Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Today this little blog turns 6! Six years ago I originally started this blog to talk about all things relating to afternoon tea. Over the years, the blog has gone through some changes but there will always be that underlining essence of drinking tea served in fine china while eating little crust-less sandwiches and dessert. A couple of years ago I decided to commemorate my "blog-a-versary" by having afternoon tea someplace new each year. I started this in 2011 but some how I didn't do it last year, maybe I forgot or maybe I was just busy.

This year I remembered and planned ahead. My pick this year was the Rendezvous Cafe inside the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I read some reviews prior to picking this spot so I was really excited to have tea here.

There is only one tea set here, the Victorian Tea for $35/person. The tea selection is pretty small but it covers a decent range with a couple of offerings of black, green and herbal teas.

I have to be honest and say that this was one of the worst tea service I've ever had and I've had many. The sandwiches were uninspired, as were the desserts. I didn't really enjoy any of the food. Nothing stood out in my mind. If not for the nice company I was with, I would have been in a foul mood as this place was a long drive from the OC in some really knarly traffic. If you plan to come here, make sure you make a reservation. Also, please note that they are very strict about their tea set. Apparently, they prepare all their food in "sets" so you can't really ask for extras of anything. I know this because I asked them to sub out one of the sandwiches and they made it seem like a chore and half to do so. By the way they were reacting when I asked for this, I did not think that I would actually get a substitution but eventually they did bring me a couple of cucumber sandwiches. I was really surprised by how bad the food was and how strict they were with their food. I was just expecting so much more from a restaurant inside a hotel with such a glamorous past. I can honestly say that I will probably never come back here for tea. It's too bad because I love historical hotels and I really wanted to like this place.

Rendezvous Cafe (Biltmore Hotel)
506 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bodies and Titanic

Over the weekend I went to check out the newly opened Bodies The Exhibition and the Titanic Experience located in Buena Park where the old Movieland Wax Museum use to be, just right across the street from Medieval Times.  

I came mainly for the Bodies exhibit because I've been wanting to go to the Vegas exhibit for a long time now but somehow I keep forgetting to go when I am actually in Vegas.

Just as I suspected, the exhibit was fascinating. I was both intrigued and a little bit mortified to be that close to such well preserved real human bodies. All the bodies came from China so they are all Chinese. You can basically see everything from muscle fibers, to bones, to the inside of the human body. The bodies are posed in different ways and each show something different. There were also individual display cases focusing on almost every single organ, vein and even nerves. They also showed what diseased body parts looked like as compared to normal body parts. There was also one body that displayed replacement parts, such as hip, knee and shoulder replacements.


The exhibit is divided into different rooms that concentrate on different body parts, such as the heart, lungs, bowel, etc.


As I said, you can basically see the human body in every which way, including sliced in half, sectioned or a combination of both. It is an amazing exhibit to learn and see how the human body works. I've always known that the body is very complex but to see it broken down to very small details was beyond interesting.


And just because we were already there and because I loved the movie, we decided to go check out the Titanic exhibit as well.

So I enjoyed this exhibit because I've always been fascinated by the Titanic. So if this sounds like you, then you'll probably enjoy this. There is a lot of information inside the exhibit on the ship, the sinking and the people. There are also items on display of stuff that they've managed to salvage from the site. This exhibit reminded me a bit of the exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance.

Bodies The Exhibition & Titanic The Experience
7711 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620
Box Office: 657-529-7224

Friday, August 9, 2013

Just Another Beautiful Weekend

I've been such a blogging slacker lately. Thought I'd pop in to say 'hi'! Hello!

It was my sweetie's birthday this week so I took him to the St. Regis Hotel for brunch last weekend. Blue pool, beach and sky...that's how we like things here in SoCal.

Boy, let me tell you, the brunch here was pretty nice. Just look at this dessert section.

There was a wedding going on that day so everyone at brunch got a meal and a show.

I wanted to take a photo of the birthday boy but he wouldn't let me so here is a photo of me. :0)

Backing up a bit...on Saturday I went to Shannon's baby shower! Shannon's friend made these cupcakes. Cool huh?

Isn't she adorable? I had not seen Shannon since March so needless to say she looked a little bit different. lol.

A small gathering of the crew (Heather, Shannon, me, Julie) of Van Awesome (circa Ragnar 2012) at Shannon's shower. I feel so lucky to have met them because they are such nice people.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ramen House Benten - San Gabriel

Recently I drove by the restaurant that used to known as Ton-Chan. Before that it was called Ajiman's. Obviously, there has been a lot of turnover at this location. It may have something to do with the fact that this space is located right next to the very popular Golden Deli which always has a long line in front no matter what time of day you go. You would think that since GD is always so busy that whatever nearby restaurants would catch the over-spill of customers but GD devotees are hardcore. They are not phased by the long wait nor the very cramped seating inside. I guess the stomach wants what the stomach wants.

I should probably stop talking about Golden Deli since this is not a post about them but rather about the new restaurant that has taken over the space next door called Ramen House Benten. I was excited that it was another ramen house but was also wary that it would be "just" another ramen house.

We walked in and noticed right away that the place has been simplified, I guess some would call it Zen. White walls, a couple of wooden tables, black curtains separating the dining area from the kitchen and this black board with the entire menu written on it. The prices are very similar to the place that use to occupy this space but the menu has gotten a lot...well simple. Only four items to choose from. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's a bad thing.

We came in for an early dinner on a Sunday so the place was not too crowded. Not sure what the normal wait time is during peak hours. We were seated right away and the waiter brought us complimentary organic rooibos or green tea!

After taking our orders, the waiter points our attention to some plastic containers on the table that contained bibs and hair ties. How accommodating!

Spicy Miso Ramen - this is not my order but I did taste it and it was pretty spicy and delicious! You can't really see the noodles in this picture but it is the wavy kind, similar to the noodles from Santouka. I'm definitely going to have to go back and get this bowl.

Shoyu Ramen - this was pretty good. It reminded me a little bit of the ramen from Jinya down in Costa Mesa but that location has shut down now so this opening is impeccably timed just for my benefit. :0D The broth is very flavorful and not too oily. The noodles in the shoyu ramen are thin and I'm not really a fan of that but I can't really knock this bowl just for that since it is a personal preference. The egg is runny on the inside AND injected with broth so that when you take that first bite, all that broth comes bursting out. I don't know how I felt about all that broth injection. It kind of diluted the taste of the yolk a bit.

Fruit and Herbs infused lemonade! Yum.

This place is definitely worth a return trip.

Ramen House Benten
821 W. Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 910-5075