Get Out of Town!
A Trek to L.A. for the Famous Bieber Smoothie & Dad/Daughter Memories
December, 2023 - Issue #226

I have a confession: This story happened because my youngest daughter often lives life as an only child. Her three older siblings have either moved away or work a ton. That leaves her as the only child consistently at home. Which means I say "yes" to things I never would have agreed to with my other kids. And that's how April and I ended up at The Grove on a recent Sunday afternoon instead of napping.
I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of traffic. Less than an hour after leaving Santa Clarita, we found parking, and then a patio table under the large yellow umbrellas at Marmalade Cafe. It was a sunny day and a languid breeze ruffled the fronds on nearby palm trees while we perused the brunch menu.
We enjoyed people watching while waiting for our food. It arrived soon enough. A short-rib melt for me and a plate of huevos rancheros that April and Amber split.
"What it did give me was a FUN MEMORY with my youngest daughter who, like her siblings, will soon be too busy to hang out with Mom and Dad. That's worth every penny."
Fortified for shopping, we went our separate ways in The Grove. April and I headed into Backcountry across the street from the restaurant while Amber was off to her favorite stores.
With its huge inventory and wide range of gear, Backcountry impressed. I expected the prices to be ridiculous given the location, but they were on par with other outdoor retailers, and there were even some bargains on the clearance rack.
After 90 minutes or so, we all reconnected and Amber hit us with another request: Could we go to Erewhon Market? In what was another only-child moment for Amber, we found ourselves walking toward the bougie grocery store on Beverly Boulevard.
There was a specific reason for her request: To experience Hailey Bieber's Strawberry Glaze Skin Smoothie.
The store was bustling, and we made our way down the crowded aisle to the back of the Tonic Bar line. We pondered the chalkboard menu while waiting for our turn to order.
"You know it's going to be expensive when they don't have the prices on the menu," Amber observed astutely.
We reached the front of the line and placed our order: One Hailey Bieber Strawberry Glaze Skin Smoothie (Amber) and one almond milk latte (me). Cost: $30, with tip.
The Tonic Bartender informed us the wait time for our drinks would be 15 to 20 minutes.
With time to kill, Amber walked me to a cold case displaying several varieties of sea moss.
"Do you eat it?" I asked.
"They're gonna put it in our smoothie," she said.
I couldn't help but think this had to be the most pretentious grocery store in LA. Unlike most markets, I didn't see any shopping carts. Probably because the aisles are too narrow and crowded to accommodate them. And, also because a basket of items here will cost the same as a cart of groceries at a regular store.
I heard my name called, and our order was ready in less time than predicted.
Amber pulled out her phone to record my reaction to the first sip. It tasted like... strawberry sundae sauce. A hint of strawberry, overly sweet, and with that distinctive taste of smoothie powder lurking underneath.
We ducked out of the store to get away from the crowds. As we walked back to our car, I sampled another sip while Amber recited the ingredients: almond milk, organic strawberries, avocado, collagen and sea moss.
"What will the smoothie do for me?" I asked.
"It will give you luscious, glowing skin like Hailey Bieber," Amber said.
Doubtful. But what it did give me was a fun memory with my youngest daughter who, like her siblings, will soon be too busy to hang out with Mom and Dad. That's worth every penny.
Eric Harnish lives in Castaic.

The Grove
Marmalade Cafe
Erewhon Market
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