Love this intimate desert gem! Anthony Bourdain featured it in an episode of No Reservations, and Paul McCartney has played here. It’s def worth the visit, especially if you’re nearby in Palm Springs or in Joshua Tree where I had the best napsound bath of my life.
Turn right after Waffle House??? These are my kind of directions!
I got lost going to work once (ok twice) because the house that I turn left at took down their white picket fence, so I drove right past it. I still can’t tell you what the name of the street is, but they put their fence back up, so we’re good! Ha.
I thought most of the people flying on Valentine’s Day would be on their way to see loved ones, but the majority of the passengers on my flight were headed to see Bruno Mars. Or at least that’s what their hooligans jerseys led me to believe…
I managed to snap this without getting elbowed in the face by all the asians with selfie sticks. My mom was one of them. Just kidding (she forgot hers at home).
(@ The LINQ Promenade)
I’ll have to make my way back here, if only for Virgil’s Real BBQ. And maybe that cute guy covering Stone Temple Pilots inside.
There are five Shake Shacks in LA, but we still ate here three times during our trip! We even schlepped across town with our luggage on our last day to get one last Shackburger and their limited edition Hot Chick’n when we found out we were flying out of the JFK terminal that doesn’t have a Shake Shack. We’re kind of obsessed.
This was our favorite meal of the trip (don’t let the fact that we ate at Shake Shack three times fool you). Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the waitress came back midway through our meal to give us a second scrape!
Before we knew it, it was time to fly home. Anyone who knows me and my sister knows that we’re complete opposites. She’s a Potterhead, while I’m more Homicide for the Holidays! But we always have fun when we’re together. I can’t wait for our next trip!
Here’s a little video I put together of our trip. I kept it under a minute to fit the whole thing on insta, so I cut out the part where I fell down and also the part where Shi got pulled over, among other footage! Ha.
“The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears or the sea.” (@ McWay Falls)
It’s impossible to capture the beauty that is McWay Falls in a photograph (we came back three times to try!). It would have been perfect during magic hour, but we opted to test our friendship instead at Pfeiffer Beach. More on that below! Ha.
Across from McWay Falls, we stepped into this magical forest where we were happy to have the sun on our face and wood between our legs.
Beer tastes better when you drink it in a river! Just ask this babe (@ Big Sur River Inn)
You can find this Spirit Garden, a breakfast pizza that tastes like heaven, donuts topped with more donuts, and most importantly, the only cell phone signal you’ll get for miles and miles here (@ Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant)
They say that “nepenthe” is a potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain or sorrow… I should’ve had more of these! (@ Nepenthe)
“It’s only 2.3 miles,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said (@ Pfeiffer Beach)
We wanted to catch the sunset at the beach, but the parking lot was full. We parked on the main road with 40 minutes till sunset and started our 2.3-mile trek. It was all downhill from there (figuratively and literally). I was wearing boots that were def not made for walking! I tried to run in them, and my hip flexor failed me LOL. I arrived just after the sun disappeared below the horizon. Luckily, Shi’s hip flexors worked perfectly fine, so she made it there in time and was able to snap this photo. After the sun set, we had to hike those 2.3 miles back uphill to the car. It was pitch black. Every tree looked like a bear. We were legit scared. And cold. And my phone was dead. We had brought scarves and beanies and portable battery chargers in preparation, but they were all in the car! We are the worst road trip duo ever, and it’s a miracle we made it back home alive! Ha.
My trip was cut short due to my grandma’s passing, and Anthony had the time of his life those first few days without me. He hit up the Dirty Sixth with Austin locals he made friends with and ended up giving one of them my Friday wristband. They saw all the bands I wanted to see. I’m bummed I missed Tame Impala and Leon Bridges among others, but luckily I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour on Saturday and wait with him in that 4-hour line for Franklin. Day-old brisket reheated in a hotel microwave and eaten in my chonies still tasted better than any BBQ I’ve ever had in California!
