The First Weekend in Southern California (18-20 Dec)


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My lobster travel buddy was excited to leave Boston for the first time.

Friday, 18 Dec

I don’t know how to feel about today. About this time last year, I had just barely started working here at the Arnold Arboretum. Now, here I am, a year later. What am I doing? Flying BACK to California. WHAT?! Insane! But here I am, doing just that. Sadly — to my beau’s dismay — I’m not permanently returning, only temporarily for a holiday. Thankfully, despite that fact, he was excited to be the one picking me up late at night when I flew into¬† the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and take me out for dinner.

Now the question came to be: what to have for dinner? I can never decide, especially when there are so many choices, so many places I want to eat at once I returned to Southern California. So, I consulted my good friend Yelp. My Yelp results told me that 95% of the places I wanted to go were essentially closed, or closing by the time I would arrive at the restaurant. So, I had to resort to my “if I feel like it” list of places to eat. At first, the thought was, “Oh! Coconut Bay! They’re great and they’re usually open until 2am!” Turns out, the place was closed — PERMANENTLY. Oh the tragedy! Then, I remembered, Coconut Bay has a sister restaurant from which it stemmed: Banana Bay. Thus, lo and behold! A place to eat! And om nom nom nom nom there we did.

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Once upon a time in a time long ago, this was the Supreme Dragon restaurant.

Saturday, 19 Dec

First day back in Southern California. What to eat for breakfast? Ha! What a question. No question, undoubtedly Yi Mei Deli, my favourite Taiwanese breakfast food place! It was glorious! That’s all there is to say about that.

However, the sad thing was: in the same plaza where Yi Mei resides, there once stood a restaurant I grew up eating at every so often. It was known, in English, as the Supreme Dragon. Over the years, I had watched their health grade decrease from being an A restaurant to a C restaurant. I guess it finally caught up to them and they were forced to shut down. Sad times, man, sad times.

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Holiday tree and lighting adventures at Saddleback Church.

Sunday, 20 Dec

The holiday season comes with lots of holiday cheer — and decorations. This morning, I was shoveled out of bed bright and early to tag along with my beau to Saddleback Church, one of the giant megachurches in Southern California. Why? Because he volunteers there. So to entertain myself for the few hours he was there, I had some fun helping out here and there. We set up some Christmas trees — oh my gosh, there are these fancy new trees with lights already ON them that light up via magnets (or something, most likely these from Balsam Hill) — and some striplights and — oh my favourite — empty boxes wrapped up in wrapping paper for a holiday photoshoot at the entrance. Oh, if only I had been there a few week earlier I would’ve LOVED to wrap those empty boxes! Bummer. Oh well, it was still fun.

After the holiday decorating fun, we hurried on over to another, smaller church called Canvas. There, I mused at the a hand made cloud with tulle rainbow colours coming out of it. For the longest time, I pondered how that came to be and stared at it in awe.

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My Baja Fresh fish (left) and shrimp (right) taco!

Then, my first set of tacos in California: a Baja Fresh fish taco and a shrimp taco. Sure, sure, it’s not necessarily the BEST stuff in California, but it still counts for something right? After all, the chain Americanised Mexican food places here in Southern California are still better than the “best mom and pop” Mexican food in Boston. Oh Mexican food, despite how much I despite thy beans and rice, I will always love thy seafood — and carne asada.

“Today” I Learned

  • A highway and freeway are two different things, though the words are often used interchangeably. A highway has traffic lights along it, despite the usual long stretches where you can go rather fast (>50mph). A freeway, on the other hand, doesn’t, it’s just fast going all the way through — if you’re driving correctly.

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