Valley Greek Festival

I recently attended the Valley Greek Festival which took place at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church located within the San Fernando Valley. This event invites the public to be immersed within a Greek cultural experience with live music, dancing, a Greek market, cooking demonstrations, and of course the centerpiece..eating various types of authentic Greek cuisine.

The Valley Greek Festival does well to create an authentic Greek experience, where the guests literally feel like that are at some far away festival in Greece. The music enhances the atmosphere and gets the crowd into a festive mood, while dancers dressed in their traditional outfits perform to enthused crowds. The Greek Market is also a crowd-pleaser where guests can leisurely shop around for Greek items and relate with venders. The festival also has cooking demonstrations where they can fully immerse guests within the Greek culture and show them how to cook authentic Greek cuisine.

Speaking of Greek Cuisine, food is by far the centerpiece of the festival. Like one would see children line up for rides at the amusement park, guests wait in long lines just to taste the incredible flavor of various authentic Greek cuisine. While most of the names of the foods could not be pronounced, the flavors were fantastic. While some dishes needed to be approached with an open mind, guests are surely wowed by the Greek cuisine.

So lets talk food! There was a wide variety of authentic Greek dishes at the event which could almost be slightly overwhelming, so I decided to start with the comfortable calamari. Deep-fried to perfection, the calamari had wonderful flavor with added spices and of course lemon-juice.

I then worked up some courage to try the Pork Souvlaki, which is just marinated beef that is skewered and barbecued, as well as barbecued lamb chops. Both were mouth-watering and full of incredible flavor, as we watched them being grilled to perfection. While there were many of dishes that I cannot not pronounce, I became too full to try all of them.

I quickly moved to desert when I spied a delightful dish called Loukoumathes, also known as “Greek Donuts” that are deep-fried and then covered in honey and cinnamon. I can honestly say that out of all the food at the festival, these were my favorite. My mouth was drooling as I watch the cooks take the small donuts fresh out of the deep-fryer and on to my plate.

Since we are talking about desert, I cannot forget the mention the various traditional Greek pastries sold around the festival. Once again, the names can be tongue-twisters and the look can be a little frightening, but when in Greece you have to keep an open mind. We decided to try three different types of pastries: Baklava, Kourambiethes, and Kataifi. The Baklava was my favorite and featured very rich and nutty flavors.

While the food was all fantastic, the festival also provided tours of the nearby church. The church I found was absolutely breath-taking with the various portraits, stain-class artwork, murals, and statues. It also provided a welcoming peace and calm from the fast-pace festival outside.

Overall, the Valley Greek Festival was an exciting and memorable event; I felt as if I was in the middle of a Greek festival in Athens. Not only were the dishes delightfully delicious, but the venders were very welcoming and did well to immerse the guests in a traditional Greek cultural experience.

Photos by: Christopher James Sigman


Descanso Gardens

First off, let me describe this new category Delightful Destinations. Being an explorer and lover of traveling and discovering enchanting destinations, I thought it would be wonderful sub-section to my blog to detail my various explorations and discoveries of the beautiful Southern California. Since I am currently studying the tourism industry and looking to work within it soon, it would only seem improper to not portray my love for traveling through Delightful Discoveries.

There are so many different destinations within Southern California, particularly surrounding the Los Angeles area. I recently traveled a short 20 minutes from my home in the San Fernando Valley to the magical Descanso Gardens, located in Glendale, CA. To this destination, I was accompanied by my great friend and room-mate Christopher James Sigman, who took all of the breath-taking photos of the gardens.

Words cannot describe how beautiful I found the Descanso Gardens. When your living deep within the concrete jungle of Los Angeles, you tend to lose sight of the beauty that can be seen within the wilderness. When deep within the gardens, I felt like I was hundreds of miles away in some far away land that only existed within my imagination. But I was actually right in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world! These gardens give you that necessary escape from the constant fast pace of the city.

I did not expect the gardens to be so vast and enormous. There were several different sub-sections to the gardens such as, The Japanese Gardens, The Oak Forest and Grove, The California Native Area with surrounding lakes, Lilac and Iris Gardens, and of course the beautiful Rose Garden. I also did not expect to see the different types of wildlife present within the gardens!

All areas were simply breathtaking, but the Rose Garden was a special area that seemed straight out of a fairytale. There were fields of various types of flowers featured between well-kepted grassy walk-ways and sparkling clear creeks full of different types of fish. Enchanting trails lead to several fountains, waterfalls, and gazebos that were full of canopies of floral and greenery that gave off a beautiful aroma that only enhanced the experience.

Like I said, words cannot describe the true beauty of the Descanso Gardens. They offer a peaceful sanctuary that can be healing to anyone in need of an escape. Anyone within the Southern California area or looking to visit here, be sure to mark the magical Descanso Gardens on your list of things to do.

Your’s Truly 😉

Charmlee Wilderness Park

I’m a traveler. It is a known fact. I love to discover little hidden treasures around the world. Now, I am still very young and have not exactly traveled the globe, but I have been many places for my short time on this planet. I love to be outdoors and ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I am finding it very hard to go on my outdoor adventures. So, for a class assignment I was assigned to venture out into the wilderness nearby where I live..boy, was I pleasantly surprised by the beauty right outside my doorstep. The Southern California area is full of beautiful hidden treasures right outside the city!

I ventured out (with my co-adventurer, Lacey Smith) to Charmlee Wilderness Park located near the City of Malibu within the Santa Monica Mountains. This my friends, is a serious hidden treasure. I did not expect the beautiful landscape that I encountered. So many beautiful and breathtaking terrains and views.

The trip was actually supposed to be a guided hike to view local wildflowers. Unfortunately, the tour-guide never showed up, so we were guided by a local couple who knew the area well and species within it. This place seriously took my breath away. I felt so calm and at peace!

Beautiful Flowers and Plant-life..

(Click the photos to enlarge)

Gorgeous paths through the wilderness, from meadows to forests to cliffs..

And lets not forget the breathtaking views..

Overall, it was an amazing, breathtaking, experience! And most of these pictures were taken with my cell-phone! I will be going back to this place, and I encourage all of you to go as well!