• Friends,  Los Angeles Local,  Restaurants

    Reliving Paris – Papilles

    Last weekend I re-watached the 100th episode of No Reservation where Tony Bourdain along with Eric Ripert goes on a tour of the new Paris food scene. It made me really miss our time there last year, so I immediately hopped on to yelp to find a restaurant that has the same sensibility. I stumbled upon Papilles in Hollywood which serves a prix fixe menu that changes every other week and thought it would be perfect.

    papilles-wineI invited the Manichans to join us on Saturday night and we enjoyed a fun evening of stuffing our face with some really good bread, a little wine, and of course our food. Both couples got one of each dish, with Tiffany getting the vegetarian option. My favorite dishes were both of the opening dishes where the octopus was one of the best octopus dishes i’ve ever had (i haven’t that many), and the risotto was very comforting. The mains were good, but not as good as the first course, and for dessert I couldn’t believe that I liked the blue cheese paired with the honey the best. I really enjoyed our dinner here, and will definitely add it to our rotation.

    http://www.papillesla.com/

    Papilles
    6221 Franklin Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
    Neighborhood: Hollywood

    3 courses, $41. Menu subject to change. Vegetarian option available upon request.

  • Family

    Happy Sixty-Ninth Birthday

    1000930_10151747476351492_463895857_nToday is my dad’s 69th birthday and this weekend he celebrated with all his friends. At this point I think he has more friends than i do, and they all showed up to wish him a happy birthday. I got to partake in all the tasty Thai food, a slice of a Porto’s cake, and finally got to witness the parents rocking out to their karaoke.

    thai-food

  • Fantasy Sports

    Fantasy Football 2013

    My favorite time of the year for Football is back again, and its getting even more stressful than ever. I’m in a total of four different leagues once again, and the first draft of the season was for my long time, high school friends,  All VETO n NO TRADE league. Its our 9th year together and while i might have won the 1st year of the league, I haven’t been able to repeat that success since.

    12 team league, 6pts for passing TD, and 1/3 point per reception $300 auction draft

    stevan-ridley

    This year i put in a lot of time putting together my draft sheet, and a basic strategy for how much i wanted to spend per position. My normal strategy is getting an elite QB, and two strong RBs. This year I adapted my strategy to include focusing on at least one top 10 WRs.

    lesean-mccoy

    Once the draft got started I had to adapt my initial budgets to accommodate for the money flying off the board for all the super elite talent. After five RBs, five QBs, two WRs, and Jimmy Graham went for 10-20% more than expected i picked up Stevan Ridley for less than i was willing to pay, and went back to back with LeSean McCoy who i used the extra money i saved from the Ridley draft pick to go up a few extra dollars. I’m really hoping that New England leans on Ridley now with their receiving core gone, and Chip Kelly’s high octane offense to get McCoy into the end zone more regularly than Andy Reid’s offense.

    larry-fitzgerald

    For my elite wide receiver  I picked up Larry Fitzgerald on a discount as well,  and i’m hoping that Carson Palmer will do a WR good, and bring him back to being a top 3 WR after having to deal with the likes of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.

    rg3

    The hardest position that i had to deal with was my quarterback. I did my best to grab Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, others but everyone else wanted them just a little bit more. The QBs were starting to get thin and as I started putting in my bids for RGIII, I realized that the commish (who already drafted Drew Brees for 30% of his budget) was bidding me up. I thought it was worth it to drop an extra QB onto his roster just to get a laugh, and to basically eliminate him from getting anything more than a $1 player.

    russell-wilsonWith Russell Wilson the last top 12 QBs left i got into a little bidding war with last year’s league winner. I’m hoping that the trend that Wilson had towards the end of last year continues on for the entire season which would put him towards the very top of the scoring leaders.

    hakeem-nicks

    I eventually got him for 12% (where i earmarked 25%) of my budget which allowed me to have some money left over to play with to fill out the rest of my roster. I grabbed a bunch of tier 2/3 WRs who are their team’s primary receiver and grabbed another starting RB in Daryl Richardson. Three hours later, I’m really hoping this team sets me up for a championship run in December.

