One of the things I’ve been meaning to do since moving to LA is go to at least one 626 Night Market—basically a food truck/food stall-heavy festival featuring vendors that sell unique foodie creations.
Many of the vendors also specialize in Asian-themed food items, and finding snacks with matcha or ube is a recurring theme.
Since my sister’s now officially living in the OC, I thought it would be a good idea to attend the OC Night Market (the OC spin-off of 626 Night Market) together.
It was taking the place the last weekend in August, and I used it as an opportunity to head down to the OC and spend the weekend with the sis. So after popping into lab on that Saturday morning, I took the Metrolink down to Irvine, where my sister met me mid-afternoon.
From there, we stopped for a tea break before heading to the venue. The festival was being held in Costa Mesa, just like how VegFest was last year.
We had no issues getting in, except we were bothered by the fact that we had to pay for parking AND entering the night market. We were also a part of the “early” crowd, entering closer to 5pm vs. 8pm, haha!
Before getting to the food stalls and trucks, we passed through a hangar-like structure that sheltered several art displays and items for sale by art vendors.
Since there were many food stalls to check out, we walked around the perimeter before deciding what to get. Our first choices were both savory, and could thwart any salt craving.
My sister picked up a jalapeno grilled cheese, with cream cheese.
I, on the other hand, was quite intrigued by the potato swirl. I noticed so many other patrons carrying the carb-wrapped stick, and then after devouring the edible portion, waving the stick around like a spear. My sis and I had to dart around these absent-minded potato consumers if we wanted to live, haha!
I got my potato swirl seasoned with cajun, and could immediately see why it was so popular with the crowd. The potato discs were fun to peel, and there was just enough seasoning that no extra sauce was needed.
After some more walking around, and glancing at some of the art displays, we made a second round for dessert. I spotted the Blue Nova truck, and immediately noticed their Thai ice cream roll menu.
The line didn’t seem too long, but then again, I didn’t know how long it would take to make a spectacular-looking cup of Thai ice cream rolls.
I chose to get the Spectacular Speculoos flavor, and spent the next twenty minutes hovering near the side of the truck waiting for my ticket number to be called.
Was it worth the wait? According to appearances…maybe:
According to taste? Not too bad! The ice cream itself was bland and didn’t carry a lot of flavor (it was supposedly speculoos-flavored, but at least it was dusted with cinnamon, topped with mochi, and held two Biscoff cookies and a marshmallow I passed on because of gelatin).
Since we arrived early, we still had a ton of time to kill if we were planning on staying till 10pm. The entertainment acts weren’t even starting until 7, and it was barely 6 when we completed our two rounds of the venue!
We decided that we would probably have more fun back at my sister’s place—she suggested that we get some cupcakes-in-a-jar and savor them while watching the sun set. I couldn’t think of a more perfect idea!
Baked Dessert Bar had a wonderful assortment to choose from, and I chose the Cookie Monster while my sis chose the most chocolate-on-chocolate flavor she could find. Once we got back to her place in Mission Viejo, we settled ourselves in some seats in the backyard and watched the sun set in all its glory.
The cupcakes were not bad either—the cake wasn’t too dry, but of course I was a fan of the frosting, and the frosting-to-cake ratio was perfect.
My sis and I spent the rest of the evening chatting and laughing, and eventually we went inside to get some shut eye since she would be driving me back to LA the next morning.
Before heading back in the morning, I went out for a mid-distance run while my sis promised to make a quick breakfast for both of us. I was so awestruck by the beauty of Mission Viejo that I forgot that the beauty I was witnessing was 90% hills. Which meant my run was ready to kill me.
I survived, but not without feeling it in my calves. At least my sister’s scrambled eggs came to my grumbling stomach’s rescue.
We did stop for coffee, and then headed to my campus to take care of a number of things in lab. I had to stay overnight that night due to the next day being a time-sensitive experiment day, so having my sister help with preparations and other routine tasks was something I was grateful for!
We worked for four solid hours non-stop, and were hungry enough by the end of it to immediately head out for lunch. Burgers and fries sounded perfect, and after mentioning Shake Shack to the sis, we made a direct drive to the Century City location.
It was the first time trying SS out for the both of us, and our default vegetarian option for a burger was the Shroom Burger. We had no complaints though, since the mushroom patty was supposedly stuffed with warm cheese.
For my side, I got the cheese fries while my sis got a chocolate shake. We found seating outside, and didn’t have to wait too long for our food to arrive.
And everything tasted as good as it looked. The patty was crisp, bread buns soft, enough cheese to coat each fry…I was definitely forlorn when I finished my meal. It made me second guess the size of my fry order, haha!
My sis drove me back to campus so I could get ready for my overnight stay, while she headed back to Mission Viejo. Even though I was back to work hours before the rest of my collegues would be, at least I was happy with how well I spent the weekend!