Meet the Grunion

June 23rd, 2017


The Grunion Run is arguably one of the most famous of events for L.A. locals, and it only happens once per year. The grunion flock to the beach to spawn, showing off one-of-a-kind mating rituals. These silver fish flood the golden coast en masse, and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium hosts this annual event to make sure you don’t miss a thing. On June 25, the aquarium opens at 8 p.m. with the program starting at 9, followed by a late-night beach observation.

The Grunion Run usually draws hundreds of people to the beaches, but if you get tickets from the aquarium, there are no lines or crowds to battle. You won’t want to miss the 9 p.m. film and other treats that are in store for this special night. While there are no guarantees the grunion will appear (it is a wildlife viewing, after all), it’s prime grunion season, and June 25 is your best bet for catching this amazing ritual.


It can get chilly in southern California in the evenings. Wear warm clothes, water-friendly shoes, and bring a flashlight. Many times, the grunion don’t appear until midnight, so come rested and perhaps caffeinated. Grunion can indeed be “caught” during the months of May, June and July, but it requires a California fishing license.

Parking is $3.50 for the Grunion Run, and on June 25 the aquarium gift shop is open late. You can purchase snacks, keepsakes and perhaps an extra layer of cozy comfort. Experience L.A. like a local, and see what these metallic fish look like up close.


A History of Anaheim

June 22nd, 2017


For many, Anaheim and Disneyland are one and the same. However, Disneyland didn’t debut until 1955—and Anaheim was founded in 1857! It all began with German immigrants and wine grapes. The Anaheim colony was originally 1,165 acres, and it’s first name was “Annaheim,” with “Anna” an homage to the Santa Ana River and, of course, “heim” is “home” in German. It underwent a brief alteration to drop that extra “n.”

Before Anaheim was the Disney capital, it was the state wine capital. In just ten years after colonization, 47 wineries popped up. However, a plant virus killed most of the vineyards in the 1880s, and residents opted to grow oranges instead. Yaqui Indians in Mexico were hired for labor, then Chinese immigrants were favored. Downtown Anaheim is still rich with Chinese influences.

A Magical History

Anaheim did well with oranges until 1955, when the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) and Disneyland came to town. Immediately, it became a tourist destination. Today, Anaheim encompasses 46 square miles, and 311,000 residents call it home. It’s the richest city in the county and has the largest populous.

Beyond Disneyland, key sites include the Ramon Peralta Adobe Historic Site, the Mother Colony House, and the North Gate of the City of Anaheim. You may also want to visit Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church and the Site of San Pedro Gate.


Ethiopian Cuisine in Anaheim

June 12th, 2017


Craving something a little spicier and more exotic during your Disneyland extravaganza? There are two delicious Ethiopian restaurants near your guest room, each with authentic and unique flavors. Tana Ethiopian Restaurant and Market is part eatery, part grocery store, and 100 percent genuine.

Try the sambusas (appetizers) like red lentil stew with red pepper sauce, garlic and ginger. Cubes of fresh lamb sautéed in onion, finger strips of lean beef with green chiles, and that injera bread soaked in a stew of meat are all favorite items. Of course, don’t forget about that Ethiopian coffee featuring green beans roasted, ground and boiled in a jebena (Ethiopian kettle), then served in small cups.

Chasing the Heat

Abyssinia Restaurant is another authentic eatery in a casual environment. Try the doro wot, chicken cubes marinated in lemon juice then sautéed in butter. Ethiopian food can be inherently vegetarian-friendly, from the innovative lentil dishes to the array of spicy vegetables in a variety of sauces.

Sample the byainetu, a platter of some favorite dishes along with endless sides of injera bread soaked in sauces. Split peas mixed with fresh garlic and ginger, along with the vegetarian salads, make for a hearty veg-friendly treat. Try both spots during your time in Anaheim and choose your favorite.

Cupcake Camp

June 9th, 2017


Camp never sounded so delicious! Join BakeSpace’s second annual Cupcake Camp June 10 from noon – 5 p.m. Cupcake lovers unite to benefit local non-profits, and you can choose from a smorgasbord of delicious entry options. General admission starts at just $25, or you can go whole hog with a VIP admission for $50. Professional and amateur bakers enter for free when they participate in L.A.’s sweetest bake-off.

You’ll meet the best bakers in the business for an afternoon of decorating, tastings and great family fun. It’s the biggest cupcake festival in southern California, bringing in cupcake gurus from around the world. The afternoon features two separate sessions, because waiting in line is never any fun. Whether you want the early or late afternoon session, rest easy knowing the same bakers will be at the ready, dusting off their rolling pins between sessions.

Delicious Debates

Who whips up the tastiest and most inventive cupcakes? Join Cupcake Camp and cast your vote! Your ticket allows a tantalizing amount of tastings, so you can cherry pick the cupcakes you’d like to try. From classic to zany, there’s truly a cupcake category for everyone.

Come solo, bring the whole family, or consider this a decadent date idea. Cupcake Camp is the ultimate destination to test your sweet tooth.


La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

May 26th, 2017


A major bucket list item, the nearby La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is a mini day trip worth taking. Unlike any other outing in the Anaheim area, it’s home to the biggest active Ice Age excavation site in the world. Excavations are always happening, and it’s very likely you’ll spot an archeological team hard at work during your stop. Already, over 3.5 million fossils have been recovered from La Brea, and new discoveries are still made daily.

Highlighted finds include the Naegele’s Giant Jaguar, a rarity in this region. Dubbed “Fluffy,” 40 percent of the animal has been recovered (so far) and is especially exciting for scientists examining limb proportions. Prehistoric findings help visitors and scientists discover exotic animals that roamed Hollywood from the Dinosaur Era through the last Ice Age.

What Will You Uncover?

For 20 years, the observation pit was closed and the only option was the Excavator Tour (free with museum admission). However, as of last March, the Observation Pit has reopened for students. Simply fill out a request form if you’re traveling as part of an educational tour. If not, the Excavator Tour is still the best way for smaller groups and solo travels to explore the pits.

The museum is where you can get up close and personal with millions of cleaned, displayed fossils and much more. Visit the Fossil Lab, or check out the numerous exhibits like Mammoth, Smilodon, Camelop, Condor and more. From the atrium to the 3-D theater, you’ll want to set aside plenty of time to roam this downtown destination.


Little Tokyo

May 22nd, 2017


Visit Tokyo without leaving southern California at the Los Angeles’ area Little Tokyo community. Governed as a non-profit, there are nearly 100 member organizations dedicated to enriching the Japanese American community within downtown L.A. Arts organizations include the East West Players, the Geffen Contemporary of MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and the Union Center for the Arts.

Soothe your shopping cravings at Little Tokyo Galleria, Japanese Village Plaza and Weller Court. However, if it’s cultural and historical sites you’re after, Little Tokyo has you covered. Visit Nishi Hongwanji Temple, the Koyasan Buddhist Temple, or head to the Home is Little Tokyo Mural. The Senzo Mural, Go for Broke Monument, and historical 1st Street in Little Tokyo or the Little Tokyo Library are fantastic places to start your adventure.

Japanese Infusion

The major historical, civic and cultural region dates to the 1880s. It’s one of just three Japantowns remaining in California and has overcome the Great Depression, discrimination, and forceful removal of citizens during World War II. Today, multiple generations back the various organizations, businesses and temples.

Want to visit Kyoto Gardens, the Japanese American National Museum, and the James Irvine Japanese Gardens? Little Tokyo is located in L.A. near Los Angeles Street and First Street. Walk to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center or Little Tokyo Koban and Visitor’s Center to map out your tour of L.A.’s city within a city.

Check Out this Broad!

May 7th, 2017


The Broad is L.A.’s chic, contemporary art museum founded by Eli and Edythe Broad. Located on Grand Avenue in downtown, it’s a short drive from Anaheim. It was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Gensler as a collaborator and quickly became a hot spot since opening in 2015. You can enjoy free general admission and access to over 2,000 works of art including some of the best collections of contemporary global art and postwar art in the world.

Temporary exhibits are constantly on rotation, and the 120,000 square foot museum boasts two floors of galleries as well as the Broad Art Foundation’s lending library. In its first year, over 820,000 visitors flocked to The Broad, and this spring you’ll find more inspiration and beauty than ever before on display.

What to See

The temporary exhibit Oracle opens April 29th and highlights the shrinking world of culture, commerce and politics. The free collection is on the first floor and features over 30 works from the Broad collection. Open for four months, you’ll also be treated to works from 20+ artists including Mark Bradford and Sterling Ruby.

Dining is also considered a work of art at The Broad thanks to the on-site Otium Restaurant from Chef Timothy Hollingsworth. After 13 years in Napa Valley, Hollingsworth brings his flair for quality food and warm service to a relaxing atmosphere for lunch, brunch, dinner and of course happy hour. Visit The Broad at 221 S. Grand Avenue.

Indian Cuisine Near Anaheim

May 1st, 2017


Craving a massive dosa, the perfect biryani or rich butter chicken? When only Indian will do, Anaheim and the surrounding area is the perfect place to dine, starting with Punjabi Tandoor. Serving traditional northern Indian cuisine including raita, kheer, naan and samosas, it’s a favorite go-to stop for those seeking traditional tandoori chicken and much more.

Try Curry Out in Anaheim for “curry-out” or dine-in options. Chicken, seafood, vegetarian and traditional tandoori options are all available. From chaats (snacks) like pakoras and kebabs to the famous chili chicken marinated in ginger and garlic, it’s a casual eatery that’s sure to satisfy your cravings for dal, saag paneer and lassi.

Heat Things Up

At Gandhi Palace, you get white tablecloths and exceptional service to pair with their equally incredible cuisine. It’s a delight for vegetarians and carnivores alike, specializing in homemade appetizers and entrees just like Amma makes. Choose Gandhi’s for a more upscale or intimate experience.

MasalaCRAFT Indian Restaurant is known for making Indian cuisine into an art form. From the naan, roti and parathas to the rice dishes, paneer makhani, chana masala and much more, MasalaCRAFT is available for catering, too. Where will your gastro journey in Anaheim begin?




Cool Off at Splash!

April 29th, 2017


The Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatic Park in Buena Park offers a series of wild and wet rides, pools, and swim lessons for the entire family. A popular spot for swim meets and competitions, it’s also a favorite for tourists looking for the best water park adventures in the region. Buccaneer Bay is where excitement happens in a pirate-themed adventure with flowing rivers, three slides and an interactive play area for kids.

Enjoy zero-depth beach entry for your convenience and two spray pads. Explore the marooned ship, climb across the skull rock, and relax under shaded sail canopies. From cannon walls to crow’s nests and wharf plank benches, all are welcome aboard this pirate ship in search of the ultimate bounty.

Swim Options

Book the full park or sections for your private event. At Captain Jack’s Grille, visitors re-energize with a full menu of delectable treasures. Try the personal pizza, burgers, or get an entire bucket of fries to share. Your favorite carnival treats are also available including funnel cake, shaved ice, churros and more.

Swim lessons are available year-round for all ages as well as water polo and synchronized swimming classes. Board diving, lifeguard training and regular water exercise classes are offered to residents and visitors alike. Head to Splash!, and cool off California-style.


Anaheim’s Top Burgers

April 16th, 2017


No trip to a foodie city is complete without checking out the best burgers in town. Start at Dino’s Chicken and Burgers, but don’t let the name fool you. Burgers are a far cry from second place at this landmark. Their charbroiled burger selections include classics done right like chili cheeseburgers, doubles, and the tangy coleslaw burger.

Tom’s Place is an old-fashioned joint serving up burgers, tacos and pastrami sandwiches. The menu is a little all over the place, but Tom’s does it right. For burgers, this place keeps it simple with homemade sauces and sides. Pair any burger with perfectly seasoned fries for a classic comfort meal.

 Burger Up

FusionBurgers is a simple establishment with incredible flavors. Check out the Mexican BBQ burger with al pastor meat, grilled pineapples, caramelized onions and aillade (or make it vegetarian with a Portobello mushroom). Their house burger features pancetta and yellow cheddar.

At Fred’s Downhome Burgers, you’ll get turkey sausage burgers, Grandma’s burger, and the classic with a six-ounce patty and plenty of sides. Add on hot relish, pastrami, an egg, bacon, chili or your choice of cheese. Fred’s is a regular on best-of lists. Be sure to try their banana pudding, pies and cake slices for dessert.