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DTLA eats.

4 Aug

One of (many) perks to my job this summer as a Summer Associate at a “big law” firm downtown was the opportunity to try out many new-to-me restaurants during our lunch hour.  I tried so many delicious things and wanted to share a few of my favorites here.

  • Sticky Rice at Grand Central Market –  During out first week, a few attorneys took a couple of other summer associates and me to Grand Central Market for some delicious thai food.  I tried mango sticky rice for the first time and fell. in. love.
  • Mo-Chica. Mo-Chica is innovative peruvian food from Chef Richard Zarate.  I loved this place.  I ordered the tallarines con camarones, which featured grilled black tiger prawns, tagliatelle, peanuts, and a peruvian black mint pesto.  We also sampled a few appetizers…I remember all of them being delectable.
  • Café Pinot.  I’d been to Café Pinot once before (with my mom last summer for dinner), but this time we feasted on the DineLA menu.  I thoroughly enjoyed the gazpacho, corn risotto with shrimp, and a strawberries & cream desert topped with Café Pinot’s own version of pop rocks.  Although one of the summers didn’t care for the pop rocks, I loved and marveled at the inventive flavor.  Win!
  • Blue Cow. Blue Cow restaurant is right across the street from our office, so we ate here many times.  I can whole-heartedly recommend the Vietnamese Chicken salad, as well as the kale caesar and brick chicken entree, and you cannot go there without getting the “baked then fried” potatoes. This place is owned by the same guys who do Mendocino Farms, so essentially everything is delicious.
  • Chaya Downtown.  Located in the Paul Hastings building, Chaya is one of the fancier lunch options downtown.  I love their whimsical chandelier made of what looks like children’s toys.  I enjoyed both the Coffee Spiced Jidori Chicken Breast & Organic Butter Lettuce Salad as well as the Chaya Chopped Cajun Shrimp Salad.
  • Barista Society. One random day, an attorney e-mailed all of the summers asking “Who wants coffee like they’ve never had it before?” Obviously I jumped at that chance.  Barista Society had coffee by both Blue Bottle AND Stumptown Coffee Roasters and innovative lattes and pastries.  I will definitely seek this place out again — it was located in the US Bank building on Bunker Hill.
  • Cole’s.  Cole’s claims to be the originator of the french dip sandwich — something I have always loved — but the true originator may be Philippe’s.  On our last week, we headed to Cole’s and FEASTED.  The building itself was so historic – it’s worth a visit for that alone. (There’s also a bar in the back called The Varnish.  I haven’t been but I’ve heard good things!).

IMG_4341This summer was a lot of fun – and I definitely expanded my culinary horizons.

Anywhere else in DTLA I need to try?? What’s your favorite??

photo dump.

23 Jun

I’ve been a bad blogger.  In my defense, however, I’ve been busy – with work, social events, and my brother’s graduation last weekend in Santa Cruz! Here’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks:

I’ve been spinning a lot lately.  Today I’ll be spinning for 3 hours at the YAS-A-Thon to raise money for ThinkCure! so I have been spinning a bunch to get in shape for that. I’m also going to get spin certified (next weekend!) so I want to be in the zone for that.  Post marathon, I have realized I don’t NEED to run so much, and I can incorporate more spin classes whenever I feel like it.

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I LOVE this statue/plaque outside of the Ernst & Young building downtown.  Gotta love big businesses who can laugh at their reputation!

IMG_3975I’ve been utilizing my apartment complex’s small gym for some morning weight work.  I am really digging the Tone It Up workouts – and I especially love how they’re beach themed.  The Costa Rica “Pura Vida” one is probably my fav so far.

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I’ve been really lucky to get to go to several awesome events with the firm I’m working for this summer.  Last week, I went to a silent auction and cocktail party put on by LAFLA – the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.  It was held at the Japanese American Cultural Center – who knew it was this cute?

IMG_3978At the auction, I won (read: bought) 4 tickets to two different Dodger games.  The first one was the following night, against the D-backs. I took my parents and my friend Armita.

