Earlier this month my friends and I tried out the Alita Experience, a pop-up escape room in Los Angeles (see that adventure here!) . However, we arrived at downtown LA a tad earlier than our scheduled reservation and decided to explore the area a bit. As we drove through Olympic and Central we saw what looked like a vibrant and festive street fair. Turns out we were in the Pinata District and even on a Sunday it was poppin!
We found free street parking and made our way through the district. There were many shops selling various party favors including candy, decor, and of course pinatas! There were also other miscellaneous vendors selling t-shirts and electronics, yet we were most interested in the food carts/stalls!
There were many stands selling traditional street food and everything smelled soooo amazing. Grandmas were hand-making fresh tortillas, sons and daughters were carving and/or cooking meats and many things were made to order. After browsing though a number of the carts/stalls we decided to dine-in!
I was most interested in the bean and cheese arepe as I saw the woman mold and create each one. That stand also had a self-serve condiment bar with super fresh guacamole with the pits still in the mortar and pestle bowl and a ton of other toppings to customize your base. Man… with the melted cheese, freshly fried dough and textures of all the toppings it was a perfect meal and for a bargain. I think I spent like $3 and because it was the end of the day and they were getting ready to shut down the owner also threw in a free drink (Many stands were closing shop around 5:00pm)! I got the horchata while my friends got lemonade with chia seeds. Two thumbs up and I will definitely be back for both the food and party supplies!
When a piñata pops what kind of candy do you rush to grab? Krackle and Crunch are my go tos!
I love finding hidden gems whenever I travel and after some extensive research I found this business that sells homemade biscotti and award winning banana bread! Recognized as a neighborhood favorite Linda, The Biscotti Lady, is a retired healthcare provider turned entrepreneur with some serious baking skills.
On my visit I made sure to go bright and early at 8am to see the assortment. There were muffins, biscottis, loafs of banana bread with and without walnuts (also chocolate chip option available), and ample samples of all her products for guests to try. I really loved the banana bread and bought 3 loafs ($5 a piece) as they were super moist and had that homemade (not mass produced) feel. While the products are certainly worth a visit, I especially love Linda’s business approach. She bakes and opens shop part-time to keep the spirit of her hobby alive and doesn’t allow the business to consume and blind her from all the other things she enjoys like traveling.
If you’re interested to see one of Inland Empires best kept secret you can follow her on The Biscotti Lady’s Facebook to see her schedule. For 2019 Linda informed me that she’ll opens at least once a month on Saturday morning and that she’s open for business TOMORROW (2/2) from 8am – 2pm (PST) or while supplies last. Pick up a loaf or two from 1102 N Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91762) If you’re looking to bring home a winner for Superbowl Sunday I think the honey jalapeno cheddar cheese cornbread muffins would be a hit!
What are you eating/bringing this Sunday for the Supperbowl?
If I had a choice between sweet and savory, I would always opt for the later. However Sublime Doughnut was a recipient of the Bake Magazine’s America’s Best Bakery of 2012 and earned multiple endorsements from Food Network and The Cooking Channel, so naturally I had to see for myself if I do or do-nut agree with the critics. :p
There are two locations in Georgia and one in Thailand, so I went to the original brick and mortar store near Georgia Tech (535 10th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318). On the outside it looked like any other donut shop in a strip mall; however, one inside you can’t help but feel kawaii and in need of something sweet.
After looking at the selection my friend I decided to share three: Chocolate Banana Fritter, Orange Creamsicle, and Fresh Strawberry n Cream. All three were really airy and light, unlike many doughnut shops and before I knew it the box was empty. Although I do think I have a slight preference towards chocolate banana fritter – yum!
Do you have a sweet tooth? Where do you go to curb your sweet craving?
No visit to Atlanta would be complete without a trip to the World of Coca-Cola museum and as a first time visitor to the great peach state I made sure to pay them a visit. It’s for all intensive purposes the state drink and as an educator I’m always interested to learn about the origin of something so iconic.
