Category Archives: Los Angeles

Counter Intelligence – the map

Just a quick note. I finally got sick of flipping through the book (Counter Intelligence) looking for a listing that is in the area I am visiting. You would think in the index, there would be a listing by area…nope. A ton of places waiting for foodies to explore listed alphabetically and by cuisine. (sigh) I mean, if you were already familiar with the places (and thus can remember their names and locations) you wouldn’t really need the book…right?

Basta! I stopped griping about it and decided to make a google map. It’s still a work in progress…and I am only up to the C’s. But in case you want to help out or enjoy the A-B listings, please feel free. The markers are color coded by large groupings of cuisine.

My Counter Intelligence map.


Bikram in Los Angeles

I moved out to Los Angeles a year ago almost to the day. I was disappointed to discover that Bikram was not as popular here as it is in NY where you can pretty much find a studio either near you work or you home. Even in bangkok, there was a studio near my house! Being car-less for the first 8 months, I resigned myself to the LA Fitness that was within walking distance.

A year and 10 lbs later, I now have a job and a car. And guess what…there are two Bikram studios between work and home. I chose the studio in Redondo to start up my return to Bikram based on the comments on yelp.

Cleanliness in a Bikram studio is very important to me. Especially so when you have a roomful of extremely sweaty people. Next on my consideration list would be changing rooms. In New York, big changing rooms are a luxury but once again it boils down to having enough cubbies, hooks, lockers. Generally most changing rooms have 2-3 showers. But most in NY will provide you with free soap and baggies (for your veeery wet clothes) I didn’t see any bags at redondo though. The most important consideration for me is the vibe of the place. How friendly and helpful are the staff? The instructors, the fellow practitioners. In this aspect…I found the studio at the Lower East Side in NY to be the absolute best in all categories.

The one in Redondo? Well its very clean and cute. The staff is great and every welcoming. The instructors use a microphone which I find a little disturbing since the room is not very big. The 7pm class is quite empty…which is a huge change from the crowded rooms of Williamsburg and the lower east side. I have so much room I can actually spread my arms without touching anyone!

The biggest change for me is the heat. I have always been slow to cool down. I look forward to the blasts of cold air when the door is opened. Well, not in LA. It seems that the temperature in the hall is pretty much the same as in the room. I am sitting in the hall gasping for air….trying to find a corner where the temperature is a tad cooler. In the end, i throw on enough clothes to be decent and stand outside in the breeze.

Oh yes, for those considering classes there, they have a 30$ beginner’s special forĀ  10 days.

Providence LA – One of the top 50 restaurants?

This I weekend, I took my husband on a ‘fancy night out.’ Fancier than the usual fancy as we were celebrating a double whammy, my belated ‘I just got a full time job’ celebration and his birthday. We had been to Craft and really liked it but I felt we had to go one level above. So after much scouring of Chowhound, I decided on Providence headed by Chef Joachim Splichal.

The verdict? I felt like a judge on Iron Chef. We opted for the full tasting menu (8 courses) with wine pairing. When the amuse bouche came, three drink theme tidbits beautifully presented, I knew we were in for a wild ride. Everything was beautifully presented, crazy creativity and most importantly it tasted great! We often were left staring bewildered at the plated wondering how the heck did they do that? (the mojito ravioli was an example…a translucent bubble that burst in your mouth)

Staff was very nice, not snobby. Make sure you dress up a little.

My only advice…unless you really eat a lot, the half tasting menu would have been enough. I can’t imagine how anyone does the 12 course chef’s extravaganza. Was it worth the $$? yes, but you have to be the type who really appreciates the artistry in cuisine.

LA County Fair: My First American ‘County Fair’

This weekend we went to the LA County Fair. I have never been to a county fair before and there’s no better time to start than the present to get a taste of Americana. My first experience was the 2 mile trek from ‘general parking.’ Getting out from the car, all you could see was an endless desert of concrete and cars. It was so far away I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of the Ferris wheel. However, if you keep your eyes peeled you will see the trolley stops. Have the patience to stand in line and you will be rewarded with a ride to the entrance. If you want to splurge (I imagine that you were trying to save money by NOT choosing ‘prefered parking’) then you can get a pedicab.

Once you pass the gates, you are bombarded with music, sounds, bright colors and lights. Its the usual fair stuff. Swings, ferris wheels and different games designed to take your money away from you. OK I understand the rides being painfully expensive. But I don’t understand why I would pay a fortune so they can win a small (or even big) ugly stuffed toy that they would never consider buying anywhere else? Is it the pride and joy of being able to give this prize to a beloved? Is it that a souvenir won is more meaningful than a souvenir bought? (nevertheless, I did get to take home a small funny looking stuffed dog)

The best part of the fair is the farm animals area. In this day and age, we hardly know where our food comes from.

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Los Angeles Central Library – Worth a visit

chandeliers in tom bradley wing
Originally uploaded by jimw.

As it turns out, I had 5 hours to kill while waiting for my Canadian visa approval. I decided to visit the LA Central Library … if nothing else it provides me with a place to sit, browse some books, plug-in my laptop and get some work done. I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

Working in the web industry, I have not physically visited a library since my school days (when you HAD to) or even thought of going to the library. As it turns out, the library is a great showcase of architecture, local art and has this tremendous sense of place and history that I didn’t know I missed. There is something sacred about walking into a place with so much history, symbolism and scale that simply cannot be compared to sitting in your underwear browsing wikipedia.

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DrupalCamp LA

drupalcampla_small.jpgI signed up for drupalCamp LA despite that little nagging voice in my head that tormented me with questions regarding my level of geekiness. At least in Flash conferences there were also designers and non-developers who did not speak in conditionals and booleans. Am i ‘man’ enough for drupalCamp? Upon entering, I discovered that ‘man enough’ is actually quite literal. As one presenter nudged me later in the day, and stage whispered, us-girls have got to stick together!

20070908-21- DrupalCamp LA Part3
Originally uploaded by roland.

DrupalCamp LA was held in AOL’s Beverly Hills digs. Beautiful common areas with funny sci-fi looking white and orange seats that surely must be used to brainwash all visitors. The cubes and chairs in the cubes were top class. I mean, if you have to work in a cube, it might as well look nice…right?

In the spirit of open source and un-conferences…there was a lot of chipping in and camaraderie. So if it means that there is a lot of standing around, general confusion and spontaneous changing of tracks, rooms and presenters, it was all done in good spirit and cheer.

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One good thing about LA: pinkberry

At last a frozen yogurt that doesn’t try to taste like something else!! My friend Alex turned me on to this simple delicious treat! Yogurty goodness that is tart, cool and refreshing…pinkberry.


Ok the long lines are somewhat annoying, but as many can attest, its definitely worth the wait.

yakult.jpgI have always been a fan of the yogurt taste. Pinkberry reminds me of the Asian bacteria drink I grew up with in Thailand, Yakult. (but better because it’s frozen) The Yakult ladies would ride their bicycles and deliver the drink to your door. I guess bacteria drink never caught on here in this side of the world.

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