Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hidden hot spots in Carlsbad

I don't mind a long drive on freeway if there is no traffic. That's why I love to go down south to Orange County or San Diego. I especially enjoy the 405 to 5 going south from Los Angeles because of the beautiful views and interesting cities.

Carlsbad is in North County in San Diego. It is about an hour and a half drive from LAX. Even though it seems to be a little far from LA, there are some pretty good reasons to go there.

My biggest reason to go to Carlsbad is the outlet mall!! I enjoy the Carlsbad Premium Outlet more than other LA area outlet malls because of the simple yet sophisticated feel. Also some of my favorite brands like "Juicy Couture" and "Lucky Brand" are next by each other. How convenient is that!

"Carlsbad Premium Outlet"
5620 Paseo del Norte
Carlsbad, CA 92008

After shopping you will probably get hungry.
I strongly recommend that you stop by Carlsbad downtown to get some tasty food. From the outlet, you just need to take the 5 north for 3 minutes and exit Carlsbad Village Dr. Go west for 1 minute and you are already there.

Carlsbad Downtown is a charming retro surf town. You will see Spanish style historical buildings and surf stores everywhere by the beach.

On the corner of PCH and Carlsbad Village Dr, there is a place called Carlsbad Village. This Village has many great restaurants, organic cafes, gift shops and art galleries.

My favorite restaurant in the village is "Sushi Taisho". This is where the local surfers like to get together to eat good sushi and drink some Japanese beer and sake.

"Sushi Taisho"
300 Carlsbad Village Dr #214
Carlsbad, CA 92008

In the Village there is a really hot cafe named "Vinaka Cafe". This place totally feels like you are by the beach even without seeing the ocean. They have good organic coffee with a good price. Also you can check out some locals art work on the wall.

"Vinaka Cafe"
300 Carlsbad Village Dr #211
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Carlsbad is famous for flower farms. You will also see various wild flowers by the 405 freeway from OC to Carlsbad. It is a very gorgeous view from February to April and you can really feel the California spring.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hidden hot spots in Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach has way too many hot spots to name them all in this blog. I would like to start with some of the hot spots on Redondo Beach Pier.

Redondo Beach Pier is a seafood paradise! There are many famous seafood restaurants to try. If you are a seafood lover I strongly recommend the pier because of all the different styles, such as Korean, Chinese, Cajun, Mexican, Japanese and California fusion.

First, I would like to introduce you to the newest restaurant "Maison Riz". This is a French-Japanse restaurant. Do you know what French-Japanese food is? I assumed some Japanese chefs are cooking French food or it should be French food for Japanese people!? Anyhow I had to try it because I had a great experience at a Japanese-French restaurant in Pasadena named "Maison Akira" (

Maison Riz is a large restaurant with a classic feel. You can see the ocean and hear the waves anywhere you sit. This is a perfect place for dating or special occasions.

Their art was very unique, I've never seen something like this before. I guess it is called French-Japanese art!?

Their baguette is made with Tofu. It is an interesting combination but the taste was great and I felt a little healthy.

Their signature shrimp cocktail was unusual but I loved it. The cocktail sauce was not red, it was BLACK. It was a mixture of seaweed and wasabi.

112 fisherman's wharf
Redondo Beach, CA

My most favorite restaurant on the pier is "Oriental Breeze" (207 fishermans wharf,310-379-6511) which is a cozy Japanese restaurant. I love their comfortable sofas, yummy sushi and selection of Japanese shochu. This Japanese restaurant also owns an ice cream stand on the pier. You must try their Macha-soft! You won't forget it for a long time.

"Tony's on the pier" is where I like to have a drink when the sun goes down. The first floor is a restaurant and the second floor is a bar. The view from the bar after dark is especially gorgeous! You will feel like you are on a boat in the ocean (but you don't get sea sick).

I took my mom and her friend here a few years ago and they are still talking about how amazing the view was at Tony's.

"Tony's on the pier"
210 Fishermans Wharf
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

At the Redondo Beach Pier you can see many kind of animals. The last time I visited I saw a couple of dolphins jumping in the ocean, a baby seal taking a nap on the sand, colorful fish in the water and friendly birds flying everywhere.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hidden hot spots in San Gabriel

Los Angeles has many historical spots. I like new things but also love to spend my time at a beautiful historical place. I came to San Gabriel for the first time a few years ago was amazed how fantastic the city was! San Gabriel is one of the oldest cities in California and there is so much historical architecture. I will show you some of my favorite spots in San Gabriel.

The most romantic spot in San Gabriel is Grapevine Park. This is the former site of a winery and museum. The Vineyard is free for anyone to visit,but it is very popular for weddings so please make sure there are no events before you visit. The Grapevine still has one real vine from hundreds of years ago, and you can see it full of grapes in September.

"Grapevine Park"
324 South Mission Drive
San Gabriel 91776.
(626) 308-2875

"San Gabriel Mission Playhouse"
320 S mission Dr, San Gabriel

You can walk around the mission in San Gabriel. There is plenty of free street parking and it is never too busy around the area.

Near the mission, there are boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and cute parks, however it is still a pretty quiet area. It is a perfect place for people who want to relax and enjoy a beautiful atmosphere.

"San Gabriel Mission"
416 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel 91776

Have you ever tried to eat Dim Sum, a traditional Hong Kong lunch? You can find the hottest Dim-sum restaurant in San Gabriel. First, you will be surprised how huge the restaurant is and how many waiters are walking around with carts full of Dim-Sum waiting to serve you. Second, you will be amazed how delicious the food is, so many choices at prices that make you want to try them all. Dim-sum, is perfect for Chinese food beginners because you can see and choose what you want to eat and pick up as much as you would like.

(626) 288-1

"New Capital Seafood"
140 W Valley Blvd, 4th floor
San Gabriel CA 91776

San Gabriel is less than half an hour away from Los Angeles downtown. From the city you can take the 10 freeway east. Take the New ave exit and go north for about 5 minutes. It is easy to find and you will experience a totally different world!