The next morning, I drove in a mild rain over to Magnolia Boulevard, reputed to be the home of Burbank's coolest shops. After a poppy-seed muffin and a cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain blend at Romancing the Bean, I unfurled my oversized umbrella and set out to explore.
I came across plenty of vintage clothing stores, as well as a coin and stamp boutique, even wedding gown shops and Wax Poetic, a beauty (and waxing) salon.
I didn't need any of those goods or services, but I did duck out of the rain into It's a Wrap, a store that acquires previously worn clothing from the wardrobe departments of movies and television shows. I almost went for an Armani tie for $25, but fell in love with a Dolce & Gabbana wool cardigan, charcoal gray with vertical colored stripes. At $50, it wasn't cheap, but it was a fraction of its original price. Do I care that somebody on "Becker" once wore it? No, but I may tell the story if anyone compliments me on it.
For lunch, how could I not dine at Bob's Big Boy on Riverside Drive? This icon, built in 1949, is the oldest Bob's in the U.S. and a State Point of Historical Interest. A dauntingly large crowd waited for tables, so I grabbed the lone empty seat at the marble-topped counter.
I ordered the bacon cheeseburger, and the 8-ounce patty hung over the sides of the sesame seed bun. With its crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, sliced onion and tomato and melted American cheese, it was one of the best burgers in my recent memory.
I had hoped to take advantage of Burbank's Equestrian Center, but I abandoned the riding idea as the streets began to flood. What else to do on a rainy day, especially in the heart of the film industry?
As I drove up Olive Boulevard toward the dozens of screens on Burbank's Golden Mall. I noticed "City of God," the Brazilian film depicting a harsh life in the slums, playing at the Media Center 8 and decided to escape the rain and catch a matinee.
At two hours plus, it kept me dry and well-entertained for much of the afternoon, though the "bargain" rate of $7.50, just $2 off the regular price, didn't feel like much of a bargain.
An old friend joined me at the hotel for a casual dinner in the Library Lounge. After my unusually carnivorous weekend, I chose a Caesar salad, while Max ordered the free-range chicken breast. It was a light and satisfying meal, and we lingered over glasses of wine, people-watching, before calling it a night.
By Sunday morning the rain had stopped, so I decided to drive home on dry roads. Had I found wild nightlife or amazing new shopping or restaurants? No, but I'd had a relaxing weekend, and discovered more than I had expected in what I now realize is an underrated part of town. And I realized that not everything connected to dentistry has to be painful.
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Budget for one
Expenses for this trip:
The Graciela Burbank, two nights,
parking, tax $377.40
Gary Bric's Ramp $48.00
Romancing the Bean $4.00
Bob's Big Boy $9.00
Graciela Library Lounge $34.00
Graciela Library Lounge cocktail $12.00
Final tab $489.40
The Graciela Burbank, 322 N. Pass Ave., Burbank 91505; (818) 842-8887, www.thegraciela.com.
Burbank Chamber of Commerce, 200 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank 91502; (818) 846-3111, www.burbankchamber.org.