    • 1. (17) Stevan Ridley (NE – RB) $57
    • 2. (18) LeSean McCoy (Phi – RB) $87
    • 3. (43) Larry Fitzgerald (Ari – WR) $49
    • 4. (55) Russell Wilson (Sea – QB) $36
    • 5. (67) Mike Wallace (Mia – WR) $17
    • 6. (74) Hakeem Nicks (NYG – WR) $13
    • 7. (75) Cecil Shorts (Jac – WR) $5
    • 8. (81) Antonio Brown (Pit – WR) $11
    • 9. (110) Blair Walsh (Min – K) $2
    • 10. (113) Daryl Richardson (StL – RB) $6
    • 11. (115) Fred Jackson (Buf – RB) $5
    • 12. (129) Vincent Brown (SD – WR) $3
    • 13. (141) Michael Vick (Phi – QB) $1
    • 14. (153) NaVorro Bowman (SF – LB) $1
    • 15. (156) Richard Sherman (Sea – CB) $2
    • 16. (164) Brandon Pettigrew (Det – TE) $1
    • 17. (175) Sean Lee (Dal – LB) $1
  • Family,  Travels

    Maternity Photos

    The morning before Joy and I got back on a plane from Portland to Long Beach I booked a photographer to take some maternity photos for us. Originally I thought I would just do them, but after thinking about it I figured it was probably best that somebody else take care of it, and went with Colleen Sparks. It also helped that the she’s also was Aziz’s neighbor.

    It was beneficial since she was able to pick us up and bring us to Cathedral Park which sits underneath St. John’s Bridge which gives plenty of things to take pictures by. We spent about an hour shooting around the parks in various places and I think they came out pretty well.

  • Annual COC Golf Tournament,  Golf

    9th Annual COC Golf Tournament

    There was much discussion this year about the 9th Annual COC Golf Tournament because i was spearheading the campaign to move it away from Palm Springs to the more temperate climate of San Diego. There was a moment where Brock made a convincing movement back to the desert but I decided that I can’t do the heat and i was happy we did head south. It was especially good since there were fires burning up the hills of Banning which would have made the air even worse.

    Hilton-Gas-Lamp-District

    Friday the other guys took off around noon, while i had to finish up work before heading out to San Diego after traffic died down. Of course they had to send me a photo telling me to hurry up. Once i arrived at the Hilton Gas Lamp District I had to play catch up before heading to the Gas Lamp District to do some bar hopping. It was a blur, and I don’t remember half of what we did, which leads to me not waking up in the best moods to play golf.

    The-Crossings-at-Carlsbad-Sand

    Saturday morning we heading to Carlsbad to the The Crossings at Carlsbad which is right next to Legoland and right under an airport. The day actually started off decent for me but once my hangover started to wear off I started to really go off the rails. The back nine plays much tighter than the front nine and all the nature preserve made the course play like a links course. The sand kept swallowing balls for everyone, and at the end of day 1 Brock led with a 99, Roland with a 103, me with a 106, and 107 for Brian.

    San-Diego-Gas-Lamp

    Saturday night Roland and I had to pay up for our secondary bet for dinner since our combined score was higher than the other two. We ate dinner at Gang Kitchen for some Chinese food which was surprisingly decent. After we got in to Prohibition which is SD’s “speakeasy” which was nice because they controlled how busy it was inside and had a live band playing.  The rest of the night i kept it easy on the drinking and made it home before 1am.

    Talega-Golf-Club-8th

    Sunday morning we checked out and drove back north up to San Clemente to Talega Golf Club for our final round. Being 7 shots back i just wanted to play in control, keep my nerves down and hope that Brock just starts to fall apart. Considering that he specifically got to bed at 4am i liked my chances. I slowly just played bogey golf, and went back to back with a few pars before the turn and ended up only 1 shot back. The back 9 didn’t start off so well and gave back a few strokes but luckily didn’t lose as many balls as the other guys.

