Thursday, November 30, 2017

Village Kitchen

After 3 hours of traffic from LA, finally made it to Carlsbad.
Luckily, Yelp did not fail us and recommended a cute breakfast diner.
Lots of specials for breakfast and reasonably priced.
Check out all the food that came with the special.  Holy cow!
So, this is the Bacon with 2 eggs, potato and toast.  Geez, so much food.  While the food is pretty standard.  The service was warm.  The owner pretty much knows his regulars and you see lots of families coming thru.  We were there for a short time and the parking lots spilled over to the gas station next door.  By the time we were leaving, the line was out the door.  Definitely worthy hole in the wall.

Village Kitchen
950 Tamarack Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


While looking around at Little Tokyo, LA, decided to stop for lunch.
Maruya had a simple straight forward menu, figured it's pretty friendly and have seats available... sold!
First, really needed some refreshing Iced Green Tea.
With my lunch, it comes with miso soup.
Main entree was curry rice.  I just love Japanese Curry, they are a bit spicy with sweet.  Of course, it helps that the sauce is delicious and it's super great to mix with rice.  My only complain is that they needed to put potato in there.  The carbs, carbs and more carbs.  Of course, if they happened to have tender chicken, I'm all for it too.  That said, just the curry by itself does it right, so I don't need the others, just a nice-to-have.  The dish itself stand on its own.  It's a very simple Japanese style comfort food for me.

What I really like, you can tell a lot of business people nearby come here for lunch.  Their servers are friendly and get you your food fast, that was helpful.  We had a stroller in tow, and they put us where we can have more space and help get our kiddo settled.  Super kid friendly.

104 Japanese Village Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Milk + T

While working around Little Toyko (aka Japanese Village) in LA, 
came across this sign... thought it's interesting.
What exactly is self-serve Boba Bar?  And what exactly is #bobawasted?
First, there's awesome art work here.  
Second, there's awesome bottle for your boba!  I got Thai Tea with regular Boba.
And yes, you can get boba wasted here.

So, how does it work?  First, you have 3 types of tea as your base: Milky, Fruity, and Premium (which is a pre-mixed or add ice cream type fancy tea).  Then, you choose how sweet you want it to be.  Then, they'll mix your tea, while you go to the bar and get either fruit, or seeds, or jelly, or more boba (how about a whole pot full).  Then they fill up your cup or glass (which you can bring back and re-use).  And that's how it's done.

I think it' a cute concept.  It can be as healthy or as not as you want.  This is the first Bubble Tea place that emphasize that they use fresh milk, fresh ingredients.  Further, I guess a lot of place in LA if you want more topping, you get charge 50 cents per extra?  So, this concept helps those who likes to try different combo, or have more complicated yet creative tastes.  Drinks are $5, and you get to mix and match and make your own drink.  Totally worth it.

Milk + T
310 E. 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Monday, November 27, 2017

Museum of Ice Cream

Warning: photo heavy
There were a lot of Instagrammers did a lot of cool photo shoots here, either professionally or personally, so I got totally curious.  Wouldn't you know, when I got to the website for some info, they were sold out of months.  Luckily, they were going to extend the show, and release more tickets.  Oh boy... I was so excited when the window opens (cyber-ly speaking, of course).  When you get there, there was an hour wait at the 'window' via their virtue queue.  Of course, my computer crashed, and luckily, they recognize the IP and I got back in line, but let me tell you, the stress to get the tickets....
As you enter the entrance you encounter this wall, where it makes you think, if Willy Wonka is a real person, and would let you tour the factory, he would make this wall.
The artist used gummy bear and rock candy for the small colors, there are coins, hoop earrings, and various deco food as decoration.  Don't worry, they're all fake.  Hopefully no one thought it was real.  
Upon entering the museum, they immediately offer you 3 different kinds of Dove chocolate.  It is to start your palette as you walk thru the doors.  Which any doors they do have, shaped like... you guessed it, chocolate.  (no, not ice cream, silly)
First room was the mirror room only took some personal photos.  But the second room is the Venice Cream room.  Today, we got Cookies n' Cream ice cream.
It's like a Pink Hollywood in here... the walk of fame stars, with familiar celebrity names changed to ice cream related theme.  Such as: Cone-nan O'Brien
Pink Palm Tree with ice cream stacked street signs.
Venice Cream sky.
The MOIC sign.
Next is the Banana Swing and the Banana Split room.  Haha, get it?  Banana Split.
In the Mint Room, they gave you a sample of mochi ice cream.  While majority of the display are fake, this is real mints.  As a matter of fact, the fertilizers are cocoa bean shells.
Mint Life!
Next was the Rainbow floor and Pink Retro phones (not pictured).  Then is the wall of whites, which has rows and rows of gummy bears.  Yep, that's what they are there....
All the whites help cleanse the palette for more colorful stuff.  It is the giant popsicles room.  We were lucky because the staff monitoring the room just dropped the rope so we can wander about.
Then, it's the Gummy Bear Party room.  It has dance music, disco ball, and of course Gummy Bear that are life size, and sample of gummy bear.  My kid loved this corner.
Then it' the cone wall.  It has ice cream cone all over the wall and ...
... on the statue's face.   Take that!  Well, actually, we got this weird combo of licorice, black cherry chocolate, and chocolate sixlet.  Per the recommendation of the staff, you eat them all together.  Personally, I'm not a fan of the licorice or the black cherry.  Amazingly, it's like a pop rock combo but chocolate in my mouth.  That was interesting.
Then, it's the famous Sprinkle Pool.  (love the neon!)
Even the wall decor to match.
Couldn't get a good shot of the pool itself with the diving platform, but here's what it looks like.  As my friend Julia was worried, if they are real sprinkles, because that'll be gross.  Totally agree, and luckily, they are not real, just plastic.  That said, if you dive in there, sit there, or anything there, they have a way to follow you.  For the next day, we would find little sprinkles in jacket pockets, or in my kid's underwear.  No telling on that.  But super fun!
At the very end, you get another sample of ice cream.  Even though that's pink, it's just vanilla.  The last room has a giant ice cream sandwich swing, a wall for you to take pictures on, and seating for enjoying your ice cream.
On your way out, as do all the exhibits, has a gift shop.  Alot of their stuff are over priced, a bottled water is $3.  But a lot of info of the artists that has their work displayed there.  On your way out, you have these wise words: "Museum of Ice Cream is a place where flavors are mysteries, toppings are toys and sprinkles make the world a better place."  I couldn't agree more.

