architecture

Day in Downtown LA

I’ve hung out in Downtown LA many times before. There’s so much history, art, culture, and food that I always find something new. Even if I don’t find something new, the old is still good.

What I like the most about going to DTLA aside from the challenges of finding parking and the busy one way streets is going there with my friends. Especially if it’s their first time exploring the area, I love showing them the beauty of DTLA.

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BeeJay, Peter, and I hung out in DTLA before it got too crowded on a Saturday afternoon. We made our first stop at Grand Central Market for brunch. I’ve shared about Grand Central Market on my blog here before. Last time I was here, my friend and I ate at Anna Maria’s. This time we ate at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas. It’s another good spot for Mexican food. On Yelp it has 4.5 stars with more than 650 reviews.

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They were quick to make our food fresh and delicious. We all got something different but I got scrambled eggs with chorizo and a large side of hash brown and tortilla. They gave me so much that I needed help finishing it!

After our hearty Mexican brunch, we had to walk it off. We walked over to The Bradbury Building. This place never gets old. Every time I walk into this place, I’m still amazed by its architecture and I think about the happy ending from the movie 500 Days of Summer. Well, it’s a happy ending depending on how you take it.

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Then we walked a block behind The Bradbury Building and went to The Last Bookstore. We walked through the maze of bookshelves and luckily, we didn’t lose each other!

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The last time I came here, I somehow missed the records section!

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There were so many vinyls with deep history rooted in them. These are music the older generation like our parents or grandparents grew up with. It was these music that set the mood in their living room or set the tone of their generation.

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I love how The Last Bookstore is able to maximize their space with artworks on the wall and broken clocks as planters.

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Even though we made a few stops in DTLA, we actually walked around a lot and got hungry again! To beat the traffic, we drove back down to Orange County and we went over to Hamji Park in Buena Park. They’re known for pork ribs, pork soup, and pork everything.

I’m sad to share with you that on Yelp it only has 3.5 stars with 132 reviews. They are still relatively a new restaurant in the Orange County area so I’m sure people are still learning about the restaurant.

But! In K-town (in LA), they have 4 stars with more than 1100 reviews on Yelp. So you know it’s good. I think the reason why the OC location has a lower rating is because they’re simply new.

Actually that might not be the only reason. My mom has this Korean theory that within the first three months from when a Korean restaurant opens, the service and food are great. They want to prove to the world that they’re awesome which they tend to live up to for at least three months. But! After those three months of the honeymoon stage pass by, my mom believes that the service and food go downhill from there.

I hope this isn’t true for Hamji Park at the OC location because the food has actually been really great for the past five times I have gone.

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I still enjoyed what we got that day after a long day in DTLA! We all shared the ribs and the pork stew with potatoes. It hit the SPOT especially since we were pretty hungry. Look how beautiful the food looks!

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Ok, one thing I do want to share is that I was actually surprised how the food came out pretty quickly. We ate an odd hour like 4 in the afternoon. There were only a few groups there. So I get it, they weren’t busy and so they poured out their heart and soul to make only our food. But!  It just made me think that this was all prepped beforehand and they just reheated the food.

But why was this still so good? I don’t know. Let’s not think about this too much because I do love their food.

Anyway, we ended up leaving Hamji Park with leftovers and feeling happy with a full stomach!

Thanks Peter for driving us around! I’m glad we didn’t get lost on our way to DTLA and back home to OC! Sorry Peter & BeeJay that I left my my DSLR behind that day. Thank you for understanding.

 

 

 

 

The Bradbury Building

In my head, I have an unofficial bucket list of places to check out in the LA area. The Bradbury Building has been on my list for the longest time and I finally got to experience it! If this place looks familiar, it’s because it’s been in plenty of movies. In particular, it was in my favorite indie movie, 500 Days of Summer. This building was at the end of the movie where Tom had an interview with his dream job and met Autumn.

We were only allowed to go up one flight of stairs but we weren’t able to actually walk around the floors. It wasn’t necessary to explore upstairs because the architecture from ground zero was amazing enough. The geometry of the structure and the detailed iron work on the elevator and the railings made me speechless. Once you walk into this quiet yet powerful building, you will be taken aback by its beauty.

Lewis L. Bradbury, a gold mining millionaire, wanted an extravagant building to be constructed. He hired George Wyman to be the architect of creating this $500,000 (now worth more than $11 million) masterpiece that was built in 1893. Currently, the building is the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs and other government agencies. For more information about The Bradbury Building check out Wikipedia.

