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11.18.2014

Quick Bites: Cha Cha Chicken (Santa Monica, CA)

I have to say, Santa Monica is a great place to be after a filming shoot. The food choices run the gamut, and places to hang out and take a nap between jobs offer a wonderful view and a relaxing vibe.

This brings me to this "quick bite" review that first piqued my curiosity when I had to pick up an order from this place on a Saturday night on a motorcycle courier shift. I use the quotations on purpose; when it's a regular Saturday, the line is so far out the door that it becomes an ordeal to just acquire the food. I came here on a late Monday afternoon to avoid the crowds and I have to say, I now understand the weekend mobs that flood this establishment.

So, who wants some Jamaican jerk chicken?


Cha Cha chicken prides itself in serving "Carribbean Cuisine with Latin Fusion." For this review, I went with their signature chicken dish for a very filling late lunch. I will say that the spiced Jamaincan jerk sauce that this oven roasted, fall-off-the-bone chicken smothered in is just divine. I chose the medium level sauce that had just enough zip to make it interesting (it's also their most recommended). My half chicken-sized plate came with a side of dirty rice and plantains. For my drink, I went with a delicious mango-guava agua fresca. Well then, I think I figured out where the Latin part fits in.

You'll get a lot of food for your buck. The 1/2 chicken platter is just under $12 and is more than enough food to keep you busy. Their homemade agua frescas complements the flavors of the jerk sauce and chicken quite well.

With the beach house-style open seating and friendly atmosphere, this is a wonderful casual place to enjoy a lunch or dinner. Like I said before, this palace is packed on evenings and weekends, so expect to wait a bit in line for your food. Trust me, it's worth it.


After that relaxing lunch, I decided to head around the corner and sleep off my food coma before my upcoming motorcycle courier shift. It's easy to fall asleep to a view like this. Oh, Mondays.


Cha Cha Chicken is located at 1906 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica CA 90405. For their menu and their alternate location in Northridge, visit http://chachachicken.com/.

Cha Cha Chicken on Urbanspoon

11.12.2014

To my 20s...a word or two before you go.

To my 20s...you were a tough customer, but I'll have to thank you for that.

The second decade of life is a privilege that, in the world that I live in, is both hated and cherished at the some time. Many can't wait until they get to this point, and then loathe many of the days that they now have to live through just to escape it.

I am grateful for even making it this far in this body, considering that it was enough of a challenge to even establish my existence on this planet (there is a story behind that). Regardless, my circumstances have been kind and my path has been gentle in the scope of the current state of the universe.

In the last ten years, I've found myself in several diverse careers that have bounced me all over the place, sculpted my unique skillset, and have given me the tools to survive and thrive in an inhospitable economy.

I've been able to continue playing hockey, the sport I love, despite multiple injuries that have threatened my tenure in front of the net.

I have traversed the United States and Canada in a style reserved to the fortunate with "bucket lists" and a lot of time. And I did the majority of those journeys alone with nothing but my dear Eleanor, my wits, and at times, an unreal level of emotional and intestinal fortitude.

With that being said, the same motorcycle responsible in the previous statement has surpassed the distance halfway from the Earth to the Moon and is still determined to make it all the way there.

I've moved at least five times in my life and I still don't have a reason to settle down.

I now know what it's like to hit mental rock bottom, and know that, for as long as there is a breath in me there is still hope and a reason to keep fighting for what's important.

I've learned to love another person as much as myself, lose that love, and embark on a path toward finding that love again.

I've lived many lifetimes in my journeys and I'm far from finished.

I still refuse to just stand still and let opportunities to learn pass me by.

And lastly, I've learned to accept the things that I cannot control, accept the people who do not understand me, and let time run its course. Because really, everything does fall into place. But the path there can be a hell of a ride. Just hold on.

It would be way too cliché to try to wrap up the 3,652 days that have passed between the time I put a "2" in the tens place of my age and now in a blog post, but that's not what this is for. This is simply a reminder that I'm more than all right...I'm more than prepared for the next round.

I would state this in closing:

I survived my 20s, but I did more than just "survive." I defeated it and came back with trophies and lessons to last the rest of my natural life.
The ups and downs in my journey cemented my resolve to continue moving forward and focusing my eyes toward the horizon.
My family and friends rallied behind me when I was at my worst and celebrated me when I was at my best. And I am forever grateful for that. 
Even in my darkest moments, there was something or someone out there to find me and bring things back into perspective again, even if just for a fleeting moment.  
And dammit, be easy on yourself! In the end, it'll all be okay.

Ad astra per aspera. To the stars through my difficulties. Bring on tomorrow. Take it home, Barry.


11.09.2014

Tales on the Motorcycle Courier Shift...nice suits and nudity abound.

When it comes to my motorcycle courier deliveries, this has easily become my most frequently told stories. What started as a routine delivery for Friday night "necessities" (a.k.a. beer and cigarettes) became a little more awkward thanks to how my customer answered the door. I guess it's Hollywood, so perhaps it can be justified.

So, the next question I have is: Do you like Brazilian? Enjoy.


11.02.2014

Venturing into Ventura: What a giant sand dune taught me about life and searching for love again.

I had originally drafted this piece as another showcase of the place I call home, but in the light of recent events, this blog entry has taken on an even greater meaning and a far deeper, soul-searching experience. I dedicate this one to an earned friend who helped me discover the light in my soul again. Thank you for everything.

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to take a day off my normal schedule and travel into Ventura County. It had been the first time that I had been that far north on Pacific Coast Highway since I had returned home to Southern California this past February.

In fact, had been so long since I had been up here that I had forgotten what that section of road looked like. But on the side of the highway, right past Malibu on the Los Angeles/Ventura County line, there is Great Sand Dune, a giant, naturally occurring sand dune that stretches hundreds of feet up a hill. It's a popular place for many beach goers to get a workout en route to a great view of the Pacific Ocean. Cardio junkies, you have been warned.



In my case, it was a destination that soon became my personal allegory for physical and emotional demands of a seeking a new relationship after the recovery from a long one that ended painfully. Normally, I don't delve into this topic here on Two-Wheeled Tourist, but seeing that it's not the first time that I've been wounded in battles pertaining to the heart, I give you a series of lessons that came from a recent eye-opening, healing adventure.

And you thought I was just going to talk about a giant mound of sand. That's not how I roll here.