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My dad and I being total tools:

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Last weekend I was in Santa Cruz to see my little bro graduate from college.  It was a fun trip – I’ll do a full post about it soon. Congrats, Reid!

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I changed offices at work on Monday.  Helloooo view of Dodger Stadium (way out there past the smog).

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I have been listening to Yeezus non-stop since I downloaded it last weekend. It is that good. (Caveat: I am Team Kanye. Anything he touches basically turns to gold, IMHO).  But surrriously, I thought I couldn’t like an album more than JT’s 20/20 Experience, and then Random Access Memories came out. And now Yeezus. (I’m also digging Bearly Legal, the new mash-up album from The White Panda).

On Friday, the firm I’m working for this summer had a golf tournament.  I am awful at golf, but thankfully the tournament was “best ball” style and my team of four only HAD to count three of my strokes – and luckily I was able to sink 3 putts.  We ended up finishing second in the tournament, at 3 under par, missing the championship by one stroke.  Totally fine with me…because, you know, I’d feel a little uncomfy taking home a plaque when I am literally awful at golf.  On the plus side, the partner on my team told me I “have a future in this game” and that “guys like girls who can play golf.”  So I’ll try to work on that.

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We played at Brookside Golf Course near the Rose Bowl. It was such a pretty day to be out there!

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The rest of my weekend has been pretty chill – relaxing with friends, getting some work done, etc.  Last night, after dragging my feet all day to go exercise, I left my house around 7 for what I thought would be a 4 miler.  It turned out to be an awesome, relaxed 5.75er.  I made pitstops at Vista Hermosa Park (one of my favorite spots in LA) and Echo Park Lake. Not too shabby.

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Alright I’m out to spin my heart out! Happy Sunday!

Question: Yeezus…’Ye or Nay? 

 

kids say the darndest things (again).

3 Feb

I´ve been slacking on this whole blogging thing in recent weeks. My mom did a great job keeping tabs of our winter break trip (it´s like she´s a professional or something…who knows). Since then, I´ve been working, private-lessoning, and running. Last weekend, I turned 23 (and yes, Blink-182´s line ¨nobody likes you when you´re 23/and are more amused by TV shows/what the hell is wrong with me/my friends say I should act my age¨) has been not only repeated many times, but may also be proving itself true.

Anyway, I am overdue for a post, and these past weeks have been LLENA de really funny, precocious, and lost-in-translation moments from the niños. Just today, in one of the 4 classes of five-year-olds  work with, a boy named Diego told me ¨Eres mi amor¨ (You are my love.) This is after he called me his ¨abuelita¨ (little grandmother) and then ¨mala¨ (bad).
On Wednesdays, I teach a private lesson to two girls in the tony Madrid suburb of Las Rozas. Their mother picks me up from my apartment on the girls´way home from school, and we chat in a mix of Spanish and English during the twenty minute drive to their house. Yesterday´s conversation tackled a lot of humorous topics.

First, I explained my mom sent me a package with two law school-related books, and I went on about how I am trying to make a decision right now, basically between LA and SF. Mar, who is 11, pipes up ¨Y dónde está Harvard?¨ I replied ¨Oh, Harvard is in Massachussetts. It´s way too cold and way too hard for me.¨ Upon hearing this, Mar goes ¨Oh, Harvard es dificil?¨ I laughed.

Further along on the car ride, Mar asked her mom to pick up some batteries at the supermarket for her Tamagotchi. I said, ¨Oh, I had one of those when I was in third grade¨ (Well, false, I had a Nano…Tamagotchi´s were back-ordered everywhere). Mar´s mom, annoyed at Mar´s insistence on new batteries for her virtual pet, sighed and said ¨Mar, Tamagotchi está en moda otra vez?¨ (Tamagotchi is in style again?). So great. Also during this lesson, younger sister Gracia got her Nintendo DS taken away for a week (upped up from 3 days for baiting her mom) and the Telefonica guy came to install wi fi. All in a day´s work I guess.

