The last time I set foot outside the LAX I was seven years old. I took a picture with E.T., I went to a zoo, and I witness a flood at the Universal Studios. So when Emi of Pygmy Hippo suggested that I come and see her at her shoppe during my layover back to Oz, I became religious. You read that right. I had to pray to the Great Organizer of the Universe that nothing would delay my flight so I may go and meet this girl whom I’ve been working with for about two-and-a-half years.

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Nothing did delay my flight from Denver to LA, although there was a hairy moment involving a power outage…not something you want to hear at an airport. I planted myself into a cab piloted by a very accommodating driver who put up with my incessant chattering and pointless questioning. You spend two months painting in a basement and I’ll bet you will talk the ear off a cornstalk too! We arrived at the Shoppe just as the sun was losing its last rays and I started screaming like a One Direction tween fan as soon as I spotted Emi. Arms were flapped and words were shouted at top volume. It was so great to see this fabulous shop and its proprietress in person at long last!

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Look at this gal! I could, even if I try, never ever look half as cute as her!

Emi’s man Nathan more or less built every single item in the shoppe. He had measured the counter space just so so it was literally designed just for Emi! I’d love to spend hours in there, browsing and trying not to knock over things with the giant butt I’ve acquired over the two months thanks to Mom’s delicious cooking, but alas, there was another flight awaiting me.

We hightailed to the Culver City In-N-Out Burger. As a former East Coast being, I’ve heard great things about their legendary burgers and insanity fries. Emi and Nathan ordered some off-the-menu items for me. It was a shame I was so excited to meet them that I couldn’t finish my animal style fries. But that’s just an excuse to come back out another time, isn’t it?

Thank you, Emi and Nathan for treating me to the best layover meal and conversations ever!

The Pygmy Hippo Shoppe has been featured in many media outlets. This is the one I found that was pretty darn special.

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