It’s the Year of the Pig and it is lit at the Hsi Lai Temple (3456 Glenmark Dr, Hacienda Heights, CA). Decked out in all things Red and Gold the usually calm and serene Buddhist Temple is a site to see during the weeks of the Lunar New Year. There’s various lanterns strung throughout the temple, and an assortment of pig and zodiac displays for tourists to photograph and enjoy. While I’m not Buddhist I can appreciate the festive and celebratory decorations and the sanctuary is free for all to roam around. My friend also informed me that the temple has a very affordable vegetarian buffet for $8 that’s open to the public. I came after a late dinner, so I’ll definitely need to come back to check it out and hopefully be inspired by other vegetarian options to incorporate into my diet. After all 2019 is the year for a healthy body, mind, and soul.
Ti’s the Season! and The Shops Buckhead Atlanta made short of no expenses when kicking off their holiday festivities. Garlands and trees were trimmed and the floor was even decorated with Nutcracker artwork. Multiple shops also set up stations giving free seasonal treats including fresh pecan fudge, caramel apple, smores, and spiked cider for adults to enjoy. Patrons could also make their own gingerbread house and I had a blast decorating my little dog house. (It was only after I painted it that UGA chant that it’s “Go Dawgs”, as opposed to “Go dogs” – but I digress)
I attended the kick-off festivities on my recent Atlanta Adventure (Stomach Souvenirs Entry 1) and this weekend event featured both local and international guest entertainers. There were carolers who sang both classic and pop music acapella as well as an amazing violinist who played Top 40 songs with an electric flair. When sun-set talented dancers of the Atlanta Ballet 2 performed iconic pieces to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The dance company dazzled the audience with their grace and flexibility all while balancing on their pointe shoes.
Hundreds of people from near and far enjoyed the festivities and throughout the month shoppers can enjoy ongoing weekend activities from 1:00pm – 5:00pm every Saturday until December 15 while shopping for loved ones or for yourself.
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.
Cosplay AND Food Festival in one post?! Holy Cow! World’s colliding! and what better way to debut this pairing than in the backlots of Paramount Studios for the LA Times – The Taste ? Entertainment and food goes together like Peanut Butter and Jelly, right?
Over the Labor Day weekend, I along with other foodies made our pilgrimage to the annual event to sample some of LA’s best and kick off the three-day weekend with fun, food and flavor! Held right on the sets used for many movies and shows, this outdoor venue made a perfect backdrop to highlight the chef’s tasty bites. There was a ton of seafood options, which I loved including shrimp sashimi, an uni mousse, and scallops. But carnivores also had a wide selection of steaks and tartars. A number of the restaurants and guests asked me to pose for photos, which greatly reminded me of my geek convention days (See Power Morphin Con post, SDCC post, and LACC posts for photos!)
I had a great time wandering the streets sampling tons of bites, but my favorite part of this event was interacting with the sculpted characters representing Korea and Taiwan. We danced and did a bunch of videos to capture our memories, and of course ate delicious ethnic food at their booth. The boba from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau and Korean pancakes from The Korean Tourism Board were on point!
If you’re a fan of my Chun Li cosplay I recently launched a new Instagram handle with all things Chun Li. So all future videos and photos and videos can be viewed there- so to see all those content please Follow @chunlistyle
Would you like to see more cosplay/food posts? Comment below
Los Angeles is home to Hollywood stars, year-round summer weather, and some of the country’s best restaurants. So it should come as no surprise that the LA Food and Wine Festival is one of my favorite events to attend (See 2017 post here, here, and here) Not only do they serve from food from world class chefs like Aaron Sanchez and Antonia Lofaso, but over 200 of the best wines and talent rivaling that of the Food Network.
