Its been a pretty slow year for me personally on yelp, but Joy’s put in her time and recently also became an elite. Tuesday was the first elite event that we were able to make this year mainly because of location or time but we finally made it to the Bad Hair Bash Elite Event. It was held at Gyenari in Culver City with a buffet line of their Korean food, free drinks, and lots of picture taking all over the place. I guess it was a cross promotion for the restaurant as it was trying to get us to spread the word about its $30 preset menu, but its only really for people too afraid to venture into K-town which most yelpers aren’t. We met some cool people as we watched the Lakers game on TV but we had to call it an early night since it was Tuesday after all.
Too bad summer is over, and by the time Joy and I go out for our evening run, its more like a midnight run. The 1.7 mile run from Manhattan Beach pier to Hermosa Beach pier is still a pretty nice route because when the sun goes down, the houses light up, and now the residents that live by the beach let everyone into the living rooms. Most of the houses open up their windows and turn on the lights and you get a peek on how they live. Lets just say they all live a pretty nice life with the amount of furniture and wine glasses most of these houses have. With my Monday night basketball back in full swing and the additional beach runs i feel my endurance coming back, and just in time too with winter coming up real fast and of course with the surprise return of the McRib!
I was really tempted to get one after basketball on Monday but held off to eat the home cooked food. Yesterday i didn’t have a chance to pack a lunch, i casually mentioned that i wanted to get a McRib, and Jonathan actually got excited and wanted one too. The rest of the office was pretty disgusted by the thought of it, so of course jonathan and i walked down the street to get the delicious pork nugget drenched in bbq sauce and its still good as ever.
The start of the NBA season starts tomorrow night and of course i have to do my annual NBA predictions. Big things happened over the summer which rocked the NBA landscape and with the upcoming possibility of a labor lockout this may be all the NBA you get for a while. Of course with LeBron, and Bosh deciding to join Wade in Miami all the news is about how good Miami is going to be and that they are the team to beat now. I am totally fascinated with seeing how they play, but from early reports with all the injuries that its literally the Cleveland show 2.0 with James with the ball and everyone supporting his offense. While they might have made the headlines, they are not the only teams that made moves to dethrone the Lakers. With Boston retooling, Utah picking up a legitimate center, and the up and comers Thunder, and Rockets gaining experience no team is going to have a cake walk to the championship.
2010-2011 NBA Predictions
Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant
Defensive Player of the Year: Joakim Noah
6th Man: Antawn Jamison
Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin (still considered a rookie)
Coach of the Year: Jerry Sloan
General Manager of the Year: Pat Riley
Western Conference Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
Eastern Conference Champions: Boston Celtics
NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron and Wade will both score at least 30 in a game, and lose.
Kobe will only play in 65 games.
Deron Williams will lead the league in assists.
Durant will repeat as scoring champ.
Kidd and Nash will have retirement rumors by the end of the year.
Clippers will have more wins than the Bucks.
Gilbert Arenas, Carmelo, and Richard Hamilton get traded mid-season.
Suns and Blazers don’t make the playoffs.
Miami gets beat in the second round of the playoffs against the Magic.
On another note, while looking for images to use, i stumbled upon the Heat’s Dancer web page and their team pictures look more like an ad for an escort service rather than a dance squad.
Saturday night Joy and I headed to North Hollywood to hang out with her cousin’s and somehow we got into a conversation about the Griddle Cafe, and make plans on going there on Sunday morning at 8am right when it opens. Its been a long time since we’ve woken up early on the weekend, but its not surprising it was to eat. Good thing we did get there when it opened because 15 minutes and the place had a line out the door. Joy’s has been mentioning about going back to the Griddle since we lived in Santa Monica for the French press coffee, but i haven’t been a fan of their huge pancakes so its taken this long to go back. For food we ordered the banana pancakes, red velvet pancakes, nutella french toast, and some chicago omelette with sausage and bacon.
While on the way to the restaurant we passed by a farmers market on Ivar and went after breakfast. Pretty typical farmers market produce but the gems are the food vendors. There was a specialty ice cream company Carmela that only sells at farmer’s market, and walked away with a container of salted caramel, but the lavender honey was tasty too. The other bonus was that there was a thai vendor selling kanom krok! It was awesome that it was served in a banana leaf and it was hot and crispy.
