USA Trip (2020)

This is a review of our USA trip earlier this year (March) as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated. It was surreal to find ourselves enjoying a care-free existence in our first week to being in total lock-down in our final week. It was certainly a memorable trip!


The first stop is Dallas – it’s really just a short stopover for a couple days before we head to New York, but it’s such a wonderful city we decide to make the most of it and visit the Stockyards in Fort Worth and attend the Rodeo.

At this stage. the world had sort of caught on that there was a pandemic, but everyone was out at bars and restaurants and so we were we. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Stockyards and taking in all there was to see!

When you’re at Stockyards there’s plenty to do – but I suggest you don a lovely cowboy hat and sip cocktails at Niles City Hall!

New York

We depart for New York early in the morning and enjoy a relaxed night where we head to the PDT (a secret bar in a phone booth) for dinner on our first night.

Citizens of Chelsea

The next day we have a lovely breakfast at an Aussie Cafe! We just cant’ live without good espresso coffee and avo on toast!

Rockefeller Center

We head to do some touristy things like visit the Rockefeller Center and take some usual instagram worthy shots!

Times Square

It’s so ironic how this pandemic has forced us all into social distancing – however New York was still partying in the middle of March. Here is a shot of Times Square.

Trump Grill

There are many people who politicise everything and personally my fiancee and I aren’t those people. Whether you like or dislike Donald Trump, Trump Tower is an amazing building in New York and the Trump Grill does some pretty awesome food.

We stopped by after a day of shopping to have a burger and salad.

21 Club

My favourite burger in the whole world has got to be the 21 Burger.

Here is a review of the burger from a previous visit – it never changes:

“The succulent juicy beef with the cheese melted on top, the indescribable drizzled pickle relish and the fluffy artisan bun are the key players in this show. It’s pure craftsmanship. The patty is a mix of chuck, sirloin and short rib beef with salt and pepper. The effect of cheese being essentially cooked into the patty is oh so special and the drizzled pickle relish has an indescribable taste. The red onion adds a delightful crunch while the fluffy artisan bun does soak up the juices and provides some extra weight to the dish. It’s pure craftsmanship – I love it.”

Los Angeles

The party started to crash as our stay in New York drew to a close. On our final night we were informed that our Disneyland trip was cancelled with the closure of Disneyland. I had to do some gymnastics to change hotel to downtown LA. But we boarded our flight to New York and enjoyed our time the American Airlines Flagship Lounge.

With things closing down around us we enjoyed the lovely room service at The Standard Hotel DTLA.

Joey’s DTLA

Recovering from our disapointment of missing out on Disneyland we decide to explore DTLA. We stop by the super hip dining establishment; Joey’s for dinner.

Their entrees are stunning; succulent Sliders Royale, Rustic Yellowfin Tuna Salad with mango, peanuts and avocado and the Seared Salmon Sushi!

The main course was simply delectable; we had the surf & turf: Lobster Ravioli with USDA beef and the Cod.

The night after we went to Joey’s, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, ordered the closure of all restaurant and bars (other than for take-out). We were pretty despondent, our planned reservation for Nobu Malibu, Elephante, Bazaar by Jose Andres and EP LP were dashed!

Ivy at the Shore

Due to the rush of the Mayor’s orders and the lack of clarity, a number of restaurants didn’t get the memo and Ivy was one of them.

So this was meant to be the last supper before I found out about the Malibu Farm loophole (see next section).

We started with crab cakes and beautiful curried mussels.

The next course was a dream, lobster cooked in tomato spaghetti. It was simply a dream dish that we savoured.

I will recount the experience as I did in my diary:

The beautiful juicy tomato sauce and the fresh succulent of the lobster prove to be the perfect marriage, while the spaghetti (done al-dente) holds them together with its soft wheaty locks. The sauce integrates the salinity, seasoning and the tomato to form a blissful concoction of fresh and aromatic flavours. The lobster asserts its dominion over the dish with its natural flavours and the aesthetics of its majestic shell. It’s a pleasurable dining experience as one could find.

To pair we opt for the Domaine de Saint Siffrein Châteauneuf-du-Pape (2015). The lush flow of raspberries and stone fruit press themselves on the palate while the velvety tannins have that “it” sensation. I reach over to stroke my fianceé’s beautiful hair, she licks some of the spaghetti sauce from the lips in a rather playful manner, we gaze at the empty street’s of Santa Monica and enjoy the final minutes before the Governor’s lockdown orders take effect.

Malibu Farm

I was pretty sad that I couldn’t give my fiancee the time of her life in LA, it was so sad that everything was shut down and we couldn’t go anywhere, but I then noticed that Malibu Farm technically was not part of the City of LA but part of the California National Parks jurisdiction and hence exempt from the Mayor’s closure order, so we snuck in for lunch and enjoyed the beautiful views with a salad, steak sandwich and a bottle of wine overlooking the ocean. Unfortunately, we were the last patrons to dine there as the restaurant closed after we received the bill.

Hilton LAX

For the rest of the trip we were pretty much confined to our hotel (The Hilton LAX). Alex did her best to look super glamorous in lock-down!

The beloved Executive Lounge was closed and we could only get takeaway pizza’s from the bistro – which was pretty sad, but we made the most of it.

As our final day approached, I just had to do something for Alex, so I did a mini in-room hotel picnic with some fine wine, Mexican spread and burgers from Carl’s Jr. We spent our final days in the hotel before jetting back to Sydney.

So there you have it; our trip as the pandemic broke – what a turn of events!

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