After spending a Saturday together in Hollywood exploring the history of broken relationships, I didn’t get a chance to see my sister for another two weeks. She soon got busy with work, classes, and…a boy?
Haha, yes. She’s yet another one of my once-single friends to get herself a BF lol. I briefly met him the night of her graduation when they were just friends, but since it was 11pm and I was suffering from deep exhaustion after the day’s celebrations, I fell asleep under my sister’s dorm bed soon after he arrived. No shame—I needed my beauty sleep!
I met them for brunch on a Saturday, soon after getting my morning long run in. He had come into LA to drop off a friend at the airport, and my sis picked him up on her way from the OC. They picked me up from my place, and we had our brunch at a local favorite—Truxton’s American Bistro.
My sis and I were crazy for their monkey bread when we visited their Westchester location two summers ago, but this time around, we were looking for something that wasn’t 100% carb.
The poor BF had to spend the night in the airport so he was literally falling asleep at the table. I used the time to catch up with the sis, and also figure out which brunch item to get.
I ended up going for a squash and Brussels sprouts hash topped with a fried egg. The other two got sandwiches.
I think the pictures can speak for themselves, but it was definitely a mouth-watering dish. The crostini on the side wasn’t super necessary (actually, it was hard to bite into and didn’t help with mopping up any leftover sauce), but it helped somewhat.
They were both pretty tired after that, so my sis dropped me off after taking me to Sprouts for a quick grocery trip. I invited them to check it Cold Rolled with me, but apparently her BF doesn’t like sweets (I was personally in shock), so I let it be and let them head back to get some rest 🙂
The following day, I made plans to check out the Body Worlds exhibit with E.
It was actually an intriguing display…actually, everything looked so cleaned, polished, waxed, fixed, etc. to appear “real”, but they did have a video explanation of how everything is preserved and that, in fact, all of the displays were donated human bodies…
It was also a really hot day for October in LA (felt more like July…), so retreating inside the California Science Center where it was cool and air-conditioned was a smart idea.
My last race for this year was one I actually ran two years ago—this time fortunately fared much better in pacing! I also did not have to wake up early in order to have enough time to take a bus or train to get to the race start. I just had to wake up, go out for a “warm-up jog”, and within a half hour I was there!
There was no bag check (of course), so there was no place to keep my race shirt, even though I wanted to keep it because it was a long-sleeve and actually pretty cute! The 10k and 5k race starts were staggered so that the 10k race started at 8am. The 5kers had a head start at 7:30am, and so the majority of the runners from that race were done by the time we started.
Santa cheered us on as we dashed across the starting line. I was able to keep a steady pace between 7:40-8:20 throughout the entire run. At first it felt my lungs were burning from the cold air, and my feet also began to feel numb through my socks, but after ~2 miles in, it began to feel easier to stick to a faster pace the rest of the run.
I finished at an average pace of 8:12/mi, and it felt so refreshing! I managed to guzzle down a half a bottle of water, and proceeded to walk by the small number of booths that were present. I also couldn’t help but notice the DJ who was there—he was very much into the music!
I couldn’t find much in terms of samples and post-race freebies…I even had to pass on some intriguing-looking marshmallows because they contained gelatin 🙁
Since there was nothing much left for me at this point, I ended up walking from the finish point in Venice back to Santa Monica…really it was only a 25 minute walk, and from the beach, it was another 30 minute walk to lunch.
I actually ended up at a Medditeranean/Lebanese restaurant on Pico—Z Garden.
When I stepped inside, it was as if I stepped inside my best friend’s family’s house. There was a TV playing Arabic music videos and a whole glass counter full of baklava and other Middle Eastern sweet treats.
There was a handful of vegetarian items on the menu, and I decided to get the veggie kebab plate.
The dining area was in a expansive space, but I was their lone diner at the time. A few people came in for take-out orders while I was there though.
My plate came with a generous portion of Lebanese rice, a side salad, smooth, finely-ground hummus, a sour cheese I’m assuming was labne, pickled radishes, and of course my roasted veggies.
ALso had to have pita bread on the side!
I was the ultimate fan of this hummus…and cheese side.
I was finished by noon, and continued my walk home. I immediately did some laundry and organizing before crashing into a two-hour long nap. I didn’t leave the house until later that evening to visit a friend, since she’s moving from LA this week with her lab to a different university. It was bittersweet having to send her off, but I have to say I’m proud of myself for going out on a Saturday night for once. I even stayed out late enough to call for an Uber back home, haha.
Over the summer, my family made the move back to Oklahoma, leaving our Nor Cal abode behind. Even though Nor Cal was where I did most of my growing up—elementary through undergrad—my baby/early childhood all took place in the middle of the country…the humble heartland.
It was so nice being able to spend a week full of laughter, company, and of course great food, with my family and our close friends. Yeah, I felt like I had to leave too soon (#responsiblegradstudent), and even though I wasn’t able to spend NYE with them, I’m grateful I was able to spend the most important part of the holiday season with them.
I arrived on Monday evening, and after getting picked up at the airport by my Dad, I was introduced to our new home and had a home-cooked curry stir-fry for dinner. I caught up with my sister since last seeing her during our Thanksgiving break.
On Tuesday, I went for a 6 mile run, and ran some errands with my Dad. For dinner, we ate out as a family at something we all were able to agree upon—Mediterranean food!
At the counter, there is a large menu on the wall, and everything starts out with a variety of hummus.