Shortly after purchasing the tickets, my friend and I were greeted in the lobby then escorted to a theater highlighting Coke’s campaign for making memories. The short clip had me teary-eyed at the end and we were released to explore the various rooms. There were many digital and interactive experiences as well as ample photo opportunities. One of the rooms also had the original formula tucked behind a highly protected vault.While I don’t regularly drink carbonated beverages in general one of the highlights of the trip was sampling coke products from around the world. They divided the drink areas by continents and my favorites were definitely the drinks in Asia and Latin America, as they leaned more fruity. The Beverly in Italy certainly left an impression on me and I know why the Coke employee was so smug when recommending this “popular” drink. Regardless if you drink coke products or not, the museum is pretty fascinating and I admire the entrepreneurial spirit behind coke brand.
Have you tried coke products abroad? What’s your favorite?
I visit Las Vegas annually with my family and while I’ve heard of Ellis Island Hotel, Casino and Brewery I’ve never actually visited The Village Pub. Friends have often posted photos of the cheap eats there so this year I decided to check it out as it was walking distance from my hotel.
Upon entering the building, the casino has an old school charm to it, the restaurant had multiple plaques indicating awards it’s won in the past including: Best Microbrewery and Best Cheap Eats. My friend and I decided to share the Steak and Eggs ($11.99 – I’m sure cheaper if we played with the Players Card), a pint of rootbeer ($2.50) and a pint of their seasonal beer ($2.50).
I wasn’t expecting much, but to my surprise out came a what appeared to be a filet cut chunk with my two over-easy eggs. The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and tasted as if it was from a fine-dinning restaurant – you could have fooled me! The sourdough toast was a nice touch and while the potatoes were forgettable, the overall meal was a hearty-one. The beer was surprisingly very VERY good. I even liked it more than the housemade root-beer that my friend ordered for me. lol I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here and for less than $20 this establishment is a great place to catch up with friends and enjoy a warm meal for cheap.
My friend and I were conversing with some Atlanta locals on their favorite restaurants and one gushed about Zunzi’s, a counter-served eatery highlighting South African inspired sandwiches. The concept seemed foreign to me, but with a Laotian restaurant standing as one of my top picks (Snack Boxe Bistro Post) in Atlanta , I was excited to see what Zunzi was all about.
While the sandwich shop highlights flavors from South Africa, the first brick-and-mortar location started in Savannah, Georgia (about 4 hours away). With an instant cult following, Zunzi branched out with a second location in Atlanta and I was informed that the masses have yet to discover the legendary sandwiches. On my visit, I was able to order within minutes of my arrival. Works for me!
There were 5 sandwich options and my friend and I decided to split one of their most popular one – “The Conquistador” with smashed avocado. To the eye this french bread and chicken sandwich seemed very ordinary, but the “Shit Yeah Sauce” was definitely anything but. It really heightens the sandwich experience and in many ways reminds me of Ike’s Place’s Dirty Secret Sauce. The combination of a slightly crunchy exterior and fluffy interior, with the creamy avocado, and tangy sauce gave so much dimension to the chicken and produce. Everything just worked so well together and my friend commented on how quiet I was during the entire meal. Lol
As of today there are two locations, but the manager of this location informed me that they’re planning to expand and potentially move out west. The establishment is the real deal, and if they open up a location close to work I probably would go here once a week, but you heard it here first!
I’m a huge DC Universe fan so shouldn’t be surprising that I’d be a Six Flags season pass holder. The new Justice League ride at the Magic Mountain location (post here) inspired me secure an annual pass, but one of the best perks is that I’m able to visit any of the Six Flags across America! I’ve never been to The Peach State and Six Flags Over Georgia sounded like a great destination!
Six Flags Over Georgia is located about 30 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta and during the week of my Georgia visit they had special evening hours. Unlike Magic Mountain where thrill seekers could enjoy the park during the morning hours – afternoon hours, Over Georgia had afternoon – evening hours (4pm-10pm). Unexpected, but with the holiday lights and decor it made for a festive evening.
