Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 4 - The Getty Museum

January 26, 2016 (continued): On my last day of this trip, I had some time to before my flight back to Hawaii so I decided to check out the iconic Getty Museum.

I decided to indulge in a “hearty” (a.k.a. fat-fueled) meal. Doughboys Cafe & Bakery (now closed), was nearby my AirBnB and looked like it had interesting items on the menu. I ordered the Southern Corn Pudding Special which consisted of half creamy cheesy corn pudding, half pulled pork with grilled onions, corn and potatoes, topped with two griddled fried eggs and broiled in a cast iron skillet. It sounded delicious but I was a little disappointed as it was surprisingly bland and underseasoned for all the richness. I also ordered a mocha and chocolate chip cookie because I had seen they sold cookies the size of people’s faces and I’m all for novelty.

_MG_1356.jpg

After finishing my breakfast I immediately made my way to the museum since I was flying out in the afternoon and wanted to have time to explore. Even though I had a few hours there, it was so expansive that I didn’t get to see everything thoroughly, so I recommend giving yourself at least half a day to explore if you are an art aficionado.

The museum is free admission but if you are driving (which I was), the parking fee is a flat $15. I believe you can get a same day deal if you’re also visiting the Getty Villa. To get to the museum, you have to take a tram ride up to the top, it’s a great way to see views overlooking LA.

_MG_1358.jpg

Upon arrival you are immediately greeted by the museum’s undulating architecture designed by Richard Meier, it is somewhat reminiscent to me of a swimming pool for some reason.

_MG_1364.jpg
_MG_1375.jpg
_MG_1376.jpg

As you venture through the main building and head outside you can see expansive views of LA.

_MG_1371.jpg

There were many artifacts on display but I only captured a few that piqued my interest, partly because I was a little photo fatigued from the trip and also wanted to be more in the moment when observing the collections.

_MG_1377.jpg
_MG_1378.jpg
_MG_1384.jpg
_MG_1389.jpg
_MG_1395.jpg
_MG_1400.jpg

One of the highlights for me personally was seeing many of the illuminated manuscripts they had in their collection. It’s always gratifying to see something in real life which you learned about only through books, as this was for me when I was in college. I love how the colors and gilding of each page was still vibrant to this day, and seeing the amount of detail that went into each page.

_MG_1391.jpg
_MG_1386.jpg

This painting of Madonna and Child with Two Hermit Saints by Bernardino Fungai made me chuckle a little because of the child’s expression and posture like he’s saying “Guurrrl, chill...”

_MG_1397.jpg

More views from outside.

_MG_1404.jpg
_MG_1406.jpg
_MG_1409.jpg

I love the playfulness of the trompe l'oeil technique so this Musical Group on a Balcony painting on the ceiling by Gerrit van Honthorst was a fun piece to see.

_MG_1414.jpg

Other painted details.

_MG_1419.jpg
_MG_1419.jpg

Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyancinthe Rigaud.

_MG_1424.jpg

There were many pieces of furniture dating from the late 1700s. Elaborately ornate details, inlays, gildings, and embroidered materials fit for a king (or queen!).

_MG_1428.jpg
_MG_1433.jpg
_MG_1436.jpg
_MG_1441.jpg
_MG_1447.jpg
_MG_1448.jpg
_MG_1452.jpg
_MG_1455.jpg
_MG_1457.jpg

I headed outside where I saw different views of LA’s landscape, more of the museum’s architecture, and the desert gardens.

_MG_1466.jpg
_MG_1481.jpg
_MG_1485.jpg
_MG_1489.jpg
_MG_1471.jpg
_MG_1493.jpg
_MG_1502.jpg
_MG_1497.jpg

The Central Garden had a maze like feature as its main centerpiece. Since it was winter at the time, the flora and fauna was a little barren but it was still stunning nonetheless.

_MG_1508.jpg
_MG_1523.jpg
_MG_1518.jpg
_MG_1532.jpg

There were still many areas I had yet to explore but I had a flight to catch. This was a fantastic way to wrap up an amazing trip.

_MG_1528.jpg
_MG_1531.jpg
_MG_1530.jpg

Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 3 (Part 4) - Little Tokyo

January 25, 2016 (continued): The next place I checked out was mainly the Japanese Village Plaza area in Little Tokyo. Making my way from the Go For Broke Monument, I passed by some interesting art along the way.

On the side of one of the buildings in the Japanese American National Museum is a mural entitled, Moon Beholders by Katie Yamasaki.

_MG_1317.jpg

Further down the street beside the other building of the museum is the OOMO Cube, a giant rubix-like cube with different facial features from all different backgrounds and ethnicities you can mix and match to show that we are more similar than different. I added my mean “frowning in the sunlight” mug to the equation on one of the mirrored sides of the sculpture.

