When Harry Potterland officially made their debut at Universal Studios Hollywood I was beyond excited and couldn’t grab a season annual pass fast enough. After many butterbeers and attempts at perfecting my spells (I probably shouldn’t quit my day-job :P), I’ve often have worked up an enormous appetite. Thankfully, on the Citywalk there’s a great restaurant that will fill your tummy with plenty of protein options.
Samba Brazilian BBQ Steakhouse (1000 Universal Studios Blvd, Universal City, CA 91608) is a chain restaurant with tons of protein options fit for the hungriest carnivore. Conveniently located near the parking structure, tourists and locals alike can enjoy bold flavors of your favorite cuts right in front of you. While many restaurant bring you a steak plate, the servers at this establishment come around with a stick of meat and carve you a slice right in front of you. Talk about service!
They have all sorts of meat options ranging from top Sirloin to tri-tip, to bacon-wrapped chicken, to pork lion and pork ribs – though the lamb was my favorite. They also have a salad bar to pair with your meat options, and pairing the savory steak with plantains is a great contrast of textures and flavors! Additionally, there’s samba performers that come to entertain guests. So, if you’re looking for a cool spot to chow down, Samba will fit the bill.
When I lived in Glendale I use to visit Eagle Rock frequently. Highland Theater (Yelp) played new movie release for $5 movies on Tuesdays/Wednesday and my friend and I would often eat at Folliero’s (Yelp) afterwards. However, the surrounding area lacked authentic East Asian options and I often found myself driving 30-45 minutes away to Monterrey Park or San Gabriel when I craved Chinese food or drinks. *cries* Recently Eagle Rock welcomed Bobalicious (Yelp), a bubble tea shop, that serves refreshing drinks at affordable prices.
The shop is located in an unassuming strip mall, but once you enter you’ll be floored by the enormous teddy bear and bright pink decor. I decided to order a strawberry yogurt drink with agar and found it to be a great sweet treat. I also took a sip of my friend’s cucumber drink with boba, and loved how light and refreshing it was. The size of the beverage is almost twice that of a typical boba tea shop and for $4 is a bargain. They also serve snacks in containers that fit on top of your drink, which makes it convenient should you need to grab and go. However, if you decide to sit and chat with some friends at their shop their taste in music is on point. There were playing 90s music on my visit and everything on their playlist reminded me of the good ole days.
Growing up I’ve had the mentality to wait – for the latest gadget to go sale, the hottest trend to cool down etc. and while that’s a great philosophy to abide by I’ve learned over the years that nothing lasts forever and that some things are worth the investment. I’ve always wanted to see Michael Jackson perform live, and since he’s gone I won’t ever be able to change that. As a result, I always make it a priority to watch live performances because I won’t know if I’ll get that opportunity again in the future. Last Friday my friend invited me to watch Coldplay at the Rose Bowl Stadium and while I’ve heard nightmare stories about parking and traffic (there was a Dodgers Game, Lakers Games, plus another concert going on in the area), but I knew that it’d be worth it.
To avoid the $40 parking fee at the Rose Bowl Stadium my friend and I parked at the Parson’s Parking Lot ($15 onsite) and took a shuttle to the stadium. If you pre-order your shuttle tickets online it’s $5 versus $10 round-trip at the venue. The show start time was 7pm and we parked at 6:30 and got to the venue at 6:50, just enough time before Swedish singer Tove Lo performed. She belted out her hits including: Talking Body and Habits. Cold Play came out around 9pm and boy was it a psychedelic performance! Each audience member had a light-up wristband, there was fireworks, and lots and lots of lights. Even after the performance I think I was still seeing stars. haha…
Music feeds the soul, and listening to a performance live has is an experience that in unmatched. Your eyes and ears get this rush from the audios and visuals, and you’ll find yourself dancin’ and fist pumpin’ to the beat. I was definitely up and off my seat when Coldplay performed Yellow, Paradise, and Something just Like This – it just couldn’t be helped. They did an amazing show and I was glad that I got to be a part of it.
I’ve been on a nerd/geek convention kick as of late and when I learned about a new one in Southern California I was excited to see what it was all about. Just in its second year, NerdBot Con is the latest addition to mark residency at the Pasadena Convention Center. The one day convention boasted of it’s large cosplay presence so I dusted off my Wonder Woman uniform, grabbed my Lasso of Truth, and flew my invisible jet to get a first hand look at newest geek gathering.
