Vagawandering.com Blog

Alakai Swamp Trail

2 ruined pairs of pants, 1 ruined backpack. Neoprene surf socks so inundated with mud that they’ve never rinsed clean. My right palm, bruised and tender for days from the weight I put on my hiking stick while ascending and descending the slippery muddy cliffs. But also the most amazing pictures and memories, of the dense tree and fern canopy,...

Happy Lemon (Kearney Mesa)

Salted cheese. On top of milk tea. Who would think to put cheese with iced tea and who would want to drink it again? Happy Lemon is a chain of tea and juice shops from Shanghai. This spot in Kearney Mesa is supposedly their biggest location anywhere – no surprise, shops in Asia are tiny – but both times we...

“The western Sierra pine forest as it was 100 years ago is not coming back.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-sierra-dead-trees-20170128-story.html As of January 2017, “more than 102 million drought-stressed and beetle-ravaged trees have died across 7.7 million acres of California forest. More than half of those died last year alone. Overall, about a fifth of the trees have died in the ponderosa pine and mixed conifer belt of the park, according to Stephenson and Das. Even after this winter’s...

Steamy Piggy (Kearney Mesa)

Is Steamy Piggy just a cute name, or a restaurant with real staying power? We took advantage of happy hour pricing to try their appetizers. Salt and pepper chicken, crispy and salty: 3 cup chicken – super tender stewed chicken in a shoyu/sesame oil sauce. Tastes just like Japanese shoyu chicken to me, a true home cooking dish! Not that...

Balthazar NYC

French restaurants and cafes aren’t really a thing in LA. So I was excited to try Balthazar for weekend brunch. We booked a 1030 reservation which gave us time to get there from Times Square. It was quite busy on Saturday morning and we could see just how close together the tables are set. We’re we going to be squeezed...

The wisdom of Rick Steves

I’m not a big fan of museums. I can’t think of anything more boring than wandering thru an endless maze of rooms looking at stuff that has absolutely no meaning to me. It took me way too long to figure out that you can just go see the pieces you want to see. The Rick Steves museum tours are perfect...

Xi’an Famous Foods (NYC)

One of the hole in the wall restaurants that Tony Bourdain made famous, Xi’an Famous Foods is just south of Central Park. The menu is mostly hand torn noodle dishes with lamb, beef, pork, and a few dumpling dishes. This is very humble eating place with no tables or waiters, only stools and 2 long counters. Similar to what you’d...

Gallaghers Steakhouse (New York)

As far as I’m concerned, the perfect dinner. A top notch Old Fashioned – nice and sweet and citrusy – and a Joel Gott cabernet. Altho I think I’m going to have to stop mixing my liquors. The bread basket had a nice gingerbread in it as well as some fine whole grain breads. The butter was very rich –...