Not a game, but a hunt – Alita Experience at Los Angeles, CA

Does it bother you that I’m not completely human? — Alita. Over the weekend a few of my friends decided to head to “The Alita Experience“, a pop-up escape room that portrayed Iron City and other key movie scenes. We had a 4pm reservation and shortly after checking in we were joined by another guest to make up the robust yellow team.

Directions

Once inside we were directed to personalize our badge and head toward The Kansas, the local bar, until escorted to the main play arena. There were 5 other teams (with differing size makeup) and we were instructed to play at the different stations which gave us tasks to complete in order to earn “credits”. Some stations were more athletic oriented and others related to recalling trivia from the movie, and some tasks tested how quickly we could finish an assignment.

Me in robot gear

After completing the various stations we were directed at the end to place bets for Motor ball. Our team performed admirably and even took home the highest team score! We were awarded a priceless coin at the end and directed to the gift shop, which featured various robot gear.

In the movie Alita was willing to give up her heart, her most prizes possession? What item is most valuable to you?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

On a Roll with “Tasty Food to Go” in Long Beach, CA

Generous portions and an affordable price-point makes Cheap Eats one of my favorite cuisines as it’s good for both the tummy and wallet. I recently discovered this little hole-in-the-wall called “Tasty Food to Go” (2015 E 10th St, Long Beach, CA 90804) and loved everything about it except for the parking – the parking is atrocious, but definitely worth the fight for good eats!

Pad See Ew ($8.75 plus tax)

Recognized by the OC Weekly and Yelps Top 100 Places to Eat 2017 Edition I had high expectations for this restaurant. On the outside the restaurant is a no frills joint with an exposed kitchen and couple of high top counter space for patrons to nibble on their food, but as you enter you can smell all the aromatics making your stomach hunger for just a bite.

Menu and seating area

Most guests called in their order, but since it was my first visit I decided to see all their options and ask for recommendations. They make all their items to order and the portions are definitely abundant. My friend and I ordered the Pad See Ew and Crispy Pork and the former was a homerun. I think the crispy pork was a tad over fried in the 2nd entree, but the flavors on the sauce were dynamite! Another customer who was awaiting her order mentioned ordering the papaya salad prepared the traditional way as a must get – so I guess I know what I’ll be getting on my next visit!

Where do you go to get take-out?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Hogs and Kisses from Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, CA

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.

What kind of changes are you making in 2019?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

From the Big Screen to the Big Office – Learning About President Ronald Reagan Legacy on and off screen in Simi Valley, CA

During my Atlanta Trip in 2018, I applied for an Annual Presidential Library Membership with the mindset of visiting several POTUS museums in 2019. I learned a lot about Jimmy Carter’s presidency (Jimmy Carter Post) when I was in the Peach State and now that I’m back in SoCal my friends and I took a short roadtrip to learn all about Ronald Reagan’s Presidency in Simi Valley, CA.

Oval Office Replica and Air Force 1!

This museum is located on top of a mountain and overlooks the valley. The view is quite spectacular and while the setting is very picturesque, the museum facility is very interactive and engaging. There were tons of short movie clips, physical artifacts, and they even have an Air Force 1 and guests could step inside and see what it’s like to ride like a VIP.

Exhibits

Reagan is probably best known as the actor turned president; however, he was one of three presidents (at that time) to serve 2 terms and is best known for helping to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union! I don’t think I could ever do something as brave as that, but I’d want people to know me as the adventurer who shared the world’s best hidden gems.

How would you want to be remembered?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Devouring Ugly Delicious Seafood Endorsed by Jonathan Gold in Pomona, CA

Mexican food and Socal are synonymous with one another, and some of the best are found in dingy hole-in-the-wall restaurants. During my Anime Los Angeles Trip (ALA Cosplay Post, ALA Ribbon Trading, ALA My Hero Academia Panel), I had the opportunity to try a variety of restaurants including amazing Indian food at Ashirwad the Blessings and one of the best burgers at Daddy O’s Rockin Cafe, but my favorite restaurant on that trip was Mariscos Jalisco in Pomona, CA. If you love seafood you’re in for a real treat!

