I’ve been busy this weekend! My buddy Jane is here. She’s my high school friend, and she’s flown all the way from DC to hang with me for five days.
I’m not feeling very inspired right now and my eyes are dropping, so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. Jane arrived Friday evening, and we decided to hit the Grove and the Original Farmers Market first.
The Farmers Market has a medley of overpriced but yummy food stalls to choose from. Jane and I chose our meals from two completely different regions.
My dinner was Mediterranean:
It’s this awesome Middle-Eastern food stall that I remember my mother eating from, and I had actually been craving that dish for months since.
I got the same dish my mother did, which is the lule kebab:
Lamb kebabs, tabbouleh, hummus and pita bread. With a side of fire-roasted pepper and tomato.
It’s grossly overpriced at nearly $14, but god that lamb is amazing. No chewiness or gaminess in the least. I don’t even like tabbouleh or hummus—or I thought I didn’t but I was dead wrong!
But I think they may have served me stale pita bread because it was just blerg.
Jane’s dinner was from Singapore’s Banana Leaf:
10 points from anyone who can guess what it is!
It’s laksa—spicy coconut curry soup noodles served with shrimp crackers.
I’ve had this once with Mimi and Kathryn and didn’t like it much, but now that I had lower expectations, it really wasn’t that bad. Just not the same, but taste-wise, not bad at all.
Except she doesn’t like fishballs so I ate all of her balls.
The next day, we hit up a bunch of different places. We stopped by Starbucks first for our daily cup of joe:
And then walked to USC—my lovely school! I love showing off my school.
Unfortunately there was no Daily Trojan in circulation right now.
And my school, the Annenberg School of Communication was closed.
By the way, some of the pictures here are taken by Jane. She’s a recent graduate from Pratt Institute and she works as a graphic designer now. She’s got quite the eye, and I’m finding myself appreciating new (and random) details with her as we take pictures of buildings, stairs, trash cans and bricks.
Jane got high acclaims for her portrait shots (her work got showcased at galleries), so I asked her to take a few random ones of me.
These were taken in my school library, with my own camera and with a not-so-ideal subject.
Jane is a yogurt-whore. She’s obsessed with froyo, so obviously we had to stop by Yogurtland:
DC already has Pinkberry and Red Mango, but apparently no Yogurtland has invaded that territory yet.
Mine is the bigger one with the blueberries and the chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. Hers is with the chocolate chips and almonds.
By the way, those who have access to Yogurtland, their new flavor is caramel almond bars. It’s awesome. Go get it!
We also got to stop by a Korean coffeeshop called Cafe Home:
I wasn’t very impressed with the place. It appeared more like a pub to me than a homey cafe.
They had great drinks though, and much cheaper than others. I got a cappuccino:
They messed up my order because I’d asked for iced cappuccino, not the hot one. Oh well. It was still yummy.
We also picked up a late lunch:
Korean sushi (kimbap) and honey-and sesame-infused rice cakes (gul-tteok).
Another thing Jane is obsessed with: Harry Potter. So she, Mimi and I went to L.A. Live to watch the last movie. Jane was practically in tears that she didn’t get to watch it the day the movie was released, but I rebuked her because she should be grateful she’s watching it with me.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II: A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Totally worth every cent to watch in it theaters. I have no words now, except that it was shot beautifully and boy, the kids have grown up into handsome actors.
Jane, of course, was prepared with handfuls of tissues, and she was sniffling all the way through the music. “This is the end of my childhood!” she boo-hooed. Usually she likes to dress up as Harry Potter, and she was an Asian Harry Potter for a couple Halloweens.
After the movie, we went for dinner at Mo-Chica, a modern Peruvian restaurant close to USC.
I can’t believe I haven’t been here before. This place opened to great hype and seriously stirred the L.A. culinary world with its incredibly fresh, innovative and decently price food. I just didn’t get the chance to visit because I kept thinking, “Well it’s so close that I can go anytime!”
Well, we finally made it. It was dark when we arrived, and the place was dimly lit with lanterns.
I liked that they kept the decoration minimal yet elegant.
The menu is small, which is the key to a great restaurant. We took a while to deliberate, but we knew we were gonna order three different dishes so we can share.
We started out with some complimentary roasted corn nibs:
Lovely! Crunchy and roast perfectly. It’s kind of almost like pop corn but denser and more intensified in terms of flavor.
I got the quinotto:
Wild mushroom, quinoa grain risotto, crema fraiche.
O.M.G. So. Damn. GOOD. The risotto is so rich with flavor yet not heavy in the stomach like regular risotto can be. I could have used more mushrooms, but the quality of the few mushroomy bites made it up for the lack of it.
The quinotto came with a lightly dressed salad with creamy hominy salad.
It was fresh and refreshing, but I would have liked the hominy to be creamier.
Jane got the Arroz Con Marisco:
Mixed seafood of shrimp and mussels, salsa madre sauteed with rice.
That dish had some really fantastic flavors; it tasted a lot like paella to me though. I wonder what spices are in there.
Mimi the beef-lover got the customer favorite, the Lomo Saltado: Beef filet, salsa criolla, fried potatoes.
This was the only dish I wasn’t too impressed with. I found the beef rather tough, but Mimi told me that’s how filets are because they are so low in fat.
It was a bit strange introducing Mimi to my old high school buddy from DC. But I think they got along okay!
It’s been a great two days. Today has been even more fun. I might actually be sad when Jane leaves me.
Don’t leave, Jane! T__T
Question of the Day: Ever had an old friend crash at your place before? Where did you take her/him?