    Talega-Golf-Club-14th

    On the 18th hole i sat 1 shot back from Brock with a Par 4, water surrounding the green. I nailed my drive down the middle but ended up on a down slope with 130 yards to the green. Brock hit an iron but ended up with a side lie next to a bunker, which he promptly hit his ball into the water. I then hit my approach the right distance but started to draw right into the water. We then both dropped and i hit onto the green as fast as i could before i could think about it, when then made Brock loose another ball into the water before knocking it closer to the hole than me . Too bad i ended up three putting from the back of the green, which Brock thinking that he won. Sadly i had to inform him that we were now tied. We took the Championship to the putting green, where i ended up missing a short putt giving Brock his first Victory. Needless to say he was quite happy.

    Talega-Golf-Club

  • Travels

    Portland Food Scene

    We had lots of places on our list before heading up to Portland, but were only able to visit a couple due to being too full to eat, or too far to get to without a car at the moment. We initially thought of going to Pok Pok, but just couldn’t convince ourselves to spending a lot of money on Thai food. This is my list of my favorite places that we got to eat at.

    Breakfast

    Nuvrei Patisserie & Café

    Nuvrei-bacon-cheddar-biscuit

    Joy’s favorite place for breakfast each morning was at Nuvrei in the Pearl District. I really like their Bacon & Cheddar Biscuit sandwich with eggs, and bacon, and should’ve gotten another one both days. Their plain croissants were also very flakey, and the almond croissants were full of flavor.

    Blue Star Donut

    blueberry-bourbon-basil

    We started off with 4 donuts, and after eating two, we had to get four more when we saw that they brought out even more types of donuts. I realy liked the Blueberry, Bourbon & Basil donut, and the Passionfruit, Cocoa nib donut. They’ve got their own version of a maple bacon donut which i appreciate that it was bits of bacon vs. a strip of bacon on top of the donut.

    Lunch

    Nong’s Khao Man Gai

    nongs-khao-man-gai

    The very tasty Thai style Chicken and Rice served with some soup. Its a bit difficult to eat while standing up so you have to make sure you have a place to sit down and eat.

    The People’s Pig

    the-peoples-pig-porchetta-sandwich

    You can never go wrong with some porky action, and The People’s Pig does the Porchetta right. Its really flavorful that sits in between  arugula and a bread that holds up well to the juices that comes out of the pork.

    Dinner

    Andina

    andina-ceviche

    Andina is a Peruivan restaurant that came recommended by a friend and is highly rated on TripAdvisor so I made rsvp on Open Table for a Sunday night dinner. The place was packed and we actually got seated at a poor place because it was close to the entrance, and the kitchen ventilation needs some work. The food for the most part was delicious, particularly the shrimp and mango ceviche, scallop with fried onions, and the stuffed piquillos peppers. Probably wouldn’t get the lomo saltado as it was good, but didn’t necessarily much different from the versions i get close to home.

    Park Kitchen

    park-kitchen-fried-green-beans

    Park Kitchen was a restaurant that i wanted to try since it seemed to have a more unique menu, but sadly it just couldn’t pull it together in my opinion. The best dish we had was the fried green beans, with bits of fried bacon mixed in.

    Good Taste Noodle House

    Good-Taste-Noodle-House

    Saturday night i left dinner plans open, and had some thoughts of going to Apizza Scholls or Tasty N Sons but ended up getting some of our comfort food, of wonton soup, and pan fried noodles in Chinatown. Not quite located at the best area, and has a pretty sad looking store, but at least the food was tasty enough.

