Kelly, Aaron and Everett Campbell's Favorite Weekend
Kelly Vogt Campbell is a PR whiz, tasty fondue-maker and all-around fab gal. Her husband Aaron manages life as a full time student, dad, and my co-conspiritor at work. Their son Everett is cute enough to make your ovaries explode within 5 minutes of meeting him. They live in Sherman Oaks.
As a big-time food lover and a new mom of a 15 month old toddler, I have been faced with several dilemmas regarding food. How do you go out to dinner when your kid is in bed by 7:30 pm? How does one gracefully pick up bits of chicken off of a restaurant floor? And who has time to cook while either working all day or running after an active, adorable and already mischievous little guy whose idea of a good time is pulling the 14 oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes off the pantry shelves and seeing how close he can get to breaking all the little bones in his feet?
Alas, I haven’t found the answers to these questions, but this is supposed to be a perfect weekend, not a typical one, so here are my favorite kid-friendly but still cool places to go in LA, as well as a couple recipes that have stood the test of time.
Friday night: At the end of a busy week, Fridays are our time to reconnect and have a “date” – even if that means ordering take out and watching a DVD. My new favorite place is Bamboo Village in Sherman Oaks. I’m ½ Chinese and a total Chinese food snob, having grown up going to banquets and all the super-authentic places in Monterey Park and Chinatown. Bamboo Village actually comes close, and they deliver! Especially good are the Hot Braised Fish Fillet and their chow mein – not greasy, lots of meat, and the right kind of noodles. Yum.
Saturday: Occasionally we do venture out of the Valley, usually to Santa Monica or Silver Lake. Saturday mornings at Millie’s on Sunset are usually packed but so worth it. What fun to sit on the sidewalk and watch people way cooler than you could ever be walk by. The main reason I keep going back is the biscuits, and the rosemary potatoes. Oh, and their high chairs are rainbow.
Lunch in Silver Lake = El 7 Mares, the outdoor stand not the restaurant. They have the best fish tacos and they’re cheap. More adventurous types order ceviche, which they are famous for, but I can’t eat raw fish in a parking lot.
Sunday: One of the things I really missed when we moved from West L.A. to Sherman Oaks was the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, so on Sunday we head down for a day at the beach. The market on Ocean Park and Main is great with kids – there’s a band, pony rides and WAFFLES! Everett loves waffles, especially when he gets to dip them in maple syrup. Can’t blame him. I however am partial to the crepe stand and almost always get the same thing – nutella and banana. Heaven all wrapped up in a tasty package. We sit on the grass and chow with half the city. It actually feels like you’re part of a community, and in L.A. that’s not something to sneeze at. After we fill up we peruse the fruit and vegetable stands and pick out some gorgeous produce.
After the Market we drive down to the beach at Temescal Canyon and play with Everett for a while, then head back home to BBQ up some dinner!
We're BBQ'ing halibut steaks, which I season with salt, pepper, lime juice and long strips of jalapeno, and wrap them in banana leaves, which you can find in Asian supermarkets. Throw the packets on the grill for 30 minutes or so – because they’re steaming in the banana leaf it’s best to use a low heat and longer cooking time. The serve with some homemade mango salsa, rice, a veg and you’re all set!