The two story venue made for a lovely location as there was natural light and ample space for artists and vendors to display their work. One artist even drew a cartoon version of me – pretty accurate if you ask me 🙂 Check out his website: Jack of All Nerds Podcast. The intimate gathering also delivered on costumed attendees as they certainly attracted many diverse cosplayers and photographers.
I also got to meet and take a photo with Carla Perez the actress who played the original Rita Repulsa from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. She complimented my Wonder Woman cosplay and encouraged me to cosplay as her character!! Oh!!! The creative juices in my brain are turning.
Which character should consider brining to life at my next con?
When I first started attending tastings I remembered the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival setting the bar of how all food festivals should be – refined and elegant, but casual and relaxed, all while highlighting the dishes as the stars of the show. I remembered each bite bringing together a myriad of bright fresh ingredients with complex flavors. This festival has since become a household name and this year’s increase in guest attendees reflects it’s popularity. I had the opportunity to attend the event again this year and the culinary lineup for 2017 was equally spectacular.
During Sunday’s tasting my plus one and I enjoyed the finer things in life and indulged in so many delicious tastes. Many of Southern California’s most esteemed fined dinning establishments were present including Pelican Grill and Bar, Red O-Restaurant, and Alexander’s Steakhouse just to name a few and there was an abundance of seafood and steak options. If you love wine there’s not better place to sample so many different varieties, though I fancied the Kentucky Straight from Duke Bourbon. There was also a cooking demonstration by Top Chef contestants Chef Amar Santana and Katsuji Tanabe and viewers had an opportunity to sample their version of arroz con pollo. It was hilarious to see those two banter back and forth.
If you love seafood and steak, this event harmoniously brings two of my favorite proteins together with class and style. While many vendors offered them prepared in a variety of manners – marinated with secret ingredients, roasted, fried, my favorite dish was the Baja cocktail served in a tin-can from A&O Kitchen and Bar. It was simple, but the large chunks of charred squid and shrimp paired with the creaminess of the avocado on a crunchy tortilla chip just made it a perfect afternoon bite. It reminded me how good squid tastes and how infrequent I eat it.
If you could have a festival featuring your favorite protein exclusively what would you choose?
Over the weekend I was invited to the Taste of Santa Ana at the lot of MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana. I’d gone to this event in the past, but this year definitely takes the cake in being their best year yet! From the pumpin’ live performances, to the fun giant games spread across the event, to the delicious noms and sips, this event has grown tremendously, and I had a great time. There were over 40 different food and beverage vendors and they all gave enormous portions for patrons to enjoy. There was everything from burgers from Slaters 50/50 to tacos from Wokano and everything in between.
One thing that made this tasting stand out was the accessible price-point. There were many families at this event and at $25 for general admission, this AYCE extravaganza plus entertainment makes it an easy family-friendly outing for everyone to enjoy. There was so many options and my friends and I confess that I made extra rounds for dessert – The pear tart yogurt from Yogurtland was sinfully addicting as was the Italian ice from Mustache Mike.
As a foodie I’ve gone to my fair share of food festivals, but when I was informed about an upcoming industry event I didn’t know quite what to expect. Hosted by US Foods and Food Fanatics LIVE at the Disneyland Hotel, this annual food convention helps individuals from all areas of the food industry to network and get the latest scoop on the hottest trends. Guest were given ample samples of a variety of entrees, desserts, and garnishes, and I was lucky enough to cover the event with a wide grin and stuffed belly – all in the name of journalism of course. 🙂 When I first entered the venue I was overwhelmed by the layout. At the center there was a culinary demonstrations with industry-leading chefs on the Food Fanatics Stage as well as belly bars for guests to enjoy samples while listening to the lectures. I decided to venture toward the left side of the event and boy did I feel like I hit the jackpot – it was the protein station! 😀 There were refrigerators filled with beautiful meat cuts including: lamb, beef, and pork. I waited in line and saw the chefs cook and slice the meat right in front of me. Stockyards definitely produces premium cuts and on the other side was the seafood section. Salmon, bay scallops, crawfish, you name it and prepared in a variety of ways, fried, steamed… or in the case of oysters raw.