_MG_1319.jpg

I then ventured towards the Japanese Village Plaza. Out in front is a replica of a Japanese fire lookout called the Yagura Fire Tower. It was actually designed by a Korean-American architect David Hyun in 1978.

_MG_1325.jpg
_MG_1328.jpg

Inside the plaza is small but has a mix of Japanese themed shops specializing in nik naks, toys, clothes and beauty. There are also a few restaurants, sweets and bakery shops and a Japanese market.

_MG_1331.jpg
_MG_1332.jpg

In the courtyard are traditional, Japanese wishing trees where people write their wishes on small pieces of paper and tie them to the bamboo tree. In normal tradition the tree is later thrown into the river or brought to a shrine and set fire to in order for the wish to come true. I just thought it was a lovely scene in being able to visually see people's hopes and dreams in colorful, physical form.

_MG_1339.jpg
_MG_1341.jpg
_MG_1343.jpg
_MG_1344.jpg

It was starting to get late, and I was getting hungry so I went to try a nearby ramen restaurant Shin-Sen-Gumi which in Little Tokyo is located across the street from the Japanese Village Plaza. At this location there is usually a line of patrons waiting to get in, pretty much any time of day but it usually moves fairly quickly. They sell only one type of base broth and then you choose from a variety of toppings including a miso butter bomb, to tomato paste and mozzarella(!!). I got one of the suggested combinations of kimchi, garlic chips and a poached egg. It was delicious, the noodles were nicely aldente, the toppings added a nice texture and flavor variation that helped cut the richness of the broth.

It was also surreal to see non-Japanese chefs cooking the ramen who conversing in perfect Japanese. At the same time it made me ashamed in my own lack of fluency.

_MG_1348.jpg

I finished off the night with dessert at the Mikawaya store back in the plaza, where they have a variety of different flavored Japanese mochi ice cream. Here is the cookies and cream version. 美味しかった! (It was delicious!).

_MG_1353.jpg
_MG_1349.jpg
_MG_1350.jpg

Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 3 (Part 1) - Eggslut, Grand Central Market, and the Bradbury Building

January 25, 2016 (continued): Day 3 of my trip in LA, consisted of tackling the Downtown area. For breakfast, I definitely wanted to try the much lauded, Eggslut - I’d seen it mentioned by a couple YouTubers and the food looked delicious. Their first and only location at the time was in Grand Central Market, a hub of many different food vendors that you could eat cuisines from around the world and never have left that place.

_MG_1061.jpg
_MG_1257.jpg

Since this was their only location at the time, and as many hyped places tend to have, the line stretched around the block. Usually I just skip it if there’s a line, because most of the time the line wait vs the food in the end is almost never worth it. But I was determined and the line moved fairly quickly so it wasn’t too bad. The menu is pretty simple with only a few selections, so I ordered the Fairfax Sandwich (soft scrambled eggs, chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, sriracha mayo, in a brioche bun), it’s namesake the Slut (coddled egg on top of a puree poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt, chives and served with a baguette), and fresh orange juice.

_MG_1044.jpg

Now living in LA I have tried a few of Eggslut’s different items and I feel like most are just ok, tend to be quite rich, and the seasoning is hit or miss, except for the Slut. That is almost worth waiting in line for on its own to me, as when you receive the Slut, you quickly stir the coddled egg into the potato puree and then dip your baguette in. The warm, creaminess of the mixture coats your mouth in deliciousness and the crunch of the bread adds a nice, needed counterbalance to the smooth texture.

_MG_1052.jpg

After my big breakfast, I needed some java to get me going for the rest of the day. I stopped by G&B Coffee, still in Grand Central Market and ordered a Mocha and what I thought was a sweet potato pie, but it turns out it was a coffee flavor, so I was double fisting it on to my next locale. While stopping to figure out how to carry all my equipment and 2 coffees, I had a direct view of the famous Angels Flight, which was featured in the movie La La Land.

IMG_2703.jpg
_MG_1065.jpg

While researching the area, I saw that the Bradbury building was nearby and a neat place to visit if you’re into interiors/architecture. It is still a functioning office building, so you’re only able to go in the lobby area unless you have an appointment. Originally built in 1893, it has been featured in several films including Blade Runner and 500 Days of Summer.

_MG_1070.jpg
_MG_1075.jpg

When you walk in, you immediately are transported back in time with all the architectural details of the past. The entire ceiling is a glass skylight, to let the natural light shine through.