Yes, I just gave you a link to Wikipedia. It was actually pretty resourceful.

To see the building in person, go to 304 S. Broadway in Los Angeles, California. After visiting the place, treat yourself out to all kinds of food at Grand Central Market which is across the street from The Bradbury Building. Literally, they have all kinds of food in there.

Thanks Linda for being a tourist with me at The Bradbury Building. I hope you were in awe of it as much as I was.

 

The Chandelier Tree

Our very last stop for the night was at The Chandelier Tree. I somehow knew about this place awhile ago through Pinterest or Snapchat. I kept forgetting to check this place out until Aaron mentioned it!

The Chandelier Tree is an iconic spot in Los Angeles, California. They’re perfectly located in one of the most trendy areas, Silver Lake. This is a one of a kind front yard that has 30 vintage chandeliers gracefully hanging on a sycamore tree.

According to LA Times, “Marriage proposals and wedding photo shoots are commonly held beneath the tree, and locals often show off the tree to visitors. The sycamore has appeared in music videos, and five film location scouts list the location in their books.” Now that all makes sense why it looks so familiar!

It was quite a magical night standing underneath the tree and looking above at all the chandeliers. I have to come back here and bring my DSLR to take nicer pictures. These pictures certainly do not do justice of how beautiful everything is in person. I was in awe of this house right when I saw it. It was like love at first sight.

If you want to learn more about The Chandelier Tree, check out their Facebook page and Yelp! To visit them, go to 2811 West Silver Drive in Los Angeles, CA 90039.

Thanks Aaron for showing us The Chandelier Tree! Thanks Aaron, Alex, Elaine, and Junie for joining me spontaneously to explore Los Angeles due to my travel bug.

The Capitol

I finally got to see the White House! I mean, the White House in California! In other words, the Capitol! Briana and I probably had the time of our lives taking pictures with a selfie stick in front of the Capitol. I don’t know what it is but selfie sticks are fun!

Alex and Justin joined us a little later for the fun with the selfie stick!

We look like a happy family there, right? Right! After taking millions of selfies together, we finally decided to go check the Capitol building!

During the security check, they thought the selfie stick was a weapon! We almost had to leave Briana behind. Just kidding, we wouldn’t have left her alone. Luckily, the security guards knew what a selfie stick was so Briana was good to go.

We walked around for a good hour in the building. There was so much rich history and beauty to the building that I felt like we could stay there forever. Unfortunately, our parking meter didn’t allow us to stay there that long. For the short time we had, we saw a good chunk of the Capitol.

We explored outside to see the garden but we had a hard time finding it. So here are some pictures of trees:

I would love to come back here and spend more time in the museum and just soak in more of its history. It was a little surreal to be at the Capitol because you grow up learning all this stuff from textbooks. Thanks Briana for making this trip to the Capitol possible! Thanks Alex and Justin for hanging out with us for a short period of time!

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 4 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I went to Canada! Canada, I tell you! Canada!

Well, before I went to Canada, I explored Bellingham for a little bit on my own. I went on an adventure to look for stamps! I walked half a mile to one UPS store but found out that they weren’t opened until an hour after I got there. Unwilling to wait, I walked back towards my hotel and started Yelping places that had office supplies. Luckily, there was Office Depot which was a lot closer to my hotel than UPS. I’m not sure how I didn’t think about Office Depot earlier but I initially had a hard time thinking about where stamps can be purchased other than the post office.

My walk to Office Depot was an interesting one. For example, there was a guy selling marijuana. Let me elaborate, he was one of those guys holding a sign that pointed to the pot shop. I didn’t realize that Washington legalized medical marijuana. When I got to the plaza with Office Depot, there was also Costco and Starbucks. I noticed that in the parking lot there were a lot of cars with the license plate from Canada. According to Christian, a lot of Canadians come down to Bellingham to stock up on food from Costco! Interesting, right? Anyways, I got my stamps and sent my postcards away for my lovely friends and family to receive back at home!

On my way back to the hotel, it started to drizzle but I didn’t mind it at all. I really wanted to embrace mother nature while traveling and I sure did. The air was so cold but it felt so nice with the fresh air. Also, it was nice to see some colored leaves!

By afternoon-ish, Christian picked me up and we were off to Canada! Whee! The drive from Bellingham to Vancouver, BC was only an hour long! It’s like going from Orange County to Los Angeles.  Going through the border wasn’t bad at all. We just had to show them our passport, tell them where we’re going and why.

