Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life According to My iPhone

I'm really busy.  Here are some photos instead of words.

 Cafe 50s
 DTLA
 Rain
 Scenes from a neighborhood run.



 Grocery shopping

 Afternoon beach run.
 Dinner.  Too many options.

Sunday

Friday, January 27, 2012

LA Eats This Week

All I did last week in Phoenix was eat. I came back to LA and started the week off by lots of eating again.

First up, Bryndee and the gang from NYC were in LA on Monday morning, so we hit an LA classic - The Griddle Cafe in West Hollywood.  Even on a rainy Monday morning, the place was packed.  Soon, our stomachs would be packed full of dessertish breakfast dishes.  Way. Too. Sweet.  Says the girl with the sweet tooth.

Order of red velvet pancakes for the table.  With cream cheese frosting, it tastes just like a regular dessert.  Even 6 of us couldn't make a dent.
Thankfully the waiter told me I could order a single pancake for my own dish - the Bluesberry, topped with blueberry sour cream and powdered sugar.  I think Rustin ordered The Golden Ticket - pancakes filled with banana, streusel, walnuts and caramel, and topped with whipped cream and more caramel and streusel.  He had three bites and he was done.  Ugh, my stomach hurt just looking at it.  This place is delicious, but you gotta prep yourself.  And order some bacon, to balance all the sugar.  

A couple hours later, it was LA rainy day Korean porridge time with Jihan.  We've been meaning to get together for weeks, and stars aligned on Monday.  Mountain Cafe is tucked away in a little strip mall in Koreatown, open 24 hours, and a gem of a place.  Abalone porridge, ginseng chicken, and some stuff to mix in, and we were set for a a health-filled comfort meal.  I swear it cured my headache.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Phoenix Weekend

Back to Phoenix for the weekend recap.

Grandma was going to make taco soup cause I always eat tons of it when I'm there, but Grandpa took her out to dinner Friday night, so I hit the Taqueria.
I tried to take a little nap after dinner to prepare for a night out, but I was too excited.  

I was about to see my favorite DJs in the whole wide world.  Yes, Above & Beyond came back to Scottsdale.  I have no idea where I picked up my love of trance, but I am slightly obsessed.  I listen to their podcast every week, follow their record label and try to see them whenever I can.  If you don't understand this, it's okay.  Just watch the video for a little slice of the energy and happiness it brings to millions of people around the globe.  

Luckily, Chris gets this obsession.  We met at an Above & Beyond show a couple years ago and decided that since none of our friends are into dancing all night to the best music ever, that we should become friends and see DJs together.  Our friendship still thrives.  Reunited!  Bonus points to the white boy who can dance. 
He snagged us VIP tickets so we didn't have to deal with the riffraff.  And we danced and danced and danced, until 2am or so.  Totally worth braving the Scottsdale club scene.  Ick.  Though the people watching is stellar.  


Saturday morning I planned to swing by Chantal and Meg's again for brunch and thrift shopping on my way out of town.  Except after staying out all night, I wasn't really alert enough to drive 6 hours home. Oh, signs of aging.  I can't stay out all night anymore.

They didn't have to try too hard to get me to stay another night, especially since it meant more time with them.  I wish they'd both move to LA.  

Brunch at Breakfast Club.  The best french toast ever.  

Then we hit Goodwill.  I need to learn to shop at these stores.  There are some treasures to find.  Like tapes from Oasis.  Still one of the best albums ever made.  
Chantal and I found some books that might help us navigate the muddy waters of dating and marriage and religion. 


Since I was in town for another meal, we tried to get back to Windsor, cause the brown bag chicken sandwich always calls my name.  An hour wait however, led us down the road to Hula's.
But then back to Churn for dessert.  Cause it's awesome.

I went with the classic choice: Madagascar vanilla ice cream, pretzel cone, salted caramel on top.  
After another night in bed with Chantal, watching Downton Abbey, I was rested and ready to get back to Cali.  Ugh, driving.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Phoenix Week

I spent all of last week in Phoenix; it's been four months since I was there.  I decided that optimal time to check back into the office is about two months, so I'm going back in March (for a food festival and Radiohead) and in May for my cousin's wedding.  Oh, yeah, and to go into the office.