While this Six Flags was much smaller (in terms square footage), the lines were much shorter and my friend and I were able to ride 7 thrill rides in about 3 hours. Dare Devil Dive is a one cart coaster that does one of the scariest drop (but man was it fun!), Superman: The Ultimate Flight is similar to Tatsu where you fly on your belly, and Twisted Cyclone – wow this was Uh-MA-ZING – hands down my favorite ride perhaps because I was expecting the drops to be so drastic, the car design was so deceptive! It didn’t look like it’d be a thrill ride.
Are you spending your holidays locally or traveling?
Comfort food is a category I know all to well. It’s when food makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and preps you for long cat nap, yet I’ve only had soul food a handful of times. Based on rave reviews I’ve visited both Fox Bros BBQ and Sweet Auburn BBQ and both were good, but it left me craving for more. On my visit to Mary Mac’s I was stuffed to the brim and extremely satisfied with experience from beginning to end.
Just down the street from the Fox Theater in the heart of Midtown this historic destination has been serving locals and celebrities alike for over 70 years. While parking can be a challenge it’s definitely an experience you wouldn’t want to miss when visiting. There are multiple dinning rooms in the building and guests are all presented with a sheet to write in our order. Since it was my first time my friend and I were given a sample of complimentary Pot Likker (a soup of boiled turnips). It was soothing, perfect for the chilly weather and the mini cinnamon rolls were so warm and fluffy. I had to stop myself from eating them all.
Mary Mac’s is known for their Fried Chicken and have won countless awards for it. Guests can order different quantities, but my friend and I opted for three legs since we both love dark meat. Each dish is accompanied by two sides. We ordered tomato pie, broccoli souffle, collard greens, and baked sweet potato – the former two were absolutely delicious.
The fried chicken legs were very moist and tender, but the skin could have been more crisp. However, the generous portions and affordable price-point, and southern hospitality makes me feel like I’m at a family gathering. There’s ample space and would be perfect to host large parties. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner, but with more Southern charm.
What part of fried chicken do you grab? Legs? Thighs? Breast? Wings?
Disney has been a big part of my life growing up so when I debuted my Violet Parr cosplay at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC post) this past summer, I was excited about all the upcoming Disney gathering and photo shoots since I’ve mainly done DC characters.
LACC seemed like forever ago (See Marvel post, and Street Fighter post), but a few photographers posted some shots of my Violet Parr cosplay and I was reached out by Kids Can Cosplay, a nonprofit organization to portray her in an upcoming holiday meet-and-greet event benefiting at-risk kids. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog about it since it’s a private event and I’d want to be sensitive about minors and their financial status, but we shall see if I can do the adult cosplayers!
I’ve always so impressed by the Disney cosplayers and the Princess group always seemed so much fun, so… for 2019 I’m going to debut a NEW Disney cosplay and it’s going to be a Disney Princess!! *gasp*
Can you guess which Disney princess I’m working on? I’ll give you a hint, she’s sassy and will have a live action movie coming up! Who’s your favorite Disney princess and why?
When I think of Georgia I think of peach pie, fried chicken, and any and all good Southern soul food. Gosh, even the amazing brunch at Hen Mother Cookhouse (Stomach Souvenirs Entry) in Alpharetta would fit the bill. Yet, it’s hard to imagine that Atlanta would be home to one of my favorite ethnic restaurants – Snack Boxe Bistro, a Laotian restaurant focused on street food and one of Atlanta’s newest hot, up and coming restaurant.
I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about trying Laotian food from a restaurant that seemed so far away from the country, but after hearing so many rave reviews I thought I’d check it out myself. My friend and I ordered the following items.
Mok Pha ($8) Banana leaf wrapped steamed herb fish
Beef Laap ($10) Minced salad with rice powder, kaffir, galanga, chili herbs.
And the verdict…
The Mok Pha was super soft and just melted in your mouth and the Khao Poon, a last minute addition was one of my favorite dish of my Atlanta trip! The were so many different textures and taste profiles that made the soupy noodle dish so complex and delicious. It was a little spicy, a little sweet and all the ingredients just worked so harmoniously. You definitely want to order the Khao Poon if you want an explosion of flavors. I’d love to try the cuisine in the motherland.