_MG_1129.jpg
_MG_1133.jpg
_MG_1079.jpg
_MG_1124.jpg
_MG_1086.jpg
_MG_1100.jpg
_MG_1101.jpg

The gorgeous, ornate ironwork staircases are divine, I mean I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to stairs, so you know I’m a little obsessed with these.

_MG_1113.jpg

To top it off they still have a set of working birdcage elevators. I would definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area.

_MG_1083.jpg
_MG_1091.jpg
_MG_1119.jpg

Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 2 (Part 3) - Santa Monica Pier

January 25, 2016 (continued): After briefly visiting Venice Beach, I headed down the road to my other destination on my checklist, Santa Monica. Tip if you’re ever visiting, I mistakenly parked on the pier and paid for parking, but later I found out when I moved to LA that there are several free 90 minute parking lots around Santa Monica. Not only that but navigating, down the pier in your car with the heavy traffic of people walking up and down the ramp is no easy feat.

Once out of the parking lot, I was immediately greeted by a huge color wonderland, the mini amusement park on the pier. A roller coaster, and a few other small rides for the kids, along with the iconic ferris wheel. I don’t know why I have such an affinity for ferris wheels (yet I’ve never rode on one, it’s a heights thing), maybe it’s the feeling it evokes and the atmosphere when you’re around one.  

_MG_0922.jpg
_MG_0927.jpg
_MG_0934.jpg
_MG_0947.jpg
_MG_0937.jpg
_MG_0940.jpg
_MG_0949.jpg
_MG_0953.jpg
_MG_0958.jpg
_MG_0965.jpg
_MG_0968.jpg
_MG_0973.jpg
_MG_0978.jpg

On either side of the pier, is the great view of the vast stretch of Santa Monica beach dotted with people along the coast.

_MG_0983.jpg
_MG_1000.jpg

Further along the pier are many buskers and hustlers, from people belting out the latest song, to palm readings, to name drawing. It is almost an overwhelming sensation especially when the crowd is packed shoulder to shoulder shuffling down the pier as one large mass.

I like how this couple inadvertantly posed for this picture.

_MG_0985.jpg

I finished my time there at Pier Burger with a cheeseburger, fries and a custard shake.

IMG_2699.jpg

Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 2 (Part 1) - Venice Canals

January 25, 2016 (continued): After many of the heavy, sleep-inducing, carb-laden meals I’ve had throughout the trip I was craving something lighter and cleaner for breakfast. My plan was to explore the Venice/Santa Monica area so I googled juice places near there. I chose Juice Served Here as they had a few food options as well. There were only a couple of parking spaces out front, the building itself looked like a converted garage with a cool, glass roller door. The interiors were clean, modern with a slight industrial feel.

For breakfast, I chose the juice flight which was a selection of their juices in shot sized glasses that were supposed to be a re-invigoration for the day. There was an order to which one you drank first, including starting with Green Easy (Cucumber, Red Apple, Kale, Spinach, Lemon, Romaine, Green Pepper), to things like Charcoal Lemonade (Filtered Water, Sugar Cane Juice, Lemon, Montmorillonite Clay, Activated Charcoal), to finishing it off with the “dessert”, Cream Party (Coconut Water, Coconut Cream). As someone who regularly made their own smoothies and tried similar juices before, I didn’t mind the veggies in my juice thing as I know some people get weirded out and think it’s gross, but honestly the fruit flavors usually balance out any “green” tastes. I thought each juice had their own unique flavor profile, and the flight was a good way to test out which juices you might prefer over others.

_MG_0559.jpg
_MG_0560.jpg

I also ordered the vegan grilled cheese to round out my meal. Usually, I’m pretty wary of vegan imitation products as it’s never quite the same but thought I’d give it a go. As a connoisseur of grilled cheese and lover of dairy (but trying to cut back on it), this was one of the best grilled cheese I’ve had in my life. It was packed with flavor, with some red peppery bits in it, and a nice amount of creaminess to it. The melty, stringy cheese part was a little lacking because, well it’s not cheese but I didn’t really miss it. Since I am so late to writing this post, I don’t think they have it on their menu anymore unfortunately!

IMG_2693.jpg

My first sightseeing stop of the day was at the Venice Canals. I’d wanted to visit as it was the scene to several movies, plus a few YouTubers I watched had also been there, the location looked interesting and artistic so it was definitely on my list. Since I had started my day off early the place was almost empty apart from the residents, so I had it all to myself. The interwoven walk amongst the canals was one of the most peaceful, serene, and picturesque places I’ve ever been. I can see why one resident had to post a sign saying that they’d never sell so stop asking!

