Culver City Fiesta La Ballona – Party in the Park!

Culver City Fiesta La Ballona – Party in the Park!

It’s the weekend again! (Well, technically it’s almost over.) But we actually got out of the house quite a bit. I will be recapping that during the week. So first off, I’d like to tell you about the Culver City Fiesta La Ballona which was held at Veteran’s Park in Culver City (duh!). Fiesta La Ballona is essentially a carnival/fair in the middle of the city.IMG_8687

We thought parking was going to be a nightmare but surprisingly it was pretty easy because we were allowed to park on the Sony lot. How cool is that? And they had a shuttle ready that would take you to the event. As soon as we got there, dark clouds started rolling in. But that’s just our luck. Thank goodness it didn’t actually rain.

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Coming onto the ground, they had set up a beer & wine garden and across from it was a tent with live entertainment. The high school band was playing and, let me tell you, they were really good!

We were supposed to meet friends there but since we got there early, we decided to go for a snack. And there was plenty of food with food trucks and booths serving anything from weird things like shark on a stick to more normal food like corn on the cob. Since you might have already read a couple of my stories, you know my taste in food is pretty eccentric.

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So naturally, I settled for the peking duck fries. They were absolutely delicious. The hoisin sauce and scallions over peking duck on crunchy french fries. Who knew something like this existed? If you’re ever in the mood for the same dish, try finding the Phantom Truck here in LA and let me know what you think about it.

They also offer other kinds of fries (pork belly or shrimp dynamite, anyone?!) or all the same dishes with garlic noodles instead.¬†Which I tried to, but I’ll admit that I’d recommend you to try the fries as a new customer. I can’t comment on what the other items on their menu taste like but I’m sure the peking duck melt will be just as great.

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As time went on, our friends arrived and we retreated to the beer & wine garden to chat and relax. Towards the end of the night, Justin decided he wanted to go one some of the rides that they offered.

Let me tell you, as someone who grew up with German carnival rides: What’s scary about the American rides isn’t the ride itself but rather the upkeep. I’m not insinuating anything but some of the rides were missing panels or made some loud noises. But hey, that’s just my scared-self talking and everyone got home safely anyway!

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Do you have a favorite carnival ride? I love the ones that spin but I really can’t do ferris wheels. (You know the height!) Let me know about your interesting carnival experiences in the comment section.

And yes, I’m aware that we go to way too many carnivals but this one was a lot of fun. Too bad they shut down really early. If you’re interesting in attending, the Festival La Ballona is going to happen again next year (hopefully!) and then you’ll let me know what you think. ūüôā

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Ice Cream Lab – Fresh Flavors, Flash Frozen

Ice Cream Lab – Fresh Flavors, Flash Frozen

Some photos used in this article were provided by Ice Cream Lab. I received no compensation for this article.

It’s August and the heat is still standing in the city. So naturally, as we’re melting away we’re looking for a fancy way to cool down. And yes, you could go to your freezer and pull out one of the plain old ice cream sandwiches. But why not try something new and exciting?

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I recently went to see my lawyer in Beverly Hills and decided to take a stroll, when I stumbled onto the one-of-a-kind ice cream parlor. The Ice Cream Lab is pretty inconspicuous from the outside but once you enter it and you see the graffiti-like artwork on the wall you know you’re in a special place.

But wait until you order your ice cream!

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The flavors change on a regular basis, so you should check their website to see what’s currently available. My personal favorite is the Blue Velvet, that they’ve always had available when I’ve stopped by. Once you’ve picked out the flavor you desire, it’s onto the fun part. Here is where the Ice Cream Lab really sets itself apart from other stores.

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The “Lab Technicians” as they call themselves here, mix the ingredients together in front of your eyes and put it in a special ice cream mixer that gets instantly frozen by liquid nitrogen. The fun part: the process fills the room with cool fog as a special effect!

And what comes out of this process is super-creamy, yummy and especially fresh ice cream. So if you’re ever in the area stop by and try a scoop. It’s fun to watch the process and you get good ice cream on a hot day.

Also, we’ve got some good news: They’re planning on expanding even more from Beverly Hills to Westlake, Old Pasadena and Little Tokyo in LA. And according to their website they’ll even go overseas to Dubai!

Hot Chocolate Marshmallows

Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream

In case you want to stop by, here’s their address. It’s right next to Rodeo Drive.

Ice Cream Lab

9461 S Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210
http://icecreamlab.com/

As usual: Please let me know what you think. Are you interested in stopping by? Or if you’ve stopped by, what’s your opinion on their ice cream?

