Please come join me at jquejque.com for more travel, food and lifestyle posts! I’ll definitely still be around here as well to read everyone’s amazing blogs.
Please come join me at jquejque.com for more travel, food and lifestyle posts! I’ll definitely still be around here as well to read everyone’s amazing blogs.
I normally don’t fancy grape soda but…
This was a godsend after walking 40 minutes in 85°F (30°C) weather with all my luggage in tow… The lesson that I learned? Google Maps lies (occasionally) and I need to pack less!
Mistakenly got off at the “nearest” station to our Airbnb and trekked through the suburbs of Kyoto… Arrived at our destination, and found there is a train stop behind the apartment… FAIL!
Japan was nonetheless tricky to maneuver at times. There are a lot of local trains and transfers involved, so ask for directions if you are even the slightest bit unsure!
But enough about me being lost in Kyoto, today’s post is on…
Fushimi Inari-taisha, a Japanese Shinto shrine (not Buddhist) dedicated to Inari kami. Who is Inari and what is kami you ask? A kami is the spirit in Shinto religion, and Inari is the kami (spirit) of fertility, rice, sake, tea and foxes.
We arrived very close to golden hour, so I couldn’t really see the screen on my camera… (The only real problem I have with the Canon g7x? No viewfinder, boo!) I apologize for the oddly out of center image! I was likely focusing on the torii gate and not the main shrine…
One of the very few “normal” photos I have with Kevin from the trip. Super “forced” smile on my end because it was super hot and I was exhausted by this point. Never underestimate humidity!
One of the two foxes (kitsune) at the entrance of the shrine. Inari is the kami of foxes, so shrines dedicated to Inari will likely have foxes at the main entrance.
Kitsune is seen as Inari’s messenger, so many will bring the fox offerings. An example of a famous offering? Inari sushi, which is cleverly shaped to have two ears like a fox. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it! (You won’t regret it!)
Hundreds of wishes written on miniature torii gates can be found throughout the shrine.
Messages written on fox shaped charms were also quite popular (and adorable).
I grew a little impatient waiting for everyone to take their pictures… I did however find this trail that led me slightly above the torii gates, so I snapped some shots of the exterior.
Obligatory selfie post! Why take a photo inside the walkway, when you can take a photo from above… (This is how impatient I am haha!)
Not really sure what this was supposed to be… I did all my research before traveling to Japan, but this left me stumped! (HAHAHA get it?! Okay, no more lame puns… )
And finally… a nearly empty photo of the famous torii gates found at Fushimi Inari-taisha. I believe there are an estimated 10,000 torii gates found at this shrine. Another fun fact? Each torii gate is actually a donation from a Japanese business in hopes of good fortune.
Another gorgeous scene as we made our way back down. I’m convinced that everything in Japan looks better (trees included)! Unfortunately we did not make it to the top of the trail and back. (I was told this takes a few hours, so come prepared!)
Takoyaki purchased from a street cart outside of the shrine. What is this you may ask? Well takoyaki is a wheat-flour snack filled with chopped up octopus. It is then topped with mayonnaise and bonita (fish) flakes. I would recommend steering clear of this snack if you are not a fan of seafood/octopus!
On a side note, takoyaki can be found all over Japan (not just Kyoto) and is probably one of the most common street foods. I know it sounds a little strange, but it’s actually quite yummy!
Best way to end a post? Ice cream! This was a scoop of taro ice cream topped with silken tofu soft serve. I will admit that I cringed at the idea of tofu soft serve at first, but the texture turned out to be creamy and perfect. I guess you should never judge a book by its cover, or in this case its name.
Thanks for checking in loves. To be continued soon!
Best part of traveling? Eating all the good foods without feeling guilty! (The word “diet” does not formally exist in my vocabulary…) It took us around 24 hours to finally get to Tokyo, so I really just wanted to pass out the first night… Fortunately Kevin dragged me out and we stumbled upon an amazing yakitori restaurant!
元祖串八珍 茅場町店 (Ganso Yakitori Kushi Hacchin) is a small yakitori place located in Chuo, Tokyo. Honestly, not even 100% sure that I got the correct name of the restaurant haha… Forgive me, I was tired!
Yakitori nonetheless can be found all over Japan (and even in the States). It’s usually regarded as drinking food, so imagine beer + skewers. Match made in heaven? I think so!
