Monday, February 27, 2012

Mini Maple Forest

A few weekends ago, I was able to steal my boyfriend from his bandmates and his motorcycle for a very quick hike in Griffith Park. My courage to explore was bolstered by having a partner in crime, so we set off on a few of those paths less traveled. (i.e. The paths firefighters use during dry season, but don't worry! It's nowhere close to dry season.) We discovered a dense grove of what looked like mini maple trees. It was striking change from the surrounding scenery! The grove did not extend very far, but it was fun to find something different. Just goes to show that Griffith Park is not as old hat as we all might think.

PS: I have some sad news, I am slammed with work again this week. And I need to get everything tied up before my friend comes next week. We're road tripping up the Pacific Coast Highway, and I don't want anything distracting me! So bear with me on limited blog posting again. I promise one of these days I will catch you up on every thing I've been doing!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Friday!

Geez it feels like ages since I've managed a Happy Friday post. Have you missed them? I kind of have. So what are you all up to this weekend? We're transitioning from our portrait project to our documentary project in photography class. I have zero clue what I want the subject of my documentary project to be, but I need to shoot at least a roll or two this weekend. Suggestions of subjects are welcome! My other plans are to celebrate a belated Valentines Day, try to fit in a hike, and maybe see A Separation at the little theater in Los Feliz. The reviews are outstanding, and the theater is a fun place to see a movie. It is so adorably small! I hope you have a fun weekend planned as well!

PS: If you don't have any plans this weekend, Downton Abby's first season just appeared on Netflix. Watch!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Pie Hole of Little Tokyo

Image from The Daily Cupcake.

Did you ever watch Pushing Daisies? Probably not. I must have been one of 5 people in America who watched that show before the writers' strike and bad audience numbers killed it. It was so great, though: whimsical, well-acted, and full of pies! Actually, that's why I mentioned it. The main character has a shop called The Pie Hole, which looks kitschy yet delicious in the show, and I always kind of wished it was real. And then, a few months ago, it became real! A pie shop called The Pie Hole popped up across the street from Wurstkuche in Little Tokyo/the Arts District. The real Pie Hole went a different way with their decor (minimal with gorgeous wooden tables), but they stayed true to the idea of an almost-all-pie-menu. That includes savory pies too, in case you are not big on sweets. The flavors are based on what's in season and change every few weeks, so there is no chance of getting bored. I had the Mexican chocolate pie and a cup of coffee and was in heaven. Unfortunately for Starbucks and Coffee Bar, I think Pie Hole has become my preferred place to study (if I ever did that anymore). Now if they started screening old episodes of Pushing Daisies, I might just move in.

The Pie Hole
714 Traction Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kalbi Burger

When listing the pros and cons of living in Los Angeles, an ample selection of really quality burgers is high on the pro's list. Kalbi Burger is one of this selection. It's not the best (for me that honor goes to Umami, although the bf would probably argue for In'n'Out), but it is still delicious. For about $10, I got the chicken burger (which is really just a chicken breast) which comes oozing with cheese and caramelized onions and the sweet potato fries. It was so filling, I couldn't even finish.

Good things to know about Kalbi before going: 1) There is a parking lot in front, but it is one of those lame Ktown valet lot where you have to pay to park in the strip mall. 2) There seems to be free parking in the back and on the street. 3) There are burgers, hot dogs, and salads, and they mostly have an Asian bend to them. 4) The burger menu selection is more limited than Umami. There are just beef burgers, veggie burgers, and the above-mentioned chicken burger. And 5) the decor leans more towards the fast food style joint. It is clean and bright but not all that aesthetically pleasing otherwise. But knowing all this, it is still definitely worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood!

Kalbi Burger
4001 Wilshire Blvd., Unit E
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Monday, February 20, 2012


Sorry I have not been posting recently. There's been a lot going on. My first photography project is due on Wednesday. I had all of the this school work (so lame, don't they know I've completely checked out?). I just spent a long weekend visiting a friend in Portland. And on top of all that, it's fashion month. So all my time not taken up by one of the above activities has been spent perusing photos and reviews of the various shows. But the good thing about taking a blog vacation is that now I have loads of fun stuff to share! Look forward to posts about the above activities and much much more!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Burgers at City Billy

I love it every time a new restaurant pops up in downtown LA. I really want to support them and so I find myself generally giving them the benefit of the doubt. So despite the mixed reviews for the new Korean-southern-comfort-food concept restaurant, City Billy, I suggested it for a night out with another couple.