5 Food Items You Should Try in Austria

5 Food Items You Should Try in Austria

 

We recently took a trip to Austria. Even though people think that Austrian food and German food seem similar, they are actually quite different. And not just because they use totally different words for their food items. Seriously. Nevertheless, their food is to die for and should you find yourself in Austria you should definitely head over to a restaurant and order one of these 5 dishes below.

1)  Wiener Schnitzel РViennese Fried Veal Cutlets

Yes, Wiener Schnitzel is a fried veal cutlet outside of the U.S. and has nothing to do with hot dogs. It baffles me every time how the “Wienerschnitzel” hot dog chain got their name as they are so far off the real thing. Sometimes you will even find it made from pork but the real deal is made of veal. It’s usually served with french fries or potato salad.

2)  Sacher Torte

Sacher Torte

The first of many desserts on this list, Sacher Torte is a chocolate sponge cake with apricot jam and dark chocolate icing topped with whipped cream. It’s perfect for chocolate lovers. If you’re ever in Vienna, try and get the original at the Hotel & Caf√© Sacher¬†near the Vienna¬†state opera.

3)  Kaiserschmarrn

Yes, it’s technically pancakes chopped up¬†and it’s named after the Austrian emperor, because it literally translates to the “emperor’s folly.” It’s usually served with caramelized raisins and apples. But you can get it with any kind of jam, apple sauce and sometimes, although very rare with chocolate sauce. It all depends on the cook.

4)  Apfelstrudel РApple Strudel

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I think everyone has heard of this one. Apple strudel is one of my favorites, although it also comes in some variants. You can order it hot or cold, with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or vanilla sauce. I prefer it with vanilla sauce or ice cream. Some of them contain raisins, some don’t. You can get this delicacy fairly easily even here in the US. I know they serve it at Disneyland for example.

5)  Marillenknödel РSweet Dumplings filled with Plum

This one is a little bit harder to explain. As you can see it’s a sweet dumpling filled with plum. However, the original is actually filled with apricots that the Austrians call “Marillen”. The dough for the dumpling is made of regular potato dough and “Topfen” which is something like cream cheese/yogurt/quark. After boiling them in water, they get rolled in sugar and crispy breadcrumbs.

If you like this list, but are nowhere near Austria or an Austrian restaurant. (Hey, I know they’re rare. We’ve been looking for a while!) You ¬†might want to check out one of the following books with recipes and try to make some of these specialties at home. I promise they’re not as hard to make as they look:

Oh and let me know what your favorite Austrian dish is or which of those you would like to try, in our comment section below.

Orange County Fair: Carnival Rides, Farm Fun & Fried Treats

Orange County Fair: Carnival Rides, Farm Fun & Fried Treats

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What are you doing this summer? Are you bored and need a place to go with your family? The OC fair is the place to go.

It’s summer and there are plenty of events going on in Los Angeles and down the coast. This weekend Justin and I decided to check out the famous OC Fair in Costa Mesa.

The weather was perfect, so we took the hour long drive down the 405.

As soon as we got there, we were overwhelmed by the delicious smells of funnel cakes, corn dogs and turkey legs. And we got there just in time. They had two promotions that day from noon to 4pm: $2 taste of fair food and $2 rides and games.

Justin is big into carnival rides ever since we went to Vienna and he decided to try out two of the scariest ones.

As long as they spin and turn you upside down – he’s in!

And there was plenty of fun to be had with games such as ring throw, water balloon pop and other family favorites. The prizes were pretty impressive – I’m talking donut pillows! – and I’m sad I didn’t win one.

Of course, anyone who comes to the fair shouldn’t miss all the exciting food items you can get. And let me tell you, they seem strange to a European self-proclaimed gourmet like myself.

Fried cheesecake, fried oreos, fried snickers bars? Basically, any sweet and savory treat you could find was sold fried. We decided on some corn on the cob, an extra-long hot dog and fries.

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But my personal food highlight of this trip was my very first corn dog. A friend once told me that I will never forget my first corn dog. And I have to tell you Рshe was right.

After lunch we took a ride on the “ski-lift” across the premises and we were able to see just how large the grounds actually are.¬†From the birds-eye view, we knew exactly where we wanted to go – to the animals. The fair offers educational fun as well as rides with their animal and farm exhibition. Additionally, they hold competitions on growing vegetables and decorative cake making, and display the winners for the visitors to see.

Everyone should also check out the pig races. It’s the cutest thing you will see in a long time.

If you and your family want to visit the OC fair you can still do so until August 10, 2014. It’s worth the trip wherever you come from. Let me know how your experience was at the OC Fair in the comments!

OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
http://ocfair.com/2014/index.asp