Bargain Hunting at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet

Now I don’t really know about the rest of the world, but here in southern CA, swap meets are kinda a big deal. Locals flock to them on the weekends to pick up toys, household goods, new pets, electronics, gifts, furniture… you name it, they probably sell it at the swap meet…at ridiculously low prices. It is a budget shopper’s paradise!

There are several of them throughout the area, but there is one that stands out among the rest: the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

By far the largest swap meet around, it also features live music, tons of food and beer choices, and hundreds of vendors. The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet is more than just a place to find some great deals- it is a day (or night) of fun for the whole family! Or possibly a unique date night option.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

Back in 1948, 18 acres of land were purchased in an unincorporated part of LA County known as “Dairy Valley.” The land consisted of a dairy and an orange grove, but the new landowners had other plans for it. They began constructing a drive-in theater.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

Full House, a cool metal cover band, was playing when we arrived.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

Robbie showing off the banner featuring his band.

The “La Mirada Drive-In Theatre” opened in 1950 as one of the largest drive-in theaters in the country. It could hold over 1000 cars! The name “La Mirada” was used because the city of Santa Fe Springs didn’t exist yet, and La Mirada was the closet city.

The theater was set up in a way to reserve a good portion of the grounds for future possible projects, including ideas for walk-in theaters, restaurants, or even a heliport. That area (as well as the drive-in theater, eventually) is what became the swap meet.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

It was 15 years before the swap meet was open to the public. In 1965, the “La Mirada Swap Meet” opened for the first time. The dirt field in front of the property provided ample parking for the thousands of swap attendees. Nowadays, more than a million people visit the swap meet every year.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

In 1990, the drive-in theater ceased daily operations due to decreasing attendance and the rising popularity of the swap meet. They installed stadium lighting and began LA’s first outdoor night swap meet. A couple years later, they officially changed the name to “Santa Fe Springs Drive-In Theatre and Swap Meet.”

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet now has over 500 vendors selling everything from collectibles to clothing, electronics to crafts. Pretty much anything you could want. Their slogan is, “Come for the bargains, stay for the fun!”.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

I recommend bringing your appetite to the swap meet, cause there are tons of tasty food options! A full snack bar, food trucks, and kiosk carts selling all sorts of fun food offerings, including their famous menudo available for breakfast, for those with stronger stomachs than me (I just can’t get on board with eating tripe).

To quench your thirst, there is a beer garden serving more than 20 beers on tap. But they are most famous for their micheladas (served all day long!).

My food picks: churros, michelaguas, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

The swap meet has a large stage and covered seating area featuring live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This area also includes large HD TVs showing popular sporting events. To see the swap meet’s schedule of events and weekly band lineup, check out their calendar!

However what brought us here on this particular weekend was a special after hours event in which Robbie’s band was playing. KROQ (106.7, southern California’s alternative rock radio station) hosted a “Roq of the 90’s” show featuring four nineties-era tribute bands including Nirvanish, Green ToDay (Robbie’s band!), Lose Your Illusion, and Slaves Against the Machine. Totally an awesome lineup.

Here are lots of pics of Green ToDay! Believe me when I say this is only a small portion of what I actually took. I just can’t help it.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

My boyfriend “Rob Cool” and Kevin “The Other Guitar Player”

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

And here’s a video Robbie filmed during their set. Check it out!

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

Seriously THE BEST Green Day tribute band around.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

❤ ❤ ❤

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

For a list of their upcoming shows and booking info, visit the Green ToDay website!

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

That moment when you are trying to photograph the event and accidentally catch bae with a “deer in the headlights” look

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

This event was tons of fun! I always love watching my man play, and the rest of the bands totally rocked too! Because of the nature of our particular visit, I wasn’t able to see very much of the swap meet itself or experience all of the foods and tasty treats I would’ve liked. All the more reason to go again!


LOCATION:

13963 Alondra Blvd‎.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

(562)921-4359

Major cross streets: Alondra Blvd and Valley View Ave

FREE PARKING!


ADMISSION:

Tuesday – Thursday: Free
Friday Night: $2.50
Saturday: $1.00
Sunday: $1.50


Have any favorite vendors or favorite swap meet foods? Share them in the comments!

