Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Friday!

Hello hello! What are you up to this weekend? I have some work to do, but hopefully I can squeeze in a little fun. On Friday, the bf and I are thinking of going to Arashi's sushi happy hour. It is our favorite sushi place in downtown, but for some reason I have never blogged about it. I promise to fix that if we go! Then on Saturday or Sunday, I'm going to take the metro up to South Pasadena. My boyfriend drove me through it last weekend, and it was such a cute neighborhood that I vowed I would come back on foot with camera in tow to see it this weekend. If you have any recommendations of where to stop for food, coffee, or shopping in South Pasadena, let me know! I hope you have a lovely weekend!

PS: These pictures are from Perch happy hour last Thursday. Yes, I went again. But really how am I supposed to resist that view + champagne cocktails?!

Military Fashion

My interpretations of the new military trend. Picture 1: Vintage puffy vest, Zara shirt, VonZipper aviators. Pictures 2-4: Vintage WW1 jacket, Catholic uniform button down (yep, from high school!), Gap pants, Bass loafers, necklaces handmade (c/o my friend Erin) and unknown, VonZipper aviators.

Remember how I mentioned that military was a big look at the vintage shop? Well based on the publicity and praise given to Joseph Altuzarra's military-influenced coats from his fall ready-to-wear collection and the recent street style that has mimicked that look, I think it is safe to say that military fashion is not just a trend with vintage shoppers. I'm glad I've already stocked up. For once, I'm ahead of the game! Although I wouldn't object to rounding out my wardrobe with that Altuzarra olive pencil skirt below. It doesn't get more military-chic than that!

Photo credits: 1 & 2, 3 (Vogue Sept. 2011), 4 & 5, 6 & 7

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Biking the LA River

So this past Friday my class was canceled, and I tried something new: biking up through Chinatown to the LA river bike trail. I admit, I did not have high expectations since I had only seen the trail from the highway on my way to the Costco in Los Feliz. So I was surprised to find the concrete basin that I thought of as the LA river actually has a lot of water and plants and wildlife! Granted this is not the most impressive display of nature ever, but compared to the area around it, the river bike path is a nice respite from warehouses and pothole-ridden streets. I saw all sorts of cranes, gulls, and herons. I was enjoying myself so much that before I knew it, I had biked 10 miles out! My goal next time is to bring more water and take the trail all the way to the north edge of Griffith Park.

LA River Bike Path
Entrance on N. Figueroa St.
Just west and over the bridge from the intersection with N. San Fernando Rd.

The View from Takami

Takami is a sushi restaurant, although you wouldn't know it from my photos. I thought most of the food was pretty good, and there are some great deals on the happy hour menu (spicy tuna stuffed peppers!!!). But what really made Takami stand out for me was 1) $5 wine and 2) the great view of downtown. This place is blocks from my apartment, and I'm kicking myself that it took me a year to finally visit it. I will be visiting for numerous happy hours over the next few months to make up for this lost time!

811 Wilshire Boulevard, 21st floor
Los Angeles, California 90017
(Yes, this is the same address as Elevate. They are across the floor from each other.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My First Umami Burger (Finally!)

Finally, the boyfriend and I noshed on the unhealthy deliciousness that is Umami burgers. Everyone in LA raves about this place, which means a lot because LA is really serious about their burgers. Recently I got to experience all the hype for myself. The verdict is that the traditional Umami burger, seen in picture 6 with the bf, is not that amazing in comparison to other good bistro burgers. But the more exotic burger options are phenomenal! I got a Thai shrimp burger special and ate the whole thing in maybe a minute flat. It was that good. I wish I had noted all the ingredient that came with it, but at the time I could only think about devouring the shrimp patty. Once I finished my burger, I had truffle cheese fries to keep me busy while my boyfriend at a more normal pace. While they were not as amazing as the shrimp burger, they were still more than satisfying. I am dying to go back and try the lamb burger now!

Umami Burger Los Feliz
4655 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027

2nd Annual Best LA Bartender Competition

Photos from Yelp and Tumbler. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

I just got tickets for the Best LA Bartender competition, and I couldn't be more excited! I can't think of anything I would enjoy more on a lazy Sunday than sampling carefully crafted cocktails. To make the whole thing even more perfect, the competition is a few blocks away from my apartment at a venue with great views of downtown, and the after party is at my most favorite bar, Villains Tavern. What will you be doing on Oct. 9th? Because you should definitely be here with me!

