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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

the one where we get coffee at central perk

when the old lady and i picked up the bean from orientation on monday, we hopped onto the freeway and headed out west.  we'd been talking forever about going to laduree at the grove for afternoon tea, so i'd made a reservation for us to go on the very last day of summer vacation.

but first...i'd also heard that coffee bean & tea leaf was doing a couple of "friends"-themed pop-ups to celebrate the show's upcoming 25th anniversary.  they were temporarily redecorating two of their shops to recreate central perk for just one week, and of course both locations were way out on the west side - one in santa monica and the other in west hollywood.  the old lady and her special friend had been gone for the weekend so we didn't get to go then, but the west hollywood location was pretty close to the grove...how convenient, yes?  heh.

as we approached the store i was a little concerned about the stories i'd heard of long lines wrapping around the building just to get in, but we saw no such thing and even managed to snag a parking spot right in front.  sweeeeet.

not only was it not crowded, but we pretty much walked right in and placed our drink order with no wait.

none of the character-themed drinks really appealed to me, so i went with a boring old caramel latte.  i didn't care though, because i still got a fun drink sleeve and you know it's all about the photos anyway.

at the other end of the store there was a photo booth set-up, and there was just one party in front of us.  we stood there sipping our drinks and looking at the decor while we waited.

the old lady and i have perched on that familiar orange couch once before, at the WB studio tour we did a few years ago for her birthday.  the bean has watched a handful of episodes with me (and actually does like the show), so at least she was in the loop somewhat.

that was pretty much it, so we decided to head on out of there, leave that sweet parking spot to some other lucky duck, and head to the grove to do some window shopping before tea time.

keeping the traffic on the way home in mind, when we got to the grove we looked in a few shops and then decided to go ahead and see if we could be seated early at laduree.  luckily, being a weekday it wasn't super crowded and we had no problems getting a table right away.

for some reason, the bean wasn't feeling tea and ordered a lobster roll instead.

the old lady and i definitely opted for the tea service.  and of course, we shared our sweets with the bean.

i'd been a little nervous about tea here because a good number of yelp reviews dumped on it, but we were satisfied with it.  sure, they could have offered a couple of different tea sandwich varieties instead of just one, but the roasted chicken with egg salad that we were served was tasty, the pastries were just the right amount of sweet and the famous laduree macarons were as delicious as always. 

we had one last stop before heading home, and this one was a surprise just for the bean.  the hub had challenged her to finish the (rather large) book she'd been plodding through before school started, and unbeknownst to me had also promised her a prize if she met that challenge.  when you dangle something she really wants in front of her, she pulls out all the stops to complete a task.  and what she asked for was only available in one place - the line friends store just across the street from hollywood & highland.  and it just occurred to me that i haven't recapped that visit yet, so that'll come next.  anyway, she was super stoked to realize that she was going to get to take this home:

she hugged it all the way home, falling asleep as we drove on the not-yet-busy freeway.  and the old lady and i were amused as we passed this:

later, the hub came through with one last promise - korean bbq for dinner.  this one benefited all of us as we happily plowed our way through lots of meat and salads and sides and things.

we capped it off with fun boba drinks at happy lemon.

not a bad way to bid a fond farewell to summer vacation 2019, right?

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