I flew in Saturday night and met up with Anthony at an Irish pub downtown. Fado is the official US soccer bar in Austin, and it’s surrounded by gay bars on 4th Street. My uber driver was convinced he was taking me to see my gay friend once I told him where I was headed LOL. I mean, it would explain so much… After US lost to Mexico, we hit up Firehouse (a cool little speakeasy inside a hostel) and Rainey Street. I loved, loved, loved it there. Rainey Street is a block of old houses converted into themed bars. We stayed till last call, and all I remember from that night is a lot of Ludacris and stanky legs. You don’t realize how drunk you are until you’re walking the hotel halls in nothing but your dress slip looking for a beverage machine so you could wash down some tylenol at three in the morning.
We didn’t wake up early enough to stand in line for BBQ before the festival on Sunday, but we stopped by Torchy’s Tacos before we made our trek to Zilker Park. There was a lot of walking. Like. A LOT. Before, during and after the festival. In nearly 100 degree heat. And in sandals that had 0% arch support (but were 100% cute, obvs). This was definitely not Portland where we had a local friend with a car, ample public transportation, and weather that was 50 degrees cooler. The highlight of my day happened just before BØRNS’ set when the sun disappeared behind the only cloud in the sky for half a minute and everyone cheered. BØRNS, Sylvan Esso and Hozier’s sets were very close seconds. So were those two snow cones we each had.
Before I knew it, it was Monday and time to check out. Anthony hit up the gym in the morning while I stayed my ass in bed. We ate lunch at Valentina’s Tex Mex where Anthony had brisket tacos and I had a beast of a beef rib with the most beautiful smoke ring. We strolled down South Congress afterwards and drank micheladas for three hours at a bar inside Hotel San Jose. We got to the airport early to watch the Chargers lose, and I asked the TSA guy if the Starbucks was before or after the security gate. He ruined my mom’s life and told me that there’s no Starbucks at all, because Austin is all about supporting local businesses. I get a Starbucks mug for my mom whenever I travel, and she’s just gonna have to be happy with the mug I got her during my layover in Phoenix!
All things considered, I’m glad I was able to take a break from life and escape for a couple of days. I’ll def be back to explore this weird little town again.
I’m doing it partly in preparation for all the BBQ and bad decisions I’ll be making in Austin next week, but mostly because I bet Anthony that I could lose twenty pounds by the time we went to ACL or I’d pay for his BBQ at Franklin. These last five pounds can’t be zumba’d off in a week, so I made a game-time decision to bring my juicer out of retirement yesterday.
I can’t wait to go on vacation! And also eat solid food again.
Six of us were supposed to vacation in Portland, but new jobs, broken water heaters, half marathons and trips to Japan got in the way. Anthony and I obviously have nothing else going on in our lives, so the two of us spent our birthday weekend traveling the pacific northwest without those clowns!
One thing I love about Portland (and pretty much any other city besides LA) is the public transit system. You can get anywhere by light rail, street car, train or bus! The light rail took us straight from the airport to our hotel downtown for $2.50 (I’ve paid nearly $40 for a cab ride to LAX, and I only live 5 miles away!). What I also love about Portland is the food. OMG, the food. They are known for their food trucks, and our hotel was a couple blocks away from a group of like 20 or so of them at Alder Food Carts. I’ve been wanting to eat at Nong’s ever since I saw her on Chopped, and it was the first of many good meals we had that weekend.
Friday was Anthony’s birthday, and he wanted to go to McMenamins Kennedy School for drinks. It used to be an elementary school, but they converted it into a hotel/brewery. We had drinks in the boiler room, and I got sloppy hoping Jordan Catalano would show up to no avail.
Our friend Mark lives in Portland, and we met up with him for some late night eats at Biwa. He took us to some hipster bar called Bar Bar afterwards where we met some of his designer friends. Apparently, there’s a lot of job opportunities up there! Something to consider while I’m sitting in LA traffic…
Saturday was for snoozing. We slept in and hit up the farmer’s market around noon. When we couldn’t find the Pine State Biscuits booth, we decided to have lunch at Lardo, but not before having some pre-meal crepes at C’est Si Bon. The crepes were a mistake. And so were the donuts that followed at Blue Star. We somehow rolled ourselves back to the hotel and were in a food coma for the rest of the rainy afternoon. Everyone in Portland was watching the Seahawks playoff game, and we slept through half of it.