_MG_0563.jpg
_MG_0567.jpg
_MG_0570.jpg
_MG_0572.jpg
_MG_0578.jpg
_MG_0580.jpg
_MG_0587.jpg
_MG_0596.jpg
_MG_0600.jpg
_MG_0605.jpg

I loved crossing the bridges and stopping to take in the scenery of the canals, each one was slightly different and unique. Funny story, there was a young man who went on one of the bridges and sat down with his puppet and started talking to himself, at first you’d think quite odd but then this is LA so I figured he was rehearsing for some project. Not sure why he had to sit on a bridge to do it but whatever helps the process I guess!

_MG_0609.jpg
_MG_0612.jpg
_MG_0616.jpg

Each house was decorated in their own unique way, which for my curious/detail oriented mind was like heaven just stopping at each home to see what they had done. The architecture was also unique in itself with some resembling quaint cottages, to clean and modern, to artsy/hippie decor, to some that looked like what I’d imagine was out of a Hansel and Gretel storybook.

_MG_0628.jpg
_MG_0634.jpg
_MG_0644.jpg
_MG_0645.jpg
_MG_0649.jpg
_MG_0655.jpg
_MG_0660.jpg
_MG_0673.jpg
_MG_0677.jpg
_MG_0680.jpg
_MG_0684.jpg
_MG_0692.jpg
_MG_0708.jpg

There were also several animal spottings like the ducks gliding down the canals, or in someone’s backyard, to doggo’s chilling on the porch, to crows and squirrels getting their feed on.

_MG_0715.jpg
_MG_0721.jpg
_MG_0727.jpg
_MG_0741.jpg
_MG_0750.jpg
_MG_0755.jpg
_MG_0757.jpg
_MG_0760.jpg
_MG_0764.jpg
_MG_0769.jpg
_MG_0777.jpg
_MG_0779.jpg
_MG_0782.jpg
_MG_0796.jpg

In conclusion, this was one of my favorite places I had visited, as it touched on a number of my top things, arts, architecture, animals, nature, water, the peace and tranquility (especially for my introverted self). It was such an expansive place that I couldn’t see everything thoroughly but I knew if I was ever back I’d have to visit again.

Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 1 (Part 2) - Griffith Observatory

January 24, 2016 (continued): After my visit to LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits, I decided what a nice idea it would be to watch the sunset from the Griffith Observatory. Turns out, I was not the only one with that bright idea since it was a Sunday, the traffic snaked around the mountain to the top a few miles back. People were already parking on the side of the road that far back so I was slowly losing hope that I was going to be able to live out my plan. As I reached the top I was surprised to see that there were a few parking spots open and I guess everyone just assumed it would be taken since they saw other people parking further back, I lucked out and got a front row spot.

At the top of the hill, there are 360 views of LA, where you can spot the iconic Hollywood sign landmark off in the distance, the rolling hills, and the contrasting grid-like structure of the city.

_MG_0426.jpg

That day, the sun was radiating, casting this golden glow and making me fall more and more in love with this town. After taking a bazillion pictures of the view, I headed towards the observatory building. What makes this place even better is it’s free, apart from maybe a few shows they have which I think is worth it.

_MG_0445.jpg
_MG_0427.jpg
_MG_0451.jpg

The way to the observatory is lined with the orbital paths of the planets which I thought was a nice touch. I have the sense of humor of a 12-year old so 1000 guesses as to why I chose this planet to take a picture of?

IMG_8438.jpg

There is also the Astronomers Monument Figures that feature the main founding fathers of astronomy, Hipparchus, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Herschel. Apparently Einstein was also considered but it was thought to be strange to include someone who was living (at the time). At the top of the monument is an armillary sphere, which was the device mainly used to track the celestial positions before the telescope was invented.

_MG_0458.jpg
_MG_0467.jpg

The building itself is in the Art Deco style, which if you have been reading this blog know that this is one of my favorite art movements due to its graphic, geometric style.

_MG_0459.jpg
_MG_0468.jpg

Once you enter the building - immediately in the center of the foyer is a Foucault Pendulum to show the rotation of the Earth.

_MG_0471.jpg

Above, is the ceiling with murals painted by Hugo Ballin. The murals were inspired by the myths based on what people saw in the sky in ancient times.

_MG_0476.jpg

Just below the ceiling are 8 panels of murals also by Hugo Ballin, based on the advancement of science throughout time.

_MG_0478.jpg

There were many mini exhibits including a Tesla Coil, as well as a Periodic Table of Elements with the actual elements within each box.

_MG_0481.jpg
_MG_0484.jpg

I eventually made my way outside on the upper deck of the building and staked out my spot to watch the sunset. It was a good thing I got there early because by the time the sun was setting, you could barely find an opening around the perimeter. During this time it was still winter, so the winds were brisk and harsh against my skin but it was all worth it to watch the sun go down over the city. The sky changed many colors from bright golden yellow, to the dusky hues of pink and purple after it set. This was a perfect end to my sightseeing tour for the day.

