Enchanted: Forest of Light

Stay on the path and follow the light. If you happen to be in Southern California from now until January 7, you can experience Enchanted: Forest of Light at the Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge.

During my visit last month (sorry for the late post), the gardens were completely transformed into an ethereal Avatar-like world. It was beautiful. As you walk through you can buy drinks and food (although for the $30 ticket, I wish there was at least one drink token included).

Me and a friend walked through lanterns, lasers, and orbs oh my! There were also paths that lit up as you walk on them, which children seemed to enjoy. I would know, because I was one of them as I gleefully ran through a particular spiralled light path. #NoRegrets.

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Overall, it was really beautiful, and if you happen to be in the area, it’s worth a visit.

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Also worth the visit? An ice cream sandwich shop located nearby. Yum.

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From the Baked Bear: Funfetti Cookie with Chocolate Chip ice cream. Mmmm

Scum & Villainy Cantina

Time to rock out with your blasters out at this Star Wars pop-up bar, located just across the street from Beetle House on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. While Beetle House played mod and emo music to complement the goth vibes, Scum & Villainy Cantina is full of jukebox jives and, yes, they played the infamous Mos Eisley cantina song.

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Reservations are required where you present your ticket at the entrance. You can purchase a $50 ticket which includes two drink tokens and Star Wars swag (a pint glass and patch), or a $25 ticket which includes only the swag. T-shirts are also sold for an additional $15.  

I had a great time and you really do feel transported to a cantina on Tatooine. There are small bites and drinks, but I’m a little disappointed that there were only three signature cocktails. I’m actually totally bummed at the lack of creativity that I decided to come up with an imaginary list of my own that should be used:

  • Tatooine Sunrise
  • Rogue Jyn Fizz
  • Tauntaun Collins
  • Mandalorian Mule
  • Darth & Stormy
  • Sith on the Beach

But alas, I only had three cocktails to choose from. I opted for the Wretched Blue Milk which was a tropical rum-based drink and quite delicious. I spotted an older Han and Leia lounging at a booth (super cute!), and the ladies restrooms had graffiti like “It’s a Trap”, “Han Shot First”, and the symbol of the Rebel Alliance.

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In a perfect world, Han and Leia got to grow old together 😦

So if you’re a Star Wars fan and happen to be in Los Angeles, make a reservation and visit the Cantina! Cosplay is encouraged, of course!

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Taco Tuesday: The Ice Cream Edition

The ice cream taco is not a new fad or concept. Case? Choco Tacos from the Klondike company. I’m unsure of the availability of choco tacos elsewhere in the world, but they’re pretty common in every ice cream truck in Southern California, as well as in major grocery stores.

Another growing fad is rolled ice cream, which I believe is a Thai invention. What is new, however, is the combination of two delicious inventions to create ice cream tacos on crack, a process that Sweet Cup in Garden Grove, California has perfected.

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Initially part of “Taco Tuesday” marketing, Sweet Cup only dished out rolled ice cream tacos on Tuesday, but due to high demand and lines going out the small shop, Sweet Cup has now decided to serve these sweet tacos everyday! A victory for us all!

There are 11 signature rolled ice cream taco creations ranging from Rainbow Road (fruity pebble ice cream with cotton candy whipped cream), to Vietnamese Coffee (coffee ice cream with sea salt cream) and S’mores Galore. It was so difficult to choose. Be prepared to wait, as there are only four “cold plates” in which staff can only make one order at a time.

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I ordered for myself and of course, I had to buy some for my niece (3 years) and nephew (6 years). My three orders were the Honey Avocado, Strawberry Shortcake, and Cookies & Cream.

I had to wait about 30 minutes but it was well worth it. I predict that more and more ice cream shops will do the same as Sweet Cup, which will really help with the crowds seeking ice cream tacos on hot summer days. Yum!

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The 24K: Coconut charcoal ice cream with whipped cream, coconut flakes, chocolate drizzle, and 24k gold flakes. #Extra

In Bloom at The Huntington

I just returned to Brighton from a whirlwind visit home in Southern California. While I barely survived the summer heat, I made time to explore new places (yes even in my own home), which included a first-time trip to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. It was a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.

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Located in San Marino, a tiny suburb south of Pasadena, The Huntington displays diverse gardens with a wide range of international and domestic flora.

A friend and myself walked through desert gardens, greenhouses, a Japanese garden, Chinese garden and a rose garden — all the while melting in 90℉/32℃ heat. I was dripping with sweat but it was lovely to see koi ponds, sit beneath trees for a quick shady respite from the sun, and smell the sweet scent of roses.

Through the gardens there are also cafes and restaurants, and the elegant Rose Garden Tea Room, where reservations are recommended.

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At the end of the day I went into the library galleries and spent the remaining time reading my way through the permanent exhibitions: “Remarkable Works, Remarkable Times,” and “Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World.”

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Overall it was a lovely afternoon well spent and I will definitely have to go back to enjoy the tea room.

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Horchateria

“Viva los churros!” is the quote that will greet you at the Horchateria Rio Luna cafe. Located in Paramount, California, Horchateria opened its doors in March 2016, and boasts a menu with traditional Mexican treats like the concha (a pan dulce found at any local panadería in Southern California), churros, agua frescas, and a variety of horchata. Horchata is traditionally a rice-based beverage with cinnamon and sugar but this cafe steps up their game by creating ice cream sandwiches with their conchas, and ice cream sundaes substituting churros for bananas. *Drools*

There are vegan options available and a variety of sweet sauces for your churros. During my outing with two other friends I ordered an horchata iced coffee and churros with a Nutella and lechera drizzle. It was decadent. It was sweet. It was gone quickly. My friends ordered concha ice cream sandwiches and one had a cajeta drizzle. The ice cream itself was horchata flavoured so expect hints of cinnamon. Overall, this cafe is a must and you should definitely make the trip out here to indulge and willingly put yourself into a sugar coma. Added bonus: souvenirs are sold including totes, dia de los muertos-styled items, concha-shaped bags, and lots of Frida decor. For a full menu, click here.

 

Post-Camp Breakfast

20160821_122730Please, if you ever find yourself in Big Bear, California (either camping in the summer or snowboarding/skiing in the winter), do yourself a favour and visit the Teddy Bear restaurant.

I first visited this delightful, tiny, and family-owned place, in August 2016 after a great weekend of camping at Hanna Flats. Expect a long wait, but I assure you, it’s worth it.