While most of blogger land was attending the Foodbuzz festival this past weekend, I was spending some quality time with my mom. She’s been to LA so many times, it’s getting hard to find new things to do, but we managed very nicely!  We kicked off her trip with dinner at Pitfire Pizza, one of my absolutely favorite spots. The Culver City location is especially cool, and we managed to snag one of the very few tables outside.


I bought a bottle of Chardonnay after receiving a few enthusiastic “yes” votes to drinking some wine with our late dinner. It was surprisingly good, not too acidic or too sweet. Too bad the label is covered in this photo, otherwise I might just have to go out and find it!


Even though the menu at Pitfire is pretty great, the restaurant has seasonal specials that are AMAZING. I ended up ordering the Pumpkin Pizza, with sage-roasted winter squashes, braised red chard, brown butter, Fontina, pepitas, and pumpkin seed oil. The crust was a wee bit crispy for my taste, but otherwise, I found another winner!


Who am I kidding? I say that about ALL the pizzas here.

Friday I took the day off work and we headed out bright and early for Disneyland and California Adventure. My coworker hooked us up with a really great ticket deal, so we didn’t even have to choose between the two parks. Our first ride was a classic (in my book) — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Don’t we look fearless?


The ride was so empty, not only was there no wait, we got to ride again. Just unbuckled our seatbelts to reset the system and headed back up for a second round. Is it alarming that my mom and I look so darn happy?


Despite the fact that temperatures were in the high 8os, Disney was already being decked out for Christmas. Mom and I headed straight from our double dose of tummy turning to the parks’ only loop roller coaster, California Screamin’. See it back there?!


Of course we waited for the front car…and of course we are just as giddy on this ride as the last.


After all that gut wrenching, we took it easy with a ride on the carousel. It’s my belief that you are NEVER too old to ride on something so whimsical. If the seat fits…right?


Before leaving California Adventure, we hammed it up a bit with some of the characters around the park. Mom and I actually waited on a mini-line with girls in princess costumes to snap a photo with these funny soldiers.


If you’ve ever wondered where my quirky nature comes from, look no further…




Disneyland is literally steps away from California Adventure, which makes park hopping so easy and stress-free. There were definitely people at the park, but the longest we waited was 25 minutes, and for some rides, there was virtually no wait at all. We went on the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones Adventure (which was new to me and so fun!), the Finding Nemo submarine, Matterhorn bobsleds, Buzz Lightyear blasters, and our favorite of the day, Splash Mountain. Again, the huge gleeful grins…


By the way, I got SOAKED.

We treated ourselves to huge ice creams and managed to eat nearly every bite. I can’t remember the last time I had a waffle cone and it was perfect. Sugar cones are so inferior, I think I’d rather just have my ice cream in a cup!  The waffle cones/bowls were made right before our eyes and smelled heavenly.


We also took a few minutes after eating to pose for pictures with the castle, which is kind of puny compared to the one in Disney World. I’d imagine it looks much bigger if you are 5.

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After 7 hours at Disney, we belatedly hit the road to meet Rachel for dinner at Newport Landing. Rachel got us a table outside overlooking Newport Harbor and Balboa Island (Arrested Development anyone??). Our original plan was to arrive for happy hour and the sunset, but we ended up with dark skies and only 15 minutes to order some $3 glasses of wine. Still, the food was great (I had a cup of crab/artichoke bisque and a huge grilled vegetable platter with eggplant, zucchini, tomato, carrots, bell pepper, mashed potatoes and spinach with garlic soy sauce) and the view was even better.


Saturday, we spent most of the day walking and talking and shopping. Everyone came over later for a home cooked meal (my black bean & sweet potato enchiladas were a huge hit!) and lots of wine.


I love bringing together my LA life and my Jersey life. There’s something really nice about having all the most important people in your life know each other, rather than just hear about each other. KJ, Julia and my mom are all old friends by this point!


Rach and I were both sad to see mom go. I can’t wait to spend time with her over Christmas! Trust me, we are counting down the days already.