When you order the veggie plate, you can pile on the plate with anything offered down the line. Start with hummus/babaganoush, add some of the salads, and then rice/grains or pita bread. By the time I reached the cash register, my plate was packed with babaganoush, spicy harissa hummus, fattoush salad, cabbage slaw, tabouli, italian squash, and roasted veggies…with falafel + tahini and pita on the side.
One note about the pita though…they forgot to give it to us, and by the time we reminded them the second time, we were practically finished with our plates…meaning, what was there to dip the pita in? And the falafel was less than stellar. Even though it has a nice crisp texture, the inside was chewy, dry, and NOT green. When a falafel isn’t green on the inside, I doubt it’s gonna be a good one 😛 !
But I suppose the plate itself was good enough!
After dinner, we drove by the Rhema Christmas Lights: a grand display of holiday lights that people from all over Oklahoma make the trip to see. We were too lazy to get out of the car, but we enjoyed what we were able to see from the car.
When we finally got home, I introduced my sister to the beauty that is edible cookie dough, and we tore into the cookies and cream flavor that I found at a local grocery store while running errands earlier in the day.
The cookies were perfectly swirled into the cookie dough, and meshed with the dough quite well. This made up for the overwhelming, chunky chocolate chip flavor I had a few days earlier, and hopefully the other flavors left to try will be just as good 😉 . But when I think about it, this flavor may have tasted 10x as good only because I was sharing it with family, haha.
I originally thought that the weekend before my spring semester classes started would be entrenched in ennui (besides the usual errands of grocery shopping and LA eating adventures…), but when my cousin and her spouse surprised me with a visit, I was glad to have some different plans to shake up my usual weekend itinerary!
They made their way to my place around 9pm on that Friday, and settled in while we chatted about life and their day’s trip from the Bay. We had a general idea of what we wanted to do the next day (a visit to the Getty and a meal in Artesia), and then turned in around 11pm.
The next morning, we awoke to cloudy skies and non-stop rain. Despite having to walk outside for some part of our museum trip, we were able to stay dry while strolling through the exhibits at the Getty.
Even though it was my second time visiting, I still enjoyed the outing. At least I can now say I’ve been to the Getty in two extreme weather conditions (my first visit was two and a half years ago on a super hot day in June…).
We spent our time there looking at the featured Reubens (tapestry man!) exhibit (and the day we were there happened to be the last day it would be featured!), the WWI exhibit, and the general open exhibits that displayed sculptures, oil paintings, etc.
We could only handle three hours of walking and admiring works of art before we succumbed to our hungry tummies 😉 . My cousin was dying to go to a Gujarati restaurant in Artesia (Little India), and seeing that we had traffic to fight, we decided to get a move on.
We had almost an hour of time to kill in the car, driving at speeds as slow as 15 mph at points, but we eventually made it to Pioneer Boulevard—a place I have come to know from the countless Indian grocery shopping trips my Dad would make during his visits to LA.
I never knew about Rajdhani though, which happened to be on the second floor of a parking garage we always use when visiting the area!
Given that we left the museum around mid-afternoon in the pouring rain, it was no surprise that we finally ended up at our table around 3:30pm—prime-time for many families taking a food break from running their errands for the week!
There was just one “item” being served at this time, which was the $14 all-you-can-eat (up to a certain point…) thali special—which is the exact reason why my cousin was especially set on coming here. The set-up was comparable to dim sum, in that waiters would come around with different components of your meal, and refill them upon request.
We started off with a piece of papadum as our appetizer.
Soon, our five small bowls were filled with daals, stews, and oiled-and-spiced veggies ready to be scooped with rotis/rice/dhokla/puri.
I didn’t have dessert, but I “gave” mine to my cousin, who used it to try the rose ice cream. They also had carrot and besan (almond) halwa.
I found the meal overall to be satisfying and warming (especially on a cold, rainy day), but not necessarily worth driving an hour for. But then again, this is coming from a girl who would spend $$ on vegan fish ‘n’ chips 😉 . I was glad that my company fully enjoyed the meal and experience though.
Next on the itinerary were some quick grocery shopping trips, and then a drive back home. We spent the rest of the night watching movies, and then went to sleep at a reasonable hour.
The next morning, I debated on whether or not I should go for a long run, but since I couldn’t tell if it was raining at the dark hour of 6AM, I decided to get some more shut-eye and (possibly) save the run for later in the day. Cousin and Co. were leaving at noon, so it made sense to spend as much time with them, even if it meant sacrificing a morning run.
Since we did have limited time, we left for SaMo Pier at around 10AM and walked over from a nearby parking lot. Yes, SaMo is becoming quite a regular spot for me, but at least I finally got to go on the ferris wheel, haha.
Other than getting some good pictures from high up, the ride was nothing spectacular (which I didn’t expect it would be). An hour before they had to finally leave the city, we stopped for a quick lunch-to-go from Aussie Pie Kitchen.
It would have been nice to sit inside among the signage and wood, but all the seats were taken by people or backpacks waiting for people 😉 .
So, it was lunches-to-go for us. At least the paper they put the pies in was cute.
I ended up choosing their veggie-friendly Aussie pie: a ‘summer veggie’ pie stuffed with eggplant, green and yellow squash, red bell pepper, onion, and olive tapenade.
Although we chowed down our pies in the car, we found the 5’’ pie delectable enough to be filling for a brief lunch before bidding good-bye. I was dropped off in Culver City, and headed back home after wishing my family a safe trip home.
Side note: I was still able to squeeze in a long run later in the day 😉