Burger Week recap

Some time in the spring, Sean emailed me a list of the best burgers in LA compiled by LAist. Even though Sean wanted to start working through the list, we never got around to it, at least not intentionally. We crossed off The Apple Pan as it was across the street from the theater where we saw Thor.

Earlier this month, LA Weekly posted another best burgers in LA list. Sean nudged me about it. We decided to make a dent in the list this week since we both are on vacation.

Thus, began Burger Week. After the second day, we made a spreadsheet in Google Docs and included any spot on LAist’s 2010 best burger list, 2011 list or LA Weekly’s 2011 list. Yeah, the spreadsheet is nerdy, but it made picking the next spot easier. We based our choices on type (“gourmet” vs “basic”) and location. Most of the high end burger spots are located on the Westside so we didn’t ever travel more than 6 miles.

MONDAY

Father's Office burger

Father’s Office Burger @ Father’s Office
Los Angeles (near Culver City)

FO is a familiar spot. It’s less than a mile away, but I don’t go very often as I’m not much of a drinker and it’s pricey for a burger. Still, after a few visits over the last few years, it’s easy to see why the FO burger is consistently listed as one of the best burgers in LA.

Father's Office sweet potato fries

In short, it’s delicious. We both had the Father’s Office burger: Kobe beef, Gruyere, caramelized onions, applewood bacon compote, maytag blue cheese and arugula on a roll. I love the combination of Gruyere, arugula and caramelized onions. We passed on the shoestring fries (they’re good) and split a basket of sweet potato fries with garlic aioli on the side for dipping. The burger is great, but the sweet potato fries with garlic aioli are my favorite menu item. Since FO is a gastropub known for a wide beer selection, we paired our burgers with Unibroue Fin du Monde.

Heads up:
It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for. The burger can easily feed two people with smaller appetites. FO does not do substitutions and does not have ketchup in house. This has never bugged me. The LA location gets very crowded at peak hours and you might have to stand around waiting for a table or spot at the bar to open up before ordering food. Be patient.

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Eleven for ’11

Overall, 2011 was a pretty good year. Below, eleven memorable moments in chronological order.

First photo of 2011

Kissing Sean at midnight on New Years Eve. That almost didn’t happen thanks to a fierce winter snowstorm that delayed his move from NY to LA a few days. [post]

Happy running in the home stretch

Feeling Grandpa and Grandmas’ spirits giving me strength in the final miles of the LA Marathon. Something made me surge at mile 25. I say it was my grandparents. Crossing the finish line was cool too. [post]

The attention getting Tweet

Getting a text message telling me to turn around and then seeing Sean down on his knee, holding a ring in a box. I said yes. There were tears and mocos (boogers). [post]

St. John Vianney in Hacienda Heights

Learning from Adrian via a midnight text message that St John Vianney was on fire and likely unsalvageable. It didn’t hit me until the next morning when I saw the news and photos of the gutted church. [post]

All the Bixi bikes were rented

Running and biking along Lake Ontario during my trip to Toronto. Other memorable runs during my travels: a long run through Santa Barbara; a short post-LB Marathon run along the Hudson in New York; running along the nature preserve in Napa. [post]

Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap

Reaching the point on our hike when Nevada Falls finally came in to view. Yosemite was great overall. Even though our trip was cut short thanks to the crazy storm it was still pretty amazing. [post]

Brea Community Center - Community Hall

Setting a date, signing contracts and paying deposits to reserve the church and reception hall. After that point, getting married started to feel official. [post]

Friends since freshman year at UCLA

Celebrating my 31st birthday with lots of friends and family. Not only did they show up, a lot of people also put in lots of time and effort to make it special for me. [post]

Empire State of Minding it

Seeing Sean and his friends sing Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” at the top of their lungs at a bar during our only trip back to New York this year. I know he misses NY. I do too. [post]

Disneyland with familia

Spending a day at Disneyland with my parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins. It was neat to fill up an It’s A Small World boat with my family and see Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni enjoy Disneyland for the first time in 35+ years. [post]

Cindy showing off her newest medal

Kicking ass during the Holiday Half Marathon and earning a 5 minute PR. I ran a few PRs this year and for the most part met my running goals. However, this one instilled some confidence and felt like a come back from my awful LB Marathon experience. [post]

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LA Marathon 2012 decision time

Starting line!

One of my goals for the month was to finally decide on running the LA Marathon. With two days left in the month, I still haven’t decided. Enter, the trusty pro/con list.