When we woke up, Anthony left to work out at the hotel gym, and I ventured out on my own to see the Portland Stag Sign without telling him. It’s no secret that I get lost easily, so he decided early on that he would navigate and I was to stay at his 8 o’clock at all times. I tried to take the bus by myself, got off at the wrong stop and found myself in BUMSVILLE. I eventually found my way back to the hotel, but not before Anthony returned from the gym. He was just coming to terms with the idea that I had been abducted when I walked through the door with a bag of hot cheetos and this photo. He was not amused.
I passed by Voodoo Doughnut on my way back. This bum in front threw his half eaten donut on the ground and started following me! I barely escaped with my life.
We had drinks at Whiskey Soda Lounge while we waited for our table at Pok Pok that night. FYI if you’re only going to Pok Pok for their famous wings, you can skip the wait and get them at Whiskey Soda Lounge instead. Or if Portland is too far, you can come visit me when they open a Pok Pok LA this spring ;) It definitely was everything the internet promised it would be.
Sunday was probably my favorite day, and we didn’t even spend it in Portland! We took an impromptu trip to Seattle and did every touristy thing we could fit into five hours. We ate the best clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder (and pre-meal empanadas at El Mercado Latino), dodged fish at Pike Place Fish Market, visited the first Starbucks, tested our gag reflex at the Gum Wall in Post Alley, went to the top of the Space Needle, and rode the Great Wheel. And this is where I found out this foolio is afraid of heights. The proof is in the video.
After spending six hours on the train that day, I showered back at the hotel before we met up with Mark and his friends for drinks at Dig a Pony. If I knew we were going to end up at a strip club later that night, I would have waited to shower afterwards! Ha. Apparently, Portland is the strip club capital of America, and no trip is complete without visiting one. Anyway, here are some dollars that Anthony let some girl pick up with her tits while we ate tater tots. No bigs!
Monday was my birthday and our last day in Portland. We had a bloody mary brunch at Tasty ‘n’ Sons, beers at Hopworks Bike Bar, doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut, and coffee at Stumptown. I was really sick that day (Was it all the public transportation or was it the strip club? Who really is to blame???). I’m still sick two weeks later, so it’s taken me a while to get my life together and update this thing.
When we got back to Anthony’s house that night, Pammie and Christine came over with birthday burritos from Lolita’s! It was a great end to what Anthony refers to as “the time of my life.” He wishes!
I took a shotgun trip to Vegas this past weekend with my sister and her fiance to finalize plans for their wedding this November. I’m going to be the best maid of honor ever! Or at least the sexiest one… I’ll work that angle ;) Ha.
I’m going to Vegas this weekend, and one of the outfits I packed was my gym clothes. What has my life come to? I’m crazy competitive, and I won’t let one weekend in Vegas ruin my #1 status in this @MindzAlike#BLC.
I will eat your babies, bitch! And I’ll lose weight doing it, too ;)
My Hawaii trip with the girls was before Chel got married, before Pammie bought a condo in the OC, before Shi was the maid of honor in three different weddings, and before I sold my soul to the company I work for. I only have ten months left till my dirty thirty, and I’d like to live a little before I start extreme couponing for Olay Regenerist. Just kidding. I’m Asian—I fully intend to look like I’m twenty-something well into my forties.
With two new graphic design interns starting this month, I think I might be able to take an actual vacation this summer. And maybe I’ll even be bikini-ready by then! Okay, maybe just tankini-ready… let’s not write checks my body can’t cash.
The girls and I went to Hawaii a few years ago, and Chris, the parasailing instructor from Seabreeze Water Sports, was the highlight of my trip! Christine vacationed in Hawaii this past weekend and Chris was still there. And still hot. And still half naked. He literally charmed her panties off. Just kidding. (It was a bathing suit bottom!)
