It’s been 5 months since I started at HBP, so I was honored to be asked to fly out to California for the Academy of Management Conference to maintain our Harvard Business Review booth. It was an exciting 5 days of meeting with professors and students who read our publications, submitted book proposals; and on our side, learning topics that they’d like to see us publish on, answering questions, learning who our audience is, and learning about some of the books we publish that I wasn’t familiar with. We also had three author book signings, one of which we had a line for and gave away all of our books! It was beneficial to me because I was challenged on a lot of questions, like, what we look for in a book proposal and what the process is; and the difference between practitioners and academics (which I probably should have known); and what human capital is.
You’d think a management conference would be quite boring, but we met a lot of interesting people, and there was free coffee and pastries every morning.
We arrived in LA early on Thursday morning, and the conference didn’t start until Friday, so I met up with my best friend JOHNO (!!!!) and we spent the day together. He picked me up from the airport and I was so anxious because it seemed all too good to be true that I was in California and my best friend who I hadn’t seen in over a year was on his way to pick me up and we were going to spend the entire day together. So many feels.
First things first: we got brunch. Bottomless mimosas, bacon jalapeno mac & cheese, buffalo chicken salad and a complimentary s’mores platter at the Saddle Ranch Cop House on Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills (thinking, “…like, HEY I’m in Beverly Hills, no big deal”). We then drove almost 2 hours south to Laguna Beach, where we were literally driving through mountains of gloriously expensive houses overlooking us. It was unbelievable, to think of the people of lived there and what the inside of the houses look like – I can only IMAGINE; looking out over at the beautiful landscape on white cushioned patio furniture with luxurious deep blue infinite pools.
Anyways, Laguna Beach had the cutest downtown area with little boutiques and beach front restaurants that I’d love to go back to and walk around, since we didn’t really have the time to do so once we got there. Parking was a bit hard to find, but we found a little spot on this side street, fed the meter for 2 hours, and hopped on over to one of the MANY beaches (which are absolutely magnificent, of course). Right off the main street, past overflowing gardens of cacti and succulents, beside towering mansion-like beach-front rentals, down a set of concrete stairs to the high cascading waves of unrealistic green and blue.
We went in the water, walked along the shore, and took lots of pictures before heading to Anaheim for me to be dropped off at my hotel, covered in sand and without sleep for 48 straight hours. I was so thankful that I was able to see Johno, that he picked me up and we adventured together! There’s honestly nothing more special and powerful than the bond of friendship, especially someone you’ve known for so many years.
After Johno dropped me off, I quickly changed and ran over to Downtown Disney (our hotel and the convention center was right around the corner from Disney Land) to meet my coworkers for dinner. Downtown Disney was crazy with people, families and kids running around and screaming, crowding the Disney store for overpriced Mickey hats and Tinkerbell mugs, stuffed characters and keychains.
Each day after, my coworker Courtney and I worked the booth from 8-5 through the weekend, chugging Starbucks and grabbing tacos on our lunch break from the food trucks outside of the convention center. We ate so many tacos on this trip. California just has the most authentic tasting, best Mexican food. I ate carnitas tacos by the pool, ordered steak and adobo chicken with mango salsa taco plates twice from a food truck, and steak tacos from a nearby restaurant. On our last night, we dined at a The Tangerine Grill, a little hotel restaurant. We ordered cocktails, warm olives with tangerine slivers, a cheese platter, shrimp ceviche, avocado deviled eggs, wine for seconds, and for my main course, a braised short rib grilled cheese sandwich with aged cheddar and caramelized onion on buttered sourdough bread. HEYO.
And I’ve been unable to stop thinking about tacos ever since.
- 1 bag frozen shrimp
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. Adobo seasoning
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 avocado, halved and sliced
- Corn tortillas
- 1 red onion
- 1 jalapeno (remove the seeds)
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 tomatillos (8 oz.)
- ½ avocado
- cherry tomatoes, halved
For the salsa: Put the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a food processor and finely chop. Add the tomatillos, avocado, and salt and pulse until chopped but still chunky. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cilantro.
For the Stuffing: While shrimp is thawing, combine chili powder, adobo, salt, and olive oil. Whisk together, and pour over shrimp. Toss to coat. Add shrimp to a pan over medium heat and cook until pink. Remove shrimp and set aside. Add green pepper and onion to the pan (with shrimp seasoning leftovers still in the pan) with a bit of olive oil and sauté until onion is translucent and pepper is soft.
Toast the corn tortillas to your liking. Top with cooked pepper and onion mixture, then with shrimp, and drizzle with avocado sauce. Place avocados on the side or mash them on the corn tortillas and then add the stuffing.
SHOVE IN FACE LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW.