Top 10 Summer Events of 2014


The “Surviving LA on a Budget” team just collaborated with “The Daily T.Lo.”  As Autumn approaches, you can check out our top ten summer events of 2014 over there by clicking here!

Be sure to catch us here, on Facebook, and on Twitter for more exciting updates.


The Writing Staff

DTLA Night Market by Golda


In June, the Surviving LA on a Budget team was once again asked to attend the opening of the Downtown LA Night Market. This is the downtown sister of the 626 Night Market that started in Pasadena two years ago. It has expanded to Orange County, the Santa Anita Race Track, and even Monterey Park. From what I have heard from my colleague Steven about past 626 Night Markets, the Downtown LA Night Market is a great improvement on the original event.

There was not too much of a line entering the DTLA Night Market despite the fact that they were checking bags and tickets. The food stalls were stacked in front on the right, with a stage on the left side accompanying the beer garden. Although the name makes one think of Asian cuisine, food from all cultures were present at this event: from Spanish paella to fries and even the Grilled Cheese Truck.  As boba tea is always a favorite of mine, one of our first stops was Ten Ren Tea Time’s booth near the entrance, where you can order boba and snacks. It was a hot summer day in June, so the cold iced boba was a welcome treat. We ordered boba, popcorn chicken and tobiko filled fish balls to start off. Steven also ordered a rice burger from Sticky Rice, pictured on the right.   He was pleased with the texture and taste of the burger, as it was similar to those he remembered in Hong Kong.

Because I prefer dessert before dinner, I also ordered an egg puff from Purrfect Bakery Cafe which is a Hong Kong version of a pancake/waffle. I ordered an egg puff with Nutella, bananas, powdered sugar and strawberries for a delicious combination that I would highly recommend. To try something a bit different, I ordered a taco-like dish from the Crasians stall with Kalbi beef and a rice bun. It had peppers inside so it was spicy. If you like spicy tacos with meat, you’d probably enjoy the Crasian, but it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.

Several bands played all afternoon and night on stage at the Night Market, and there was a small eating and dancing area set up nearby. My biggest complaint about the DTLA Night Market was that there was not enough seating set up for a proper food event, and it was quite far away from all the food stalls so every time we bought more food we’d have to walk all the way over to the stage just to sit down and eat our food. Set up more tables next time!

In an effort to build our appetites again, we also perused the merchandise, fashion and art section  of the Market. Some of the more notable booths included boba-flavored hookah from Boba Bear and the Minion-styled artwork of Kris Kehasuk Jaren or Minion Moi. Below, you can see Minion Me and Minion Steven, which he drew on the spot for free (We gave him a tip, of course!). You can check out his work on Etsy here.


The DTLA Night Market is over until next year, but if you drive a bit further east, you can still attend the 626 Night Market in the Santa Anita Market in Arcadia on August 15 & 16 and September 12 & 13 from 4pm to 1pm.Unfortunately, we were not able to eat more than a few kabobs for the rest of the night. We left the Downtown LA Night Market full and happy, so I’d say it was a very successful night indeed. The DTLA Night Market was located in a large parking lot outside of the Staples Center at 1150 S. Figueroa St. in Downtown Los Angeles between 11th and 12th streets. Admission was $7 presale and $10 at the door. Generally, the lines were not too long, but I would suggest attending in the early hours (4pm to 7pm) to avoid waiting. Most food items were quite affordable at under $10.

For more photos from the DTLA Night Market, be sure to check out our Facebook page, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA for all the latest summer events in Los Angeles!

Feel free to email us events you’d like us to attend and review at and we will see if we can fit them into our busy schedules.

Have a great summer,


OC Night Market by Steven


Two weekends ago, I was invited to attend the opening of the OC Night Market down in Costa Mesa. It has been over two years since the 626 Night Market began in a tiny park in Pasadena. While farmer markets were the norm in Los Angeles, many wondered if a market that focuses primarily on Asian goods would attract a sustainable crowd. 10,000 attendees proved that it did, but it also posed a new issue, limited space. Within just two years, the 626 Night Market improved and expanded to Santa Anita Park and even to Downtown LA and Orange County to accommodate demand. The OC Night Market is a wonderful addition to the Orange County that provides patrons both familiar vendors from the 626 Asian Night Market and new ones while improving on past issues with space.

Ramen burgerEven before I entered the market, I noticed how less cluttered the crowd was. The gap between the entrance and the parking lot contributed to a moving flow of traffic. Food vendors and food trucks were conveniently located to the left while games and merchandising booths like the popular “Stussy Inc.” and “Fantastic Fam” clothes booths were situated to the right. Those that were in demand like the “Ramen Burger” booth were kept to the side so that the line would not block others from walking by. Those that both attracted and diverted attendees like the “Green Cube Gourmet Food” booth were also kept to the edge far from other booths (but more on that later). The manner in which the vendors were located was organized, and crowd density was kept to a minimum when I was there.

Fermented tofuHaving lived in Hong Kong for three years and now living in West LA, I always look forward to the Night Market to satisfy my craving for Asian snacks. One of my favorite bites is egg puffs, which “Puffect Bakery Cafe” provided. They are similar in taste to pancakes, but they have a honeycomb texture, making them look like “egg puffs.” When I lived in Hong Kong several years ago, the only types of egg puffs available were regular and chocolate. Nowadays places like “Puffect” provide even more variations, including black sesame, thai tea, matcha, condensed milk, and red bean. It was difficult to choose, but I ended up getting the red velvet egg puff with a mochi filling to satisfy my sweet tooth. In addition, I also bought stinky fermented tofu from “Green Cube Gourmet Food.” Ignoring the scent, these are deep fried tofu with a sharp, tangy taste that goes well with their side of pickled cabbage. It’s an acquired taste like durian, but the line in front of the booth proved it’s still a hit. If stinky tofu’s not your thing, then head over to another popular booth known as the “Ramen Burger” booth. Created in 2013 by Keizo Shimamoto, the ramen burger is the latest fusion trend that consists of a juicy beef patty with grilled ramen buns and a sweet, tangy aioli sauce to complement the saltiness of the ramen. The ramen is strong enough to stay in its bun form, but it melts in your mouth with the patty after you bite into it. Before I headed out, I made sure to purchase some dragon beard candies to go. Some people might remember Chef Alex Goh from the very first 626 Asian Night Market two years ago! He’s back with even more kinds of dragon beard candies. In addition to the regular ones made out of peanuts, sugar, and honey, he now has a strawberry variation, which is sweet but not overpowering. Overall there was a decent number of distinct vendors with enough food to keep everyone satisfied and full.

If the first weekend of the OC Night Market is any indication, I sense a bright future for it and the other night markets. The OC Night Market was located in the OC Fair and Event Center on 88 Fair Drive. Parking was $5 and admission was $7, but it was worth it for the large size of the venue and parking lot. Furthermore, food was generally kept under $10. To avoid long lines, I suggest going before dinner time around 7pm. Be sure to check out the Downtown LA Night Market on June 20 and 21 from 4pm to 12am as well as the 626 Night Market on July 18, July 19, August 15, August 16, September 12, and September 13 from 4pm to 1am.

For more photos, be sure to check out our Facebook page, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA.

Until next time,


Roaring Nights at the Los Angeles Zoo by Golda


Hi everyone, we’re back with another fun review of a new event in Los Angeles: Roaring Nights at the Los Angeles Zoo! I was really excited when I first heard about this event, after all it has some of my favorite things: animals, drinks, food and music! Sounds like a great night! Steven and I went to the first night on July 11th. We noticed quite a low turnout for the first night. This could be because it is a new event, but I do think there are some important issues that need to be addressed. We did have a good time, but we noticed that while the event was a great idea in theory, in execution there were several problems that need to be improved upon to ensure that more people attend in the future.

First of all, Roaring Nights at the Zoo only happens during a very limited time frame: 7pm to 10pm. So one only has three hours to see all the animals, the reptile house, eat food from the food trucks, have some drinks, play games and dance to music. Normally that would not be enough time, but there is also another complication: after 8pm it is too dark to see most of the exhibits, so many of them close early.

Roaring Nights was my first time at the Los Angeles Zoo, and I was excited to see all of the animals. Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late, and decided to eat and drink soon after arriving so when we walked around looking at the animals, many of the exhibits were already closed. We did get to see the elephants, the reptile house, the meerkats and seals, but not much else. I’d advise that if you are going to Roaring Nights to see the animals, get there early and save eating/enjoying music for later. There is simply not enough time to do everything at Roaring Nights in one night. We only got to see a bit of one band (So Many Wizards) and missed the comedy show completely.

With that in mind, one of the biggest issues of Roaring Nights is the price. The event cost $18 just to get in. The price of a admission to the Los Angeles Zoo during regular hours is $17.  My question is,why does it cost more to attend Roaring Nights when many of the exhibits are closed and you can only see a few animals? Sure there’s live music and a comedy show, but I believe that the event would be much more popular if it followed events like First Fridays at the Natural History Museum and Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Nightlife is $12, while regular admission price is around $35. First Fridays is $12, the same price as regular admission. If these other popular venues can wrangle such prices, the Los Angeles Zoo should do the same if it expects to become a popular event. I propose an admission range of $10-$15, especially since it also costs money to purchase food and drinks. With drinks at $5-8, food truck concessions at $10-$20, it is very easy to spend over $40 at Roaring Nights…not quite a budget event. In addition, food at the Los Angeles Zoo itself is quite expensive – you can get two churros and two sodas for a grand total of $15!

I don’t want to be too negative, so I will close with some positive aspects of Roaring Nights. I loved exploring the reptile house; there are some really unique creatures there that I haven’t seen elsewhere, such as the dragon-like lizard above. The few animals I did see were pretty spectacular, especially the elephants and seals. I also really enjoyed the game section – you can play board games like Taboo, Apples to Apples, cards and much more. I feel as if most of the problems with Roaring Nights would be solved if the price were lower, and perhaps a few extra hours were added so that one has more time to see everything.

Roaring Nights still has one night left, July 25. I do hope the event continues in the future, but with a lower price and more animals if possible! Parking is not an issue for once as the zoo has plenty of free parking. Hope you do have a great time at the zoo if you decide to attend! Stay tuned for future posts on Free Shakespeare in Griffith Park and Movies at the Natural History Museum Don’t forget to follow @SurvivingLA for all the latest events in  Los Angeles and check out our Facebook page for more pictures from the event. 3D photos are available on our Phero page here. Finally, enjoy a few videos we took of the animals below.

Tuesday Night Cafe by Steven


Tuesday Night Cafe at Union Center for the ArtsWith events like Downtown Art Walk, Pancakes and Booze Art Show, and Autumn Lights Festival, Los Angeles is considered the perfect environment for aspiring artists. One of the longest running free public art showcases in Los Angeles is Tuesday Night Cafe.

Jason Chu and FriendsTuesday Night Cafe is an event hosted by Tuesday Night Project that provides an open exterior space for writers, musicians, painters, activists, and more to perform for free during the summer. The event is also broadcasted live on their website so it is a terrific way for new artists to promote themselves. When I attended the last showcase, I was treated to beautiful acoustic songs by Yuki A, an emotional recollection of one’s childhood by Taz Ahmed, and impactful poetry recitals by Asian American professor Allan Aquino. Even LA-based Asian American rapper Jason Chu showed up to Tuesday Night Cafe to get the crowd excited, which you can watch here!

Open mic performerThis event not only provides a positive focus on the Asian American community but also attempts to strengthen the artist community in Los Angeles. Anyone can sign up for one of three spots for open mic at 7pm regardless of ethnicity. During the last showcase, they welcomed a guitarist from Australia to perform country music onstage. While a lottery will be performed if more than three participants sign up, there is one guaranteed spot for a female-identified, LGBTIQ-identified, or a 17 and under performer.

Tuesday Night Project also raises awareness of the less fortunates during Tuesday Night Cafe. For instance, they encouraged attendees to be marrow donors for A3M and to also donate to those affected by the Bangladesh garment factory collapse that claimed over 1000 lives. Furthermore because Tuesday Night Cafe is free, they are always looking for volunteers to move chairs and set up the stage. Those who come early to help also receive free dinner by their chef.

If you are an artist looking for a venue to perform or you are just interested in checking out new performers, be sure to go to Tuesday Night Cafe, which occurs on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings of the month from April through October at 7:30pm. The next show will be held tonight!! Tuesday Night Cafe is located in the Aratani Courtyard in front of the Union Center for the Arts on 120 Judge John Aiso. Parking is available across the street at the Aiso Street Parking Lot for a $3 flat rate after 5pm. It is also a few blocks away from the Los Angeles Metro Union Station. Please visit our Facebook page for more photos, and follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA for information on future events.

Until next time,


Melrose Trading Post by Golda


Hi everyone, sorry for the less frequent updates but we’ve been quite busy lately, perhaps because it’s summer? The good thing about summer is that there are plenty of ways to have fun in Los Angeles, so be sure to follow @SurvivingLA for all the latest events on a budget! 033113_melrose_trading_post_15

A few months ago, I visited the Melrose Trading Post, a flea market-type event held every Sunday in West Hollywood at Fairfax High School. It’s a great marketplace full of treasures. If you’re looking for some furniture, clothes, jewelry or perhaps even a unique gift, this is a great place to start. Vendors from all over the city sell everything from records to belts to tools. Most prices are quite affordable as well. There were some pretty awesome painted bulls and figurines when I visited in March. I also especially liked the lampshades with designs and photographs: they would make a great talking point in any home! I ended up purchasing a brown belt with rainbow finishings that I am quite pleased with for only $10!

033113_melrose_trading_post_16Quite often, there are accompanying food trucks and music in the marketplace so you can shop, eat and linger in the area all day. When I went, the famous ice cream truck Coolhaus was there and Steven and I got to sample some. Yum!

The market is open from 9am to 5pm, and parking is free on the streets nearby. Please not that there is a small $2 admission fee  The market is held every Sunday rain or shine, so there’s never an excuse to not go! Feel free to check out more of our pictures from The Melrose Trading Post on Facebook our Facebook page and don’t forget to like us! Also like I mentioned before, be sure to follow @SurvivingLA for all the latest cheap events in Los Angeles. Have a great month everyone!

The Social Bug Reviews Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


Los Angeles Times Festival of BooksThe “Surviving LA on a Budget” team recently attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with our partner Holly Winn from “The Social Bug.” Check out her review of the event by going to her website here! You can also find additional photos by going to the album on our Facebook page!

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is located in the University of Southern California. There are metered street parking, and you can also take buses #40, 81, 200, 204, 442, 550, and the Metro.

We look forward to our continued collaboration with Holly and “The Social Bug.” We have many posts on exciting events lined up for both our blogs so stay tuned!


The Writing Staff

Long Beach Art Walk, Mixt Media Arts, and Tokyo Status by Steven


Long Beach Art WalkDespite how massive Los Angeles County can be, you can always find something eventful to attend from Venice Beach to Pasadena. Long Beach is no exception with monthly functions like the Long Beach Art Walk, Mixt Media Arts, and Tokyo Status to keep locals and visitors alike entertained.

