Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Playing a Little Catchup: News and Reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I figured I should do a quick catch-up for anyone who feels they’re missing out. Things have been busy over here in the past few weeks, so there’s plenty to catch up on.

One of Evan's first pictures of Pittsburgh

One of Evan's first pictures of Pittsburgh

The biggest change is that Evan took a job that will bring him to Pittsburgh for 3 months. This pales in comparison to leaving for Budapest nearly two years ago, back in the time when I didn’t even know exactly how long we’d be apart, but it’s still a bit sad for me and it will be an adjustment. He just left this morning — on a 6 a.m. flight — and I’m going to be heading out for my first visit April 22.

Evan also just launched a new site about assistant editing and Avid tips and tricks. It looks really professional and clean and already has tons of useful information.

Though this week was busy workwise and I’ve also started a design class at UCLA Extension, there were some fun events leading up to Evan’s departure, like playing with his cousin’s new King Charles Cavalier puppies (so adorable!), seeing a movie and going out to eat. Here are some of the highlights.

villageidiotWe went to The Village Idiot twice. Once to check it out before deciding to have Evan’ going away shindig there (I’d been there, he hadn’t), and the second time was for his party. This gastropub, which is unusual for LA, offers interesting dishes — I had a beet and horseradish greens salad, acorn squash risotto and ginger bread budding with Guinness gelato (amazingly delicious and different) — a nice wine and beer list, and a fun atmosphere. The wallpaper in the back rooms is covered in stags, and as we found out, it gets quite crowded on a Friday night, so if you want to enjoy your food, have dinner there earlier in the week.

The goodbye party was a nice gathering of lots of friends. It was tough to get to talk to everyone and the room was realy bustling, but we were there until closing time, enjoying the company and the beer.

We also went to eat at the Gardens of Taxco, which we’ve been meaning to try out for months. This Mexican restaurant is quite the experience. With no menus — just a choice of meats and veggies for your five-course meal read off by an animated, showboaty waiter — you’re surprised at every step along the way of your dinner. And it just makes ordering that much easier. We had quesadillas with delicious quacamole, soup, tacos and enchiladas, and Evan had carne asada while I had a chile relleno and a zucchini taco, along with rice and beans, of course. There were also the requisite chips and salsa, as well as some pickled vegetables. I was also serenaded by the guitar player, singing a very sweet song Evan requested.

We were surprised to find that the restaurant doesn’t serve hard alcohol, which meant no margaritas, but they make their own guava-wine margaritas. It wasn’t a perfect replacement, but they were pretty tasty — and they come by the liter! (We shared, of course).

For Evan’s last day in town, we went to the park and played some frisbee. I have very little talent when it comes to throwing or catching things, or sports in general, but I’ve been improving. Then we ran some errands and went to dinner. Evan didn’t want anything too stuffy, so we headed over to the Panini Cafe. As we were walking toward the restaurant, I had the strangest sense of deja vu, and then it hit me — this is the last place we ate before he left for Budapest. Strange that it was completely unintentional. When he was leaving for Budapest, we went for lunch with his grandparents; this time we went for dinner on our own. We like the place, with its relatively quick service and tasty sandwiches, salads and kabobs. I just couldn’t believe we were really back there again, in nearly the same situation.

I’ll try to post a bit more regularly, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to talk about after my first trip to Pittsburgh and to Syracuse (we should be heading up there the weekend I’m in town). After 2 and a half years, I’ll finally see Evan’s hometown. I think it’s about time for that. And I’ll finally get to check out the ever-mysterious Wegman’s.

If you have any recommendations for things to do or places to eat in Pittsburgh, we’d love to hear them.

Another Weekend in Mammoth: Skiing in the Storm

You’ve seen some of the pictures from the rather treacherous drive, but now to talk about the actual weekend.

Friday night we got set up in the condo and cooked. I made garlic bread, rancher’s pasta and salad, then we settled in to play a game of Trival Pursuit against Caroline and Paul.

Saturday, we didn’t try hard enough to get to the mountain early ad got there in time for long lines at the ticket booth and even longer lines at the lifts. I’d never seen so many people trying to get on at Canyon before.

We decided to head over to a quieter part of the mountain, so we ended up over at Chair 25, enjoying the nice, long, powdery runs, and trying to stay somewhat sheltered from the wind. It was sunny, but it was cold and blustery and there were quite a few chairs out of commission because of the weather.

That night, our friend Ian came, and we had a dinner of my veggie stew, guacamole and salsa, then played music trivia game Riff (which my parents apparently found at the 99 cent store).