The skewers have a lot of variation when it comes to types of meat. Popular items include sunagimo (chicken gizzards), hatsu (chicken heart), and tons of other body parts of a chicken that you probably thought were inedible…
Wait wait! Don’t run away! There are of course more common meats that are just as delicious (and not as frightening). Pictured above is butabara (pork belly), gyutan (beef tongue), negima (chicken + green onion), and nankotsu (chicken cartilage + green onion).
Chicken is very common in yakitori and makes up the majority of the menu. They are usually cooked on a charcoal grill. Most places in Japan even have bar seating so that you may watch your food being prepared.
Here we have tsukune (chicken meatball), more nonkotsu, and quail eggs. We went all out if you couldn’t tell haha… But most skewers were only 100¥ ($1 USD)! How can you resist with prices so amazing?! (Answer = YOU CAN NOT!)
Here are a few of my favorites for you:
I usually don’t like chicken very much… But I will devour it in seconds if you smash it and add a stick! Tsukune is usually covered in a tare sauce which is very similar to teriyaki.
I highly recommend trying tsukune since it’s delicious (obviously) and a “safer” choice. If you’re feeling brave, then I dare you to try the more adventurous parts of the chicken! (It’s edible, I promise!)
Tamagoyaki (or “grilled egg”) is an absolute must try when visiting Japan. This cost about 300¥ ($3 USD) but was totally worth it. Kevin and I declared this as the BEST tamagoyaki we have ever had! (You can trust us, we eat tamagoyaki every chance we get!)
Another classic is butabara or better known as pork belly. I usually ask for this shio (or “with salt”). No lie, I probably ate like 3-4 of these that night…
Last but not least, gyutan or beef tongue! I realize this is not very commonly served in the United States, and I’m sure a lot of you are cringing at the idea of this. The texture is a little chewy, but it’s amazing when prepared correctly!
This wraps up my (unnecessarily long) post on yakitori. Hope you guys enjoyed it!
Happy Monday everyone!
Continuing with more photos from Japan! The evening of our first day consisted of exploring Asakusa, Tokyo. This district houses the famous Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji. This particular temple is actually the oldest in Tokyo! It was interesting to see how the Japanese preserved this site and then built this marvelous modern city around it.
This was the “entrance” area that led to a never-ending row of souvenir shops (and eventually Sensō-ji). This is a more popular tourist area in Tokyo, so expect to see tons and tons of people (even in the evening). The shops/street vendors close around sunset, so come early if you plan on purchasing knick knacks to bring back home!
The day I visited was unfortunately overcast and rainy, so my photos came out a little dark/grey… Sorry! Japan does have a typhoon season, so don’t forget to check the weather before booking a trip.
The temple is actually quite breathtaking in real life. To many, Sensō-ji is a place of worship. As beautiful (and photogenic) as it is, I always remind myself to be mindful of the culture. I would highly recommend doing some research before traveling to Japan. The country has an extremely rich history!
I chanced upon this cute restaurant while exploring the back streets of Asakusa. They were unfortunately full for the night, so I just snapped a picture and went on my way.
A much better photo of Tokyo Skytree during sundown! This was unfortunately as close as I got… This structure is actually the tallest building in Tokyo. They also have special edition Tokyo Banana that can only be purchased there. (I missed out! Learn from my mistakes!)
Would you believe me if I told you that the display was actually fake? It’s okay, I wouldn’t believe me either haha… They were however indeed just replicas!
I think it should be illegal to travel to Asia and not eat street food. (I’m being extreme haha!) Candied yams hold a very special place in my heart. They were a huge part of my childhood, so I couldn’t resist the temptation.
Each street in Tokyo held a new surprise of sorts. It was interesting to see how modern yet preserved the city was.
The “mandatory” wasting time in the bathroom photo… Is this what girls do in the bathroom?! (The world may never know haha!)
Taiyaki or fish-shaped cake filled with red bean. There are many options for fillings, but the classic is generally red bean. (There’s also no fish/seafood involved if you were wondering!) Super good and an absolute must! Make sure to snag one that is freshly made!
Final shot for the night right before I walked down to the subway station. This concludes the first day in Tokyo. Hope you guys are enjoying the photos. As always, thanks for reading!
Hello hello everyone!
Back with photos from the first part of our Japan trip! (Tons and tons of photos to come, bear with me please haha!) I must say that 10 days in Japan was definitely not enough time. Here’s the first day of our trip on the east side of Tokyo!
Our Airbnb was located in Chuo which was within walking distance of the Tsukiji Fish Market. It was also a short train ride away from Ueno, Ginza and Asakusa.