For additional information, visit the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet website.


 

Brewery Spotlight: Angel City Brewery

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

As a born and raised Los Angeleno (a rare specimen in this town), this brewery holds a special place in my heart. I get so weirdly proud when I see Angel City beers on supermarket shelves, and am so glad I finally found a day to check out their brewery and public house. I dragged my boyfriend Robbie over there for an Earth Day festival last month, and it was everything I could’ve hoped for!

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

The brewery is located in a weird industrial section on the outskirts of downtown LA, right on the edge of Little Tokyo and the Arts District. You would never expect to find a brewery here. I’ve driven through this area hundreds of times over the years and had no idea it was here until a couple months ago. The area seems a little sketchy, but this part of town is actually ok. It’s just a little dirty and rundown.

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

Angel City Brewing was founded in 1997. It started out modestly, operating out of a German-made brewery in Alpine Village (near LA) until moving to its current location in the historic John A. Roebling building in LA’s Downtown Arts District in 2010. In 2012, Angel City Brewing was bought by craft beer collaboration Alchemy & Science and began undergoing massive renovations. They started brewing onsite in April of 2012, and opened the doors to the brewery and public house in 2013. Their goal was to give Los Angeles a great brewery, and they were absolutely successful.

The brewery offers a rotating selection of Angel City beers on tap, including ones available exclusively at the brewery. They also offer tours, events, a shop, and bottled beers and growlers to take home. Plus it’s just overall a really cool place to hang out.

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

The building itself is super cool. It looks like it could’ve been an old factory or warehouse (which makes sense, based on the area it’s in). It’s very wide and open, with tons of seating. The bar can get pretty busy and it may take awhile to get a drink though.

There is almost always something happening at Angel City, so it’s worth checking out their event calendar before heading over. Craft vendors, live music, yoga, karaoke… no two weeks are the same here. And there are always games such as darts or corn hole available to play at the brewery regardless of what else is going on.

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

Since we were there for an Earth Day event, we wanted to walk around and check everything out before settling in to drink. So we each grabbed a pint to sip on as we strolled through the festival. I tried the Saaz-berry, which was fruity and refreshing and wonderful, brewed with raspberries, blueberries, elderberries, and noble hops.

SAAZ-BERRY, fruit beer, 4.8% ABV

There are around 14 beers on tap to choose from, so definitely try more than one.

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

After we were hot and tired from walking around (I am fairly certain the brewery doesn’t have air conditioning), it was time to get our drink on! We ordered a flight and sat down to drink it while watching one of the bands performing at the festival.

Our beer flight:

WHITE NITE, nitrogenated ale, 4.3% ABV

ANGEL CITY LAger, honey grapefruit lager, 4.8% ABV

BERLINER WEISSE, berliner weisse, 3.3% ABV

BLACK DAY DRY STOUT, dry Irish stout, 4.6% ABV

RAUCHBIER, rauchbier, 5.5% ABV

My top pick: the White Nite. While listed as a nitrogenated ale on the website, the menu in the brewery called it a white stout, which is what intrigued me. This is one of the trippiest beers I’ve ever had. The flavor was just like a stout, except the beer was less heavy. It was so weird getting a stout flavor from a light beer. All the flavor, way less filling. Super cool.

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

My boyfriend is a total stud ❤

The brewery itself doesn’t serve food, but there is always a food truck or two parked outside, and you are totally welcome to bring your food into the brewery. We got these awesome veggie nachos. Yum. Click here for their food truck schedule!

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

On the way out we stopped by the gift shop, which has tons of cool merch and bottled beers to take home (and also a smaller, secondary bar/tasting area). We picked up a bottle of their Srirachelada, and when we brought it up to pay, the bartender offered us a sample.

O.M.G. it was so good! Basically a pre-mixed michelada in a bottle. Served with lime and some tajin on the rim…perfection.

