Kisu's mum makes us budaejigae (부대찌개) for lunch; it's a spicy stew with lots of spam (luncheon meat), vienna sausages, pork and ramen in it. This dish supposedly originated when Koreans threw the supplies used by the American soldiers in with their spicy stew. One of my favourite korean dishes because of all the processed meat products!
Time to open presents!
Then we ended up watching Dae Jang Geum (Da Chang Jin)...I never thought I would enjoy it (despite all the rave reviews about this show), but it was entertaining enough for me to want to watch more after the 1st episode. Reminded me of Oshin - if you were around in the early 80s, you'll remember this famous Japanese series. Kisu's mum kept wanting to tell us what happened...so Kiae had to keep shussing her!
Dinner was at Redondo beach, where we had seafood - there are a ton of Korean seafood places offering live seafood. It reminded me of East Coast UDMC Seafood centre! It's packed (with a lot of Koreans), and we have to wait an hour before we can get a table, so we put our names down and walk aroud the pier to kill time.
Look at the beautiful evening shots we got
The blatently ignored No Fishing sign
After that, we hit a small games arcade closeby - Kisu's Dad is really good at the money machines - the ones that you add quarters into to get more money out of....we get enough tokens to exchange for a small handheld massager, shaped like a ladybug!
Back at the restaurant, we get seated - it's loud and noisy and packed to the brim. The restaurants are run and patronised by a largely Korean crowd. They give you little wooden hammers instead of nutcrackers for the crab, and plastic bibs to wear!
Kevin and I had fish and chips - me because I don't really take seafood, especially shellfish. And Kevin because, last year, when he had patronised the same joint, he cut himself cracking all the shellfish! We drop the parents off before The Good Shepherd at AMC cinemas near home. I'd been wanting to watch this show. Unfortunately, I find it a little slow and hard to follow. Didn't enjoy it very much. Damn, should have watched Babel instead!
Day 4: Tuesday 26 Dec 06
Wake up in time for lunch, as usual....we've had a lot of Korean food the last couple days, and we need a break. Lunch is at In N Out - I've written about this before, and I'm writing about it again because it's one of our must eat at places whenever we visit California. It's the only fast food place that passed the test in Fast Food Nation.
And for good reason - none of their food is frozen, and they only serve a very limited menu, all of burgers. No chicken, or salads, or any of the other stuff. They stick to what they're good at. And every In N Out that I've been to is always packed. Kisu and I need to do some shopping, so we end up at The Grove mall (again) and also go to the nearby Beverly Centre. I remember the Beverly Centre from my last trip to LA - it's just one of those huge malls that has the usual American brands in it. It's OK, kind of dark compared to the shopping malls bac in Singapore!
In line with keeping it a non-Korean food day, we pick up chicken from El Pollo Loco (remember this place? There used to be one at Holland V where the Crystal Jade now is, but it closed down) and soondae for dinner. Soondae is Korean blood sausage (yes, made with BLOOD, eeps), and one of Kisu's favs. His parents bought it for him, so he had it but the rest of us (me, especially) were more than happy to stick with the chicken and tortillas.
Day 5: Wednesday 27 Dec 06
Yay! We are meeting Yun-jo today - she's in LA, enroute to San Francisco for a friend's wedding, so we get to spend the day with her!
Today is the earliest that we've woken up on this trip! We need to pick Yun-jo up from her friend Erica's place at Silverlake at 930, so we're up by 8 and out of the house by 845. It's also Kisu's first time in a long time navigating LA roads on his own, so he needs some buffer time in case we get lost. And of all things, he forgets to bring the piece of paper with her friend's address on it! The address is something like 8365 or 8635, he can't remember. But he won't call Yun-jo to verify. Men. Instead we stake out the first apartment we get to, and wait. After some time without the appearance of YJ, we figure it's the other address.
It's way before lunch time, but we decide to have soondubu (水 豆 腐) at the famous BCD Tofu House in (yet again) K-town.
And then we just HAD to try this Korean yoghurt place called Pinkberry that Mike recommended. It's like the hottest place in LA now...you get tangy nonfat yoghurt (which tastes a little like yakult) and you pick toppings like fresh fruit and cereal to go with it. A little like Yami Yoghurt, but cooler.
Here we are at Pinkberry. Don't ask me why I'm doing that darn cutesy pose; I think I just couldn't think of what to do with my hands.
View from the Car. Singapore expressways look so small after travelling on the LA highways
Kisu wanted to check out some of the stores in Little Tokyo that he used to frequent for anime and manga, and YJ was also looking for the Fushigi Yugi DVD, so we stopped by Little Tokyo in downtown LA. YJ and Kisu have mochi at a mochi speciality store (I'm too full) and we browse at some of the anime shops and Kinokuniya. I feel like I'm back home in Taka!
Oh, and I try toffee apples for the 1st time! Yum!
After some shopping, we sit down for coffee at this streetside cafe thinggie - I guess it's Italian-ish...I have their nutella coffee which is yummy-licious! Hmm, I should try that at home..I do have nutella in the fridge.
Because she's heard of it but yet to try it, we bring YJ to Roscoe's in Old Town Pasedena. And then it's the end of the day all too soon...sigh - we drop Yun-jo back home in the evening. She's staying at another friend's place, which is in Orange County. By the way, all I know about Orange County comes from the show The O.C. So imagine my shock and horror when it didn't look *anything* like that in the show! It was a literal dead town, didn't see any of those fancy houses and cool parties! *Gasp*- and they tell you not to believe everything you watch on TV.
Day 6: Thursday 28 Dec 06
Somehow, Kevin, Kiae, Kisu and me end up back at little Tokyo. There's this restaurant that looks like it serves really fabulous Shabu Shabu but the wait is like 1 1/2 hours, so we abort mission. Instead, we have lunch at a small place across the street. Where the waitress, as she's setting out table, asks (very PC-ly) whether *anyone* would need a fork & spoon. Poor Kevin.
Kiae and Kevin drop us off at the LA Fabric District.
First stop: Michael Levine's on 9th & Maple Ave. which is touted as the mother of all fabric shops here.
The rest of the afternoon (2.30 - 5pm) is spent walking around the area, but I end up spending the most time at Michael Levine's. I also think that I spot Bradley from Project Runway Season 3 in the Notions section! There are a lot of shops all over, but most of them are advertising fabric at a dollar a yard - and the quality is crap. Michael Levine's is kinda pricey, but they have a great selection of fabrics, and they're good quality. I get a good amount (enough to stuff one suitcase full, it turns out).
We get picked up at 5pm and it's off to Glendale for burgers at Islands - another restaurant that Kisu misses and reminisces about ALOT. They are quite yummy, but I always feel that burgers taste best as fast food, and eaten in little hole-in-the-wall places.
Post dinner, we take a drive around La Crescenta and La Canada. This is where Kisu used to live and he also went to high school here. La Canada is a nice area, apparently Keanu Reeves lives here!
We stop for dessert at the Rocky Cola Cafe which is really cool - it has all these bright red leather seats and booths. The dessert is really rich! The rest had sundaes while I had a Brown cow - it's like a float - vanilla ice cream in Coke. Except that the ice cream is blended into the coke, so you have this creamy, icy mix.
And just before heading back, we go up Angeles Crest highway which is really windy and pitch dark for a great view of LA.