Archive for February, 2009

3 Day Weekend in LA

Posted by Greg on February 25th, 2009 with tags: , ,

Long time no posting – I’ll make it up with a painfully detailed post!

Yenari had a rare 3 day weekend this past weekend so I decided to take off Friday so that we could do something fun.  We decided to return to our roots – LA.  I was born in LA, but more importantly, LA has the biggest Koreatown in the US and thus the best Korean food in the US…and Yenari is definitely a fan of Korean food, so we settled on an eating tour of LA’s Koreatown.

We drove down on Friday morning, stopping at In-N-Out Burger (the only non Korean food for a few days!) and eventually making it to our hotel by around 2.  Once settled in, we headed down to Koreatown and drove around to get our bearings and eventually made it to a Korean salon where Yenari got a haircut.  Here she is mid-haircut:

Yenari getting her hair cut

Yenari getting her hair cut

Yenari knows several Koreans who live in the Bay Area that travel down to LA regularly to get their hair cut by people who ‘know how to cut Korean hair’.  After the haircut (the outcome can be seen in some of the other photos) we lazed around for a while and eventually headed out for dinner.  Yenari’s cousin (who also lives in the Bay Area) has become an expert in LA Korean restaurants and gave Yenari and cheatsheet of her favorites which we dutifully followed.  Our first pick was OnDal 2, known for their spicy crab soup.  They first serve the soup, you eat the crab, then they cook homemade noodles in the broth, and then they cook fried rice…all stages are pictured below:

Ready to start the crab soup dinner at OnDal 2

Ready to start the crab soup dinner at OnDal 2

Crab soup closeup

Crab soup closeup

Homemade noodles in the crab broth

Homemade noodles in the crab broth

Fried rice made from the crab broth

Fried rice made from the crab broth

This was a truly excellent meal – each step was so good and so filling that we were stuffed beyond belief.  Yenari and I both can pack away a lot of food, but we had no chance here – we took about half the rice back to the hotel and passed out at about 9:30, exhausted from the eating (and maybe a little from driving 5 and a half hours).  I awoke at 7:30am to the sounds of Yenari chowing down on the rest of the rice!

After a passing out again from the great food, we eventually got up and decided we needed to be a bit active, so we headed down to the pool for some swimming.  Yenari has been convinced that she’s turning into a whale, so she figured it was time to bring it too fruition.  Here goes the swimming!

Yenari in the pool at the hotel

Yenari in the pool at the hotel

After the swimming we headed down to Koreatown on the subway for a late lunch at Myung Dong Kyoja, a restaurant from Seoul that opened up a branch in LA.  Yenari used to go the the restaurant in Seoul so she was interested in trying out the noodle soup and dumplings that she remembered eating there.  Here they are – both of ’em excellent:

Steamed dumplings at lunch

Steamed dumplings at lunch

Noodle soup at lunch

Noodle soup at lunch

After lunch we took a long walk all the way across and through Koreatown to the Galleria shopping center – a massive Korean supermarket and mall – Yenari was in awe of all the things that had there and decided that a return trip with a car was needed.  Before leaving the city we did make that trip back and stocked up on lots of stuff that the Bay Area Korean markets don’t have.

For dinner we just kept on going with the Korean theme, dining at Dong Il Jang, a BBQ joint.  We went with a BBQ beef dished that we grilled at the table.  This wasn’t the standard marinated beef (bulgogi or kalbi), but instead was very high quality unmarinated beef that is just grilled and the dipped in sauce made of sesame oil and salt, eaten with a simple Korean salad.  It was great, and just like the crab dinner the night before, ended up with fried rice being made at our table.  Here’s the food!

BBQ beef at Dong Il Jang

BBQ beef at Dong Il Jang

Fried rice cooked at the table at Dong Il Jang

Fried rice cooked at the table at Dong Il Jang

After stuffing ourselves with beef and fried rice we walked across Koreatown for another spot on Yenari’s cousin’s list – Pinkberry, a frozen yogurt place.  I don’t like frozen yogurt, so luckily I wasn’t tempted to add to my already loaded stomach, but Yenari was….here she is daintily going for the first taste:

Yenari taking the first stab at her froyo at Pinkberry

Yenari taking the first stab at her froyo at Pinkberry

and then diving in head first for the rest!

Spoons are too slow

Spoons are too slow

She actually didn’t eat the whole thing sans-utensils, just took off the pointy top part that way, but its not too difficult to image her just tearing into it.  With the noodle soup, dumplings, BBQ beef, rice, frozen yogurt, and a heck of a lot of walking under our belts, we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.

Yenari started off our last morning in LA by swimming again, we packed up, checked out, and then we headed out for our last meal in LA, a stop for some abalone rice pooridge at San:

More food!

More food!

Abalone pooridge for breakfast

Abalone pooridge for breakfast

After the tasty meal – the first non-massive meal of the trip – we headed back to the Galleria market for shopping and then headed out of LA.  On the way out of town we stopped at one of my favorite places in LA – the Getty Museum.  This was my third trip to the Getty in the last 10 years.  While the exhibits are great – we saw a couple good photography exhibits on portraits and early California photography in addition to the permanent collections of 16th – 18th century paintings, my favorite part about the Getty is the outdoor space, gardens, and architecture.  It is a beautiful place, perched up on a hill (you need to take a tram to get to the top) with great views of LA and great open space.  Here we are:

At the Getty Museum

At the Getty Museum

The gardens and museum in the background

The gardens and museum in the background

and yup, proof that I went on this trip too!

Yup, Greg was there too

Yup, Greg was there too

And with that, after a great 2 day trip to LA, fueled by stomach busting quantities of Korean food, we hopped (as best we could after that much food) into our car, and made our way back home.

Phewf…the mega post is done – congrats if you made it this far!

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