Being a Kid Again at the California Academy of Sciences

One of my favorite things to do is to as a kid was go to the aquarium, natural history museum, and science museum in the LA area. I know that someday I will go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but today, I decided to go through the trifecta at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park!

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Afternoon Tea at the Japanese Tea Gardens

After spending the morning at the Oscar de la Renta: Retrospective exhibit, I was so ready to relax. I headed over to the Japanese Tea Garden next door for some light snacks and beautiful garden views. The place is highly reviewed on Yelp and I think I understand why people love it so much.

Tea Garden 1

Fees & Admission

It kinda sucks but there is an $8 entry fee for everyone to view the gardens. It is otherwise subsidized for SF residents.

Afternoon Tea

There is a little hut in the middle of the garden where you can order from a selection of teas, sandwiches, and Japanese cookies and desserts. Once you order, you can help yourself to the patio where you can see into the rest of the garden. There is also a gift shop a little further up where you can find freshly ground matcha tea and tourist goodies if you like.

Tea 1

Scenic seat of the house

Scenic seat of the house

While I still bought the overpriced delicious sandwiches and tea, I am not mad since the views from my table were quite lovely. I easily spent a good hour or two in the gardens which made me feel less miffed of paying the admission fee.

Tea 2

Menu

Japanese Tea Garden

The garden itself is fairly small so you can walk through the entire place in about 15 minutes. Tourists and young families seem to really like the place and you can definitely find the occasional Instagram-er taking some luxury snaps.

Tea Garden 3

Tea Garden 8 Tea Garden 7 Tea Garden 5

Tea Garden 2

Oscar de la Renta: Retrospective Special Exhibit at the de Young Museum

As part of a birthday gift to myself, I used one of my off days from work to attend the Oscar de la Renta: Retrospective, the special exhibit at the de Young Museum. It’s currently at the de Young from March 12 to May 30.

de Young 1

Admission and Fees:

The special exhibit tickets range from $15-$30 for students and adults, which can be a little steep when considering adding the price for general admission ($6-$10). Since this exhibit is immensely popular, I would highly recommend buying tickets online before heading to the de Young so you are guaranteed a spot.

de Young 2

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Visiting the Alameda Point Antiques Faire

You may recognize this place from Mythbusters where they often used the defunct Navy base for their shows. But for the first Sunday of every month, the space turns into a massive flea market, one if the largest in the Bay Area! My cousin was the first to tell me of this place, so thank you Angela!

Alameda 1

Faire Hours, Parking, and Prices

Parking: Free

Admission Fees*:

6:00 AM to 7:30 am $15.00
7:30 am to 9:00 am $10.00
9:00 am to 3:00 pm $5.00

* Admission ranges from $5 to $15 depending on time of entry

I’d recommend coming at 9AM and leaving at 1PM to avoid insane traffic going in an out of the area. Mind you, this place is massive.

What to Expect at Alameda Point Antiques Faire

The layout of the faire is pretty easy to navigate. Each row corresponds to the letter of the alphabet marked on the floor. Even though this place is huge, it ranges from A-Z so if you do have a place to return to, just remember the row letter and you’ll be able to find your way. The program also includes a map of the stalls, which can make your life so much easier.

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Alameda 3

Alameda 8

Yelp reviewers found everything from 50’s furniture, raw fabrics, clothes, jewelry (some stalls specialize in dealing with precious stones), vintage toys, and basically everything in between. I think this market is best for large pieces of furniture. I found tables that can easily fit 12 people for around $500, which is crazy reasonable. I’d definitely consider going back once I get my own apartment!

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Alameda 6

One person’s lawn ornament… is another’s treasure?

I make it a personal rule since first going to flea markets to take close up pictures of stalls only if I buy something from them since vendors can get defensive of their goods. As usual, I tend to gravitate towards the stalls with beautiful prints! I am skeptical of the true “vintage” quality of these prints, but I find them beautiful nonetheless.

Bought

I’m always a fan of fun prints to frame later!

