OC

Back to Pasadena

When I’m looking for a new place to eat, I usually look at the reviews and the scenery of the location through Googling and Yelping. Yes, the scenery does matter for those picture moment purposes. The setting of where I eat does make a difference because it just makes me enjoy my food more!

So I wanted to meet up with Sarah in Pasadena. I did some extensive research in the area to look for a place to eat and found Float from Yelp. It’s an old school soda-pop shop that sells root beer floats and sandwiches at a reasonable price. AND! It is in the cutest area EVER. I repeat, EVER.
Float

We all ordered a popular item on the menu which was the Chipotle Bacon Club. It had chipotle bacon, butter lettuce, tomato, turkey, avocado, and cilantro lime mayo. The sandwich was simple but so delicious! I think the bread and the spread just completed the deliciousness of the sandwich.
Chipotle Bacon Club

We also got a cola float. None of us are actually fans of root beer so we decided to get cola instead. The cola definitely did not taste like your everyday Coca-Cola brand. There’s an authentic taste of the sugar from the cola making the float taste naturally sweeter. The float was good, but the presentation made it even better! With the mason jar, red and white striped straw, and the old school glass bottle just came together really well.
Cola Float

After enjoying the food and the location very much, we walked around the area to shop. There’s not a lot of stores to check out but one store you might want to check out is Anthropologie! It’s right next door from Float. Across the street, there’s Beard Papas, Yogurtland, Macy’s and TJ Max.
Float

Of course, we had to check out Old Town Pasadena like last time. We went to Kabuki for Happy Hour and just ordered a bunch of sushi and appetizers! It was madness but well worth it since it was Happy Hour. We spent about $15 per person for 3 or 4 different kinds of sushi, salad, and spicy tuna for appetizer. They definitely have one of the better Happy Hour deals that I’ve seen compared to other restaurants.
Happy Hour at Kabuki

Right after Happy Hour, we headed over to Lette to get some macaroons to go with our coffee for the night. We ended the night at Copa Vida which is a hipster coffee shop.
Copa Vida

What I like about it is that they really care about making quality coffee and tea. There’s great customer service and I love how there’s so much space! A lot of coffee shops are more for on the go so the space is small. It’s nice to just sit down at a coffee shop to do work or just chit chat but that usually doesn’t happen due to lack of space. But Copa Vida has plenty of space, enough space to have live music on a Friday night!
Copa Vida

I got my latte fix and Elaine got a cappuccino.
Latte with pistachio macaroni

Sarah got a mint tea which by the way you should try if you don’t feel like drinking some kind of coffee. The mint is pretty strong but in a good way where you feel cleansed and refreshed by it! Once I had a sip of Sarah’s tea, I honestly didn’t want to drink my latte because the mint easily made me feel so purified!
Mint Tea

It was nice to end our night at Copa Vida where we were able to just sit and hear words of wisdom from Sarah. Thanks Sarah for coming down to Pasadena to meet up with me and Elaine!
Sarah & Elaine

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Pumpkin Patch

The fall season and the festivity of this month made me want to check out a corn maze. So I did some research but found nothing too exciting in Orange County going on with corn mazes. I ended up finding that Cal Poly Pomona has a crazy annual corn maze and pumpkin patch. The school has agricultural studies so they have a huge plot of land for farming and all that fun stuff. Perfect for this time of the season!

The view before entering the pumpkin patch at Cal Poly Pomona.

The view before entering the pumpkin patch at Cal Poly Pomona.

We went for the food first when we got to the patch. The pork sandwich was $9 and the pulled pork fries were $9 also.
Pork sandwich.

They were both SO GOOD. Pulled pork fries were something new to me and would love to try it again! I’d say it was worth the $9.
Pulled pork fries.

After sharing all that good pork sandwich and fries, we had to walk it off to the pumpkin patch. Right when you enter the field of pumpkins, there’s a side of tall sunflowers just standing there so brightly! They were probably at least 5.5 feet tall!I’ve never seen them so tall before!
Sunflowers at the pumpkin patch.

Whether you found a baby sized pumpkin or a 20 pound pumpkin in the field, it was $5! It was such a good deal especially if you found a huge one.
Jo advertising her pumpkin.