Oh, and Michael Jackson is a big deal here. One second-grade boy, Miguel, asks me to put him down as MJ when I take roll sometimes. And last night, when I shared a book with Mar and Gracia about MLK Jr., Gracia pointed to a character in the book and asked if it was the King of Pop himself. She also asked if MLK Jr. is Obama´s dad. Finally, Mar replied with ¨lady…gaga?¨ when I showed her a flashcard of a ladybug.

I am really starting to enjoy my job – the kids´ English is improving slowly but surely, and I know their personalities and can joke with them.

 

obsessions (an update).

2 Nov

It´s true – I am an obsessive person.  I have a list of things I love, and could ramble about them forever. If you know me, you can probably name 3 of them off the top of your head (Spain, Jersey Shore, and house music might be the first that come to mind). While these obsessions are undoubtedly here to stay, here´s a list of some current things I´m loving.

  • ethnic food.This weekend, my American roommates and I decided we needed a break from Spanish fare and the classic (yet economical) staples we´d been whipping up at home. On Friday, my roommate Alia and I trekked to a delicious Indian restaurant in Huertas for some spicy curry, samosas, and naan. Such a great call. Last night, due to the fact that we were all out of groceries and the supermercados were closed due to the holiday, we went to our local ¨restaurante chino¨ for some lemon chicken, spicy tofu, and good ol´ fashioned white rice. I love Spanish food as much as the next Spain-obsessed person, but the food options can get a little boring. It´s a good sign that less than 6 weeks in I´m already scouring my guidebook and the web for cheap, international options…who knows what I´ll be like when June rolls around.
  • giants victory. I know, I know, I was raised a Dodger fan, and definitely still am, but I can´t help being a little excited for the win, knowing it is making two of my friends´years. And not to mention that my favorite US city is likely more fun right now than it normally is. That being said, Go Dodgers…right?
  • spanish disorganization. Normally this is my pet peeve, but when it helps me, I can´t really complain. My first two classes this morning were unteachable, because the infantil and 5-year-old classes took a field trip to a farm. Two hours of ¨prep period?¨ Score. Also, I got paid today…in cash…because something with the transfer process wasn´t working. Can´t complain.
  • falling back. Thanks to setting the clocks back an hour, it is now light out when I wake up for work at 7:20. Walking to the metro at 8:00 in daylight makes it way easier to get my day started as well.
  • metro upgrades. In typical ¨me¨ fashion, 4 weeks into the school year I discovered a faster metro route, shaving 10 minutes off of my commute. Additionally, I can walk to the metro in the mornings with my roommate, Kerren, and then listen to some Spanish podcasts on my iPhone (specifically ¨News in [embarrassingly] slow Spanish¨ if  you´re at all interested). The monthly metro pass I bought for November will be awesome too – no more being stingy with metro trips.
  • law school apps completed. Enough said.
  • holiday gym. One block from my apartment, great spin classes, ample cardio equipment, large weight room, and ¨We No Speak Americano¨ on heavy rotation.
  • catching up on American TV. The week´s not complete without a Modern Family quote.

toronto, eh?

23 Aug

Last week the company I am working for this summer, Lenmar Enterprises, sent me to Toronto where I got into sales-mode at the Sourcefest 2010 tradeshow. I learned a lot about how these things work, and was stoked to try out business travel. While it would have been nice to have a travel buddy, I made the most of my time there and ended up seeing and experiencing a lot of things. Here are some thoughts from my trip:

  • canadian culture. While Canada has a reputation of living in America’s shadow, Canada isn’t the same entirely. Canadians speak more formally, and say “eh?” non-ironically. They have their own media outlets as well (Much Music dominates instead of MTV Canada, for example). I noticed a ton of restaurants with a “North American” theme, with names like “St. Louis” “Texas Grille” and “Baton Rouge,” it was evident that one thing Canada lacks is a well-defined cuisine. At the tradeshow itself, I met people from all over Canada and enjoyed guessing which province individuals were from based on their accent. I even got asked “ParlezVous Français?” more than once from residents of Quebec.
  • business tripping. While not exactly a rage-filled 4 days, I managed to have a decent amount of fun. Lenmar hooked it up with a suite (seriously) at a pretty nice Radisson. Plus-side: huge room, fitness center, next door to the convention center where Sourcefest was located. Down-side: Not close to downtown Toronto. Luckily, I am becoming increasingly more comfortable with public transportation so I took bus number 58 to Lawrence West metro station, and took the metro downtown. While time consuming and a little laborious, I got to see more of the city (as well as attempt to fool people I was a local). Another good thing about business travel is the fact that I got to expense every necessary expenditure: coffee? Yep. Lunch? absolutely. The double-decker bus tour I splurged on? Not so much.