As you can tell from my tepid introduction, the experience was less than stellar. Everything started off well. The hot tea choices were really nice! Then we split two appetizers, the spicy kochujang wings and the bacon onion rings. The bacon onion rings didn't seem to have any bacon flavor, but they were still tasty onion rings with nice sauces. The wings were great, and I started thinking that all those Yelp reviewers had too harshly judged City Billy. But then the entrees (all different kinds of burgers) came out and were all, except for mine, cold. So no matter how deliciously flavored or well-cooked the meat might have been, everyone was grossed out that their meals that had clearly been sitting out for quite awhile while mine finished cooking. The waitress tried to make up for the screw up by taking 20% off of the bill, but she didn't know how to work their ipad computer system. So we were ignored at the end of the meal while she pressed buttons in a corner. Thank goodness my dining companions took it all in stride because I felt terrible for having picked the place! There was a lot potential in City Billy, but execution (and bacon to onion ratio) just has to improve.

PS: In case you were wondering, my burger, the one that came out hot, was really good. I got the portobello burger and added avocado, and I would definitely recommend it (if you go by yourself so your meal does not have to be timed with any others).

City Billy
611 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dine LA Review: The Gorbals

Dine LA has come and gone (perhaps my last in LA?), and I only made it to two restaurants. But I thoroughly enjoyed my choices and my meals. So I guess quality won out over quantity this time around.

The first place I went was The Gorbals. I have been wanting to go here for ages, but it is a hard sell for prospective dining companions. They say, "What kind of food is it?" I say, "Scottish Jewish." They say, "I'll see if I'm free," but they mean, "Uuuum no." The Yelp reviews don't help to sell the place either. You either love it or you hate it, apparently, so there are a substantial number of 1 and 2 star reviews mixed in with the 4 and 5 stars. But it was just my luck that I connected with 2 adventurous, downtown-dwelling dining companions, and I finally got to go for restaurant week.

The verdict? I can see how people love it and how people hate it. Our appetizers were total crap. They were supposed to be some sort of lobster bisque (you could only taste the bullion cube or whatever they were using for a base) and a frisee salad with bacon custard and an egg (it was ok flavor-wise but there was way too much heavy custard/square millimeter of frisee). So it is a really good thing that we ordered the bacon wrapped matzo balls off the regular menu as an extra appetizer to split. Those were lovely. In addition, the entrees were FANTASTIC! At least the fish was, which is what I had. I think the chicken might have only been good, but I was too distracted by the flavors melting in my mouth to investigate. Then came dessert, which was not too crazy, thank goodness, as I had my fill of crazy with the bacon custard. It was mostly chocolately goodness, just what I like. Bonus points for The Gorbals, though, because you get a free glass of wine with the Dine LA menu. And not just the house wine! Any of the wines on the wine list are up for grabs. So despite the unappetizing appetizers, the free $14 glass of wine and amazing entrees makes The Gorbals a solid bet for Dine LA.

The Gorbals
501 S. Spring St.
(Inside the Alexandria Hotel, in the back of the lobby)
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Welcome Back with a Trio of Champagne Cocktails

Sorry I've been a bit m.i.a. To be honest, there was a death in the family, and between flying back to the east coast and then catching up on work, I've just been too tired and stressed out to blog. But I just spent all of yesterday finishing an edit for my law journal and catching up on stupid internets things. (Did you know Lana Del Rey sucked on SNL? And some breast cancer charity caused a big hubub when they stopped donating to Planned Parenthood? And after Florida, everyone said this primary is the dirtiest campaign, well, ever? I just found all this out!) Anyway now that I am semi-caught up with the world I feel like I can tackle blogging again.

So as a nice easy welcome back, I'm just going to share my Friday night plans: I made some "exotic" mimosas and killed a bottle of cheap champagne. The process is super simple. Muddle juice/pulp/berries with shredded herb/pepper/etc. Then add champagne. The flavors, as you can guess, were 1) mint grapefruit 2) lemon sage and 3) blackberry jalapeno. Mint grapefruit turned out too bitter with almost no mint flavor. Sage lemon was OK. The sage was great, but it might have gone better with something other than lemon. Blackberry jalapeno was the best! Perfect amount of sweet and spicy . . . or maybe I just thought it was the best because I was on my 3rd or 4th mimosa? :)