Downtown Santa Ana (DTSA) is a historic area with great diversity in traditional and fusion cuisine. Last year I was lucky to partner with Savor Santa Ana (2017 post) and was invited again to cover the event. It’s grown tremendously this year with 40 restaurant participants (!!!) and the neighborhood has so much character and charm. Similar to last year, guests purchase sheets of tickets in exchange to sample bite size bites ($10 for 5- what a steal) and would walk or take a trolley to visit participating restaurants
Concurrently, Santa Ana’s Dia De Los Muertos Festival “Viva La Vida” celebrated their 3rd annual event making the streets lively with performances, decorations and memorials to remember loved ones. It reminds me of scenes from Disney’s movie Coco and I loved seeing other cultures tradition.
Unlike most food festivals, Savor Santa Ana is spread out and it’s really fun to see all the restaurants in their natural space. My favorites for the night were the green tea ice cream from Mr. Matcha as well as an authentic ceviche tostada from Taquerias Guadalajara. I made a reservation for The Playground, a prominent staple in DTSA that draws inspiration from all cultures, and can’t wait to try all their creations.
Earlier this month Cal Poly Pomona hosted their annual weekend Pumpkin Festival, which featured a corn maze, pony rides, produce vendors and of course their pumpkin patch! Coincidentally that was the same weekend (and LAST weekend) The Donut Man‘s Famous Strawberry Donut were going to be sold. I’ve never had the Alton Brown approved treats, so I knew I had to make it a priority. 🙂
My friends and I arrived at the event in the mid-afternoon to be greeted by hundreds of other enthusiastic guests. (*Note – go early in the morning 1) It’s much cooler 2) Parking is more available.) There were also tons of different Cal Poly Pomona student groups selling merchandise, food and drinks, in addition to food trucks and other vendors. Admission was $5 a person, and for an additional $5 guests could roam the pumpkin patch and pick their favorite pumpkin (any size!). There were definitely a lot of choices and I saw a number of families roll away with several large pumpkins in their little red wagon.
After spending an hour or so to pick my perfect pumpkin, my friends and I took a short trip up to Glendora to try California’s best donut – the strawberry donut from The Donut Man. I typically don’t eat donuts, but had heard so many wonderful things from friends who had eaten there in the past. Suffice to say, this donut is really good and I had to stop myself from finishing the whole thing. After all I wouldn’t’ want to spoil dinner at the Palms Family Restaurant. I mean look how much food they give!!
Now with my perfect pumpkin and Oct 31st just around the corner, I now need to figure out what I’m going to be for Halloween! I love playing dress-up and while I’ve been many different characters at different conventions (SDCC 2018, Power Morphin Con 2018, and LACC 2017) I still have no idea who I’m going to be! Classic #cosplayerproblems.
In previous years this festival focused primarily on the edible guilty pleasures and this year moved to highlight other activities. Wine and other libations made up 1/2 of the festival and vendors specializing in pampering experiences such as a braid bar, silly photo booth stations, and luxury furnishings had a large presence. There were also several large art displays for guests to enjoy.
My favorite sample at the event had to be the seared-diver scallops with quinoa served by Pelican Grill. The chef continuously laid large plump pieces on the portable grill, seared them perfectly, and served them fresh to the guests. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had three servings because it was so so good. *Drool*
Personally I enjoy eating more so than drinking, but there were so many different libations to choose from. Guests could enjoy a cider from Stella, Macallan a prominent whiskey brand, and so much more.
When you think of LA you don’t typically think of people using public transportation, but for one day major LA destinations temporarily closed streets to car traffic and encouraged Los Angelenos to walk, bike, skate and roll through this amazing city. Lead by CicLAvia this nonprofit organization alongside with their sponsors promoted exercise with many free events and live performances.
Inspired by Bogotá’s weekly ciclovía, CicLAvia advocated for greater community building by celebrating LA’s diverse neighborhoods. They selected 5 prominent LA areas and designated them as official hubs, each of which had a different commemorative and freshly printed handkerchief designed by local artists. I was able to secure the Melrose one, and was tempted to try to collect them all, but spent my time listening to the live performances and wandering the streets. There were also many interactive booths giving away various swag, food trucks, and crafts for all to enjoy. Target had a very large presence and gave away a lot of really great freebies.
CicLAvia will return for another community day event on Sunday December 2, 2018 from 9am to 3pm, so if you’re looking for a free family friendly activity to enjoy during the holidays this would be a great option!
Aside from driving – whats your mode of transportation?
It’s no secret that I love to eat meat, but finding alternatives to red meats is definitely something I try to incorporate more of into my daily diet. So when I was invited to cover the California Vegetarian Food Festival at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, CA, I was curious to learn about the various options. Suffice to say this intimate event brought some distinguished vendors with different organic, Non GMO, and gluten free options.
While there were samples at a few of the booths a number of them were selling full servings of their products. A most memorable item was the Mushroom Jerky from Pan’s Mushroom Jerky. The shitake mushroom has a very meaty texture and there were several different flavors including Applewood BBQ and Zesty Thai, though I really enjoyed the original!
The two day festival also had live music, vendors showcasing sustainable products and some non-profits advocating for animals rights. The vendors were very eager to talk to patrons about their products so if you’re newer to the healthy lifestyle movement these vendors definitely will spend time to walk you through.
