Theatre Sunday

Kevin and I got away for a few hours to enjoy the theatre over the weekend. We went to watch the matinee showing of Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.  I can totally see how this show won the 2014 Tony Award for the Best Musical — it’s dark but painfully hilarious, and if you’re a fan of Book of Mormon and other shows that’s not afraid to, you know, “go” there, you’ll probably enjoy this one too.

Before the show, we stopped at Pinot Grill, a restaurant that sits just outside Ahmanson, for a quick bite.  Kevin had the soup of the day (potato and celery soup which was delicious), along with quiche and I had a good old burger.

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We love the threatre and although LA is not the West End or the Broadway, we are thankful that a good show like this one eventually makes its way to the West Coast.  We are limited to what we can watch (I wish I can just to go the Theatre District and watch something new ever night) but this will definitely do.

Double the Fun: New Year’s Day 2013

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Happy New Year, everyone!

What’s so wonderful about being married to the most amazing guy in the world is joining the most amazing family. And with that comes an introduction to a cool new tradition.

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The first morning of the year was spent at a Japanese temple in Downtown LA to receive the New Year’s blessings!  Hatsumode, or the first shrine / temple visit of the year, was so refreshing as I haven’t done this since I was living in Japan! Visiting a temple on special days (like the New Year, and when people turn 20, etc.) is more of a cultural thing for us Japanese than a religious ritual.

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Little Tokyo was packed with people, hoping for a fresh start of the year! After we gave the offerings (throwing money in a wooden box), we bought some Omamori for ourselves and the family, to protect us for another year.

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After the temple, we all got together at the parents’ house for shabu shabu lunch. I think I ate too much too fast, because by the time we were done, I needed to head straight to the couch to lay down! I have to remember that my stomach is not as big as it once was before Pon Pon occupied the space, and I need to eat much slower to avoid this kind of situation! redface

After taking a nap for a good 30 minutes or so, Kevin and I left to head over to my parent’s house for Party #2! We weren’t able to join them for dinner (we were still way too full) but my mother packed a bunch of delicious traditional food for us to enjoy later.  It was so wonderful to see them on the New Year’s day. It was a little strange to not be spending an entire day with with my folks like I did all my life, but there’s definitely a way to squeeze in double the fun, if there’s a will.

I am very excited for 2013. I know that this is going to be the best year yet.

Friday Date Night

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Kevin and I are incredibly disappointed to learn that our favorite curry place in Downtown LA, Fat Spoon, has recently closed its door. 😦 I wish I had known so I could have enjoyed the amazing curry one last time. I almost cried when I saw the closure notice posted on the wall. I really loved this place and I’m going to miss it so much.

We were going to see a show at Ahmanson Theatre that night and needed to find a place real quick, so we went to a nearby TOT (short for Teishokuya of Tokyo) for dinner. Man, I wish we picked a different place because both the food and the service were less than ideal, and everything were overpriced!

I ordered the Tofu Steak with ginger sauce, with French fries, broccoli, and corn on the side. I was so bummed when tofu and corn came out cold (corn tasted like it just came out of a freezer) and the fries were soggy. I was hoping that the food would come out sizzling on the teppan grill but no. Fried squid were okay but nothing special. Kevin said that his Chicken Nanban Bowl Combo was mediocre and not worth the whopping $14.50.

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The service at the restaurant was slow but we made it to the theatre in time to enjoy the show, Anything Goes. I watched this with Maya in New York last year and had a blast, so I was really excited to watch it again here in Los Angeles! I thought the cast was great (Rachel York was amazing as Reno Sweeney), and although I didn’t think it was as good as the Broadway version, this production was still incredibly lively and entertaining! Pon Pon was responding to the music, especially during the amazing tap dance sequence in the song “Anything Goes,” by kicking my stomach! 🙂

I must to admit that it’s getting tougher and tougher to sit in a seat over a long period of time. I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was here to watch Seminar a few months back, but I guess my body is slowing but surely changing, as I enter the third trimester of pregnancy! I’m so thankful for the seats we have for our annual membership here. They are in the nosebleed section but we have two corner seats so we can stretch our legs a little, without landing an accidental roundhouse kick on the people in front of us.

Happy Friday night, everyone!

The Best Coffee in LA: Cafe Dolce

I’m no coffee expert but I know when I taste a delicious cup of coffee … and for me, a cup at Café Dolce in Little Tokyo is the best in town. The best. Who knew that there’s a quality coffee house in the Japanese Village, surrounded by Japanese supermarket, and shabu shabu and sushi restaurants!

Kevin and I make sure that we stop by there for a cup of coffee (my favorite is the ice coffee) during our Japanese grocery shopping runs on the weekend.  I tried Mocha Roti (round sweet bread) for the first time today and it didn’t disappoint either!