SRIRACHELADA, ale, 4.0% ABV

Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

LOCATION

216 Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 622-1261

HOURS

Mon-Thurs: 4pm – 1am
Fri: 4pm – 2am
Sat: 12pm – 2am
Sun: 12pm – 1am
Beer, craft beer, craft brewery, angel city brewery, los angeles, los angeles breweries, angel city beer

I ❤ photo booths!

I think this quote from Robbie as we were driving back home best sums up our time at Angel City Brewery: “We drank a lot of good beers today.”

For more information, check out their website!


Have you been to Angel City Brewery or tried any of their beers from the store? Share your thoughts!

The Original LA Farmer’s Market

Living in southern CA with its year-round good weather, there is never a shortage of farmer’s markets to check out. Pretty much every city has one, so you never have to travel far for fresh products and handmade goods. However, only one of them is a must-see destination for visitors: the Original Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. This is the grand-daddy of all of southern CA’s farmer’s markets and is a piece of early Los Angeles history. Plus it’s just super fun.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

In 1880, A.F. Gilmore and his business partner bought two dairy farms near the city of Los Angeles. 10 years later, they decided to break off the partnership and divide their land and businesses. Gilmore took control over their 256-acre ranch at the corner of 3rd & Fairfax.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

When digging new wells in attempts to expand his dairy herd in the early 1900s, Gilmore struck oil. The cows were quickly replaced with oil derricks. However when the borders of Los Angeles were expanded to include Gilmore’s property, the derricks were no longer permitted to continue drilling for oil on a large scale.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

And so the property remained vacant until the 1930s (1934 to be exact, the peak of the Great Depression), when two entrepreneurs approached A.F. Gilmore’s son, E.B. Gilmore, with a grand idea.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

Check out them apples.

Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm wanted to create a place where local farmers could set up stands to sell their fresh-off-the-farm produce, and the vacant lots at the corner of 3rd & Fairfax seemed like an ideal location. Gilmore agreed to give it a shot, and so in July of 1934, the first batch of farmers and merchants arrived to sell their goods out of the back of their trucks.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

Fresh squeezed juices! Yummy!!

By the end of 1934, the market had grown to the point where merchants, including restaurants, grocers, and farmers, began moving into permanent stalls, turning the farmer’s market into what it is today. The fact that the market was able to thrive during the worst economic point of U.S. history is really a testament to the ingenuity of the entrepreneurs and the farmers who participated right from the start. They knew it would be a success.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

The iconic farmer’s market clock tower was added in 1948. It originally featured the phrase “An Idea” painted above the entrance, paying homage to the founders of the market and the original 18 tenants. However the clock tower now lives above shops.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

It has since grown into a must-see destination for locals and travelers alike, providing a unique blend of old and new LA. The market was here, in this exact same location, before Los Angeles as we know it even existed. And now it’s in the center of one of the poshest areas of the city. It’s crazy thinking how much has changed over the last 100 years.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

There are dozens of produce vendors, restaurants, and specialty food shops located throughout the farmer’s market. You’ll definitely want to go there hungry, because there is so much tasty food available to purchase!

The permanent shops and eateries, as well as experiencing history,  are the main reasons to head to this particular farmer’s market. As far as produce goes, there isn’t a ton available, and you’re better off buying produce from a market in any of the surrounding cities that is less crowded and has easier parking and more produce choices. Coming here for your weekly grocery shopping would be way too much of a hassle, unless you lived within walking distance.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

The market is located right next to The Grove, which is arguably the best outdoor mall in southern CA. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth popping over there for a bit to check out all the cool stores and restaurants.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

The farmer’s market also hosts events throughout the year, including live music every Friday and Saturday. Click here for their calendar of events!

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

LOCATION

6333 W.3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90036
Telephone: (323) 933-9211

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday – Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 9am – 8pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Some merchant hours may vary. Please call individual businesses to confirm their hours.

PARKING AT FARMERS MARKET

Parking is available in either of the Market’s two convenient lots. Parking rates are enforced 24 hours a day.
Parking Rates WITH Validation
90 minutes free validation with purchase from a Farmers Market merchant
$3 for first 15 minutes after 90 minute validation period
$1 for each additional 15 minutes thereafter
$24 maximum
*Lost ticket pays maximum
Parking Rates WITHOUT Validation
$2 for each 15 minutes
$30 maximum
*Lost ticket pays maximum
Additional parking is also available in The Grove Parking Structure, next door. One hour parking in the structure is free.
*Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Diners Club accepted at all parking exits.*

For more information, visit the Original LA Farmer’s Market website.

