LA Trip Highlights

After 5 days at home, I found myself on the road again, this time for a weekend trip to LA. I had a rare opportunity to spend a few days with some of my dearest friends. We've all been friends since our freshman year of college and have managed to keep in touch over the years. One of my friends lives in the area, and the one lives on the East Coast, but was in town visiting family for the holidays. Since I'm just an hour's flight away, they invited me down so we could spend a couple of days together. It'd been a really, really long time since we had the chance to all hang out together.

IMG_8214
IMG_8214

{photo taken on my iPhone by a 4-year old}

We're all from Hawai'i and *love* to eat, so it wasn't surprising that the entire weekend was scheduled around food:

Back Home In Lahaina

In my opinion, this place has the best Hawaiian food in California. Heck, I'll even go as far as to say the West Coast!

IMG_8209
IMG_8209

{lau lau, ahi poke, fried rice, somen salad, chicken katsu, kalbi, rice}

IMG_3449
IMG_3449

{saimin}

IMG_3451
IMG_3451

{bread pudding}

...mot to mention haupia (coconut) cheesecake -- quite possibly my favorite dessert of all time.

IMG_3450
IMG_3450

{haupia cheesecake}

Their only locations are in Southern California -- Torrance and Manhattan Beach -- both of which I've dined at multiple times. Every time I'm there I ask them to open a Northern California location. Maybe some day it will happen.

Cafe Rio

My friends and I spent our college years in Utah, where this place called "Cafe Rio" originated. It's like Chipotle; (Mexican food), but they have this amazing sweet pork barbacoa that is served in a huge tortilla salad.

Before arriving, I had no idea that Cafe Rio had opened in Manhattan Beach so this was definitely a nice surprise!

And like Back Home In Lahaina, I also wish that they had locations in Northern California. The closest thing we have is Costa Vida in Sacramento (which I fully admit to making road trips just to dine there).

Korean Tofu Soup

I was first introduced to Korean Tofu Soup a few years ago when I worked in Cupertino. There was a great place near my office where my colleagues and I lunched at quite often.

It's different types of piping hot soups. You can choose from mushroom, beef, vegetable dumplings, etc. It's served in a clay bowl with tofu and a raw egg that cooks as soon as you add it to the soup. (Confession: I choose not to add the egg.) You're also provided with a bowl of hot rice. In addition, you are served a bunch of little dishes of a variety of kim chee. It's an ideal meal during the winter.

I don't know what the name of the restaurant that we went to, but it was in Torrance and it was delicious!

I can always count on my friends to take me to the best restaurants!

Other Highlights of the short trip include visits to The Strand and the Manhattan Beach Pier:

IMG_8220
IMG_8220
IMG_8221
IMG_8221
IMG_8223
IMG_8223

{kelly & donna's 90210 beach house}

IMG_8233
IMG_8233

{scootin' down the pier}

I am so blessed to have such special friends. It's been 19 years since we all first met and I'm so glad that we are still good friends. They don't use social media sites, so we really do have to make the effort to keep in touch and I'm so glad that we do.

PS I would be remiss if I didn't give a special shout out to Mikilani - our 4th who couldn't join us but was there in spirit!

PPS I attempted a short run while at The Strand. It didn't go so well. If you're keeping track, I am now going on 16 days and counting since being able to run. More on this tomorrow.