LA

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.

 

 

 

 

AirBnB in LA

Finding a place to spend one night in LA was quite of a challenge in a fun way. There are way too many cute places to stay at in LA through AirBnB. I highly suggest you to avoid spending the night in any LA hotels because it is overly priced and parking your car in a structure can be almost as expensive as $40. So, no thanks. Go through AirBnB and you will find a lot of artsy studio apartments or houses that are so unique to LA compared to any other areas.

Linda and I found a cute little two bedroom house in LA that was on top of a hill overlooking Downtown LA. It was 10 minutes away from Chinatown, Fashion District, and all sorts of fun places!

The house we stayed at had some eccentric artworks on the wall. They definitely caught our attention.

This huge red orange canvas on the wall definitely illuminated the room!

All the guests who stayed at this house through AirBnB wrote such sweet and loving notes to the host on this white board!

We walked around so much in that afternoon that we decided to relax outside on the patio for the night.

We had such a great view of LA from where we were! I would love to come back here if time permits next time! It was affordable and convenient to stay here! Thanks Linda and AirBnB for a short and sweet adventure in LA!

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.

Chinatown in LA

The morning I got back from Sacramento, I went to my niece’s and nephew’s birthday party without coffee. For some odd reason, I was pretty much feeling strong and awake even though I only got four or five hours of sleep. After the party, I tried to rest at home but was eager to just go out. I realized the travel bug was in me and it was real. It was so real that I had to go somewhere to explore.

With a few friends, we grabbed dinner at In-N-Out and then we were off to a spontaneous trip to LA! I’ve been wanting to check out Chinatown in LA to see the Chinese lanterns lit up and simply to explore the area since I always drive by it whenever I’m in the area.

When my friends and I got there, it was pretty dead. It was nice to have the whole town to ourselves!

Chinatown can easily be explored in less than 30 minutes but we took our time taking pictures and enjoying the bright neon lights. Next time, I’m going to have come here in the afternoon when it’s busy and have some dim sum!

Thanks Chinatown for temporarily curing my travel bug!

Since we were near Little Tokyo, we decided to grab some milk tea from one of my favorite boba shops! I got my usual Brown Sugar Milk Tea which was perfect as always!

We hung out at Ozero for a little bit before heading out to our last adventure!

Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink

Once I had a taste of those cronuts from Bakers Donuts, it was time to ice skate! Well first, I had to pack my belongings at Briana’s place since it was my last day in Sacramento. I packed, helped Briana clean up her place, and then off to the next adventure!

Sadly, Briana wasn’t able to ice skate because she had other plans for the night so she dropped me off at my next destination. From there, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. Tear, tear.

Going to Downtown Sacramento to ice skate was like going to Rockefeller Center in New York City because of the outdoorsy feel. Actually, I’ve never been to NYC but I imagine it would be something similar. Coming from SoCal, you don’t see an outdoors ice rink quite often. It’s not a significant attraction to check out nor is it available in SoCal so it was nice to experience a new kind of winter culture in Sacramento.

At the ice rink, I met up with Phil, Jaclyn, and a bunch of other people! To be more specific, I met some new friends who were friends with Jaclyn. Also, Alex and Justin joined in on the fun!

Since we skated on a Friday night, we got a dollar discount on admission fee. We ended up paying $9 each, eight for the admission and a dollar to rent the skates. We skated for a good 2 hours!

The rink was big enough for me to practice my triple axels flawlessly like Yuna Kim. Just kidding, I have no skills in ice skating except moving forward and opening up my arms gracefully like a ballerina.

I don’t know what it is but ice skating around the rink is a lot of fun. Whether you’re skating with your friends or even by yourself, to skate through the cold is ironically fun. Maybe you get a sense of freedom like an eagle soaring through the sky and from that comes out joy perhaps. It’s just liberating to skate in a circle for some odd reason.

I was having so much fun like a little kid that I really didn’t want it to end! But, we had to get going since it was our last night there and we were planning to leave a few hours after ice skating.

Thank you, thank you Briana for taking care of me and showing me your favorites spots in Sacramento! I’m glad that I was able to hang out in Sacramento for more than 24 hours unlike last time! Ok, talk to you on the phone soon!

 

Dunkin’ Donuts

Everyone in SoCal has been going a little too cray, cray about Dunkin’ Donuts now that it’s finally here! My friends and I went to Whittier to check out what Dunkin’ Donuts is all about since it’s so popular in the east coast.

Not only do they sell donuts and coffee, but they also have breakfast sandwiches! Since it was a little after lunch, I just got myself an iced vanilla coffee and a blueberry donut. I had to get the blueberry donut so I could compare it to other blueberry donuts I’ve tried before.

