"This is it," breathed Mary. "this is where I used to walk up and down and wonder and wonder."
  "Is it?" cried Colin, and his eyes began to search the ivy with eager curiousness. "But I can see nothing," he whispered. "There is no door."
  "That's what I thought," said Mary.
  Then there was a lovely breathless silence and the chair wheeled on.
  "That is the garden where Ben Weatherstaff works," said Mary.
  "Is it?" said Colin.
  A few yards more and Mary whispered again.
  "This is where the robin flew over the wall," she said.
  "Is it?" cried Colin. "Oh! I wish he'd come again!"
  "And that," said Mary with solemn delight, pointing under a big lilac bush, "is where he perched on the little heap of earth and showed me the key." 
  Then Colin sat up.
  "Where? Where? There?" he cried, and his eyes were as big as the wolf's in Red Riding-Hood, when Red Riding-Hood felt called upon to remark on them. Dickon stood still and the wheeled chair stopped.
  "And this," said Mary, stepping on to the bed close to the ivy, "is where I went to talk to him when he chirped at me from the top of the wall. And this is the ivy the wind blew back," and she took hold of the hanging green curtain.
  "Oh! is it--is it!" gasped Colin.
  "And here is the handle, and here is the door. Dickon push him in--push him in quickly!"
  And Dickon did it with one strong, steady, splendid push.
  But Colin had actually dropped back against his cushions, even though he gasped with delight, and he had covered his eyes with his hands and held hem there shutting out everything until they were inside and the chair stopped as if by magic and the door was closed. Not till then did he take them away and look round and round and round as Dickon and Mary had done. And over walls and earth and trees and swinging sprays and tendrils the fair green veil of tender little leaves had crept, and in the grass under the trees and the gray urns in the alcoves and here and there everywhere were touches or splashes of gold and purple and white and the trees were showing pink and snow above his head and there were fluttering of wings and faint sweet pipes and humming and scents and scents. And the sun fell warm upon his face like a hand with a lovely touch. And in wonder Mary and Dickon stood and stared at him. He looked so strange and different because a pink glow of color had actually crept all over him--ivory face and neck and hands and all.
  "I shall get well! I shall get well! he cried out. "Mary! Dickon! I shall get well! And I shall live forever and ever and ever!"

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Reading this today gave me goosebumps. When was the last time you experienced a life-giving moment like that? Almost makes you wish you were a bed-ridden hypochondriac just so you could experience that bursting satisfaction of curiosity fulfilled. Alright, not quite... but I'd love for my life to be freckled with more moments like this.



Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart, Echo Park

I tried writing this post last night, but I was a bit sleep deprived. The struggle to produce a sentence proved too much for my sleepy self. So, blogging on my lunch break! Last week I finally got to try the Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart in Echo Park (on Echo Park Avenue, just a few steps south of Sunset). After trawling Yelp reviews, I learned that the Quesadilla lady can be quite elusive. So, after turning the corner on Sunset, I was pretty stoked to see this rainbow-colored beacon of blue corn quesadillas.

She was set up right next to a cart serving bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Double fist that lunch if you feel so inclined. I had my heart set on the quesadillas, though. We split three - chicken, chicharrones, and squash blossom. Call me boring, but the chicken flavor was actually my favorite. The chicken was tender and the marinade was super tasty with the blue corn tortillas. I'm a save the best for last type girl, so I was kinda bummed that it was the first one I tried. Make sure you sprinkle on plenty of cilantro, onions, and cheese! 

Tortillas are made fresh to order with blue corn masa dough. Homegirl has crazy heat-resistant hands. 

Above are the chicken and chicharrones. Not pictured is the not-so-photogenic squash blossom.

Also, who knew this existed?! I thought I had just grabbed a regular 'ol orange soda, but mandarin! Yum. Jarritos, you get it right.

Quesadillas are three bucks each. One reviewer noted that she is set up on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and some Saturdays from 11-6ish. Check this place out for a cheap, delicious meal!


