Sweepstakes Winner Reports Back on Her Trip to Gordon Ramsayland

Earlier this year, The Secret Ingredient partnered with FOX to give away a weekend trip for two to Los Angeles, CA, where the winners would enjoy everything that Gordon Ramsay, celebrity chef and host of the hit TV show MasterChef, has to offer at his hotel and restaurants. Here is a quick recap of the trip, as experienced by the winner, Heather.

Imagine two sisters in their early thirties who are busy raising children in different states and don’t get to spend a lot of time together—our reunion at the airport was full of laughter and excitement as we prepared to embark on what was sure to be a trip of a lifetime. California, here we come!

The London West Hollywood hotel was breathtaking and everyone was very friendly. For breakfast we ate at the hotel’s Boxwood Cafe. I was adventurous and tried the salmon and “special cheese” that they served with it, and my sister, Alesha, stuck with fruit and bagels. For dinner we went to the Gordon Ramsay restaurant, and it was excellent! Again, I took a chance and tried new and interesting items. For starters I had the Roasted Chestnut Soup, which I began to eat before asking what was in the middle of it. I finally asked our waiter, and he said it was a chestnut “fetus” (at least that’s how we heard it). After asking him to repeat it three times, we finally had him spell it, and it was chestnut fritters. I was so relieved, and this hilarity gave us a special bond with the waiter after that point. For my main course I had the roasted lamb rib-eye, carrot purée, gigante beans, and Moroccan lamb sausage. It was delicious, but there was very little carrot puree, and I mean very little. This had us laughing like little kids. My sister ordered off the Boxwood Cafe menu since she is not into trying new dishes, but she enjoyed everything she ate as well. The overall dining experience was great, especially when the chef came out to meet us and made a joke to me how my plate looked like it might have once held lamb, but he couldn’t be sure since I had eaten it clean. The entire staff made us feel welcomed there.

We even had time to eat at a well-known place called Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, not as fancy at Gordon Ramsay’s, but if you have never eaten there before I suggest it. The chicken and waffles were both so good that I can’t put it into words.

I decided to take my sister to Venice Beach (Muscle Beach). This was an interesting experience for her–like nothing she’d seen before. First off, I was so spoiled by my service at The London West that I almost handed the parking lot attendant my car keys as if he was the valet. There were local vendors, gift shops, plenty of skaters and even a man running around in nothing but a thong. After walking around for a while we decided to head back to our luxury hotel to enjoy it.

We were also able to see a taping of Two and a Half Men. We arrived at the studio lot around 4 pm and did not leave until 10 pm—I never thought it would take such a long time to tape a thirty-minute TV show. Before returning the rental car the next day, we decided to try to find a few of the famous stars on the Walk of Fame. Pretty Woman is one of our favorite movies, and when we pulled up to the Walk of Fame, turns out it was right next to the three stars that Julia Roberts “works” in the movie: Fred Astaire, Bob Hope, and the Ritz Brothers. We also noticed the FOX Building and stopped there to snap a few pictures.

On the way back to the airport our limo driver took us to the Santa Monica Pier for a bit, and then he showed us a small secret of Hollywood. Tucked away in the back of one of Venice Beach’s residential neighborhoods is a hidden part of town called Little Venice. Apparently, this location is used quite frequently by the studios in movies and TV shows, but it’s not as well-known as more famous parts of Los Angeles like Beverly Hills, Malibu, or the Hollywood Hills. We were delighted to have this peek into Little Venice—such beautiful scenery!

Since our fabulous vacation I have recognized this location on several TV shows and every time it brings back memories of my winning trip to Los Angeles. Everything was awesome–thank you for making it possible for two sisters to embark on a trip of a lifetime and make memories that will last forever.

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