Going backwards is always easier when travelling – you end up waking up super early and being exhausted by the time bedtime rolls on.
Drivin’ down Main St – that must be the name of a song.
Walking around downtown is a great way to see some amazing art deco buildings and interesting architecture from days gone by.
My brother and fiancé take us to a cool very instagrammable place called Eggslut at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. Coffee was hot and fresh, and the egg and bacon sandwich, albeit a bit small, was bursting with flavour – man you can really taste the difference between good eggs and shit battery farm eggs. We got there about 08:30 and were apparently very lucky for there not to be any queue as usually it snakes all around the entrance. We walked around the rest of the market, where there are all manner of delicious foods to try from juice specialists to chill specialist counters.
Finally we arrive at Grand Central Market there is something for everyone here!
Authentic and good value spices and foods
The variety of food here is amazing! and all very fresh!
Very farmers market type atmosphere
The famous Eggslut
While we waited for the food Bae and I got a fresh pressed juice from The Press Brothers
The famous bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Honestly, it was very tasty but not the best I have had, and pricey at $8.50! it was the size of the palm of my hand.
The dish below is the namesake of the restaurant – Slut – “cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette”
After breakfast we walked around Downtown a bit, taking in the sights of Old LA
Loving the Art Deco!
Art Deco Theatre
Cool neighbourhood to walk around. Lots of jeweWllery stores and wedding and quincinera dress stores
My brother wanted to take us to Clifton’s Cafeteria as it’s a cool spot to visit but unfortunately it was closed today
We stopped at a supercool bookstore when it started to get too warm and also in part to avoid a crazy man chanting and dancing on the street – poor guy looked like he had truly lost his marbles as he gesticulated at the floor and made strange sounds – LA is glam just like in the movies but is also home to many more homeless people than we have ever seen before.
But back to the coolest bookstore ever!
Lots of cool book sculptures
Me posing by a book “wave”
We walked for a while further in the heat, and then thought this would be a good time to get some proper relaxation going.
On our list of things to do was going to a Korean Spa. I have been going to Korean Saunas and Jimjilbangs for quite a few years now and anyone who knows me appreciates how much I lament the lack of such a facility in UK (I don’t even think there are any in Europe!) I enclose a link here to Conan O’Brien’s experience of the Wi Spa, which is where we went. (Note – Conan’ comedic charm doesn’t really convey how awesome this place really is!)
We got an Uber to Koreatown, arrived at Wi Spa and started the check in process, which can be quite long as there are numerous rules. We had booked a treatment each, which I recommend you do as well as the place gets very busy.
The trick is to book a treatment at the same time and to arrive about 30-45 minutes before the treatment so you can have time to stew and open your pores for the scrub and massage (which is what we both opted for.)
At the desk you are given a t shirt and shorts to wear for the Jimjilbang area (this is the cooed, clothed area – straight to co-ed area so we could coordinate times.
I would say 45 minutes is a good amount of time to spend in the wet area (if you are in separate areas) Since your phone is in the locker and you are in basically what is a wet room with lots of water (or steam or sauna) having your phone on you is not ideal (plus you are supposed to be relaxing, how can you do that if you have a phone buzzing near you!) You are given a wristband that allows you to pay for things and open your locker so you don’t have to carry your wallet around with you.
I stewed in the warm, then warmer, then warmest pools before dipping in and out of the steam room to get myself prepared for the scrub. I will say that if the only kind of scrub you have had is a coconut or brown sugar scrub, this is something completely different – I would say it’s the best scrub I have had, not for the experience as that is almost tantamount to being in constant pain depending on how sensitive your skin is, but my skin never feels as soft as when I get the Korean scrub.
All it really consists of is an ajumma or ajashi in standard issue black underwear (usually lacy), with nothing but a small (usually green or yellow) sandpaper type rag that they scrub you all over with, and I mean ALL OVER (I mean you want to make sure you don’t have an gunges right?) if you are a man this means, things will get moved out of the way in order to reach nooks and crannies you didn’t even know you had.
However, afterwards, you skin feels as soft as a baby’s skin, and tiredness will overcome you. I managed Bae’s expectation so he knew not to expect any relaxation until after the treatment had concluded and I would like to think he is now a convert but only time will tell!
I’ve had my scrub and massage and now ready to eat!
Luckily in the Jimjilbang section they have lots of comfy places to sit or lie. We chose to visit each of the rooms to get a feel for each of them.
There is the big thatch hut in the middle of what looks like a giant kindergarten soft play area for adults which is the hottest temperature and where sometimes people go and boil their eggs (yes it gets that hot), then there is the salt room of which the interior is entirely made of rock salt, and there are lots of salt crystals to cover yourself in.
There is a similar room for red clay with lots of small clay balls that you can literally bury yourself under – all in the name of health and well-being and finally a fridge room for when you want to cool off. Have a look at the room types here
We chilled in each room before getting a bite to eat in their restaurant (where you can also get shave ice and other yummy things) then went up to the roof terrace to grab a bit of sun. All in all, we spent about 4 hours there, though many a time I have spent the night at a place like this (thinking back to when I went clubbing in Seoul and the university curfew wouldn’t end until 6am and we needed a place to wash and sober up before class). If you haven’t been to a Korean spa, then I would definitely recommend you go!
We are on Cloud 9 after Wi Spa!
We decided to end our spa day by staying in Koreatown and heading to Dan Sung Sa, a great Anju spot that does really good yoghurt soju.
Amazing fried Mackerel, just like mum used to make
I always forget to take pictures of the food at the beginning – this was a really good and spicy Tteok-bokki (rice cakes and fish cakes in spicy chilli sauce)
Korean Fried Chicken is the best chicken ever – if you are not convinced try it and thank me later.
The restaurant served lots of skewers – you could literally get anything on a stick! This is a pineapple. They have everything from standard chicken and pork, to frogs legs and ginko nuts.
After a hefty and delicious dinner (with quite a bit of soju) I was trying to convince my group to go to Noraebang (karaoke) but was unsuccessful so as consolation to me we went to a Korean Bingsu Place.
Below is the classic – shave ice with Red Bean. If you have never tried Bingsu, it is like eating the finest snow ever. Top that with Red Bean (which my mum always told me is chocolate so now it tastes like chocolate to me) and you have a winning dessert!
Tune in tomorrow!