While I had gone back to Los Angeles two weekends ago to try on wedding dresses, this was my first time back in my part of LA . . . Koreatown. It felt better than I thought to be back in “my” LA. For the almost 8 years I lived in Los Angeles, over the 4 apartments I called home, I never left Ktown. When I was back a couple weekends ago, the city felt overly busy, difficult to get anywhere and unfriendly. Exactly what people normally say of the city of angels. But this time, walking the streets of Ktown, it felt cozy and I could get the sense of community. People were friendlier and instead of feeling like you were walking around the “industry,” it felt like you were in a real city. That’s what I always liked about Koreatown. It gave me that sense of New York or Chicago. There are Korean or Salvadorian bodegas on the corner, families everywhere, tall buildings, ethnic grocery stores, restaurants where no one speaks English and fish markets that smell how fish markets are supposed to. The metro line is there, so you don’t feel stuck and you’re a hop, skip and a jump from museums and shopping and the beautiful houses of Hancock Park.
We flew in on a Friday and got to LAX around 6 p.m. Yes, the worst time ever to try and make it into the city from the airport. Surprisingly the streets were empty. Our Lyft driver was just as confused as we were and decided it must have been because it was a Coachella weekend. We made it into Koreatown and were able to stay at the beautiful Hotel Normandie. Andrew was wishing he had requested one of the Walker Inn rooms which, I guess not anymore, used to do cocktail services with the great speakeasy bar downstairs. They would greet you with cocktails and wake you with them, but I guess the logistics of it weren’t working out. But as we walked down the long hallway which was different than all the others, we started to realize we did in fact get one of those rooms.
We walked into our room to find an awesome hotel mini bar and a beautifully designed little room.
I didn’t get a picture of inside the mini fridge, but it was also stocked with goodies. While we didn’t get cocktail service, we were fully equipped to make one on our own. We settled in and freshened up from the plane and headed across the street to our favorite Korean BBQ place, Yang San Bak. We always get the same thing, the bulgogi and the brisket. My favorite thing is the banchan, which are all the little dishes that accompany the meat. I could just eat a meal out of those little tiny bowls of deliciousness.
After dinner, we needed to walk. We walked by our old apartment and someone was in there watching TV. We felt so strange standing outside, feeling like it was actually full of our stuff and someone was just keeping it warm for us. We said some nice words about our beautiful place, talked some shit about our landlord and how poorly they take care of the landscaping and headed on our way. We walked by Quarters, a place we used to get drinks and talk with the Anton the bartender, but it was packed so we kept moving. We wandered over to Normandie Club, which is beneath our hotel and had a couple drinks and then hit the sack.
We woke up fairly early and went downstairs to Cassell’s to have breakfast. We used to go there all the time for breakfast and dinner and we sat at our usual table. We planned out our day and enjoyed our food together like old times. That day, I got a pedicure at my usual spot, we went downtown and realized we didn’t have Andrews work keys, had to come back, went downtown again and got our clothes ready to for the wedding. Then we had Sugar Fish, which is probably the food I miss the most.
That night was Humphrey and Brooke’s wedding. We’ve both have known Humphrey for a very long time and we were so excited to be celebrating with the two of them and attend our first Nigerian wedding. It did not disappoint! As the night went on each part slowly added more and more people. We felt so honored that we were invited to watch the ceremony as it was a smaller group of friends and family. A lot of the older generation and some of the younger wore the traditional clothing and headdresses. A lot of the married couples were matching and some of the men wore these beautiful embroidered tunics. We ate delicious Nigerian cuisine for dinner and I was especially fond of the spicy rice that was served. The bar was open and the drinks were flowing! There was so much dancing and money being showered on the bride and groom at different points throughout the party. We met so many nice people and got a chance to properly meet Brooke, catch up with Humphrey and invite them to Austin as they are thinking of moving out here. We ended up leaving around midnight seeing as we had to catch an early flight back to Austin. The dancing was just getting started. We were told Nigerian weddings easily go until at least 2 a.m. Here are some photos and videos if you would like to see. Not my best photo skills, so apology given.
That’s them driving off in that beautiful car after the ceremony, I barely got a photo in time!
Here they re-entered the wedding, with themselves and their bridal party all dressed in the traditional Nigerian clothing.