22 October 2008

El Segundo, Parte Segundo

Main Street, El Segundo
We now return to our irregularly-scheduled tour of El Segundo. Anyone who's surprised that I'm able to write TWO posts about a city that's so under the radar obviously hasn't gotten the hang of my posts and comments (though I have a feeling that some bloggers might actually hate my smiley, upbeat comments). Well, that's just the kind of person I am. We're going to finish this series with downtown El Segundo, which consists of Main Street (above)...
Richmond Street, El Segundo
... and Richmond Street, just one street parallel to Main. It's a 20-minute walk down Grand Avenue from Sepulveda Boulevard, but you can take the 124 Bus for only $1.25. I did so once, and the token thingy was broken so the driver just let me ride. I was confused when I disembarked (I didn't know you didn't have to pay if the thingy was broken) and I stupidly dumped $1.25 down Ms. Driver's lunch pack. Ms. Driver laughed and gave me my money back, saying she can't accept it. She must have thought it was a tip.
Teen Skate Park
I wanted to get a closer look at these young skaters and maybe ask them to do a trick, but many couldn't even manage an Ollie. Plus, I didn't want to appear like the youngest pederast ever so I stole this shot from a distance. I actually saw a bunch of cute schoolchildren walking to school with their teacher, and it was such a perfect scene but I didn't want to alarm the teacher or anger the parents by taking a shot, so I let it go. How would the photographers/ travelers among you go about it? I am paranoid of other people's paranoia.
El Segundo High School
This is El Segundo High School on Main Street. The architecture is so well-done that I actually thought it was a University.
School Gazebo at El Segundo
Gazebo opposite the school. There was a creepy shirtless guy walking around in circles a short distance from this. It still doesn't compare to the guy I saw tweaking (er, in a druggie way) in front of Westfield in San Francisco. Speaking of which, I saw a shirtless guy and his maybe 7 year-old shirtless daughter or sister enter a Carl's Jr. Am I being too much of a prude by being freaked out or am I right?
Old Town Music Hall
The still-active Old Town Music Hall. Did not get a chance to go in, unfortunately. :(
Arts and Crafts-influenced house, El Segundo
Beautiful house on Main Street, with an Arts and Crafts Influence-- my favorite style.
Halloween-decorated house, El Segundo
Halloween-ready house in Grand Avenue. We don't go all-out in celebrating Halloween in this country, so I was quite amused to find that someone went through the trouble of boarding up their windows. Four weeks in advance.
Me with friends at Pinkberry
The day before I left, my friends who were awaiting their residency interviews discovered I was lurking and insisted that we meet up. Aren't they pretty? Aren't I chopped liver with a sprinkling of ugly powder? (Well, at least when you put me beside them-- they were my groupmates for almost all of medical school-- the ones I was with in story #5 here.)
The Shore
The Shore (Interior)
The Shore (Bar)
Mr. Douglas at The Shore
If you spend maybe five seconds with me, you'd know that a nightclub is one of the last places you'd find me. But take note I said "last places"-- not "never". The five of us (the girls' male companions) went to The Shore at Hermosa Beach after a long day of shopping. I ate a $6 chicken katsu (half-off during happy hour) that was okay, but I was more surprised by how much I enjoyed the musical act. If you spend TWO seconds with me, you'd guess correctly that there is not a single rap song on my iPod. There have been several times in the past where I invoke the power of rap to make people laugh (you should hear me do BEP-- or not), because it's so dissonant with my personality. But I was very impressed with Mr. Douglas-- very passionate and angry-sounding.

