Thursday, June 29, 2006

Beck...& Bugolgi: Finding Post-Concert Eats Near the Wiltern

Chrissy and I went to see Beck at the historic Wiltern on Wednesday night. Several weeks ago, I had logged on ticketmaster at exactly 4.00pm with multiple windows open desperately trying to score precious pre-sale tickets before they sold out. After 7 carpel tunnel-syndrome inducing minutes of hitting the 'best available' button over and over again, I got through and got the tix.

That was the easy part.

The hard part was now that I'd acquired the tix for the 8pm show, where, oh where to have dinner walking distance to middle-of-nowhere Wiltern along Mid-Wilshire?

Sure, there's Denny's next door. Ha! Never! (yes, I freely admit to being an anti-Denny's snob) and on the other spectrum, the operatically snazzy Opus attached to the Wiltern (but really, which Wiltern concert-goers want to pep up for a concert with dignified, white-tableclothed, 4-star eats beforehand?) Being thisclose to Korea Town, we decided we should take advantage of some kim-chee'd delights. There are scores of potentially really yummy Korean restaurants nearby, however, to unintiated K-Towners such as myself and Chrissy, who knew if 'Young Dong' or 'Bok Duk Bong Bakery' (restaurants that came up on with no additional helpful descriptions) were good choices or not?

Our hemming-and-hawing resulted in us switching to post-concert dinner plans instead me and me having to buy a white peach at the Ralphs next door (which I snuck in for a healthy concert snack) before rushing into the concert. Late-night dinners usually isn't a prob since many K-Town spots are open 24hrs or at least until 2am. We decided on BCD Tofu House, a proven spot post-clubbing spot we've tested before at 2am, a couple blocks away. In addition to their bbq'ed meat dishes, they have this tasty tofu, veggie and meat filled spicy kim-chee soup so hot you're given a raw egg to drop in (which cooks in a second).

Alas, for some reason it was closed, we wandered into a random spot called Speedy Zone, a random tented late-night spot about 5 blocks W of the Wiltern, north side. (Clean and good food but hole-in-a-wall enough that I can't find any more exact info listed on google, yellowpages or 411 on it). Each table came with a 'cook-it-yourself' bbq grill. We ordered the bugolgi (grilled garlic beef) we asked if the waitress could cook it for us, then felt immediately guilty at our laziness while watching her grill our meat for us. One order of the heaping plate of raw beef accompanied with a bowl of rice and the usual sidedish suspects (glass noodles, pickled cabbage, seaweed, friend tofu) was more than enough for the both of us. $17 for everything.

The remains of our 1am dinner. (I had my camera to take pic's of the delicious-looking food but we were too busy eating and forgot until we were done.)

BCD Tofu House (with their great tofu side dishes, tender beef and hot kimchee soup) would still be my top pic for my next Wiltern outing. but Speedy Zone was good, and while not amazing, still a solid choice over the corner Dennys for pre or post-concert noshing.

Oh, and Beck? His awesomeness doesn't need a concert review, I've seen him 3 times and he always puts on amazing live performances; Beck's show involved elaborate mini-Beck dancing puppets, bear costumes, a honky-tonk version of Travolta/Newton-John hit, "All That I Want' with Cia and two encores covering everything from 'Loser' to 'Lost Cause' to Guero's 'Girl' other words, a perfect combo of crowd-pleasing favorites, melancholy acoustic solos and dance-happy new tunes.

Thanks again for the Beck concert birthday present Chrissy!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sandy Downdogging: Aaron Reed's Sunset Beach Yoga Class

I have been in quite the vacation mode for the last month...first literally, for just over 2 weeks adventuring among Mayan ruins and Caribbean waters (Belize and Guatemala) at the beginning of the month, and then spending the last 2 weeks accomplishing the mellow mindset of a prolonged, post-vacation high--but not accomplishing much else (ahem, hence the one month blog break)

Anyway, today I did my part to cling onto that after-vacation buzz by taking a free sunset beach yoga class. I found the flyer after my flow yoga class with music (more Jack Johnson and Sade, less New Agey gong & sitar music) at exhale spa earlier in the week (Monday's activity to simulate a vacation mindset).

The idea of downdogging while watching the sunset sounded lovely. So did the $0 cost. (Vacationing more than working has its price)

View While Downdog'ing

Kristy and I arrived to the yoga 'studio' at the patch of sand where Rose Ave meets the ocean in Venice at 7:30pm. Taking advantage of the beachy elements, instructor Aaron Reed had our 30 person group of beachside yoga'ers start with light stretching on our beach towels, folowed by back and forth pacing along the water's edge while inhaling and exhaling to the rhythm of the waves' ebb and flow, practicing basic poses such as pigeon and triangle pose while utilizing the incline of the sand to help aid our postures and picking up sand and dribbling it between our fingertips while performing sun salutations.

At the mercy of Mother Nature, a few of us got our legs wet when caught out in downdog pose by a big, fast-moving wave and the class ended prematurely just before 8:30pm when the fading last light disappeared after sundown.

Although you can choose to cool down with a night ocean swim, since we didn't exactly work up a sweat during the class--it's more a scenic mental break with body movements for an hour than a tough workout session--Kristy and I skipped out on the post-yoga skinny-dipping session and grabbed dinner instead (Musha--yummy Japanese pub-style food on Santa Monica & 5th).

The beachy environment was a beautiful way to enjoy yoga, and the class definitely gave me enough of a mental holiday to stretch out my waning vacation high for one more day.

You too can enjoy practicing sun salutations to the actual sun while watching it sink into the Pacific! There are two more classes this summer for Aaron's 5th annual Beach Yoga summer series.

Thursday, June 29th, 7:30pm-last light
Wednesday, July 19th, 7:30pm-last light

Just show up at the water's edge at the intersection of Rose Ave and the Pacific Ocean in Venice. No yoga mats necessary, bring a beach towel to sit on so sand doesn't go in uncomfy places as you stretch, a hoodie to counteract the chilly beach breeze and an optional bathing suit underneath your regular yoga outfit--prepare or go bare.

For more info, you can contact