Category Archives: California

Cross-country Meat Fest, Day 1 – The Mad Greek in Baker, California

souvlaki

For whatever reason, be it novels or movies or those suave car commercials showing SUVs pulling smooth turns over a steep mountainside, cross country road trips still carry cachet in the minds of American people. The freedom of the open road, idyllic American countryside, a slowed sense of time.

20 Things to Do in LA – The Guide

20things

Before moving to New York, I made a pledge to myself to absorb as much of Los Angeles as I could before leaving in just eight weeks. Thus, the “20 Things to Do in LA Before I Move” list was born. I hesitate to call it a Bucket List or “Things to Do Before You…

A Fine Dining Farewell: Saam at the Bazaar

When I first arrived here in 2002, a fresh-faced college student full of awe at the vastness of Los Angeles, food was the last thing on my mind. Up to that point, the fanciest meal that I had ever had was at a local steakhouse in South Bend, Indiana. It was a great steak in my 18-year-old opinion, cooked to a perfect well done and doused in plenty of A1 sauce.

Seafood Explosion: San Pedro Fish Market

If first impressions are everything, then San Pedro Fish Market may not have lasted more than the 50 years it has been in business. There’s a lot to be turned off by at first glance: the overwhelming crowds, long lines, a pervasive smell of raw fish, high prices, and pigeons and seagulls stalking your every move, waiting to pickpocket your shrimp at an unsuspecting moment. But, oh the food!

To Market, to Market: Santa Monica Farmers Market

In Los Angeles, the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market is to foodies what The Ivy is to celebrity hounds. There is no better farmers market in the city, and for Travel + Leisure, perhaps no better market in the country. Big-name chef spottings are practically guaranteed. But celebrity chefs aside, what sets the market apart is the sheer variety.

Restaurants I won’t find in NYC: La Casita Mexicana

I can’t blame New Yorkers for being a big fail on authenticity, but the thought of shredded beef tacos on flour tortillas has only served to increase my appreciation for great Mexican food. As part of my 20 Things to Do, I resolved to eat the O.G. Mexican before I left, and that meant a trip to La Casita Mexicana.

Historic Hollywood Bowl

Summer in L.A. isn’t complete without a trip to the Hollywood Bowl. In all my years here in California, I had never been, so this summer I went three times: once to the Playboy Jazz Festival in June, once to see Planet Earth Live, and lastly to see my boyfriend duet with jazz great Dave Douglas and his big band.

Hiking in my ‘hood: Urban Hike down Colorado Blvd.

7. Urban Hike Of all the ways you can train for a 14-mile urban hike down the streets of Glendale, Eagle Rock, Pasadena and Arcadia, I can tell you from experience the one thing you should not do.  Don’t go to the Hollywood Bowl the night before, park a mile away, hike up to the…

Sun-kissed Sundays: My trip down the South Bay Bicycle Trail

I had misconceived notions about bringing my fabulous Nikon with me to document a bike trip down the southern California coastline. Day of the trip, I imagined how much I would hate lugging that bulky thing around with me, so at the last second, I grabbed an old point-and-shoot. Well as irony punishes the indecisive, I forgot that I had taken the memory card out of that particular camera.

Dodger Dog. Check.

Truthfully, I find baseball to be almost mind-numbingly boring. But baseball games themselves are fun, especially when your home team — and I say that loosely, seeing as I don’t care at all about baseball — is the Dodgers and your home stadium is Dodger Stadium, nestled in a palm-tree-lined hillside that perfectly catches the warm southern California breeze.

Polka Polish: Falling in love with white people food

My hometown of South Bend, Indiana had a strong Polish community and heritage, though as a precocious Asian American in a mostly white town, I was completely oblivious to this fact. (What can I say, all you white people look alike.) The extent of my Polish cultural knowledge was that 1) there was something called Dyngus Day where a lot of white people ate sausage, and 2) Polish food royally sucked, based on a wedding reception I attended many years ago.

Why I love Scoops… and not just for ice cream

Los Angeles, particularly the Eastside, has its fair share of outstanding ice cream shops. I’d never turn down anything with a Fosselman’s label on it, and I can easily be convinced to trek to Altadena (!) for some spoon-licking-good Bulgarini Gelato. But Scoops takes the win for my personal favorite shop, and is another thing that had to make the list of 20 Things to Do Before Leaving LA. So why Scoops?

A Thousand Words: Add a little sunshine to your day

I snapped this lone sunflower at Elyria Canyon Park in Mount Washington. It’s a sleepy little park (and sleepy little neighborhood) in the heart of the Eastside. Hard to imagine that this is the backyard for so many in this neighborhood.

A Tale of Two Trails: Sunset over Parker Mesa

Technically I can cross this off my L.A. “bucket” list. I had been tagging along on night hikes with my friends Katisse and Sue, who like to take advantage of the cool weather and bright city lights that illuminate the Paseo Miramar Trail. It’s a moderate 5-mile out-and-back trail that takes you to the Parker Mesa Overlook, a scenic viewpoint whence you can see all the way from downtown to LAX, and out into the black nothingness of the ocean.

20 Things To Do in LA Before I Move

In mid-August, I’ll be uprooting my Angeleno roots for life in the Big Apple. As a new NYU grad student, what exhilaration I have for starting a new professional path has been eclipsed by my love for Los Angeles. This city, for all its maddening traffic and Hollywood flippancy, is pretty damned amazing. So always the procrastinator, I’ve got about eight weeks to cram in all the things that I didn’t get around to doing in eight years.