This five day extravaganza gives foodies a wide variety of experiences to indulge in the countries finest and I was lucky enough to attend Sunday’s Lexus Grand Tasting at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, where I got to stuff my face silly and meet celebrity chef Curtis Stone!! In his station he was shucking oysters for patrons to enjoy, gotta love a man who’s willing to get his hands dirty. 😉
Like many festivals that I’ve attended they were pumpin’ the top 100 music and served a huge variety of bites to sample including fresh sashimi, lobster waffles, macaroons among other fine dining options. However, what really elevates this festival is the fact that they have servers taking your plates away so the environment is always clean and spotless.
If you could have any celebrity chef make you a meal who would you pick? I’d love Alton Brown to make me anything!
Summer is coming to a close, but I’m incredibly lucky to live in a part of the world where in essential it’s beach season year-round. Pair that with an event that serves fine cuisine and drinks poured with a heavy hand and you’ve got yourself the recipe for an epic party! Thankfully, I was invited again to cover the Pacific Wine and Food Classic at the Newport Dunes and it certainly did not disappoint.
Held outdoors right along the alcove, this annual event brings together some of Orange County’s finest restaurants and wineries for guests to taste the flavors of summer. More than 60 chefs catered the event using exotic and vibrant ingredients to create colorful and flavorful bites. Both carnivores and vegetarians alike would enjoy the event as there were plenty of diverse options to sample. My favorite was the Ponzu Scallops from Blue Water Grill and the mushroom taco from Taco Rosa. Although Flank Steak with Chimichurri and micro greens over a horseradish mashed potatoes from Texas de Brazil definitely was a highlight as well!
This two day all inclusive event epitomizes California cool. You’ve got a mixed cocktail in one hand the ocean, breeze flowing through your hair, Top 100 music playing in the background and tons of stations to sample creative new and/or signature dishes.
What would you try first? Seafood? Beef? Chicken? Drinks? So many choices!!
When I was first thinking about this post I thought to myself – man… I totally bombed the “will write a blog post every-week” goal, I “should” be making more money, I “should” be blah blah blah.. but as I looked through my rolo-dex of photos I realized that I had so many cool moments and while I didn’t meet all the goals I set out – I did achieve quite a bit and “should” remember those! This was definitely the year of “Me, Myself, and Irene” from my “Diary of a Beauty Queen’s Food and Travel Adventures (Instagram)” to opening up to my readers with my alias as @TheGeekyGuide (Instagram) to launching my College Consulting By Yu Youtube channel (website), I’m three people in one!
As @yurockstar I finished my term as Miss Taiwanese World Queen and passed the torch (blog entry), and visited so many cool restaurants – the Exchange Restaurant being my favorite this year! (blog entry) – and festivals as media including the LA Food and Wine Festival (blog entry 1; blog entry 2; blog entry 3) where I got to meet Tyler Florence and Brian Malarky. I also got to be a guest on Gordon Ramsay’s “The F Word” and critiqued the competitors dishes. 2017 was also the year when I got to visit San Diego Comic Con (blog entry) for the first time and hear Disney Legend Alan Menkin perform his classic hits at D23 (blog entry)! I also bought an annual pass to Six Flags Magic Mountain (blog entry) and convinced four of my friends to go on roller coasters with me. On a totally random note – I also won a mattress from an Instagram contest through yelp, woot!
To be honest, I was kind of a closet cosplayer and nervous about cosplaying one of my childhood idols. The live action Wonder Woman movie debuted earlier this year and I felt very conscientious about wearing a corset, let alone portray such an iconic character. I was selected as one of Game Spot’s Best DC Cosplay at SDCC and WonderCon, and featured on the LA Time’s “Why Cosplay as Wonder Woman” video. But more importantly, I loved when kids came up to me to ask for a photo opt – just to see them smile made me feel that that 2 hours it took to do my hair and make-up all the worthwhile.
I also debuted Chun Li this year and was invited to join a Street Fighter group! Everyone does such a great job in portraying their character, and they inspired me to revisit and brush-up on my martial arts and dance techniques. I also upgraded some of my Sailor Mars uniform and had a blast with various photoshoots with the Sailor Scouts and Tuxedo Mask! I’ve made so many awesome friends through cosplay and it’s always awesome to see familiar faces portraying different heros and villians.