Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Exploring and Grubbing in Woodland Hills


After last’s week visit to Van Nuys for work, I realized that I needed more pictures of all of my wanderings, and not just my eatings.

Though…don’t get me wrong. I love the eatings!


I was back at my favorite local hotel, the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Express. I love it because of the countless eating and exploring options within walking distance.

There isn’t anything worse than being cooped up in a hotel room if I can be outside, and this location is perfect to get oot and aboot on foot.

Nice hotel room, huh? I love the space. It’s big enough for a huge couch, which I never use, and a nice chair-and-ottoman combination, which I use all the time.


My view this time was from the third floor, facing a lovely Wendy’s Drive-thru. I bet if I opened the window, I could hear what they were ordering for lunch!

I didn’t. That would be creepy.


Again, so there are pictures of more than just food, here we are on a walk towards the east from my hotel. I knew exactly where I wanted to eat lunch after I dropped off my things in the room.

I love California Chicken Café. If you’re anywhere near one, please go.

This is my walk on Ventura Boulevard. The café is only about half a mile away from my hotel, and it’s a gorgeous seventy degrees outside! Let’s hit the road!


Parking meters are everywhere here. I would hate to pay for parking. Mesa doesn’t really have that option, you know? And I’m just fine with that!


I have yet to try Doan’s Bakery, but I’ve gotten as close as peeking through the window when walking by. I know that I should give in eventually for a fun treat…especially since I saw them selling cupcakes.

I like cupcakes. Did you know that?


That’s the Ventura Freeway, the 101, in the distance. My lunch destination is just before. But look how expensive gas is in California. Yikes!


I tried a breakfast sandwich here last week, and it was delicious. But I haven’t been to California Chicken Café in a few months, and my mouth is just watering thinking about their yummy rotisserie chicken and sides!

So I waved at Leo and Lily as I walked on by.


Oh boy. Now we’re talking.

I didn’t run the last few blocks, but I seriously considered it.


I’ve been meaning to take a picture of the inside of this place, too, but it was packed with people during lunch today. I didn’t want to draw attention to the straw hat-wearing, camera-toting nerdy tourist, you know?

It’s an order-and-wait type of place, where you walk past the cafeteria line while you wait for your turn to order. Then you get a number and find a seat, and they eventually bring heaven-on-a-plate loving to your table.

I got a water. And I’m #39.


I don’t know how this happened. Maybe it’s the sticker that says, “Made with real butter.” What on earth else could be used to make such a scrumptious cookie?


I loved that I had the patio to myself for most of my meal. This place filled up pretty quickly as the lunch crowds arrived.

But enough chit chat…


Look at this!

I think we’re in business, folks.


Their hot potatoes always win out, though I am sometimes tempted to try the mashed potatoes and gravy. Obviously, potatoes are a must. Sometimes, I am adventurous in how they are prepared.

But there must be spuds.


My second side dish today was my favorite salad…a light and fresh broccoli pasta salad that is out of this world! It’s yummy and crunchy and gooey but accomplishes all of this without being drenched in unhealthy sauce.

Based on all of their butter bragging, I’m sure that their salads are all healthy. There’s broccoli in it, so we’re good.


My meal is actually the quarter chicken of white meat, which is a breast and a wing. I try to get a little bit of the skin in each bite because of the amazing flavor. Just the chicken meat on its own is a little tasteless.

Unless you eat it with a hot potato with caramelized onions. Yummmmmmmy!

So, lunch was amazing. It lived up to all of my expectations and hopes and dreams.


After lunch, I still wasn’t ready to turn in for the day. So I wandered around a little more and passed this beautiful restaurant/venue. It’s called “The Villa,” and it looks so pretty!

For a special occasion, it would be a fun place to try. I mean, have you seen their menu?!


They also had a beautiful vine-covered parking area with chandeliers. I think that they also have parties in here, which would hopefully explain the chandeliers.

I love the idea of parking underneath a chandelier, but it seems a little pricey, huh?

But it’s pretty.


I crossed the street and decided to check out the Woodland Hills library branch. I love libraries!


Isn’t it a cool, retro building?! I spent a few hours in here, reading fun books off the shelves.

My favorite was a book about how Disneyland got started. It was published thirty years ago and was missing a few of the newer rides now, but it was so much fun to read up on one of my favorite places in the world!

I didn’t know that Splash Mountain wasn’t even in existence until 1987!


The next morning, it was already time to head home. We don’t leave until around five this afternoon, but we need to return the rental car before another day ticks over.

Here I am waiting for my ride outside the lobby entrance to the Holiday Inn Express.


We opted to do an old favorite for lunch…Salsa and Beer. The Mexican food here is out of this world. We arrived just as they opened their doors for lunch. Just a few minutes later, the entire place was packed!

Don’t worry. I don’t get beer. But the salsa is something that requires lots of my love and attention.


That’s how you know that a place is good. Salsa and chips.


Lunch is really affordable, too. I love all of the options for combination platters. Cheapity cheap!


But I’m a burrito fan, so I got the Shredded Beef Burrito.

They had me at “potato.”

Are we starting to see a potato problem trend?


Everyone knows that the best part of a Mexican restaurant is the chips and salsa before the real food arrives! At Salsa and Beer, they also bring out some hot refried beans with the chips.

And by “hot,” I mean crazy spicy! These were too hot for me to even eat today! How sad, huh?


But the chips were good, and they had an entire self-serve salsa bar. Chips are just filler, anyway, until the main event can happen.


This giant plate arrived, and I was tickled. Unfortunately, these spicy beans were the same as the ones from the dip earlier, and they were still too spicy for my weak sauce tongue.

But I knew that I would only be enjoying a little of this yummy burrito today.


And Hubby got to enjoy the rest of it…spicy beans included.

The next day, when I was gone for work on another trip, Hubby texted to let me know how much he loved my leftovers. And the spicy beans were his favorite thing.

So there you have it. Lots of grub in Woodland Hills and Van Nuys, but pictures of other exploring as well. I don’t want you to think that all I do is eat! I also walk to the places to eat!

P.S. I’m in Miami today and off to explore. Apparently they like Cuban food here?

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