This past weekend, my mom came and visited LA! Her trip included the perfect mix of lazing around and trying new things. Usually when people come into town, I’m compelled to pack the schedule with favorite LA activities, but my mom has already done most of the things that are normally on my list. We ended up eating dinner at home three out of four nights, watching funny TV, playing a few rounds of Apples to Apples and talking every morning over lattes. All of this downtime together was great, but we added two special outings to the list. The first was Rachel’s idea and a place I’d never before been — Griffith Observatory. The sky was cloudy and my camera died after this picture, but the three of us had a great time wandering around outside in the cold. What a beautiful building! What gorgeous views! I can’t wait to come back some time at sunset…with my fully charged camera of course.

Our second little adventure was my idea and a first for Rachel (both places were a first for my mom of course) — Malibu Wines. The three of us, plus the boy and Julia, spent a few hours snacking, tasting wine, and chatting. It was a little chilly out, but since the forecast was predicting rain and thunderstorms, we were happy that the weather wasn’t worse! Luckily I remembered to charge my camera battery and got snap happy with some of my favorite people.

In addition to the wine tastings that are offered, you can bring your own food and picnic on the tables or grass. Rachel and I put together a nice little spread including bread, crackers, goat cheese, brie, comte, white cheddar, fig jam, honey, salami, hummus and carrots. I’ve been to multiple Trader Joe’s locations with my eye out for this fig butter and I finally found it the other week. It’s absolutely delicious!

I also got a coupon for Sabra chipotle hummus through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program and saved it specifically for this picnic. Even with the chipotle label, I was pleasantly surprised by how spicy this hummus tasted. Sometimes I find hummus flavors to taste a little “watered down” for the general public, but it was packing a lot of heat and everyone loved it!

Usually I try a few different tastings but this time I got the “Thanksgiving” one twice because it ended with a caramel-tasting port. I never buy port wines because it takes me way too long to finish one bottle, but I might have to change that…port plus dark chocolate is a great combination.

At Malibu Wines, tastings range from $10-14 and include 4-6 pours in each. Plus, for each wine tasting, you leave with the glass. Julia donated her glasses to Rachel, upping her stash at home from zero to six in one afternoon. We stayed to sip and wander until our fingers got cold and the sun set…

…yup, we closed down the joint 🙂