Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sawtelle Boulevard in West LA (Part 1)

In Los Angeles, we always drive from place to place because there aren't so many good places within walking distance of each other. So today I'm going to write about Sawtelle Blvd in West LA! So many great shops, restaurants and supermarkets line the few blocks along Sawtelle making it a really nice and manageable area to stroll around for a few hours. To list a few:

Starting with Brian's Shaved Ice. Brian's Shave Ice is really good Hawaiian shaved ice. Strangely, the name is Brian 'Shave' Ice. Which is kind of "Engrish-y" in my opinion. Well that aside, the shaved ice there is really good. Unlike most shaved ice places the ice is really smooth and has a velvety feel to it. It's not crunchy as some Taiwanese shaved ice is. (Those are good too). It's really great going to Brian's Shave Ice to share a large bowl with people on a hot day. It's usually really packed in the summer though!

Their Facebook:

Adding to great dessert places around Sawtelle, is Beard Papa's across the street from Brian's Shave Ice. They're going to open one near my house soon! Since I walk to school I'm probably going to get fat by picking up a cream puff every time I pass the store. Anyway, Beard Papa's is a Japanese cream puff place. They also sell a few cakes and whatnot, but they are famous for their cream puffs. They have vanilla, chocolate, coffee, green tea, strawberry, and so many more flavors for the filling in the cream puffs. Did people notice that Mr. Bear Papa was featured in one of my favorite movies, Wreck-It-Ralph!

Right next to Beard Papa's is Nijiya Supermarket. (2130 Sawtelle Blvd.) Nijiya is a great little Japanese supermarket. They sell really good authentic Japanese food and candy. We always love to go to Nijiya to buy a little bento box, rice bowl, sushi, or onigiri for lunch. The food is really fresh and delicious. Last time we went they were selling these really good Japanese pancakes called okonomiyaki. They were making them right outside the store. It was really good!

A few other restaurants and eateries we frequent on Sawtelle Blvd. are:

Coffee Tomo: (11309 Mississippi Ave. just off Sawtelle Blvd.)This is our new favorite place to get coffee. Their latte and affogado (vanilla icecream smothered in espresso) are to crave for. Not to diss Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf where we go to all the time, but this place really make a cup of lattee look beauteous.
Coffee Tomo Latte

Curry House: (2130 Sawtelle Blvd.) We blogged about this wonderful curry place on our Coolrice blog here.
Chabuya Ramen (2002 Sawtelle Blvd.): We blogged about this great ramen place earlier this year. Here.
Asahi Ramen: (2027 Sawtelle Blvd.) The original ramen place on Sawtelle. Old fashioned, but clean and good.
Tofu Ya: Best Korean soon tofu place west of Korea Town.
Little Hong Kong: Satisfying Cantonese style Chinese food.
Non La Cafe: 2055 Sawtelle Blvd. New Vietnamese restaurant that opened. Decore is really clean and modern. Food is good. We used to drive all the way up to Wilshire Blvd for Vietnamese Pho, or go all the way to the San Gabriel Valley, so this is a closer alternative for sure.
Hide Sushi: (2040 Sawtelle Blvd.) This has been open forever, and is still popular for sushi. You must bring cash though.
Volcano Tea: This place has the boba drink even compared to the ones in San Gabriel Valley. Read about it here.
Now that this blog has gotten long just describing some of the restaurants on Sawtelle Blvd., we will blog about the boutique stores on Sawtelle in our next blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Competition Made for Nerds: Robotics

This past weekend, I went with my school's robotics teams to participate in a VEX Robotics North San Diego Regionals Sack Attack Competition.  The Our school as 4 teams: Robocelots, Snoop Lions (my all girls team :D), Lynx-Sys, and Wild Tigers.  Each team had been working their robot for a while, so we were really excited to go on the trip.

At the last competition we went to, none of our teams were all that impressive.  My team's robot ended up being pretty decent, albeit small and kind of flimsy.  We ranked 18th out of 32 teams, which we weren't too happy with, but I guess we couldn't have expected much from our robot after having spent only a month or so on it.

For this competition, we scrapped our old robot and built a new one with the same general design. It's a lot bigger and sturdier now:
There's me awkwardly smiling for the camera...

And I guess that really helped us out a lot, because we ended up in 6th place by the time the alliance selections came around - and if you don't know this already, rank is super important when it comes to alliance selections, because the 8 teams get to pick their alliances.  So it was a big deal that 3 of our teams (Snoop Lions, Robocelots, and Lynx-sys) made it into the top 8.  Snoop Lions was ranked highest out of our school's teams.  The fact that we're one of the only all-girls teams around makes it even more awesome.
Yay!  I carried the robot everywhere.  My arms are sore now.

My team ended up picking another school's team as its alliance due to some confusion, while Lynx-sys and Robocelots partnerned.  Our quarterfinals match was against their alliance, and we ended up losing (but only by a little!).

 Do we look like the Witches of Eastwick?

That's okay, though, because then the Robocelots/Lynx-sys alliance ended up facing the number 1 and 3 ranked teams and got crushed in the semi-finals.

Even though we lost, the competition was so much fun.  We got to meet some really cool teams from other schools (including the 1st place team who crushed us) and it was just fun to hang out with each other.  I think that's the most important part: having fun.  It sounds cliche, I know, but it's really true.
All the teams!  Look at me, crouched in the front row and looking all cool.  It wasn't my idea.
Anyways, feel free to ask me any questions!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Asian Kids and Glasses

There was an article from a while back that 90 percent of Asian kids are nearsighted, probably because they spend so much time studying. This is sad, because most of my Asian friends are indeed nearsighted and wear glasses or contact lenses. In my family, both my parents are very nearsighted, probably from studying too much when they were kids. This doesn't bode well for us genetically. Strangely, my sister has near perfect eye sight. Like an old person though, she is slightly far sighted and occasionally needs reading glasses.

As for me,  I am mildly myopic, but ever since I was a kid, I use this treatment called "ortho-keratology" where I wear these corrective hard contact lenses when I go to sleep at night. The lenses shape my eyes during the night so that when I wake up in the morning, I have perfect vision for a day or two. The good thing about ortho-k is that during the day, I don't have to wear contacts or glasses, and I get to play basketball, or swim without having to worry about wearing glasses or taking contact lenses out. Ortho-k is also supposed to slow the progression of myopia, so hopefully I won't have eyesight as poor as my parents when I grow up.

My optometrist, Dr. Randall Yumori from the Pacific Eye Care Center is wonderful in helping me with the ortho-k lens fittings (because it take some careful examination to make sure the curvature of the ortho-k lenses are just right for my level of myopia.

Occasionally though, when I don't wear my contacts at night because my eyes are hurting, or when I forget to wear them for a couple of nights, I can't see so well in school. That's when I need a regular pair of glasses as back up. I go to Hourglass Optical in West Los Angeles for glasses. They have so many frames to try on, and the price is super reasonable. For my glasses, it took them 8 minutes to cut and put the lenses into the frame I selected. The owner, Kathy is wonderful in helping me select my glasses. She also happens to be our neighbor.
Okay, not the best picture of  me.