Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NomNoms: Gyenari (Los Angeles)

I am apparently not allowed to enter a restaurant called Rush Street in Downtown Culver City. On several occasions, I have tried to go there only to find it closed even during regular business hours! Luckily, there are many restaurants in Downtown Culver City and on one of those occasions, I went to Gyenari instead. Gyenari is basically Korean bbq for white folks. Just look at the picture. I thought it was fine but for the same price, you could get so much more food in Koreatown and the smokey smell you leave with is free!

Galbee lunch plate with jap chae, salad, rice, cucumber, kimchi and fruit
9540 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Monday, December 29, 2008

NomNoms: Meals by Genet (Los Angeles)

I pretty much live adjacent to Little Ethiopia which is convenient since this year, I decided to give Ethiopian cuisine a second chance. My first taste of it didn't sit well with me. I took my brother to Meals by Genet one weekend. It was his first time eating Ethiopian, and when I asked him if he liked it, he responded, "Yeah, it's fun!"

Vegetarian Combination and Hirutye's Yebegsiga Alitcha
(Lamb stewed with garlic, ginger, and other spices)

Meals by Genet
1053 S. Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Friday, December 26, 2008

Green Tea Mochi (Trader Joe's Friday)

Why is it that Mikawaya is the only company that makes mochi ice cream? They need a competitor. Perhaps no one else can make mochi as tasty as theirs.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pork dumplings (Home-cooking)

I volunteer with a group teaching teen girls how to live a healthy life through exercise, self-image, and healthy eating. During one of our cooking classes, the instructor made dumplings. That inspired me to reach back into my youth when my mom and siblings and I would all make dumplings from scratch. Plus, since we are facing tough economic times, these little babies are inexpensive and can be frozen and enjoyed at a later time! Hooray!


The meat mixture

Little dumplings all stacked up

Monday, December 22, 2008

NomNoms: The Foundry on Melrose (Los Angeles)

Apparently, when the economy is in recession, the first thing people cut is eating out. OpenTable.com's "Appetite Stimulus Plan" gave diners the chance to dine out on the cheap and restaurants the chance to get bodies into their spaces. For dinner, The Foundry was offering three courses for $35. Unfortunately, I was not entirely impressed with our meal. I loved the glazed pork belly, but everything else was unmemorable. Parts of the beef short ribs dish were so heavily seasoned that I couldn't finish it.

The Debutante - champagne and raspberry liquor

Amuse bouche - toast point with cheese and fruit

Mustard Glazed Pork Belly (we ordered this in addition to our meals)

Squash soup

Beef short ribs with eggplant, mushrooms and pasta

Pumpkin terrine and ice cream

The Foundry on Melrose

7465 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Monday, December 15, 2008

NomNoms: Jin Patisserie (Los Angeles)

I've seen so many mixed reviews on Jin Patisserie. Despite this fact, my friend wanted to try out their afternoon tea. I decided not to order the afternoon tea set because it was very heavy on the desserts. I tend to be more of a fan of savories than of sweets. Instead, I ordered the lunch set. I thought the meal was actually very reasonable and tasty. The ambiance is very cute too. Everyone takes their meals out on the patio, where there is a pretty little fountain. It was a lovely day for some hot tea and sandwiches.

Duck proscuitto on white bread with brie, lettuce, and tomato;
chips and salad with lemon dressing

The lunch set also comes with a cake.
I can't remember what it was though.

This is the afternoon tea set: Egg finger sandwiches, savories,
homemade scones, butter cake, praline & Chef’s selection
of mini sweet pastries

Jin Patisserie
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Workout LA: Gio's Brooklyn Boxing Club (Los Angeles)

I had the chance to take a boxing class at Gio's Brooklyn Boxing Club in Burbank. Let it be known that I would NEVER EVER just walk into a boxing club and be comfortable saying, "So, can I take a class here?" But this was a special circumstance with a group of women all coming together for a group outing so it was hugely less intimidating than it should have been.

*photo from Gio's website

When I arrived, I had to buy hand wraps and then had one of the guys wrap up both of my hands with the following result:

Our class was taught in stations with Christopher Hicks and his wife Stephanie instructing. We started out learning our punches and kicks, followed by some cardio work on stairs, treadmill, and elliptical. After that, we put on the gloves for some punching on the bags! Then we did some kicking on the bags and then put the gloves back on for some sparing! That was the most fun. We ended the day with more cardio (jumping jacks, lunges, and push ups). It was a great work out and so much fun to hit and kick and yell! Only thing that kind of put me off is that those gloves do not smell good! I'll have to buy my own if I ever decide to take up boxing!

Punching bags
*photo from Gio's website

Boxing ring that we didn't use
*photo from Gio's website

Gio's Brooklyn Boxing Club
116 S. San Fernando Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502

Friday, December 05, 2008

Peach & Blueberry Panna Cotta (Trader Joe's Friday)

I am starting a new segment called "Trader Joe's Friday," where I will give my take on items found at Trader Joe's. Usually I'll see something new at Trader Joe's and more often than not, it's really hit or miss. The panna cotta is to die for. The only issue is that you have to defrost it in the fridge for two hours before you can eat it, so when you have an urge for some yummy dessert, you have to wait! If you have never had panna cotta, it is an Italian dessert made from cream, milk and sugar. I guess it's sort of similar to a creme brulee but more gelatin-like. They fruit also gives it that extra kick of sweetness. Yum!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My Fair Country: Centennial Olympic Park (Atlanta)

The revitalization of downtown Atlanta probably began with the building of Centennial Park for the 1996 Olympic Games. Parts of the original park remain and is a nice central spot in the middle of the urban landscape for Atlanta residents to enjoy a little greenery.