Failed selfie attempt with Tokyo Skytree in the background!
Welcome to the chaos that is Tsukiji Fish Market. Personal space doesn’t exist here! (On a side note for those of you planning a trip to Japan, Tsukiji will be moved by the end of the year!)
Forgot to take a close up photo of the white ichigo (strawberry) before I devoured them… oops! (Nonetheless, they were delicious haha!)
The ichigo in Japan definitely reminds of strawberries I had a few years back in Korea. Who do strawberries in the States not look/taste like these? Sad…
Can’t go to Japan and not eat Tamago right? Right! Checked this off our todo list right away haha!
Mentaiko (or spicy cod roe) selling for super super cheap! (I apologize for the random photo, didn’t want to obnoxiously shove my camera into the food!)
Fish market wouldn’t be complete without seafood skewers!
Varying cuts of tuna/toro! Unfortunately the photo came out very red haha… They were however more vivid in person! (I wish I could have devoured all of this!)
Found ourselves at a small sushi restaurant for an early lunch! I ordered the Uni+Ikura+Tuna Bowl! Was actually taken aback with how fresh everything was! (Tastes 10x better than most “fresh” fish I find back home!)
Boyfriend got the Chirashi which came with more variation! If you’re ever worried about finding fresh sushi/sashimi in Japan, you can stop now! Literally trusted our guts and went into the first restaurant we chanced upon and were not disappointed.
Strange looking little lobsters in Japan! This photo was more for my amusement haha…
Fattiest tuna we could find for only 600 ¥ (or about $6 USD). Should have ate ALL the toro when I had the chance!
Secretly dying at this point… (Probably only 12pm when I took this photo haha…)
Came across these gorgeous pineapples while wandering the city. I’m sure it tasted heavenly. Unfortunately it would have been a little awkward touring the city with a pineapple, so we didn’t buy it… (So many regrets haha…)
Found my favorite patisserie in Ginza! One day I will travel to France and have Laduree there! For now, this will have to do…
My absolute favorite are the rose flavored macaroons! Raspberry takes a very close second though. Yes, they can be quite pricey… but they’re totally worth trying at least once!
Chanced upon this view inside G.Itoya (stationery store) while wandering Ginza. I’ll be returning soon with more photos from Japan! Thanks for tuning in, hope you enjoyed the photos!
As stated in the previous post, I recently got a new camera! I’ve had the Canon g7x for about a month and a half now, and so far I’m loving it haha. Slowly weaning myself from my iPhone’s camera. (Though I will admit the iPhone is much easier for quick shots!)
The built in wifi function is also super useful, and allows me to quickly connect and upload photos directly from my camera to my phone. (This allows me to upload nicer photos to my Instagram/Facebook whilst on the run!)
The photo quality and depth of field is fantastic, though I am obviously not a professional in any way. Part of me regrets not investing in this sooner! Here are some sample shots…
The only “problem” I have with the camera is its size. A part of me wishes the camera was pocket-sized haha… But honestly, the size is quite nice in comparison to most DSLRs on the market! (My neck doesn’t feel like it’s going to snap at the end of the day which is a huge win!)
As to not bore you with camera shots, here’s another fantastic place to eat in DTLA!
Kazunori is very similar to Sugarfish, but focuses solely on rolls! I would have to say Kazunori has a more casual atmosphere and is a great place to grab lunch. Ordering togo will get you this beautiful box of cut rolls (AKA heaven in a box)! Dining in generally consists of hand rolls and not cut rolls!
Pictured above is two of their “16-piece with Lobster” from their togo menu. I added an extra yellowtail roll because I can never resist more sushi haha! This set also includes toro, cucumber, blue crab, and lobster. Currently drooling while staring at the photos right now… (These shots were also taken using my Canon g7x!)
That’s all for now! Be back soon with tons of Japan photos!
Has it already been a month? I apologize for being so MIA the past few weeks. Had finals throughout the beginning of May, then jetted off to Japan! Here’s a quick preview of the updates to come. The boyfriend also bought me a new camera for our anniversary so I’ve upped my photo game. More to come soon!
Hello hello! Continuing my Los(t) Angeles food adventures today. Hope you’re ready to be hangry! This time I will be covering the heart of DTLA and Koreatown.
I generally avoid Koreatown and the downtown area due to traffic and crap parking… Please be warned that parking in the city is never pleasant and the signs will leave you more confused than informed.
