Some years back, I flew all the way from Asia to Los Angeles to board the Regent Seven Seas Explorer cruise ship on its inaugural weekend cruise to Mexico. I flew to LA via Taipei on EVA Airways on a Thursday and by Monday night I was back at LAX again to return to Asia.
The cruise itself was for two nights, from Saturday to Monday morning. Literally a quickie trip to Mexico. After that weekend sail, at the Port of Los Angeles on that Monday morning, we got off the pretty jaw-dropping Regent Seven Seas Explorer cruise ship at 8 AM and headed straight for our hotel just off Beverly Hills.
We were flying back to Asia at midnight so we checked into an IHG hotel downtown to take a nap and freshen up before the long flight back home. I also wanted to get some shopping done as LA is retail central after all. So after dropping our bags at the hotel, off we went to an upscale mall nearby to check out the sales.
I LOST THAT SHOPPING FEELING
Interestingly, I didn’t buy anything. Perhaps it had something to do with my first ever visit to a Target store just before boarding the ship. Suddenly, everything seemed expensive elsewhere. I also had a pretty miraculous epiphany then, realizing I needed for nothing and I actually had everything I honestly wanted. The rest of the stuff on my wishlist are things money can’t buy. Things you can’t find in a shopping mall.
Returning to the hotel, my companion asked: “What shall we do for lunch?”
A REALLY GOOD BURGER FOR LUNCH
It was 2 PM and all I could think about was getting a very good burger. I don’t really eat burgers, but we were in Los Angeles, after all. And isn’t that what people do when they’re in LA? My first choice was In ‘N Out. Not fancy at all but certainly iconic California since you can’t find In ‘N Out anywhere else. . Of course we had to go.
IN ‘N OUT IS A POPULAR HAMBURGER CHAIN FOUNDED BY HARRY AND ESTHER SNYDER IN CALIFORNIA IN 1948.
However, our hotel concierge said: “The nearest one is about 15 to 20 minutes by hotel car.”
Well, we were leaving in a few hours and I didn’t really want to spend any time in a car, having just spent a weekend in a ship and way too many hours in airplanes. All of 36 hours in LA and 24 hours in Mexico and then back on a plane for Asia. So I said: “Forget it. Let’s just do room service burgers.”
ROOM SERVICE SURPRISES
I had very low expectations for the room service burger, especially as the concierge didn’t even bother to mention it. But we were hungry and lazy. So we returned to the room, picked up the phone to order the burgers, and then turned on the TV. When the burgers eventually came, I was speechless. They were incredibly good even if they cost a small fortune compared to the fast food burgers.
THE BEST BURGER IN LA
In fact, I would venture to say that this particular room service burger was probably the best burger I’ve ever had. It was cooked perfectly medium rare, and it had ranch dressing, cheddar cheese, and super crispy bacon. And everything was arranged very nicely on a slightly sweet brioche bun. Again, neither am I a burger person nor a bread person. But it’s a testatment to how good the burger was that I ate everything.
SAVING THE BEST SURPRISE FOR LAST
However, it was only when we checked out of our hotel at 8 PM to head for LAX airport that I realized we had really just had the best burgers in Los Angeles. At the front desk, as we handed back the room keys, I mentioned to Dan, the guy at the counter, that the hot water tap in the bathtub hadn’t been working so I’d had to use the shower instead of having a long hot bath before flying.
Dan then asked me: “Did you report it?”
I replied: “Nope. I couldn’t be bothered.” Then I added: “We only used the room for eight hours, some of it spent checking out a shopping mall, so I didn’t want workmen repairing a faucet for half of that time.”
Besides it wasn’t really a big deal, but I thought I’d mention it for the next guest. Then what do you know? Dan the Man said: “Well, the least I can do is comp your room service bill to make up for the inconvenience.” Wow. The best things in life really are free after all.