_MG_0494.jpg
_MG_0511.jpg
_MG_0503.jpg
IMG_2687.jpg
IMG_2685.jpg
_MG_0527.jpg
_MG_0552.jpg
_MG_0551.jpg
_MG_0555.jpg
_MG_0545.jpg

For dinner, I grabbed my first ever In & Out Burger. I had heard it was THE thing to get in California so I just got a regular cheeseburger and “animal style” fries where they smother it in their special sauce, caramelized onions and cheese.

IMG_2686.jpg

Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 1 (Part 1) - LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits

January 24, 2016 (continued): My first day in Los Angeles, I left my AirBnB in West Hollywood and began with breakfast at Fratelli Cafe. Being in California, I decided to take advantage of all the Mexican food I could get my hands on so I ordered the huevos rancheros and a mocha. The huevos rancheros was 2 eggs over-medium served on fried corn tortillas, topped with cheddar cheese, black beans, avocado, and house-made pico de gallo, it also came with a side of potatoes. Every part of the meal was well seasoned and a perfect amalgamation of textures and flavors. The service was friendly and the coffee strong so I give this place two thumbs up!

IMG_2660.jpg

Walking back to my car I spotted the first of many artistically decorated electrical boxes.

IMG_2663.jpg

This trip could’ve been nicknamed the West Coast Museum Tour since my next destination was the largest art museum in the west, LACMA. I’d seen all the posts from other creators of some of the famous installations located outside the museum so this was on a must visit for me.

Emerging from the parking lot elevator, you’re immediately greeted by the first piece of outdoor art, Sam Durant’s “Like man, I’m tired (of waiting)” from his electric signs series.

_MG_0130.jpg

On the right of the elevator is one of the most iconic installations at LACMA, the Urban Light sculpture by Chris Burden. I can see why thousands flock to this site for their selfie backdrop of the day - it is really stunning in person and the fact that they are real, re-purposed working street lamps makes it all the more dynamic and fun.

_MG_0133.jpg
_MG_0145.jpg
_MG_0147.jpg
_MG_0153.jpg

Entering the first floor of the Ahmanson Building, the Smoke sculpture by Tony Smith overwhelms the space, taking over the main foyer.

_MG_0170.jpg
_MG_0171.jpg

I was captivated by these textile patterns by Joan Miró and Fernand Léger as I love quirky, interesting prints for fashion because you can show off little parts of your personality without it being too obvious at first glance.

_MG_0173.jpg

The colors on this George Braques painting, Boats on the Beach is so fun and playful that it really does evoke feelings of summer time by the sea.

_MG_0174.jpg

Head of a Woman bronze cast sculpture by Pablo Picasso.

_MG_0177.jpg

This Georges Braques painting, Still Life with Violin brought me back to my high school art class days when we were learning about the Cubism movement.

_MG_0178.jpg

See my own beginnings of learning how to create in the Cubist aesthetic, where we had to draw a violin at different angles within the same piece to show its dimensional shape within a flat surface. (Side note: Can’t believe I still have this from high school!)

IMG_1718.jpg

I love the colors of The Disks painting by Fernand Leger.

_MG_0179.jpg

Woman with Blue Veil by Pablo Picasso. I love the freeform, softer technique in this painting.

_MG_0180.jpg

Jeanette I bronze sculpture heads by Henri Matisse.

_MG_0182.jpg

Tea by Henri Matisse has a beautiful color palette along with an ideal setting of having tea in a garden with friends and a doggeh.

_MG_0184.jpg

Portrait of Sebastia Juñer Vidal by Pablo Picasso from his famous Blue Period. The way just the use of one color tonally can evoke an emotion is fascinating to me. Here, the blue palette adds to the story of the sombre tone in his work during this period.

_MG_0186.jpg
_MG_0189.jpg

Composition in White, Red, and Yellow by Piet Mondrian. To see one of his most famous pieces up close with the cracks in the white paint after many years is something to behold. I know most people don’t understand why this type of art is a thing in the “I could do that attitude”, but after many years of art movements with ornate flourishes and detail, Mondrian was one of the first to strip it back to representing what he saw in its most minimalist form.

_MG_0190.jpg

Detail from a surrealist painting (can’t remember who this is by!).

_MG_0192.jpg

Weeping Woman with Handkerchief by Pablo Picasso has an almost contemporary modern feel to it in its style and colors.

_MG_0195.jpg
_MG_0197.jpg

Animated Forms by Joan Miró.