What I Actually came here for…

So I actually have been here before. To be honest, while the market is amazing, this is what I remember most about it! If you walk all the way past row Z, you can get your hand stamped by security (you’ll need that to get back). Through the chain link fence, you walk by where vendors park their trucks and vans. After a 5 minute straight walk, you’ll meet the last chain link fence and see a nearly unobstructed view of San Fransisco.

Best Views of San Francisco

View 1

Views 2

I am not exaggerating when I say that I could stand here for hours just admiring the view, the water, and the quiet. It’s pretty removed from the stalls and not many people know about this point so you can usually have the space all to yourself. I am always interested where I can find great views of the cities I visit! Although I am in Alameda, I don’t think you can beat such a great and complete picture!

Slurping Some Daikokuya Ramen in Little Tokyo, LA

My sister and I have been religiously addicted to The Mind of a Chef on PBS and ever since watching Chef David Chang (Momofuko NYC) travel around Japan, all I wanted to do was dive into a really good bowl of ramen. Today, my fam-ban decided to head out to LA to Daikokuya in Little Tokyo for probably the best bowl in the city.

We arrived at 11:30AM earlier today and still had to wait at least 30 minutes to grab a few seats at the bar. The restaurant is infamously small and intimate, but the food is definitely worth the wait, which could sometimes be an hour or longer.

What We Ordered

Between the three of us, we shared three ramen combination lunches.  We all got the Daikokuya Ramen (I ordered mine with the super rich Kotteri flavor broth made with pork fat), a shredded pork bowl, ikura bowl (salmon roe), and fried rice. They all come with an amazing shredded cabbage salad with a creamy miso dressing, but we were so hungry, I could not get any good photos of it!

Shredded Pork Bowl

Shredded Pork Bowl: perfectly char-grilled pork with teriyaki sauce, green onions, and ginger

Ikura Bowl

Ikura Rice Bowl (soy sauce salmon roe) and Fried Rice

The Daikokuya Ramen

Daikokuya Ramen

Their signature Daikokuya Tonkotsu Ramen with Kotteri flavor broth. Topped with fatty pork slices, green onions, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, and an egg

Tonkotsu is one of my favorite kinds of ramen for its extremely meaty flavor! Daikokuya boils their pork bones for nearly a day for their broth and their shop is considered one of the most visited in the LA area. I really did like the Kotteri broth but am not used to eating so much fat in one meal, so I would probably just stick with the original flavor. I think the three of us LOVED this ramen and felt that it lived up to the hype!

Bar

My dad and I at the Daikokuya ramen bar.

Downtown LA

Los Angeles

Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo

Daikokuya Ramen website

Hello from London!

I haven’t updated this blog for a while since I have left for London! It’s been over a month and now I am officially settled into the city. For the next 6 months, you can find further updates about my life in London at my study abroad blog, Selene+Abroad! Thanks for following so far and I will be back before you know it!

What have I been doing so far?

Exploring the City

London City Collage

Eating Good Food

Food in London

Going on Adventures

Adventures Collage

Living It Up!

BAFTA Film Collage

Cheers!

– Selene

Breakfast at Mishi’s Strudel Bakery & Cafe

For our last get-together before we go back to school, my friends and I decided to try a family-run Hungarian cafe in San Pedro called Mishi’s Strudel Bakery & Cafe. The restaurant only has about five tables and it has amazing business! Everyone recommends the strudels but I went for the goulash, which is a type of beef stew. Everything was delicious and the restaurant servers and owners were so sweet and accommodating!

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Goulash beef stew

Goulash beef stew

Beef strudal with a side of sour cream and pickles

Beef strudal with a side of sour cream and pickles

Diana, Akari, and Cristina

Diana, Akari, and Cristina

James, Kimbo, and Debbers

James, Kimbo, and Debbers

After our breakfast, we headed back to my house to watch the latest episode of BBC’s Sherlock “The Empty Hearse.” The episode could have been better, but given the level of hype surrounding the release, I guess it was the best they could do. I’ll miss everyone terribly, but definitely go on over to my study abroad blog to check out what I’m up to for the next 6 months in London!