SoCal Februrary 2017: Theme Parks and Swirled Ice Cream

Hogwarts, Universal Studios Hollywood | SoCal Februrary 2017: Theme Parks and Swirled Ice Cream, Delicious Not Gorgeous

my friend b flew down at the end of february, and we spent the next 60 hours of glory with another friend, s, who goes to college (and went to elementary, middle and high school) with me, though we were never really friends until she transferred from junior college to our current college. hence, socal february 2017: theme parks and swirled ice cream.


Tropical orange soft serve from Phineas Q. Butterfat's Ice Cream Parlor, Universal Studios Hollywood | Februrary 2017: Theme Parks and Swirled Ice Cream, Delicious Not Gorgeous

our day started at universal studios, where i froze my butt off all day. it’s inland la, but the weather decided to be outright cold (goosebump level cold). the studio tour, where you get driven around in a tram and look at the universal backlot and their sets, was hands down my favorite attraction we went on, even given how frozen i felt after it. we brought sandwiches in an effort to be healthier and cheaper, and then somehow still ended up buying garlic parmesan fries, tropical orange swirled soft serve (creamyyyy but if you don’t like orange flavored candy, this isn’t for you), and tea (did i mention it was chilly?).

we stopped by griffith observatory at sunset because b is very obsessed with la la land. for which i don’t get the hype. the songs are catchy but i don’t love them, and that ending, what the heck?! then onto kbbq; we opted for inchewon in garden grove because there was no wait. wasn’t bad, but there’s a reason why other places have a wait and this one did not.



lido marina, newport beach: think of the most white (in terms of aesthetic and clientele), rich, pretty shopping center, and you get lido marina. we walked around snapping pictures everywhere, and b eventually bought a vanilla latte just for the instagram. sigh.

The Hot Chick and the Bolsa from Baos Hog, Garden Grove | Februrary 2017: Theme Parks and Swirled Ice Cream, Delicious Not Gorgeous

baos hog: i tried their bolsa (a traditional crispy pork belly) and hot chick (fried chicken). the bolsa was okay; the pork skin was super crispy, but i wish that the rest of it had been more tender. still highly recommend the pork belly buns from momofuku (though those are a little far from california, sigh). the hot chick was delicious; i loved how crispy and light the batter on the chicken was, and how juicy and tender the meat was. this one was a little messy to eat, but no cabbage or carrot julienne got left behind, even if it fell out.

disneyland: we went because we were bored. oh, how tough, i know. but b has free disney (she works at a disney store at home, essentially for the perks), and we were carless while s had work that night anyways, so it was an easy way to spend an afternoon/night. but man, it was crowded. i’ve never seen it so crowded, and there were too many special events that day. we ended up boredom eating, oops. and did you know how hard it is to take a nice picture of a churro? we also had some poutine from red rose tavern, a special restaurant pop-up in fantasyland for the premiere of beauty and the beast. it was tasty, but the fries got soggy very fast and the gravy teetered on the edge of inedibly salty (we counteracted this with copious amounts of ketchup. come at me, poutine purists). they ran out of the special cakes (grey stuff, and a rose cake), which i was kind of sad about. we didn’t go on any rides until 9pm (a solid 7 hours after we first entered the park), and we only ended up going on 3 minor rides (little mermaid, it’s a small world, haunted mansion) because somehow the big ones (ie indiana jones) still had 1+ hour waits at 10pm. there were also struggles trying to see the beauty and the beast preview, and we ended up sitting through it’s tough to be a bug! and freaked out with the smoke and bugs “running” under our butts and things coming out of the chair to poke us. we did get to the right theater for beauty and the beast eventually, thank goodness, but it was overall a weird day at disney.


Kouign Amann, C+M Coffee and Milk at LACMA | Februrary 2017: Theme Parks and Swirled Ice Cream, Delicious Not Gorgeous

we tried to be cultured on sunday and went to lacma (the la county museum of arts; i thought everyone knew what it was, but my mom didn’t, so here you are). turns out, i don’t really understand art. and the main pieces that b wanted to see were gone. so after a couple of hours of meandering, along with some coffee and a massive kouign amann (super sticky, caramelly, flaky, very solid kouign amann) from c+m coffee and milk at lacma, we left.

and onto the la la land mural, which b found randomly on twitter and of course dragged us to. it was a very pretty wall, though i wouldn’t wait 20 minutes to take a picture with it if i was alone.