I noticed all the residential streets that we were driving by had so many beautiful houses and trees lined up so perfectly. We randomly stopped by a wealthy neighborhood to check it out.

There was this huge park in the middle of the neighborhood that had these tall trees and it was just breathtaking!

I never thought you could have such a mesmerizing park in your neighborhood like this one!

I was seriously so excited to see so many leaves on the ground!

As we were driving, I realized how uncomfortable or odd it was to drive with the lights and road structured this way. Makes me feel a little claustrophobic on the road! Naw mean?

Our first official stop in Vancouver was to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. There’s a small cost for parking and admission was $32.95. If you have AAA, you can get a discount! The Suspension Bridge was built in 1889. It stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano River.

Here are some pictures to show you what this park was all about:

We were at the park for a good two hours or so. There was a lot of walking and sight seeing to do! Pictures don’t do justice of how amazing this park is with the bridges and them trees! One random thing about this park was that everyone was able to take a pumpkin home! It was part of the admission fee! There were pumpkins laying around the front area of the park so you could just pick one up and go! I really wanted to take a pumpkin and tell everyone it was from Canada but I obviously didn’t. I didn’t want to get in trouble by border patrol. Maybe next time…?

Our second stop was to see the Olympic Torch! Go to Yelp for more info.

Can you imagine this whole place being packed with people full of pride and excitement for the Olympics? There must have been so much adrenaline going on here back in Winter 2010! It was quite eye opening to see those skyscrapers surround that monumental torch. Though it wasn’t lit up, it was still inspiring to see this and know that dreams came true for many athletes.

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The Olympic Cauldron is located near a harbor which has a great view of the water and of Vancouver! Well, I think that’s still Vancouver in front of us.

There’s also this view in the picture below! The colors on the trees and on the ground! It looked like I was a little photoshopped in but this was all real! I may be annoying you about the fall colors but it’s just that, you don’t see them much in sunny SoCal so I get really excited to see them elsewhere!

Our last stop before the sunset was at Queen Elizabeth Park. This park was definitely not just an ordinary park. There was a conservatory, Japanese like garden, streams, dancing fountains, and the list goes on! There was so much to see at this park!

As we were on our way out, we noticed that a proposal was about to happen! So we sat on a bench and watched it like a movie! Weird thing was that we didn’t see the guy pop the ring out. Either we missed that part somehow or it’s a Canadian tradition to not have the ring. We went with the latter.

After a happy ending, we were finally off to dinner! We went over to an authentic Chinese restaurant. According to Wikipedia, there’s a large community of Chinese Canadians in Vancouver. This all came about in the 19th century when British Columbia hired Chinese people to build the railway. Read Wikipedia for more information! Great history to learn!

We went to this restaurant on the wrong day and time. There was a Chinese organization having a Halloween party so it was packed! Luckily, they made an exception to seat us all the way in the back. It was fun to people watch.

I’m sure the guy and his wife in the picture above felt out of place. By the way, I ‘m not sure why people carry their iPads around and use it as an actual camera. I see that a lot with older people.

We wanted dim sum but obviously that was not possible especially with this banquet going on. Instead, we just ordered pan fried noodles with seafood.

We also shared the beef with vegetables.

Everything looked and tasted good but I probably wouldn’t come back here again. Not that I would anytime soon because it’s in Canada…The food wasn’t anything too spectacular because it was the same as any other authentic Chinese food I’ve tried. I can easily get these two dishes from Orange County.

After dinner, we were finally on our way back to ‘Murica! It took a little more than hour to get back because the line was long at the border check area. Once we got back to Bellingham, we treated ourselves to some ice cream at Mallard!

It’s a cute little mom and pop ice cream parlor where everything is handmade from local and organic ingredients! This popular ice cream shop in downtown Bellingham has 4.5 stars with almost 200 reviews on Yelp.

They’re unique flavors like Olive Oil or Chocolate Rum sets them apart from your usual ice cream chains.

I got the Apple Pie in a waffle cone for about $4 and oh my goodness, it changed my life. I didn’t know it was possible for an apple pie flavor to be in ice cream form! It was so good that I was tempted to get another one!

It was so late that I had to stop myself from getting another scoop. I will never forget that Apple Pie ice cream. That ice cream was a perfect way to end my Canadian excursion!

Thank you so much Christian for driving me around in Canada! That was definitely one Canadian adventure! I’m really glad that we got ice cream afterwards. At the same time, I’m kind of not glad because I really miss that Apple Pie.