Dollar-A-Dish Campaign: OB Brewery

Looking for a fun and easy way to give back this month? Well my so cal peeps, especially those near San Diego County, this month the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank is hosting a Dollar-A-Dish campaign! If you dine at a participating restaurant and order the featured item, $1 from each dish sold will be donated to the food bank to help provide weekend food for elementary school children living in poverty.

Dollar a dish, Jacobs and Cushman san diego food bank, food bank, charity, philanthropy, san diego, ocean beach, ob brewery, ocean beach brewery, southern California charities, ways to give back, donate, beer, craft beer, microbrewery, helping out

About the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County, distributing over 22 million pounds of food annually.

Through the support of the USDA, food manufacturers, food retailers, the agricultural sector, and food drives, as well as through financial contributions, the food bank is able to purchase protein-rich foods, fresh produce, and dry staple foods such as beans, oatmeal, and rice to help feed approximately 370,000 people in San Diego County each month.

With the help of more than 28,000 volunteers, the food bank acquires, stores, organizes, and distributes food through a network of 330 nonprofit partner organizations such as food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless and residential shelters, youth programs, senior centers, and low-income daycare centers in communities throughout San Diego County.  They also distribute food to those in need directly through their 183 distribution centers.

Their Mission:

The San Diego Food Bank provides nutritious food to people in need, advocates for the hungry,  and educates the public about hunger related issues.

Dollar a dish, Jacobs and Cushman san diego food bank, food bank, charity, philanthropy, san diego, ocean beach, ob brewery, ocean beach brewery, southern California charities, ways to give back, donate, beer, craft beer, microbrewery, helping out

Photo Credit: San Diego Food Bank Website

I found this promotion through OB Brewery, but there are tons of other restaurants getting involved too! Here is a list of where to go and what to order (San Diego county locations only):

Participating Restaurant – Featured Dish

333 Pacific – Fresh Catch
Ambrogio15 – Salame al Cioccolato and Esperienze
Analog – Western Burger
Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
– Sesame Tuna & Lemon Pepper Shrimp Duo
Bo-beau Kitchen + Garden – Boeuf Bourguignon
Carnitas’ Snack Shack (North Park and Embarcadero)
– Triple Threat Pork Sandwich
Coasterra – 14 oz. Black Angus New York Strip
Corvette Diner – Patsy’s Pastrami Burger
Cucina Enoteca Del Mar – Cucina Vino (Red and White)
Cucina Urbana – Cucina Vino (Red and White)
Cucina Sorella – Cucina Vino (Red and White)
Fireside by The Patio – Beef and Bleu Flatbread
Harvest by The Patio – Crispy Artichokes
Indigo Grill – Skirts on Fire
Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar – Octopus a la Plancha
Jenny Wenny Cakes
– Vanilla or Chocolate Cupcakes or Cake
Maggie’s Cafe – Sunny California Burger or Coronita
Nomad Donuts
– Cold Brew Coffee and Specialty Dozen
OB Brewery – Fish ‘n’ Chips
Puesto (The Headquarters and La Jolla) – Frozen Horchata
Red Card Café – Fusilli Bolognese
Rita’s Ice (Escondido location ONLY) – Italian Ice Flights
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery – Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Burgers
Royal Stone Bistro – Every bottle of wine sold!
Saska’s Steakhouse – Artichoke Dip
Sea 180 Coastal Tavern – Seared Diver Scallops and Smoked Pork Belly
Solare Ristorante – Frittura Di Pesce and Cocktail Sin Nombre
Sushi Lounge (Encinitas, Point Loma & Poway) – Give Back Roll
Sweet Petite Confections – SPC Second Anniversary Bonbon Collection
The MainCourse Restaurant – Any steak on the menu!
The Patio on Goldfinch – Beef and Bleu Flatbread
The Patio on Lamont – Beef and Bleu Flatbread
The Prado at Balboa Park – Spicy Calamari Fries
True Food Kitchen – Herb Hummus
Urban Plates (Carlsbad, La Jolla & Del Mar) – Chicken Cobb Salad
URBN Coal Fire Pizza & Bar (El Cajon, Encinitas & North Park) – Large Pepperoni Pizza
Vintana Wine + Dine – Lobster Mac & Cheese

Can’t make it to any of these restaurants this month? Click here to donate to the food bank.

