When we visit Southern California, we’re there to see family and so of course food is usually the main attraction/activity. We spend most of our free time binging on various Asian eats that the Boston food scene is a little lacking in. We did find time to take Nori to the San Diego Zoo this trip, however as you can see in the pic above, she was much more interested in her snacks than the animals!
Sustainable shoes: Allbirds + Rothy’s Quick TAke
As I try out new brands, I wanted to include a few that are making big effort towards sustainability like these two innovative companies. Nick can’t get enough of his water resistant Allbirds Mizzles (see women’s version). We’re currently traveling in cold, damp Seattle & Vancouver and he keeps buzzing in my ear how toasty warm, dry and comfy his feet are in these (although we would not suggest submerging them in a puddle or anything). Since the wool Mizzles are pretty warm, one of Allbirds’ lighter weight fabrics will better suit those in a mild climate.
On Rothy’s, I know I’m quite late to the brand, but since a lot of you still have questions I’m working on a more detailed review comparing their core styles. In the meantime, here’s some quick thoughts on their The Point after a few months of wear (I haven’t machine washed mine yet):
- Comfort: very comfortable (if you get sizing right), stretchy, and breathable with no breaking in needed. The stretch is especially nice for air travel if your feet swell up like mine do.
- Style: I prefer The Point to their other rounded toe styles as it’s very sleek and elongating on the foot. I love both of their animal prints, but the smaller one is a little more versatile in my opinion!
- Sizing: size up if you’re in between half sizes, or if pointy shoes usually rub against your toes. The soles of The Point also run a little on the narrow side. Reading through the lower ratings, I noticed most of them are from customers who wish they sized up.
- What they’re not great for: flats in general are not great in damp, winter weather, but due to the breathable knit material on these my feet felt colder than usual in winter climates. Also, Rothy’s flats tend to be more flat on the inside, so if you want good cushioning or arch support, I’d recommend these Caslon water resistant flats with a hidden wedge instead (note they’re made of leather, not recycled materials like Rothy’s).
Los Angeles Eats
Rice & Nori (top left)
I swear the restaurant name only played a small role in enticing us to visit, haha. This is a yummy, quick & casual place that satisfied my craving for fresh hand rolls (and onigiri, especially because we didn’t want to wait at one of the fancier hand roll bars downtown like Kazu Nori (very simple and delicious spot though if you like hand rolls!).
We loved their hand roll sets that come with a side of edamame and sashimi, or their onigiri sets that come with a side of salad and pickles (Nori loved her cooked salmon yuzu onigiri). It’s located in a Little Tokyo plaza on the ground level, which of course means there’s plenty of options for sweet treats afterwards. We walked to an old Instagram-favorite Bae but also passed by SomiSomi and Honeymee. A little sample cup of Bae’s vegan pineapple flavor was perfect for Nori!
Hangari Bajirak Kalguksu (top right)
A regular stop for us as it pleases young and old. This is in one of those Koreatown strip malls that is ALWAYS packed and the valet parking lot looks like someone playing a game of Tetris. We always go at an off hour to avoid waiting. It’s good comfort food if you like homemade knife-cut noodle soups. The soups are fairly simple but have good depth of flavor – Nori and my grandparents like the chicken, and I like the spicy clam or seafood broth!
Alice’s Kitchen (top left)
Fairly authentic Cantonese/HK breakfast in a setting that almost feels like an American breakfast joint. Their house special is a clever pineapple bun breakfast sandwich with a perfectly cooked egg, tomato, special sauce and your choice of meat (no real pineapples in this, the name just stems from the sugary flaky crust on top of the bun). Nick got a fried pork chop in his sandwich and loved it, and you can add a hot milk tea for ~ $1. Grandparents were happy with the noodle soups and I liked the congee, which comes with an included side of either fried noodles, you tiao, or these steamed rice noodles with sauce.
Golden Dragon (top right)
None of the LA Chinatown dim sum places are anything to write home about. We wanted a spot nearby and this one was better than some of the others we’d been to downtown. We were satisfied with everything we got, including Nori’s dim sum favorite, steamed rice noodles with shrimp inside. They also had another filling I hadn’t seen before – chicken with bitter melon (pleasing for the elders).
San Diego eats
Cafe 86 (top left)
I met three readers in this small cafe while popping in to pick up cupcakes, so great dessert minds think alike ; ) This place does a modern twist on Filipino desserts with a HEAVY focus on ube (a purple yam). They’re known for their ube flan cupcakes and ube cheesecakes, and I also tried the upside down halo halo which is more decadent than their traditional one (still got Nick’s mom seal of approval though!).
Pho Duyen Mai
There’s an abundance of Vietnamese food in southern California, but our friends highly recommended this as a notch above other local Viet restaurants and it was indeed delicious! Just as tasty if not better as the popular Brodard’s in the OC, imho. Highlights: crispy pork sausage spring rolls (nem nuong), fish sauce wings, flavorful pho, and a side of their beef bone for the table which was fall off the bone tender. We enjoyed our meal so much we got bun rieu (crab balls and tomato noodle soup) and bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup) to go, which were also both very good if you like those flavors.
TJ Oyster Bar
I’ve mentioned them a few times before but they still hit the spot for me. Nick usually gets his SD taco fix here or at Tacos El Gordo, but as a seafood fan, I prefer TJ oyster for their octopus or garlic shrimp tacos plus a shrimp ceviche. The locations on Bonita Road are usually a little better quality.
If you’re planning a visit to the LA / SD areas, here’s some past posts on our foodventures when visiting family!