Sunday we woke up to even more snow. Thankfully it wasn’t too windy, and it wasn’t much colder than the day before, so we headed out to the mountain. The lines were a little shorter and some more of the lifts were open, including Cloud 9 Express, which goes to some beautiful runs on the far side of the mountain.

We played in the deep powder and challenging runs on Cloud 9, then headed to the opposite side of the mountain, to chairs 12 and 13, where it was very quiet and peaceful. By the end of the day, the sun had even started to peek out a bit, and we were exhausted from our day.

We went out for a nice dinner at Skadi, where apparently the chef is crazy (it says so on the menu!) but the food is very good. Then we went home to make brownies and compete at movie trivia in Scene It? (Go team popcorn!).

By Monday morning the snow was coming down pretty hard, so we just packed up and headed home — little did we know how long it would be snowing.

You can check out more photos from the weekend in my Facebook album.


MLK Weekend in Mammoth

Last weekend, Evan and I went to Mammoth with two of our friends. We drove up early on Friday so we beat all of the traffic and had a super easy drive because it had been warm for a while and hadn’t snowed, so no ice, no snow and no chains.

Saturday, we had a great, full day of skiing and snowboarding. Evan and I went all over the mountain in the morning, then stopped for lunch — where we coincidentally sat RIGHT next to my uncle and cousins — and met up with our friends in the afternoon to get some more runs in.

That night we had a delicious dinner at one of my favorite Mammoth restaurants, Petra’s Bistro. The four of us had a table by the fire, and Evan and I shared a roasted beet salad and some Navarro Chardonnay, and then he had a salmon dish while I had some gnocchi with butternut squash. Our friends had venison and pork and loved their dishes as well. For dessert we headed back to the condo since Evan and I had baked a chocolate almond cake from a recipe his parents often use, and though it turned out a little flatter than theirs — we folded the egg whites in a little too much — it was delicious with its raspberry jam topping. I’ll definitely be making it again.

Sunday was another great ski day. The snow was pretty fast and quite hard-packed in some places, but we stayed under control and I don’t think either Evan or I fell the whole time. We spent more time up at the top and on the back side of the mountain, which I had never even explored. It was beautiful and sunny, too, and we met up with my uncle and cousins again for lunch.

We didn’t make it a full day — we headed in around 3 instead of 4 — since our legs (especially mine) were really exhausted from spending so much time on both steep and overly flat runs, which both make my muscles exhausted. I do much better on a normal intermediate/easier advanced grade. Still, it was good to challenge myself, and though Evan is a much better skier than I am a border, I was able to stick with him all day — provided that he’d wait for me a bit.

That night, we cooked dinner — nice and easy rancher’s pasta (pasta with sun dried tomatoes, olives and goat cheese) and salad. We also had some more cake and started a bit of a board game marathon, playing Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and Catch Phrase.

Monday we debated whether or not to ski and ultimately decided to go for brunch at The Stove where we had enormous omelets, waffles and pieces of french toast, which were all really delicious. Then Evan and I took a short hike at Hot Creek, which was delightfully empty — every time I’ve been there it’s been super crowded. And then we drove home, thankfully without any traffic again.

Evan should be posting some more photos soon, including some of Hot Creek.

Family Vacation in Mammoth

At the end of December, my family went to Mammoth to go skiing, enjoy the snow and spend some time together.


Dad and Michelle competing in the Partini cup game

Our first night there, a week ago Friday, we went to dinner at the Mogul then went home to play some games. We tried out a new game my sister got called Partini, which was a lot of fun, though some categories were a bit hard — like the one where you had to describe something by what it isn’t, and one where you had to hum two of four songs and have your team guess them within 30 seconds. Other categories were a lot of fun, like the miming/charades one, a competitive ball-and-cup game and a sentence-finishing activity, which led to lots of funny answers to “I like” and “I have” phrases pertaining to the roller.


Mom trying to figure out a Canadian Trivia answer

Then my parents pulled out their new Canadian Trivia game, which they got as a gift. It was basically Trivial Pursuit, Canadian edition, and nobody other than my mom and dad got many questions. I got a few entertainment questions about Avril Lavigne and Michael Buble.


June Lake (turned out pretty well from a moving car and on my iPhone)

Saturday was our first day snowboarding and we decided to check out June Mountain instead of going to Mammoth Mountain, which we knew would be crowded. None of us had ever been to June Mountain before, and it ended up being a nice surprise. The conditions were beautiful, there were no lines and we felt like we had the hill to ourselves. The runs were a bit easy for my liking and it didn’t have the variety Mammoth has, but it still made for a beautiful day of skiing and snowboarding, and the view of June Lake was quite beautiful.

