October Recap – Pumpkins & Halloween Season!

October Recap – Pumpkins & Halloween Season!

Unfortunately, my favorite month is over now and we’re into November. I simply love October because it’s filled with pumpkins, Octoberfests and scary stuff. And – as usual – I forgot to blog about half of them! Oh college, you suck up all my time.

So without further ado, here’s what else happened in my little October recap.

 

Disneyland Halloween Decorations

Early October, Justin and I put our annual passes to good use and looked at the amazing Halloween decorations at Disneyland. And they really had pumpkins EVERYWHERE! Even the food items were decorated all halloween-ey so I absolutely loved it.

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Octoberfest in Los Angeles & Alpine Village

Even though I actually never liked to going to Oktoberfest in Munich while I only lived an hour away, I do enjoy going to the “Octoberfests” in the US. They aren’t really anything like the real one but it’s fun seeing all the Americans celebrate something German. We went to the German restaurant Wirtshaus and the food was great! Justin got dressed up in a Bavarian Lederhose and we had Nutella pudding & potato pancakes.

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Pumpkin Patch

I absolutely love pumpkins. So going to our annual pumpkin patch is always one of my favorite trips. It was super windy though, so excuse my getup :).

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What did you guys do in October? Did you have a fun Halloween? Let me know about all your stories in the comment section.

Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights – Get Scared with Hollywood’s Best Effects

Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights – Get Scared with Hollywood’s Best Effects

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I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you guys this but Halloween season is my favorite part of the year. Maybe that’s because I didn’t really have it growing up in a medium-sized German town.

Most Germans, at least the older ones, regard Halloween as one of those silly American traditions. And besides the occasional Halloween party and some scary movies, we don’t really do much.

No one does trick or treating. Or at least they didn’t do that when I was young, because it just wasn’t ok to teach kids to beg for candy. (Or so I was told.)  Anyway, when I tried doing it some old lady threw a potted plant at me. So yeah.. no good memories of trick or treating.

But now that I’m in America, you better believe I’m trying out all the scary things they got to offer. I’ll lay off the candy though. 🙂

Today, I’m going to tell you about one of my favorite Halloween attractions over here in LA. It’s Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights. Many of you know Universal from the fancy movies they put out and the theme park. But when Halloween rolls around they put their set making skills into making really freaking scary mazes.

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This year’s mazes included Alien vs. Predator, Dracula Untold, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, The Walking Dead, Clowns 3D, A Werewolf in London and Face/Off.

The Alien vs. Predator maze was my absolute favorite because they really used all their knowledge of technology and prop making for this one. I’m not going to go into too much detail because I’m sure some of you are still going to go and see it for yourself. So, I’ll tell you this, the wait was 70 minutes, which to me is really long and that’s why we bought the Front of the Line pass. It’s a lot more money but definitely worth it, because otherwise you’d wait 70 minutes for a maze that’s relatively short.

Another maze that I was impressed by, although I didn’t particularly like it was Clowns 3D. The 3D effect and vibrant neon color make you quite dizzy and the soundtrack by Slash fits perfectly. However, expect to be grossed out. They go all out with the gore and smells accompanying it. I had a hard time walking through it.

For anyone that knows from Dusk ‘Til Dawn: The original bar is called the Titty Twister, but they couldn’t name it that because the sign is visible from the park during regular hours.

Besides the mazes you’ll find a lot of scare zones with performers lurking in the dark to jump out at you. This time they themed them Dark Christmas, Masq-A-Raid (basically a French Revolution theme), The Walking Dead and The Purge 2.

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Last year, they shuttled us down to the lower lot for more Walking Dead mazes. This year it’s up to you to walk there, being scared by zombies at the same time. I know Walking Dead fans really appreciate the mazes they do, with the prison theme and all, but for someone like me who has never seen the show, the connection to the story is obviously a bit lost.

If you’re interested in going, there are still two weekends that you can do so. I would, however, suggest to invest in the Front of the Line Pass for $150. The waiting times sometimes can go up to 90 minutes and to me that’s a whole lot of waiting.

Check out their website for more information. And if you can’t make it out to California, you can also go experience it in Orlando. Have you ever been to any of the Halloween Horror Nights? Are you into the scares of Halloween attraction?

 

 

Olvera Street – Colorful Mexican Marketplace

Olvera Street – Colorful Mexican Marketplace

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I’m sorry we’ve been a bit absent. It’s exam time here at my college, so I was pretty preoccupied with that. However, I’ve found a new, totally awesome place for you to check out!

It’s Olvera Street, a Mexican marketplace that has been there for 75 years. You can find anything from Mexican Restaurants, sweets, dresses and other colorful things.

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Olvera Street is hidden in a tiny side-street right next to the Mexican consulate, which is across the street from Union Station. I didn’t think anything this nice would be around there but once we stumbled upon it we were quite impressed by the rainbow-colored booths nestled beneath luscious greens.

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The hand-made ceramics and embroidered Mexican dresses are a sight of their own. SoCal has a lot of Mexican influence, but nothing really ever felt as authentic to me than this place.

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Another thing you should check out when you visit Olvera Street is LA’s oldest house. You can walk through it and check out the inside, including the furniture. It’s an interesting insight into the history of LA, and it’s free.

If you want to check it out, I would recommend getting there by subway because I can’t tell you about parking, but the train takes you right there. Check out some more photos below, and as usual, let me know if you’ve been there and what you think! 🙂

125 Paseo de la Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Hours of Operation:
Mo-Sun 7 am – 10 pm

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. 🙂

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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?

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 – she 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