My friend who used to live in Portland now lives in SoCal and invited me to come down for the weekend to hangout. I’ve been dying to travel so I felt this was a good compromise since I don’t visit SoCal often. Was last here in 2017 I think. I also needed a reason to road trip in my new prius so it worked out perfect. It was an 8 hour drive and I was able to average about 50mpg which is mind blowing to me. I made my first gas stop at 411 miles, I could have kept going but didn’t want to push my luck.
My GPS took me on a slightly different route, going through Palmdale which I thought was weird but made for some cool views.
Mikaela had made reservations for us at Parkestry but I didn’t realize the drive would take so long. We still made it but missed the sunset.
The view looking out over Disneyland.
Simple margherita pizza since we weren’t that hungry.
$18 cocktail vs $8 beer.
I can’t lie the drink was pretty tasty but the beer was good enough for me.
The next morning we made our way to Laguna Beach to hit up this hike. It was pretty gloomy that day so the view wasn’t the best. But here’s a photo of a bench at the top. It was only a 2.4 mile hike but it let me know how out of shape I am lol.
On the road leading up to the trail head there were insanely beautiful houses, I checked the zillow and I think the cheaper houses were around 1.27M!
This one was over 3M…
After the hike we made our way to Rodeo 39, its a cool place with different types of food/drinks and a couple stores for shopping.
BUT, before we could walk in I had to grab some shots of this sick itasha style civic.
Once we finally got inside we walked around to check out the options, everything in there looked so delicious it was hard to choose.
First place we ordered from was Tenori, where they have a several options of onigiri.
We got the Spicy Salmon, KBBQ & Honey Walnut Prawn. I think I’ve only had onigiri from gas stations in Japan, I like how they add the brown stuff to the edges, gives more depth to a simple meal. These things were amaaazing, not too sure which my favorite was, probably the Spicy Salmon.
Next we ordered some boba from besteas. I got the Ube swirl and Mikaela got the Green Thai Tea, which had the strangest low level battery acid taste. Don’t ask why or how I know what battery acid taste like, it just sounds about right for what my taste buds experienced lol.
We also got some soy garlic chicken which went well with the cold, sweet drinks.
Last thing we order was some pork belly bun from Oi asian fusion buttttt it was not photogenic at all so there isn’t any pics for that. It came smashed in some aluminum foil and was pretty dry to me. The best bao I have had was at Baohaus, which I guess is closed now.
Next spot we went to was Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. Mikaela had posted this place on her instagram not too long ago and it looked so pretty! I was pretty hype when she said we were going to visit. We got there about a hour before closing so kind of had to rush but I was still able to enjoy it and take a few photos. Okay maybe more than a few photos.
We went pretty quick through the desert garden because I wanted enough time to see the Japanese & the Chinese gardens. The desert garden did have a few cool things though.
Slithering spikey boi.
Lil spikey dudes.
Then as we made our way over to the Japanese garden we passed by the Koi ponds, also one of my favs.
After watching the fish do their swimmy thing for a bit we made it to the Japanese garden, which didn’t fully give me Japan vibes but it was still pretty nice.
We walked up this path and into the zen garden area.
They had a bunch of bonsai trees but this Ginko tree was the most impressive to me, these trees have deep gold/yellow leaves in the fall and when the leaves fall and cover the floor it is truly magical. I remember these mostly while I was living in South Korea.
I’ve always been obsessed with those silky smooth river/waterfall shots and I had my ND filter on my camera so I thought I’d give them a shot… No pun intended. I made a bunch of attempts and these were my three favorite shots.
The lighting wasn’t really in my favor since I was shooting into the sun but I still got some nice ones.
This was the center of the Japanese Garden
The bridge isn’t accessible and I guess it makes sense, also makes the photos come out nicer.
There’s something I love about shooting leaves from the under side. I don’t know what it is but they are one of my favorite photos to take, they don’t always come out that good though.
Chinese Garden was next!
This photo would have been nuts without people in it but it also gives it a different feel with people present.
I couldn’t help but think about how relaxing it would be to be able to kayak here with the crystal clear water.
There was a waterfall so you know exactly what I had to do.
We covered a lot of ground in that hour and on the way out I snagged a couple last flower pics.
We weren’t too far from Uncle Tetsu’s so we stopped by to grab some japanese cheescake. I had this place bookmarked for a long time so it was nice to finally try it out.
I couldn’t get a good photo of the cake while sliced and out of the box but it was a perfect dessert. Light, fluffy and spongecake like. It’s the total opposite of the usual cheesecake which I didn’t like growing up.
We got back on the road and made our way to Santa Monica beach to have some seafood by the seashore haha. Seeing all the cool cars & trucks of SoCal made me wish I drove my built subaru but that would have been at least $200 in gas spent haha.
I wanted to get some cool panning shots but no cool cars were going by at the moment. So enjoy this nissan compact car.
The sun started to set and I swear it resembled the sunset from Waikiki beach! Tell me it doesn’t?!
As we crossed the walkway I had this vision in my head and I was able to pretty much nail it. With the chainlink fence blurred out, the glowing sky, cars whizzing by, houses, hillsides topped with palm trees and the hotels peeking through. Almost looks like it could be a painting. For sure one of my favorite photos of the trip.
Is there anything more annoying then walking through sand with shoes??? The sandy strut was soooo long.
Finally got to a decent spot to enjoy dinner.
I’ve had poke on the beach a couple times before and it doesn’t get old. Although this time it was cold! The wind was really kickin too.
We walked the length of the pier and saw a bunch of fishermen. Being a fisherman myself I was super curious what they were going for and if they caught anything. I didn’t bother any of them but I saw one guy pull up something that looked like a green kelping. I don’t know much about saltwater fish.
This photo made me think, when/will we return to normal life or no mask and big crowds?
On the walk back I spotted this nice hot rod
Then as we were crossing the street this clean E30 rolled by.
To end the night we stopped by Bae to get ice cream. I’ve had this place bookmarked for sooo long because I like the aesthetics of the black ice cream. Kind of mad I forget to get toppings but it was still good and looked cool. You can’t see the sign in the back due to extreme depth of field but it reads “from bae, with love.”
This was a short trip but definitely a solid one, we did so much more than I expected so that was a pleasant surprise. Even if it meant driving all around the LA area haha.
I didn’t proof read this, sue me.