That night, we played Catchphrase, a new family favorite since we played it in Hawaii during the summer. It always ends up with a lot of yelling, though — somehow giving clues louder makes it seem like you’re giving them faster.


Me and Mom at the top of Mammoth Mountain

Sunday we finally went up to Mammoth Mountain. It was one of the most beautiful days I’d ever seen there — warm but not too hot, blue skies, very little wind and great snow. It was only my mom, Danny (my sister’s boyfriend) and me on the hill, and we had a great day, sticking towards the top of the mountain to avoid the crowds and taking lots of beautiful runs. It wasn’t anywhere near as crowded as we expected, and when we took the gondola up to the top, it wasn’t even windy, so we go to take a bunch of photos.


One of my favorite runs at Mammoth — Dry Creek

I felt comfortable on my snowboard, though it had been about two years since I’d been boarding, and I can’t wait until Evan and I head up again in a few weeks.

Check out more photos in my Facebook Album and Danny’s Facebook Albums, Mammoth Part 1 and Mammoth Part 2.

Photowalk: Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Our afternoon at the Wakodahatchee wetlands in Delray Beach, Florida, was full of fun animal sightings, and Evan got some great photos. Here are some of my favorites:

We were greeted by a very pretty parrot at the entrance to the wetlands.

There was a giant alligator lounging in the sun with some turtles. They didn’t seem bothered.

We saw a bird (a hawk?) scoop up a fish with its talons and fly away with it.

There were two very large iguanas. One was colorful, the other wasn’t.

Check out more of the photos from Florida, including plenty of ducks, herons, turtles and egrets on Evan’s website.

Florida Roundup: Grandparents, Gators and South Beach

Sorry that I still don’t have the Florida photos, but I do have this one we took with the point-and-shoot in South Beach, and I suppose I may as well put into writing our 6 days in Florida while they’re still somewhat fresh.

We spent the bulk of the time visiting with my grandparents in Palm Beach and Boynton Beach (both sets of grandparents live there — at least in the winter), taking walks around the golf course and down the beach, eating at various restaurants, including Palm Beach’s Taboo and Couco Pazzo, and sitting by the pool. My aunt Marla was also in town, so we got to spend time with her, and the three of us shared a fantastic piece of key lime pie, with the densest meringue I’ve ever had, at the Four Seasons.

It was Evan’s first trip to Florida, so had to get in some traditional sights. We spent an afternoon at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, a small man-made preserve where we went for a nice walk on an elevated platform above the water. We saw lots of turtles, herons, egrets and other birds. We also saw three alligators–a giant one, a medium sized one and a little baby–and two impressively large iguanas. Wakodahatchee was only about a 10 minutes’ drive from my grandparents place, and a really nice place to wander around for a bit.

We also spent a few hours one afternoon driving around Palm Beach to see the beautiful beachfront mansions, the stately Breakers hotel and the super-upscale Worth Avenue while my grandma played tour guide. It’s really a gorgeous place to tour around.

Our only real trip away from the Palm Beach area was down to Miami Beach. We had lunch outside at the News Cafe, then walked along the beach, Collins Avenue, and Lincoln Road, checking out the shops and enjoying the art deco buildings. We rented lounge chairs and relaxed on the beach, then went to Puerto Sagua to get some Cuban food for dinner. Unfortunatly Cuban food isn’t very veggie-friendly, so I ended up having a potato omelet and some fried yuca, which left me yearning for something green and healthy. I suppose I should have ordered a salad to go with it. Next time I’m there, I’d love to check out the Wolfsonian museum. It was near closing time when we walked by, so we just went into the store, and it looks like they have some really neat design objects.

This trip was really nice and relaxing, and it was great to spend some more time with my family — and finally introduce them to Evan, too. Evan’s still traveling, actually, and he’ll be on the East Coast until nearly New Year’s while I’m holding down the fort, or rather, the two-bedroom apartment, in LA.

We should have some pictures up soon — look forward to seeing the alligators and iguanas.

Winter Travel Season Begins Tomorrow: We’re Going to Florida


A photo of my mom’s parents on my last trip to Florida in 2006

Tomorrow night we’re heading off to Florida for a little 5-day vacation to visit my grandparents — both sets. I haven’t seen them in a while and Evan hasn’t even met them yet since they live so far away and he’s never been around when they’ve come to California. We’re excited to get some slightly warmer weather, some new scenery — Evan’s never been to Florida — and to relax with my family.

We’re also planning on spending a night in Miami, but we need to do a bit of research to figure out where to stay and what exactly to do. I’ve spent a total of one afternoon in South Beach so far, and mostly just spent my time walking down the beach. If you have any suggestions for Miami, or for Palm Beach/Boynton Beach (where we’re staying), we’d love to hear them!