May 25, 2015

Getaway Weekend | Hollywood, California

A few weeks ago Charles and I spent an amazing weekend together in Hollywood.  It was just what we needed- and no time off work required!

We had a concert planned for Saturday night at the Greek Theater and decided to extend our trip overnight.  First we went on a 'Dearly Departed Tour' of LA, followed by a stroll along Hollywood Blvd, and dinner at the Blue Palms Brew House.  The food and beer at Blue Palms was amazing and it is conveniently right off of Hollywood Blvd (we were able to walk to it).  I highly recommend it!

 We topped the night off by seeing the Decemberists at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park.  The acoustics there (combined with being outdoors) resulted in an amazing musical experience.  Goosebumps all the way.  The Decemberists... the venue... everything was magical.  Afterwards we ordered a movie and warm room service chocolate chip cookies (and maybe french fries), which felt like such a relaxing splurge.  It was the perfect day.

On our way out of town on Sunday we visited the Griffith Observatory, stopped by the 'murder house' from American Horror Story, and as you know from this post, tried Korean Barbecue in Koreatown.  I will definitely include more on all that soon, but I couldn't resist a little photo montage of our weekend first.  We packed in so many things and had a blast playing tourists!



May 22, 2015

Korean Barbecue 101 | Los Angeles, California

I am going to level with you... I was completely uneducated when I sat down for my first Korean barbecue experience. I felt completely awkward. There were some embarrassing moments (on my part), but when I finally tried the food all was forgotten except the delicious flavors of the divine end product. The entire experience ended up being delightful. 

In the event that you haven't had this experience, I'll share what I've learned (so far) so you can enjoy it too. (Feel free to leave any other tips/info in the comments!) 

The first part is easy, simply sit down and place your order. All the meats are likely to be good, but might I recommend bulgogi if you can't decide? It is Korean marinated beef full of flavor and a sure thing for your first time trying the cuisine. 

After you place your order, an array of side dishes will be presented to you. Korean barbecue is all about the sides! These are known as banchan. This can include kimchi (the bright green and red dishes in the center-- fermented cabbage), stir-fried dried anchovies, vegetable pancakes, cucumbers, other fermented vegetables, dipping sauces, and many more depending on the restaurant. They are basically considered condiments and can also include lettuce (to wrap meat) and rice. 

The vegetable pancakes (top center) were my favorite. I enjoyed some dishes more than others, but it was still fun experimenting with new tastes. 

Next up: grilling! 

Originally we weren't sure of the cooking protocol, but we quickly got the hang of it. Our waitress started the meat for us, turned it, and then came over with meat scissors to help us cut up the large pieces halfway through the cooking. Ultimately it was our job to determine when to take the meat off the grill. 

I think whether or not your waitress actually turns the meat can vary, but they will definitely start it. It is up to you to finish cooking it to perfection and not let it overcook! 

Finally, enjoy your cooked meat with all the condiment fixings. Mix and match! Often the meat is cooked in smaller batches, so you can continue to cook another batch while you eat. There were lots of families dining around us, and it was very much a communal experience. 

Oh and don't forget a nice brew to compliment it all. 

I am glad my first experience with Korean barbecue was in Koreatown! Los Angeles is such a wonderful food hub. 

In case you find yourself in the area, here are the details:

Chosun Galbee
3330 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019 (323) 734-3330 

Chosun Galbee came highly recommended to us by a friend who has tried many Korean barbecue restaurants. It definitely lived up to the hype. 

Happy grilling!

May 18, 2015

Mardi Gras Parades | New Orleans, Louisiana


I can honestly say that my experience at Mardi Gras was nothing but positive.  We were so lucky to have some local friends show us the ropes, but everyone we met was equally helpful and fun to be around.  The parades themselves were VERY family friendly with tons of young kids catching beads, toys, and treats all around us.

We were lucky enough to experience parades over five days including the Krewe d'Etat, Krewe of Morpheus, Krewe of Endymion, Krewe of Mid-City, Krewe of Bacchus, Krewe of Zulu, and Krewe of Rex.

That was a pretty good haul for our first time on the parade circuit!  I plan to write a little more in the future on the history of Mardi Gras and what to expect if you attend, but for now I hope you'll enjoy some fun photos of my experience at the parades.  (We ended up with far more loot than we could EVER carry home!)