Botana ($21) and Taco ($2.25)

With a 5 star review average on Yelp and listed on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurant, I wanted to see if it’s as amazing as the reviews. With a shabby exterior, you would most certainly drive by and not think twice about going in; however, my motto in “Never Judge a Book By it’s Cover” is one that I always stand by. So, My friend and I shared the Botana ($21) a box of ceviche that included abalone, squid, fish, shrimp, and avocado with chips on the side as well as their famous deep fried tacos. The ceviche ingredients were very simple, but tasted very fresh and I devoured that taco instantly.

Tostado Menu

The Botana has the most variety of seafood, but if you’re dining here alone they offer personal size tostada’s with different combinations of seafood. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant truly is a gem and with 2 trucks and 2 brick and mortar stores.

  1. Mariscos Jalisco  – 3040 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023 (Boyle Heights)
  2. Mariscos Jalisco  – 753 E Holt Ave, Pomona, 91767
  3. Mariscos Jalisco (truck) – E 10th St and Towne Ave, Los Angeles CA 90021
  4. Mariscos Jalisco (truck ) – S Figueroa St and 140th Street, Los Angeles CA

I’d totally make this my go-to taco shop if I lived closer, where do you go to curb your Mexican cravings?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

How much is that loaf in the window? Trying the Inland Empires Best Banana Bread

I love finding hidden gems whenever I travel and after some extensive research I found this business that sells homemade biscotti and award winning banana bread! Recognized as a neighborhood favorite Linda, The Biscotti Lady, is a retired healthcare provider turned entrepreneur with some serious baking skills.

Wall Motivation

On my visit I made sure to go bright and early at 8am to see the assortment. There were muffins, biscottis, loafs of banana bread with and without walnuts (also chocolate chip option available), and ample samples of all her products for guests to try. I really loved the banana bread and bought 3 loafs ($5 a piece) as they were super moist and had that homemade (not mass produced) feel. While the products are certainly worth a visit, I especially love Linda’s business approach. She bakes and opens shop part-time to keep the spirit of her hobby alive and doesn’t allow the business to consume and blind her from all the other things she enjoys like traveling.

Banana Bread Options

If you’re interested to see one of Inland Empires best kept secret you can follow her on The Biscotti Lady’s Facebook to see her schedule. For 2019 Linda informed me that she’ll opens at least once a month on Saturday morning and that she’s open for business TOMORROW (2/2) from 8am – 2pm (PST) or while supplies last. Pick up a loaf or two from 1102 N Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91762) If you’re looking to bring home a winner for Superbowl Sunday I think the honey jalapeno cheddar cheese cornbread muffins would be a hit!

What are you eating/bringing this Sunday for the Supperbowl?

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

 

 

Hero’s and Villains, Oh My! Attending the VIP My Hero Academia Voice Actor Panel and Autograph Signing at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario, CA

One of my favorite things to do at conventions is attend panels especially voice actor ones as I love learning about the audition process, and inspiration for characters. While I had the opportunity to see both the creator, voice actor for Deku and All Might at SDCC in 2019 (Post Here), Anime Los Angeles brought the full star studded My Hero Academia cast (!!!) for the weekended and included an autograph session for all attendees.      The weekend was far from short of My Hero Academia cosplays (post here) and the voice actors who brought their character’s voices to life including Justin Briner (Izuku Midoriya), Clifford Chapin (Katsuki Bakugo), David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Momo Yaoyorozu) , Eric Vale (Tomura Shigaraki), Morgan Berry (Thirteen), and Christopher Wehkamp (Shota Aizawa) all participated in both individual and group panels. I was lucky to snag a front row seat in the group panel and got selfies with my two favorite voice actors Coleen Clinkenbeard (Momo) and David Matranga (Shot Todoroki)! I had a great time seeing these voice actors and loved that I got to converse with them in this more intimate convention. A few of the voice actors even complimented my spikes and were really impressed with my cosplay. I’m planning to continue working on it and who knows maybe at AX Momo will have even more refined details 🙂