There were so many families out there who brought wagons and carts to put their 10 pumpkins in! If a family had a stroller, they would put the pumpkin in the stroller and carry their baby. Just like in the picture below…(I was trying to act like I was taking a picture of the field but I was really trying to take a picture of the guy and his two pumpkins in the stroller.) As you can see, the guy replaced the baby with 2 pumpkins! #Pumpkinpatchgonewrong
Pumpkin > Baby

Phil, Josephine, and I walked around the whole field trying to find the one. It was definitely hard because there were so many!
Josephine and I with our pumpkins!

So we ended up not buying any pumpkins because we didn’t have a wagon to hold our pumpkins nor did we want to carry a 5-10 pound pumpkin in the heat back to our car. Though we didn’t buy any, it was still fun to just walk around and look at all the different shaped pumpkins out there.
Jo, Phil, & Pumpkins.

Because the field was so big, we spent at least a good hour in the heat just hanging out in the field.
Where is Jo?

The main purpose of the pumpkin patch was actually to check out the corn maze but we were pretty exhausted from walking around in the heat. So we just went in front of the corn maze just to see how it looked like.
Corn Maze.

I was so surprised at the height of the corn stalks! It looked like a legitimate corn maze! It was just a few bucks to go through the maze. Apparently it’s supposed to take either 15 minutes or 30 minutes to complete it.
Jo secretly getting out of a corn maze.

Definitely next year, I’ll be checking out the corn maze. As for the pumpkin patch, I’ll know better next year to bring a stroller. I mean, not a stroller. I don’t have a kid and I won’t have a kid next year. But to bring those little kid’s red wagon so I can actually buy a pumpkin or two or five…

Thanks Josephine and Phil for joining me in my first pumpkin patch! Glad we got to eat, walk, and have fun in the sun!

Blackmarket Bakery

When I got back from Boston, I had to meet up with Briana to celebrate her acceptance to pharmacy school! Yay, Briana! Praise the Lord!

We celebrated at Blacketmarket Bakery located in the hipster area of Costa Mesa, The Camp. There we tried out some fancy sweets. We shared two of their popular desserts,the Black Widow Tart and  the Basque Berry.
Black Market Sweets

Black Widow Tart. Dark Chocolate Ganache over caramel in a chocolate tart shell. If you like heavy chocolate, then this is the way to go.
Black Widow Tart

Basque Berry. Raspberries and lemon curd under a rich batter, topped with sliced almonds. This has a light tangy flavor to it.
Basque Berry

According to Briana, it’s weird to switch from the Basque Berry to the Black Widow Tart. I actually tried the Black Widow Tart first and then went over to the Basque Berry. I’d have to say it’s better to switch from sweet to tangy.

For two of these tarts, they were a little less than $10. Would I come back here again? Eh, probably not. I wouldn’t go out of my way to try it again. It’s an a-ok bakery just because of what we tried didn’t stand out too much. They were just simply ok good.

While we were eating some sweets, I gave her some sweets from Boston! There’s actually not a lot of souvenirs to buy in Boston. So I ended up just getting her a baby penguin chocolate from a fancy popular chocolate shop called La Burdick.
Bri & Baby Penguin

Congratulations on pharmacy school, Briana! So proud of you!

True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen has been in Newport Beach for about 3 years. I heard a lot of mixed reviews about this place. Good and bad. I wasn’t that eager to try the place out but my sister is into fancy healthy food. So my family and I went there on a Saturday night. Saturday night es no bueno. Our wait was about an hour and fifteen minutes. I believe they do not take any reservations. First come first serve basis.
True Food Kitchen

As we waited, I just re-read through the Yelp reviews. It got 4 stars but comments were kind of all over the place. Even after the hour and fifteen wait, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted. Nothing seemed greatly appealing to me. I just had my sister order for the family.

Once we got seated we got drinks since they were pretty well known for their refreshing and healthy drinks. I first got what the waitor said was his favorite which was The Natural. Oh man, his favorite became my least favorite. Why did I order his favorite? I like to try other people’s favorite because it may become my favorite. But that in particular was a mistake. It was too natural for me. Way too natural. The Natural is basically ginger, agave, and soda. After sharing the drink, we all decided it was a no go.