    Dessert

    Cool Moon Ice Cream Co.

    cool-moon-ice-cream-flavors

    Cool Moon was the first ice cream shop we found in Portland while wandering around the Pearl District, and left the most impressionable flavor to our memories. We got a Lemon Lavender flavor which i don’t know because of just eating lunch was very refreshing. It also seemed to be the most down home place that we visited.

    Salt & Straw

    salt-&-straw

    Salt & Straw was another recommendation from multiple friends and looks like everyone has friends because the line was out the door and around the corner. Salt & Straw goes a little farther with their flavors and here i tried out their beer flavored ice cream, getting a half scoop of Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout and Hopped Farmhouse Ale in a fresh waffle cone. Both were really good.

    Ruby Jewel

    ruby-jewel-ice-cream-sandwich

    Ruby Jewel was probably the least memorable ice cream we had. It happen to be National Ice Cream Sandwich day, so they were offering up ice cream sandwiches for half off. I got a strawberry ice cream between some lemon cookie, but nothing wrong with it,  i just didn’t want to finish it.

    Pine State Biscuits

    pine-state-biscuits-fruits

    I really wanted to try more biscuits, but most of places were beyond walking distance or took too long via public transportation. We made it out to the Alberta area of Portland our final night out there, and even though i was full from dinner i wanted to try a biscuit at Pine State Biscuits, and they had a Fruit and Whip version which i thought could be a good dessert, but sadly not. I really should’ve just gotten it with jam, or honey. Next time for sure i’ll make it out for breakfast, so i can get some gravy.

    Drinks

    Departure Restaurant + Lounge

    departure-beer

    We decided against going to a traditional bar so that i could try some local brews and went to the Departure which is at the top of the Nines Hotel. They’ve got a relatively peaceful patio compared to the loud bar inside, and the views are pretty amazing from the bridges and rivers on the east to the hills to the west.

    Rogue Ales Public House

    rogue-Shakespeare-Oatmeal-StoutWe got to the airport a little early so i had time to grab one last Portland beer before heading back to California.  I wanted a Guiness type beer and got a Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout which was very good. The food didn’t look that appetizing so i was find sticking to my beer.

     

  • Travels

    Portland Adjacent

    subaru-rental

    Sunday morning we woke up early and walked over to Dollar Rent a Car to pick up our rental. We saw all the Subaru Outbacks on the lot and thought it would be a good idea to try one out since we’re thinking of getting one for our next car. (It was a very fun car, but obviously not as fancy as our Acura)

    multnomah-falls-bottom

    Our first plan for the day was to head 30 minutes east to Multnomah Falls. We got a handy guide from our rental office that there are actually many more falls than just Multnomah and you can take various trails to see them all. We couldn’t the 6-8 mile hikes so we stuck to the 1 mile hike up to the top of Multnomah Falls.

    multnomah-falls-topFrom the parking lot you can see the base of the waterfall, and we figured a one mile hike wouldn’t be too bad. We quickly realized that the incline was much steeper than expected. Joy saw another pregnant woman coming down, so she figured that she could finish it too. It took about an hour to get up to the top with frequent rest stops, but it was worth it once you get to see the view.  You can see the perspective by the bridge in both pictures.

    aziz-house

    The bigger plan for the day was to meet up with my old college buddy Aziz who moved up to Portland three years ago. I’ve knew once he moved up there that i would go visit him, it just took three years, and a child for him to finally get me up there. I finally met his son Jordan, and got to check out his house and garden too.

    leavyhopsfarm

    When I told Aziz when i was coming up, he invited me to his Courthouse’s summer BBQ at a former judge’s Hops Farm out in the countryside. It was a really nice event with lots of food, beer/wine, music, and horses. It was a great place just to hang out and catch up after all these years.

    me-aziz

    jordan-cornhole

  • Travels

    PDX, Rose City, Stumptown, Bridgetown

    Portland is known by many names and all have a distinct reasoning behind them, which makes Portland a mixture of different social groups. This creates a very unique town which has a mix of San Francisco, New York, and maybe even a little Paris. There’s even a term that people used “Keep Portland Weird” which is attributed to its intense following of bicycles, craft beers, recycling, and food carts.

