Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Retro Row

[ Current Elliot denim shirt worn as a jacket, Foreign Exchange romper, Rough Justice boots, Longchamp bag - all oldies but goodies ]
The previous weekend, the Hubby and I went on an impromptu date night. We had been long overdue for one, so we dropped off the bebe plus pup with the grandparents and headed along carefree, bebe-free! 

We decided to head to 4th Street in Long Beach, since we hadn't been since pre-baby. I didn't discover this little gem until my old co-workers from Nordstrom had told me about the place. It's quite a small street that is jam-packed with vintage stores (hence its nickname "Retro Row"), wine bars, raw desserts, food joints and so forth.*

The Hubs went trigger-happy (i.e. me being his model) with the new DSLR we recently purchased. For the amount of photos we take, especially with the new baby, it was time to upgrade to a full-frame camera. To us, a camera is perhaps one of the best investments to have. After all the memories have faded, what remains on a material level are photographs to remember them by. I've also been getting back into the groove of doing photo shoots as a side gig, and was so honored to do a maternity shoot for an old friend (will post photos soon).

But anyway, it was almost a relief to have some time for ourselves, without having to worry about taking turns to occupy the baby while we eat. It allowed for uninterrupted conversation about the things that have been on our hearts, a real need for any couple actually.We had been told and never truly understood it till now, but regular date nights are an important component to sustaining a marriage. 

When we arrived back, bebe was playing with Grandma. I called his name, and as he saw me, he had the widest grin on his face, followed immediately by a sprint-crawl towards me. My heart melted in the cheesiest way possible as I scooped him up and gave him a Mama-bear hug. A bit of time and space apart is sometimes good for everybody, even if it is only for a few hours. 

*4th Street, Long Beach

The Feed Store is a well-stocked, hip and tastefully decorated thrift store that goes to support local families in need. I noticed a kid's corner this time around and they had fun little trinkets, clothes and books for children. I find myself looking more for the bebe these days; something my mother warned me about prior to having kids. I also spied adorable shorts, that had been reworked in a fresh, creative way. Their selection of thrifted jewelry and accessories aren't too shabby either.

One of my favorite vintage shops, Inretrospect, always has the most adorable vintage pieces in clothing, furniture, records, bric-a-brac and random nic-nacs. I noticed that they now carry David Weidman printed replicas- an artist from the 60s-70s, also featured on Mad Men that was known for his almost psychedelic silkscreen prints. I think I would like to save up for a replica one of these days.

We also passed by a new dessert shop with funky signage. They call it Anandamide: Psychedelicatessen, which is a raw, vegan dessert shop carrying chocolate pieces infused with superfoods and cacao from around the world. These places usually scare me because I've been so accustomed to butter, sugar and cream, but I figured we might as well go out on a limb a little. We sampled their raw carrot cake and fudge nut brownie, which were surprisingly delicious. I never knew "cashew fluff" existed until after our experience from this shop. I've been on a superfoods craze this past month, trying new powders, nuts and seeds to throw into my power smoothies. I'm not really a health freak, but I do enjoy trying new and strange things. I went on to replicate the raw desserts I tried in the store, and was quite happy with the results! Perhaps I'll think about posting the end results with the recipes I used sometime (I have a slew of blog posts I've been behind on!).

Last but not least, we finally decided on eating pho for dinner. Super simple, I know, especially for "date night," but I really just wanted something simple, clean, familiar and (somewhat) cheap. Number Nine Noodles + Beer hit the spot. Okay, don't expect authentic Vietnamese food, because that's not what they're about. This was possibly one of the cleanest and sleekest pho restaurants I've ever been to. They don't try to make it look pretentious or "fancy," but the white interiors gave it a fresh, modern look. The food is sourced locally, and their grass-fed meats are free of antibiotics, hormones, etc. A plus in my book, now that I've been more conscientious about my food since pregnancy. I was actually very skeptical about the place, but their pho tai was actually pretty tasty, and the soup didn't reek of msg. The Hubby ordered the vermicelli noodles with bbq lemongrass pork, his usual choice. The veggies and meat tasted fresh, though I still preferred the meat from other hole-in-the-wall pho restaurants. But we left with a feeling of our tummies and wallets still being stuffed (always a good feeling). We're definitely coming back, possibly for another date night in the future.

I feel that sometimes a good, decent-priced meal is more satisfying than the pricier ones because our expectations and disappointments are lower. At the same time, we can focus more on the conversation at hand, rather than tantalizing and bizarre foods that are staring right in front of us. However, I still enjoy dining out for the experience of trying new foods, but I feel that there is a time and place for that.

There are several other vintage/thrift stores on 4th street that I enjoy perusing around in, but this blog will begin to sound more like Yelp reviews if I continue blabbering on...

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