Regensburg: Garden Festival in the Princess’ Palace of St. Emmeram

Regensburg: Garden Festival in the Princess’ Palace of St. Emmeram

TweetSome of you may know, that Justin and I are back in Germany for summer vacation. This is also the reason for the relatively long absence of content creation on JanaCalifornia. However, now I’m back and I have many great stories for you. Regensburg, my home town, has quite a few interesting things to offer. One of the big tourist draws every summer is the garden festival at the Palace of St. Emmeram which is home to the Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis. She still resides there and chances are good you will actually run into her when you take a stroll on her property. Once you enter the premises, you are surrounded by luscious, green trees. The vast grounds resemble a magical forest with the castle towering at the end, transporting you into the glamorous era of royalty. When you take a stroll through the woods, along the pond situated in the middle of the garden, the anticipation builds as you walk toward the big Romanesque-Gothic building. During the annual garden festival, various vendors set up their decorated booths all over the garden. Customers can find anything from artwork and garden furniture to fruit syrups and expensive clothing. Once you get hungry from all the shopping, food booths are there to quench your desires with beer from the Thurn und Taxis brewery and local specialties. The garden festival is not the only summer festival held at St. Emmeram’s Palace. The Princess hosts a music and theater festival “Schlossfestspiele” with many special guests and outstanding performances, which brings more than 30.000 visitors to the castle each year. Elton... read more
Las Vegas: Japanese Street Food at Yusho

Las Vegas: Japanese Street Food at Yusho

TweetI’m finally back from the dead. Well, not literally, of course but at least I’m back to writing blog entries. And the first one I’m bringing to you guys is about food. Who doesn’t love food? But when it comes to Asian food, a lot of people tend to disagree. So do Justin and I. For my birthday weekend, Justin & I went to Las Vegas. Knowing us, where else would we go right? As soon as we got to the Monte Carlo, we were pretty hungry and decided to grab a bite. My preference for Japanese food is nothing new to Justin and so he gave in. We were lured in by the concept of Japanese food like Takoyaki, Yakitori and other grilled specialties. However, what we got was quite different than any of our expectations. As soon as we entered the dining room, I noticed the special ambiance and wall colors. The furniture reminded me of a casual dining restaurant with colorful chairs, turquoise walls and wooden tables. When we got seated at our table, we looked over the menu and realized that the items were neither priced as street food or casual dining, nor resembled anything we had expected. The waitress explained to us that the food would be served “tapas-style”, meaning small portions to share, so we should order many of them. We decided to order  mushroom miso soup, Japanese griddle cake, chicken drummies, house pickles, grilled duckbreast, grilled octopus and two steamed buns (crispy cod & pork shoulder). The mushroom miso soup came first and the light mushroom broth was a delight with tofu... read more
Sun, Fun & Boats! – Marina Fest in Marina Del Rey

Sun, Fun & Boats! – Marina Fest in Marina Del Rey

TweetFirst, I would like to apologize for my super late post. My week was crazy busy, so I just didn’t find the time unfortunately. But now I’ll recap for you what I did last weekend. Justin & I went to the Marina Fest in the Marina del Rey harbor. The marina, to me, is a special place – an escape from the big city life. I love how peaceful and quiet it is and not to mention the ocean breeze! Last week, they held the Marina Fest, a festival with vendors and exhibitors all about boating. Booths all set up shop in Burton Chase Park and their offers ranged from education about save oil disposal to realtor services. And as you can see in the next photo, some of them were even selling toilets. We strolled around the park and looked at the old and new yachts, that were open to be boarded by the public. The food options were unfortunately a little grim because only two food trucks were catering the event. India Jones was serving up Indian food and customers enjoyed Pork Belly sandwiches at the Pork Belly truck. The latter took a rather long break and the lined up queue of hungry customers jumped ship and gave their business to the Indian truck. We were really hungry, too, so we bought some curry fries from the India Jones’ truck and they were absolutely delicious. Even Justin liked them, and he does not like Indian food. After the Pork Belly truck reopened, we finally got our sandwiches too and we ordered the PBLT sandwich, which was a BLT... read more
Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary! + Happy Star Wars Day!

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary! + Happy Star Wars Day!

