Leslie's List: Sunset Hikes, Spinach Pasta, and Must-Listen Interviews

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
By Leslie ,

Hi! How was your Thanksgiving? After driving up to San Diego Wednesday morning, I spent the entire weekend eating, spending time with family, napping, and catching up on books and movies, then eating some more. Thanksgiving dinner was great, but my favorite day was actually when my boyfriend and I spent the entire day in a movie theater. We headed to brunch followed by a movie, then lunch, movie, dinner, movie, some of which friends and family joined us for. It was a marathon, but in the best way possible! Here's what else I'm up to this week before heading to Palm Springs this weekend! 

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If you're free during early evenings, you may enjoy the Griffith Observatory "Sunset Walk & Talk" tomorrow night at 4:30 PM. The very short hike up Charlie Turner Trail is led by a park ranger and museum guide, with a tour of the history of Griffith Park! If you miss this one, there's another tour December 27th.

If you aren't free, check out one of my favorite things to do in L.A.: evening hikes in Griffith Park with the Sierra Club! Tuesdays through Thursdays, guided hikes start at 7 PM from the Merry-Go-Round lot 2 and last approximately two hours so you spend the entire time in the dark, which is actually a lot of fun since it's with a group!

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In light of a few major purchases over Black Friday (I finally bought a good sleeping bag after wishing my lightweight bag to be warmer one too many nights!), I'm finding most of my dinners this week in my pantry, which is how I came across this simple pasta dish: 20-Minute Spicy Garlic Spinach Pasta with Chickpeas. As promised, it was quick and delicious, plus the only thing I needed to buy was a bag of spinach and I had plenty leftover to bring in for lunch today! 

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After seeing Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri this weekend (which is one of my favorite movies of the year!), my friend pointed out to me that the plot is similar to a Flannery O'Connor story and that a character is reading her collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find, at the start of the movie. (This Atlantic review made notice of the same thing). Since I loved the movie so much, I found the story online—the entire collection of short stories is available as a PDF here or read by O'Connor here—and dove into it this weekend. As in the movie, O'Connor's characters are complicated, and far from what you expected when the story began.

Did you catch the first season of Netflix's Easy? Each episode is a mostly stand-alone story about sex, from an awkward threesome to a couple looking to make their sex life more interesting. Since each episode wraps up succinctly, if anticlimactically, I thought we'd seen the end of them, but season two premieres December 2nd and features many of the same characters and the same problems. 

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In the podcast, I Have to Ask, Slate journalist and interviewer Isaac Chotiner sits one-on-one with everyone from authors George Saunders and Jennifer Egan to screenwriter Delia Ephron, and some of the top journalists, like Jodi Kantor. Even if I don't recognize the guest's name before starting an episode—which I often don't—I'm always glad I listened for their insight, and a personal-feeling introduction to a new brilliant person.  


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In December, I'm hosting my annual holiday party with my friend Alice Ann (see our last one here!). Since we have a big, beautiful grapefruit tree that hangs over our patio, I'm planning on making some of these pretty lantern jars to hang from it and make the entire thing a little more festive.

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