Lawrence West station:

  • international travel. It’d been awhile since I traveled out of the country and customs is always an adventure. The interrogation-like “What were you doing in Canada” caught me a little bit off guard, but I still made it through. I was way more impressed with Air Canada than any other airline I’ve flown recently…gotta love touch-screen individual TVs with endless movie options (as well as multiple episodes of Modern Family). Only real complaint was having babies on either side of me and a small whiny dog in the row ahead of me.
  • sights. On the second day of the trip, I just had to set up our booth which took less than two hours and the rest of the day was mine! I headed to the metro station again and wound up in Yonge-Dundas square where I jumped on a tour bus and spent a couple of hours getting acquainted with the city. It reminded me a lot of a mix between Seattle and Boston (except for way more humid than either city). Here are some of my favorite spots:

Yonge-Dundas Square – very Times Square-esque

The CN Tower

Casa Loma – built in 1911 for “Sir Henry”

Glimpse of Lake Ontario

What should I be sure not to miss the next time I’m in Canada?

art of the daycation.

28 Jun

While the whole “working full time” thing is a hindrance to my incessant need to travel, I’ve made an effort to embrace the idea of a “daycation.” This weekend I hit up two local LA spots for some delicious food, culture, and relxation.

getty galavant.

The plan: On Saturday, my Dad and brother both had work, so my mom and I decided to seize the day and do something out of the ordinary. After a little bit of deliberation, we decided on a trip to the Getty Museum. We’d been before, but not in a good 10 years or so (the last time I went I was alllll about the kids “dress up” exhibits).

Transportation and Food: While the underground, 7-level parking structure was a nightmare, the rest of the day was really enjoyable. We soaked in the views of the nearby hillside as we ascended over the 405 in the Getty Center’s tram and had a light lunch of chicken ceasar salad and roasted rosemary chicken (and a Corona for me, obviously) when we arrived.

Art: I recently realized my affinity for modern art through trips to LA’s MOCA and SFMOMA and I’ve loved Van Gogh and Monet since I was embarrassingly young. While the Getty is world-renowned, its permanent collection isn’t entirely up my alley, with lots of Renaissance art and dark, somber pieces. While impressive, nothing was that extremely moving. It was, however, pretty cool to see the painting my old family friend fell in love with when we went to the Getty years ago.

malibu bliss.

The plan: My friend Whitney and I were desperate for a need to break the routine of the 40-Hour-Work-Week, so we jetted down to Malibu for lunch on the newly renovated pier. After finagling parking, we moseyed over to The Beachcomber Restaurant for a lavish lunch over the waves.

The food: We embarked on somewhat of a culinary journey – kicking off the daycation were margaritas…while not exactly strong, they’re a crucial ingredient for a daycation. We shared delicious artichoke, a wedge salad, and this awesome  tangerine-flavored shrimp over wild rice dish. I lamented that I would “never eat again” (as I often do) after trying the donut-hole bread pudding dish. Jeeze.

Beach Time: Rounding out the daycation were a few solid hours on a secluded beach in Malibu (off of Webb, behind the Malibu Yogurt/Coogie’s shopping center). We relaxed, took in the waves, and laughed uncontrollably at the Bulgarian man engaging in his very own fashion show – complete with seaweed accessories.

The weekend was that much sweeter with some solid relaxation time, and both “daycations” ended with a trip to Starbucks…is anyone suprised? So break the routine, take a daycation, and relax…

Where’s your favorite daycation spot?