Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the arclight

N and I watched the 12:01am showing of Shutter Island last Friday (Thursday night of its opening weekend). I had been looking forward to that movie for many, many months. The first time I saw its trailer in theaters in NYC last fall, I thought to myself--ohmygod, we're going to be living in LA when this movie comes out, which means I'll be watching it there! And watch it I did.

And I didn't *just* watch it; I watched it at the Arclight, a truly awesome moviegoing experience. Tickets cost extra since each of its theaters has huge high quality screens and awesome seating (not a bad seat in the house--even the very first row is great). And it's assigned seating! Meaning you can pick the exact chair you want to sit in so you don't have to get to the theater 2 hours beforehand on opening weekend to get a good seat. Or if you're someone like me who thinks that seats are so important that I'd rather not watch the movie at all if it's in a bad seat. For Shutter Island we were in row Y, seats 15 and 16:

Arclight elevates the whole movie going experience to a a real theater going experience. And since we live on Sunset Blvd, we're actually only a few blocks away from the theater so we walked there and back. Very un-LA-like, but much more fun in the end. Oh--and the movie rocked.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

cable in california sucks/netflix is awesome

This whole Pacific coast time thing has major drawbacks. First of all, according to some of the country, I'm getting up three hours later than I think I am. Second of all, TV runs on Eastern time! Network TV adjusts for the time change, but cable doesn't. Which means that infomercials and other crap start running at 1am here. 1am! That's like--barely nighttime! That would be like infomercials starting right after the late show on the east coast. Ridiculous. It really makes cable much more useless to me.

Another thing that makes cable much more useless is my PS3 and our new Netflix account. Now that we can stream unlimited material online onto our TV for $11/month, I'm watching less and less cable. I caught up on The Office and am making my way through all of South Park. Netflix streaming is a.w.e.s.o.m.e. We're semi-considering canceling cable at this point.

We extended our lease another 6 months, which means we're going to be in our apartment for a year. We think we have a pretty good deal, and we really like our location in Hollywood, which is surprising to me. Still looking for that job, though...

Monday, February 15, 2010


Whenever N offers to cook me dinner for a special occasion (such as vday yesterday), I always request steak. I love me some bloody steak. Especially ribeye steak. N is the best ribeye steak cook-er in the world. He has the whole thing down to an art (a couple of you have tried his stuff first-hand...YOU know.). Here's the visual proof:

Look at that dark crispy sear! The perfect doneness on all sides! The juiciness! I went into meat pleasure overload.

Oh...and a twice-baked fully loaded potato and roasted parmesan broccoli on the side.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

silverlake dog park

We brought Stewie to his first LA dog park yesterday. The Silverlake dog park has two separate fenced areas--one for large dogs and one for small dogs. Both have water fountains and watering bowls for the pups, and chairs and benches and overhangs for shade for owners. We went on a Saturday afternoon so I expected the place to be packed, but it was actually manageable! That was the first weird (as in, different from NYC) thing I noticed about this dog park. But the weirdest thing of all was that when we entered the park with Stewie, there wasn't a deluge of dogs that tried to smell his butt he second he entered. All the dogs in the park were totally laid back and friendly and were busy relaxing or playing fetch with their owners. Which made me think--can one study a city's dog parks and extrapolate those observations to the surrounding city itself? Are LA dogs (people) more laid back, happy, and even tempered and NYC dogs (people) anxious, nervous, and starved for socialization?

Anyway, that dog park is fantastic. We also walked around the Silverlake reservoir and found a bunch of rosemary growing along the path:

But, most importantly, I achieved one of my lifelong dreams (seriously) while at the dog park. I saw a hummingbird in real life (in the 'wild')! I have never seen one before although I know a good amount about them. It was the tiniest thing, and did a lot of hovering. I was way too excited to see it and actually was able to catch a photo of it flying away from the fence it was sitting on (look at its blurry wings!):

I am really looking forward to seeing different flora/fauna here in California. Once my hiking book gets here we can start doing some trails...

Friday, February 12, 2010

onto year five!

It was me and N's (mine and N's? N and me's?) four year anniversary yesterday. How to celebrate such an occasion? Pizza and ice cream cake! Well, not just any pizza. Pizza picked up from Mozza2Go, one of the best foodie pizza places in LA. We got two pizzas: the Coach Farm goat cheese, leek, scallion, garlic & bacon pizza, and the salami, mozzarella, Fresno chile & tomato pizza. We also got the roasted brussels sprouts with prosciutto breadcrumbs, which was fannn-tastic. We'll definitely be back at Mozza2Go soon.

