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Getty Villas | Malibu

Getty Villa | Malibu

when lauren was in town, we took her to the getty villa on a gorgeous sunny day. i would highly recommend this if you love architecture. it’s beautiful. (i have a huge backlog of posts…but these were too awesome not to share)

Getty Villa | MalibuGetty Villa | MalibuGetty Villa | Malibu

our friends are classy. very classy.

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By |May 29th, 2014|Friends, Life, Photography|0 Comments

Camping | Leo Carrillo State Park

our camp trip… for cj’s birthday! glad you were born, brah.

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tents, costco package of hot dogs, beer, smores, lots and lots of firewood, amazing friends… equals an amazing weekend.

i love you guys.

By |April 6th, 2014|California, Friends, Life, Travel|1 Comment

Friendsgiving

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i cant believe it’s already mid-december already! thought i’d finally share a few photos from our friendsgiving this year! (i know, so delayed).  this is our 4th friendsgiving, which we co-host with a couple of friends. we get pretty excited for this and spend  weeks (lots of them) planning it.

we ended up going with gold glitter yellow/white pumpkins for our name cards! (thank you pinterest! we combined these two ideas:  here and here)  we used these pumpkins to determine the rest of the decor: flowers, table covers, etc.  beige, browns, golds was the base with bold flower combos.

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the pumpkins – we were obsessed with these little babies.

  • pumpkins – vons – $1 each
  • modge podge – $7 at michaels
  • gold glitter – $10 for a large bottle at michaels (martha stewart).  i didn’t know how much i needed so i went with the large bottle.
  • bow raffia – $4 for a large bag at michaels
  • small tags – 20 pack $2.5 at michaels
  • gold pen – set of 2 for $2.50 at michaels
  • painter’s tape – $5 at target

the flower boxes – we found rectangle boxes in downtown on the cheap and ended up using them for our centerpieces.  we stained them ourselves and then painted a gold strip for a pop.

  • box – $13 each in downtown flower market
  • wood stain tube – $13 at michaels.  i will note that this was extremely easy to use.
  • gold paint – $5 at michaels.

the table

  • beige table cloth – $9 on amazon (this is a crazy deal)
  • burlap runners – $4 each in downtown flower market
  • bag of pine cones – $5 in downtown

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anyway, friendsgiving has come a long way from the first one we had 4 years ago (costco chicken, stove top stuffing, and extremely garlicy mashed potatoes (inedible)). now it’s a way for jess and i to be creative once a year (sometimes we joke because it feels like we plan a wedding once a year) and work on our cooking skills. at this point, we are pretty good at the stuffing, brussel sprouts, cream corn, and pumpkin pie!

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happy sunday!

 

By |December 15th, 2013|Friends, Holidays, Photography|1 Comment

Vietnamese Food @ Quan Hy Restaurant | Westminster, CA

for those of you who don’t know, there is a little section of the oc called little saigon (pretty much garden grove and westminster).  there is a huge vietnamese-american population here.  obviously that means that most (90%) of my family lives here… so i came/still come to this area quite often.

one of my favorite places to eat in this area is quan hy restaurant. so when this restaurant and brodard chateau and brodard (non-fancy) opened up…everyone’s mind was blown.  (yes i speak for everyone in the community. hah!) the opening of these restaurants was a huge step for vietnamese cuisine in general.  there was only one “nice” vietnamese restaurant in la when i was growing up (crustacean in beverly hills but even that isnt traditional every day vietnamese food).

these two restaurants stood out from the rest of the hole-in-the-wall joints in this neighborhood:

  • great interior design:  open space with modern furniture. clean. beautiful.
  • one signature vietnamese dish

their popularity has spread all throughout the oc and into la.  these restaurants are featured on numerous magazines, food reviews, etc.  little saigon, in my opinion, has since then come a long way.  lots of new, modern restaurants are now opening up with the same business plan… and i love it.

anywho, enough of my personal awe of these two restaurants…onto the food!

quan hy is known for their banh beo (small steamed rice pancake).  it is white and usually is topped with shrimp, scallions, crispy fried shallots and served with fish sauce. basically. it’s amazeballs.

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we ordered the banh beo ($6) with shredded shrimp as one of our three appetizers (three people, three appetizers. aggressive).  again, this is their signature dish so i would highly recommend it!  comes in little dishes so it is great for sharing.  make sure you eat it with the fish sauce.  dont wimp out and neglect to add the fish sauce. it will be dry and pretty much not good.  fish sauce makes it great! (i can drink it. ew, i know)

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next appetizer:  goi mit ($10). jackfruit salad mixed with shrimp and pork and served with chips.  goi is another favorite.  what is goi?  think a hybrid of salad and coleslaw.  there are so many kinds of goi.  it can be made with cabbage, lotus roots, mango, etc.  i actually tried to make a simple one once (just once).  anywho.  this one is made with jackfruit.  i love everything about this salad.  so tasty. light.  crunchy. great salad for a hot day.

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third app: banh it ram ($7).  think potsticker stuffed with mushrooms, pork and shrimp…all of which lays on a crunchy rice cake.  the potsticker is thick…mochi texture.  the crunchy rice cake was a nice touch if you get sick of chewing the mochi blob on top.  this my mom’s favorite thing to eat btw.  oh, and you eat it with fish sauce.

main dishes:  my dad got the xoi ga quan hy ($10).  translation:  sweet sticky rice (in this case fried) with chicken…”quan hy” style.  you dip this is a soy sauce-like sauce (yeah, i dont know what’s really in it).  it is delicious.  i like the sweet sticky rice.  note that the chicken will have bones. dont expect white meat (this is not the place for that).  since this is fried sticky rice and fried chicken…it isnt going to be the lightest thing on the menu.  full disclosure:  i dont usually order this since i love noodles.  good thing my dad is an adventurous man and usually gets different dishes so that i can taste it and photograph it.  so supportive.