Another addition to he CoC Family is coming out next month. Curtis and Jocelyn are expecting their first child (boy) in November and I wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to make it to the baby shower but just did getting to it by the end of the party. I don’t think they missed me because there were a lot of people there and lots of activities going on. I don’t necessarily feel any pressure to have a kid yet, but i would prefer to have a kid at the same time that one of my friends does, but at this rate most of my friends are already onto their second child so i’ll have to wait till Roland catches up, which if according to our plan of having a trip to Thailand and Europe before having a kid might actually have a chance.
With the skies in a super gloom mode, Joy and I spent the morning cleaning the house, and rearranging furniture so that they place looked better. We noted somethings that we need to buy and headed out to Santa Monica to run some errands. After we did some shopping at 3rd St. and the best Bed Bath and Beyond we went to Helms Bakery in Culver City to check out furniture at Room and Board. We got a little hungry so we made a stop at Father’s Office for some burgers and beers. I noticed that they had some Allagash beers on the specials and thought why not continue the tasting. It was actually the first time i’ve been to FO and found seating right away. Its been awhile but serious still one of my favorite burgers and probably my favorite for burgers that cost over $10. That bacon/onion thing they put in there is like crack.
By the time we finished Jonathan, Janelle, and Chrissie showed up for some pre-drinking for a Scion artshow that was happening around the corner so they ordered two additional Allagash beers, the Curieux and the Victoria (sister of Victor) which is made with Chardonnay grapes which i really liked.
The company has been through a pretty rough stretch of headache clients and things are starting to wind down, so it was time to relax a little and have another company team building event. It so happened to be beer week so we booked a private tasting even with the makers of Allagash beers and food pairings at Tin Roof Bistro in MB. I’ve been pretty familiar with Allagash White which you can typically find in your local watering hole, but i had no idea that they had so many other brands of beer until that night. The menu had us sampling a total of 5 different beers ranging from White of course to others called Four (distilled four times), Black, Victor (which is made mixed with a Cabernet grape), Curieux, and a special bonus beer which i don’t remember the name anymore. They all had high alcohol contents between 8-11% meaning that it was some pretty strong stuff. Other than the White comes in 750ml bottles so i think its a nice thing to share if you’re out and about and they have it in the fridge.
The foods that were paired with them were nice but the dessert was delicious with the Curieux. We met a nice couple that happened to be seated between our group and thankfully they were comfortable with our antics at the table. I feel bad for people outside our office sometimes with what WORK considers normal behavior compared to the rest of the world.
Last Monday at work we launched the Curb Your Enthusiasm contest, and so relieved a lot of worries in my head with the project that wouldn’t die. The majority of the stress of the past two months finally started dissipating, it was time to get my life back in order. I got it started with a little Monday night basketball in Lomita at the Narbonne High School. It used to be another purely Japanese group, but opened it up to other people years back, although the majority of players are japanese and include what i suspect all girl tournament team, since 4 of them were wearing the same shirt.
I don’t remember how i used to play from 8-10 consistently because now it just feels so late. I did get in two games before i thought my heart would explode, and so it was a good warm up for weeks to come. At least with this one i don’t feel obligated to go every week, and can come and go as i please.
With the strange rain that came down it made it a good excuse to go to Hakata ramen for some noodles and beer. I went all out and ordered it with a strong soup base, lots of oil and al dente noodles. It was delicious and its so nice that we can actually walk to the restaurant from home. As much as i liked Santa Monica, there were seriously no places within walking distance of my apartment to get a good meal.
The new fall TV schedule left much to be desired, but i had to pick something to watch so I put Hawaii Five-O, Nikita, and Top Chef Just Desserts on the DVR. Hawaii Five-O is got me hooked, and its most likely not because of the story lines or acting, but do to what i call the Sex and the City / Entourage syndrome. Its more about checking about the places they shoot at, and seeing what part of the cities that I’ve been to. Its a pretty fun game to try to name the hotel they’re shooting at or even the which highway that they’re driving on. As for the cast, although i find the characters out of place in their roles it doesn’t bug me too much, and i like Scott Caan since watching him in the Ocean’s 11 series and he basically plays the same character, just on the other side of the law. As for the two Koreans i find them serviceable as the “Hawaiians” but i wish they could’ve added Taylor Wily into the regular cast a little more.