And, well, the ice cream cake was from Baskin Robbins. I couldn't get that ice cream and cake and cake commercial song out of my head, so I just had to get one!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Clapham's Beeswax

Several years ago, I heard of something called "salad bowl beeswax." It was an all-natural way to coat unfinished wood to make it waterproof and safe to eat off of. Lots of IKEA furniture is made of unfinished wood, and I've owned several pieces that quickly became pretty gross and stained from spilled liquids and whatnot without any kind of sealant to protect them. You also just can't clean unfinished wood without it soaking up water like a sponge (pretty yucky). I planned on finishing those pieces I owned and bought the sandpaper, steel wool, stain, and polyurethane to do the project, but I just never got around to doing it...partially because I didn't really have outdoor space to do the project in NYC.

Anyway, I wanted to treat the furniture I bought from IKEA right this time around, so I looked up the salad bowl beeswax and found some on Amazon. There's no fumes, no chemicals, no sanding, nothing extra you need to do to use this stuff. It smells really good, and all you do is rub it into the wood with your fingers or a paper towel. It's completely safe to eat off of, and repels water very well. It made our Groland kitchen island look much better (it has a nice deeper finish to it now) and it's now waterproof! Fantastic. One of the containers of beeswax was more than enough to coat the island two times. Awesome.

health grades

One of the first things you'll notice about eating out in LA is that every restaurant has a piece of paper with a big letter on it posted somewhere--usually an "A" or a "B" (I haven't seen a "C" yet). LA has a law where every restaurant is given a letter grade based on its sanitary-ness, and that grade is based on a scale of 0 to 100. You can look up any restaurant's grade online and see what health violations it had on its last inspection.

At first I thought the whole thing was a bit strange. Then I thought it was an awesome idea (accountability!), then I thought it was a terrible idea (the postings are tacky looking and frankly, I don't want the cleanliness of every restaurant rubbed in my face). Now I think it's not that great of an idea, but probably better than nothing. The Denny's next door to our apartment has an A, and Daikokuya has a B.

There's a running joke that the "C" grade stands for "Chinese."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

the best ramen in LA

LA is supposed to have some of the best ramen in the country. According to various reviews, the general consensus is that Daikokuya is the place to go, which meant we had to go there, of course! It's in Little Tokyo in downtown LA, which is a pretty nice area. N and I semi-considered renting a loft in that area--I was mostly interested in it due to the neighborhood.

Anyway, back to the ramen at Daikokuya. We went on a Wednesday night at 8pm and ended up waiting for an hour for a table, which put me in a grumpy mood. Luckily, we're in LA so waiting outside for an hour in February was actually very pleasant. And it was worth the wait. It is hands-down, by far, the BEST ramen I've ever had. The broth was rich and had the perfect mouth-feel of the sulungtang at Gahm Mi Oak. I still have a soft spot for the ramen in Manhattan...I like the salty (almost chemical) taste of it. But the ramen at Daikokuya tasted real. They claim to boil pork bones overnight to get the broth just right, and the slices of pork they include in the bowl literally melt in your mouth. It is SO. GOOD. N and I barely exchanged any words while we were eating because we were too busy shoveling the perfectly cooked noodles in our mouths.

If this ramen is truly the best LA has to offer...I am not disappointed!

the nabe

The last few days have been filled with assembling furniture, screwing things into walls, and unpacking, organizing, and cleaning. Tedious at times, but ultimately satisfying. With the money we saved we actually put together a somewhat coordinated and stylish apartment! We're in our new home.

I've also learned a lot more about our neighborhood, mostly from walking Stewie (it's so weird that he pees on palm trees now instead of lamp posts and stop signs!). The neighborhood seems to be in the very beginnings of the gentrification process. There's an interesting mix of Hispanics, hipsters, and homeless on the streets. There's also a good mix of newer more modern buildings (like the building we live in now) and older, cheaper storefronts that keep the neighborhood pretty diverse. The Home Depot across the street has a line of Latino men waiting to be hired for manual labor for the day, but at the same time we're just a few blocks away from where the Oscars are held each year.

Now that N and I have settled in, we're considering extending our lease. We'll see how it goes...