Inside Hellada GalleryMuch like Downtown Art Walk, Venice Beach Art Crawl, and Wilshire Center Art and Architecture Walk, Long Beach Art Walk occurs once a month to promote artists and businesses within the community. Numerous vendors set up booths on Linden Ave between 1st Street and Broadway like Barry Rothstein, who sold 3D photographs, postcards, and albums of cats, dogs, flowers, and more that he personally shot. There are also museums, stores, and galleries scattered around like the Museum of Latin American Art, Village Treasures, and Hellada Gallery. Village Treasures sell African attire and decorative items, including masks, which were a personal favorite for Holly. When Holly and I attended Hellada Gallery, they showcased graphic design pieces by Bachelor of Art students from California State University, Long Beach that included colorful sushi menus and the like. Suffice to say, we became hungry afterwards so we settled down at a bar on 649 E Broadway called Rebel Bite that served a sweet, tangy Korean short ribs pizza called the Karl B. Marx Pie and some refreshing craft beer.

Artists and performers at Mixt Media ArtsThe day was constantly filled with surprises as we stumbled onto Mixt Media Arts on 322 Elm Ave, who were showcasing local artists and musicians in the East Village Arts District. They also occasionally collaborate with the Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse next door, who sell various reused items like bottle caps that people can incorporate into their own mixed media projects.

Lolita DarkFor Tokyo Status at the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, the party just begun after sunset. Tokyo Status is an artist showcase recently set up by Japanese J-rock band Lolita Dark that features energetic bands like Apocalipstick, films, DJs, karaoke contests, and more. While the name of the event does suggest that there’s a focus in promoting Japanese culture, Tokyo Status also celebrates diversity. For instance, we had Reuben Monastra perform together with Lolita Dark on acoustic guitar. He also sang fluent Japanese! What also makes Tokyo Status unique is how they transform the venue into an inflight experience minus the turbulence and air sickness. There are servers dressed up as flight attendants throughout the night, and the MCs are Flight Captain Anton Torres and Head Stewardess Erika Mariko Olsen, who is former Nisei Queen. It is $10 to attend, but if you pay $5 more, you get a free passport gift, access to the VIP Lounge in the back, and a complimentary drink!

Steven with Flight Captain Torres and Head Stewardess Olsen at Tokyo StatusLong Beach Art Walk is on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 4PM to 10PM with the next one on June 8th. Tokyo Status is a monthly night event at the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach on 737 Pine Ave from 7PM to 12AM with the next one on June 15th. Mixt Media Arts hold numerous events throughout the months on 322 Elm Ave so please check their website for further information. There is free parking from 3PM to 10PM at Lot #7 on the corner of Elm Ave and Broadway, courtesy of Long Beach Art Walk. There is also metered street parking available. You can view more photos of Long Beach Art Walk, Mixt Media Arts, and Tokyo Status on our Facebook page. Our Twitter page @SurvivingLA also provides information on all the latest inexpensive happenings in Los Angeles so don’t forget to follow us.

What is your favorite monthly event in Long Beach? Leave your response in our comments!

Until next time,


St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival by Golda


The team at Surviving LA has been rather busy this month! We apologize for the lack of posts! Luckily there is still plenty going on in Los Angeles to occupy your time. Last month, the Surviving LA team celebrated St. Patrick’s Day right with the street festival at Casey’s Irish Pub in Downtown! We had a great day eating, drinking and listening to tribute music in a sea of green.

Grand Avenue was closed around Wilshire Boulevard and the restaurant to make room for the Festival. You had to arrive before 1PM to get in for free. After 1PM, the admission fee was $8.  A VIP pass was also sold for $20, but that’s not very budget friendly! There was a long line so unfortunately we ended up having to pay. All day long there were games and giveaways supporting the Arthur Guinness Firefighter Foundation. We played toss the bean sack for a clover necklace and won! We also wrote our names on the large chalkboard and took pictures with costumed people and cut-outs.

In the morning, the restaurant served Lucky Charms, eggs, bacon and toast. We got there later in the day and sampled bratwurst, potatoes and corned beef sandwiches. Drink of choice was iced Irish coffee, green beer, or black Guinness! Over 500 kegs of beer was available to all guests, so there was no chance of it running out!

