A-Frame and Uncle Steve

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After driving from La Puente, we stayed with my mom’s college friend (Uncle Steve) who lives in Torrance.

For dinner, he brought us to a place in Culver City called A-Frame — a trendy Asian-fusion restaurant created by Roy Choi, the creator and chef behind the wildly-popular Korean-style Kogi food trucks. A-Frame serves what could be considered “modern picnic food,” with menu items such as furikake kettle corn, baby back ribs, beer can chicken, and pandesal.

A few of my favorites from our order were the kitchen fries, the baby back ribs, and a whole beer can chicken.

The kitchen fries weren’t what the average person would consider “fries.” Instead, they were better. The kitchen fries were slices of purple Okinawan potato, yam, and Korean sweet potato topped with sea salt and served with a kimchi sour cream sauce. The purple Okinawan potato was surprisingly addictive. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be having them for a long time.

The baby back ribs were delicious! I’ve never had better ones in my life! Personally, I’m not a huge fan of barbecue — ribs included — which is ridiculous since I live in Texas. Texans eat barbecue, and it makes it incredibly awkward for me whenever I go to someone’s house or some social gathering and they serve barbecue. Even the high school I’m attending this fall wanted to have a new student barbecue! (It ended up raining so I didn’t go.)

These ribs, on the other hand, tasted good. I didn’t have that feeling like I wanted to throw up after taking my first bite! The baby back ribs served at A-Frame were glazed in hoisin-chili sauce — hoisin is used in char siu (Chinese-flavored barbecued meat) — and had a much more Korean flavor.

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The beer can chicken was also surprisingly good. The chicken was served with kimchi, century egg, and salsa roja, and salsa verde. However, both sauces had flavors much more reminiscent to Indian cuisine — the red sauce was stronger and spicier while the green sauce had a cooler, mintier taste.

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For dessert, Uncle Steve tried to bring us to an ice cream place near Venice Beach. Unfortunately, the place’s generator broke so they were closed for the night. We decided to walk through Venice Beach since we were so close — I wanted to get a picture of the beach while the sun was setting — and I was in for a big surprise.

Venice Beach is full of people with diverse lifestyles and interests. It’s absolutely crazy! Walk through the boardwalk at night and you’ll find palm readings, people singing and playing guitars, flashing lights, people on skateboards flying past you, street food, and so much more! Venice Beach, while beautiful in the daytime and probably more “normal,” is a prime location for great people watching (if you’re not afraid to see a few startling types of people).

My dad pointed out that the guy with the turban who was playing music had been there since he was in college. My dad’s been out of college for a very long time. In the end, we decided to ditch Venice Beach and go somewhere else. (Unfortunately, the sun set before we could get out to the beach itself.)

Just a little side note, but the MasterChef episode that aired on July 2 (“Top 12 Compete”) took place in Venice Beach. The episode involved three teams in a food truck battle. Each team was assigned a different cuisine (Mexican, American, and Indian) and competed to see which truck would make the most money. I thought that was interesting since I also happened to spot a food truck, albeit it was parked and closed, in Venice Beach.

Uncle Steve ended up bringing us to a shaved ice place, since he wanted us to see what shaved ice is. It’s such an interesting concept, and I think it would sell really well in Dallas. (Hear that entrepreneurs?)

The shaved ice place he brought us to sold a regular sized bowl for $3.50 with 50¢ for each topping and 25¢ for an extra drizzled sauce. Not only that, but the place was cash only.

Fun Fact: The total cost per bowl (including the cost for spoons) for shaved ice comes out to only 27 cents!

In the morning, I woke up to a very good breakfast consisting of toast, eggs, bacon, strawberries, blueberries, and orange juice prepared by Uncle Steve. It tasted delicious! Honestly, I didn’t expect for him to be good at making breakfast!

After eating breakfast, we rushed out of the house to get to the Philippine Consulate.

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