Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: Los Angeles

Four Airports in Three Days

In three days, I went through four airports, crossed the international date line and went through four time zones, and got to eat some great meals in all the cities I went through. And now I'm in Arizona, trying to get into the Christmas spirit in the 60 degree weather!

I started in Kuala Lumpur, hanging out in the airport for many hours, waiting for my late evening departure.

The flight to Los Angeles went through Narita/ Tokyo, so that leg was about 7 hours, and I was able to get in a little bit of sleep and a movie. We arrived at dawn as the sun was rising.

I had a nine hour layover and had arranged to meet a friend of mine's mother. I hung out at the airport to wait for her, and we found each other despite never having met each other. It was such a sweet meeting– my friend's mom speaks only Japanese and a few phrases of English, and I only speak English with a few words of Japanese, but we managed to communicate with a lot of sign language and body language. She took me to Narita, the small town where the airport is located. There was a long street of cute shops and restaurants leading to a temple, so we took a nice stroll down that street. It was a chilly day, especially coming off of hot and humid tropical weather. But I had prepared myself for the cold, and with the help of a scarf that she lent me, I was fine. It was a beautiful, crisp winter day.

The highlight of that few hours was the sushi! We went to this little sushi bar right as it opened. Edokko Sushi. It was a tiny little place, but the sushi chef seemed to know everyone and was super friendly. The fish was so fresh and buttery smooth. So simple and so delicious. I was happy. And it was only a short train ride from the airport. Good tip– if you ever have a layover in Narita, go here! It opens at 11:30am and they have great lunch specials which seemed pretty reasonably priced.

I got back to the airport with a heavier bag (my friend's mom bought me some goodies to bring back to the U.S.– Japanese pickles. Yum!), and I finally got on the plane for my next destination, Los Angeles. This was the long leg of my flight– a 10 hour flight. It was a bit of a bumpy flight but we got into LA Monday morning with no mishaps.

I spent a day plus a little extra in Los Angeles, bookending my travels with great food (see my earlier LA post for what I had three months ago as my farewell from the U.S.). As always, my stay in LA with my cousins was a gastronomic affair. We had Korean BBQ for dinner at Kalbi King.

I was stuffed beyond comfort. We had all kinds of beef and pork, and it was delicious. Plus I had a bowl of naeng-myon, a cold soup noodle dish that is great with Korean BBQ.

The next day a few of us went to get lunch at Pizzeria Mozza, Mario Batali's restaurant in town. Thin crust pizzas with amazing toppings and great appetizers and even better desserts. We each got a different pizza and shared. Mine had bacon, leeks, roasted garlic, and goat cheese. Soooo good. And the crust was amazing.

A mix of the three types of pizzas that we ordered.

The desserts were incredible, and since my cousins never do things in moderation, we each got a dessert and shared.

The lemon ice cream pie (upper right) was delicious. And the caramel ice cream with peanuts was great, too. But the best dessert was the Butterscotch Budino (bottom middle)– it's what this restaurant is known for, and it was amazing. A kind of butterscotch creamy pudding with a caramelly top…not too sweet and just so good.

Then it was off to the airport again for the last leg of this travel odyssey. And it was a short flight– just about an hour from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

That was the last flight for 2012. The next flight will be back to the East Coast at some point, but for now, I'm sitting tight in Phoenix with family. And then maybe a few road trips.

Thanks for following me on my journeys! This closes the travel portion of the blog for now. I'll be reflecting on the journey and share some thoughts when those crystallize. But from here I'm working on my next steps of “real” life. Where I'll be living. What I'll be doing. It's still blurry, and I'll be releasing some ideas on the blog to get feedback, but until then…

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Ode to LA Comestibles

Pictures say a thousand words. Well, kind of. You might not know what some of these foods are without captions. And in these pictures, the main single word is YUM.

Korean cold noodle soup from Corner Place. I wish I had gotten a large!! This was delicious.

