1. aubsanto.jux.com

     
  2. February 25, 2014 | Los Angeles 

    It’s amazing. Despite living in California for most of my life, I’ve never been to Los Angeles. I’ve passed through to get to San Diego, stopped at the outskirts to get Porto’s and hiked across the hot, black tarmac at LAX for a transfer to Las Vegas. So, when I received an email from CONAN saying that I had won a lottery for free tickets to a live taping in Burbank, I jumped at the opportunity to create a 48-hour mini-vacation. 

    CONAN 

    Check in at the Gate 8 parking garage as soon as humanly possible. We drove six hours straight from San Francisco and arrived at 12:30 pm - only to get #38. Though it’s meant to be a joke, this comedy sketch is a pretty accurate portrayal of all the waiting, standing and walking before the show. Still, it’s completely worth it. =)

    Other tips? 

    • Try to get floor seats. You’re more likely to get attention from Jimmy, the comedian who warms up the crowd with taping protocol and dick jokes. 
    • If you can’t get floor seats, sit along the middle row with an open walkway. The band goes nuts performing before taping begins, and La Bamba may hand off his trumpet to a lucky audience member while he sings his solo. 
    • Do something subtle that elicits a reaction from Conan, Andy or the special guest. Jonah Hill said “bless you” to a woman that sneezed during his interview.
    • Make a gift for Conan. 30% chance of getting air time, 90% chance of Conan greeting you after the show. 

    Diddy Riese 

    Since we happened to be stuck in traffic near UCLA campus, we decided to wait it out over ice cream cookie sandwiches at Diddy Riese. I may knock some boots with people, but I would pick these guys over CREAM any day. Simple, straightforward ice cream flavors that go perfectly with any of their soft, indulgent cookies. 

    Sprinkles Cupcake ATM 

    YOU CAN GET A CUPCAKE ANYTIME YOU WANT. ENOUGH SAID.

    Venice Beach

    My first impression: Jersey Shore with a better beach. (The I Love You, Man fish taco restaurant didn’t open until 5 pm.) It makes no apologies for being gritty. We must have walked half a mile through dozens of individual art vendors, cheesy tourist shops and the famous outdoor Muscle Beach Gold’s Gym. 

    Urban Lights 

    "You guys should go check out LACMA. Everybody takes couple pictures there." 

    "Okay." 

    PS. If you watch Monday’s episode, you’ll see his bright turquoise shirt in the audience right before Conan does his opening monologue.

     
  3. Feburary 22, 2014 | Pentatonix 

    Admittedly, I never watched The Sing Off because 1) I already had my fill of The Voice, and 2) I was beyond anything that may have taken inspiration from Glee. And then, my best friend showed me their Daft Punk medley - and I was completely hooked on Pentatonix.

    If you’re lucky enough to have a friend with an extra ticket to their sold out concert tour, definitely check them out. (Thank you, Lisa!) Pentatonix is just as incredible live as they are on their YouTube channel. From the brilliant Evolution of Beyonce and Music medleys to their own original work, I promise, you will not be disappointed. The show is completely honest and gimmick-free: just five friends, with undeniable talent and chemistry, enjoying every minute of their time performing in the spotlight together.

     
  4. February 14, 2014 | Valentine’s Day 

    Yup, my day just got sweeter. (Pun intended.)

     
  5. February 11, 2014 | Neon Lights Tour 

    It seems like Disney has figured out the magic formula: bring out child stars as rising television and movie actors, and then thrust them into the international spotlight with a Hollywood Records deal. More or less, they’ve been successful - but few actually have the musical chops to belt out a power ballad-turned-single like Let It Go.

    Demi Lovato’s professional career went somewhat the opposite. Regardless of what year you were born, you definitely heard of a High School Musical spin-off called Camp Rock trying to capitalize on the hottest band in the land, the Jones Brothers. This unknown girl, named Demi Lovato, burst onto the screen with a rockstar voice that captured the hearts of millions of viewers. Disney channel tried to fit Demi back into their formula by starring her in her own show, Sonny with a Chance, and a second Camp Rock movie alongside a few albums. When news broke about her checking into rehab, it was easy for people to assume that Demi was just another fallen Disney star, disgraced and discarded by tragedy. But that is the most remarkable thing about Demi: instead of letting her personal struggles consume her, she used them as a platform to strengthen her stance for inspiring young people everywhere to “stay strong”. And, on top of it all, her voice has matured like a skyscraper. (It was there, I just had to do it.)

    Despite being at least a decade older than the average age in that arena, I was glad to see Demi’s positive influence reaching across generations. If she releases a fifth album, I would definitely go to another concert. (PS. Thanks for the tickets, 99.7!)

     
     
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  7. Feburary 4, 2014 | Pesce 

    Pesce. Eat and be well, my fellow pescetarians. 

    In the spirit of Venetian culture, we started off dinner with a few of their signature cicheti and then gradually moved our way through what seemed like their entire menu. (We may have gone a little overboard.)  

    • Salmon affumicato (smoked salmon, horseradish creme fraiche, bruschetta) 
    • Arancini (mozzarella saffron risotto fritters,English peas) 
    • Cavolo nero (Tuscan kale, romaine, caesar dressing, parmesan crostini) 
    • Tonno (herb crusted tuna, spicy tomato-puttanesca, soffritto) 
    • Suola petrale (petrale sole gratin, potatoes)
    • Capesante (pan seared diver scallops, field mushrooms, green olive) 
    • Limoncello polenta cake (blood orange marmalade, rosemary mascarpone) 
     
  8. February 2, 2014 | Super Bowl…

    … of ice cream. ;)

    What else is a Niners fan to do after you watch your division rivals put a beat down to Peyton Manning and the Broncos? Extra scoop of Vietnamese coffee and oolong tea, please.

     
  9. Throwback Thursdays: Duo of Homemade Marshmallows 

    When you are a nine year strong pescatarian, your lunch and dinner options at any given restaurant are sliced in half - if not, more. Dessert is the only culinary discipline in which I can become fully versed, aka try everything. (Except for those maple bacon doughnuts. Why does everything need to have bacon?) 

    Needless to say, when the opportunity arose to participate in my company’s annual Top Chef competition under the desserts category, I jumped at the chance. Not having any pastry experience, and certainly none of the equipment, I opted to refine a familiar product amongst two well-loved, homemade American treats: homemade marshmallows on top of my play on s’mores and hot cocoa. (The “graham cracker” is a shortbread hybrid, along with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache.) Like many of the contestants on the actual show, I wanted to showcase my homemade marshmallows in different ways, one as melted in a drink and the other gently toasted on a cookie.

    PS. Plating is my weakness. It’s like the art form of functionality.

     
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