Who takes engagement photos in their favorite local pizza spot? We do, obviously. (And other places, too.)
You guys! I kind of forgot to blog for, like… over a year.
Okay, I didn’t forget. I’ve just been Instagramming, because Instagram is like tiny little photo-blogs throughout the day. If you’re me.
On the vegan-ness front, this is what happened, in case you’re curious (and even if you weren’t): I went to a nutritionist and we agreed I’d eat less salt and sugar and carbs (sure…?) and eat lean meat or fish once a day and she’d watch my FitnessPal food log. Then I proceeded to stop using the FitnessPal food log. So… yeah.
The weird thing is, as soon as I stopped being vegan, I lost some weight! So I am basically the poster child for not being vegan, I guess. My cardiologist wants me to take cholesterol medication, but I’m putting it off until… later.
Here’s what’s happened since last November, as far as I can quickly recall… with a bit of a food bias, because I know why you’re all really here:
December 2014 – Went to Philly for my cousin’s wedding and for a joint Sam’s family/my family holiday-time jamboree. Ate at all those related Israeli-style restaurants that were getting super-buzz, including Federal Donuts (okay, maybe that’s the outlier?), Dizengoff, and Zahav.
Scenes from Dizengoff, in Philly.
Note: The song playing on the Zahav website (at the moment, at least) is by the Idan Raichel Project and was my JAM circa Birthright.
January 2015 – Met a dog named Jukebox at a rescue place called The Lucky Puppy, fell in love with him, and basically cried for several weeks because our building didn’t allow dogs.
Sam and Jukebox. Sam didn’t cry, he just makes those faces.
Started getting organic fruit & veggie delivery from Farm Fresh to You, which encouraged our dinner-cooking to be a little more adventurous.
February 2015 – Sam cooked the annual Valentine’s Day surprise-menu dinner. The theme was Zahav (see December). And dessert was… a proposal! And also homemade lemon cake with whipped cream and berries, which we barely ate because we were too busy Facetiming people.
I love twinkle lights… they were present at the proposal and will be present at the wedding reception!
The next day we went to brunch at Elysian, which I already knew was going to be our wedding venue because look at it.
March 2015 – We booked Elysian for May… 2016. I think we also booked a bunch of other vendors because getting engaged is like one long panic attack. Just kidding. Sorta. (Our photographers, Dez & Tam, took the photo at the top. They are awesome!)
April 2015 – Baseball season started, according to my Instagram.
May 2015 – Sam and I ate our way through Seattle for his birthday. It’s a good town for eating. We went to Pike Place Market at least once a day, and to Dahlia Lounge for Sam’s special birthday meal.
But as a pre-birthday afternoon snack we went to Taylor Shellfish, and ate so well that we almost didn’t make it to Dahlia… but we’re glad we pulled through!
Our from-the-sea appetizer at Dahlia Lounge, including that wacky geoduck.
Then our friends Allison and Giuseppe visited from Italy and — like last time — made us an Italian feast! On a subsequent day, we took them to a (really bad) Dodgers game and to dim sum… we always try to give Giuseppe an experience he wouldn’t have in Italy!
THEN because we were both between jobs, Sam and I decided to fly to Oakland, see an A’s game, then drive to Big Sur and Monterey and VISIT SEA OTTERS IN THE WILD. We did the Elkhorn Slough Safari, and it was THE BEST. And it was also T-1 year until our wedding!
The A’s elephant, Stomper, gave out great hugs and might be my favorite mascot.
June 2015 – I went with my family to Denver to another cousin’s wedding, on the other side of the family. Then I started work again! Oh, then I found a wedding dress, but it took me like… 150 tries. People think I’m crazy now. (Like, people who work at wedding dress salons… I can’t be the craziest they’ve met, right?!)
July 2015 – I got really into trying to work out so I’d look okay for my engagement photos. I also ended up styling myself for the photos, which was a whole ordeal because I’m not exactly a sophisticated dresser. (To be clear, I didn’t do my hair or makeup… the makeup, in particular, taught me that I never want to wear that much makeup ever again.)
I actually bought the above-mentioned wedding dress… well, ordered it. I’ll see it… soon? I dread trying it on again because allegedly I’m not supposed to wear Spanx. I’m just supposed to… be flat-ab-tastic. Ha. No problemo?
… Some problemo.
The thing is, I don’t really believe in wedding diets. But I also… want to look good in my dress. It’s a real dilemma or something. Sorta. Eh.
Also, Sam’s sister, Ellie, came to visit and we took her to all the fun places we’d schemed about, including Sugarfish, Universal Studios, and all over Downtown LA for a Sunday Funday.
Making getting a seat at the rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel look easy.
August 2015 – Went to Maude for my birthday! Curtis Stone was in the house! SWOON. (The ingredient was figs.)
Sam doing his original “Mr. Tea” thing at Maude.
Took our engagement photos, and then immediately stopped working out. Forgot about the impending wedding, I guess. (Here’s Dez & Tam’s blog entry of our photos!)
September 2015 – Sam briefly had Disneyland access, and we went twice in one month! We went once with friends, and once with my family. They hadn’t been in forever and I was happy to show them all our FastPass tricks. We also got stuck on a ride, but not IN the ride, which might have actually been more interesting.
As far as I know we’re still stuck here.
