Off the 405

The ‘Off The 405’ series at the Paul J. Getty Museum features lite bites and live music entertainment. Yesterday’s performance was by Savoy Motel (not pictured) – a retro-rock revival band. Admission is free, but the lines are usually long and arriving on-time can be a challenge. I suggest leaving an hour early, depending on how far you live. As much as I’d love to go every other week, the Getty is a bit far and the last time we attended the summer concert series was last summer (before learning I was pregnant with Squishy).

For the casual occasion, I donned my vintage best: a 1960s kimono-haori jacket, a surprise gift from my husband and something that I discovered while walking around on Abbott-Kinney. I paired the jacket with my knotted bow slides from No. 21.

At the entrance, you have to go through a metal detector and wait for the five-minute tram that takes you to the top of the estate where the good stuff (food & friends) await. In terms of beverages, there’s wine and some cocktails. For the wine, it’s $9 for 6 ounces and there’s a variety to choose from. Pinot Noir, Cab Sauvignon, Chardonnay. After all, what’s a summer concert without some wine?

The entire facility is handicap accessible, so rocking the stroller won’t be a problem. We briefly toured the David Hockney retrospective but didn’t stay indoors too long. You can catch a spectacular view of the succulent gardens that are strategically placed around the building.

The last of the 2017 summer concert series was yesterday, but we’ll definitely be back to take in more scenery, art, and good company next year. If you have an appreciation for architecture and art, and if you’re ever in Los Angeles, the Getty is a must-see. Check the website for dates and details. Summer Off The 405 Series, Getty Museum & Villa.

Raw Cooking Class

SunCafe is a popular raw vegan eatery, located in the heart of Studio City. Owner and chef, Ron Russell, hosts his weekly cooking classes every Saturday morning. The class is roughly 2 hours long and costs $30 (a bargain considering the wealth of information you’ll gain). The class begins with an overview of essential kitchen gadgets: Vitamix 5200 Blender, Black (the price is worth it), Kevlar Gloves, and the Santokou Knife. The cooking demo was organized into 3-parts: dressings, quick n’ easy main dishes, and desserts. Ron’s philosophy is to rely on unprocessed, natural ingredients – he even encourages making almond milk at home and says no to soy. For our starter, we had a small sample of the raw tomato basil soup (which I’ll share in a later post), followed by the zucchini alfredo and raw truffles for dessert.

The truffles were one of the best I’ve ever had – the bitter cacao powder nicely offset the sweetness of the date.

After the class, I jumped over to a bustling luxury yarn shop in Studio City. In my early 20s, I used to make hand-knit swatches for the New York accessories brand, Eugenia Kim. Although I’m a seasoned knitter, I’m far from diligent about completing projects on-time or even ever… Yeah.

Being in Cali though, I wanted to take the opportunity to learn about some of the non-cashmere or wool alternative yarns for some research I’m compiling. My findings included rayon, bamboo, organic cotton to nylon. I happily picked up the new cotton super chunky-weight yarn from Loopy Mango and some skeins of luxury bamboo from Filatura di la Crossa. I’ll be sharing an update on my project in a later post.

At the checkout counter, I learned that owners, Merrill and Edith, are from Parsippany, New Jersey where they first started Knitterie Parisienne 40 years ago. The business relocated to Los Angeles when they decided that they wanted to be closer to their children and grandchildren. I asked about the demand for knitting supplies in California and they told me that the movement is very big, especially with Hollywood stars. Celeb sightings from the past have included Debra Messing, Julianne Nicholson, Daryl Hannah… just don’t be surprised if you see them at the communal knitting table. I’ll definitely be visiting soon – I have my eyes set on a bundle of vintage hand-dyed ribbons. La Knitterie Parisienne, Ventura Boulevard, Studio City. 800-2-BUY-YARN.

Baek-il

Squishy turned 100 Days Old and I was consumed by my inner domestic voice to plan a DIY party. I’m no Ina Garten, but there are a few things that I truly enjoy such as the company of great friends and faces that live near and far.

‘100 Days’ Celebration (baek-il) is a Korean heirloom tradition that started back when infant mortality was a big issue in Korea. The gathering typically includes both sides of the family, tons of rice cake, and can be as large or as intimate as you’d like.

Our celebration was smaller and much more casual with no traditional costumes or rituals. Instead, I did a picnic style lunch with semi-homemade dishes, fresh produce from our local farms, and light bites from Veggie Grill. Oh and did I ever mention how the wine is insanely cheap here? $65 for 6 bottles from Ralph’s. The accessories (utensils and cutlery) was ordered from Oh! Happy Day, an online party store and our local Daiso.

Overall good vibes with plenty of food, a chill baby, and lots of ro-saaay.
Photo cred. Dorothy W.; Dave L.

Date Night

With our newborn around, our outings have been limited to the local Target for occasional diaper runs. But today, my husband and I paid a visit to the Erewhon Market in Venice.

Squishy’s Godmother took me to the market a few weekends ago and I can’t even begin to describe how awesome it was. You know one of those stores that persuade you into buying things that you don’t even need and simultaneously make you think, “Thank God I don’t live around here…?” Well, that’s Erewhon – and just FYI, bring cash and leave your credit cards at home. Trust me. Erewhon is a west coast version of Dean and Deluca, but with a health-conscious message.

They carry an array of house-made products (packaged soups, nut butter) as well as artisanal, small-batch products including Zen Bunni chocolates (a personal favorite of mine), Moon Juice pantry goods, and the infamous $25 Coconut Cult non-dairy yogurt. The store isn’t exclusively vegan, but many of the products are tailored for those who are celiac and/or raw vegan. I also love the strategic placement of items like finding $9 containers of pre-cut fruit sitting next to twenty-dollar tubs of yogurt (as shown above) [Below] Bounty of local organic produce, beautifully curated.

Erewhon has a wide selection of prepared sandwiches, salads that you can quickly grab and go… or for an elevated fast-casual dining experience, try one of their entree plates, which come with a main and two sides. My personal favorites include the Rad Thai and Buffalo Cauliflower. Not surprisingly, Erewhon is one of the few non-vegan markets where 75% of the prepared food is vegan.

To give you an idea of why it’s difficult to resist the urge to buy everything, just look at these chic jars of INNA jams. Don’t you just want to collect them all?

If it weren’t for the restrictive 30-minute parking policy, I would lounge for a few hours to relax, check emails, and people-watch. You’re only a hop, skip away from Abbott-Kinney where you’ll find a plethora of shopping and entertainment: Alternative, James Perse, Sabah, and the famous Blue Star Doughnuts. This adorable baby husky was patiently waiting for his owner – and naturally, like everything else, he was too perfect – he even matched the rug. Was that intentional? Perhaps. Erewhon Market in Venice (..soon coming to Santa Monica).

Puppet Play

One of my favorite toy stores in Costa Mesa called ‘Granola Babies’ is closing down at the end of the month to focus exclusively on classes. So, I picked up these wonderful puppets made by HABA for $10 each and we’ve been having fun with them ever since.

Using puppets is a great way to stimulate the baby’s brain and jump start language learning for infants, exposing them to sounds and pronunciations as early as possible. When doing puppet play, I speak in Korean while my husband speaks in Japanese/Mandarin.

We’ll occasionally catch Squishy engaging in “baby talk” back to the puppets (nothing we can understand…yet). In between naps, feedings, and tummy time, we use the puppets to keep him engaged during those down periods of time.

For older children, puppets serve as a great way to get their creative juices flowing and they construct scenarios and character development. It’s also a great way for children to overcome their shyness by channeling their emotions through characters. Give the HABA Puppet Frog a try.