_MG_0201.jpg

Suicide at Dawn by Victor Brauner. This painting was a little disturbing but it still made me stop, look and think so isn’t that what art is supposed to do?

_MG_0203.jpg

The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) (La trahison des images [Ceci n'est pas une pipe]) by René Magritte is one of my favorite pieces of art, as it mixes my favorite things in one - art, psychology and philosophy.

_MG_0207.jpg
_MG_0218.jpg

Number 15 by Jackson Pollock. Seeing a Pollock up close in real life, you can see the layers of paint and amount of movement andwork that went into it as opposed to when you see a picture of it.

_MG_0222.jpg

This sculpture is not creeping me out at all.

_MG_0230.jpg

Speaking of layers of paint, this piece created its own texture.

_MG_0235.jpg

Life Begins (in more ways then one!) by Lorser Feitelson.

_MG_0237.jpg

I found the textures and patterns created by the paint interesting on this piece.

_MG_0238.jpg

One of the iconic Campbell’s Soup Can prints by Andy Warhol.

_MG_0243.jpg
_MG_0244.jpg
_MG_0249.jpg
_MG_0251.jpg

Had to capture this SPAM homage in Edward Ruscha’s Actual Size painting for my Hawaii roots.

_MG_0254.jpg

Giant Pool Balls by Claes Oldenburg was another favorite I saw at LACMA as I enjoy novelty size items giant or miniature. I had first heard of Claes Oldenburg, ironically while watching Clueless when Cher is giving a tour of her house to Christian and he spots a Claes Oldenburg sculpture. Who says entertainment can’t be informative?

_MG_0257.jpg

I would need this big of a comb to deal with my unruly hair. (Untitled) Comb by Vija Celmins.

La Gerbe by Henri Matisse.

_MG_0275.jpg
_MG_0274.jpg

Another view of Smoke by Tony Smith.

_MG_0278.jpg

Miracle Mile by Robert Irwin consists of 66 fluorescent tubes stretching the span of 36 feet.

_MG_0296.jpg

Metropolis II by Chris Burden is a bustling model of a  miniature city but ironically also quite a large, significant piece at the same time. I love when pieces have so much detail that every time you look at it you see something new.

_MG_0307.jpg
_MG_0303.jpg

I enjoyed the interior aesthetics of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum building at LACMA. The colored window panels allowed tinted reflections when the light shone through, while the giant glass elevator gave me Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator vibes.

_MG_0313.jpg
_MG_0314.jpg

The Sympathetic Imagination exhibit by Diana Thater was one of my favorites with large scale projections of planets, moons, animals and architecture.

_MG_0329.jpg
_MG_0328.jpg
_MG_0330.jpg
_MG_0341.jpg

On top of the BCAM building you can see a straight shot view of the Hollywood sign.

I finished off my tour of LACMA at one of the other famous art installations there, the Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer.

_MG_0350.jpg
_MG_0352.jpg
_MG_0372.jpg
_MG_0406.jpg
_MG_0375.jpg

Conveniently located next to LACMA was the La Brea Tar Pits - I did not go into the museum but part of the outdoor area is free to the public so that was a bonus! As you approach the many tar pits around the park, you can definitely smell the oil seeping from as well as see that iridescent sheen on the surface. There were a few pits that were still actively bubbling as well. I also learned that La Brea means “the tar” in Spanish so this place is basically called “The Tar, Tar Pits”.

_MG_0380.jpg
_MG_0377.jpg
_MG_0389.jpg

*Dug from UP voice* - “SQUIRREL!”

_MG_0399.jpg
_MG_0393.jpg

Overall, I had a great time seeing iconic pieces of art in person that I’d only seen in print previously. LACMA has a vast range of collections, as I only managed to see maybe ¾ of it and that was rushing through a few exhibitions. Definitely worth the ticket price!

_MG_0409.jpg

Travel Diary: San Francisco Day 4 (Part 3) - Palace de Fine Arts and Golden Gate Bridge

January 22, 2016 (continued): I decided to walk from Lucasfilm to the Palace de Fine Arts, it looked like an easy, quick trail on Google Maps. Alas, that wasn’t the case as the arrow always seems to point in the opposite direction for a while while walking, you start heading the wrong way and then it finally beeps to turn around - by then you’ve gone off the beaten path. That coupled with road blocks and construction at the time, exhaustion from lugging all my equipment, and dodging the rain - I was a hot, frustrated mess by the time I got to the destination. However, my heightened emotional state quickly dissipated as soon as the monumental structure started to come into view.