The contenders (and pictures of cocktails from their respective bars clockwise from top left):
1. Next Door Lounge - Joe Brooke
2. The Varnish - Devon Tarby
3. Bar | Kitchen - Daniel Zacharczuk
4. Tasting Kitchen - Justin Pike
5. Harvard & Stone - Brian Summers

Table 20′s LA’s Best Bartender Competition Elevate Lounge
811 Wilshire Boulevard, 21st floor
Los Angeles, California 90017

Oct. 9, 3:30-7:30 pm

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Flavors at Bottega Louie

Great news! Now that it is officially fall, Bottega Louie has unveiled 3 new macarons featuring seasonal flavors. My hands down favorite was, of course, the pumpkin. I never get tired of pumpkin flavor, and it comes through clearly here. My second favorite was actually the chestnut apricot. The fruity and nutty flavors mix well together. I wasn't sure about this when combo I tried it, but I'm definitely a fan now. The caramelized cinnamon was the weak link for me. It has great potential, but I think the recipe needs to be tweaked so there is a little more cinnamon spice and a little less sweet caramel. Overall, though, these are great additions. I am now motivated to see what seasonal changes have been made to the dinner menu too!

Bottega Louie
700 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Fancy Date at WP24

The bf and I went on a very fancy date a few weekends ago at WP24, the Wolfgang Puck Chinese restaurant on the 24th floor of the downtown Ritz Carleton Carlton*. The positives? The food was very very very good, and you get lots of it. We split the 4 course tasting menu (despite the sour response from our server about splitting - more on that later) which comes with an appetizer, 2 entrees, and a dessert. 3 chef tastings came out too. In total, we ate shrimp and lobster spring rolls, a shrimp toast tasting, some kind of dumpling tasting, the sea bass entree, a spicy shrimp entree with potatoes, the Marjolasian dessert (award winning! layers of dark chocolate, white espresso mouse, cashew nougat and milk chocolate glaze), and a cookie tasting. It was so satisfying. Plus, the decor is sleek and fun and the view is fantastic.

The negatives? WP24's attempts to up-sell are obnoxious. We had to sit in the bar/lobby 20 minutes after the time of our reservation to wait for the table "to be ready" even though there were a handful of open tables in the dining room. This is done to everyone who comes for dinner, and it is clearly an attempt to get you to buy a $16 cocktail before dinner. Once you sit down, you are brought the drink menu only. The food menu is not brought until you either order a drink or tell your server you are not drinking. On top of this, the service is cold. I know we were not our server's highest grossing table, but I still expect something better than the cold shoulder any time I'm spending more then $200 on a meal for 2.

Ok I rambled on for way too long. Sorry!

* Thanks boyfriend, for being my spellchecker! :)

900 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Current Affair Recap

I'm a terrible blogger and forgot my camera at home. So my recap of this fall's incarnation of A Current Affair is illustrated through cell phone photos. I thought the grainy pictures would be better than nothing! I scooped up a forest green puffy vest with a detachable fur lined hood and a fur vest with pockets (which will be immediately replacing my faux fur DIY vest).* Outside of my purchases, I noticed some reoccurring trends:

1. vintage military wear (good thing I scooped up my WWI era jacket already this summer!) 2. leopard everything (my favorite was a pony hair clip on miniature bow tie but it was priced somewhat absurdly at $40) 3. fur, lots and lots and lots of fur 4. patterns 5. sparkles/shimmer/shine in many forms

The one thing I was expecting to see but really didn't was gloves. I saw very few pairs and nothing under $60. I'm really feeling gloves this season. Maybe modern retailers will pick up the slack in that department.

*Yes, that is me wearing both vests at one time. I'm a nerd. Thanks, Kim, for snapping this shot!

Big Bear: Lake Tour

So as you probably guessed from my "cliff hanger' post on Friday, I spent the end of my second day at Big Bear Lake going on a boat tour. I highly recommend the Miss. Liberty tour. The guide is a life long laker and is just a wealth of knowledge. I will try to share all of the tidbits I gleaned from him that I can remember!

A view of my lodgings - Lagonita Lodge - from the lake.

Tipping rock, hence the graffiti, up close and from afar. So named because, well, it's looked like it is going to tip over for decades now.

Some of the houses of the better known Big Bear residents. 1) Britney Spears - she's never there 2) the Max Factor family 3) some 1950s celebrity whose name I forget 4) Bugsy Siegal - who apparently dumped a bunch of slot machines in the lake in front of his place which have never been retrieved and 5) Roy Rogers of burger fame. Another house (not pictured) belongs to the son of Mel Blank, the voice of the Looney Toons. The son has taken up the family business since his father passed away and now voices the same characters. He came out to say hello to the tour in all the various character voices, which was definitely the highlight!

This is a cabin built on state park land (versus the Big Bear Lake town). In order to build on park land, you have to agree not to move any trees or rocks. So these creative homeowners built their cabin over a giant bolder. Can you see it through the window/cut out in the middle of the cabin?!

The UCLA sun observatory.

Here's another crafty homeowner. This island used to be a peninsula, but right before the town increased the dam and raised the level of the water, the current resident bought this spot and imported these little cabins. Then the water rose, the land bridge was covered, and this person had a lovely little private island!

And finally, a few shots of the sun rise and ducks getting their breakfast on from the morning I left. They're not from the boat tour, but they are a good close to the Big Bear trip. I cannot wait to go back in October!