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my mom ordered:  mi quang ($8.50).  yellow noodles with shrimp, pork, veggies, and come chips.  surprisingly, this is a very night dish.  i love it.  noodles are fresh and its delicious! i think this actually has a tomato base.  so good.

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so i get bun cha gio thit nuong ($9).  translation:  grilled pork and crab shrimp egg rolls served over rice vermicelli noodles and lots of veggies. this is another light dish to order on a hot day.

why do i like it?  (i) the grilled pork here is great (marinated with lemongrass).  (ii) egg rolls are traditional and uber tasty.  but make sure you eat it right away since it will get soggy if it just sits there.  (iii) i love the veggies.  bean sprouts, cucumbers, daikon and carrots, mint, lettuce, etc.

also, please (i) do not eat this dry and (ii) mix your bowl up.  you must add the fish sauce (do you see the trend in vietnamese cuisine?  fish sauce is a must).  i actually ask for extra fish sauce since i like it to be on the soupy side.

Quan Hy

  • parking:  plenty.  this is in a plaza so there is ample free parking.
  • service:  quiet but quick.  remember that you have to go to the counter in order to pay.
  • ambience:  koi fish, bamboo, deep dark wood accents, and lots of vietnamese touches.  i love the decor.  the restaurant is clean and well ventilated.
  • overall:  the prices here at quan hy are extremely reasonably for the amount of food you get and the upscale yet casual surrounding you get to enjoy. love the food here.  if you are unsure what to get, go for the sig dishes, you cant go wrong.

Quan Hy Restaurant
9727 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683
Category: Vietnamese Food

Quan Hy on Urbanspoon

By |August 25th, 2013|Family, Food, Photography, Restaurants|6 Comments

A.O.C. | Mid-City West, Los Angeles

we love when stella visits la (which is actually pretty often since she’s a norcaler who secretly loves socal) because it means we get to eat 6x a day.  we always try to do something “active” when she is here…but we fail every time. every time!

we decided to grab brunch at a.o.c. (it has been on our list for awhile now).  what we got:

  • duck confit hash w/ wild mushrooms & poached eggs ($17) – dish that stood out the most.
  • spanish fried chicken & cornmeal waffle w/ jamon butter & maple syrup ($16)
  • meyer lemon french toast with pistachios, strawberries and candied meyer lemon ($15)
  • roast turkey, mozzarella, green harissa, avocado focaccia sandwich ($14)
  • two eggs w/ bacon, fried potatoes & toast ($12)
  • pork belly, peaches, ricotta salata focaccia sandwich ($15)

note that brunch is served until 3pm.

AOC Los Angeles

the duck hash was yummy.  duck was moist.  the eggs didnt overpower the dish.  i really like this dish.

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i got the fried chicken and waffles (cornmeal waffles) based on the recommendation of our waiter.  i asked for the syrup and butter on the side since i’m more of savory kinda gal and i didnt know how much i would love drenched waffles.  (if i had my way, i would eat waffles with just butter…and if i was feeling a little cray, some lightly sweeten whipped cream).  anywho. fried chicken was delicious!  the chicken was very moist inside and had a good crunch on the outside.

when you eat the chicken with the cornmeal waffle, you really do need the syrup.  it needs the sweet kick.  (my bad).  ok, so i wasnt a huge fan of the cornmeal waffle.  its a strong texture and pretty overpowering.  i put some butter on the waffle but couldnt taste it.  kyle really liked it though.  best fried chicken and waffles?  no.  (my favorite fried chicken and waffles) decent?  yes. get this dish if you are a fan of cornmeal.  this was the heaviest of all the dishes we got.

AOC Los Angeles

the turkey focaccia was refreshing and pretty healthy.  stella got this sandwich since she had a big eating fest the day before.  if you are looking for something light, get this one.

kyle got the pork belly focaccia w/ peaches.  the peaches are different but a good different.    note that this sandwich is on the sweet side so some people may not like this. we were fans.

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onto the drinks!!  this place has a pretty bar… actually the decor of this place is wonderful.  lots of natural light.  hopefully you get to sit in their patio area…beautiful.  white walls with dark wood and arch accents.  you will love this place.

getting a res at noon on a sunday was hard.  good thing they take walk-ins for their communal table.  only con about the communal table is that it is a high table with stools (no back support).

AOC Los Angeles

mimosa with peaches…do it.  it is bomb.  beer selection was good.  obviously they also have a lot of wine selections since this is also known as a wine bar.  shout out to our waiter christiaan who is also the mixologist here.  thanks for the recs!

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  • service:  aoc has great service.  friendly and fast. 
  • parking: valet ($6) pretty pricey if you ask me. if you are lucky, you will find street parking (metered but free on sunday)
  • ambience:  clean. beautiful accents.  light and laid back.  loved coming here on a sunday.
  • overall: aoc is an amazingly cute place.  brunch was good… drinks were great.  brunch here is on the little on the expensive side but if you compare it to other brunch places, it’s pretty market.  for the two of us, our total was $65 (including tax and tip).  we didnt mind though. good food, great company.  we cant wait to come here for dinner!

AOC Los Angeles

AOC

8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Neighborhood: Mid-City West

A.O.C. on Urbanspoon

By |August 21st, 2013|Food, Friends, Photography, Restaurants|6 Comments
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