Friday, April 1, 2011

Family visit in LA...highlights with many pictures of Wataru

From March 24 to 29, my family (mom, my older sister Tomoko, and her 9-yr-old son Wataru) came to LA from Tokyo for a visit. It was so nice that I could spend time with them in less than 2 weeks since I returned from Tokyo. Just like myself, my family loves to eat, so our activities during their visit were pretty much food-oriented.


Brunch - I picked them up at LAX in the morning. The first thing they said to me was they were hungry. So, we drove straight to Urth Cafe in Downtown for brunch. The cafe was so busy as always. Wataru loved the sandwich.

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Dinner - Since their hotel was in Downtown, I arranged dinner in the neighborhood. We went to a new restaurant called, The Spice Table. They serve south-east Asian cuisine in a casual chic setting. The food was really good. All the wines on the list are available by the glass or bottle.

Day 2

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Lunch - Another downtown location. We had a reservation at Chaya Downtown. I think this location has the best ambience among all Chaya restaurants in LA. I had chirashi sushi. Wataru had chef's omakase nigiri sushi. My mom liked her miso-baked fish with hijiki brown rice.

Afternoon - We went to California Science Center and saw a 3D show at IMAX. Then, we drove back to Hollywood for a little shopping.

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Dinner - Upon my mom's request, we went to Osteria Mozza for dinner. We ordered many different dishes and shared everything. 2007 Stefano Accordini, Valpolicella Classico Superiore Acinatico Ripasso had nice concentration of rich fruit. Spice and dry currant.

Day 3

All day - My family joined a tour to Disneyland. Meanwhile, I ran errands at home.

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Dinner - It was Saturday, so Jason could finally join us after the long work week. After they returned to their hotel from Disneyland, we picked them up to go to dinner. We went to Don Dae Gam in Koreatown. It's a sister restaurant of very popular Park's BBQ, and they specialize in pork BBQ. We ate a lot of pork, and it was good.

Day 4

Morning - Shopping at Farmers Market in Hollywood. It was drizzling on and off, but it was less crowded because of that and we liked it better. My family really enjoyed spending time there.

Brunch - The sky cleared up by the time and we had such a lovely brunch in the beautiful patio at Cliff's Edge in Silverlake. The restaurant was very busy as always. The food was so good.

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Dinner - We did dinner at home with donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe". My family had never tried donabe steamer, and they loved it so much! We steamed a lot of vegetables just picked up from Farmers Market. We also did kurobuta pork shu-mai, and steamed salmon with fava leaves from the market. Cheese course was picked up from Cheesestore of Silverlake. I also made black sesame soy ice cream and genmai & matcha soy ice cream. We ate and drank for many hours and had a great time.

Day 5

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Lunch - Wataru wanted to eat hamburger, so I took them to Umami Burger in Los Feliz. Although it took over 30 minutes until our order finally came to the table, the burgers were good. I tried their veggie burgur for the first time and liked it.

Afternoon - They did final shopping at Americana and also at Whole Foods. Then, we headed to LACMA to see some exhibitions. I noticed that there is a new restaurant called, Ray's, at LACMA. We checked out the menu and it looked very good. I want to try there next time.

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Dinner - I picked The Bazaar, because I thought they would enjoy the whole experience there, and they totally did! We got a nice table in the "red" room. It was a Monday night, but the restaurant was completely packed by 8pm. Wataru ate almost the whole plate of Iberico jamon...! He also loved foie gras cotton candy. Tomoko loved the chocolate dessert.

Day 6

Morning - I gave them a ride to LAX. They were going back to Tokyo already. I wish they could've stayed longer, but Wataru had to be back for some spring academic program starting the next day.

I miss my family even more now.