The architecture and its surrounding environment of the man made lagoon was breathtaking to say the least, photos do not do justice to the magnitude and beauty of seeing it in person. I have been fortunate enough to have visited Italy and viewed many famous Roman architectures, and I feel the Palace of Fine Arts is certainly comparable. Standing under the main dome, the vast height of the structure looms over with it’s intricately carved honeycomb ceiling and statues. I can see why this place was featured as a backdrop to many movies including Vertigo.

I eventually made my way to the most iconic sight to see in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge. As I was walking there from the Palace of Fine Arts, I only made it to the Crissy Field Beach before my legs and exhaustion gave out. Though I only made it to the beach, it still gave a nice, clear, side-on view of the entire bridge. Now that I live in California, I will be definitely making my way back to San Francisco to cross the bridge and another thing off my bucket list!

_MG_0113.jpg

Ending off my day back in downtown, I had dinner at Delarosa. I was craving my Italian food, googled and found this spot. They had these delectable and artery hardening deep-fried macaroni and cheese balls that everyone was raving about in their reviews. I got there and it was packed to the brim, luckily as a solo traveler I got a spot at the bar fairly quickly. I ordered the deep-fried balls and a caesar salad to you know, off set the decadence of the balls, but yes I know caesar salad isn’t exactly health food either.

My food arrived, and a couple next to me even commented when they saw the balls like, “whoa what is that?!”. If I’m going to be honest maybe they were too hyped in my mind because they were just ok. Not bad, but not amazing either. Maybe it was a little too rich for me, and even the tomato sauce it came in couldn’t off-set the decadence.

Weekly Update: LA - Supermoon, Sunsets, Street Art and Stuffing My Face

October 2 - October 14: I’ve decided to try to incorporate a weekly, visual diary on the blog. I wanted to start documenting things more frequently again, as I did with the photo a day challenge on my instagram last year - it was a nice reminder of what I did on a particular day. I feel like it will also push me to explore again and spark my creativity, as I’ve kind of got into a rut of the daily grind of get up, go to work, get home late, go to sleep and do it all over again. Hopefully it won’t be too boring, though I have a strange fascination of seeing someone else’s day to day life, even the mundane tasks, maybe it reminds me that we’re all human at the end of the day. I also like to mentally bookmark interesting places that they go to for when I someday visit that place. These will most likely be shots from my phone and when I remember to document things so they probably won’t be artistic masterpieces, just random recorded memories.

Let’s begin! Yes, I realize October 2 - 14 is more than a week but I had some images I wanted to share before I thought to start this so I’ve included a bonus round.

October 2: My drive home from work was made a little bit brighter (no pun intended) due to the huge supermoon that hung in the sky at the beginning of this month. I wish I had my DSLR with me to capture the true size of that thing, it was like a bat signal in the sky it was so ginormous.

IMG_1583.jpg

I’ve been on a health kick as of late, working out everyday and eating better, so cooking more at home. I tried out this recipe of Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas and herbed Creme Fraiche. I subbed the farro for brown rice and the creme fraiche for the tahini sauce in the substitution part of the recipe. It came out pretty tasty, I think I overcooked the carrots a little, but the sweetness of the heirloom carrots made it come out caramelized and slightly crispy which was a nice added texture.

IMG_1584.jpg

October 3: Supermoon round 2, while waiting in traffic in Beverly Hills.

IMG_1588.jpg

October 4: Sunsets and supermoon while leaving work again. I like how in the last picture you can’t easily distinct the moon from the street lights but in real life it was as the song suggests, like a huge pizza pie!

IMG_1590.jpg
IMG_1592.jpg
IMG_1594.jpg

October 7: Started off the weekend at Black Dog Coffee where my favorite Avocado Toast is. This is the Deluxe Avocado Toast and worth every penny, its size is hefty and you have to hold it with two hands because it is stacked high with goodies. A large slice of bread is covered in avocado, arugula, fresh, soft melt in your mouth burrata cheese, tomatoes and drizzled with pesto and balsamic vinegar - heaven on toast!

Later, I spotted a little Lucille Dog (?) art on a clean up your dog’s poop sign.

IMG_1603.jpg

October 8: I treated myself to one of my favorite ramen in LA, the Spicy Vegan Miso Ramen at Jinya Ramen. I feel like if you can make a tasty vegetarian/vegan food, then you’ll be pretty good at making the other items on their menu. Unlike a pho place I tried that shall remain nameless whose vegetarian broth had less taste than if they just put water in there as the soup! Anyway this Vegan Miso Ramen is not missing any flavor and manages to retain the umami-ness that other normally pork-based broths have. This ramen contains soft tofu, onion, green onion, spinach, crispy onion, garlic chips, black garlic oil, chilli oil, sesame seeds and thick noodles. I had to add one of the best things about ramen, an ajitama egg (marinated, soft-boiled egg) to the mix. Even though it is named “Spicy” it is definitely a tolerable heat that doesn’t overpower the meal and you can still taste other flavors.

