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It’s been a bit of a lazy week, as we recently got back from a whirlwind trip to New Orleans. 

It was a work trip for Mike. He has an interesting job, so his work always takes him (us) to interesting places.

You are probably wondering what we did with Azzy.

I didn’t want to just leave him at somebody’s house, because I think it’s unrealistic to expect somebody to never leave their house the entire time that Azzy’s there. At the same time, I didn’t want him kenneled. Luckily, Los Angeles is teeming with everything that one could possibly desire for one’s furry best friend, and I managed to find the perfect place in no time at all.

Perfect place to board your dog

The place I found is called CageFree K9 Camp, and it’s in Culver City. It’s a boarding, day care and training facility that has a 24-hour staff presence. The mutts get to roam around all day and play to their heart’s content. They have obstacle courses to keep them occupied with interesting things to do, and they have a separate area for small dogs. They give all the “campers” temperament tests to make sure that everyone will play nicely with each other and, of course, all of the campers are fully vaccinated.

Azzy had such a good time at camp! I like that guy photobombing with his paws crossed over each other! (Photo courtesy of CageFree K9 Camp)

I always emphasize that there has to be a human being present at all times with Azzy. It doesn’t have to be me or Mike. Any homo sapiens will do.

CageFree’s staff didn’t seem fazed when I told them about Azzy’s door-destroying proclivities, and I felt really good about parting with him for the longest time that we’ve ever been apart.

Azzy’s a very social creature, and I’m sure he misses being around hordes of dogs every day, so I was actually really excited for him. I don’t know how many dogs they take care of at once, but you can hear tons of barking as soon as you pull into the parking lot. Azzy’s ears perked up in anticipation.

We dropped him off, and he immediately strutted off with a staff member in the direction of all the barking on the other side of the door. We barely even got a chance to say goodbye, but I was really glad that he was going to forget all about us for a few days and make a bunch of new friends.

Partying with pooches

Long story short, he had a great time, and they had the pictures to prove it. He even got a little report card where they talked about how awesome he was. His best friends there were the usual suspects: a boxer, a husky and a lab. Azzy likes what he likes! (The only dog he’s ever tried to hump was a boxer.)

It gave me great peace of mind knowing that Azzy would be meeting new friends and under constant human supervision.
(Photo courtesy of CageFree K9 Camp)

He was so spent when we brought him home — we could have left him all alone at our house that night, and he probably wouldn’t have even raised his head. Even Sasha commented that he’s never seen Azzy so pooped, so I’m guessing that he thoroughly enjoyed himself. I would bet on it.

And what was their verdict? I braced myself to hear their tales of Azzy’s destructive ways, but they said that he was perfectly behaved and that he was welcome to come back any time!

Madera Kitchen: A neighborhood favorite

So where to go this week? I was still dragging a bit, so we made plans with a couple of friends and decided to keep it close to home and go to Madera Kitchen at the corner of Franklin and Cahuenga.

W had a bit of bread with a tasty butter spread before the main event.

They have a fabulous happy hour from 5:30-7:30pm Tuesday-Friday (closed on Mondays). They offer their daily HH mainstays plus featured food items that rotate every day.

Madera offers a different happy hour menu item each day.

They offer sliders on Tuesdays, where you have your choice of pork, Portobello, fried chicken, fish or beef. This sounds like something I really want to try, but Tuesday evenings are really bad for us, so I will just have to put this option out of my mind. Their website says they offer raw oysters on Wednesdays, but the menu listed spicy mac n cheese balls, which also sounds fabulous. Last time I was there on a Wednesday they were offering ceviche, so you should probably call ahead if you’re picky and it’s the middle of the week. Thursdays are ceviche officially, and rounding out the week are flatbread Fridays with your choice of mushroom, white fontina or burrata. 

My chicken hit the spot.

The staple happy hour items are pulled pork sliders, burrata (with basil and olive oil), fried Mary’s chicken, Parmesan fries and crispy potatoes.

My friend loved her white fontina flatbread.

I went for the chicken, my friend got the white fontina flatbread (we went on a Friday), our men got the sliders, and Sasha got the Parmesan fries.

Our server was nice enough to bring Azzy some water.

Normally, Azzy hides himself under the bench-like seats, but this time he was visible and our server was kind enough to bring him some water without being asked.

A little oasis on Cahuenga

About the decor: This place is beautiful! The dog-friendly part is a patio that happens to have a roof over it, which makes it even more perfect if it happens to be cold or rainy out. They have a lot of plants, a fireplace, and cool hanging lights made out of Mason jars. Also, I have never met a server here that I didn’t like, and the patio tables have this rock garden thing in the middle that lights on fire!

It’s really nice and cozy in the patio area.

Parking consists of valet or meters, but it was close enough for us to hoof it down there, and it was a beautiful day for a leisurely walk with friends.

I love that there are plants all over the place!

Oh, and drinks: I got the Purple Ghost, which is basically a hibiscus margarita. Mike got the IPA, and our friends decided to drink wine.

I forgot to make sure they didn’t put salt on the rim of my Ghost, but they brought it without any, so I was pleasantly surprised.

I think Azzy was hoping Mike would get him a draft beer!

My friend enjoyed her flatbread, and our men liked their sliders. The sauce that came with my chicken had a little too much heat for me, so I took the basil-jalapeño aioli that came with Sasha’s fries and dipped my chicken into that, which was perfect! And Sasha hates spicy things that have “yucky stuff” in them (the basil), so I wasn’t getting any complaints from him when I snatched his ramekin.

By the time I remembered to take photos, Mike had pretty much demolished his pulled pork slider.

Every time we come here we see other dogs, and today was no exception. They were too far away for Azzy to sniff, though, so he had to satisfy himself with just watching.

Too distracted to blog

I spent so much time gabbing with my friend, who I haven’t seen in a while, that I completely forgot that I was supposed to be observant and taking photos for this blog and asking my crew to be descriptive about how their food tasted. I was good in the beginning, but then the tequila and the talking took control, and I kind of forgot about my purpose and didn’t remember why I was there until we were halfway or mostly done with our food. 

I drink slowly, so I ordered another Purple Ghost before happy hour ended.

I’m afraid I’ve let you down this week — it’s amazing how rusty I got after taking only one week off! Just know that a good time was had by all … . We had so much fun with our goodies and each other that I almost completely aborted my mission.

One last thing: If you ever come here for dinner, the squid ink pasta is phenomenal, and they also serve a mean brunch!

I promise to be better next week!

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Throw Us a Bone!