So I switched to Green Arnie which is matcha green tea and honey lemonade. This was definitely a lot better but the powder of the green tea did not have a good consistency. Overall it was an ok drink. My sister got a popular drink according to Yelpers, the Medicine Man. It has a mix of sea buckthorn, pomegranate, cranberry, black tea, and soda. It was better than the Green Arnie.
Medicine Man & Green Arnie

In general, I don’t drink anything fancy with my meal because I like to keep it simple with water. But I decided to get a fruity drink since True Food Kitchen is known for their drinks. But. Never again will that happen. The Natural was too carbonated that it hurt the throat. Green Arnie tried too hard to be a healthy drink that it wasn’t flavorful. Medicine Man wasn’t the man I wanted him to be but he was definitely the best out of the three.

For appetizer we ordered a gluten free Albacore Escabeche. It’s a plate of citrus, avocado, cilantro, chili and scallion. Presentation was nice as it tasted. My family enjoyed it’s tender meat and it’s fresh taste to it. I tried a bite and couldn’t take it. I’m just not a fan of raw meat. It reminded me of sushi which I’m not too fond of. But hey, my family liked it. So that’s all that matters.
Albacore Escabeche

For the real meal, we got the Roasted Chicken which was enough to share with two people. Eating that definitely made me feel healthy.
Roasted Chicken

We also got the Chicken Sausage Pizza that made me feel even healthier. Nothing tasted greasy at all. It was probably more on the dryer end because of the flat breading of the pizza.
Chicken Sausage Pizza

Lastly, I got this soup of the day kind of thing. It was more of a tomato soup base with a slight smokey taste to it. As a choice of meat, I got jumbo shrimps.
Soup

Will I go out of my way to get True Food Kitchen, again? Nah. Was the food worth it? Eh, not really. I think I’ll stick with Veggie Grill. It’s cheaper, tastes better, fulfilling, and less wait.

Valentine’s Day

My Valentine’s Day started at work with co-workers who brought some cupcakes and plates of homemade cream puffs covered in pink chocolate! Yes, homemade cream puffs! I need to try and make them one day. Apparently it’s easy to make. Later in the afternoon, we had root beer floats! I’m actually not a fan of root beer floats in general. The concept of it just doesn’t make sense to me. It never did since 3rd grade. But. I decided to be part of the Valentine’s spirit by giving root beer float another chance. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the root beer part but the vanilla ice cream did no wrong! Presentation of the float was great especially with the mustache straw. We all had fun with the mustache!

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Note to Readers: No, I did not have a valentine. So don’t expect to read anything about how cupid set me up with a valentine. And no, I’m not upset that I didn’t have a valentine. I’m really ok about it. OK?!? Just kidding about the anger part but I’m really not upset. 🙂

After work, I went to a Valentine’s gathering for all the single ladies! *Starts singing the Single Ladies song by Beyonce and does the dance* Oh, oh, oh…
Valentine's Day

In the Korean culture, Valentine’s Day is a little different compared to the American culture. The roles are reversed where the girls ask the guys to be their Valentine’s. Those who are single on Valentine’s Day end up wearing all black and eat black noodles (aka jja-jja-myung) to mourn their singleness. Sounds depressing, huh? I actually think it’s more fun than not to celebrate the Korean way.

Some of my friends decided to plan a single ladies night with a mix of Korean American culture where we dressed up in black but in white also. We didn’t have black noodles but had pizza, chips & salsa, and other goodies instead. Thanks to Anne we had Banberry Pie from Polly’s Pie! Banberry Pie is probably one of the best creations of pie in this world. Banberry Pie = Banana cream pie topped with strawberries.
Banberry Pie

We ate. Played the game naked. Oh, what? Naked? Let me clarify. We did not get nakey. That is just wrong. It has nothing to do with being/getting naked. It’s a game where there are two teams. Every player writes a word or phrase on a piece of paper. Round one try to guess the phrase by explaining it verbally. Second round you do charades. Third round, say one word to describe the phrase. Under time restriction, teams try to guess the correct word as fast and as much as they can. Whichever team guesses the correct word/phrase the most, then wins. It’s a fun yet intense game to play. I tend to get really loud when playing. That’s just how intense I play.

At the end of the night, we took a group picture with serious faces-
Valentine's Day - Serious Face

No more serious Asian faces.
Valentine's Day

Thanks to Esther, Elaine, and Michelle putting this all together! It was my first time celebrating Valentine’s Day Korean style. I had fun eating and laughing with everyone.

