water shoots out from fountain-like holes in the ground.  A bunch of kids were running around having a blast getting drenched.  The epitome of summer.

I tried to get Zoe to notice the water and kids, but she was too busy eying my ice cream.  I didn’t share (she has to wait a little longer), but I did give her my spoon afterwards which she played with while we were in Trader Joe’s grabbing a few things and during the whole walk home.

I love activities like these and that we can walk to them.  It’s fun to enjoy our community and just be around others enjoying themselves too.  I look forward to all our summer adventures – the beach, metro rides, and other similar events.  Kind of makes me feel like a kid again.  Because isn’t that what summer is all about?

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