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yamashiro

Yamashiro, which means “mountain palace” in Japanese, has been a Hollywood landmark since the 1920’s. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills above The Magic Castle, Yamashiro is more then just a restaurant, it’s an experience. It has been on our radar as a place to check out for quite sometime now and my birthday seemed like the perfect occasion!

I’m so happy we arrived just before sunset because the views were spectacular. The poolside pagoda was imported from Japan and is 600 years old. It is one of the oldest structures in California.

The west facing view is amazing: you can catch a truly spectacular view of the  sun setting into the Pacific. During the Great Depression you could visit the gardens and admire the view for 25 cents. Ironically, now, the valet alone, costs $7.50!  
I loved the ambiance of the beautiful Garden Room, but the hostess recommended that we sit in the Sunset Room since it was our first time there. I`m so glad we took her advice. Not only did we have an amazing view of LA but we also had a view of the valet which made for great people/car watching!

The Kurobuta Pork Carnitas appetizer was the most amazing thing we ate all night. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! The bottom is a scallion-risotto cake topped with carnitas in a hoisin reduction with a honey mustard drizzle. A-MA-ZING! We will definitely be back for this! They also have a great lounge where one could come casually for a cocktail and an app and enjoy the view! Wether you live in LA or are just passing through you need to put Yamashiro on your list of things to do!

 

desert dreams

The recent days of unseasonably warm weather in southern California have me dreaming of the desert. Last year we made 2 trips out to the 29 Palms Inn to relax and frolic in the heat. Just a quick 2 1/2 hr. drive and we were transported to a place that can only be described as magical. Sometimes you just have to get out of town to see the stars, listen to the crickets chirp and recharge!

 

oh tokyo, i love you so!

My husband and I had an opportunity to visit Japan and had the most amazing time. The people, food, shopping and sights were unlike anywhere else in the world. I fell in love with Tokyo and its over-the-top cuteness.

Tokyo Highlights

  • Me and my crocheted mohawk hat are outside a Pachinko room. Its like a casino of slot machines that use silver balls instead of coins. Total visual overload!
  • We stayed at the Tama Hotel, a traditional Japanese Inn located in Shinjuku. The room consisted of rice paper walls, and a tatami floor on which the inn keeper would roll out a traditional futon bed roll nightly.
  • The busiest intersection in the world is Hachiko Crossing in Shibuya.

  • My buddy…one of the crazy kids hanging out on the Harajuku bridge on a Sunday afternoon.
  • A glimpse of a “sweet lolita” under an umbrella. Japan has so many niche styles!
  • Hello Kitty is everywhere!!!
  • Busy streets of one of the many Tokyo shopping districts.
  • A delicious breakfast we had two days in a row. We weren’t entirely certain of what we were eating, we just pointed at what looked good. Most restaurants have plastic food displayed outside to entice passerby’s.

  • Interactive holiday window display at Setan department store.
  • A funky, free standing fashion display in Harajuku.
  • Conveyor belt sushi was quick, fresh and inexpensive.
  • A modern Xmas tree outside a huge mall in Shibuya.

  • I love how cute this sign is, asking people to please get drunk at home and not on the subway.
  • One of our favorite areas was The Golden Gai, a micro-bar district in Shinjuku. This bar had a rugby theme as the owner was a longtime player. The entire place is shown in this photo. Some bars in the Golden Gai seat as few as 4 people and only allow local regulars.
  • We were lucky to have caught these traditionally dressed girls outside the entrance to the Meji Jingu Temple on their way to a wedding.
  • Bikes are a very popular form of transportation!
  • Shinjuku is beautiful at night with all the bright neon lights.
  • We made friends with some Japanese businessmen at a stand up restaurant in Uneo. Although we didn’t speak the same language we had no difficulty having a good time. More often then not I found this to be the case. It made Tokyo super inviting and a pleasure to explore and left me wanting more!

 

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