I did say, "Oh my God! Edward Norton is our MC!" though.
El Segundo Bakery
Back to the food. This shuttered-up El Segundo bakery is a sad metaphor for the state of pastries in general in the area. A bit of a disappointment for a sweet tooth like me, but there's still plenty of highly-recommended restaurants in the area, in case you have a few hours' layover at LAX.
Big Mike's
Big Mike's Pizza Steak
One such place is Big Mike's Cheesesteaks on Main Street. If actual Philadelphia does a better job at cheesesteaks than Big Mike, I'll be beyond impressed indeed. For $5.25 you can get a 6-inch pizza cheesesteak (basically a cheesesteak with a little tomato sauce and herbs), though it seemed like more than 6 inches at the time. I didn't finish it, even if it was so good. From now on, whenever I'm hungry, my mind will return to the few clumps of thinly-sliced steak that I didn't eat. Sigh.
El Tarasco
El Tarasco (Interior)
El Tarasco's Chicken Enchilada
After I'd been surrounded by Latinos and Latino music for a few days, I thought it would be a total shame not to eat authentic Mexican food while in Los Angeles. I chose the place that boasted being the "Best in the South Bay", El Tarasco. I had an Enchilada, of course, which came with a chile relleno (my first time), giant chips and salsa, refried beans, and a drink. Though the enchilada was verrry good-- moist and tender inside-- I still preferred the ones at Tia Maria's here in Manila. Because their sauce is slightly sweet, which I realize must be sacrilege to some, but that's my taste. The only disappointment was the relleno, which was sour, not that spicy, and greasy-- just not my thing.

I have another question. If the change is approximate to the amount that you should tip, is it customary for waiters not to bring you your change (or even a receipt) at all? I find this very strange, especially since I was willing to go over the usual percentage. I was supposed to leave a tip of $2 at El Tarasco, but after a long time waiting for my change of $1.89, I had to remind them and I got $1.50 instead, which is what I left as the tip (and they couldn't give me a receipt for some reason), since apparently the $0.39 disappeared into limbo.
Second City Bistro
Second City Bistro (Interior)
Second City Bistro (Interior 2)
Second City Bistro Kitchen
Another highly-recommended place in Richmond Street is The Second City Bistro. I love bistros-- the relaxed atmosphere, and the good, fresh, and fast food. Since I came in at 5PM (opening time in the evening), I was the only person there and proceeded to freak out the kitchen by taking a picture. It was a rare opportunity for me so I couldn't let it pass (plus, there are no angry parents to chase me with torches).
Second City Menus
Second City Pasta
Second City Banana Filo
I ordered the pasta with tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, and capers. It was very well-done (and very substantial, given it was only $8.50 and I'm just this wee person), though the tomatoes were very obviously about to go out of season, I think. I ordered the banana phyllo parcel with caramel, chocolate, cream cheese (!!) and peanuts, and it was a joy to eat. Definitely something I'll look into imitating in some way at home (probably very easy to make, too).
Icky Self-Portrait
Eight in ten doctors recommend Canon cameras for icky mirror pictures.
Here's a tacky self-portrait of myself in full physician "regalia." I know I keep referring to myself as a wee person but Marvin reassured me that I was average-size height, which was quite a relief the day before my exam-- I was afraid of looking out of place, which would have affected my confidence. I think I did well enough, but we'll know for sure this December. Also helping my confidence was the fact that the weird tailors of the coat made the sleeves too short. I had to wear white inside so the difference wouldn't be so jarring. Originally I had planned to take a picture of what I was wearing each day, but I realized how douchey that sounds so I scrapped it. I received a compliment about my Rockman (Megaman to you Yanks) t-shirt. The cashier at Surfas said, "That shirt is tight!" At first I thought he meant the literal sense, which made me cringe a bit.
St. Anthony's Church, El Segundo
This picture might have worked out a beeeeet better if I had stepped back a little and gotten the top of the cross. Yeesh.
So, that's my summary of my five days in El Segundo. It may be a head-scratcher to some how I was able to stay that long while only occasionally moving to other parts of Los Angeles, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself and I was even able to score plenty of really good meals at that. Definitely not a bad place to make your home-base if in Los Angeles without a place to stay. Next time, I'd pay closer attention to the Bus Lines so I can move around a bit more freely. Alternatively I can just get a freaking international license and drive around.

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