One last thing I’d like to share about this night is a quote from Jin, “Let’s hope that this gathering doesn’t exist next year.”

Orange County Symphony

A few of my friends and I went to go see Connie perform with the Orange County Symphony at the Servite Theater Auditorium.
Orange County Symphony

When it comes to music, it’s an experience where you really have to be there to understand the beauty of it. The first piece played was the Piano Concerto in G Major by Maurice Ravel with a guest pianist, Minji Noh. If you’re not familiar with this piece, check out the YouTube video below:

I love seeing the pianist move her hands so quickly and easily. I’m always in awe of the pianist’s ability to move so freely yet so beautifully. Their talent is almost unbelievable. Another piece the symphony performed was Carmen Suites Nos 1 and 2 by Georges Bizet. This is a classic song that I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with even if they don’t listen to classical music.

This was my first attendance to a concert performed by the Orange County Symphony. I was thoroughly entertained and impressed by their performance. I plan to go to their next one just because I find great appreciation in classical music. Great job, Connie!
Orange County Symphony

By the way readers, the musicians in the YouTube videos provided in this post are not from the Orange County Symphony. Just had to clarify that.

Korean Bath House

A lot of my friends may be more Korean than I am. Don’t judge! I’m learning more about my roots oh so very slowly though. Anyways. My friend Daniel who is not Korean or of Asian decent heard about a Korean bath house in Irvine/Tustin area called I Spa. Right across from The District. I didn’t even know there was one so close to me! He heard about it from another Korean friend of his. None of my Korean friends told me about it! But I guess they assumed I would know.

So Daniel invited me to go but I didn’t want to spend $25+. The major problem was that I couldn’t let Daniel be more Korean than me. He was already ahead of the game by the fact he knew about this Korean bath house before me! Also, I couldn’t let him go to a Korean place by himself especially if he has a Korean friend, me! After much contemplation, I decided to go.

I tried to talk to the employees at the front desk in Korean but it didn’t last for a minute. They ended up speaking to me in English. That’s beside the point of my post here. So, we paid $25 for the basic use of the facility. This fee allows you to use all the sauna rooms that are opened to everyone. They gave us clothes to change into and a locker.

Korean bath houses are known for their various sauna rooms, jacuzzis, showers, and the scrubbing. The scrubbing was an additional $30 and had to be reserved ahead of time. We were definitely not going to spend $30 more since we were already paying $25.

But anyone who is new to this experience needs to try the scrubbing. There’s a scrubber person who will scrub all the dirt on your skin like your ashy elbows and knees. They’ll scrub your whole body until you turn pink. It may be a little painful and awkward but it’s all worth it at the end. Your whole body will be as smooth as a baby’s butt!

Daniel and I tried all 4 different sauna rooms and the ice room. Of course in the sauna rooms, we were sweating by doing nothing. You just lie down in the room and relax. In general you’re not suppose to talk much since other people are relaxing. But, Daniel and I probably talked a little too loud that people left the room once we came in. It was actually pretty funny.

Outside the saunas, there’s a resting area where people just lie down on the heated floor and watch Korean drama. Some people knocked out in the resting area. Hence the purpose of that area. There, we saw a good amount of non-Koreans there. I was surprised that a lot of non-Koreans were aware of this spa!

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I hope to go again since it was fun and relaxing. But it probably won’t happen anytime soon since this is pretty costly. I’m not ready to drop another $25 to relax in hot rooms for 2-3 hours.

Before I left the spa, I asked the front desk person in Korean if he had a paper of the prices for the spa. I actually only said the word paper in Korean since I didn’t know how to say brochure and the rest I said in Konglish. The front desk person started looking around for paper, I guess. He was having a hard time looking for whatever I asked for. Then I said in Korean, “I want to give my mom the paper.” After I mentioned my mom, he understood and was able to find a brochure of the spa in seconds. Going into the spa, I failed at speaking in Korean. Leaving the spa, I failed again. Again, that is beside the point of this post! I just thought it was necessary to share with you my experience there.

Thanks Daniel for letting me know about this! I have to say that we are almost even at who’s more Korean. It’s getting close!