Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hidden hot spots in Laguna Beach

 Laguna Beach is my most favorite beach in OC because it is so beautiful and there are many cute shops and interesting cafes and restaurants . Also you can find unique art on almost every corner of each street.  Just walking around town is very fun to do!

Laguna Beach is located in the very south of the OC. It is about 1 hour driving from LAX.

There is a lot happening by the beach. First  I have to talk about the hottest art festival in Laguna Beach called "SAWDUST"  which just started yesterday (June 26, 2010) and goes until August 29, 2010 everyday 10am to 10pm. A one day pass is $7.75 but I recommend you buy a season pass for $15. 

The location of the festival is gorgeous! It is situated on a three-acre eucalyptus grove, complete with waterfalls, in Laguna Canyon.

They have very good taste in live music, 3 stages at the same time and different musicians day and night everyday.

Under the main stage is a mushroom store, it is super cute!!

You can make ceramic bowls with an instructor for free. This is a precious experience!

Many of unique arts and crafts that you see are for sale. All artists exhibiting in the festival are residents of Laguna Beach so you can find the truly local arts.

There are just a few food stands and I chose "Thasos Greek Island Grille". I was happy to eat fried calamari and listen to the live music.

Everything you can see here is amazing and the people are extremely nice. I am a big fan of this event.

935 Laguna Canyon Rd
Laguna Beach Ca 92651

Every time that I visit Laguna Beach, I dream about what it would be like if I could live here...however 1 hour driving is the perfect distance for a one day getaway from Los Angeles.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hidden hot spots in East Torrance

Torrance is the place where I usually am because there is every store I could possibly need (DSW, Loemann's, Free People, H&M and many Japanese markets) and a variety of great restaurants from all over the world. 

The city is very large (it's the 8th largest city in LA county) and has different faces so I would like to start with East side Torrance.

My favorite Cuban restaurant is in East Torrance, their name is "Tropi-Cuba Cafe and Bakery". This is a Cuban family owned restaurant and serves real Cuban food.  When you first walk in this place it will surprise you how unique the setting and mood is like a secret spot in Cuba.  

You will be "WOW!" when you try their food, it is seriously yummy!! My most favorite is "Seafood Soup"(Sopa de Mariscos) which has lobster, crab, shrimp and mussels with an amazing tomato based soup. 

This place is popular for Sunday brunch buffet and Tuesday night for Roasted Pig Buffet and Salsa music.

They also are a bakery, you can find meat pies, and many kinds of Cuban sweets.

The people who work here are very friendly and ready to answer all your questions about Cuban food.


"Tropi-Cuba Cafe and Bakery"
21730 Vermont Ave, Torrance CA 90502

In East Torrance, there is a very touristic spot  "Alpine Village" which is a German town. They are famous for Octoberfest and Sunday champagne brunch, but I commute here for a completely different reason.

My reason to go this place is... their meat! They have a great meat market and sell many kinds of ham, roast beef, sausages and import beers. My favorite things to buy are GENOA SALAMI and their MEAT SALAD (also their POTATO SALAD is yummy!) I always ask them when I order the salami "please cut it very thin" because German style is usually very thick.

833 W. Torrance Blvd, Torrance CA 90502

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hidden hot spots in Palmdale

June is the CHERRY season in California. I found a perfect, cute farm for cherry picking just to the north of Los Angeles. To get there from LAX take the 405 north to the 5 north to the 14 freeway. Continue north to the Palmdale Blvd exit and then go west for 6 miles and you will see the big sign of the farm "Villa del Sol" that is actually the largest U-pick sweet cherry farm in Southern California. It takes about 1.5 hours but is well worth it to experience this CHERRY JUNGLE.

At the farm entrance you get a red bucket and listen to their rules, however you don't need to pay anything to get in this farm. You only pay depending on how many cherries that you pick, which costs 3 dollars per pound.

As soon as you step into the farm you will see the cherry jungle! Cherries are everywhere and they all look red and ready. How do they taste?
They are soooo sweet!!

                                                                                      "Villa del Sol"
6989 Elizabeth Lake RoadLeona Valley, CA 93551

Cherry season won't be around forever so now is the chance to see this... hurry!!

After the cherry picking, if you want to have a picnic nearby, there is a really nice park called "Marie Kerr Park". To get the park from the farm, go back the main road and make a left at the first signal and then another left on 30th and you will see it on the right side.

In middle of June, I found this beautiful pink flowering tree in the park. I had never seen this flower before so researched to find out what kind of tree it was (I even called the parks and recreation of Palmdale) and finally learned that it is named a "Desert Willow" which is native to southwest US and northern Mexico.

"Marie Kerr Park"
 39700 30th St. W Palmdale, CA 93551