Interested in getting involved with the food bank? Click here for volunteer opportunities with the food bank and a list of ways you can help out.

For more information on the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, visit their website! For more information on OB Brewery, check out my blog post from my recent visit!

“Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

Mickey’s Halloween Party!

All the parts of Halloween I love the most have absolutely nothing to do with scary stuff. Which is why of all the local Halloween events out there, Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is my favorite! Happening on select dates throughout the month of October, Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special event that occurs after the park closes to the public. In the early evening (around 5 or 6 p.m., depending on the day), Disneyland closes to the general public and remains open for only guests of the party. And then the Halloween fun begins!!

They only sell a limited number of tickets for this event, which is cool because it keeps the crowd fairly small (compared to a normal day at Disneyland). None of the lines for rides are very long, especially later in the evening. But the best part about Mickey’s Halloween Party is that you are allowed to wear costumes! This is the only time adults and older kids are allowed to wear costumes inside the park, so we always take advantage of it. This year, my family and I dressed up as characters from ‘Cinderella.’

12144940_10205168914486357_3968903686213134226_n

12068793_10153072417701227_7128282605412864979_o

Me as Cinderella and my mom as the Fairy Godmother

12143303_10206397224983456_7856209568289901027_n

During the Halloween Party, there are several “Treat Trails” throughout the park. These are pretty much just like going trick-or-treating! And the adults can do it too (yes!!).

DSCN9174

DSCN9208

These giant ghost Mickey’s are at the entrance to every Treat Trail, so you can spot them from afar

12087276_10153072421861227_5839172888975610689_oAs you walk through the Treat Trail, you stop at stands along the way where Disneyland employees give you massive amounts of candy (this is included in the price of your admission ticket). And you can go through the Treat Trails as many times as you want. Yay for candy!!

DSCN9204

Candy stand!

DSCN9181

DSCN9225

Look at all this candy… nom nom nom

If getting boatloads of free candy isn’t your thing, don’t worry- all of the rides, restaurants, and shops remain open during the party.

DSCN9186

It’s A Small World, decorated for the party

 

DSCN9199

Haunted Mansion!

12074786_10153072420101227_1446842439004469752_n

12132556_10153072422126227_5703006721156908917_o

DSCN9213

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy…a special version of the ride they do during the Halloween season

And yes, it is super fun going on rides dressed like Cinderella.

The whole event is filled with Halloween fun, like this candy corn colored cotton candy:

DSCN9189

12110015_10153072420541227_174112224594244827_o

DSCN9196

And the Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quarter, singing spooky songs in the mists of the Rivers of America:

DSCN9198

And then all the cool Halloween decorations they only put out during Mickey’s Halloween Party:

DSCN9197

The fog crawls over the Rivers of America

 

DSCN9214

Jack’o Lanterns surround Walt Disney

 

DSCN9216

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, spooky version!

Mainstreet is always one of my favorite places to photograph…

DSCN9217

DSCN9218

DSCN9220

DSCN9224

Rides, costumes, and lots of candy…Mickey’s Halloween Party is the perfect place to go to enjoy Halloween the way you used to when you were a kid! Oh, and the kids will like it too.

12105962_10153072421081227_8121711504046584386_n

12112098_10153072421076227_866542256557259293_n

We really love Coke and popcorn ❤

12138416_10153072421201227_2142089331002985812_o

This event always sells out, so make sure to get your tickets early!! Tickets can be purchased online through the Disneyland website.

