whenever i want a quick getaway, a long weekend in la is my go to. los angeles is easy for me to get to (cheap, 1 hour flights? yes please) and it's a nice balance of nostalgia and newness (i had a number of fantastic day trips to la in college, and yet there's still so much to explore and eat). my friend and i flew out on a pre-dawn flight on a friday, ready for adventure.
if you're in the mood for really good pasta, quick service style, pasta sisters is it. a close cousin is seattle's il corvo (luckily pasta sisters is a little less crowded!). we split a tagliatelle with arrabiata sauce and burrata, plus a side salad for good measure. al dente noodles, chunky tomato sauce and creamy cheese - it really hit the spot, even if that description doesn't sound as "exciting" as a pasta with uni and truffle and gold leaf. and if you've never seen worth it, highly recommend.
i've eaten my fair share of taiyakis, but nothing like the croissant taiyaki from mumu bakery. the middle is chewy like a normal taiyaki (almost mochi like, if that helps). but the edges are so crispy, like the flaky, sugary bits of an exceptional kouign amann. we had one filled with brown sugar and nuts and seeds, and we mowed through that one so fast i wish we tried the mochi one too.
we also grabbed an injolemi croissant for snacking. there's so much roasted soybean powder on the outside that it's not a perfect snack for driving in a car with black seats, but the toasty soybean + the cream filling + the crispy croissant is prettyyyyyy tasty.
my friend really wanted vietnamese food, so we ended up at banh cuon luu luyen in garden grove. in a nutshell, they specialize in banh cuon, or rice noodles with toppings and fillings. we had a #11, which looks like a spring roll and has grilled pork rolled up inside, and a #1, which had pork and shrimp folded into the rice noodles (like an envelope), topped with deliciousness. i love cheung fun, the cantonese rice sheet noodles, so this cousin was equally as satisfying.
if you're going for mellow vibes during a long weekend in la, then huntington library is a good pick. you could wander among its gardens and museums for hours, and it's a good option even in the winter. plenty of flowers, lily pads, cacti and trees to still see!
in the complete opposite direction of huntington library: disneyland. holidays is my favorite time, because you get all the normal magic, plus all the lights and decorations. i don't need to go drive around to different neighborhoods to see lights when i can get the best version at disneyland (especially the castle and it's a small world). i also had the opportunity to go to oga's cantina, the new star wars bar. i've seen 0 star wars movies (and likely won't break that streak any time soon), but i'm a sucker for fruity themed drinks. we ended up with a fuzzy tuantuan (which was like ma la topped peach ciroc; the foam was so numbing that we had to scrape it off in order to finish the drink), a t-16 skyhopper (vodka spiked melona in liquid form) and a carbon freeze (juice with popping boba, necessary simply to break up the rest of the alcohol). definitely recommend the t-16 skyhopper, it's such a tasty way to end a day at disney!