Monday, April 28, 2014

Last Weeks in Los Angeles

Now that we've gotten our place in Bend locked down, we can turn our attention to enjoying our last few weeks here in Los Angeles. It's a frenzy of packing, eating at all our favorite restaurants, visiting friends and family, and trying to use up every last condiment in the refrigerator (because there's no way I'm lugging a half jar of mayonnaise on a 14 hour out-of-state move). 

One of the first things we did was use up all our leftover gift cards and gift certificates - especially ones that don't have a store in Bend. Mike had bought me a Japanese cooking class as a gift, and so we picked a class together. Here's Mike at our yakitori class at Foodstory in Downtown LA, learning from a chef straight from Japan. Useful and fun!

Our yakitori turned out awesome and delicious! I learned lots of new ways to make sauces and cook things (like steaming in sake and green onions - yum!).

We've also been visiting our favorite place, the Huntington Library and Gardens, as much as possible, as we're members.

Mike's "hiding" from me here in the left picture, in one of their many conservatories. They have beautiful orchid collections and a cloud forest.

On the right is a pic from their rose garden, which is in full bloom right now. It smells just heavenly to walk through there.

One day last week I made sure to visit 99 Ranch, the local Asian grocery store, to purchase all sorts of goods I may have a hard time finding in Bend, like galanga (a dried herb), xiao xing wine (I may have spelled that wrong, but it's a Chinese wine), rice paper wrappers, ginseng, and my most favorite sesame flavored ramen noodles. On the way home from the store, I stopped off at Elite Restaurant (the BEST for dim sum) and picked up three of my favorites, that I know I won't be able to make myself...

Macau egg custard tarts, shrimp and asparagus wrapped rice noodles, and vegetarian dried bean curd wrapped mushrooms and bamboo. Soooo going to miss these things.

And since I haven't been to Disneyland since I moved to Los Angeles in 2005, we decided it was high time we went!

We went on a Wednesday in late April, so there was the least amount of people possible, which was still a whole hell of a lot. But waits for each ride were only between 20-45 minutes. Not bad for Disneyland, I've heard. I got to ride Space Mountain for the first time since I was 5 years old. LOVED IT. Mike and I both couldn't stop laughing throughout the whole ride.

Other favorites were Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Haunted Mansion, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and Soaring Over California (at the California Adventure Park next door). Star Tours was fun but I totally got motion sickness - I can't handle a 3D virtual world very well! The Jazz Kitchen was dee-licious for lunch.

I also got an opportunity to walk through the sky walks around downtown Los Angeles, which connects you from the World Trade Center to the Westin Bonaventure, to the Citibank building. Kind of fun and appropriate, since I had just watched 500 Days of Summer...

Above, a view from the middle of the skywalk. 
Below, the staircases inside the Westin Bonaventure building.

A shot of the checkout counter at The Last Bookstore, downtown Los Angeles. It's really quite something inside - lots of well chosen classics and modern releases, in an industrial but somehow cozy setting.

This pic is outside Wurstkuche, our local sausage and Belgian beer place. We got to come here one last time and had our favorite triple dipped Belgian fries.

We're doing a good job tackling this town, and I'm glad we have this time to say goodbye. I'm packing up my kitchen this week but I made one final meal for my friend Bernice and I, to use up some bottles of white wine left in my fridge. Fresh steamed clams with pancetta, butter, garlic, onions, shallots, and of course, wine:

One thing I've been reflecting on, these last couple weeks, is that it took an out-of-state move for me to do some of the things I've been wanting to do in Los Angeles. And they were so fun that I was like, "why on earth did I not make time for this sooner?" Don't wait! Put down that remote control, call in a personal day to work and explore your city! You will be so glad you did. And we are going to be sure we continue to do the same, in Bend. Life is short, and time keeps ticking...