Red bean filled taiyaki with matcha and milk swirled soft serve at SomiSomi, Koreatown, Los Angeles | Februrary 2017: Theme Parks and Swirled Ice Cream, Delicious Not Gorgeous

we meant to get bingsoo, korean shaved ice, in ktown, but then stumbled upon somisomi, and got that instead. it’s taiyaki, which is japanese fish bread, and it also goes by the name of bungeoppang in korean. not quite sure what the difference is (lmk if you do!), but they’re both fish shaped breads. the texture is very different from a typical french/western bread, and the edges are crispy while the inside is really chewy and mochi-like. this one was filled with sweetened mashed red bean, and the creamiest matcha and milk swirled soft serve. mmm. s and i shared, because we were assuming that we’d get bingsoo after, but she tapped out. sigh. I’LL BE BACK FOR YOU, SUL & BEANS.

the rest of the day was spent wandering around ktown and then sawtelle, with a detour to sushistop for dinner, an attempt to go to a beach (but we gave up because it was too cold), and a stop at target for bathrooms before returning b to lax.

1 year ago: Orange-Scented Almond Olive Oil Muffins, Coconut Cake with Strawberry Compote and Pink Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 years ago: America’s Test Kitchen’s Clumpalicious Almond Granola, Apricot Almond Amaretto Pound Cake
3 years ago: Thomas Keller’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Apricot, blackberry jamble and earl grey ice cream from Tin Pot Creamery in Palo Alto, CA.

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38 Replies to “SoCal Februrary 2017: Theme Parks and Swirled Ice Cream”

  1. Sounds like fun!! I loved reading about your adventures. You always make me laugh….while introducing me to foods I have never tried!! Yum. 🙂

    1. glad these posts entertain you! 😉

  2. You did all of this in 60 hours? I’m so impressed. That’s like three months worth of activity for me :). But it sounds like a great time with your friends!

    1. i like to be gogogo haha (: if you just lay in bed all day, what’s the point of travelling?! tbh, we had planned to do even more but we pooped out on sunday and decided against going to the other museums we were interested in.

  3. Sounds like you all had fun and you can’t beat some flavoured swirled ice cream! Yum!

    1. i am such a sucker for ice cream, much less flavored swirled ice cream!

  4. damn! you had some really good eats! I have never seen or heard of a kouign amann it looks so interesting! That Bao looks to die for. First time I had bao I was in love! The fluffy sweet bun is soooooooooooooo good. haha 🙂

    1. ahhh highly recommend you hunt down a kouign amann asap!! it’s basically croissant dough with tons of sugar folded in, and the edges get super caramelly and sticky. mmm so good. and yes, baos were my favorite as a kid! i used to add plum sauce and ignore the duck altogether and be the happiest camper ever.

  5. All the food you had looks delish, especially the bao buns and the kouign amann! I’ve never heard of taiyaki, but it sounds wonderful! I need to seek that out! Thanks for sharing!

    1. taiyaki is so tasty :3 it’s not like western bread at all, and is much closer to chewy mochi made with sweet rice flour. i’ve seen them a lot in the bay area/los angeles/orange county, so any urban-ish area with a solid asian population should have taiyaki!

  6. Holy moly! Sounds like you had a wicked time! And talk about good eats! That orange soft serve sounds right up my alley – I do enjoy orange flavoured candy 🙂 We actually had snow here this weekend, but it’s gone today with the sun! Bring on the nice weather!

    1. i like orange flavored candy, too (i used to trade all my strawberry starbursts for the orange and lemon ones lol). also, snow?! i can’t even imagine that because it was such a scorcher this past weekend in southern california.

  7. aaahhh you are giving me serious california dreams girl! You always sound lik you have the best weekends 🙂 Those bao buns look right up my alley. I had my first taiyaki in Bangkok of all places – its cool that they are popping up more and more now.

    1. wellllll i don’t blog about the weekends when i spend it studying procrastinating (; but yeah, i’m trying to get my fun in now since i’m going to be working most of my summer away! ooh bangkok sounds really fun; dreaming of eating everythinggg in asia.

  8. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun! I have not seen Lala but it gets a lot of praise. Those bad buns look so soft and yummy!

    1. i tend to like movies to be more conventional, so i think la la land was a bit artsy for me. and i was comparing the songs to les mis and west side story, which isn’t that fair bc i love those songs so much. if you’re into musicals and that sort of thing though, i definitely think it’s worth a watch!