La Musique Francaise au Troubadour

Even if you have never been to Los Angeles, odds are fairly high you have heard of the Troubadour. This iconic venue is where many legendary musicians of the 1960s-90s got their big break into the music industry. A quick glance through the Troubadour’s history is well worth the time. Bands like Metallica and Warrant played their debut shows at the Troubadour, Eagles’ members Don Henley and Glenn Frey met there, groups such as Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan were known to stop by for late night jam sessions…the list goes on and on.

Luckily for music fans, the Troubadour is still a functioning music venue today. They are host to live bands from all over the world, the majority of whom are lesser known artists, which is in keeping with the Troubadour’s early years. Recently one of my best friends had an extra ticket to see French-Canadian performer Coeur de Pirate at the Troubadour, and I jumped at the chance to go with her! Not only was I super excited to go to this amazing venue, but I also love checking out new bands.

DSCN9067

DSCN9090

There is no official parking lot for the Troubadour, but there is a parking structure across the street the costs around $15 for the evening. And they know when there is a concert so they are sure to stay open late enough to accommodate concert goers.

The Troubadour is standing room only, and guests are permitted to start lining up outside the venue an hour before the doors open.

DSCN9068

DSCN9069

The front bar inside the venue is like a small music history museum. Be sure to take a few minutes to see the cool stuff they have on display!

DSCN9070

DSCN9071

Whiskey in hand, I was ready to see the show! Knowing I was in a place that once housed Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan was beyond awesome!! It was enough to make any music lover giddy.

DSCN9073

DSCN9074

Sophie Auster opened for Coeur de Pirate, and I was blown away by her performance. Auster’s songs are a melodic blend of soulful lyrics and folk-inspired music that all at once feels pleasantly retro and thoroughly modern. She played an acoustic set that combined original music and cover songs, and by the time she finished, I knew I had to buy her album.

DSCN9076

DSCN9077

And then it was time for Coeur de Pirate!

DSCN9079

Coeur de Pirate, featuring singer/songwriter/pianist Beatrice Martin, hails from Montreal and has a sound uniquely their own. Combining elements of indie rock, pop, classic rock, electronic, and dance music, Coeur de Pirate put on a show that had the audience dancing and singing along till the very end. Martin’s soulful songwriting (though granted, she sang half of the songs in French so I am not sure what they were about) was perfectly suited to the intimacy of this small venue, and she formed a connection with her audience members, creating an awesome energy in the room.

DSCN9080

DSCN9082

DSCN9083

DSCN9084

DSCN9087

A couple things that are important to note before heading to a show at the Troubadour are to be prepared to stand for a really long time, and to dress cool because the venue gets incredibly hot and humid. There is about zero air flow inside once the floor gets packed, so you will likely head home drenched in sweat and with sore feet. But really, it is a small price to pay to experience live music in a historic place.

DSCN9093

For a calendar of upcoming shows at the Troubadour and to purchase tickets, visit their website.

Fun at the LA County Fair!

I love the fair. Fried foods, carnival rides, midway games, farm animals, concerts, awesome shopping…and that’s just the standard fair stuff. The LA County Fair also has wine and craft beer tasting, a flower and garden building with beautiful floral arrangements, an art gallery, vintage car show, and fun interactive exhibit halls. This fair is huge- even if you tried, you couldn’t see everything in one day. I usually like to go more than once, but this year time did not permit, and so this post represents only a small fraction of the things you can do at the LA County Fair.

DSCN9094

Our first stop was America’s Kids, the building where the children’s arts and crafts competition entries are displayed, and where there are awesome themed interactive exhibits. This years theme was a library, so the building was full of fun activities based on children’s books. This was the Willy Wonka chocolate factory area where guests could don lab coats and play around in a fake candy factory and play some fun games about chocolate:

DSCN9095

DSCN9096

DSCN9097

This was a game where you had to guess what candy bar it was based on a cut-out picture showing the insides:

DSCN9098

And then this was a cute photo op with silly little props:

DSCN9099

The building also has free crafts that kids (or adults haha) can do:

DSCN9100

America’s Kids may be geared towards children, but trust me- it is just as much fun for adults too. The exhibit designer always does an amazing job of throwing in lots of clever, funny references that adults will appreciate, and there are tons of hidden, cute surprises throughout the building. Definitely worth spending some time in this building!