I spent quite a long time watching the Fountain of Rings and those who gathered around it on my last day in Atlanta. Although the air was cold, the sun shined the entire day, so it was perfect weather to just sit and enjoy the outdoors.

Still can't get enough of the fall colors

Centennial Olympic Park
265 Park Ave West N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30313-1591

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

NomNoms: Legal Seafoods (Atlanta)

Getting around Atlanta was not an easy feat for me, so I was not able to eat any Southern food the entire trip. Instead, I opted to stay in downtown Atlanta and eat more seafood. I had the lobster roll from Legal Seafoods for my final meal. The brioche bun had way too much butter on it, so I ended up just eating the lobster meat and very little of the bun. The location was very beautiful so it was nice to sit on the second floor and look out the window while enjoying my lobster roll!

Lobster roll on a brioche bun, cole slaw, and fries

Legal Seafoods
275 Baker Street NW Atlanta, GA 30313

Monday, December 01, 2008

My Fair Country: World of Coca-Cola (Atlanta)

I admit it. I'm an addict. A Coca-cola addict. Regular, not diet. As a self-professing addict, I absolutely had to go to the marketing extravaganza that is the WORLD OF COCA-COLA!! I wasn't completely convinced that I should go after reading reviews, but I managed to convince myself that the Tasting Room alone would be worth the $15 admission charge.

Exterior of the building

Welcomed by giant Coca-Cola bottles

The tour begins in a room that contains the largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia and represents advertising from all over the world.

Next, we watched a short film called "Inside the Happiness Factory," which was a cartoon documenting what goes on inside a Coke machine. It was a little too cutesy for me. Little puppies kiss the bottles to give the drink "love", the bottles go through a snow storm to get chilled. Blahblahblah....

After that, we got to take pictures with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. He blinks and opens and closes his mouth. Here he is looking pissed off and grumbling.

The rest of the experience is self-guided and starts off with a history of Coca-Cola: how it was invented and then went on to become a global commodity. There was also a gallery of pop culture art that shows pieces of artwork made from or featuring Coke products. They had some of the pieces that are very common in South Africa, the cars made from Coke cans and the like! We also watched a horrible "4-D" film with 3-D glasses and moving seats and terrible acting.

In addition, there was a fully-functioning bottling line, but I don't think it was functioning when I went through.

Finally, I reached the piece de resistance: The Tasting Room! I thought that what we would be tasting is different formulas of Coca-Cola from around the world, but really it was different Coca-Cola products from around the world. My favorite was the Apple Kiwi Fanta from Thailand.

Tasting Room

At the end of the tour, we were given a souvenir bottle of Coke, which was subsequently confiscated by airport security. Le sigh...

World of Coca-Cola
121 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, Georgia

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NomNoms: Atlanta Fish Market (Atlanta)

For our group dinner, we were taken to the famous Atlanta Fish Market, located in a section of the city known as Buckhead. As you arrive, you are greeted by a 65-foot copper fish. My photograph of the fish didn't come out well, but you can see how big it is.

For dinner, we had a selection of appetizers including jumbo shrimp cocktail and crab cakes. For my entree, I ordered the Atlantic salmon with mango papaya salsa, whipped potatoes and green beans. I was reminded why I don't like cooked fish, besides black cod. There's something about it that just really doesn't appeal to me. But in my mind, I had to order fish at the fish market! Lesson learned.

Dessert was also a selection including chocolate mouse cake, double chocolate cake and key lime pie, which I had a whole piece of.

Mural inside the dining room

Here's a better photograph of the copper fish
Photo by Julestoo

Atlanta Fish Market
265 Pharr Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30305

Thursday, November 20, 2008

NomNoms: Jason's Deli (Dallas)

I used to go on business trips to Tempe, AZ pretty often and Jason's Deli was one of the places I frequented for lunch. We would call this the nuclear potato because it is so huge. This is the half portion, by the way. I would order the full size and then take the second half to my hotel to eat for dinner. It was a sad existence.

Spud Au Broc
(broccoli cheese soup, cheddar, broccoli, green onions, bacon)
Jason's Deli
8520 State Highway 121
Frisco, TX 75034

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NomNoms: Into My Garden Tearoom (Dallas)

Afternoon tea is an activity I share with only my sister and my friend, Stef. We had to drag Chris along unwillingly because we had a full day planned afterwards. The tearoom is located inside of a toy store in downtown Plano, which seems a little strange but still, it is one of the most popular tearooms in the Dallas area. The dishes were lovely and the food was mostly good. The only things I didn't particularly care for were the sweet breads.

Fine china settings

Finger sandwiches

Scones and sweet breads


There was a baby adoption nursery inside the toy store. It was scary especially since they play sounds of babies crying.

Into My Garden Tearoom
1017 E 15th St
Plano, TX 75074

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NomNoms: Waffle House (Dallas)

My flight into Dallas was two hours late. When I finally got in, it was past 1AM. My sister and Chris picked me up, and we went to Waffle House! Do you know how dead the suburbs of Dallas are at 1AM? The place was completely empty besides us and another group, which meant that service was a little too attentive.

I've decided I don't like grits. They taste like buttery oatmeal. The works hashed browns taste like chili cheese fries! Everything else was pretty tasty though. The waffles are much lighter than they appeared and the bacon was perfectly crisped!

Hot chocolate

All-star Special - Waffle, grits, toast, bacon and eggs

Grilled bacon and egg melt with "the works" hashed browns

Waffle House
1613 W Hebron Pkwy
Carrollton, TX 75010

Sunday, October 26, 2008

NomNoms: GI Gelato & Coffee House (Vancouver)

One of the most amazing things about visiting Vancouver was how late the sun went down. Gelato is a must on a warm summer evening!

GI Gelato & Coffee House
#16 - 1535 Johnston St.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada