I am very Wesssiiide but I love everything about Los Angeles and make a point to explore the City. The Boyfriend and I have been on this staycation kick in the past few months. L.A. is not just for tourists. We wanted to enjoy it, too. A few times a years, we stay the night or weekend at a local hotel, dine at local spots, and explore everything by foot only. This Labor Day Weekend, we explored Little Tokyo.
Our hotel of choice is usually the DoubleTree because 1) the amenities, 2) the price, and 3) the cookie. #keepingitreal #doubletreecookie
We were only a couple of blocks away from Grand Park so we had a chance to enjoy The Music Center‘s last night of Dance L.A. It was salsa night and I learned a step or two.
After Dance L.A., we ventured southwest to Gallery Row but ended up returning to Japanese Village Plaza for sushi. I can’t remember which restaurant because we stopped at a few spots and then picked the one with the shortest line. Even though it didn’t have the wait like others, we enjoyed the albacore tataki– which we were both craving. It hit the spot, which was all that mattered.
At 10 pm, it was still hot as Hades. After consulting my phone for an ice cream spot that was still open and had at least four stars, Honeymee was it. I had the Matcha Affogato with was milk ice cream with liquid honey swirl and organic matcha. Heads up that I was on a matcha kick during this vacation. More matcha reports ahead.
Get there before 11:00 am or you will likely face a rush. But, Jist Cafe next to EastWest Players is worth the wait. Thankfully, we arrived before the line formed. The portions leave you satiated at least until early dinnertime. They offer a unique twist to the familiar. I had a char siu pork with potatoes– akin to corned beef hash. Order it with rice to cut some of the richness. They have adult beverages, like mimosa but with soju, but I opted for coffee.
After brunch we, headed to the Arts District, which was poppin’ even during the day. We walked to the Arts District Co-op to pick up my race bib and swag for Blacklist LA’s HBDLA5K, which was happening the following evening. Had I not been trying to Marie Kondo my closet, I would have purchased a stylish grey tote for $25. The Co-op had a lot of cute stuff at an affordable price. Skip Forever21 and support the local designers that have their stuff here.
XLanesLA in the Little Tokyo Galleria was a blast. For $50 an hour, we managed to get three games of bowling fun. I might have even gotten quads and arms workout. The bar at the back was legit and showed college football and Dodgers game on t.v. Folks were friendly and the dude we sat next to worked at a very popular brewery nearby. He gave us inside scoop about an upcoming event. Always be nice to people for they might give you delicious intel.
Matcha! Matcha! Matcha! was the theme this weekend, especially with the 99 degree temp outside. On our way back from the Arts District and bowling, we stopped by Midori Matcha and ordered their match soft serve. It was really the right thing to do: hot weather + Little Tokyo = matcha soft serve. I dont’ know how else to explain it. Since matcha is not sweet, add a little bit of honey for a light, sweet kick. You’re welcome.
After all the walking in the heat and indulging in the matcha soft serve, I had to take a nap. When I woke up, we headed to Highland Park for drinks and then a friend’s party. This was sort of a cheat on the staycation, but I didn’t want to flake on plans made a month before our spontaneous staycation.
SUNDAY: RACE DAY
It’s been on our list so we’re happy that we finally made it. The original plan was Eggslut but the line was waaay too long. I’m a grown up and don’t do lines. We peaced out after we saw the line and decided that in order for us not to WWE and continue to love each , we needed to find a restaurant with A/C and stat. Heat and hanger were really getting to us and affecting our usual positive affects. Happy that, despite our hungry delirium, we managed to think of Clifton’s.
The kitsch was so worth it and the food was suprisingly good. I had chilaquiles, oj, and a gelatin conconction (can’t say Jell-O anymore; ’cause, you know… that guy.)
They had a jazz band that was awesome. Adult beverages were served upstairs.
We walked back to the hotel, watched bad reality t.v., and I napped for two hours. Then I got up and ran BlacklistLA’s HBDLA5K. The 5K reminded me why I loved running: it’s so great to be a part of L.A’s running community and be supported by people who don’t know me. I loved being told that ‘[I’m] almost there’ at every turn. I finished the race better than I thought. I wasn’t last. The 5K got me re-energized about running again. Once upon a time, I ran one marathon and two half-marathons per year for 10 years. I loved running so much but then I discovered golf and that didn’t suck at it.
I need to figure out how to do both…
MONDAY: Our Last Day
While recovering from my 5K from the previous evening, I flipped my Westways Magazine (that magazine you get from AAA) and checked out their various SoCal recommendations. They actually had a page on matcha!!! So, for breakfast, I heeded their advice and headed to Cafe Dulce. I have been to Cafe Dulce before but I followed their recommendation: matcha roti and coffee, black. It was perfect. Do it!
After our coffee and roti, we hung out at Marukai in Weller Court as we waited for Kinokuniya Bookstore to open. It was hot outside and we knew that Marukai would have air conditioning. The ice cream aisle was perfect.
The Boyfriend discovered Kinokuniya the previous day when he was out for curry and I was napping. I was in search of scented highlighters and the selection from the Sanrio store and other gift shops we visited were just aight. I wanted a couple of new highlighters and pens that would be fun to use. I am old school in that I enjoy writing letters and going crazy with highlighters when I read long docs. Kinokuniya was worth the wait. It was like being in a pen candy store! I bought a couple of highlighters, a pen, and a new journal. I didn’t even make it to the back of the store or the locked and staffed pen case area. It was too much for a first visit. There will be a next time very soon.
We have staycationed in Hollywood (La La Land at Hollywood Bowl, Walk of Fame, Spiderman, stayed at Loews Hollywood Hotel on Highland,) and Pasadena (Rose Bowl, Old Town, and stayed at The Westin Pasadena). Not sure of our next destination– Universal, El Segundo, and San Pedro have all come up. I/we suggest staycationing because there’s so much more to L.A. Real staycationing– staying in a hotel and staying super local– offered an immersion to the different cultures and vibe in this great City. Were it not for our Little Tokyo staycation, I would not have discovered my new love: matcha.