You’re lucky enough to score a sitter for a few hours. While you can always go out for the proverbial dinner and a movie there are countless options for variety in town. A good meal followed by some time in nature can be both relaxing and enjoyable. Here are some recommendations for you to consider that are not only fun but will help you get back to the kids before the babysitter charges overtime.



Salsa and Beer

6740 White Oak Ave
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 609-8877

11669 Sherman Way
North Hollywood, CA 91607
(818) 503-1220
More Info

Salsa and Beer is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city. The food is inexpensive, the portions are large and most importantly the food is great. I am a big fan of their chicken burrito. There are two locations to choose from; one in Van Nuys and the other is in North Hollywood.

The Van Nuys location is the original. It is a little bit smaller than the new one and they share the parking lot with other businesses in the strip mall. If you go on a Saturday afternoon it can be quite crowded so call ahead or be prepared to wait for a bit.

If you live on the Eastside and are looking for something a little bit closer to your end you can always hit the North Hollywood location. It is substantially larger than Van Nuys and has its own parking lot.

For something completely different, try Porto’s Bakery (see below).



Lake Balboa

6300 Balboa Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 756-9743
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After the meal you can head over to Lake Balboa where you can choose from a number of different activities such as roller blading, paddle boating or a nice walk around the lake. The lake is home to hundreds of ducks and geese, so bring some tortillas left over from dinner and watch out for droppings.


Griffith Park Horse Rentals

Located in the Los Angeles Equestrian Center
480 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank, California, 91506
(818) 840-8401
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Or for an entirely different experience you can take advantage of the Griffith Park Sunset Ride and meal. You and your spouse/significant other will enjoy a 90 minute ride on horseback on a beautiful trail. There is something about the twilight that creates a very peaceful feeling and is quite relaxing.

The ride is intersected by a nice meal at a Mexican restaurant. After dinner you’ll mount up again for a brief ride back down to the parking lot.

(credit: Kim Tracy Prince)



17200 W Ventura Blvd
Ste 225
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 305-2720
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Before heading back home you might want to grab some dessert. If you are a fan of Frozen Yogurt you can hit the Yogurtland in the Encino Town Center between Louise and Amestoy. They have a great selection of soft serve yogurt and lots of tasty treats that you can add to your cold treat.


Porto’s Bakery

3614 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91504
(818) 846-9100
More Info

We also recommend visiting Porto’s Bakery in Burbank, not far from Griffith Park. The bakery is a feast for your senses. With great coffee and amazing desserts it is truly remarkable. (One of the things that I like about it is that it is more than just desserts as they offer meals as well. One of my favorite items to order are their potato balls. Savory ground beef surrounded by mashed potatoes and a delightful crust.)

Joshua Wilner is a writer and father of two in Los Angeles.


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