Summer 2016: LA + food

Junior year is upon the Class of 2018! Two more years of this grueling, yet exhilarating, adventure that is college. I spent the first 10 weeks of the break on campus doing biomed engineering research. Watch out for my next blog post for more details on Orwin lab’s tissue engineered Brain Patch project. But before we delve back into the academics – problem sets and labs and tests and essays, I’d like to relive the glory of summer one last time.

VeganFoodFair

Vegan Food Fair in Long Beach! It was really hot and really crowded, but we were able to find fresh coconut water, falafel and jello.

You’ll notice that major themes of the summer include food and going places. We did watch a fair amount of TV, but I never felt like I was wasting too much of my summer. Since we’re only a 45 minute drive away from LA, most of our weekends were spent in the city, museum and restaurant hopping, attending a Vegan Food Fair, and going to the beach. We visited the LACMA, saw some inspirational impressionist and surrealist art, and of course took photos at the iconic lampposts. In the area is also the Annenberg Space for Photography, which features a new exhibit every few months. It’s free and they validate parking! Their current collection focuses on refugees in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, and new immigrants to America. The photographs were so emotionally rich, with subjects’ stories a mix of sadness and hope, especially in the context of current world news.

lacmalamppost

The iconic lampposts by LACMA.

OUTSIDElACMA

Sunny SoCal – outside the LACMA gates

We walked around downtown LA, visited the Museum of Broken Relationships on Hollywood Blvd, followed by a delicious meal at the acclaimed Gracias Madre for vegan Mexican food. I eat Mexican food for the cheese and flavor; Gracias Madre manages to make up for the cheese with this beautifully creamy cashew based sauce, and there is flavor packed in every bite. I recommend the enchiladas!

There were tons of people dressed as ghostbusters on Hollywood Blvd. Half the street was cordoned off for some convention.

One weekend, there were tons of people dressed as ghostbusters on Hollywood Blvd. Half the street was cordoned off for some convention.

graciasmadre

On our second visit to Gracias Madre this summer, I ordered the veggie burger. Also well worth it!

We spent several weekends on different beaches:

cystalcove

Crystal Cove in Newport

laguna

Laguna Beach! It was such a beautiful day.

santamonica

Santa Monica beach around 3 pm. The pier made up for the lack of sun.

When we got bored with traveling, Claremont offered plenty to do as well.

Bowling with CS research teams (I'm very embarrassed about my score)

Bowling with CS research teams (I’m very embarrassed about my score)

We cooked about 2 to 3 times a week. (An attempt at) Indian food was inevitably on the menu every time.

We cooked about 2 to 3 times a week. (An attempt at) Indian food was inevitably on the menu every time.

We celebrated three birthdays over the summer. Sophie Graf '18 made this gorgeous coconut creme cake.

We celebrated three birthdays over the summer. Sophie Graf ’18 made this gorgeous coconut creme cake, in addition to several other chocolate variations!

My 10 week summer research experience, both in the lab as well as relaxing after work and on weekends, was definitely worth it. I was worried at the start that being on campus for so long would wear on me – 10 months of the year at school sounds awful. During the school year, we always make plans to go to LA to visit museums and eat good food, but we never get around to it because weekends are largely enveloped in work. Two months of 9-5 work and no other major responsibilities was fabulous. This summer, I did research, ate food, watched TV, and hung out with friends. LA + Food = Exciting summer.