Christmas in the Grove by Steven

It’s the holidays, and although all the bloggers have left LA to be with our families, we did manage to go to the Grove shopping complex to see the tallest Christmas tree in Los Angeles. It’s easy to find the Grove if you are driving on Fairfax because that’s where the traffic forms as everyone try to enter the parking lot at once. If you drive to the very top of the lot, you will be treated to a gorgeous panoramic view of Los Angeles and the Grove’s Christmas Tree.

The Christmas Tree in the Grove is situated behind a fountain across from the movie theatre. It’s eight stories high, and there’s something magical about a model of Santa Claus riding his reindeers hanging at the top in front of the tree. Speaking of Santa Claus, children can also get their photos taken with Saint Nick just down First Street. There’s also a trolley that takes you around the entire complex for free. The music performance on First Street was mixed. Although we were treated to the sweet, soothing sound of Christmas carolers, it was difficult for us to talk when we passed by some loud ethnic drummers.

For food, Golda and I went to Little Spain at the renowned Farmer’s Market just next to the Grove, and we had really lovely service from the people working there. Because I seldom eat Spanish food, I had to ask them more than once what the dishes listed in the menu were, and they were especially patient with me. I ended up ordering the huevo estrellado for $7. The huevo estrellado consists of two fried eggs and some dried ham (jamon serrano) on top of french fries. It is a nice alternative to the typical rice and pasta, and it reminds me of a similar Mediterranean variation I had before with sharwarma over fries. The two of us also shared some bombas, huge fried potato balls stuffed with beef, for $6. Their freshly squeezed orange juice kept me refreshed for the rest of our day at the Grove.

Afterwards, we went to Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market. While Olga didn’t have a pleasant experience with their waiters and waitresses at their restaurant, we all loved the market and how it offers food from around the world along with a wide selection of wine. For me, I was fortunate enough to have wine connoisseur Olga help me choose some wine for Christmas gifts. For those who don’t know Olga personally, Mr. Marcel Gourmet Market also hold frequent wine classes, and for those on a budget, you can purchase a bottle of “Crane Lake” for around $8! The market also had samples of warm, delicious, soft brownies that also doubled as souffle if you cook them longer.

What I especially like about the Grove and what also sets it apart from more conventional shopping complexes is how the layout gives visitors the illusion of a warm suburban town. The street, trolley, and classical architectural designs of the buildings all help reaffirm that image. The closest comparison I can think of is Main Street in Disneyland. Even if you are not an avid shopper, you can go for the beautiful panoramic view. (Please note that there are signs on the top of the parking lot prohibiting photography.) Parking is also free for the first hour, and buses 16, 316, 217, and 218 all pass by the complex and Farmer’s Market. The Grove is located on 189 The Grove Drive.

We will all be back in Los Angeles after the new year with some exciting new changes (including the ability to view some photos in 3D), which we mentioned in the previous post. Thank you for all your support in 2011, and we’ll see you all in 2012!!

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Steven

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