This weekend, I got to go to Hollywood for the first time and It kind of took me by surprise. I knew it was a tourist attraction, so the crowds of people didn’t throw me, but my god was I not prepared for how dirty it was. It’s probably the first time I’ve ever had a chance to rub shoulders with a  family of tourists, a homeless person, and a huge Super Mario Brother in a filthy, knockoff costume all at the same time. I was ready to leave as soon as we got there. I must say though, walking by the Mann’s Chinese Theater was the first time I’ve ever been star struck by a building. It’s beautiful.

My buddy Tripp read about a burger place that was supposed to be amazing and we didn’t bother to ask what the address was, so we were all a little surprised when we ended up on Hollywood Blvd. Parking was a nightmare, and with a maximum meter-time of 1 hour, the 20 minute walk to the restaurant didn’t leave much time to eat. As soon as we heard there was a 30 minute wait for a table, we bounced and headed to a diner we had passed earlier called Mel’s Drive In. I’ve heard comedians glowingly mention this diner over the years and know that it has some connection to American Graffiti, so I was pretty psyched.

I had a melted cheese and steak sandwich and Callie ordered a BLT with a rootbeer float. The float was awesome. Our waiter was this cool older gentleman who kept calling us something really retro, I don’t remember what it was anymore, but it was something like Chap, or Boyo. Whatever it was, I dug it.

After eating, we headed to the show. I’d never been to the Hollywood bowl and was instantly blown away by how amazing everything sounded. It was one of those places that probably doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. We had great seats in the middle of the entire theater. They were directly center-stage and at the start of a new section, so there wasn’t anyone in front of us.

It was a solid show. I had forgotten how many popular songs Death Cab had under their belts. I’m only a passive listener really, but over the last 8 years, I had absorbed enough to recognize over half of their set-list. The stage setup was basic and refreshing. They had a projection screen behind them with the logo to their new album in front of flashing colored graphics and that was it. It actually reminded me a lot of an Interpol show – no frills. Just perfect sound quality and hit after hit after hit.

Gibbard was polite and incredibly affable. I think he thanked the crowd for being there after almost every song. He even stuttered at one point while mentioning how nervous he was performing for this many people. It was really charming.

I still can’t get over how good the sound was. My plan is to go to as many Hollywood Bowl shows as I can while avoiding the rest of that town like the plague.

On the way home, we stopped by a pretty “famous” ice cream place out here called Afters. The line was insane. It was 11:30 and there were so many people waiting that the line stretched out the door and onto the sidewalk outside.

The thing that sets Afters apart from other hand-crafted ice cream places is that they do this thing where they put their own homemade ice cream inside a donut and press it in some kind of hot waffle iron. They call it a Milky Bun and eating it was bonkers.

The ice cream was good and I totally see what they’re going for but in my opinion there was just too much going on. It felt like the two flavors, textures, and temperatures were fighting with each other in my mouth. Even though it was delicious, it literally tasted… “wrong”. I couldn’t finish it, and afterwards, I felt like I had done something horribly wrong to my body. Next time I go, I think I’ll get the ice cream and skip the bun.

After Afters (that’s fun to say), we dropped Kristin and Tripp off and came home to pass out in a sugar-coma. All in all, a pretty cool Sunday exploring a little bit of Hollywood. I just wish the Mann’s Chinese Theater wasn’t on such a horrible road.

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