And of course it wouldn’t be a county fair without eating some gnarly food. My best friend and I split one of these magnificent turkey legs:

photo 4

DSCN9103

DSCN9104

DSCN9105

And then we checked out “Popnology,” which featured displays about pop culture and technology, and also had fun interactive exhibits. Seeing these displays of old rides from Disneyland sure brought back a lot of childhood memories…anyone else remember the Peoplemover??

DSCN9109

DSCN9111

DSCN9110

And then there were some pretty cool displays and activities based on science fiction movies, such as one of my all-time favs, ‘Jurassic Park.’

DSCN9112

Here you could use the robot to turn the dinosaur eggs, just like in the movie!!

DSCN9113

DSCN9114

And then there was an area about technological advances in music. Guests could even try out electric drum sets and electric guitars. Pretty cool. I liked this display about the invention of records:

DSCN9117

This year there was a fun new ice cream stand- Ice Cream Garden!

DSCN9120

They served ice cream with fun toppings in these cute little pots.

DSCN9121

DSCN9122

The ice cream was just average ice cream, definitely nothing to write home about. But the novelty of eating a tiny ice cream garden was worth every penny!

DSCN9124

DSCN9125

We didn’t go on any rides this year, but it wouldn’t feel right to leave without taking a picture of a ferris wheel. So here it is. It is nearly impossible to time it right to capture the letters all lit up at the same time. Maybe next year I will be more successful?

DSCN9128

Strolling through the flower building is a great way to escape the heat for a few minutes.

DSCN9129

This years theme was ‘Mardi Gras,’ and the floral arrangements were beautiful!

DSCN9131

DSCN9132

DSCN9133

And while you are in the area, after looking at all the pretty flowers head next door to sample award-winning wine, beer, and spirits! You can try wines from all over the world, and grab a glass to enjoy while you continue your journey through the fair.

Before we went home, we had to get one last piece of fried food:

DSCN9135

DSCN9136

Deep fried stuff and cheese: two of my favorite things!

Not pictured: we did tons of shopping and visited the farm animals. There is a clothing booth that comes every year, and carries brands sold at Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom, but you can buy them here at the fair for $10-$15 each. Awesome!!

The fair opens on Labor Day Weekend and runs throughout the month of September. For information on next year’s fair, visit http://www.lacf.com/.

Have a favorite booth or exhibit at the fair? Tell me about it in the comments! I love hearing about cool new things to check out 🙂

The Original Pink’s Hot Dogs

Los Angeles is an epicenter of culinary delights. Literally anything you want to eat, you can find here. But if someone visiting from out of town wanted to know what restaurant they absolutely cannot miss, I would tell them to go to Pink’s Hot Dogs. This family-run hot dog stand first opened in 1939 and has since grown into an internationally recognized Hollywood landmark. Frequented by celebrities, the late-night club crowd, and well, basically anyone living around Los Angeles, Pink’s is the quintessential Hollywood dining experience.

DSCN9138

DSCN9149

Famous for their epic hot dogs piled high with creative topping combinations, huge portions and reasonable prices (almost everything on the menu is less than $10), a visit to Pink’s is definitely worth braving the LA traffic. Pink’s does have a small parking lot behind the hot dog stand with complimentary valet parking (yes, using the valet is mandatory if you want to park in the lot. Otherwise, you can try to find street parking).

DSCN9139

Be prepared for a possibly long line. Every time I have been there, the wait was at least 20+ minutes. Once again, totally worth it though. They have paper menus printed out and sitting on the counter…grab one to look over while you wait and know what you want to order before you reach the front.

DSCN9140

DSCN9141

I ordered the “Brando” hot dog on my most recent visit. Most of their hot dogs are named after celebrities who have dined at Pink’s or movie titles. Definitely adds to the Hollywood experience.

DSCN9142

When you get to the front of the line, one of the servers will take your food order and then begin to prepare it for you, while you move on to the register to pay. They also sell sodas in glass bottles and Pink’s souvenirs (cash and credit cards accepted).

DSCN9143

My feast!!