    nongs-khao-man-gai

    The first two days in Portland Joy and I kept close to the city center and explored where ever the TriMet would take us. We started off of course by grabbing some lunch at the various food carts setup near our hotel (Westin). We found the incresingly famous Nong’s Khao Man Gai cart which sells what else, Thai Chicken and Rice served in wax paper just like in Thailand. It was a really good version of the dish and a great start to our trip after our flight fiasco (we also got some thick skinned dumplings from the Dump Truck which were meh) . We even got it again the afternoon before our flight back home. Saturday we got a porchetta sandwich of The People’s Pig food cart which was delicious and a good Lamb Gyro from Aybla Grill.

    international-rose-test-garden-portland

    Saturday morning we took a bus to the base of Arlington Heights and walked the rest of the way up to the International Rose Test Garden, which has a huge varietal of types of roses, with so many colors that i didn’t know they could come in.

    portland-saturday-market

    We also stopped by the Portland Saturday Market which is your typical crafts fair type of event with lots of portland-centric t-shirts, holistic body treatments, and other hippy artwork for sale. I thought they would have more interesting things, but didn’t find one thing worth buying. Although there was one weird live puppet performance piece if you can’t tell whats happening in the picture above.

    voodoo-doughnutsAround the Saturday Market we bumped into the 45 minute line for Voodoo Doughnuts, and we always said we would come back, but we never did. I don’t think their presentation does it any justice if they are any good, because their donuts and shop just looks like a hot mess (especially compared to Blue Star Donut which we did try).

    powells-booksOne of the more unique attraction that the city center has is Powell’s Books which is a book store that takes up an entire city block with multiple floors and every book imaginable. I could spend hours there just looking for rare and odd books. After a day and of half in the city center we got through the Pearl District, 23rd St. and the various surrounding areas and knew we had to rent a car for Sunday.

  • Travels

    Portland Babymoon

    For our last hurrah before the kid pops out, I decided to take Joy out to Portland since its pretty close, they’ve a good food scene, and its got a nice relaxed vibe to the place. I went there some eight or nine years ago and found the place quite relaxing so it was a good place to just take it easy and spend sometime with each other before all hell breaks loose.

    I bought some really cheap tickets on Jetblue a few months ago, but when we got to the Long Beach Airport we found out that i accidentally booked the opposite trip, meaning i booked a weekend in LA instead of PDX. It was really early in the morning so the staff was able to help us out without having us have to buy full priced tickets to make our trip.

    It was a four fun filled days with lots of food and even some time with an old friend. We got to try out some famous spots, travelled to see some waterfalls and even got to enjoy a summer bbq out at a hops farm. I’ll explain in detail as i go through a couple hundred photos.

  • Movies

    The Wolverine

    The Wolverine is the last of the summer super hero blockbuster movies. Visually this movie was very well done, but the story line was a bit lacking in my opinion. I can imagine that it would be difficult to follow if you haven’t watched a plethora of different movies considering that The Wolverine is not a sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), but a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).

     

    Spoilers from here on out

     

    What did i like?

    Wolverine_yukioI liked the actress/model that they casted to play Yukio (). She was actually able to stand on her own acting/fighting next to Hugh Jackman.

    What didn’t i like?

    Wolverine-ViperAs much as i liked Yukio, i didn’t care for the Viper character (). She felt dry, and didn’t seem to impart any character into the character. The outfit that she wore at the end of the movie really didn’t make sense for me either, and as much as i like my share of cleavage, it actually took away from the scene.

    thewolverine-silver-samurai
    Just like in Iron Man 3, I think they did a disservice by re-imagining the Silver Samurai they way they did. They basically took away everything that originally made the character special and turned into cgi character added to be killed too quickly.