Monday, August 24, 2015

Mac and Cheese and Macarons










I think every crafter needs a desk like this from the Wells Fargo Museum. Small but very interesting free museum. 

Two weeks ago we ventured over to downtown Los Angeles to visit the Japanese consulate. We took all our pre-approved paperwork and handed it over to process our visas. Since it was pre-approved we were able to hang around and pick them up at 3:00. That gave us time to check out the neighborhood. 

In my last post you saw our wonderful tour of the Walt Disney concert hall. I highly recommend the audio self-guided tour of the building. Because of the awesomeness of social media these days, I was able to contact a friend that works downtown and ask about lunch recommendations. She said we were close to Bottega Louie and it was a trendy place to eat. We traipsed a few blocks to 7th and Grand and had lunch there. It also gave me a leg up on my step goal for the day. 

It is definitely a popular place and you are immediately greeted with a beautiful array of desserts, especially the macarons! 

We both ordered salads, mine is the arugula salad pictured and his was a Cobb salad. What I really wanted was the Mac and cheese with bacon. He said he'd help me eat it and boy did he! It was amazing. It was called a "small bite" and wasn't too big. I should've just ordered that and no salad. AND eaten the entire thing by myself. That's what I should've done. Does anyone else out there love Mac and cheese? I have a collection of recipes and have made just a few of them. I don't think any have bacon. I'll have to work on that. We will see if I can buy the necessary ingredients in Japan. It's doubtful. In the end he had a strawberry macaron and mine was lemon. 

We walked back up the hill to the consulate and got our visas. His is a work visa. Mine is a play visa. Yes it is. 



Friday, August 14, 2015

Spontaneous Sightseeing

Hello again.  Things are hopping around here as you can imagine.  We are preparing to move at the end of the month.  This next week the packers arrive to pack up our two shipments, one by air and one by sea.  It's getting complicated to say the least.  On Monday we took our paperwork into Los Angeles to get our Visas.  They were able to process them in one day since we had the paperwork done and approved.  It allowed us about five hours of unexpected time to explore downtown.  We parked right across the street from the Disney Concert Hall.  I've always wanted to see it in person.  I was excited for the opportunity.


It really is as beautiful or more so than it looks in pictures.  I wish it had been a beautifully clear day, but it was hazy.  I highly recommend using the free audio tour through the building.  It gives you so much more information and insight than just a walk around it would give you. 
 One of the concert halls.


 Beautiful curves everywhere.
Look at that massive pipe organ!  
 This donor wall is made out of felt with steel letters imbedded into the strips.





The gardens were beautiful.  This rose fountain was made out of valuable Dutch Delftware Tiles donated by the makers.  It is in memory of Lillian Disney.





Loved seeing the donor in this section.



Can you imagine that this beautiful building was originally designed in stone?  Several people tried to convince the architect to build it in metal after seeing the Guggenheim museum.  He finally made a model and was convinced.  I can't imagine it any other way. Check out their website for more information. I'll have to show you other pictures from our day next time.  This post is getting TOO LONG.  All the pictures are from my iPhone, since I had no idea we would be touring this beautiful building.  They aren't even edited.  See you soon!

Karen



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Home Away From Home

Don't you all like "before" pictures? Well, here are the "before" pictures of our new apartment in Japan.  It's actually fairly large for there and I think it's going to be good.  How about this crazy bright front door? This whole experience is going to be a "make it work" experience.

This kitchen is actually very large compared to all the apartments that we saw.  You can see my little dishwasher (white) and my little microwave/convection oven (black).  There are cabinets above and below, but this is all of the counter space.
However, UNHEARD of is an actual pantry, guys!  A pantry that you can walk into.  Most of the kitchens we looked at had no other storage than one row of lower cabinets.  They were basically maybe just three lower cabinets and that's it, so, this is amazing.
There was a girl in the apartment, cleaning and taking pictures.  She had a pile of things in the bathroom, so you can't really see the cabinet here.  I am standing in the doorway to the shower room, photo below.
 Their showers are basically the entire room. The toilets have their own separate room. 
This is the view of the kitchen and the front entry hall from the balcony.  
Still more stuff from the cleaning girl. 
 The yellow door is to the bathroom, the white door is to the back bedroom.
 The door to the front bedroom and looking out of the living room through the balcony.
It has a south facing exposure which will always be bright and sunny. And hot some days.  
 The bedrooms are adjoining through two sliding doors. There is pretty good storage as well.

Exciting stuff!  We are renting furniture and it is not particularly my style, but I'm determined to make this apartment feel like home. With all of the other details to figure out, I'm contemplating how I'm going to manage to decorate it.  I cannot hang anything on the walls and the living room curtains are going to be beige.  So, lots of beige, beige, beige.  I'm formulating a plan as I type. Keep hanging around and see how it progresses.  Moving is set for first of September!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Changes Ahead!

We've been home a week from our visit to Japan.  My first trip there ever!  I had a lot of mixed feelings heading into it and apprehension.  I'm really happy that I went, because I can see that it is going to be just fine.  Of course, ask me in two or three months and we will see.  Here are some pictures from our week.

 Our entire trip was cloud covered.  I was hoping to see Alaska or Russia.  But no, clouds the entire way.
 I doodled, read a book, watched two movies and napped on the way there.

The beautiful city view from our 33rd floor hotel room.
Here's a glimpse of our hotel room.  Small, but very nice.
 Funny buttons for the fancy toilets they have in Japan.  I didn't try any of the options.
 This just seemed wrong.
The mechanical parking garages were just fascinating to me.  You drive in and park.  The mechanism puts your car in its "spot".  When you're reading to go again, the car has been turned around and brought back down to you.  Crazy!
 A delicious restaurant for lunch where they prepare the food right in front of you.
I ordered some kind of pork with garlic on top of cabbage.  The little salad was good too, but I can't remember what it was and some Miso soup was included.  
 Vending machines everywhere. But alas, no Diet Coke.
This is the only photo I got of a different dinner.  They gave us all kinds of things that were dipped and fried and served on the end of a skewer.  You dip them in the sauces before eating.  I tried scallops, a prawn with his head still on and a herring with his head and tail attached.  I only ate the tail.  When something is that breaded and fried, you can't tell you're eating strange stuff.  That's as weird as I got last week, though.  
 My club sandwich from another lunch.  That is a little bowl of potato salad on the top right.  
Do you think there is a little disparity in portion sizes to the US? Just a little?
We had Thai food another night and these all of these dumplings were delicious.  
I even used chopsticks a little.  These were mushroom and pork and were my favorite.
 These dumplings were rice.
 These were shrimp.
 Sweet and sour soup.The food just keep coming and coming.  They bring it in a lot of little bowls.  
I would hate to be the dishwasher!
 We really needed pizza during one lunch hour.
 Proof that cheese does exist in Japan.  I had been told otherwise.  It'll cost ya, though.
 This is a half pound of beef and it's about $4.50.  This is also the only size it came in. But, knowing now the size of my new refrigerator, this is probably a good idea.
 Little bags of chips for $3.50 +/_.
This was the entire chip selection.  American's are used to an entire aisle devoted to just chips!

Well, I'm ending this post with the food options.  I have a lot more photos to show, but this is going to get way too long.  I enjoyed the food.  It was very fresh and delicious and there is a variety.  We even had Mexican food one night.  It wasn't like here in California, but it was good.  They put pineapple on my Carne Asada tacos.  I kind of liked it.  I will be back with pictures of our new apartment in a few days!  Sayonara everyone!

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