Do you watch My Hero Academia? Who’s your favorite hero?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

Chowing Down on one of the Best All American Classics in Upland, CA

I love trying new exotic restaurant when I travel and on my recent trip to Pomona I visited Ashiwad The Blessing (post here) and had an amazing experience. Yet, some of my friends aren’t nearly as adventurous so finding a familiar alternative without compromising flavor and taste ranked on top of my list. I found Daddy O’s Rockin Cafe with a perfect 5 star Yelp rating and thought I’d see if this classic diner was going to be a home-run.

Cheeseburger

The menu was simple and focused on few items as they pride themselves in making their burgers fresh and hand picking their produce daily! Naturally, my friend and I ordered a classic cheeseburger and a side of crinkle cut french fries. The burger was delicious, my friend demolished his and soon after I as well. The cheese was melted perfectly and the patty is cooked medium rare keeping it juicy, but the real star was the bread. Oh lord! That bun was a little denser and chewier which really heightened my eating experience. The owner later informed me that they use a potato bun, which differentiates them from other burger joints.

The diner evoked American charm coupled with the rockin’ burger I definitely get this restaurant two thumbs up!

Where would you go to feed a picky eater?

 

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

“Gotta Catch ‘Em All” at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario, CA

Geek conventions are a great place to buy merchandise, watch panels, and see amazing cosplay! But one thing that differentiates Anime Los Angeles (ALA) from the other nerd gatherings is ribbon trading, an activity where you complete a task or trivial and in exchange get a ribbon to add to your badge.

Pokemon Gym Leaders

Anyone can participate in the ribbon trading and there are certain groups of individuals who work collectively to make the ribbon trading activity a scavenger hunt. One of the best groups is the Pokemon Group and this year they focused on Team Rocket Recruitment. Attendees would checkin at the “Pokemon Center” and be given a starter Pokemon (their first Pokemon ribbon). I started with Larvitar, a Rock/Ground Pokemon and needed to find other Gym Leaders (individuals with the Red and White Pokemon Button) to “battle” and collect more ribbons.

2019 Pokemon Rocket Challenge

Once you collect at least 14 of the 18 Pokemon types, you can see “The Boss” and collect the last badge – Pokemon 2019 Champion! It’s a fun activity to take part-in and it’s makes for a really cool souvenir.

Who would be your starter Pokemon?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Vegetarian Convert?! Feasting on an Explosion of Flavors for Cheap in Upland, CA

When I was researching restaurants in the Inland Empire, I read rave reviews about Ashiwad The Blessing. This vegetarian restaurant had a 4.5 star rating on yelp and with a “eating healthy” new years resolution I was curious to see what it was all about. Additionally, it had dinner hours that extended in the late evening (9pm), which also contributed to my trip plans.

Khamni – Appetizer

Located in an unassuming strip mall, my friend and I wandered in to the simple, but clean restaurant. We were seated prompted and our waiter educated us about the diverse menu option. After thoughtful consideration we started the evening with the Sev Khamni ($4.99), a steamed chick pea. This gluten-free appetizer came with a sweet and spicy sauce accompaniment and was beautifully presented.  The portion was very generous as a starter and served as a great introduction for our enormous entree.

Thali – entree

To share my friend and I ordered the Thali ($14.99) – A complete meal with your choice of vegetables (we opted for a seasonal eggplants and sweet potatoe mix), soup, rotis, rice, raita, snack, and dessert (fried donut). This picture doesn’t do it justice in the size of the offering, and the taste was just was full and robust. There were so many complex flavors that I couldn’t help myself but mixing and matching the items. Everything tasted so earthy and there was no meat! Our total for two came out to about $20ish dollars which is so inexpensive considering the portion and taste. I loved it!

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Dining area

I love meat as much as the next person, but after eating this meal I didn’t miss it. I’m not likely to go full blown vegetarian, but I wouldn’t mind incorporating a meal like this into my routine.

What’s your favorite meatless meal?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar