Category Archives: Food

Local Los Angeles Hotspots Outside of Downtown

By Melissa Kitagawa

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

As a person who has lived in Los Angeles her entire life, I have gotten the chance to explore the city for years. For those who have only recently arrived in LA to attend USC, they might not be as knowledgable about the best spots to visit. Here are some places that stand out to me that I still continue to visit every year.

The Grove

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Everyone in Los Angeles has been to The Grove at least once. Most of the stores are more high-end, but many people just go because of the bright lights and warm atmosphere. However, if you go, the best time to go is at night when the views are the prettiest. My personal favorite part is the farmer’s market. They have cheap, tasty food and the best crepes.

Top of the World

This is a very local secret. It is hidden in the hills of Pacific Palisades. Not many people know of this place and I just found out about it recently. It does take a bit of a drive to get here, but it’s worth it. It is essentially a lookout point you can hike up to, and it gives you the best Los Angeles view possible. From here you can see the entire LA coastline and at night, the view is even more stunning.

Griffith Observatory

Photo by Pedro Marroquin on Unsplash

The Griffith Observatory is a very popular site to visit. They have a variety of shows where they project the night sky on a screen on the ceiling indoors and you can learn about the night sky and our planet. However, many people enjoy coming here to see the views of Los Angeles from high up and also to enjoy their hiking trails.

Sawtelle Blvd.

Sawtelle is a street in LA, and if you walk from Sawtelle and Pico to Sawtelle and La Grange, there are tons of popular Asian stores. Many locals visit this area for some of the city’s best ramen, lots of boba choices, and yummy sweets. It is open very late, so if you want some midnight ramen, this is the perfect place to go. One particularly popular place here is Bsweet. They have warm doughnuts filled with ice cream and all different kinds of warm fudge.

Culver City Stairs

Photo by Adam Rhodes on Unsplash

The official name of this spot is the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, but locals call it the Culver City Stairs. This is another popular scenic view; however, most people come here to exercise. Visitors range from children to adults to whole teams who come here to exercise. The individual stairs are tall and the climb is long, but once you’re at the top, you can take a rewarding picture to document your achievement.

Whichever places you choose to visit, I am confident you will be able to capture some great photos and some great memories. Take advantage of your time in Los Angeles by immersing yourself in the local experience, and I promise you won’t regret it!

Featured Image by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Melissa is a recent graduate who studied Business Administration. She graduated high school as valedictorian and spent her summer before college volunteering at the 2017 Summer Taipei Universade. She is half Japanese and half Taiwanese but has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. Every year she visits friends and family in Taiwan and speaks Mandarin fluently. Her interests include playing basketball, traveling, and socializing.

My Favorite foods to cook in College

By Tiffany Mays

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

Over the years, cooking has been a form of catharsis for me. Between class and work, cooking is one of the easiest ways for me to take time out of my schedule for myself. Amongst the highs and the lows of everyday life, preparing food allows me to express myself in ways beyond words. It helps me remember who I am and put aside my worries and insecurities if just for a minute. Each food has a signature scent that I often associate with a moment in my life. Filling the room with aromatic smells of crispy, savory, spicy, or citrusy meals, it’s often hard to pick just one dish. In spite of the array of options available, I always seem to cook exactly what I want. These dishes not only smell delicious, but also help me reminisce on my past, think about the present, and look towards the future as well.

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Food is like an art form, and as the artist I feel it is up to me to create something beautiful whenever I step into the kitchen. Without a doubt, cooking is an art that requires hours of practice, repetition, discipline, and patience. The intricacies of cooking go far beyond simply combining ingredients together, but knowing what flavors, textures, and aromas go together to form the perfect dish. To be an artist in the kitchen is harder than it looks, and trust me I’ve tried. After watching a few Food Network shows, it might seem easy, but chef’s spend years perfecting their craft. While I cannot say that I am there yet, I hope to be in the near future.

The joy of cooking is such an easy thing to incorporate into your life, but many don’t know what dishes they might like to cook. Here’s a few of my favorite dishes to cook in the kitchen for inspiration:

Photo by Max Delsid on Unsplash

Dinner

  • Jerk chicken, rice and peas, and fried plantains

Growing up in a West Indian household, my mom used to make this quite often for our family. Making it now really reminds me of home, and the comfort I felt at that time.

  • Chicken or shrimp empanadas and yellow rice

One of my favorite restaurants in New York City is a Cuban restaurant that served this exact dish at their establishment. While simple, this dish is always a staple in my diet, and easy to make from scratch. 