The iced vanilla coffee was made exactly the way I like it! There was no addition of sugar or cream. It was just the coffee and the vanilla sweetener for a little less than $2. It’s more on the sweeter end for a vanilla coffee compared to Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

The donut wasn’t too exciting, unfortunately. The blueberry flavor was light that you could barely taste it. The donut was like any other typical blueberry donut. They were nothing like the duffins aka blueberry donuts that are like muffins from M & M Donuts. Apparently, the donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts are not anything too special.

I guess I’m not too surprised that it’s a-ok here because Yelp gives them 3 stars with only 60 reviews.

Aside from the coffee and donut, the interior layout had a modern taste to it. They made it comfortable enough for customers to hang out in the area. So comfortable that I made a new friend! This little girl kept looking at me whenever I turned around. She was quite an entertainment as my friends and I were hanging out!

Thanks Stanley for treating us all out! It was good seeing the Lee Family out with us spontaneously!

 

 

OC Block Party

I found out through Instagram that there was going to be a OC Block Party aka a night market in Orange County hosted by KTOWN Night Market! They were giving out free tickets to the first 1,000 people so I quickly signed up for one and penciled it into my schedule. General admission is usually five dollars max.

Note to readers: This is a late post, a really late one! But hey, better late than never, right? Right!

Phil, John, Ann and I carpooled over to the Angel Stadium of Anaheim by 7PM. Around that time, the crowd wasn’t too bad. I was a little scared that it would be jam packed to the point where you wouldn’t even be able to move and enjoy the atmosphere. I’ve heard that that happens quite often at these night markets.

When we entered the venue, we saw a lot of food trucks, vendors selling clothes and accessories, carnival games and rides, performances on stage, and of course plenty of booths for food! Some of the lines for food that were extremely long were for the ramen burger, fruity drinks in mason jars, potato twists, and Mexican-Korean fusion food.

We weren’t willing to wait in line for the ramen burger because I heard it’s overrated. Even if it is, I’d like to try it one day when the line isn’t too long at a night market or at the actual restaurant. We started our adventure with a potato twist! It was fresh and well seasoned. It’s surprisingly  addicting to eat! Potato twists are pretty much available at a lot of boba shops. If you want one, I would suggest checking out Lollicup where it’s cheap and good!


Ann was eager to get a drink in a mason jar so we headed over to a food stand called Main Squeeze OC. She shared her lemonade with everyone since it was huge! It was sweet and not too tangy just the way I like it! There were pieces of lychees in there too!

Main Squeeze OC doesn’t actually have a shop that you can stop by to pick up a drink. It seems like they’re only available at food fairs or night markets. Make sure to check out their Facebook or their Twitter to locate them at their next appearance!

As we were walking around, we picked up more food like some sausages and popcorn chicken. I think we inhaled those pretty quickly because they were so good!

If you ever go to these night markets, make sure to not wear your nicest clothes! You’ll definitely smell from all the meat they’re grilling all around the night market!

Just imagine as if you’re going to an all you can eat KBBQ restaurant. What would you wear? Something light so your clothes don’t soak up the smell but also loose so you can eat a lot! That’s how you should dress accordingly to a night market!


Phil got himself a Pork Belly Pocket -Crispy for $5.

For a small pocket, they knew how to stuff it with the pork belly!

It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted because I wanted something easy and clean to eat, affordable, and of course there had to be meat! I ended up going to a Mongolian food stand and picked up two skewers of chicken and pork for $5!

Actually, it wasn’t too easy to eat it because once you’re in the middle of the skewer, it’s kind of hard to take a bite of the meat. It was definitely a challenge that I overcame! I slightly regretted getting these skewers because I was pretty full from the lemonade, potato twists, and all the other snacks we shared. But hey, YOLO!

After eating so much, we walked around and watched some talented people from the Asian American community perform! It was great to have some entertainment though the crowd was a little dead that night. We walked over to the carnival side and it was sadly a little bare. Hardly anyone was playing games or going on the rides. I think everyone was focused on the food!

After hanging out at the OC Block Party for a few hours, we were ready to head out for more food…Don’t judge!

We went over to a fairly new 85 Degrees Cafe in Garden Grove to get some cake for Ann’s birthday! We celebrated her 25th birthday with an awesome strawberry cake!

Happy (now belated) birthday, Ann! I’m thankful that we were able to celebrate your 25th birthday together! Also, thanks Ann, John, and Phil for checking out OC Block Party with me!