Sets from tribute bands The Potentials, Hollywood U2, Police Experience and Fan Halen played all day. We found the music a bit on the slow side and difficult to dance to. But overall we still had a great day at the street festival. Highly recommended for your St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans!

Be sure to take a look at all of our pictures from the festival on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow our Twitter account @SurvivingLA for all of the inexpensive events coming up each week. Next up we have a post on the Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood! Stay tuned!

Special San Francisco Post: North Beach First Fridays by Steven


Thank you to all our loyal readers for supporting “Surviving LA on a Budget” and reading our previous 100 posts. While our other staff member Golda prepares her reviews on Casey’s St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival in Downtown Los Angeles and the Melrose Trading Post, this 101st post will be a special one-time post on an event that occurs outside of Los Angeles. Occasionally our staff visit our home in the Bay Area for the holidays. On one of these visits, I had the chance to attend an event in the heart of San Francisco. Since our first post for the blog was on First Fridays at Abbot Kinney near Venice Beach, I would like to dedicate our 101st post on First Fridays at North Beach in San Francisco.

Similar to Abbot Kinney First Fridays, North Beach First Fridays is an event that happens on the first Friday night of each month. It aims to promote local art galleries, restaurants, and various businesses in North Beach. One of the venues that is a part of North Beach First Fridays is Macchiarini Creative Design on 1544 Grant Avenue. This family-run neo-modernist jewelry store and gallery was founded by married couple Peter and Virginia Macchiarini in 1948. Their son Daniel Macchiarini and granddaughter Emma Macchiarini Mankin now continue on the family tradition. When I visited the studio, I was amazed by how inviting and passionate the owners were as they spent time explaining the history of their business and the story behind each particular sculpture and jewelry. Afterwards they led us to their workshop behind the store that they use to create their beautiful handcrafted jewelry and hold their workshops for anyone interested in learning metal arts. While Macchiarini Creative Design has been around for over sixty years, Art Attack SF opened last Winter.

Located on 2722A Hyde Street near the Hyde Street Cable Car terminal, Art Attack SF is a new art studio that exhibit and sell artworks from local artists. Some artwork to look for include Helen Keys’ ceramic fortune cookies, which together represent the Occupy Wall Street movement’s attempt to change fate, and Aguirre Amber’s ceramic skeletons on rotisserie skewers, which symbolize her status as the child of a Holocaust survivor. Some of the artworks on display are also interactive, allowing visitors to move individual pieces around. In addition, Art Attack SF occasionally hold parties and other engaging events for the public to get the community more involved in the art scene.

Another art gallery that opened recently is Modern Eden Gallery on 403 Francisco Street. Modern Eden Gallery is a venue I’m familiar with due to my involvement on an Academy of Arts film shoot that utilized this location two years ago. When I revisited this gallery during First Fridays, they were showcasing an Edgar Allan Poe themed gallery with paintings, statues, and of course, lots of ravens. They feature monthly exhibition so your experience at Modern Eden Gallery will always be a new one.

Of course, one can get really hungry visiting so many local businesses during North Beach First Fridays so make sure to visit HRD Smokin’ Grill on 532 Green Street. Featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” HRD Smokin’ Grill specializes in delicious Asian fusion food. They offer a cheesesteak sandwich with Mongolian beef drizzled in sweet hoisin sauce and a side of french fries. My favorite is their featured dish, fried sweet chili pork chops. These tender pork chops are encased in a thin, crispy sweet chili crust. With fries and tangy wasabi coleslaw included, these pork chops are a meal good for two people.

These are just some of the various charming businesses you will find in North Beach First Fridays. Over time, I can only assume that more venues in the community will participate in this monthly event. The next North Beach First Fridays will be held tonight from 6 to 9pm so be sure to visit if you’re in San Francisco! You can take the 8BX, 8X, 30, 41, and 45 Muni buses. Be sure to visit our Facebook page for more photos, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA.

If anyone is interested in working on a “Surviving SF on a Budget” page, please e-mail us at

Until next time,