Earl grey ice from Sweet Crush Ice Bar. The flavoring was so intensely Earl grey, I just kept eating and eating...

Salt ramen with pork belly strips. Amazing broth, amazing pork belly. Great flavors at Santouka Ramen in the Mitsuwa Marketplace

Eight preparations of pork belly laid out on a cool tray. Plain, curry, herbal, spicy, ginseng, miso, and garlic. Oh so good when grilled at the table. My favorites were the plain and spicy.

The grill is tilted down so the grease drips down through the kimchee and bean sprouts. If you want, at the end of the meal, they do a fried rice with the cooked vegetables. We were too full to eat that.

These were the best of the best, as filtered through my cousins' palates. But I am of the opinion that even bad food in LA is not as bad as bad food in Boston. Why is that? Is it that food in LA is just so much better or that food in Boston just is at a lower level? I mean, not all Boston food is bad, but when it comes to Asian food, especially Korean and Japanese food, Boston just doesn't compare to LA.

Thanks to my cousins for cramming all this food into our stomachs! I felt like those poor geese must feel, when being prepared for foie gras!

LA: Feasting and the Getty Center

I am now in LA. Here for two or so days before heading out to New Zealand.

My first meal in town was an amazing sushi meal at Iroha Sushi of Tokyo in Studio City, LA. I don't really know what that means– “Studio City”– but that's the neighborhood or area of LA that this small restaurant was in. And they specialize in yellow tail, according to my cousin.

We had mostly sushi (not rolls, not sashimi, not other wacky things), and it was oh so good. It was a little dark to take photos, so I didn't take any. But trust me that it was good. Nothing really fancy, just totally fresh fish with garnishes of jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and ponzu here and there. The hamachi was wonderful and buttery. I got scallops which were equally buttery. We had grilled yellow tail collar which was oh so tasty. I was seriously stuffed after the meal. Check out yelp for some pictures other customers have taken of the food there.

A few more meals in store for the next day and a half. Korean noodles, Korean BBQ, ramen… I always eat well when in LA with my cousins!

Today, in the scorching heat, I went to the Getty Museum— my third or fourth visit. My cousins live right down the road from there, so it's an easy trip. Some things I LOOOOVE about the Getty (and I mean “LOVE”– I sometimes say I love things somewhat easily but in this case, I'm using caps because this is serious):

  • The Getty is free! Well, technically, if you drive in, you have to pay $15 for parking. But if you have one or 5 people in that car, you still pay $15. If you take public transportation in or get dropped off (like I did this morning), then it's free!
  • There are amazing views from every nook and cranny of the museum, indoors and out.
  • The docents and educators are AMAZING. I went on three tours today and last time I was here, I went on 2 or 3, too, and each tour is really wonderful. The educators are really knowledgeable about the art and they are great storytellers. I learn so much from them, and the tours are all free!
  • There's a self guided audio tour which is free! I didn't do it today because I did 3 tours, but next time, I hope to.

I saw their special exhibit, Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line, through the stories and assistance of a tour, and I gained an appreciation of sketches and drawings. I already knew of Klimt's work, mainly because of The Kiss, one of my all time favorite paintings. So I wasn't too excited about seeing a bunch of sketches, but this tour guide really brought all the work to life. Here were two sketeches in the exhibit that really stood out for me (these images are from google images because we weren't able to take photos of the actual drawings at the museum):

Called Fish Blood and is reminiscent of Japanese wood block prints. I love the hair and lines in this drawing.

This one is part of a whole painting called Beethoven Frieze, and this sketch is of one of the characters in the painting called Lasciviousness. She's beautiful.

What an amazing half day I spent at the museum. Walking around the galleries and the grounds. Learning from art historians and educators. Despite the heat, I really enjoyed myself. I have found that I really enjoy going to museums by myself. I was in Paris several months ago by myself and loved going in and out of museums on my own schedule and seeing exactly what I wanted to see, no more and no less. The more I do this kind of travel, the more I fear that I maybe losing my ability to travel with others.

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