Whole Foods recently opened up in DTLA, and I am addicted! I absolutely love grabbing a slice of pizza and a drink from the smoothie bar. It’s technically not a restaurant, but grocery stores are always fun to wander.
The Little Easy is most definitely more a bar than a restaurant. I was craving Jambalaya so we got some togo since this place had amazing reviews. Glad to report that their food is delicious, but a bit on the salty side. The overall bar/restaurant has a cute atmosphere and I look forward to going back!
Technically The Last Bookstore is not a restaurant. If anything… it’s the exact opposite for it doesn’t allow any food or drinks! (They have a cute coat check in the front that will watch your items for you!)
I’ve always loved books growing up, so this place is my wonderland. It’s a very whimsical bookstore and has tons of character! If you’re not a fan of books, I still recommend checking out The Last Bookstore at least once. It has some great photo ops and is very quirky.
Guisados has several locations throughout LA. Pictured above is the sampler which allows you to sample 6 mini tacos of your choice. An absolute must try is their “secret” menu item known as the Quesadilla con Chorizo!
Lemonade is what I view as “comfort food” for Southern Californians. There’s always tons of dishes to choose from so you can mix and match. (I’m 100% positive that everyone who lives in SoCal has had Lemonade at least once!) Oh, and don’t forget to get a side of Truffle Mac and Cheese!
Hamji Park is actually one of my boyfriend’s favorite restaurants! It look a good half a year for him to convince me to try it haha… (I’m usually not a huge fan of Korean food since I can get it at home!) I nonetheless regret not having listened to him…
There potato stew (gamjatang) was very authentic and is perfect for a “chilly” day. (Let’s be real, it’s never that cold in California haha!) The pork spare ribs are also super delicious and way better than anything you will get at an AYCE Korean BBQ place!
Yu Chun is hands-down one of my favorite places to eat! Why? Well, I might be a little biased since cold noodles (nengmyun) is one of my favorite dishes haha. Nengmyun is great for hot days since the broth is iced (I know, it sounds strange but it all works out in the end). They also provide a self serve warm broth station which works out well for colder days.
I actually stumbled across The Bun Shop on accident due to some late night munchies. I had originally planned on getting Shake Shack, but left after seeing the ridiculously long line!
They have a pretty decent happy hour that includes their buns as well as a bunch of different menu items. I got their pork belly buns, kalbi buns, and ba’corn cheese (which were all delicious). The restaurant has a nice casual atmosphere and is great for dinner with friends.
This wraps up my DTLA and Koreatown food guide (for now haha)! Many more restaurants to come as I continue to explore LA!
Let me know if you guys have any recommendations. As always, thanks for reading!
I’m slowly beginning to notice that I tend to get lost quite a bit haha… I mean by blog is titled “Lost & Found.” To be quite frank, I have no problem with being lost (as long as it’s not for too long)!
We had some oddly warm weeks in California back in January, so the boyfriend and I took a quick trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Here are a few photos of the places we visited throughout the park. Enjoy!
Homemade french toast before the drive out to Joshua Tree! Approximately 2h 20min (131 mi) from DTLA, so not terribly long.
There’s actually no entrance fee if you enter the park at night. (Nonetheless, this does not mean you can camp in the park without paying, sorry!) My boyfriend brought his camera out and we attempted a few long-exposure photos. We were supposed to be stargazing… but there was a full moon which meant it was too bright to see anything.
The next day we were on the road to do a few quick hikes and explore Joshua Tree National Park. There’s an information center a few miles down that will gladly give you tips and pointers. (Please note that there is no cell signal once you’re inside Joshua Tree National Park! Plan ahead!)
Found water in the desert… What were the odds? Apparently we got very lucky since this spot is usually quite dry.
I have no clue what this was supposed to be… People were taking photos of it so it only felt fitting that I take one as well! Any guesses or answers?
The reason that I bugged Kevin to do this hike with me then end up wandering (lost) for 2 miles instead of a nice 1 mile hike? Petroglyphs! I absolutely had to see them for myself. (Don’t judge, it’s an Art History major thing!)
This particular attraction is just a photo opp! No hike necessary! Just park the car, walk over and take as many pictures as you like haha. You can actually take photos of this as you drive by if you’re short on time.
Our very own arch rock! Beat that Arizona… Okay so maybe not as spectacular as some other places around the U.S., but nonetheless our very own. This was a pretty quick hike. (Unfortunately I do not remember the distance…)
This rock looks deceivingly climbable until you’re actually on it and trying to figure out how to get higher. (The actual rock is very narrow though it doesn’t appear that way in photos!)
