adventures in la


My sister came to visit me for a few days in December right after finals. In the four days we explored together, we bought too much produce for two people to eat at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, made it to Griffith for sunset, and found lots of used books at Smorgasburg LA.

Having lived in LA for almost two years now, the list of places I've been hoping to visit has gotten quite long. We visited many of the places I've been wanting to visit, but I also took my sister to a few of the places that have become favorites of mine, including the Getty and Jeni's. 


But my favorite day ended up being the one that was the most spontaneous. We decided to visit The Broad, but didn't plan anything beyond that. After seeing the Infinity Mirrored Room (which was incredible), we wandered around the area and eventually ended up in Grand Central Market. As soon as I stepped inside, I immediately loved how lively it was. So many different cuisines came together inside, and I enjoyed seeing hints of history and neon signs dotting the interior. 


another year begins


If not for the sudden 90+ degree heatwave of the past few days, I'd think it was fall. Crunchy leaves are scattered across the pavement, and it's dark by the time I come home from work.

I baked this apple loaf yesterday, and it filled my apartment with scents of cinnamon and apples and fall. I've had the recipe bookmarked for quite a few years and finally made it. It's lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, filled with apples, oats, and toasted walnuts. 

My fourth year of college has officially begun. I've been in LA for about a month, and the first few weeks have been a whirlwind. Slowly, though, things are falling into place. For now, a few snapshots from home: 

Humphry Slocombe is my favorite place to get ice cream in San Francisco. We got black sesame and coffee this time.  

Humphry Slocombe is my favorite place to get ice cream in San Francisco. We got black sesame and coffee this time.  

Nordic Bakery Cinnamon Buns


When I think of London, the first thing that comes to mind is the sweet scent of cinnamon buns. 

I visited many touristy places in London, in awe of the grandness of places so steeped in history. But, as I wandered around my neighborhood, I stumbled across new restaurants, bakeries, street markets, and coffeeshops. I saw my neighborhood slowly come to life each morning, and I felt equally amazed by the liveliness of London. This is what made me love London so easily and so quickly.

I gradually got to know my neighborhood, but it was still full of surprises. One afternoon, I discovered a food festival, with a wide variety of cuisines, that only happens once a year. Another night, I had one of my favorite meals at a restaurant just around the corner from my dorm.


My favorite memories are those where I explored my neighborhood and realized that somehow in the course of as short a time as six weeks, it came to feel like home. In some moments, it still doesn't feel real that I was able to call London home – walking by the theaters each day on my way to dinner and finding the sweet spots in my neighborhood. 

I enjoyed being abroad because for the first time while traveling, I was in a place long enough to get to know my neighborhood and feel at home at the end of each day. I miss exploring London constantly and coming back to favorites. I miss turning the corner, seeing the glass storefront promising cinnamon buns, and smelling the sweet scent of cinnamon before even entering the bakery. 


After being home for a few weeks now, I always smile when I see things that remind me of my time in London, whether it be recognizing a location in Sherlock (I just started watching it this summer, and it's incredible!) or visiting a vibrant farmers' market. 

Nordic Bakery's cinnamon buns were one of my favorite foods I ate in London. They're a bit different from cinnamon buns here. They're slightly more bread-like, less sweet, and more spiced because of the cardamom. I baked these after coming back home, and as soon as I took a bite, I felt like I was back in London. 

from Nordic Bakery

570 ml lukewarm milk
150 g superfine sugar
45 g active dry yeast
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
180 g (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, at room temperature
1 kg all-purpose flour

100 g (6 ½ tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
200 g packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

85 g superfine sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
100 ml water

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk, sugar, yeast, cardamom, melted butter, and egg. With the mixer running, gradually add the flour, and mix until the dough has come together. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour. 

Punch down the dough, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 12 inches x 31 inches and ¼ inch thick. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough. Combine the dark brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it over the dough. 

Roll the dough up from a long edge. Cut into 2 ½ inch rolls at an angle – make the first cut diagonally, then the second diagonally in the opposite direction. Transfer the buns to the prepared pans with the longest edge sitting on the sheet. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and let prove in a warm place for 30-60 minutes, until nearly doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and water to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Remove the buns from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and brush the glaze over the tops. Serve warm.


When in London

It's easy to get caught up in the bustle of London, but today, after class, I headed out to explore Bankside, a part of London I had not visited yet. While I love living in a city, discovering and wandering through quieter pockets of London always leaves me feeling refreshed. 

White chocolate macadamia cookies


Warm chocolate chip cookies are always comforting, especially on quiet, rainy days. I loved being back home for a quick visit a couple weekends ago. So much has changed over the past year, but being home always feels familiar and comforting.

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while and think it'll be my go-to cookie dough from now on. The cream cheese gives the cookies incredible texture, and the brown butter adds a bit of nuttiness. They’re crispy on the edges and chewy in the center when they’re warm, but I like them even more the next day when they become more like soft-baked cookies. I love the classic combination of white chocolate and macadamia nuts but can also see this recipe as a great base for other combinations.

makes 4 dozen cookies // adapted from Joy the Baker

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup instant milk powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, browned and cooled slightly
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
2 cups coarsely chopped white chocolate

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, milk powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and room temperature butter and beat until creamy. Add the browned butter and sugars, then beat until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on medium-low speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the chopped nuts and white chocolate. 

Cover the mixing bowl, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. (I like to portion out all of the dough after 1 hour, so that it’s easy to bake them off later.)

When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°F. Scoop dough into portions of about 2 tablespoons each, then place them onto the prepared pan, leaving a couple inches between each cookie. Bake until golden around the edges, 11-12 minutes. Cool for one minute on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Notes from Seattle


I always come back to this image. It's blurry and imperfect, but it's this photo out of the three rolls I shot in Seattle that brings me back to the rainy weekend I spent there last year. I still remember the exact moment I took it. One day, after dinner, we walked around Green Lake. I took this photo on the ride back to hotel, wanting to hold onto the fleeting glow of sunset and remember the bridge we had crossed numerous times during our trip. 

It was March, and we had flown to Seattle on the first day of spring. I remember feeling like there was something special about the trip. I had gone to visit a college, and so, there was a newness to it, furthered by the fact that spring had just begun. 

In many ways, this photo truly embodies the trip itself—it was short and spontaneous—but in a way, just what I needed. It was here that the realization of how much would change in the coming year really sunk in. As I looked out the window at takeoff, I realized that at that time next year, for the first time, I might not be in San Francisco. 

It was a blur of a trip, spent dashing between the rain to as many places as we could. As I often do, I tried to fit as much as possible into the weekend we spent there, but it's these unplanned moments that I remember most vividly. That's the thing about photography and what makes me love it so much—it makes me appreciate the small moments.  

This was just one year ago, but so much has changed since then. I visited one college while in Seattle, thinking I'd go to school there, but as it happens, things change in an instant. 


At Ocean Beach

Since moving away for college, I always make sure to revisit some of my favorite places when I come back home. Two of my favorites lately have been the Ocean Beach and Sutro Baths area and the Wood Line. I went home for a weekend last month and decided to catch sunrise at the beach before flying back to LA. Ocean Beach is often cold and windy, but when I shot these photos, it was bright, blue, and just the tiniest bit foggy.