Los Angeles, CA

Bright Shiny Mornings In Los Angeles

I recognized some good reads on the book shelves, including A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, a controversial author who marked his first book non-fiction but full of lies. Oprah Winfrey was pissed. He was in trouble… I still enjoyed A Million Little Pieces a lot though.

It reminded me of reading James Frey’s third book, a fiction called Bright Shiny Morning back in 2010. He wrote about a city – Los Angeles. He wrote about people who were drawn to Los Angeles and who they were, why they came, what they wanted, whether they got it, if they didn’t get that, then what they got instead. The characters and stories in the book started slowly reflecting back in my head.

They had dreams but they called them dreams because they were unrelated to reality, they were a distant unknown, an impossibility, they would never come true.

– James Frey, Bright Shiny Morning

Los Angeles

“Let me move the coffee table. I am going to set up an aerobed for you guys. Sorry, our place is quite small. I am just so glad that you finally decided to come!” Kat bended over to reach the coffee table in front of the couch, on which I was sitting while having my deep thought about the book.

My mind was dragged back to reality by her sweet voice.

All of sudden, I realized that we were in our friend’s living room on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles – the city I had imagined million times because of the book. It was so exciting to be in LA! What’s even more exciting was to hang out with this great couple – Kat and Brian. We all met in Shanghai three years ago and somehow unbelievably got together on the other side of the world.

Kat and Brian

We arrived on a bright shiny morning of a Friday early in December. Los Angeles was at its coldest time of the year but still warmer than San Francisco. The city was widely spread out and very well developed except that the public transportation isn’t as useful as it could be. As a result, you are pretty much going nowhere without a car which leads to a horrible traffic in LA. That’s probably the only down side we could think of when we were in the city.

It was just a weekend. It’s so short that we didn’t want to leave at the end. But it’s long enough for us to start loving LA. Maybe it’s because our good friends live there; maybe it’s because we were attracted to the city of Los Angeles’s own charisma. After all, we loved it.

Han And Sharon

There were no fixed itineraries for our LA trip. It was mainly for visiting our friends. However, Kat, who is also an avid traveler, always has the best suggestions. We have not yet been disappointed at a single place recommended by her. In her hood, we were luckily taken to check out some of the greatest places in LA.

Here is a list of the places and restaurants we went to and we think you will like them too.

Places To See 

  • Griffith Observatory  – a must-see as you will find out that the crazy stuff you learned from school finally makes sense. Plus, it’s a great place to bird view the city of Los Angeles.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

  • The Grove -  a very nice shopping area with tons of boutique stores and great food. The Christmas decoration made things super festive, especially at night.

The Grove

The Grove

  • Runyon Canyon – offers the best view of Lost Angeles. Take your dog and go for a hike.

The Grove

  • Little Tokyo - full of Japanese restaurants and stores. Stop by one of these Japanese sweet stores to get some mochis. Good stuff!
  • Venice Beach - lovely beach for relaxing and people watching. Prepare to encounter lots of interestingly talented characters.

Venice Beach Venice Beach Venice Beach

Places To Eat

  • Oo-Kook Korean Barbecue - We highly recommend this all-you-can-eat BBQ restaurant located in Koreatown. They don’t have a lot stuff on the menu but every dish is a hit. Make sure you offer the shrimp when you are there!

Oo-Kook Korean Barbecue

  • The Boiling Crab - If you like seafood, you are going to love this place. Crabs and shrimps are their specialty. You eat with your hands after shaking the seafood with your preferred seasonings in a plastic bag. Spicy? Bring it on! So good! The Boiling Crab is a chain restaurant. So yelp one close to you. (Sorry, hands were all up on the crabs – no photos. :P)
  • JiST Cafe – Located in Little Tokyo, JiST Cafe offers big portion of absolutely delish food and excellent service. Must go!

JiST Cafe JiST Cafe JiST Cafe

  • Seoul Garden – Here comes a new concept of hotpot. Order their Genhis Khan Shabu Shabu. Excellent quality of meat and a huge plate of veggies go first, then noodles followed by rice and seaweed tossed in the pot, wrapping up all the flavors from the soup. It’s one of the most comfort meals we have ever had. Oh, two orders are enough for 4 people. :)

Seoul Garden

  • Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream - All I have to say about this place is that their ice cream is very special and delicious. Make sure you check it out when you are ever in Hollywood.
  • The Pizza Studio – spend 8 dollars to build your own pizza!

Here are our bright shiny mornings in LA. We hope you enjoy yours too! Thanks for reading. Talk soon!

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