Descanso Gardens vs. Huntington Gardens

In the San Gabriel Valley, two large-scale garden parks compete to be the main draw in the 626: Huntington Gardens and Descanso Gardens.

The popular opinion is that Huntington Gardens is superior, and I agree with this. It boasts free-roaming peacocks, decadent Japanese and Chinese structural areas, the horrific-smelling "corpse flower," an on-site museum and a classy name.

But does the snooty Huntington Gardens have a cool chart on mammal scat? I think not. Watch out Huntington Gardens, the Descanso crew really knows their sh**.


One Night In Chinatown

I will not pretend that Chinatown in Los Angeles is anything close the Chinatowns in San Francisco or New York City. In Manhattan, Chinatown is cloistered and full of dark secrets. In San Francisco, it sprawls proudly for miles. In Los Angeles, Chinatown consists of a beautiful red pagoda and a surrounding block or two of Chinese businesses in plain concrete buildings and crude signs. That place has nothing on San Gabriel, home of dim sum palaces and Chinese Halal.
Nonetheless, I had a bizarre and intriguing night in LA's Chinatown. Here's what we experienced:

A delicious yet curiously fluorescent eggplant dish

An SUV skidding to a stop in front of a cop, throwing a gun on the ground, then speeding away. The cop  running to his squad car, then skidding off to chase the SUV, sirens blaring

Hop Louie, a historic restaurant with stunning architecture, but insulted by a chain link fence

The fact that someone was cool enough to come up with the name Hop Louie

An elaborate marble bathroom with gold medallions - but no hot water

Men in wifebeaters shouting at one another from across the street

Cops riding bikes through blacked-out streets
A husband insisting we park and walk on the blacked out streets with the men in wifebeaters shouting at one another, cops on bikes and cops chasing gun tossers because it's safe and I'm overreacting

Asian Elder who looks like Glenn Gould

Being slightly disappointed when walking into a Chinese restaurant in the middle of the night and finding it not greasy and dimly lit

Georgia O'Keefe won tons

Elegant restaurant with cascading waterfalls and dishes staring at $18...with a cop standing guard 
Murky fish tanks jammed with sea life. Plush carpeting and chandeliers surround these filthy open tanks. The restaurant was empty.

Gangsters walking Pomeranians


The Real West Coast

On a recent trip to Hawaii, I was informed that California is in fact not the West Coast, but the East Coast, since geographically, Hawaii is much further west.

"What do you consider the East Coast, then?" I asked.
"No, our East Coast."
"What do you mean our? We are all Americans."
"I mean the states along the Altantic Coast, obviously."
"Oh, the Far East."
"So, is Minnesota considered the Middle East?"
"Never thought about it before."
"That's cold."

Poor Minnesota. First there's the "feeling Minnesota" figure of speech (not to mention the movie) now this. I'm sure it's a lovely place.

Enjoy the pics!