Little Tokyo in LA

Fun Facts: *Did you know there are only three official Japan towns in the US?

*Did you know that Little Tokyo is the birthplace of the California roll? It was invented by a chef named Ichiro Mashita at the Tokyo Kaikan Restaurant.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Can’t afford to visit Japan, but still want a feel for some Japanese culture? If you are in Los Angeles you might just want to visit Little Tokyo.  I have never been to Japan however I can only imagine, that this is a little taste of what it would be like. Until airfare drops a few thousand yen and/or there’s a shortage of yakitori, tempura & sake in DTLA, my quest for sushi satisfaction will simply have to continue taking me here.Very cool place to come explore if you have some time in the day to walk around. There is everything from food to shops that sell toys/comics/etc.

This is another side of downtown, way cleaner and pretty upscale, has small Japanese gardens, cool stores, and a small lively plaza in the center of the village. So be sure to venture out, don’t be scared to visit if you’re a local or a tourist. There’s parking around (lots of garages and street parking) and you can take the subway as well, if you don’t mind the walk. It’s also a very walkable place in Los Angeles.  There is a large amount of public art, you have the Japanese American National Museum at the corner of Central and First Street.  It’s so worth a visit.  On 3rd and San Pedro, there’s the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center.Little Tokyo is nice, but does border parts of Los Angeles’ skid row and garment district, so gets an overflow of transients, homeless and oddities wandering day and night.

There were lots of Japanese food vendors and restaurants as I was walking around the town.As for restaurants, the food is generally on the pricey side but more than make up for it in quality and taste. Lots of friendly and welcoming faces await you in each place.
If you crave for Ramen, look no further.  Over ten Ramen shops are located here.  They also got some upscale ones mostly with affordable price ranges.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Japanese souvenir shops were one of the highlights here. The quality of products are good but can be a bit overpriced in my opinion. In addition, Little Tokyo was a beautiful place to take photos.  The Japanese culture can be seen in every nook and cranny, down to the one man band who sometimes performs on the weekend.

Come and check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

 Tips: There’s parking everywhere usually 10.00$ for the day but around the corner there is a parking structure where you can get validated for eating or buying books from  stores located behind the structure.

Make sure to bring cash just in case. Some of the places don’t take card. They do have an ATM on the location if you ever need to take out some cash $$$.

Advertisements

Santa Monica Beach

 

Sunglasses on, sun kissing your body, ocean waves singing in your ears, and chitter chatter of vendors under umbrellas selling mango! Beach Therapy is much needed! Unwind, close your eyes, and let the breeze blow away all unneeded energy in your body.

Besides traffic, it is always a mess to get here and to get around . Welcome to L.A.  It’s worth the hassle and a photo op with the “Route 66 End of the Road” sign. I would definitely  recommend for you to stop by Santa Monica Beach on a hot beautiful summer day. If you’re lucky you will see Dolphins ! Not only can you dive into the water, but there is also a mini theme park on the pier! Mini gift shops, unique bands and singers on the pier, and also a gigantic ferris wheel + other rides & games to spend your day the right way. If you don’t want what the pier has to offer, simply just head into town. And you’ll notice that your options will suddenly multiply! If your not really into playing games or swimming. It’s also the perfect place to take photos as well!

If you need to use a restroom I recommend walking a few ways back and going to the mall bathrooms. I would not trust those public beach bathrooms to be great. Another thing I do recommend doing is ordering pizza at the beach! Who knew ?? I acquired thing little trick from my college friends one time and it absolutely blew me away.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Side note: Just a heads up that you might run into some homeless people. Please don’t take photos of them and shame them (I’ve seen someone do this and it was a disappointing sight to witness).

Tips:
– The water ranges from refreshingly cool to frigid. Most surfers wear wet-suits. In my experience, the warmest months in the water are Jul-Sep/Oct.

– Not dog-friendly.

– Beach parking is ~$12/day with lots open sunrise to sunset. They fill up quickly in the summertime. If you’re willing to wait, you can wait and try for a metered spot. If you’re willing to walk a few blocks, nearby garages are more cost-efficient.

– Staffing of lifeguard towers varies seasonally from tower to tower. Watch yourself and your little ones!

-Bring your own towels, and food and water if you plan on staying for a while.

-Bring lots of cash because most parking fee’s are “cash only”.

A Day in Pasadena

When you find yourself wandering in L.A. make sure you explore Pasadena. After all it was featured in one of the Beach Boys songs : The Little Old Lady from Pasadena. I always enjoy walking around this area because it’s such a historic location.

COPA VIDA

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Want to start your start your day with a perfect brunch ?Okay maybe I’m exaggerating just a little but honestly my first experience at Copa Vida was amazing.

The first time I came to this place was when I treated my mom out for some brunch. We both ordered two ‘Your Way’ dishes and it was incredibly delicious.

I should warn you though that the line is no joke. Brunch is served on the weekends until 11 am. This place also has an extensive list of tea options which is perfect for those who aren’t a fan of coffee. Copa Vida has a mix of different white, black, green, herbal, oolong, and milk combination teas. The drink  Orchid Oolong  that I ordered was light but it still managed to give me that boost that I needed. If you don’t want to wake up too early to make it in time for brunch , there is always the weekday menu that is available from Monday through Friday from 7 am-3 pm.