TweetI can’t believe it’s been this long already. Last Sunday (May 4th), one year ago, Justin and I got married in Las Vegas. It was pretty spontaneous and yet romantic. And now, it’s one year later. Coincidentally, our wedding anniversary falls on Star Wars Day (May the force/fourth be with you everyone!). I had never imagined that I would be married by 22, yet alone celebrate my first wedding anniversary. Fun fact: I’ve been married longer than Kim Kardashian! It all started with a little surprise – a letter and a pink flower on my desk, perfectly fitting to the theme. First wedding anniversaries are called “paper anniversaries”.   In the afternoon, we decided to take a trip to Disneyland again. The crowd index was extremely high, so we didn’t get to ride many rides. We went on the Mad Tea Party ride, which I love so much. Especially in the dark when the lights on top are on. It’s super cute and fun. Later, we went to the Carthay Circle restaurant in Disney’s California Adventure. The food was amazing! We ordered spicy duck wings and biscuit balls filled with cheese and bacon as our appetizers. For our main course, Justin had a pork chop and I had a vegetarian risotto. But the greatest highlight was the wine soda! It’s handcrafted soda made of those grapes that also go into wine, such as Pinot Noir, Rosé or Cabernet. I’m definitely going to go on a hunt for those in the stores.   After dinner, we went back to the Disneyland park and watched the fireworks. They are simply magical... read more
Disneyland – Annual Passes for the Happiest Place on Earth

Disneyland – Annual Passes for the Happiest Place on Earth

TweetDisneyland – the happiest place on earth. Where people could get hurt and you wouldn’t even notice because they are the masters of deception. (And I’ve seen that happen before.) Growing up, I’ve always wanted to live close to any of the theme parks but I was always too far away from them all. And let’s be honest: EuroDisney Paris just doesn’t have the same kind of charm. Naturally, now that I’m living in LA, I’ve decided to invest in an annual pass, so I can go back there any time I would like. There is really no better place to forget about your every-day troubles.   Unfortunately, Disneyland isn’t quite DisneyWorld and there are days where I miss the Epcot park but I’m happy with what I got. Out of the two parks that we do have, I think I prefer Magic Kingdom (do we call it that in LA too?) – you know the regular Disney park. The major difference between the two is that the amount of kids is significantly reduced in the California Adventure park. That’s in part because California Adventure is the first park that seems to be geared more towards adults. They are the only Disney park to serve alcohol – namely margaritas, wine and other cocktails. What’s interesting about that is, that it’s the only Disney park that allows alcohol. Walt never wanted the parks to serve any adult beverages, so they waited until he died to build a park that allows the consumption of alcohol.   Regardless, I love spending time at Disneyland and I will make sure to spend every free... read more
Blu Jam Cafe – A reason to cut your beauty sleep short for brunch

Blu Jam Cafe – A reason to cut your beauty sleep short for brunch

TweetUsually, I don’t get up early on a Saturday. Well, I don’t get up early on any day unless I have to or someone promises me something I find rewarding or entertaining enough to cut my beauty sleep short. So when my friend Angelica invited me to brunch, I was naturally a little lazy. And indeed it took us a couple of weeks to actually go through with it. But last Saturday we ended up meeting at this place called Blu Jam Cafe in Sherman Oaks. The cafe itself is pretty easy to find, located on Ventura Blvd. When I arrived there, I tried to park in their small (but free) parking lot in the back and after a while I found a spot. If you’re there on a Saturday, be prepared to battle for it. Or you can park on the meters on the street. When I entered the restaurant, there were a lot of people waiting to get a table and it took us 30 minutes to get seated. Our table was nestled in a small outside area and it was pretty crammed but I didn’t feel bothered by the other guests. When I took a look at the menu, I was ecstatic. The menu had a vast array of items you don’t usually see on a brunch menu – or at least I’ve never seen them before. Which other place serves Italian Breakfast Risotto and Breakfast Carbonara? And indeed, it looks just as delicious as it sounds. According to their website, their Breakfast Carbonara is  risotto with crispy smoked bacon, green peas, parsley and parmesan, topped... read more
Life Lessons in Biology

Life Lessons in Biology

TweetI know, I haven’t really been good about writing my blogs here. And I am completely sorry for that. This semester has been a total nightmare from the beginning. School is extremely challenging this spring. Well, not all of school, just biology in particular. Let me start by telling you. I’ve never been into sciences. Not because I feel like I’m particularly bad at it but I have had extensive contact with biology or chemistry. Granted, I’ve taken two years of biology and a year of physics but my brush with the sciences has been rather brief. My scientific career was also significantly shortened by changing school to a high school that was more focused on teaching me business administration than educating me to become a scientist. Needless to say, when I sat in my first biology lecture and my teacher started her power-point presentation on hydrogen and ionic bonds, I was overwhelmed. And when we started our first laboratory, I thought I was going to give up. I’ve always tried to avoiding the American measurement system, but they forced me to convert inches to centimeters and fahrenheit to celsius. Luckily, I’m in the country, where they won’t hesitate to explain even the simplest concepts over and over again. Now that it’s been about three weeks later. I’ve come to understand many of the basic chemistry that goes into biological processes and the lab experiments are pretty interesting. However, it took me almost a week of not seeing sunlight and doing nothing but putting my head in the books for my first exam, which turned out to be a... read more