After I stuffed my face with pretty much every type of protein known to man, I explored the right side of the arena and made friends with some of the US Foods staff. I fell in love with Hope’s Cookies – you might have seen then in Boudin Bakery, or Bristol Farms if you’re in California. The cookies were absolutely devine! There was also vegetable dishes, pizza, and the list goes on and on. It’s really quite incredible to have a place where restaurateurs and chefs can collaborate and partner together on creating something new.
What would you be most excited to see on a menu?
P.S. I’m giving away two $10 gift cards for Miguel JRs on my Instagram account. Come enter here
I still can’t believe that it’s already fall and that summer is behind us. Thankfully, I was able to capture the end of summer in a fabulous foodie fashion and made delicious memories. Over the Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to attend The LA Times – The Taste Sunday Block Party, where I got the chance to sip refreshing spirits and munch on tasty treats at Paramount Studios, CA.
The afternoon affair was complete with all the Labor Day BBQ favorites, but with a gourmet twist. Sliders with chunks of lobsters was Slapfish’s contribution and Dog Haus served their dogs on buttered brioche bread with all the fixin’s – Yum! Salt and Straw, a Portland based Ice Cream Shop that recently opened a branch in LA, was a favorite among attendees as the temperatures that day reached the 90s. I also got a chance to participate in an educational champagne tasting class where my wine glasses were never empty – cheers!
Chef Jet Tila of 101 Asian Dishes you Need to Cook Before you Die and Judge on Cut Throat Kitchen was also among several celebrity chefs at the event and he entertained attendees with a live cooking demonstration. I was luckily enough to snap a photo with this awesome Asian American as I allowed my belly to digest all the scrumptious samples from event.
I absolutely miss summer, but am excited about all the upcoming holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! Which holiday are you looking forward to most?
I don’t frequent the South OC Shop often, so when I was invited to attend the 6th annual Taste of Lake Forest this past Sunday I was curious to see their offering. I saw many soccer type moms with children at this event and the palm trees and bright sunny afternoon made it a fun family event for people of all ages to enjoy. One element of this tasting that’s different from other tastings I’ve attended in the past is how guests play an active role in selecting their favorite restaurant at The Taste of Lake Forest. With a map in one hand and a guide of all the participating restaurants, my guest and I went down the rows to sample each restaurants offerings to see which was our favorite.
There were many familiar restaurants and businesses that participated in the event including: Mimi’s Cafe, Pick Up Stix, and Jamba Juice just to name a few. Yet, my favorite was definitely Tito’s carnitas tacos with cabbage. It was juicy and the the tostado was a good solid base to carry this substantial bite. Miguel JRs was also present at the event, which is the perfect segway to introduce my Gift Card Winners. Drum roll please…. Congratulations Jean L and Lisa! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday September 29th to claim your prize!
Didn’t win this time? Don’t worry! I will throw another Miguel’s JR Giftcard giveaway on my Instagram account for another opportunity to win! Pst… there’s a good chance that it may be on Friday *wink wink*
Whats your criteria when judging a food competition?
Over the Labor Day weekend I came across a ridiculously awesome Flash Sale for a Six Flags Annual Pass. During that promotion I was able to get an upgraded Gold Pass with admission for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018, free parking, plus bonus “Holiday in the Park” ticket for a friend for just $80! Seemed like an amazing deal and since it’s been ages since I lasted visited Six Flags Magic Mountain I thought it’d be a great to revisit a theme park with my favorite DC characters and thrilling roller coasters!
I was completely thrilled at how they marketed their rides and restaurants. They had rides dedicated for Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, you name it! And if you’re a Flash fan, they have a “Big Belly Burger” – the best burgers across the universe according to Barry Allen.
Recently, they added a new family friendly ride called “Justice League: Battle for Metropolois” – held inside of “The Hall of Justice.” The interactive 4D ride allows guests (known as the “Justice League Reserves”) to shoot for points to rescue members of the Justice League captured by Lex Luther and The Joker. At the end of the ride, guests can view points earned and their shooting accuracy. If you love videos games, you’ll definitely love this ride!
My friend and I went on an incredibly hot day, so we can’t wait to go back during the winter season when it cools down. We stayed mainly in the DC area, but there are many other sections with some really cool coasters. Their season passes are also very reasonably priced and if you go twice it pays for itself.