Posted by Lauren
My little sugar cookie finished USC a semester early (which I wrote about 180+ days ago) but the whole fam had to wait until May to officially celebrate with her. During her months off, Nicole finished dancing with the Trojan Dance Force, [remotely] interned tirelessly for one of the hottest Bay Area SaaS startups, and soaked up every second with her BFF’s. Oh, and she also wrote her last blog post ever (she claims to be done with blogging, WTF??).
Anyways, my company’s conference ended May 14th and the next day I flew to LA to join my mom, David, and Nicole. Our first order of business was walking around campus to take photos at USC landmarks. Definitely smart to do this before grad day to avoid the crowds :)
All I can remember is that we were all HUNGRY (okay maybe it was just me?) and when we went to Sugarfish downtown, they didn’t seat us for a loooong time. It’s all good because their sushi blows my socks off and is “worth the wait.” I felt bad for Nicole because they had NOTHING for vegetarians… she didn’t complain (because she’s awesome and knows I was really looking forward to it). What a sweetheart.
After dinner we went to Syrup, a hip little cafe/dessert spot a few blocks away. Nicole and I shared a banana split, but the photo only made it to my disappearing snapchat story. :( They specialize in waffles so definitely check that out the next time your sweet tooth screams at you.
Friday – Graduation Day
Nicole kept me to a strict morning alarm – 4:50 am – so I could wake up and be at her apartment with enough time to get ready and pre-party. Yes, 4:50 AM!! Nicole and I walked over to a neighbors house for mimosas around 6 am. Time flew by and soon we were walking towards campus for the ceremony kickoff….
I found a seat next to my dad and Lauretta and eagerly waited for Marc Benioff to give his speech (it was AWEsome!)
We moved over to the Galen Center for the Biz School’s breakout ceremony and got to see Nicole accept her well deserved diploma :)
Then it was all over! Time to get the party started!
Lunch in Long Beach (Yard House) with dad, Lauretta, and step-bro Steve! We battled insane traffic to get there, but it was worth it to get everyone together and catch up, especially since Steve recently moved to Portland.
A few hours later we sat down for dinner in Santa Monica with my mom, David, and Chase….
First order of business, order wine.
Second order of business: make silly faces
The food was delicious, intriguing, and totally unique. Rustic Canyon was distinguished in Los Angeles Magazine’s issue of “L.A.’s 75 Best Restaurants” (and that mag was conveniently in our hotel room the night before when I was researching where to go!). Their head chef Jeremy Fox hails from Napa’s veg-friendly Ubuntu and focuses on California-French style. AKA the style you can’t go wrong with..
beets and berries – avocado, rancho gordo red quinoa, pistachio “soil”
ansonmills stone ground grits – ramps & morels, egg yolk, coleman’s pea shoots (PHENOMENAL)
grilled zucerman’s asparagus – whipped goat cheese with nettles, mushroom streusel (WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE MY LAWD)
clam & mussel pozole verde – ranch gordo hominy, scallion, radish, tortilla
grilled marin sun farms lamb heart – windrose farms puntarelle, bagna cauda, crispy ‘kokuho rose’ rice, parmesean (LAMB HEART!)
seared scallops – carrot puree, nasturtium, vadouvan, pine nut raisin relish (PERFECT SCALLOPS)
king troll salmon piccata – bianco di maggio onions, fiddlehead ferns, capers, meyer lemon
mom, david, me… (BTW – super tired at this point + wishing I could have changed/showered because the graduation ceremony was HOT HOT HOT and I was sweaty)
chocolate hazelnut tart with candided hazelnuts
Each dish was phenomenal – I couldn’t recommend Rustic Canyon enough. GO!
After dinner, I was dropped off at my friend Andrew’s house, where Clay and Johnny were already posted up. They were matching :) We drank some wine, went to downtown Santa Monica, ate late night pizza, and then fell asleep (finally! sleeep!)
The following day, I was in Pasadena at Lucky Baldwin’s eating tasty pasties with my mom and David. MMM MMM…. Nicole and I drove those two love birds to the airport (after a pit stop at Sugar Fix cupcakery for cupcakes and ice cream to-go!) Then we went back to Pasadena for another night out with the guys. All that survived from that entire day was this photo below. It shall remain captionless so you can capture the true essence :)
The amazing weekend capped off with a roadtrip home with my bestie (Nicole, duh!) and all of her belongings. She’s baaaaaack and here to stay! Now, who’s going to get her to start blogging with me??