Week With Friends From Home

What we did in LA.

Thursday (Day 1)

It was finally the day, the beginning of the fun and awesome week that we’ve been planning for months. I was filled with bliss, when I picked up Karen that morning from LAX. We had brunch at Dudley Market, one of my favourite spots in Venice. After I went to work, Karen and I walked from my place to the Santa Monica pier, it’s around a 25 minute walk. On the way, we stopped by Fork-in Aussie Pie Kitchen, another one of my favourite spots.

Brisket Hash and Egg Chesapeake at Dudley Market; Pulled pork pie at Fork-in Aussie Pie Kitchen

On the pier, there was a special event series that lasts about two months and every Thursday they have a free concert, generously sponsored by Snapchat. We visited for a bit and then decided to walk along the normal part of the pier. We were able to see a lot of vendors, artists and musicians do some cool stuff. We decided to end the night early and walk back.

Santa Monica Pier

Friday (Day 2)

I went to work early since I knew I was going to have to leave early at 4pm (yes, this is early in tech) to pick up Aaron, Chuan, and Alex at the airport. During the day, I also brought Karen to Snapchat for lunch. After a good amount of traffic, Karen and I finally reached LAX and quickly found the boys. It was a warm and sentimental moment for us to all be together in LA.

Uber selfie from LAX; Lunch with Karen at Snapchat HQ

We dropped off their stuff at my place in Venice then we went to downtown Santa Monica for Sugarfish, which is a well known, expensive sushi restaurant. The wait was an hour and a half and it was already 7, so we went to Bruxie and split two waffle sandwiches. We walked around and shopped a bit. We went back and finally got our table around 8:30 pm and it was worth the wait because it was some of the best sushi I’ve ever ate. It wasn’t filling at all, so it was a good thing we had Bruxie beforehand.

Waffle sandwiches at Bruxie; Sushi from Sugarfish; Handroll from Sugarfish

Katrina and Andy drove down from SF to visit LA that weekend. We met up with them and invited them to our place to hang and catch up. A few Snapchat interns even joined to hang out and after a couple hours we eventually took a late night stroll on the beach.

Saturday (Day 3)

We walked on the infamous Venice boardwalk the following morning. For lunch we had a lot of food: we split the BBQ brisket sandwich from Zeldas, all got large smoothies from Fruit Gallery and we each got a poke bowl from Wild Poke. All the portions were small, which is the reason for why we had so much to eat!

Wild Poke; Chilling on the roof overlooking Venice beach

We then went to the roof and I got to show them the awesome view I had everyday. We enjoyed the view of the boardwalk, the people, the beach and the ocean. After that we went to downtown LA and visited the Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Pershing Square, Grand Central Park, Little Tokyo, Union Station, Olvera Street and China Town. After walking around 25 km that day, we had dinner at Grand Central Market, which has a huge diversity of foods. We all got meals from a different restaurants so we can try as much food as possible.

The Broad; Pershing Square; Selfie at Pershing Square

After that, we wanted to take nice pictures of the Urban Lights at LACMA which is in West Hollywood. We were disappointed when we got there because there were so many people and we knew it would be hard to get a decent picture. We left shortly after arriving determined to come back for the perfect picture.

Grand Central Park Selfie; Grand Central Park Chilling; Olvera Street Mexican food

Sunday (Day 4)

We got breakfast at Flake, and then picked up water and snacks for the long day ahead. We drove 2.5 hours to Palm Springs, which is east of LA. By the time we got there it was lunch time, but it was hard to find any good restaurants in this small town. We settled for Mexican food at Loco Charlies which turned out to be pretty good, but we had to sit outside and at that time it was 42 degrees.

Summit of Mt. San Jacinto

We went up the aerial tram at Mt. San Jacinto which is a mountain north of Palm Springs. At the summit, we had an amazing view of the valley below and the forest that was on the summit. The temperature at the summit was around mid 20s which was a lot cooler than the searing heat on the valley floor.

View from summit of Mt. San Jacinto; Joshua Tree National Park

We then drove into Joshua Tree National Park which was about an hour from where we were. This park is known for the massive population of Joshua Trees and its amazing scenery. We stopped in an area that was surrounded by massive stacks of boulders, which I decided to climb because why not. I took some nice time lapses as we drove through the park. We caught the sunset up on Keys view, which is this mountain range that goes through the park. It was so beautiful watching the sunset, and it was cool seeing Coachella and Palm Springs (towns on the valley floor) light up. Unfortunately, the haze caused by LA pollution is quite visible here.

After the sunset, the dark night sky allowed us to see the stars, constellations, and the milky way. We took a ton of pictures and just enjoyed the view which is so hard to find within in any city.

Sunset at Joshua Tree Park; Night time at JTP

We then drove to LACMA for some night time pictures and it was awesome because there were very little people so we had a lot of liberty in the pictures we wanted to take.

Urban Lights at LACMA at midnight

Monday (Day 5)

So sad, the weekend was now over but I was only going to work two days that week and take the rest of it off. It was a rough day because I was pretty tired. The others spent most of the day hiking the Hollywood sign. After work, I met up with them at The Grove, which is a high end out door mall in west LA. It had a tram that brings you through the mall. We were hungry because it was kind of late already, so for a snack we ate some pretty good cupcakes from Sprinkles.

Din Tai Fung

We then went to Din Tai Fung, which is well known for it’s Xiao Long Bao, and it was one of the best dinners I’ve had in LA. We then watched Suicide Squad at this other really nice mall which is right where Din Tai Fung was. It was not that great of a movie I have to admit.

Tuesday (Day 6)

Today is when Alex and Cat land in LA!

It was work as usual for me, the last day I’d work that week. Aaron, Karen and Alex just chilled that day. I went to a team dinner at Cheese Cake Factory, after that I met up with them back at home. We met up with Alex and Cat in Ktown at this bar called R Bar, it was strange because you needed a password to enter but we quickly found the password on Twitter. Inside it was some standup comedy and it was kind of dead, so we went to this restaurant across the street called Jjan, it was pretty live. We had spicy rice cakes with instant noodles and kimchi, some fried chicken gizzard, and kimchi fried pizza. Throughout the night we ended up drinking six different bottles of flavoured Soju, they even threw in a bottle on the house!

Flavoured soju from Jjan; Spicy rice cake with instant noodle and kimchi; Kimchi Pizza

Wednesday (Day 7)

It was time for Disney! We were tired and slightly hung over from the night before. We had a filling breakfast at The Serving Spoon.

We met up with Alex and Cat again at Disney. In conclusion, Disney was alright — the lines were so long even though it was the weekend. At least we got to take nice pictures, grab souvenirs, watch the parade and explore all the different areas of the park.

Disneyland

After Disney, we headed to Ktown again for KBBQ! When we got to Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, they told us the wait was an hour and a half, but it ended up being two hours. So we went to get boba at Boba Time and split some Pho at Pho 24 in the mean time since we were all starving.

The wait for KBBQ was worth it though — everybody loved the food! We were all so stuffed since the portions were pretty large. This was also the last night we were all together in LA. We helped Karen take some slow motions shots with her camera on the roof of my apartment and that ended up being super fun!

Last night on the roof top video shoot and selfie

Thursday (Day 8)

We took some morning drone shots: on the roof of my apartment, shots of me skating down an isolated road, and us lying in a field with a drone flying overhead.

After that, we walked down the boardwalk and had Wild Poke and Wee Chippy for lunch. A nostalgic and bittersweet feeling since Wild Poke was our first and last lunch together with so many new memories in between.


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Click here to see some of my photos from my summer internship! Some photo credits to Karen and Aaron!

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