Tuesday, September 28, 2010

#136: Abbot Kinney Festival

Photo from yovenice

I tend to shy away from festivals since parking is always a pain and long lines + crowds make me frustrated. Therefore with Glow in Santa Monica and the Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice this past weekend, a part of me wanted to run Eastward toward Pasadena and not look back.

Glow is an annual art walk festival on Santa Monica beach. It was held this past Saturday and ran late into the night. It has 1 1/2 stars on Yelp. That's pretty pathetic. Common complaints on Yelp involved parking, traffic and lack of organization. (I'm glad I didn't go.)

The Abbot Kinney Festival was held in Venice the next day. I tried attending this festival last year and have the all too frustrating memory of circling Venice for 30 minutes trying to find parking. This year, we circled for 20 minutes and finally found a spot after stalking a family for two blocks.

The festival highlights:

-There was a great band playing in a narrow crowded alley by a house-turned-art-shop. Didn't get their name, sadly.
-Tons of food trucks (most notably, Ludo Bites, Border Grill, Nom Nom and Grilled Cheese Truck)
-Refreshing young coconuts for sale for $5
-Free pop chips, coconut water, nut bars, frappuccino and more in the Whole Foods section of the festival!

The festival lows:

-Ahn Joo Truck (my worst food truck experience!)
-loooong lines for the food trucks

You are either a festival person or you aren't. If you don't mind crowds, being in the sun for a long time and walking a lot, then you're probably the former. Do beer gardens make you happy? Then Abbot Kinney's festival is definitely for you. They had two of them, and it looked like MTV's Spring Break in there. Do you like tribal/new-age jewelry? I must have seen 30 tents selling the stuff.

If this is your scene, then definitely check this festival out next year!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

#135: Govinda's Natural Foods

Photo from examiner

I get obsessed with things and "over-do it", as Brad would say. For example, my current obsession is watermelon. I've been eating what amounts to probably half a medium sized watermelon a day. When our "supply" runs low, I get antsy. Brad would inevitably bring home another giant melon, and I would look as elated as if he brought me a dozen roses.

Sometimes I push my obsessions too far and Brad gets really tired of them.

I discovered Govinda's on Yelp some time at the beginning of this year (It is actually one of the "Hot Restaurants on Yelp" right now). I went once a week... Then twice a week... Pretty soon, Brad didn't even need to ask me where I wanted to go to eat.

Now Brad made a rule that we can only go there together once a month. That doesn't stop me from going more often though. :)

Govinda's is run by the Hare Krishna temple attached to it. It is buffet style featuring all vegetarian/vegan cuisine. The food is simple but delicious. There are always salad items, a soup, dahl, halavah, a main course, and white/brown rice. The price is perfect--$8 (It used to be $7, but they recently had to raise their prices). The thing I love the most about their food is how "clean" it tastes. I don't know how else to describe it, but it has a very pure taste and you can tell that they put a lot of care into the preparation. It is also not overburdened with butter, oils or salt.

After you've had your fill of healthy vegetarian food, go upstairs to their gift shop. They have so many gorgeous clothes, accessories, and great books up there.

Govinda's is one healthy obsession that I don't think I'll ever tire of!

Monday-Saturday 11-3pm and 5-8:30pm.

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#134: Mar Vista Farmers' Market

A couple of our friends always go to the Mar Vista Farmers' Market on Sundays and for the longest time I had been wanting to check it out. One visit, and I'm hooked. This has become my favorite west-side farmers' market for the following reasons:
  • It's not nearly as crowded as Santa Monica's two farmers' markets
  • Lots of hot food vendors (empanadas, ribs, quesadillas, omelettes, crepes)
  • Lots of cheese/dip/hummus vendors
  • All vendors practically forcing samples on you. You could seriously get full on just the samples!
  • A few all-organic stalls (not as much as Santa Monica, but still enough for what I need)
  • Live jazz band
  • Picnic tables and chairs
Brad got an apple sausage quesadilla and I got a raw Oaxacan zucchini lasagna. Then we got a bunch of produce including a giant watermelon that was perhaps the juiciest I have ever tasted. We had no idea how to choose a watermelon (I know it's supposed to sound "hollow", but what does that really sound like?), so a kind woman shopping near us gave us a three minute lesson on choosing watermelons. Now I can tell the difference between a dead thud mimicking as "hollow", and a truly resonant hollow sound. (Brad, on the other hand, still insists that they all sound hollow :P)

The farmers market is pretty close to Mitsuwa, so we just parked in front of Mitsuwa and then walked across the street. Definitely check this place out if you're tired of fighting for parking or space on the lawn at the S.M. market!

Sundays 9 am-2 pm

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