  9. Glad you guys had fun! That pulled pork looks nice and the ice creams – wow! My favourite these days are mint choc chip and rum and raisin, which is funny because I hated these flavours when I was a kid!

    1. i can understand not liking rum raisin as a kid, but i’m surprised that you weren’t into mint chocolate chip! my super picky brother was allll about the mint chocolate chip (and that neon rainbow sherbet that now scares me a bit) when he was younger.

  10. Colorful and friends. Perfect! Spring is in the air and a fun time to dress up our homes too. It’s Derby week in Louisville. Watch for our Derby Hat favorites on our 50/50 this Friday.-Laurel Bledsoe

  11. Sounds like days of fun! And that Taiyaki (?) looks amazing. I will have to see if I can hunt something like that down here in the Pacific NW. Hopefully you saw Beauty and the Beast and perhaps liked it better than LaLaLand! I loved both, actually.

    1. i bet you can find taiyaki somewhere in the pnw! i’m betting on seattle/portland/vancouver/anything urban (: still haven’t seen batb but soon! also have your name on my list, since i’ve heard that’s amazing as well.

  12. Love all your adventures, sounds so much fun! I’ve always wanted to try kouign amann, but never had the opportunity to do so. May be time for a Disney trip:)

    1. kouign amanns are popping up everywhere! i even see them at chain bakeries sometimes. i really like the kouign amanns at b. patisserie in sf and manresa bread in los gatos if you’re near either of those (:

      1. Thanks Heather, we sure make day trips to San Francisco. Will check out next time, have a great weekend!

        1. day trips to sf are the best! they’re such an easy getaway for me when i’m home (since i don’t live in the city either), and there’s always so much good food :3 hope your weekend is great, too!

  13. 60 hours in theme parks snacking on swirled ice cream with some life long buddies! Sign me up. I’m dying to go to Universal Studios, would also love to see the Griffith observatory. I kind of refuse to see La La Land, I’m not too sure why, but I’m boycotting it for some reason. This Japanese fish bread is almost too cute to eat… almost.

    1. universal studios feels worth it to me because you can basically get a 9 month pass (there are blockout dates, but oh well) for $120. not bad at all! though maybe not worth it if you get dizzy a lot with the 4d/imax thing. griffith observatory is so cool and i’d definitely recommend checking it out! though i personally prefer the view from twin peaks in sf more (; lol maybe you’re boycotting because it’s been so successful? i’d rather rewatch clips of other musicals tbh.

  14. BAOS!!!! Those both look incredible, but the crispy chick would probably win me over too. This sounds like a fun day of adventures and food!!

    1. if you like fried chicken (which is everyone except past me, who used to hate fried chicken for who knows what reason), then you’d probably like that crispy chick bao (;

  15. Universal studios and ice cream, two of my favourite things! Lovely blog, Val x

  16. 60 hours of food, fun and theme parks?! Gurl, now THAT is my idea of a good time! Looks like you guys had a blast! I could eat a few dozen of those Baos right about now!! Cheers!

    1. maybe i wasn’t that hungry, but those two baos were pretty filling! eating a few dozen would be impressive (;

  17. omg those orange swirl ice creams are CRAZY. and wow that is a strange disney land day – I spend just one day there with my brothers a couple of years ago, and I think we counted up and we had managed 27 rides between 8am and 10pm – california screamin a grand total of 5 times haha, it was epic. never been to universal studios though – next time!! x

    1. holy moly, 27 rides?! it sounds both crazy and impressive (: universal is definitely a different experience (disney feels very magical to me, and universal is more like a typical theme park), but still fun!

  18. Wonderful post. Pleased to find your blog today and I look forward to reading your next post. Universal Studios was probably my favourite park in America. Disappointed they don’t have the Jaws ride anymore though!

    1. i’ve never been on the jaws ride! not sure that they ever had it at the hollywood location, and by the time i went to the florida one, they didn’t have it. they still have a little bit of jaws material in their studio tour though, which was really cool (:

  19. Thank you for the reminder to visit Somi Somi. I love soft cream and taiyaki…Sounds like you had a chilly but fun time at Universal Studios…Again you’ve inspired me to go seek adventure outside of West LA!

    1. somi somi is tasty! i’d recommend going with a friend or two though, because it’s kind of rich. and if you share, maybe you can hop over to sul & beans next door for some korean bingsoo (shaved ice!). i’m rarely in west la (i spend most of my time in the oc and when i’m in la, i end up more downtown/east), so that’s one part i need to get to (:

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