IMG_1608.jpg

October 9: The next couple of days had the most gorgeous sunsets, the sun was like a glowing fireball and the skies hued in pastel.

IMG_1615.jpg

October 10: Leaving work, the sunset had set the sky on fire again.

IMG_1623.jpg

Earlier, I said I was on a health kick, but I don’t deny myself things that I’m craving and it’s actually helped a lot than when I’ve dieted in the past to not completely restrict myself - because you end up thinking about it more than just having a little taste. SK’s donuts are heaven in a shop as they are open 24 hours, rotating out freshly made donuts throughout the day. Their cronuts are some of the best I’ve tasted as they have a nice crunch to them that most others I’ve tried have failed to capture. I just got a simple selection, a chocolate sprinkle, red velvet, and a cream cheese filled donut with oreo topping. Their cakey donuts are delicious, decadent, but not too heavy.

IMG_1624.jpg
IMG_1628.jpg

October 11: A little bumper sticker wisdom on the drive home from work, “I am a leaf on the wind… watch how I soar.”

IMG_1630.jpg

October 12: A serendipitous moment of parallels, a man with a red and white striped shirt standing in front of the red and silver striped Peterson Automotive Museum.

IMG_1635.jpg

Later that night, I went to grab dinner in West Hollywood, and spotted Salt & Straw’s ribbon art on the side of their store. I first tried them in Portland last year - delicious, innovative ice cream.

IMG_1636.jpg

October 14: Finally working on editing my video diary from my west coast trip last year. I’ve been procrastinating, since it’s been a steep learning curve teaching myself Premiere Pro. I’ve edited videos in the past in iMovie but I wanted more control over certain elements so that’s why it’s been taking a while but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. Any tips would be appreciated!

That’s it for this “week”. I will try to finish up writing for my west coast trip travel diary series and post those as well!

Travel Diary: San Francisco Day 4 (Part 2) - Lombard St, The Presidio, and Lucasfilm

January 22, 2016 (continued): To get from Chinatown to Lombard St, I rode on my first San Francisco tram. It was a slightly traumatic experience, because the seats were already crammed and I had my big gear bag and heavy winter coat so I was trying to sit down but the tram had already started moving. That coupled with the steps slick with rain I slipped and almost fell out, but luckily the other passengers reacted quickly and held onto my arms while I grabbed onto the bar.

After composing myself from nearly having my life flash before my eyes, I got off at my next stop. There were already a few people gathered taking selfies on the top of Lombard St and it’s winding road. It was a cool bucket list thing to see, but am glad it was on my way to other destinations because it is not as big as you expect it to be and not sure if I came here specifically it would be worth my while. It was interesting to see how the cars would have to carefully swerve each tight corner, especially with the wet roads.

After all the walking I was getting a bit weary and peckish, so I stopped for a little lunch and relaxation. I googled nearby spots, and an Indian restaurant, Curry Leaf came up - it sounded like the perfect place, as I was craving something warming to eat. Also having lived in Hawaii for a while, I had missed a lot of the good Indian restaurants I grew up eating while in New Zealand.

Along the way there were a couple more cool street art murals as well as an interestingly named theater.

At the Curry Leaf, I ordered the butter chicken with jasmine rice and a garlic naan bread. It was the perfect antidote to the mixture of cold, wet, and hungry attitude I was feeling, and it hit the spot. The portion could have probably fed two people!

IMG_2396.jpg

To work off my huge lunch, I walked towards The Presidio, a former military outpost that was now part of the Golden Gate Park filled with tons of trails, museums, mini parks, and my next destination, Lucasfilm. I’d read during my research that tourists can come by and visit the lobby area where many of the iconic characters are displayed.

Outside Lucasfilm was a fountain with statue of Yoda, there is kind of a special, funny meaning to him for me personally. As a baby, I was nicknamed Yoda, because when my dad first saw me when I was born, I apparently resembled the wrinkly little alien. Hopefully I wasn’t as green as he was! 

Inside the lobby, there were many costumes and statues of all the iconic Star Wars characters, a storm trooper, Boba Fett, and of course Darth Vader himself. Also displayed were many of the awards the company had won. Personally, I would have been excited to see something from my favorite of the Lucasfilm franchises Indiana Jones, but it was a cool experience nonetheless.

Later, I explored a little more around the park - it was so expansive you could almost get lost! It even had its own Starbucks there! Again, I would have loved to walk around more but the rain was picking up and I wanted to get to my other sights to see!