DSCN9144

And then a close-up on that beautiful and wonderful hot dog:

DSCN9145

Perfection. Seriously, you can’t find a better hot dog anywhere.

DSCN9146

DSCN9148

Pink’s Hot Dogs is located at 709 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Daily Hours: Sunday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. Friday & Saturdays 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.

Kayaking Alamitos Bay!

When I heard there was a bay near Long Beach where you could kayak to shops and restaurants, I was more than intrigued. I have done plenty of sea kayaking before, but usually it’s to all the normal places: sea caves, private beaches, etc. But this, was something new and different. And so I grabbed my friends and headed for Los Alamitos!

DSCF0745

The bay itself isn’t anything spectacular. From the bay, there are a series of canals which you can take to get to various locations. One canal takes you past expensive yachts and houses, but the kayak rental company advises only going that way if you are confident in your kayaking skills, as it is fairly narrow and you definitely don’t want to hit rich people boats. We are experienced kayakers, but we skipped that canal anyways, because frankly, it didn’t even sound fun.

DSCF0747

Kayaking through the bay and other canals was a lot of fun though. The water was very calm, so it made for easy kayaking. It was kind of crowded, and there were boats everywhere, so definitely stay alert and keep to the right hand side of the canals.

DSCF0753

Down some of the canals, there are designated docks where you can park your kayak and head to the shops and restaurants! The kayak rental company provides a map so you know which docks are ok to use, and which canals to take to get to specific destinations.

DSCF0758

There were tons of options, but we decided upon Starbucks because the opportunity to drink Starbucks while kayaking seemed too good to pass up.

DSCF0771

Case in point: frappuccino on a kayak. Definitely a very Southern CA thing to do. Californians really do love our beaches and Starbucks…

DSCF0774

DSCF0779

And back in Alamitos Bay! Our trip took us about 2 or so, which included stopping at Starbucks, and a side trip to Spinnaker Bay, where there are supposedly moon-jellies (jellyfish that are safe to touch due to not being able to sting…we didn’t see any).

DSCF0789

Alamitos Bay is a great choice for first time kayakers because of how protected the bay is. There are no waves at all, and there are boats and docks everywhere so getting help in case of an emergency would be super easy. Plus the staff at the kayak rental booth are very helpful and show everyone (no matter how experienced you are) an instructional video before they let you out on the water.

DSCF0786

For additional information about kayak rentals and directions to Alamitos Bay, visit kayakrentals.net.

The Most Beautiful Taco Bell in the World

Taco Bell isn’t exactly known for being a fine dining destination, and is definitely not a place to go out of your way to visit. However, the Taco Bell in Pacifica (which is about 20 minutes South of San Francisco) might make you reconsider.

The food at this Taco Bell is exactly the same as any other Taco Bell. But you don’t go here for the food- you go for the location.This particular Taco Bell is located right on the beach and features a wrap-around porch with ocean view dining. Follow the steps down from the porch, and you will be in the sand. The outside patio even features a walk-up window so sandy-footed, bathing suit clad patrons don’t have to get all cleaned up to go inside.

DSCN8988

This is the view from the outside seating area. Nothing like your average Taco Bell, that’s for sure.

DSCN8991

The idea of eating Taco Bell on a beach was too wonderful to pass up. But apparently we weren’t the only people who had that thought. The place was absolutely packed, and we waited in line about 45 minutes to order our food (tip: the employees seem to give preference to the outside walk-up window line, so you’ll get your food much faster using that one if the line inside is outrageous). In addition, the employees moved really slowly despite the huge line, and were very unapologetic about it. I would go as far as to say it was by far the worst service I have ever experienced in any fast food restaurant anywhere. So don’t go here expecting great customer service. Go here because it is funny, a very different experience, and you can get pictures like this:

DSCN8994

Ocean breezes and Taco Bell: what a delightful way to spend an afternoon! My only regret is that we didn’t have enough time to hit up the beach after. I would’ve loved to soak up some sun with a Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze in hand…

DSCN8996

The Taco Bell in Pacifica is located at 5200 Coast Hwy, Pacifica, CA 94044.