This past weekend, I flew to Nashville with my girl friends Winnie, Alice, and Roxana. I wanted to get my hands on as much hot chicken as possible after having watched the Hot Ones video series on YouTube prior and salivating each time. So of course I took my food research quite seriously. My friends probably got sick of having so much meat every meal. I think I ate enough chicken to last me through the rest of this year. Anywhos, here’s a list of all the places we tried. Enjoy! (P.S. I only brought my phone with me this time, so no DSLR quality photos :T)
Not sure why we don’t do this more often, but taking cooking classes in a foreign country is a great way to learn about their culture and meet fellow tourists. We fell in love with Indonesian food during our stay in Bali, so I’m glad we got a chance to prepare some common dishes. Prior to the trip, we booked a morning class at Paon Cooking Class, which lasted from 8:30AM to around 1:30PM. I recommend the morning class because it includes a market tour (afternoon one doesn’t), so you see where the ingredients come from and taste some locally grown fruit.
In the middle of tourist central Hollywood lies a small respite – The Museum of Broken Relationships. At first I asked myself, do I really want to get emotionally drained during our trip? I have a tendency to put the burden of other people’s sorrow and misery onto myself. As such, I didn’t know if I was ready to challenge my own sensitivity, especially since I’ve finally found myself in a happy relationship. But as it turns out, being in a better place in my life allowed me to step back and empathize or sympathize with others better. The museum was more a haven of hope and positive outlook through introspection rather than a weep fest. Also, it covered a range of relationships – relationships with partners, friends, oneself, etc.
I’ll admit, the main reason I wanted to visit Singapore was because I saw the Fung Brothers eating at the hawker stalls there. I think one of the most fascinating things about Singapore is that it is truly a city of immigrants. Malaysians, Chinese, Indians practicing a range of religions from Islam to Buddhism to Christianity. This diversity also lends itself to a diversity of flavors in Singaporean cuisine. Here are some of our recommended foods!
One of the strangest, most fascinating “theme parks” we’ve visited was in Singapore. Haw Par Villa was commissioned by the creators of Tiger Balm to educate the masses in Chinese culture. As such, the park’s attractions are all related to characters in popular Chinese folklore and mythology which can range from bright and colorful to grotesque. It was a failed business venture as Haw Par Villa incurred losses over the years, eventually making the admission free. Many of the statues and dioramas are still being restored. I suggest lathering on the sunscreen because there was barely any shade and we were baking in the sun! Sweaty and parched, it was still worth checking out the graphic displays (warning: some images are not for children…or they are, if you want to teach your kids not to sin and be banished to hell).
Once upon a time I was obsessed with the film 500 Days of Summer. One of the most beautiful locations was The Bradbury Building, located in downtown Los Angeles. From the outside, it looks like many other landmark historical buildings. Inside, it’s obvious why it’s chosen as the backdrop for so many photo and video shoots. There are, however, restricted areas because does house several office spaces and government departments. My favorite things about the interior are definitely the ornamental cast iron banisters and giant skylight to flow a ton of natural sunlight into the atrium below.
One of the best outlooks in Los Angeles has got to be Griffith Observatory. You can clearly see the Hollywood sign from here! Not only is it a great spot for a first date, but it also has a giant telescope, space exhibits, and a planetarium. It’s also a popular place for fashion bloggers and their Instagram husbands. Moreover, admission is free (except for the planetarium).
As a New Yorker, I am perpetually envious of southern Californians who get to enjoy beautiful weather all year round. Yes, I enjoy the feeling of moving into another season a few times each year, but sometimes I wish we had the luxury to visit the beach on a whim without worrying about freezing temperatures. Santa Monica Pier, to me, is the image of California I’ve been fed by television shows and movies all my life. An expansive beach with crashing waves, surfers, carnival rides, skateboarders, and immaculately tan and fit residents everywhere.
The Broad is one of Los Angeles’ hottest new contemporary art museums, financed by Eli Broad. I initially thought it was pronounced “Broad” as in “ya dumb broad!” but it actually rhymes with “road.” The building itself is a work of art by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Its special design comprises of a veil and a vault. The vault is the concrete “base” that floats above ground level. The veil is the honeycomb skeleton that wraps around the building, made of fiberglass-reinforced concrete. Beside the museum is a small grove of 100-year-old olive trees that look like a mini enchanted forest when it’s lit up at night. There are mini tree stumps for seating. The Broad is also located across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry. Truly an architectural paradise 🙂
Prior to visiting Taiwan, I was doing some research and discovered that Spirited Away, one of my favorite Miyazaki films, is based on the coastal town of Jiufen 九份. And being a Studio Ghibli fan, of course I had to go see it in person. It’s a popular tourist spot amongst people all across Asia (there were a lot of Korean and Japanese fans). We went closer to night time to see the lanterns, but do note that the shops close pretty early (around 7pm)! During the day, you can get some awesome coastal views if it’s not too foggy. Wish we had more time to explore while it was still light out.