Don’t get me wrong, all the bikinis, and cameos of B-list actors that i see in other Hawaii shows is always great too. I do wish that they made the opening shots a little closer to the original, but its one of the few themes songs that i have no problem listening to each time it comes on. Compared to shows from today they actually made a great opening song, and didn’t skip out with just a single sound, like LOST.
On a whim I decided that i wanted to go to Universal Hollywood Halloween Haunt, even though i know Joy doesn’t prefer to going to these type of events. The park is open from 7pm, and when we got to the parking lot we were informed that the park is already sold out, and you if you didn’t already have a ticket you weren’t getting in. Good thing the online price was cheaper so we were good there, but we knew it was going to be a packed house even if it was only October 1.
The lines for security was already pretty deep, but thankfully it moved pretty quickly and were inside the park in no time. Upon entering there were screams in the distance and lots of chain saws being wielded by masked men, and guys sliding on the ground through the fog getting everyone. Joy was naturally pretty nervous walking through the darkness when the scariest moment happened with got deeper in the park. Joy realized she didn’t have her phone anymore. That was a true buzz kill, as we retraced our steps through the packs of people and i naturally thought it was a goner.
Joy was a Sad Panda.
We ended up at the Lost and Found with very little hope, but amazingly it was there! We think that she dropped it near the entrance where a lot of staff were so it was probably the only chance that she could’ve dropped it and actually recovered it.
For the rest of night we went on the Terror Tram which dropped you off at the Grinch, Psycho and War of the Worlds sets with plenty of monsters hiding behind walls and even in the bushes. By the time we got back to the park every line to every other maze was at least an hour long so we checked out the new King Kong 3D ride and one last maze with a short line on the way out of the park. It was a fun night despite the scare at the beginning, but i think i’m good for the rest of my life from going to another halloween haunt event again.
Tuesday was my birthday and I thank everyone that sent me a birthday message. It was an overindulgent couple of days and afterward with my sister coming down from SF to celebrate our birthdays together. It also was a good excuse to get together will all of our families for multiple eating opportunities.
We started the celebrations a few days early as my sister flew down while jesse was in NY for work. At the moment that Joy and I picked her up from the airport we were off to eat. We started off by getting to Paulette in Beverly Hills for some French Macarons, because i wanted to know how they compared to the ones she had earlier in the month at the originator of the stuff in France. After enjoying a few with some coffee we headed just a little east for our dinner reservations at AOC.
For dinner Ben and Tiffany, my culinary appreciative friends joined us for a meal of three cheeses, bacon wrapped dates, corn cakes, duck confit, and a couple bottles of wine. Its still one of my favorite “special” places to have dinner, and i always leave happy. For dessert we skipped the menu and went to MILK for some ice cream, and cookies, and nina even picked up some corn ice cream to eat later.
Sunday it was family time and for lunch we met up with my parents, uncle, aunt and cousins. Jonathan and Janelle also came by and there were a bunch of kids to go along with lots of food. Dinner we met up with Marie and Kenji in Tustin for sushi and lots of it. You can say we over ordered because we had more than a few pieces left over, but i did get to try uni for the first time. Although i think it tastes good, its has a similar texture to avocado which if yo know me isn’t my favorite.
Monday it was our family tradition of dinner at Lawry’s. It was a very delicious meal of course, and Joy’s parents got to enjoy the restaurant and it was the first time i’ve seen fish come out of the kitchen since they don’t eat beef. Lets just say i racked up plenty of bonus points and will be expecting my gift certificates coming in the up coming months.
For the finale of my actual birthday I ended up going to BJs at the Foxhills mall in Culver City with Jonathan and the family. I really was just planning on getting a salad and calling it a year, but Jonathan had a $100 gift certificate so we said why not. I even got a mini birthday pazooki with a candle on top to round it all out.
It was definitely€ a good time with friends and family and i actually still need to meet up with my orange county friends for more food.