Stopped to do a short panoramic photo on our way back to the car from Arch Rock. I’ve never really stopped to look at the desert. It’s always seemed so dry, lonely and arid… Joshua Tree was nonetheless mesmerizingly beautiful.
Can’t really say I had any magical spiritual revelations of any kind while out in the desert… Sorry! I did however realize that beauty can be found everywhere, you just need to remember to pause.
You know it was a good trip when you can’t help but find yourself exhausted and energized all at the same time. (Haku most definitely agrees!) If you’re ever looking for a quick weekend getaway from Los Angeles, then Joshua Tree should most definitely be on your list!
More adventures to come! Thanks for reading!
If anyone asked me if I had any particular “talents,” my answer would probably be eating. I recently moved from the suburbs to downtown Los(t) Angeles. (I am literally always lost thanks to construction haha…)
I literally have thousands of photos of food on my phone, so I decided to dedicate a post to some of my favorite restaurants. This particular post will cover Little Tokyo and the Arts District. (More to come, I promise!)
Sushi Go 55 in Little Tokyo is my go to place for a Chirashi bowl. This was a togo version of their “Chirashi Matsu” which comes with uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe).
Sushi Go 55 also has a great happy hour special on hand rolls. Pictured above is my personal favorite, spicy tuna!
I’m not a huge fan of ramen… Men Oh however took me by surprise. Their noodles are chewy (in a good way) and their broth is very filling! I would definitely recommend going here over Daikokuya and Shin Sen Gumi, but that’s just my personal opinion.
This is a little secret of mine that I’m hesitant to share since they’re already so popular! Inside the Little Tokyo Market Cafeteria is a small sushi restaurant that serves pre-made meals. I know I know, how can you trust eating pre-made sushi? Well the meals are made fresh daily and the fish they use is very fresh!
If you don’t believe me, then don’t try it (more for me haha)! They however only open for lunch and sell out pretty quickly… So if you decide to go, make sure to go before 12pm.
So if you’ve made it this far, you must have realized that I have a thing for raw fish… Snociety is fairly new to the Little Tokyo area and has an amazing poke bowl. I always get mine with the Yuzu flavoring, but they have several different options so that you may customize it to your liking.
Seoul Sausage Co has also taken residency in Little Tokyo. (It is nonetheless a little far from all the hustle and bustle, but still…) Here is their Kalbi Sausage which is a fusion style hotdog!
Korean-Americans takes on Canadian poutine? Worth a try, but most definitely not memorable. There were no cheese curds… What is the point of calling it poutine if you’re missing the main ingredient?!
My personal favorite has to be the Pair O’ Balls, which are basically deep fried rice balls! One of them was kimchi flavored and the other was curry. I must admit that these are pretty creative/unique. I also wouldn’t mind having a bunch of these as my entree instead.
I’m not 100% sure if Salt & Straw has opened their Arts District branch yet?! They did however have a stand at the Arts District Farmers Market in promotion of their new location. Tried out a few flavors, but found Roasted Strawberry to be my personal favorite. If you ever come across a store/stand, please please please try! I promise you won’t regret it!
Chinese Laundry is not necessarily “exclusive” to the Arts District since it’s a food truck. (Check out their website to find out where they are for the week!) Their pork belly bowl (pictured) and their pork belly tacos are a must try if you ever come across this truck.
Blacktop Coffee in the Arts District is perfect for grabbing a quick brunch and coffee. Their menu is pretty limited and I believe they stop serving food around 2pm?! (Don’t quote me on that haha…)
Above is the Salmon Toast which is pretty good, but their Avocado Toast (with a poached egg) is most definitely the winner!
I’m not sure if La Reynas is considered the Arts District since its by 7th St. and Mateo… Their tacos and burritos are hands down the best I’ve ever had! The restaurant portion is open during the day (but I believe it is run by a different family). What you NEED to try is the taco stand that sets up outside from 6pm-12am.
Again, do not try La Reynas the Restaurant (it’s not that great)! Wait it out until sundown and try the taco stand! It looks a little sketchy, but it’s most definitely worth the trek!
That sums up some of my go to places to eat in Little Tokyo and the Arts District. I’ll be back in a little while to share some places to eat in different parts of DTLA!
Hoping I didn’t put you to sleep or make you hangry. Till next time!