Tuesday, October 22, 2019

we like food

after we'd gotten our fill of "hello kitty around the world," we headed into chinatown for lunch.  we'd chosen lasa, which is tagalog for "taste," and i was excited to try their filipino-california fusion grub.  it's located in far east plaza, which apparently was the first chinese mart in the country. 


at the top of the stairs we found the entrance to lasa.  easy peasy.


although we were almost a full hour early, they were ready for our party of 10 and happily seated us right away.  they were super friendly and helpful, and seemed genuinely happy that we were there.  the restaurant itself isn't very big, but they had a table that was perfect for us, and we sat down to check out our surroundings and peruse the menu.



aside from nanette, it was our first time here and since there were so many of us, we decided to order one of each entree on the menu.  they were serving brunch, which is probably my most favorite meal of the day.

this is their bistek smash burger, served au jus.  this we ordered two (and later, a third) of, and cut into quarters to share.  so tasty.


we knew better than to double up on the kale cesar, even though it was really delicious.  most of the girls passed, which left more for us.


this is the pamilya-style crispy pata, a confit pork shank that came with a side of garlic fried rice, a vinegar-based dip and some sauteed broccoli.  the ladies at the end of the table took charge of cutting the meat off of the bone and passing it around the table for everyone to enjoy.


this was the fish of the day, and of course i don't remember exactly what it was, but it was also super tasty.  just like eating with my family though, you had to be super careful about making sure the tiny bones were out of the meat before you ate it.


we threw in a side of the lechon kawali, which is pretty much a chunk of deep-fried pork belly.  i knew the bean would be all in for this one, and i caught her gaze from across the table as she grinned and wiggled her eyebrows at me when she saw it.


longsilog here was a bowl of housemade sausage sliced and served on top of a bed of that garlic fried rice, plus some greens and chiles topped with a fried egg.


this is the country fried tapa - breaded and fried steak with gravy-smothered rice and more fried egg.


i'm not gonna lie - i passed on the tortang talong.  i'm not an eggplant fan at all, and that's what was stuffed in this omelette topped with a tomato salad and garlic vinaigrette with more rice underneath.


the tinapa toast had chunks of smoked bangus, otherwise known as milkfish, with avocado and red onion on top of thickly sliced "friends and family bread."


the kesong puti pancake reminded me a lot of my gram's bibingka, a baked rice cake.  it was thick and chewy and topped with a calamansi curd and some muscovado butter.  we ordered two of these to share with the table, and the slices were generous and filling.


and i saved the best for last - this pan de sal french toast was the star of the show for me.  thick pieces of chewy pan de sal (bread) turned into french toast and topped with the most delicious sweetened whipped coconut cream and sicvers of cured egg yolk.  mmmmmm.  i want to go back just for more of this.


the girls had had their fill of the filipino cuisine and were having fun just hanging out, drawing pictures, folding origami and watching silly videos on the bean's phone.


afterwards, we parted ways with half of the group and headed through the plaza to check out now serving, a super cool cookbook store.




along with cookbooks, they had display cases of some pretty fancy looking cooking implements.


on our way back to the car, we passed howlin ray's, the uber popular nashville hot chicken spot that always has a crazy long line.  today was no exception.



the girls were clamoring for some boba, so lilcee took us to one of their favorite spots just off of colorado in pasadena. 


the bean jumped a little as she walked by a bench near the counter, so i sat down and took this.


my drink was really tasty - an ovaltine-based beverage topped with "nutellamisu" mousse.


and because we apparently hadn't had enough food that day, we capped it off with a sushi dinner with the hub, the old lady and her special friend.


i mean...any day that we spend with friends, family and food is a good one, amirite?

Monday, October 21, 2019

around the world with hello kitty

it's hello kitty's 45th anniversary, and as part of the celebration sanrio opened a pop-up event in l.a. called "hello kitty around the world."  it's one of those cute little photo op "museum" things, and you know how much i love those - and then you throw in hello kitty?  sold! 
luckily, my friends feel the same way.  and so after a little bit of back-and-forth to coordinate schedules, we managed to pick a date and time that worked for a lot of us.  the event was a limited time kinda deal, and our date was the next-to-last weekend.  while we booked our tickets weeks ahead, it seemed like it crept up on us and all of a sudden it was time to go.  i busted out a bunch of my hello kitty gear to share with the bean for the occasion.  are you ready for the plethora of photos?  because there are LOTS.


we caught a ride with lilcee and mini cee, and got our first glimpse of it on our way to find parking.


instead of being in little tokyo as we'd all assumed, it was closer to chinatown and located in what looked like one of those mixed-use retail/apartment complexes.  parking for the pop-up was located in the garage under the building, and then the elevator took us back up to street level.




we were still a few minutes early, so we went into the "sky lounge" that was just across from the entrance.  i'd seen people posting about this online - you can pick up some fun hello kitty-themed treats here, along with free manicures using OPI's newest hello kitty nail polish line.  unfortunately, we were too early for those and settled for taking pictures instead.






this was just the first of many, many photo ops that day.


the girls were clamoring for the cotton candy out of the machine, but we had them wait till after, promising we'd return to the sky lounge after we were done.  and so we headed on out of there and across the way to check in and wait for the rest of our friends.





after taking that last picture, i found the girls browsing through the little shop - checking out the squishies, of course.



by then the rest of our party had arrived, and after they got themselves all checked in our "flight" began. 



once the door slid open, we entered the first room and then the sensory overload began.  totally serious here - there was so much to look at that i was totally overwhelmed for at least the first 10-15 minutes.  luckily, this particular event (unlike other hello kitty outings i've attended) was really well organized, with each group given time in every room before the next group of folks were allowed to enter.  besides us and our friends there were a couple of other smaller parties with us, but it was still a small enough group and a good amount of time given so that we were able to snap photos to our heart's content. 

first stop:  london.






in the next room we got to explore hello kitty's bedroom.  did you know that hello kitty is actually british?  her backstory tells us that she was born in a london suburb.  i don't make this stuff up, people.




 from there, the next stop was paris.




the girls loved that giant bow that was comprised of hundreds of squishies, like the ones they'd been checking out in the shop and the ones that filled the bean's backpack on that very day.





after our parisian adventure, we headed back to the good ol' USA and landed in new york.





alooooooooha!




 hello kitty got herself quite a tan in hawaii.




as we made our way to the last stop we came across this fun row of little vending machines, but we couldn't tell if they were just for looks or if they were operational.  no worries though, because we knew there was a very well-stocked gift shop at the end of our "flight."


the last stop on our trip around the world was, of course, tokyo.







i wanted to throw all of my money at the gift shop.  everything in there was so cute!




you could even use your amazon app to scan in these QR codes for fun t-shirts to be sent right to your door.
 





the bean was clearly over it.


once everyone had had their fill of the shop (and i'm pretty sure everyone bought something), we headed on out of there. 


this security guard was nice enough to offer to take a group photo for us.


back in the sky lounge, the girls finally got their cotton candy.


such a fun day!  the event is packing up now, getting ready to bring the fun to their next location.  i don't think they've announced where that is yet, but if it's near you and you love hello kitty even half as much as i do, you should definitely do it.  trust me on this.
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