You heard of Lago de Luz? At night, the algae lights up… looks like millions of fireflies trapped just underneath the water… flapping their wings, trying to break free. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Beautiful.
I went up to the OC to help my sister paint her condo this weekend. It was my first time taking the train, and I loved everything about it. In the 90-minute ride, I was able to avoid traffic, finish designing wedding invitations for a new client, and watch the ass clowns sitting in front of me get escorted off the train by the deputy, all while taking in the view of the Pacific Ocean.
Pammie picked me up in Irvine and we ate at Shik Do Rak, a Korean BBQ joint with my favorite kind of meat—all you can eat! We went to Lowe’s afterward to buy everything she needed to paint the living room. The previous owner painted it an offensive powder blue. Who does that??? Almost any color would’ve been a definite upgrade, and she picked one within minutes. We are such opposites. I once went to Ikea and stared at two coffee tables for half an hour and then went home empty handed because I couldn’t decide which one I liked best. This is why people hate shopping with me. And eating with me. I’m always the last one to order at restaurants, too. Luckily, we were painting Pammie’s condo and not my own.
Painting was harder than I expected. By the time we unscrewed all the outlet covers, took down the curtains, moved all the furniture, taped off the baseboards and set down the drop cloths, two hours had passed and we hadn’t even started painting yet. When we finally went to bed at four in the morning, her living room was painted a beautiful London Coach.
Despite my early morning tomorrow, I decided to take a later train out and stay a bit longer. After eating that spicy lobster roll with Shi at RB Sushi, I’ve been craving it ever since. I found it near my sister’s at a place called Kokoro, so we ate there for dinner. We had cupcakes from Frostings afterward for dessert, and now I’m on the train back home to SD, still partially covered in paint in places I didn’t think you could get paint. I’m exhausted!
Shotgun trip to Vegas this past weekend. We ate at Studio B inside the M Resort. Twice. We watched the JBWKZ do chest pops. We floated down a lazy river. We managed to escape running into all the people from SD who were also in town for the weekend. It was more like a relaxing vacation than the usual trip to Vegas. No high heels. No clubs. No hangover. What has my life come to?
While vacationing in NYC years ago, I managed to get myself and Pammie lost in the city. We got off the train when I realized we were going the wrong way and found ourselves alone with Milo Ventimiglia at an otherwise empty subway stop. Seeing him in person was like hearing the Beatles for the first time, and I was rendered speechless. I got on the subway without asking him to father my children, and it has been my #3 regret in life ever since (don’t ask me what the first two are—I’m taking them to my grave!).
I loved taking the subway everywhere, and I die a little each minute I’m sitting in traffic at home in California. In memory of my trip, I’ve made some NYC-inspired magnets, complete with my old maps that got us lost in the city. Hopefully they will be of more use to you on your fridge than they were for me in New York! You can buy them here.
At the risk of ruining what glimmer of street cred I might have, I’m going to let you in on my secret shame… I used to be in show choir. I have the sequin dress and nude character shoes to prove it. Fortunately, there’s no audio or video proof, but I think that admitting it is proof enough. Naturally, I fell in love with the TV show, Glee. And yes, I’m a total Gleek… What of it??? Last night, the girls and I headed up to LA to watch them in concert.
I took the day off from work, but was awakened at an ungodly hour by Shi, who loves her job and decided to take a half day instead. I mean, I don’t even know why she went to work at all. I’m sure her day consisted of taking two lunches, removing her nail polish with the cotton balls and nail polish remover she keeps readily available in her office, and calling me six times before 10am. Seriously, can I enjoy?
We picked up Pammie in the OC and stopped at In-N-Out for lunch. With our ridiculous order of extras (extra fries, extra-large drinks, extra-toasted buns, burgers cut in half… who are these people?), I’m surprised we ever made it to LA at all.
