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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

First Weekend in L.A. - part 1

As I’ve mentioned many times, my family is here! They arrived safe and sound last Thursday night. It was wonderful to see my dad, mom, sisters (Atsi and Cubs) and brother (Boo)! Jules, Jojo, Mark (Atsi’s friend), and I picked them up at LAX. Luckily, their flight over and trek into US customs was uneventful and we were home, enjoying bowls of warm chili, an hour after they arrived. One of the best parts of any visit from my family is opening up all the pasalubong (gifts) they bring us from back home. Shoes, bags, clothes, magazines, jewelry, beads, and things for the home, came tumbling out of their suitcases. And of course every Philippine delicacy you can imagine – from local cookies (otap, rosquillos), to garlic flavored cornicks and Choc-nut, to bottles of Mango puree, jars of mom’s homemade Chili Sauce, Guama’s special butter cake, dried mango, minced bean/pork paste in cans, packets of Royco soup, boxes of pastillas (carabao’s milk candy), roasted chestnuts, and many more. I’m usually not a big fan of these things and pretty much take them for granted back home. But whenever someone brings them over these days, it just seems like I can’t get enough!

As expected whenever my whole family gets together – there is much talking and much laughing. We went to bed well past midnight. Luckily for me I had Friday off (while my hubby still had to get up to go to work). We spent Friday just catching up, running errands, had a quick Mexican lunch at Chipotle, did some shopping at Costco and Kohls (the start of my mom’s first balikbayan box home!), and finally just relaxed at home. The best part of the day was when we all gathered in our backyard, grilled steaks for dinner and had that with my mom’s to-die-for Caesar salad, store-bought sushi, and ice-cold margaritas all around. This is what my family is all about – GREAT FOOD, GOOD COMPANY, and HAPPY TIMES.

Over dinner there was a very heated debate – what to do on their first Saturday in L.A. Everyone had something they wanted to see or do. And though we all pretty much get along, there are a lot of very strong opinions as well. Mark brought up a good point though -- there was a 30% chance of rain in the forecast. So we scrapped any plans that involved long drives and visits to local beaches. Our choices now were pretty limited to doing stuff indoors (not many choices in L.A.). My folks wanted to expose us to some culture and suggested spending the day at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), while of course, the rest of us (except Jim) would have rather walked in the rain than spend all day looking at art. (I’m a bit embarrassed by how “uncultured” that seems but I have to be honest!).

Anyway, after much debate, voting and compromise, we decided to meet half-way and go to a museum, only we decided it would be the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in Hollywood. So after breakfast, we headed over to L.A., browsed the Hollywood-Highland complex, visited the museum of oddities, did the tourist prerequisites -- camera stops and souvenir shopping, before heading to Koreatown for a late lunch. Jules recommended a place called Seoul Garden that served really healthful Korean-style shabu-shabu. We decided this was a good place for lunch since we needed to warm up (since it did start to drizzle) and since we were all very hungry. We had the beef dinner specials (raw slices of meat that you self-cooked in a boiling pot of broth), along with lots and lots of vegetables, fresh noodles, and later on, rice gruel with dried seaweed and egg. We also ordered a bowl of cold spicy noodles and grilled beef ribs over onions. It was all really good (and we were all really hungry). At first I thought that maybe we over-ordered (this really amused our very funny Korean waitress). But my family has always been connoisseurs of good food and we pretty much worked our way thru all that food (all those little side dishes included)!

After lunch, we went home, took a walk around the neighborhood, napped, and headed for mass at St. Philomena where we met my in-laws. After mass, we headed over to Cold Stone Creamery, where my hubby treated everyone to ice cream. Perfect way to end their first Saturday in L.A.


consay said...

Weather patterns must really be changing as I do not recall experiencing rain in southern California! Now, I remember there is a small restaurant in downtown L.A. called "The Pantry" which we go to from time to time before that your family might want to try. Its not a classy place and we order steak there. Try out the place if you guys feel adventurous.

Joanne said...

Yup, the weather is weird these days. Never had such a rainy Spring. But it's all good since I like this kind of weather better :)

Thanks for the restaurant tip. I'll mention it to the rest of the famiy when they get back (they are on their cruise right now).

jol said...

It is great to be with my entire family enjoying the weather in Los Angeles. We definitely will be enjoying each other's company for the next three weeks. I look forward to an affair worth remembering.