Last weekend I partnered with Kind Snacks to cover the Ohana Festival on Doheny State Beach. The three music festival is an annual event and had an incredible line-up! I was excited to hear Norah Jones … Don’t know why… Well, I hope you do as it was one of her most popular songs. 🙂
While my friends and I checked in around 6pm, the festival started around noon with many music lovers lounging around the lush lawn with their blankets and beach chairs. Food and beverages on the premise was for purchase and there were a couple of miscellaneous vendors including Philosophy and some non-profits.
Norah gave an amazing performance and her loungy style was perfect for a relaxing Friday night. Prior to coming to this festival I hadn’t heard of Eric Church, but after seeing many cowboy hats in the crowd I later found out that he’s a prominent country music artist. This handsome performer was very charming on stage and before I knew it I was singing the “drink in my hand” chorus along with hundreds of others. I can definitely say I’m a fan of Eric Church and hope that I’ll get to see him perform again.
Halloween is just around the corner so I’ve increased my exercise regime and returned to eating very lean meats and healthy, nutritious meals to prepare for my fall cosplay outfits. While I’ve seen positive results in these changes, I’ve incorporated at least one cheat day a week to balance my cravings. The OC Weekly Decadence event on Friday evening was nothing short of a self-indulgent.
This yearly event was hosted outside of the Segerstrom plaza in Costa Mesa and as a VIP guest I was given admission to check out all the glorious noms and sips at 6pm. I was also given a really sturdy tote bag and later found out was filled with tons of great goodies! As my friend and I wandered around the plaza trying everything, we both agreed that the steak over garlic mashed potatoes from Texas de Brazil and Bourbon Bread Pudding from Sweet Dixie Kitchen were the dishes of the night. There was also plenty of alcoholic libation poured and photo booth opportunities to pose for.
Like many food festivals that I attend this had a great variety of local restaurants; however, the swag bag was definitely one of the best that I’ve seen. The gave away an elegant necklace perfect for a night out on the town along with generous coupons to visit the participating restaurants in the future. My favorite swag item had to be the $20 gift certificate from Mozambique. Can’t wait to try their exotic flavors and see their dessert options.
So sorry for missing a week of posts. It’s just been busy and I’ve only got $20 in my pocket… Okay, so maybe I used a card, but I was super impressed in all the things I bought last weekend when I decided to see what I could find with a strict budget. It’s been ages since I’ve gone thrift shopping and while I usually have obligations and events to attend during the weekend, I decided to check out some old spots that I use to frequent and see what hidden treasure I could find.
I started my day at Artwalk store closing sale and bought two holiday pins for $.50 a piece then headed to NCLTicktockers (yelp) Sidewalk sale. Typically you’d go inside their store and all items have priced according to what category they belonged to; however, on that day they were switching out their summer for fall items hence the huge sidewalk sale. I came around noon and they announced that everything was going to be half off! Woo!! Talk about massive savings!
After picking up a few NEW tights, and other random things, I headed to Deja New (yelp)- another favorite shop in Irvine. I didn’t find anything on this occasion, but if you’re looking for quality clothes they have a great selection. My last stop was Salvation Army (yelp) in Fountain Valley and boy did they have some interesting things. This store truly is a gold mine and on that day all clothes were an additional 50% off. There was a random couch perfect for therapy and lots of really interesting cat items. meow?
What I ended up getting…
4 tan convertible tights (Bloch) – NEW
2 fishnet stockings (Capezio) – NEW
1 tan convertible tights (Body Wrappers) – NEW
2 holiday pins
10 papyrus holiday cards
1 college sweatshirt
1 plaid shirt (for cowgirl spirit day)
2 college tshirts
1 100% wool hat
It was definitely a fruitful haul and while every trip isn’t always, I think I was excited that I not only could save money but also that my dollar contributed to an organization that helps others. It’s a win win!
What was your best bargain item bought and for how much?
Los Angeles is well known for fantastic restaurants at various price-points and the LA Times did a great job to highlight some of the area’s best at their annual LA Times – The Taste event. I along with other foodie friends spend the Labor Day weekend trying different vendors (Friday‘s Post), and was especially excited since Saturday is known to be the day with the highest turnout and arguable the most variety of food.
During this visit my friends and I made it our mission to try every booth at least once and while I loved visiting all the booths, my favorite item that night was the beef brisket that Chef Burt Bakman of Trudy’s Underground BBQ prepared during his Pop-up BBQ demonstration. The fried donut with ice cream from Eatly was my 2nd favorite thing there and hands down the best dessert option. I also had the opportunity to meet Jenn Harris, the new acting editor of the Los Angeles Times Food section and chatted with her on her vision for the year ahead.
LA Times Food Legend Jonathan Gold made an enormous impact on the food community, so it is without a doubt a huge loss for the Los Angeles community when he passed. Yet, his legacy still lives on and the LA Times honored his contribution at this year’s event with a mural and a huge displace of his 5 culinary commandments.
My Hero Academia has taken the US by storm – so when Honey and Butter in Irvine hosted an art exhibit displaying local artists take on this hit show I was excited to see their creativity juices at work.
The macaroon store was also going to make macaroons of select characters, but I found out too late that it was only on the first day of their exhibit *cries* Regardless, there were some really great art pieces, which is a testament to our talented community.
There definitely a lot of Froppy artwork followed by Deku, Bakugo (no surprise), and Shoto. My favorite characters are Momo and Shoto and part of me is thinking about making some My Hero Artwork for myself perhaps with color pencils as my medium.