The LXD opened for Glee and I was blown away (especially by Madd Chadd Smith and his panty droppin’ chest pops). Def check out their inspiring performance at TED earlier this year. I’ll spare you the rest of the concert details, but the show was amazing. And I’m pretty sure Puck singled me out in the crowd and gave me a thumbs up in this picture. Try not to be too jealous:
We stayed the night at Pammie’s and planned to eat brunch at Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills before heading home:
Little did we know we’d be waking up at the break of dawn, too. Shi needed to be back in SD by noon, so brunch turned into breakfast. 8:30 isn’t too early for a cocktail, is it?
Shi ordered the craziest mac and cheese I’ve ever seen. It had Sicilian sausage, short ribs, smoked gouda, tomato carbonara sauce, and was topped with bacon fried eggs:
Pammie and Chel both ordered the green eggs and ham benedict. Would they eat them in a box? Would they like them with a fox? And an even bigger question—how has Shi never heard of Green Eggs and Ham???
I ordered the most sinful thing on the menu… creme brulee french toast. It def beat the strawberries and cream french toast I had from Cafe 21 (and that’s saying something):
Pammie also got promoted to manager of her auditing department yesterday, so I just wanted to say congrats again! I know she won’t be moving back home to San Diego anytime soon, so I guess I’ll just have to keep going up to the OC to visit her. And if I’m forced to eat at Break of Dawn while I’m there, then so be it.
I miss Hawaii. The food. The beaches. The weather. The lomi lomi massages. The BOYS. Sure, I can eat kalua pig and spam musubi at any one of the L&L joints in San Diego. And sure, I can pick up entire loaves of taro bread at any of the Asian supermarkets in San Diego. And sure, I can go to any beach I want in San Diego. And fine, the weather is pretty much the same in San Diego most of the year. But do we have Hawaiian boys over here? Maybe. But it’s not the same. The more I travel out of San Diego, the more I’m convinced I’ve exhausted my stay here. They closed my favorite dive bar earlier this month, and if that’s not a sign that I should get out of here, I don’t know what is. Hawaii is so laid back. I consider San Diego pretty laid back. At least more laid back than LA or SF or NYC. But Hawaii is ridiculously laid back. Like telling us to meet in front of the hotel at nine in the morning to be driven to the moped rental store and us showing up ten minutes early and waiting twenty five minutes for someone to arrive kind of laid back. And I like to consider myself a laid back, no worries kind of girl. Even when we were transferring boats to go from jet skiing to parasailing, we were hurrying to take our life jackets off and cross over and the HOT! parasailing instructor said, “There’s no rush, darlin’… This is Hawaii.” That was probably the exact moment I decided I wanted to marry that man stay there forever. Yet here I am… blogging from the Valley. Hawaii was just so amazing. I plan to revisit again and again in this lifetime. My vacation couldn’t have been any more perfect. I miss the girls already. I miss trying to sleep through their symphony of snoring (okay, maybe they miss trying to sleep through my snoring). I miss waking up to Shi singing “Morning’s here.” I miss Chel sticking her fish eye camera in my face. Next year, we’re planning on hitting up NYC. Until then, it’s back to the real world! Boo whore.
