Celebrating Labor Day Weekend at Fiesta Hermosa in Southern California

In this article our guest writer, Sophie Couwenbergh shares her experiences at Fiesta Hermosa in Southern California that takes place over the Labor Day weekend on Hermosa Beach, featuring live music, fish tacos and hippie underwear.

When I was researching my first trip to Los Angeles in 2012, I found out that we would be there during Labor Day Weekend. I thought it would be fun to experience some of the festivities held during that weekend. After some more research a friend and I decided to go to Fiesta Hermosa and we had so much fun that I even decided to go back when I was in LA for another trip last year.

Fiesta Hermosa was organized for the first time in 1972 and has since been the largest arts and crafts fair in Southern California. The festival takes place every Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday and Monday), right by Hermosa Beach. The stands are stretched out over Hermosa Avenue (from 10th St. until 14th ST.) and Pier Avenue (from Palm Dr. until Pier Plaza). Here you can find anything from jewelry over clothes to paintings.

Hermosa beach in Los Angeles Photo: Wonderfulwanderings.com

Hermosa beach in Los Angeles

Plenty of food and entertainment

That’s not all that Fiesta Hermosa has to offer, though. There are also two stages – one at Pier Plaza and one at the Charity Beer & Wine Garden at 11th Street – where live bands play different kinds of music all day long. Last year we saw a Beatles tribute band performing at the main stage.

Beatles tribute band at Fiesta Hermosa Photo: WonderfulWanderings.com

Beatles tribute band at Fiesta Hermosa

Although there are enough bars and restaurants in the festival area to grab a bite, Fiesta Hermosa also has its own food court with stands offering tastes from all over the world. There’s pizza, fries, Mexican food and I later learned that the Hermosa Beach lifeguards even have a fish taco stand there. I somehow missed that, otherwise I would have definitely gone for a fish taco. I did see the Holy-Guaca-Moly stand and got a sample of their nachos with guacamole. Yum!

Holy-Guaca-Moly stall at Fiesta Hermosa Photo: WonderfulWanderings.com

Holy-Guaca-Moly stall at Fiesta Hermosa

By the way, right next to the food court you’ll also find Fiesta Hermosa’s ‘kids department’ with different rides and games, just like a mini carnival.

We didn’t have lunch at the food court but instead decided to head back to this small place at Pier Plaza where we had a coffee in the morning. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten the name but it was about two shops away from a big clothing store selling surf brands like Rip Curl. When you enter there’s a counter at the left and some tables to the right. Pier Plaza isn’t that long, so I’m sure you’ll find it. This place has fresh orange juice, a multitude of coffees and teas and it serves great quiches. I liked it because it was much less crowded (because it was such a tiny place) and noisy than the other places in that area and if you manage to get a seat outside you’ll be ideally placed for some people watching.

Fiesta Hermosa highlights

I found this cute little cupcake shop quite by accident. Some of the stand owners were talking about it and while they weren’t selling cupcakes outside, the shop was actually right behind one of the stands. I always have to get a cupcake when I find some abroad.

We loved this stand full of hippie colored clothes, including underwear, and just had to get a picture of this. Luckily the stand owner thought we were funny.

Left: Cup cake at Hermosa Beach Right: Hippie Underwear at Fiesta Hermosa

Left: Cup cake at Hermosa Beach Right: Hippie Underwear at Fiesta Hermosa

I don’t know if this is typical for the Californian coastline, but we saw such cool bikes at Hermosa Beach, such cool models, in all possible colors. If I could’ve taken one home with me (meaning: if it wouldn’t have cost a fortune to do so), I would have.

Bikes at Hermosa Beach Photo: WildWanderings.com

Bikes at Hermosa Beach

Practical information for Fiesta Hermosa

Be aware that Fiesta Hermosa is a daytime festival. It starts at 10 am and finishes at 6pm, except for the Beer Garden, which is open until 7 pm. Glass and plastic containers are recycled and the plates and cutlery used at the food court are all either recyclable or compostable. Fiesta Hermosa is green! The buses that bring in visitors as well as the generators that supply power for the festival run on biodiesel.

If you want to visit Fiesta Hermosa you could drive there, but I don’t know if you’d easily find a parking spot. Parking in Los Angeles is tough, with different parking restrictions on every block and pretty high fines if you don’t keep to those restrictions. That’s why I love Fiesta Hermosa’s shuttle bus system. You can park your car at the Northrop Grumman Building O4 at 15092 Aviation Blvd. (near the intersection of Aviation Blvd and Marine Street in Manhattan Beach) for free and then take a shuttle bus (also for free!) to the festival area.

The buses drive constantly between Fiesta Hermosa and the parking lot from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm. I made use of the shuttle system both times I visited Fiesta Hermosa and I’m glad I did. No stress searching for a parking spot and the bus drops you off right where the fair begins. (Note: dogs aren’t allowed on the shuttle buses.)

What else is there to do at Hermosa Beach?

If you’re in the area during Labor Day weekend you should definitely spend a day at Fiesta Hermosa, but even if you’re in Los Angeles another time of the year, this beach town is worth a visit. Even when there’s no fair you’ll be able to do some shopping on Pier Avenue. It’s not like spending an afternoon on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, but there are some nice boutiques there. If you walk down Pier Avenue you’ll get to the beach. A nice big stretch of sand where you can catch some sun and watch people play volleyball on one of the beach volley terrains.

Often there are also some surfers out in the water, working on their best tricks in the hopes of getting a spot on the Surfer’s Walk of Fame. You can find this collection of surfer names engraved in bronze plaques on the Hermosa Pier.

Surfers Walk of Fame

Surfers Walk of Fame

If you’d like to get active yourself you can mingle with all the runners, bikers and walkers on The Strand. This beachfront sidewalk is also great for some people watching. And if you happen to be in Hermosa Beach on a Sunday, you might want to check out the Comedy and Magic Club. Jay Leno often performs here on Sunday nights to try out new material.

Bio-PhotoMany thanks to our guest author, Sofie Couwenbergh, a Belgian language lover and travel aficionada who combines a full-time job with a never-ending wanderlust and an upcoming freelance business. She uses her weekends, vacation days and public holidays to travel the world and share her experiences with you on Wonderful Wanderings. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

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Five Must Try Foodie Experiences in Portland, Oregon

December 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Eating and drinking, featured, Guest post, Leisure, Misc, USA, World

Enjoy a food-tour of Portland, Oregon from our guest author Carmen Allan-Petale who invites us to taste everything from barbeque to brunch to liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Portland is known as the foodie capital of the North West of the USA and it’s easy to see why. The mishmash of cultures in the largest city of Oregon brings with it an array of food. You name a dish and there will be a restaurant in Portland specialising in it. From Texan barbeque to Bosnian food, you can find it in the city where surprisingly only 10% of the population was born there.

With so many great places to eat it can be a little overwhelming to choose the best. So I’ve given you some tips, from the more formal setting of a restaurant to the casual dining of the food cart scene that Portland is known for.

Meat plate from Podnah's BBQ in Portland Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Meat plate from Podnah’s BBQ in Portland

Podnah’s Pit Barbeque

You know it’s good barbeque when you have to queue to get in to the restaurant. Thankfully there’s a bar at Podnah’s so you can pull up a stool while you wait and enjoy a few beverages. I had the best Bloody Mary ever which was garnished with olives and chillis.

Podnah’s is sparsly furnished with wooden tables, giving it a casual vibe. A lot of effort goes into their food however – all the meats are slow smoked using 100% oak hardwood, without electric, gas assistance or charcoal. The owner (who is originally from Texas) begins each day at 5 a.m. every morning to have the meat ready by dinner that night.

As you can imagine, this results in finger lickin’ good food – the meat at Podnah’s is to die for. We shared the Pitboss Plate which had a little bit of everything on it, including brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, sausage and two sides of collard greens and BBQ beans. Our friends bet us $10 we wouldn’t be able to finish the plate – but we did! With meat that delicious it was difficult not to.

Bloody Mary at The Tin Shed brunch in Portland Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Bloody Mary at The Tin Shed brunch in Portland

Tin Shed Garden Cafe

I ate the best brunch I’ve ever eaten at the Tin Shed Garden Cafe, situated on Portland’s trendy Alberta Street. Brunch is my favourite meal of the day, so this is quite a compliment.

I love the ethos of the cafe, which is very hippyesque. All the food is free range and all leftovers are composted. Spend a little time in Portland and you’ll realise that this mentality fits in completely with the city – locals in Portland are very environmentally conscious. The Tin Shed is lovely in the summertime because there’s plenty of outdoor space to relax in their garden and if you have your dog with you they are more than welcome.

Once again, we had to queue to get in on a sunny Sunday but this time we could enjoy coffee and tea while we waited. The only downside to this is that there’s not much seating out the front so we had to stand to enjoy our coffee. Nonetheless, the wait wasn’t long and soon we were in their picturesque garden eating the best brunch of my life. I had the Benni Hill; poached eggs on an English muffin with bacon, avocado and Hollandaise sauce. For my side I had potato cakes. I was certainly full by the end of the meal, but very content.

Brunch at the Tin Shed in Portland Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Brunch at the Tin Shed in Portland

Lan Su Chinese Garden Teahouse

If you’re a fan of tea, this is the place to come. Not only will you have a book full of different teas from around the world to choose from, but you can sit by the window and enjoy the peaceful scenery of the Chinese Garden while you sip your drink. I had the Eight Treasures tea which was a mix of flowers and fruit. Although served in a small cup, the waiter will come over and refill your tea numerous times until you can’t drink any more!

Chinese Garden in Portland Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Chinese Garden in Portland

If you’re feeling peckish, there’s also an array of snacks on the menu to enjoy. We had the Steamed Buns which will filled with vegetables and served with a cucumber salad and a tasty sauce.

Just as important as the tea here is the setting that you enjoy your drink and meal in. The tearoom is built in a traditional Chinese style and the gardens surrounding the teahouse are peaceful even though you’re in the heart of Chinatown in downtown Portland. It does cost $9.50 to get into the gardens, but I think that’s money well spent.

Lychee drink and dumplings Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Lychee drink and dumplings

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Portland is known for its food carts. You will see them dotted around the city and during lunchtimes queues will form outside some of the best. One of these is Nong’s Khao Man Gai. There’s only one dish served at this food cart – chicken and rice – but it’ll be the best chicken and rice you’ve ever tasted. What makes it so delicious is the secret sauce cooked up by Nong – the owner of the food cart who moved from Thailand to Portland in 2003 without much money to her name.

Nong's Khao Man Gat food cart in Portland Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Nong’s Khao Man Gat food cart in Portland

These days she owns one of the most popular food carts in Portland thanks to her delicious sauce and simple fare. It’s very cheap as well so if you’re low on travel funds it’s the perfect place to go. If the day is sunny, head over to Portland’s Director Park where there are chairs and tables for you to enjoy your chicken and rice on. (And free wi-fi!)

Chicken and rice from Nong's Khao Man Gat food cart in Portland Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Chicken and rice from Nong’s Khao Man Gat food cart in Portland

Mix ‘n’ Match

Ice cream is very popular in Portland, which is surprising because it seems to rain there most of the year. At another food cart we sampled the delicious icecream of Mix ‘n’ Match. But this is ice cream with a twist – it’s made with liquid nitrogen meaning that it is scooped up with much theatrics as your ice cream forms in a bowl bubbling over with mist – not unlike a witch’s cauldron.

I decided on the maple and bacon flavour which is a little different but did not disappoint. Real maple syrup with mixed in with freshly fried cuts of bacon and cream to produce a sweet yet savoury ice cream scoop. Delicious!

Making ice cream at Mix n Match in Portland Photo: Double-barrelledtravel.com

Making ice cream at Mix n Match in Portland

Before coming to Portland I was getting sick of the usual hamburgers and fries that elsewhere in the US people seem to love. Finally in Portland I found a foodie haven where there’s everything from fine dining to the casualness of the food carts. And being a bit of a food snob myself, this is why Portland is now one of my favourite cities in the USA.

Where to find great food in Portland, Oregan

Podnah’s Pit barbeque; 1625 NE Killingsworth Portland Oregon 97211
Tin Shed Garden Cafe for brunch; 1438 NE Alberta St, Portland, Oregan 97211
Lan Su Chinese Garden Teahouse; 239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland, Oregon 97209
Nong’s Khao Man Gai; food cart for Thai chicken and rice at 1003 SW Alder St, Portland, Oregan 97205 and other locations
Mix’n'Match Ice Cream food cart; 33 SW 3rd Avenue, Downtown Portland, Oregan

Double barrelled travelCarmen Allan-Petale is one half of the couple behind Double-Barrelled Travel, a travel blog focused on vlogging. Carmen married Dave last year and they quit their journalism careers earlier in 2013 for a life on the road. Currently they’re in the USA, with plans to head to Central and South America next. You can like Double-Barrelled on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

For more foodie fun:

How to make a Rudesheimer coffee
From Cold War Canteen to Literary Salon – Five great places to eat out in Budapest
The best of Texas – finger-licking BBQ and a slice of pie

This  guest article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

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You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

What does Orlando offer other than Disney?

