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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Figueroa Hotel

Friday night, I hanged out with two of my cousins in DTLA. They had never been to my apartment. So, they brought me flowers – so sweet.
Of course, all my stuff are in storage, so I had no vase. As you see below, I had to stick these pink and purple gladiolas in this unattractive house cleaning bucket until I go buy a new vase today.
After we chatted for a while and drank organic tart cherry juice – yummy and so refreshing in hot weather, we headed out to wolfgang puck's Bar and Grill at the Staples center.
The food was okay and the atmosphere comfortable. We shared a bottle of wine, pizza, salad and pasta. Sorry, forgot to take photos. We stayed there until they turned off the lights, so we headed toward the next best thing – Figueroa Hotel.
By then, it was after midnight. The night was still young. I ordered absolute Martinis with raspberry and a twist of lemon, my cousin, a mojito and my other cousin, coffee.
The atmosphere was romantic and the men around us nice looking but young – you know European looking college boys, but we outlasted all of them as we drank and chatted until the bar closed. It’s actually a tradition with me and my cousins. We stay until all the chairs are packed on top of the tables and all the patrons are gone.  Below are some more photos.
I highly recommend a visit to the Hotel Figueroa. I wouldn’t want to stay here because it’s not my taste.  I am a contemporary gal and prefer new things, but I do enjoy looking at time travel buildings.
This hotel is exotic, historical and lovely. The tile work, the antique style furniture, the iron gates, and the chandeliers are a must see.
Built in  1920’s, It’s a YWCA turned into a hotel with a mix of Spanish Colonial-gothic and Moroccan. They lock the door late at night. You can get out, but can’t get in.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wine Tasting in DTLA

My cousin texted me and said that on Wednesday there is wine tasting in Downtown LA at 7th and Figueroa, and I should look into it. So I did. The host was Summer Taste Downtown LA. The price included benefit to T.J. Martell Foundation and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Wine, raising funds for a charity, a social event, all sounded good to me. I invited my cousin and a friend to join me.
When I first walked down to the front table, they asked me to sign a release form - fair enough since I wasn't driving, none of us were planning on losing our faculties and we had all had dinner before the event. After trying at least one sample from each table, I thought the wines were decent.
I'm not a wine connoisseur or a snob, but my taste buds recommend that if you ever want a fantastic glass of wine and get a chance to travel, try Saint-Émilion in France; even the least expensive wine from there tastes great. Here the appetizers were mediocre: two kinds of cheeses, crackers and chocolate. They even had popcorn, but wine and popcorn? Hmmmm…not exactly my cup of tea.
The event was for a good cause, the atmosphere warm, the crowd friendly and the people working there wonderful and helpful. I think this is a fun event everyone should try at least once. So cheers and here are a few more photos.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

Friday Labor Day weekend, I walked over from my place with some friends and had dinner at Bottega Louie. The food was good, but the two tiny pastries were dry and way overpriced. I suggest Viktor Benes at Gelson’s for higher quality, reasonably priced deserts. 

Saturday, I was sitting in my apartment, thinking I should take a picture to keep as a memory. Below are some pix. Sorry about the blur, shadows and etc. I really need a good camera and photography lessons.
 View from my apartment
Before moving to downtown, I used to panic when I got lost here because there are some scary areas. But now when I get lost while driving, I just look up and see the couple of tall buildings I recognize and I just drive in their direction. So easy…
  Click on the photo to see the chopper that landed on this roof with an American flag. About 8 people got off shifting back and forth for a longtime. Of course I didn't have any binoculars to see exactly what was going on and have no idea what is this building but will find out later.

After having dinner Saturday night at BJs with my brother, his in-laws and the family of his in-laws, I was given the task of keeping my nieces overnight so that my brother and my sister-in-law could get a break. So there we were the three of us at my rented apartment which feels more like a hotel than a home. We stayed up until 3:00 a.m, watching Pretty Little Liars as my nieces oohed and awed over the hottest guy followed by watching and talking about Miley Cyrus’ disturbing behavior at the MTV video awards.

Time spent with my nieces is rarely uneventful. They always ask the inevitable question - what’s next - before we have even finished with what we have been doing. Sunday, my older niece wanted to go to the Staples Center at The LA Live because it reminded her of the night we went to see Justin Bieber. My younger one insisted on going to see The Walt Disney Concert Hall. I kept explaining to her that there is no mickey, mini or any other characters there, but she didn’t believe me. She said that they have a wall made of Lego. No idea from where she got that idea, but I decided to indulge her. First we walked from Figueroa to The LA Live.

Touching the surface of the statue to see what it feels like.

Unfortunately, many places were closed, but at least there wasn’t a huge crowd and we were able to take some pix.

 It was a hot day. Sodas at the JW Marriott were a must. We then headed in the opposite direction toward the Disney Hall until the two were just too tired to walk. We stopped by the Westin Bonaventure – beautiful inside by the way – and took a short cab ride.

We went in and signed up for a guided tour - highly reccommended

She was telling us that even with all the materials they used, there is still some echo in this area where musicians play.

The architecture is breathtaking.

The organ pipes were simply amazing. It was so peaceful here. The guide told us that during the concert you are able to hear the smallest noise. They hand out cough drops so that people won’t cough. She said at one time the conductor stopped the entire orchestra because someone’s phone rang! 

The Blue Ribbon Garden – on Disney’s rooftop tribute to Lillian Disney. It is a gift from individual members of blue ribbon, an organization of women devoted to the support of music center and its resident companies. To join this organization, not only do you have to give $2500 every year, you have to be approved by the board of directors! Hmmm...

The Large rose is made of Royal delft broken porcelain vases and tiles.

The guide said that they had to sand down some of this because the glare from the sun was bothering the nearby drivers.

By this time, my younger niece wanted to go home. She said she had no idea there was no Lego here :)

The back of the structure

The view from the top

We headed back after this and had a late lunch. The girls went shopping and later for a swim on the roof followed by a dip in the jacuzzi. I wish I had an aunt like me who spoiled me the same, but unfortunately my aunts were not so nice. In fact, I never spent a day alone with either one of them let alone a sleepover.