The real world ain’t so bad, though… Since I’ve been back, I’ve received an unexpected promotion at Emitations.com, where I’ve been a graphic design intern for the past couple of months. All of a sudden, I found myself putting my two weeks in at AAA. I’m sad to be leaving, but I just can’t pass this promotion up! Starting next month, I’ll have nights and weekends off. I won’t know what to do with myself. I suppose I could go to the gym and lose all that weight I planned to lose BEFORE going to Hawaii. And all that weight I gained while I was IN Hawaii. Or I could just have more time to blog about how much I want to lose weight while snacking on these chocolate covered macadamia nuts I brought home from Hawaii…
No time to blog lately. School is kicking my ass. Maroon 5 show last weekend. Met the band. In love with Jesse… And mostly because he resembles Milo Ventimiglia since he cut his hair (which is kind of unfair, really). I used to be into their original drummer, Ryan, and even though I’m all about Jesse now, I’ll always have a soft spot for Adam. It’s like deciding which New Kid on the Block is your favorite all over again, Jordan or Joey (or Donnie, if you’re that kind of girl). Anyway, the show was amazing. We were sitting close enough for Pammie to catch a guitar pick from The Hives and a drumstick from Alex Greenwald, the lead singer of Phantom Planet. It was the end of their tour, so they played a lot of fun pranks on each other. Luckily, I was able to get it all on video…
Here’s Maroon 5 performing “Won’t Go Home Without You” (more from the show here)…
Still amp’d from the show, I stayed up till four or so in the morning watching “The Office” with Jay—not the greatest idea since I had an early morning flight to catch. Jay stayed the night since he was taking me and Pammie to the airport. Pammie woke me up in a rush 45 minutes before our plane was supposed to take off. It all happened so fast. I just remember running around the house trying to get our shit together and making sure everything was locked/turned off and screaming Jay’s name every couple of seconds to make sure his ass was up. We were the last two people on the plane, but we made it…
Before I knew it, we were in Vegas. I ate at multiple buffets, watched the Beatles LOVE show again, watched the Ice show at the Riviera, gambled away $250 of my own money (plus $60 of Pammie’s money)… and then it was time go home. Pammie didn’t have Monday off, so she flew home to the OC early in the morning. My parents and I were supposed to catch a flight to SD around eleven. It was like a repeat of Saturday, with us running towards the terminal. Dropping off the rental car was an unbelievably lengthy process. You have to return it miles away from the airport and then catch a shuttle back to the airport with a bunch of other people who are all carrying an even bigger bunch of luggage with them. By the time we got back to the airport, through security and to our gate, the plane hadn’t boarded yet, so we thought we were okay. The flight ended up being oversold, so all the boarding passes had already been taken and we were told we’d be on standby for the next flight… which turned into the next flight… and the next flight… and the next… and even more flights. We were on standby for SEVEN FUCKING HOURS. I read half a book that I bought from the gift shop. Learned how to do Sudoku. Tried to enjoy a venti iced soy chai tea latte. Finally, around 6 o’clock (and about an hour past when I was supposed to be at work), I go up the the gate where the millionth oversold flight to SD is about to leave and tell the Southwest lady that my family and I have been on standby for seven fucking hours and ask her why we’ve had to wait so long for a flight. She tells me that we’re the first people on the waiting list and she isn’t sure why people have been let on the previous flights before us. I’m standing there going… WTF! Mate! And it turned out that a few people who had already picked up their boarding passes for the oversold flight about to leave didn’t show up to board, so we were able to get on that flight. Before I boarded the plane, I snatched the wait list from her hands, ripped it in half and said, “You fucking remember me forever!”
…except I did not say fucking. Actually, that entire last sentence is completely untrue.
I started this blog over the weekend bitching about the third parking ticket I received this year alone in the OC last week (the second in SD and the first in LA—it’s like I’m trying to be ticketed in every city). Now that San Diego’s going down in flames, it all seems so trivial. I can see one of the five fires burning around SD from my own backyard in the Valley. Besides having class canceled during the Cedar Fire of 2003, I’ve never really been affected by a fire until last night. I thought I’d be able to sit it out in the comfort of my own home like the last time, but the police pounded on our door around six o’clock and urged us to evacuate immediately. I didn’t realize how serious it was until I saw the flames rising above Mt. San Miguel towards my house on TV at my grandma’s apartment. A lot of my friends live in the same neighborhood, so I contacted them all to make sure they were okay, along with my relatives who had evacuated the fires in North County. Luckily, everyone was fine, but my relatives up north won’t find out if their houses were spared until they’re allowed to go back home later this week (along with nearly a million other displaced Californians). I was supposed to have two midterms, a project and a term paper due this week, but class has been canceled through the weekend… That doesn’t really make me feel much better about what’s happening here at home, though.
On a happier note, I finally booked our trip to Hawaii. Pammie, Shi, Chel and I are going to have an amazing time… The only thing I’m not looking forward to is all that exercise I have to do in order to be beach-ready by January. And all that yummy food I have to avoid over the holidays. And all those nights I’ll spend crying myself to sleep out of hunger. I mean… What.