  • Chicken Parmesan

Inspired by some of the food I used to get in Little Italy, I like to make this dish once per week. One of my favorite pasta sauce’s to pair it with is Rao’s Marinera Sauce.

  • Chicken Lo Mein

Whether I use udon noodles or regular spaghetti noodles for this dish, it always tastes good. I prefer to use bok choy, broccoli, carrots, and green onions for my vegetables, but it’s really up to you what you would like to include.

Photo by Peter Pham on Unsplash

Appetizers

  • Fried Chicken Wings

After marinating the chicken overnight in a mixture of spices, you can’t go wrong with fried chicken wings. It’s a quick and easy meal that everyone loves to eat.

  • Shrimp Calamari

This dish is one of my favorite things to get when I go back home, and is super easy to make at home!

Photo by Aneta Voborilova on Unsplash

Dessert

  • Beignets

These French pastries pair really nicely with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee in the morning.

  • Coconut Cupcakes

Cupcakes are super easy to make from scratch, and by adding a little bit of vanilla and almond extract they taste even better! The coconut adds a fun new flavor that you don’t often see in cupcakes.

I hope this list gave you some ideas for dishes you would like to cook. If you want to start cooking regularly but are still having trouble planning out your meals, I recommend making a list of dishes you know you like and referencing this before you go to the grocery store so you will know what ingredients you need to get for the week!

Featured Image by Abbey Houston on Unsplash

Tiffany is a Master’s Student from New York City studying Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Her Bachelor’s degree is from USC in Human Biology on the Applied Physiology track with a Minor in Health Care Studies. She hopes to pursue a MD-PhD in the near future. She has conducted molecular biology, stem cell biology, and cancer biology research at UPC, HSC, and CHLA. On campus, she participated in many student organizations such as GlobeMed at USC and the Marching Band where she played flute. In her free time, she likes baking, exploring LA, trying new food, and hanging out with friends.

Pumpkin Spiced Fall

By Emiko Akama-Garren

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

The American fall time consists of many traditions and holidays, and those who are not familiar with them may find the traditions amusing and sometimes odd. This time of year is heavily centered around food, with the most important item being the pumpkin. Pumpkins play a role in Thanksgiving, Halloween and essential fall activities like going to a pumpkin patch. So, it is no surprise that pumpkin spice has become an essential part of the season. I always feel more festive and start to get into the fall mood when I see all of the seasonal pumpkin-flavored items available.

Pumpkin spice products are continuing to spread and major brands continue to introduce new pumpkin fused items for the fall time. The limited availability of the flavor has been a key selling point for the products. Some of the most popular items include candles, soap, cookies, drinks, baked goods, snacks, and even pet products. The most quintessential pumpkin spice item to try is most definitely the pumpkin spice latte. Social media, especially Instagram, has created a large following and obsession for pumpkin spice latte fans of all ages.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

It is already a shock to many non Americans how many different products that feature pumpkins are available, so it is even more surprising when people find out that pumpkin flavored coffee is such a sought after trend. Pumpkin spice lattes have become quite the commodity and bring in huge profits for coffee companies. Pumpkin spice lattes are typically made from milk, pumpkin puree or flavoring, pumpkin spice seasoning, a sweetener, and coffee.

Starbucks is the main party responsible for starting the pumpkin spice latte craze and turning the name of their drink into an acronym and widespread hashtag (PSL). Since Starbucks has launched their drink, over 200 million drinks have been sold and it has quickly become their most popular beverage. Now many other coffee chains offer their own versions of pumpkin spice coffees. Starbucks starts to offer the PSL in the beginning of September and it is only available “while supplies last”. This period is usually right up until when they bring back their holiday drinks.

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash

Pumpkin spice no longer just creates a flavorful sensation but it also creates an emotional one. The widely loved trend admired by many Americans is slowly starting to spread, but understandably has not been picked up as quickly in foreign markets. There is no better place to try pumpkin spice food than in America as a way to celebrate the beginning of the fall holidays. Trying out and tasting this fall trend is the best way to understand the American obsession, and might just help you feel some of the holiday spirit.

Featured Image by Chris Hardy on Unsplash

Emiko is a recent graduate from the Sol Price School of Public Policy and Marshall School of Business. She was born and raised in the Bay Area, California up until high school, when she moved to Switzerland and then France. Emiko lived in Switzerland and Germany all throughout high school and then studied abroad her first year of university in Paris. While living abroad, she was involved with Model United Nations and was a figure skating coach for international students and local students looking to work on their English. She loves meeting new people, traveling, dancing, figure skating and entrepreneurship.