I feel like all I did was eat last week.  Nearly every lunch or every dinner was scheduled somewhere with someone.  Not that I'm complaining - I miss people and restaurants.

I started the drive on a Saturday afternoon after meeting a high school student in downtown LA and grilling her about why she wants to attend my alma mater.  Just kidding - I'm nice.

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  I was either catching up on This American Life or dancing to TATW.
I pulled up to Chantal and Meg's place and pretty much headed back out immediately to Postino with them. It turned into a night of bruschetta by candlelight and some ridiculously awesome quotes.  Quick stop at the ghetto 24-hour Walmart afterwards, and yep, I was back in Phoenix.  
On Sunday I attended my old ward, saw some familiar faces, and can easily say I'm glad I'm no longer in a singles ward.  That afternoon I drove down to Coolidge to visit dad's side of the family.  
Grandma always makes me play.  In return, she cooks an excellent meal.  


On Monday it was back to work.  Kinda weird walking into the building, but at least my security badge still works.  I'm always a little afraid that it's not going to give me the green light.  

After work I paid Damian a visit at Snapdragon; my hair needed a cut.  And it looks amazing, as always.  
Then I met up with Kari Ann and Kelly for Mellow Mushroom in Tempe, which wasn't all that great and kinda pricey for a pizza joint.  
Chantal and I needed dessert later, and when nothing else is open, Mickey D's just has to do the trick.  Sorry, Sonic.  You're still the best.  

Tuesday, another day to work and another night to eat.  Thankfully the dentist gave me the all clear on cavities in the morning, and my mouth was ready to chomp that night.  I'd still never been to Cibo on their Pasta Tuesdays, so Shannon and I had a date.  Cute bungalow house + romantic lighting + homemade pasta = excellent.  
Prosciutto, parmesan, orange juice and zest, butter, and ricotta.  
I opted for the gnocchi and fresh basil.  I like the classics.  
And of course, we didn't skip dessert.  Crepe with Nutella and mascarpone, with homemade whip cream.  Cibo confirms that it's still an excellent place to eat (especially when the line at Bianco is nuts).  
I headed back to the grandparents' place in Mesa, and met up with Chantal who hadn't yet eaten.  It was time for Filiberto's.  Thank goodness for 24/7 Mexi places.  I had zero room to eat, but I admired what she ordered - their carne asada tacos are the best.  
Here's grandma's yard at sunset.  


On Wednesday night I revived the gang for some trivia.  The group kinda got a little big over the last year, but we had a serious group that night, which was good.  I'm coming to win, not chat and eat.  Keep your head in the game, people.  The new location was a little chaotic, and we managed to place 2nd, losing 1st by only a point.  If only someone knew how many quarts in a peck.  We almost put the right answer, but changed it at the last second.  
Half the table.  Nate, Chantal, Jeff.
The other half - King, me, Marc.  
Who I am to turn down dessert after?  I always need a trip to Bahama Bucks while I'm in Mesa.
And I must drive by the temple.  Lots of family history in this particular one.  
Thursday - another crazy day at work, with some gelato with Nabeha afterwards.  
Then a race to Postino (the other location this time) for an Anna and Robert reunion.  I could eat a whole bruschetta board myself (prosciutto and fig, ricotta and dates are the best ones).  
Quick stop at King's for documentary movie night - I caught the last bit of Conan O'Brien Can't Stop.  Then back to Mesa for girl chatter with Kelly and Kari Ann.  

This girl here just made a 'unicone' video at the McD's drive thru.  I love her for that.  Believe!
And Einstein.  He loves me.  


Friday was a work lunch.  Clarissa wanted to hear my Mexico City tales since we'd swapped emails about it before I went.  She's been several times and had lots of good suggestions.  And of course we had to eat at the Mexico City restaurant of Phoenix.  
Driving home on Friday afternoon.  AZ still has the best sunsets of anywhere.  


Back to Bulgaria with some Amsterdam

After a long day of driving we made it to Plovdiv. We had booked an Airbnb place with a Bulgarian guy - took us a minute to find his apartme...