Here’s the beautiful Cafe Latte I ordered.  I hope you all have a wonderful July 4th!

Café Dolce
134 Japanese Village Plaza, Building E, Los Angeles, CA 90012
★★★★★

The Stanley Cup Parade and Rally!

In 2001, a friend took me to my first hockey game at Staple Center and I fell absolutely in love with the sport and the team! It wasn’t all roses for many years when there were way more losses than wins. There were so many empty promises and disappointments throughout the years, but the young core players started developing and we started to see the glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, especially when we finally began making the push for playoffs.

I knew this year’s team was a true contender but I never, in my wildest dream, thought that we will be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.eek But what do I know — we bulldozed over all the opponents we faced in the playoffs and broke a bunch of records along the way!  Talk about winning in style!

After watching the winning moments over and over again, reading about it on papers, watching the players appear on nightly talk shows (here, here, and here), and even cheering at the victory parade, I still feel like I’m dreaming. I think this feeling will last for a very long time.

You can see Bailey with the flag!

Glitters!

Even Magic sported the Black and White!

Inside the rally at Staple Center!

We were so happy to witness history!

Kerry, Carmela, and I took the metro from North Hollywood to Staple Center (while Kevin walked from his office).  We initially met up at the Universal City station but there were absolutely no places to park, so we drove 2 miles to the nearest NoHo stop.  There were no spaces there either but we got lucky and found spaces on the streets.  It was great to see a bunch of energetic Kings fan on the way, to start the celebration early!

I feel so lucky that my time off request was granted … I bet you 249,999 people that were at the parade this afternoon all played hooky from work!  lol

You can watch the entire footage of the rally here!

And special thanks to Carmela for finding us in the crowd (at around 36 minutes and 10 seconds into the video, during Brownie’s speech)! We got on TV, baby!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Tiffany, Shannon, Raf, Roya, Kevin, and I, along with other wonderful friends, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Villain Tavern in Downtown Los Angeles.  We got there at 2:00 p.m. for an early celebration.  This was also Tiffany and Roya’s farewell bash.cry I didn’t drink alcohol but had one of the most amazing freshly-squeezed orange juices I’ve ever had.  I picked on cabbage, carrots, and potatoes from Kevin’s Corn Beef and Cabbage, while I nibbled on my No Kill Burger (veggie patty, tomato, lettuce, and spicy mayo), with a side of fries.  I only ate half of the burger, and few fries.

Afterward, we stopped by Little Tokyo for Imagawayaki.  We also enjoyed this amazing cup of coffee from Café Dulce, with Spirulina Chewy Bun.  I don’t really know much about spirulina but apparently it’s made out of algea (like seaweed) and is the latest health food trend.  The bun was pretty good – not your typical bread and has an acquired taste and texture but I really liked it.  I only had a sip but I can tell that its coffee is made out of quality beans.

I hope you all had a wonderful St. Patty’s Day!

Say Yes to the Dress

Lunch (11:00 a.m.): Early lunch at Fat Spoon in Little Tokyo with Tiffany and Shannon, before wedding dress shopping. We started out with an order of Fat Spoon Salad, followed by its famous corn dogs. I had beef curry for the main dish.

Dress Shopping: We visited the Simple Bridal showroom in Downtown. Simple Bridal is an online bridal dress shop that has a several by-appointments-only showrooms around the country. We visited the LA showroom near Staple Center, in a building overlooking the entire Downtown LA.  It was breathtaking!

The experience was absolutely amazing. The showroom staff was knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and made me feel so comfortable. I was really dreading this process before arriving here but they made it completely pain-free for me. I actually ended up having a wonderful time playing dress up.

We even got to enjoy a few glasses of complimentary mimosas!biggrin

I was bummed that Saori (she wasn’t feeling well) and Maya (she lives out of town) couldn’t join in, but big thanks to Tiffany and Shannon for the much-needed moral support and honest feedback. Saori gave me her comments and feedback virtually via our iPhones after I sent her photos with options!

I’m happy to report that I found the perfect dress. And what people say is true – when you find the one, you just know. I knew immediately when I put on it on that this was the dress that I was going to walk down the aisle in!

I tried on a few more, just in case, but nothing came close to the feeling I had when I put on the winning dress.

Dinner (4:30 p.m.): After dressing shopping, we headed over to Daikokuya for an early dinner. I ordered Tsukemen, a deconstructed version of a regular ramen bowl.  We walked over to the nearby Pinkberry for a small pomegranate- and original-flavor frozen yogurt with strawberries, kiwis, and chocolate crisps, for dessert.

Late-Night Snack (8:40 p.m.): Imagawayaki from Mitsuru Cafe in Little Tokyo.  I ate way too much today.  Juice detox to commence next week.

This was a wonderful productive Sunday! Thank you, girls, for everything!