The Mad Greek
Las Vegas is only a 4-hour drive from Los Angeles. The proximity of the world’s notorious capital of sin, sex, and shenanigans regularly beckons college students and young adults from the slightly more subdued City of Angels. I have been a few times over the years, but never with Tristan. So this past weekend we packed our over-night bags and ran off to Vegas for 24 hours.
Just enough time to let our ponytails down, not enough time to elope.
The drive to Vegas is a stunning one. Just like during our Southwest drive, mountains after mountains dominate the landscape and your brain swiftly tries to start to comprehend how vast this place really is. Cars whiz by to and from Vegas; but, apart from the vehicle traffic, basically nothing else exists between here and there.
There is a reason that the concept of road-tripping stemmed from adventures in the West.
However, there is one speciality stop along the way. A place that I have been to time and time again. A hideaway that has turned into an essential part of my LA -> Vegas experience. That place, of course, is the Mad Greek Cafe in Baker, California.
If you find yourself in Baker, California then you are without-a-doubt on route somewhere else — most likely Vegas or Death Valley. Baker is used to being considered a drive-through town, somewhere you are enthusiastic to see mainly because you haven’t seen anything else for hundreds of miles.
Once you arrive in Vegas, you are going to be surrounded by Paris, Venice and New York, so you might as well throw some Athens and Santorini into the mix.
Located in the middle of the desert and home to the “best gyro in America” (according to the Food Network), the Mad Greek Cafe is a haven for Greek food. A slightly run-down, Greek-music blasting, blue and white explosion of a place, the Mad Greek Cafe fulfills all your gyros, kebab, veggie and tzetziki dreams. I always go for the regular Gyro (ground beef and lamb) and then pass my pita bread along to the nearest gluten-eating being. The meat is oh so delicious and the rice is more addictive than Chipotle (a large claim I know).
The Mad Greek isn’t a full-service kinda joint. You order at a consistently crowded counter, after staring at a large, overwhelming menu overhead. Once you have made your decision, you are given a number and can choose a table either inside or outside on their patios.
The ambiance & overwhelming decorations (quotes along the walls, statues, a mixture of both lively & dead bougainvilleas, etc.) feel like a bizarre dream that somehow makes sense.
These two sexy men look rather content though ^^^.
Take this as your warning: This is not a place you come for the “friendliest service in America”, or the “cleanest bathrooms in California”. This is a place you come because you are on a road-trip and the kitschy Greek decor and bizarre ambiance is too fantastic to pass up on. Let’s just say that it shares the road with a very country looking general store that specializes in soda pop and an alien-themed jerkey store.
Next time I need to remember to try one of their infamous fresh strawberry shakes.
The weather in southern California continues to refuse to transition into any resemblance of fall or winter. So continuing with my recent uniform-of-sorts, I paired this asymetrical sleeveless dress with the best red boots I have ever owned, and then accessorized the look with a delicate red vintage bag and a rather royal-inspired neck scarf. What resulted was a rather chic-looking driving outfit — yes Tristan actually allowed me to drive this trip!!!
From the Mad Greek it is another 93 miles (150 km) to Vegas. So after filling both ourselves and the car up and shooting some photos in the abandoned motel, we grabbed some essential sour candy from the old country mart and got right back out on that open road.
Ready to win millions on the Roulette tables… I bet you have no idea how that turned out!!!!
Primark dress / Vintage neck-scarf /
Photos by Tristan Marsh and Jenny Heyside