PROS

  1. The LA Marathon was my first marathon last year and I loved it.
  2. It’s local. I’m not interested in traveling for races next year. I need to save the extra travel/accommodations money I’d spend on a destination race.
  3. I loved the Stadium to the Sea course. With the marathon potentially changing owners, I might not have opportunity to start a race at Dodger Stadium again.
  4. My Long Beach Marathon experience sucked. I need to erase it with a good experience.
  5. Spring is the only time I’d like to run a marathon next year. I don’t want to train for a marathon while worrying about the wedding in September.
  6. I’d likely be able to get some long runs in with the SRLA kids and can do long runs on part of the course.
  7. I’d have the guidance of my coach. So far while working with him, I’ve managed two PRs.
  8. Since it’s local, family can come out like they did last year.
  9. I’m not interested in other area marathons in the spring/early summer (e.g. OC, Pasadena, San Diego). Bay Area races are out of the question due to travel costs.

CONS

  1. Frank McCourt currently owns the LAM. If I run, that will be padding his money grubbing pockets. I don’t like McCourt.
  2. I’ve already run LA, maybe I should do another local spring marathon.
  3. I can think of plenty of other things to do with $145 ($155 after January 15th).
  4. I got injured in September at the end of the last training cycle.
  5. I’m currently dealing with some IT band issues and have cut back on my running in the last few weeks.
  6. Focusing on marathon training will give me less time to focus on other fitness goals, i.e. losing some weight, more strength training.
  7. I’m lazy.
  8. Training through the winter means runs after dark (I’m not a morning person) and sunny morning long runs. I prefer the marine layer cloud cover during the summer.

That’s all I got.

The pro list is obviously longer and reflects what I’ve been feeling for the last few months. I got two confidence boosts with my PRs at the Turkey Trot 10K and the Holiday Half Marathon. However, in the weeks after the Holiday Half, my IT band has been acting up. After my last long run (11 miles), I was in some pain. I felt as if I’d taken a fall on my hip. It’s gotten better with some icing, sticking/massaging and rest. I’ve kept recents runs <4.5 miles. At least I’m getting in my cross training and strength training.

The plan:
Begin training, have my coach write my training plans as if I do have a marathon to run on March 18th. I won’t register until I feel more confident that I can get through the cycle sans injury. I don’t want a Long Beach ’11 repeat nor do I want to back out later and possibly lose the $145/155 registration fee.

Count me in for LA 2012… unofficially.

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Look-alike assurance

That’s my cousin Valerie up on the left. On the right is Jessica Frech, a singer featured in the Hyundai Holiday commercial. When we saw the commercial on Christmas Eve, a few of my cousins noted the resemblance between our cousin and the singer.

Valerie wasn’t so convinced. Isn’t it usually that way? I told her I’d post the question here. What do you think?

Past look-alikes:

My dad and César Chávez

Emmanuel “Meme” del Real from Café Tacuba and Dave Grohl

Johnny Depp and Edward James Olmos as el Pachuco

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Don’t forget the ñ!

cindy vs piñata

There’s a lot of things that bug me in the blog and internet world. This is one of them:

PINATA

PINA COLADA

ANO NUEVO

CUMPLEANOS

ANGELENO

See something wrong?

Yes, the tilde is missing over the n. I love the ñ and have always been a little jealous that some of my family members get to add it to their surname (Ureño).

Angeleño may look okay without the ñ, but it was originally written like that back in the day. The third phrase on the list makes me giggle. It’s the perfect example of how leaving the tilde off the n changes the meaning of the word. It’s no longer “new year,” it’s “new anus.” Yeah, people will probably know what you mean, but it’s still awkward.

k l ll m n ñ o p

For the most part, the people who read my blog are not guilty of leaving off tildes, so you can skip this and leave it to the people who search for the following phrase:

How to add a tilde over an n

On a PC: control-shift-tilde + n
Using the key pad: alt+164 (I’ve also seen 0209)

On a Mac: opt+n, a tilde will appear, press n again

iPhone/iPad: hold down on the n, three options should appear, choose ñ

In high school, I used the Word Perfect insert character option or just added the tilde after I’d printed my assignment. As a Spanish minor in college, learned the PC shortcuts lest my grade suffer. Switching from a PC to a Mac for my personal computer meant learning more shortcuts. Adding accents was one of the first things I looked up when I got the iPhone. If you rarely write in Spanish or other languages with accents, umlauts, tildes and other characters, it might be tough to remember these shortcuts. An easier shortcut might just be searching for the properly spelled word you need on Google and then copying and pasting it into your document. Example: if you google “pinata”, piñata comes up immediately.

¿Quieren más?

This Penn State tutorial on typing accents and special characters probably has everything you need.

Feliz Ano Nuevo with Michael Peña (via Mun2)

Spanish alphabet photo by Nathan Gibbs, used under Creative Commons license.

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