Known to many as the fun capital of the world, Orlando, Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Attracting over fifty million tourists every year, it is constantly moving forward in its quest to provide a magical holiday for all its visitors. The main attraction is of course the world-famous Walt Disney World, but in addition to the legendary Magic Kingdom, the domain of Mickey Mouse spreads to three other huge theme parks: Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Despite Mickey and friends being the dominant presence around here, Orlando has much more to offer every visitor. Whether your taste is for for death-defying theme park rides, the fascinating wonders of nature or simply relaxing in the sunshine, Florida’s number one holiday destination has something for everyone.

Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Photo by Marco Becerra on Flickr

Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

Next to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando’s top draw is the visit to Universal Studios. With exciting rides based on classic films and TV series such as The Simpsons, Men in Black, Shrek and the latest addition, Transformers, Universal is a movie lover’s dream and as exciting for adults as Disney is for children. If you’re in any way concerned about the expenses of bringing the whole family to somewhere in Universal Studios, a good way control your budget is to use online comparison sites for Orlando flights. Universal’s sister park, Islands of Adventure, has also become massively popular in recent years thanks to the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a lifelike recreation of Hogwarts and the town of Hogsmeade.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure, Orlando Photo by Scott Smith

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure, Orlando

SeaWorld

Part of the Universal chain, SeaWorld is the most amazing marine park in the world. Home to killer whales, dolphins, manatees, turtles, penguins, alligators and more besides, SeaWorld offers a fascinating day out in beautiful surroundings. Daily shows featuring dolphins and the famous whale Shamu are simply breathtaking and not be missed. Even domestic animals get in on the fun as dogs, cats, mice, birds and pigs perform in the Pets Ahoy show.

Seaworld Orlando Photo by Limowreck666 on Flickr

Seaworld Orlando

Discovery Cove

Many people, adults and children alike, harbour a dream of swimming with dolphins and at Discovery Cove, that dream can come true. The romantic setting here adds to the magical experience of sharing the water with these fascinating creatures; additionally, you can also go snorkelling and discover many species of exotic fish and rays on your underwater journey. A particular attraction for children who are still caught in the Finding Nemo phase and see any sign of water as an opportunity to seek out clown fish! Tickets for swimming with the dolphins normally have to be purchased in advance, so make sure you do a little research in advance of going.

Grand Reef at Discovery Cove, Orlando Photo by insidethemagic on flickr

Grand Reef at Discovery Cove, Orlando

Wet ‘n Wild

Conveniently located on International Drive, the 11.5 tourist strip that includes the likes of Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and more themed restaurants than you can shake a stick at, Wet ‘n Wild is one the premier water parks in Orlando with an admission price that offers unbeatable value. Daredevils will love the huge water rides (not for the faint-hearted!), while those who just want to relax can float serenely down the Lazy River or chill out on one of the many sunbeds throughout the park and top up their tan. So there’s a full range of watery activities to keep everyone from hyperactive teens to disgruntled dads occupied.

Wet n wild Orlando Photo by insidethemagic on Flickr

Wet n wild Orlando

Superb Shopping

Shoppers are never disappointed in Orlando. At each end of International Drive is a Premium Outlet mall selling top-quality designer brands. In between are the Festival Bay Mall, Pointe Orlando and a number of bargain strip malls. Quite a way off International Drive is the Florida Mall, the largest shopping mall in Central Florida and home to world-famous names such as Macys and Saks. These Mall excursions can often spiral into day-trips in themselves, which you should either embrace or be aware of before you go!

Orlando is so much more than the home of Walt Disney World: the sheer number of attractions on offer there often means one holiday is simply not enough and this is probably the reason why some make it their yearly holiday destination. Whoever you are though, the chances are you’re going to be able to find something to occupy yourself whilst visiting Orlando.

For more American adventures:

9 Cool things we did in Austin, Texas
5 Best Kept Secrets for Train Lovers in San Diego!
Our Top 5 Florida Beaches

Photo credits: Jurassic Park by Marco Becerra, Hogwarts by Scott Smith, Seaworld by limowreck666,  Discovery cove by insidethemagic, Wet’n'wild by insidethemagic

This article is brought to you by Cheapflights.co.uk

This guest article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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