Monday, August 19, 2019

night market eating, 2019 edition

you know how we love to hit up the 626 night market, and we'd missed the opening weekend for 2019 because - oh, well, we were in hawaii.  cue the tiny violin, i know.  and it just so happened that the next date fell on the night we were heading to santa anita mall for the BTS movie.  we decided to hit it up right after it opened and have an early dinner before the movie, and while it was great because it was pretty empty at that time, it was blazing hot and i was sweaty in no time.  bah.



the bean made a beeline for this place.  like her mother, she sees "ribeye" and she's SOLD.


i'm a sucker for these pullapart waffles.  there's a little piece of mochi stuffed in each of those waffle bubbles, and it's just the right amount of sweet and chewy and delicious.  i'm pretty sure i get one every time we come.


the old lady's most favorite food in the whole wide world is pasta.  and cheese.  and so when she spied this booth, she was all in:


they take fresh, hot pasta, sauce it up and roll it around in this giant cheese wheel to soak up some cheesy melty goodness:


in this case, it was a gooey, rich cream sauce that was then topped with slices of prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes.


the bean stopped here for some boba milk tea to quench her thirst:


and then went big and ordered a korean cheese pull - a big ol' hunk of mozzarella cheese on a stick, dipped in batter, deep fried and then sprinkled with sugar.  she was quite the happy camper.


we ended up going one more time two nights later, this time with no time constraints and nothing to rush to.  the old lady was happy to be able to try some tacos topped with flaming hot cheeto dust:


while the bean was drawn yet again to a booth offering grilled chunks of ribeye steak, this time cooked on a himalayan salt block.  we've had this before and it's pricey, but so delicious.


i think we had some other stuff too, but it was so dark i couldn't get any decent shots.  the bean and i were extra happy to return because we'd wanted to try a booth that did taiyaki (fish-shaped waffles) using croissant dough with several different types of fillings.  i opted for custard, while she very predictably ordered the nutella.


we didn't actually eat here, but the 12-year-old child in me giggles every. single. time.  because come on...FRIED BUTT.


i think there's at least one more night market weekend, but we've come to the realization that we're kind of over it at this point.  it's always the same vendors every time, and we either have to go early which avoids crowds but is insanely hot, or head over when the sun goes down but end up dodging huge crowds and standing in long lines.  plus, most things are pretty pricey for what you get.  i'm not sure it's worth it anymore.

of course, by the time that last weekend rolls around i'll probably be thinking about that mochi waffle again and we'll totally end up going.  just watch.

Friday, August 16, 2019

all BTS, all the time

while i'm not really part of the BTS army, the bean most definitely is.  and like i used to with her sister's neverending love for the jonas brothers, i feel somewhat compelled to support her obsession.  and so when i got an email while we were in hawaii alerting me that there was going to be a BTS movie out for a limited release, i coordinated with the old lady and bought tickets for a friday evening show without telling the bean.

in the meantime, she had come across an event notice somewhere on youtube or something about the same movie.  only what she saw said that it was a "one night only" kinda deal...and happened to fall on a day that she was already booked for mandatory cheer choreography.  oh, the agony.  she was beside herself at the thought of missing this on top of having missed the chance to see them live when they were here in may.  was it mean of me and the old lady not to tell her that we were going?  because we didn't.  heh.

and then a couple of weeks later, i got another email (how the hell i ended up on the BTS army mailing list, i'll never know) that said there was going to be a special exhibition in l.a. of photos and videos and other memorabilia personally taken or owned by the band members.  the old lady opted out of this one, so i went online as soon as the tickets became available to snag a couple for me and the bean.  as luck would have it, the best day for us to go happened to coincide with the same day we were going to see the movie.  it was going to be a full day of BTS...yaaaaaay.

the exhibition was at the reef in l.a. - i'd driven past this place in the past but never really knew what was here.  there's this giant chair in the parking lot, which is kinda neat.


we were a good hour early, because the ticket told us to arrive at 11:30 for our 12:00 timeslot.  and because traffic in l.a. is always so iffy, we'd left extra early.  i was hungry, so i was relieved when we walked into the building and then saw that there was a counter service restaurant available.


at 11:25, we headed outside to get in line.  and quite a line it was - it wrapped around the building and went down the street.  yikes.


right at 11:30, the line started to move and in no time we found ourselves entering the building.


after a quick bag check, we went inside and up the stairs into another holding area, but at least we weren't standing in the sun anymore.


the mix of people present was really interesting.  all different ethnicities, ages, guys, girls, moms, a few dads.  most of them were wearing some sort of BTS gear, my kid included.


as we got closer to the entrance to the exhibit, a staffer came down the line to scan tickets and hand out maps and merchandise order forms.



the crowd's excitement was practically visible as we got closer and closer to the start of the exhibit, and they danced and sang to the music that was playing on continuous loop.



i'm going to go ahead and admit that i don't really know much about BTS, so i wasn't familiar with most of what we were looking at.  the bean was in k-pop heaven though, and that's all that mattered anyway.






 the text on the walls was posted in both korean and english.



and of course, there were lots and lots of photos.



this one is her favorite.




the next room had song titles written on mirrors.  a bunch of people were taking selfies in front of them, which was amusing to watch.




and then i had to put the phone away, because the next room filled with photos from their various world tours that we weren't allowed to take our own pictures of.  there was lots of staff walking around to make sure that no one was breaking the rules, and while the bean walked slowly taking in each and every picture i just kind of stood there awkwardly along with a bunch of dads.  there was a mom and daughter behind us who were chattering endlessly about how different this was from the one they'd been to in korea, and both sang along to every word of every song as we proceeded through the exhibit.

the next room seemed to be a recreation of a room the band spent time in while creating their sound and look.






i got quite the look of death from one staffer as i took this picture.  ha!


 there were lots of handwritten notes and doodles and signatures in the next room.






i took pictures of everything, even though i didn't really know what most of it was.  because why not?






i had to wait it out to get decent shots here.  people were huddled around, soaking it all in.  the fangirling was at an all-time high in this room.






 ...hertz?  does that have another meaning that i don't know about?


the walls in the next room were covered in song lyrics arranged in cute little shapes.




she was super excited to take this picture, in front of a set from one of their music videos.


everyone was hesitant to walk down this hall because they were all trying to get a good picture of it.  i stood in the back of the crowd up on my tiptoes and this was the best i got.



 so deep.



and that was it for the exhibit.  the last bit was the merchandise stand, and of course there was a line for that too.


bye, BTS!


the night before was the date for the "one night only" that the bean had seen, and she was super mopey when she got home from choreography because she thought she'd missed her one chance.  the old lady was over for dinner that evening, and when i came back into the room after putting away laundry she gave me a look and the bean was in tears.  she'd had a mini-meltdown about the whole thing, and so we finally decided to put her out of her misery and tell her we were taking her the next night.  the meltdown turned into tears of joy, and all was right in the world again.

while the old lady and i had been dreading it (we're definitely not k-pop fans), the movie actually turned out to be just fine.  it was entertaining and gave us a good look at what it was like for this group of young men to go from city to city, performing to sold-out arenas, trying to manage their exhaustion and preserve their voices while still giving their all for the fans who turned out in droves.  it looked like one hell of a grueling schedule with little to no personal time, and by the end i found myself starting to feel sorry for the guys.

the bean is quite verklempt at the news that broke earlier this week that the band is on an indefinite break after one last concert in seoul.  there are no plans for new music or more concerts, but she says she'll just make do with watching their videos over and over on youtube.  over. and. over.  oh mah gah.
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