Anyone who has ever lived in or even had a short visit to Los Angeles knows our traffic is horrific at best and our public transportation is even a step below that. As our bustling metropolitan city continually grows, Los Angeles has spent billions of tax dollars constantly trying to improve our streets, freeways (or highways to some folks) and our Metro system. Even though I don’t commute via Metro often, we will occasionally ride the train into downtown for a concert, dinner or event, I do however feel it’s important as a resident of the city to support the efforts. So today being the Expo Line Grand Opening, I came out for a free ride to join in the city’s celebration.
A few years ago, when they had the Grand Opening for the first leg of this same Expo Line, I was there along with my mom to take the free ride from West (Mid-City) to East (Downtown) and was instantly impressed with the ease, smoothness and how quickly we arrived to Downtown L.A with not much effort. That day was a fun day. Music, food trucks, dancing and things for the kids.
The big city wide festivities with music and food are planned for tomorrow but with that being said the train was still super crowded AND had a broken air conditioner which made for an interesting mix for my senses. Right guard, old lady perfume, breath laced with stale liquor and a fresh splash of Axe, Oh the lovely smells of Metro riding….I’d forgotten. Other than the obvious, the ride was quick and smooth, just as I remembered. They were having a few technical issues, noted by them turning off the train and restarting it at a few stops, but overall a comfortable ride and kudos to the nice guy that gave me his seat. Then finally AIR….Aaaaaaaaaa the sound of relief from my fellow riders as the air kicked on just past the 26th street stop. Now it was cool smooth sailing for just a few more miles to the end of the line.
Today along with celebrating the Expo Line Grand Opening there were some free demo classes at The Gourmandise School, which is located inside of the Santa Monica Place, just across from where the Expo line ends. So I made an afternoon of it. A Friday afternoon of train riding and cookie making, who could ask for anything more?
I have been on The Gourmandise Schools mailing list for years, but I have never had the opportunity to take a class, so today was a perfect opportunity. The Gourmandise School is located inside of the Santa Monica Place mall on the third level near the theaters. The space is super cute, bright, well lit, airy and open. Their classes and workshops are typically fully hands-on so each participant gets the full experience. The free classes given today were in part a celebration of the Expo line grand opening but it also marks the establishments 5 year anniversary. Even with the class being demo only, there were things that I learned and with the buzz and excitement around the days jubilation it was lively and fun. Everyone on the Gourmandise team was pleasant and they too seemed to be having a good time.
The website for the Gourmandise School has a calendar full of options all the way through November of this year. With classes like “Old School Favorites:Twinkies to Ho-Ho’s”, “Intro to Cheesemaking”, “Brunch in New Orleans” and “Chinese Dumplings” there is something for everyone. They offer a few Pro level classes and they rent the space for private events as well. I will certainly return to take a full hands on class, maybe with a few of my girlfriends. Oh and did I mention, you can bring in glasses of wine from the restaurant just across from the entrance. They had actually paired two different wines for us to compliment the cookies that were being made…..AWESOME! Needless to say this place comes highly recommended…by me.
Class Instructor and Co-owner Chef Clemence Gossett
Both, the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and Whole Grain Chocolate Chunk Cookies were excellent, and I will feature the latter on the blog sometime soon, but I have attached links if you’re interested sooner.