That month we also happened to watch a lot of Disney-related documentaries, and found out that the original studio stood where our favorite local Gelson’s grocery store is now located. (The current World of Color is about Disney and the studio’s history, so seeing it was the perfect cap to our month of Disney… along with Sam drinking Walt’s favorite cocktail.)
October 2015 – After “devouring” the show Chef’s Table on Netflix, Sam had tried to make reservations at n/naka for my birthday. But due to the popularity of the show, this was the earliest reservation we could get. So we made it a “last dating anniversary” dinner.
Plate of major seafood deliciousness. One of so many courses.
Probably the best meal of the year, possibly the greatest meal ever? Highly recommend… unless you can’t deal with sashimi/raw fish. In that case… maybe acquire the taste for it first.
At the end of the meal they ask if you’d like an extra hand roll, and it’s like… okay! And then they took our picture with a little Polaroid-ish camera, because it was a special occasion.
One of the coolest things is that you see on Chef’s Table that Niki Nakayama knows exactly who is at each table, by name. And she came out at the end to thank us for coming on our anniversary, ask how the food was, and apologize that it took a few extra months to get in. So sweet.
Sam’s mom came to visit and we had a rehearsal dinner tasting, including soft pretzels… the perfect food for the night before I have to wear a dress in front of everyone with allegedly-no-Spanx, right? Ha.
Whatever. Soft pretzels are amazing.
It’s funny, our engagement felt endlessly long for the first 7-8 months, but as we said goodbye to Sam’s mom and realized we wouldn’t see her again until our wedding… it was pretty crazy. Once you hit the 6-months-out mark, suddenly it’s like… there’s no time left! Help!
November 2015 – After months of searching, Sam and I finally found and secured a place to live in… together! And it’s dog-friendly! So we moved a whopping mile or two from Los Feliz to Silver Lake. I miss Los Feliz, and it was a little sad leaving behind Sam’s place especially, where we got engaged (and it had GREAT light!), but I like being nearer to the reservoir and the dog park. For when we get that dog.
And, you know, it’s nice to not have to walk back and forth between two apartments all the time. Requires less pants-wearing.
After my latest season of TV-show-working ended, we went to Hawaii (Oahu and Maui), a long-talked-about trip. (We really wanted to go there pre-honeymoon. But now we’re not sure where to honeymoon…) We ate many delightful places, including two of Sheldon from Top Chef’s restaurants, Star Noodle and Migrant.
I became obsessed with Ululani’s Shave Ice. Oh, and also Island Vintage Shave Ice because it had real fruit and exploding passion fruit boba! (I only ate there once, though.)
Just two of many Ululani’s visits.
We also tasted cakes, which is kind of more cake-eating than I really wanted in my life. I never thought I’d say that! The dessert element of the wedding is still a work in progress…
The Lucky Puppy (where we met Jukebox and others) was forced to leave its space, but it recently announced that it’s re-opening in a new location in January!
December 2015 – Living in Silver Lake, looking for a dog, hoping for work, taking long walks and contemplating life… went to Jon & Vinny’s, became a little obsessed with them and with bucatini (I didn’t even eat it there… I’m just like that).
After a REALLY hot year, like it was so hot I kept getting dehydrated and we partly moved to find a place with central AC so I wouldn’t die, it suddenly got REALLY cold here. Like, we have not used our central AC yet but I’m really glad we now have central heat and a little fireplace so I don’t freeze. Life’s weird that way.
Bought our first Christmas tree, a little fake guy from Michael’s with a Jewish star topper.
My Christmas present to myself was a bag of Trader Joe’s Cheddar Popcorn and permission to eat it all at once. It’s one of the few things I can’t just eat a little at a time. In the end, I ate it in two days, so… a Christmas miracle.
Got many cool gifts from Sam and his family, but my favorites were that I’m now an elephant foster parent (and you can be too!), and I’m sponsoring a manatee through the Sierra Club. (My plush manatee is my dog for now.)
Christmas memories… from two days ago.
My Christmas gift to Sam (of note) is a Chinese takeout cookbook, which is such a Jewish thing to gift on Christmas.
At some point we also camped on a mountain and made s’mores over a campfire and everything. I can’t remember when, exactly, but that was a delight. As was discovering that you can check Kindle books and audio books out from the library! I read, you guys! I listened to Malcolm Gladwell on a mountain!
It’s funny (or… it’s not funny?)… in some ways it’s been a tough year for me, partly because I felt like my life was kind of static in a lot of ways. So it’s nice to go back through and think of the mostly-nice memories from each month. (And to think about future home-cooked Chinese takeout.) I recommend it.
The night we got engaged, at Sam’s place. A memorable night in 2015.
This has definitely been a great year on the snack trek front, and I encourage you to check out my Instagram (@yapplebee) if you’re interested in Los Angeles eats. I’m always trying to expand my horizons and hunt down foods that either have good buzz or personally intrigue me. Or both.
We also want to expand our travel eating-and-cooking horizons. We had been planning to go to Thailand for our honeymoon, where we would learn some Thai cooking and chill with (but NOT COOK) elephants, but now I’m a little worried about going to the island area in monsoon season, so… we’ll see. Another future-mystery that will be solved by the march of time!
We’re also trying to cook more this year, since we have merged our two kitchens into one… and we really like our new kitchen! So you’ll see some of that.
And I’ll try to post here every once in a while, in case you’re more of an old-school blog-reader. (That seems like an oxymoron.)
Until next time… (whenever that may be…)