Side note: The Wi-fi password is cupofgrace which is also printed at the bottom of your receipt.

EATON CANYON

 The hours to hike daily are from 9 am-5 pm.

Parking is free and isn’t usually busy on the weekends.

This hike takes you to a natural waterfall at the end of your hike and it is pretty easy to get to. By the time it takes you to get there the hike will be worth your while and also the perfect spot to cool down and relax. The way to the waterfall is pretty straightforward with the exception of having a few water crossings in between so make sure you bring your hiking shoes and not your regular shoes. The total distance round trip is around 3.5 miles give or take. Make sure you stay under the bridge instead of going into the canyon hills, once you see a stream you know that you are going in the right direction. This stream leads you all the way to the waterfall. The flow of the waterfall will vary according to the season that you visit. Once it starts to rain, the waterfall is breathtakingly beautiful. This trail is also dog friendly but make sure that your dog is secured with a leash.

Side note: If you decide to bring snacks along with you please make sure to pick up after yourselves. I’ve been on this trail quite a few times and it’s very heartbreaking to see trash that other people leave behind.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OLD TOWN PASADENA

First the bad news. Parking is a b****.  It’s not free and sometimes the lots and parking structures are packed .  There are several parking structures along the side streets where you can park with some offering free 90 minute parking. Street metered parking is an alternative but be careful, parking enforcement is very strict on parking here. Most people spend almost a whole day in Old Town Pasadena so paying $6 for all day parking is reasonable. Generally, it is a very safe place as the police patrol this area frequently!
Pasadena  has a tremendous amount of on-street parking throughout the city. A majority of it is not restricted to a time limit during daytime hours, but please read any posted signs when parking. Parking is not permitted on City streets between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. except where posted otherwise.

Old Pasadena or Old Pas as some people like to call it has been all renewed and except for the buildings themselves there is nothing “old” about it. Today, Old Town  has completely transformed. Not only have the streets expanded out with stores but new up and coming restaurants have planted themselves here along with high end stores (including Tiffanys).
Now, having said that, it is a great hang out spot for families, friends, and couples. It is several blocks of walking and it is very clean and safe. I love walking around here! There are tons of good restaurants to check out, lots of shopping down Colorado Blvd, plenty of bars and lounges to choose from,  and a great hang out spot for a full day. The coffee shops are a must, so please do not stop at a Starbucks when there are several little ones out there that are fun and better such as Home Brewed Bar, Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters, and Lavender&Honey Espresso Bar. This is my fav area to hang out for a day if I want to get out of the house on a beautiful day.  I can stop by Forever 21, Heavenly Couture, or H&M for my shopping fix. Enjoy a nice walk around the block to find my favorite bookstore, Vromans, where I tend to loose track of time. If you’re a book lover like me this is the place for you 😉 Grab ice cream at 21 Choices, Pinkberry, and Ice Cream Lab.

Watch a movie at arc light. Check out a musical or play at the Pasadena playhouse or explore the Norton Simon Museum. The best time to come is during the holidays when the area and stores are decorated for Christmas and it can get pretty chilly at night so make sure you’re bundled!

Expect to spend a few hours there. There are great places to have dinner

DINNER AT OJI SUSHI

I came here on a Sunday night with my friend and it was the best experience I’ve had so far with eating sushi. They told us we had to wait like 15 minutes before we went inside which wasn’t too bad. We came during their soft opening promotion which meant that the classic sushi and the classic rolls were 50% off ! Unfortunately the soft opening has ended so now it’s normal price but I would still recommend trying it at least once because words cannot explain as to how good this sushi was. The interior was very trendy and had a nice vibe to it. The server was really nice, attentive and even complimented me on my eye makeup 🙂  but anyways back to the sushi lol

I’m giving this sushi a five star rating because it was that good. The portions sizes were on point and apparently from what I’ve heard is that they used good quality wasabi (which I didn’t try because I’m not a fan). The sushi looked very aesthetic so of course we had to take a few photos 😉 After we got around to eating this delicious looking food, it just melted in our mouths!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Los Angeles Journey Begins

Welcome to my food and travel blog!

I’m a  Mexican-American college student who is excited to show you weekly experiences of travel and delicacies through my eyes. Most people are too busy with their career paths that they become oblivious to the wonders and aromas around them.  A quote that helps remind me to do more in life goes like this: “If not now than when?” I recently decided to create this blog because I find that writing is the simplest way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life for a while. I start my day by preparing myself a drink at home or finding a park with a nice grassy area for me to sit and write. It’s one of those things that make me feel lighter and happier.

I would have guest stay over from different countries and they would tell me stories of their travel experiences, thus leading me to now want to experience new things and to share those experiences with you. My goal is to document my journey and reach you guys so that one day you’ll be able to go on a journey of your own. I hope that my tips will be useful to whoever maybe reading this.

I’ll start off with my hometown in Los Angeles! Join me on an adventure together of new discoveries of affordable yet riveting local foods. During this journey I plan to meet amazing people from all over the world as I am traveling to different locations. Thanks for reading!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.