I did some reading on the place prior to coming.  As a lot of folks said, this place would not have survived and extended dates had it not been for social media.  They felt that you call yourself a museum, yet there's no educational value.  To me, you basically have to treat it as a contemporary art exhibit for what it is.  Just so happened that they're all very super colorful and tied together with the ice cream theme and have samples along the way.  By no mean were they trying to teach you the history, the revolution, or the making of ice cream.  That said, the ticket price was $29 per person, and while it is pricy, it is not something you'll experience anywhere else.  To me, that's worth it.  The price my varies in different location, but children 3 and under do not need tickets.

If you arrived early, they had a playground in the next lot with Connect Fours, hula hoops, giant Jenga and other games to keep you busy.  It is located in the heart of the art district in the downtown area. I highly encourage valet for $6, it's good for 2 hours.  While you won't need 2 hours, but if you get there early, it's good to know and not have to stress about finding street parking, especially when we're not familiar with the area.

The Los Angeles location is sold out and will be closing, unless they decided to extend again.  Meanwhile, you can visit them in San Francisco and Miami.  If either of those locations aren't convenient for you, you can go to the Happy Place.  Similar pricing, similar concept, but different theme and very Instagrammable.

Museum of Ice Cream

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Since we just visited Knott's Berry Farm, feel this is only appropriate.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Black Bear Diner

We found a place called Black Bear Diner.
Apparently, they are all over the West Coast and the Northwest.  
Totally cutesy and themed, they have their own jukebox, and bears everywhere, on clothing, dolls, housewares that you can take home.
Oooh pies.  Did you see the little bear signs?  Too cute, right?
By the way, this is their kids' menu.  It's like a newspaper, but there are activities on the inside pages.
This is the grown up menus.
Food selection, I know you can't see exactly but it's cute.  Mainly because when you're looking for food of your choice, you look like you're reading a newspaper to the others.
Even the back page is cute, they got the retro adds for various items that you would want or need in the 1930s.  From reading the credits, they even did their research and pull stories of locals in the area and printed them here.  I wonder if other locations has other stories pertaining to that area.
Here comes the food, this is Corned Beef Hash.  It's huge, lots of food that help you store up for Winters for months.  It has 2 eggs, the Corned beef, the hash brown (light and toasted), toasts, and fruit.  I basically touched a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and that was it.  Couldn't possibly eat it all.  But for $10.99, this is a great value compares to IHOP that we had earlier in the week.

The entire place is kitch, even their hot sauce is Bear branded.  This is a full on diner, but nicer and not dingy.  The bar stools are all made out of wood chunks with carvings of bears or pun with bears in them.  It's super cute, food is good, that helps too.

Black Bear Diner
7005 Knott Ave
Buena Park, CA 90260

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Knott's Berry Farm - Chicken Dinner

Besides Boysenberries, Knott's is also known for their Chicken Dinner.
The story goes that the folks love Mrs. Knott's Chicken so much that they built rides around it while people wait in line and there came the park.  By the way, when they said Chicken Dinner Restaurant, they weren't kidding.  You will not find pork or beef, only chicken will be served.  Albeit in various format, but make no mistake, it's only cluckers here.
As mentioned before, they have Boysenberry everything.  That also includes Iced Tea.  Boysenberry Iced Tea tasted like super sweet tea.
With our dinner rolls, they give you a plate of Boysenberry, which is like a plate of cranberry equivalent.
Your choice of either shared dinner or individual dinner plates, both are for the price of $21.99, which includes a drink, chicken soup, and salad.  Of course... comes with fried chicken with 2 sides.  I chose the mashed potato, and cabbage with bacon.  Both are good, the mashed potato was exceptionally good.  The fried chicken isn't bad.  Mine were juicy and not dried, but my mom said that hers were dried.  Both pieces they gave you is sizable.
As if all of that isn't enough, or rather, if you could finished all the fore-mentioned food.  I'd hope you saved room for dessert, which is Mrs. Knott's Famous Boysenberry pie.  Amazingly, that was my least favorite during the entire meal.  The pie crust looked and tasted promising, hooray for lard and butter, but the cold Boysenberry filling wasn't doing the trick for me.

I remember when I came here when I was little, the line for the dinner is literally out the door, and people would wait.  The place has now expanded, renovated to be more updated with nice seating in the wait area.  This continues to be a crowd favorite, despite all the new eateries had sprung up in the area, ranging from fast food, to Indian food, to Korean food, to gimmick themed restaurants, this remains the tried and true to tradition and still draw crowds.  That said, reservation is encouraged, we happened to arrive early due to our time zone difference and got lucky where we can walk straight in and got seated thus beat the crowds.

Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner
8039 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90620