Weekend Recap

Walking past some Echo Park homes today, I spotted the above scene in one front yard. I thought to myself, well that's a familiar sight. Stuffed animal depiction of yours truly this past weekend. I was hit full-force by a sneaky little bug that had been masquerading as spring allergies. Wish I could've included a(nother) Dodger game and Ciclavia in this recap, but my original plans were nixed for a weekend in bed. When I wasn't face-planted in my sheets, my time was spent with the following:

1) Magazines! I've seen countless blogs raving about Kinfolk and Uppercase, but I've only recently picked up a copy of the two. Kinfolk may very well be my new favorite magazine. I'm really taking my time with this issue so I can savor each piece!
2) Nyquil shots chased with orange juice. Who's jealous of my Friday night?!
3) Impromptu Band of Brothers marathon. Didn't realize how many random cameos there were in this series.
4) Snuggle time with my Rileykins. I required a four layer minimum in clothing this weekend, one of which was a makeshift Snuggie cape. If what you're picturing in your mind is anything short of ridiculous, you are deeply mistaken, my friend.

Hope your weekend was more exciting than mine. (I don't doubt it.) I'm plenty rested, but still feeling a little under the weather. Can't wait til I'm back to my usual self!

*Edit: Man. I just found out that the next Ciclavia is scheduled for October 14th, 2012. Grumble.


A couple things to check out if you're in LA...

Moth Story Slam: I caught a Slam last week at Zanzibar in Santa Monica. So much fun! Here's how it works: Ten storytellers are selected to share their themed tales (that night's theme was Duped), are rated based on a few criterion (adherence to time length, relevance to theme, etc.), and the winner moves on to the next round. The stories were absolutely hilarious. Favorites of the night included 1) adorably awkward girl who originated the Found Cat (possum) poster 2) girl who, equipped only with a crayon nub and a marijuana-clouded head, pretended to be press to sneak into a reggae concert and 3) who undoubtedly received the most laughs all night: super high guy who recounted being stormed in on by cops. (I guess pot was the other theme of the night?) Retelling someone else's funny story (especially when the person doing the retelling is me) pretty much eliminates any hope for future laughs, so I'm not even gonna try. Just get your butt to a show, and I guarantee you some giggles. Calendar here.

Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami at the Japanese American National Museum: Small, but super cool exhibit! There were a lot of crazy-intricate pieces, but my favorites were the ones with simple, minimal foldings. (Favorites of this night were: Florence Temko, Paulo Mulatinho, and Giang Dinh). I wish I had photos to share, but unfortunately I was a good, rule-abiding museum patron. Tip: go to the museum on Thursdays from 5-8PM and it's-a-free!


Sunday Treat

I remember one time I was shopping for Spam musubi ingredients at the Vons next to my college apartment. I bumped into an acquaintance at the checkout line, right next to my little Spam parade making its way down the conveyer belt. Now, despite how awesome I find Spam, it's not exactly the most fashionable food item. It ain't no macaron, to say the least. (Which I am currently mad at. At least until I figure out how the heck to make 'em. Crispy, flat meringue pancakes anyone?) Because of this, I felt the need to interject my culinary intentions. Me, the girl involved with sustainable food issues, eating Spam? Didn't seem to mesh too well. Celebrating a beloved snack in Japanese/Hawaiian culture? Somehow made it seem more okay.

Rolling with the theme of embarrassing(ly) good foods, that above is a hot dog bbang (bread) from Cake House in Koreatown. I love Asian bakeries, and this place has my favorite rendition of this awesome creation. It's basically just bread with two small pieces of hot dog sausage inside, but why-is-it-so-good-dangit. I like popping it in the toaster, so the exterior gets nice and crispy. With my two part-time jobs and one very-full-time schedule, my slow Sunday mornings are such a treat. Add some hot dog bbang. Even better.

Also, despite sightings of friendly night skies last week, they were in no way indicative of how my week would be. My week basically culminated in a tear-filled monologue on the third floor of a Barnes and Noble, with my gracious and patient friend as my sole audience. (Thank you, S!) I've been frustrated over the fact that, job-wise, I'm not at a place I want to be. And what's more frustrating, I have no idea where that place is. I know that I want to be in some sort of creative field, but thaaat's about as far as I've gotten. It doesn't help that doubt and negative thinking are usually camped nearby whenever I pore over this topic. I realize that this is a luxury, to have this be my biggest dilemma, but it's been pretty draining, nonetheless. Here's to staying optimistic and determined this week.