Stew-y Weather

I went to Chicago for the first time recently! It was a quick trip. I mean, quickity quick quick. Arrived on Friday late afternoon for the opening night screening of “Go Back to China” at FAAAIM. Then left the next morning just in time to celebrate my 16th wedding anniversary back with my husband Abe in LA. I did squeeze in a quick morning walk to play tourist, though.

Lynn Chen Chicago
Go Back to China Sloth

Speaking of celebrations, I recently threw a little dinner party in honor of Abe’s birthday. Drake on Cake!

Drake on Cake

I made “The Stew” - Alison Roman’s viral Coconut Chickpea Turmeric concoction. I’ve been meaning to make it for months, since I read about it in the NY Times.


Here’s a video of me cooking it. It’s been forever since I cooked, let alone filmed myself doing it.

I’ve been super busy with acting work lately, and also editing my movie “I Will Make You Mine.” The latter has been a real test for my emotions. Did I rent a sweatsuit just so I’d feel psyched to keep going? Yes, yes I did.


Next up is a lot more travel - I’ll be going to San Diego this weekend, followed by Bentonville, AR and San Francisco for more “Go Back to China” film festivals. And we also have an LA Premiere as the Centerpiece Film at LAAPFF on May 4th - tickets just went on sale. I hope to see you there!

Kauai - The Food

The night we arrived in Hawaii, we were greeted with a bottle of wine in our fridge and a beautiful pineapple. It took several days to work our way through this baby. It got sweeter and sweeter each night.


Most of our meals took place at our gorgeous hotel, The Grand Hyatt. Pretty much every morning I had a veggie omelet and fresh fruit while enjoying this spectacular view.


We'd spend most of our days driving but make frequent stops along the way (like Little Fish Coffee) for beverages and snacks.


Even though we were in the land of Shave Ice (I had to keep reminding myself not to call it "Shaved Ice!") we found ourselves having more of a smoothie/acai bowl craving.


Anake's Juice Bar is located in the back (next to the karaoke machine!) of Kukuiula Market, a family owned market in Koloa. We split a Hulk bowl (green from spirulina and kale) layered with gluten-free granola, which Abe pointed out was inspired by the color of Hulk's shorts and skin. We couldn't stop talking about this lunch. In fact, we went back on our last day right, right before the airport.


Also back there - mason jars filled with homemade chia seed pudding and overnight oats! I felt so at home.


In general, it was so unbelievably easy to eat gluten-free and there was no shortage of amazing produce.


On Wednesdays from 3-6:30pm, the Kauai Culinary Market is hosted at The Shops at Kukuiula. This reminded me a lot of The Grove/Farmers Market in Los Angeles...


...except better. Because Hawaiian Santa.


We had a last-minute dinner there at Merriman's Fish House. The meals were pretty expensive but we made do with a bunch of sides/appetizers - all gluten-free!


Only two dishes were on my Hawaii Bucket List, and they're both brought to you by the letter "P."


Poke (above) which we got from Fish Express, and Poi (below) from Hanalei Taro Company. Both did not disappoint. Poi is kind of bland - with a yogurt consistency - but it tastes great with pork and fish on top! Abe had a veggie burger with taro, too.


For the most part, we would eat snacks for dinner in our hotel room while watching a movie filmed in Kauai. Lots of fresh fruit, mac nuts (as I often heard them called) and local chips. I even had a glass of the aforementioned Pinot Grigio one night.


Here is a little vlog I made on the first day, featuring Fresh Bite Kauai, a food truck. Seriously that salad I ate was one of the best I've ever had. And I come from the land of salads.

The Museum of Ice Cream

When The Museum of Ice Cream first opened up I was intrigued. But not enough to buy a ticket right away. That was stupid. It became like the hottest ticket in town for months. So when they extended their stay in Los Angeles, I set my alarm and waited an hour online to buy tickets. As I paid the $30 non-refundable, non-transferable price tag, I immediately questioned my decision. Months passed. As I saw more and more photos people hanging out in the same rooms full of bananas, all of them taking the same picture - lounging in the sprinkle pool - I started becoming worried that it wouldn't be worth it. So did Abe. All our plans revolved around this weekend - "Oh we can't do that, because we have to go to the Museum of Ice Cream." I even had to leave my acting class two hours early because of it.

Abe decided he did not want to go last-minute. I didn't want to force him, so I asked Melanie Maras to be my guest instead. We made a video below.


Each room has "art" that kind of reminds me of a glorified Dylan's Candy Store. The place is crowded, with lines to take photos. The people who work there are REALLY HAPPY and they make you dance, come up with team names, clap loudly, and shout in order to pass through.


I will admit, The Sprinkle Pool was cool. But we were barely in there before they chased us out. It also smelled like feet, but I felt I needed to take advantage of my well-earned photo op.


I wish I had gone when it first opened, when tickets were cheaper, before it was overhyped. I feel so basic.


Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead Weekend

One of my favorite parts about living in Los Angeles is the ability to just go away for a last-minute trip where you feel like you're worlds away. I feel like I've done pretty much all the quintessential LA getaways - Santa Barbara, San Diego, Julian, Oak Glen, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Ojai, Palm Springs, Temecula, Borrego Springs, Solvang - the one place I've been hearing about for years but never visited was Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead.


We drove up on Saturday morning to Big Bear. The town is full of interesting shops that are rather niche for your typical tourist spot. I wound up buying a fitted LA Dodgers hat - even more fitting that I wound up watching the documentary Long Shot on Netflix that night (if you haven't seen it, it's really incredible. Especially if you're a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan like me and Abe).

Food-wise we just brought our own meals/snacks and went to the grocery store - with my gluten allergy it was just easier.

Our hotel (Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa) check-in wasn't until 4pm so we stopped by SkyPark at Santa's Village - a newly reopened theme park totally devoted to Christmas! Longtime readers know I'm a freak about the holidays (because I was born on Xmas Eve). It's never too early for me to start celebrating. You can watch more in the video at the bottom of this post.


The hotel is a bit overpriced for what it is, but most of the other places I looked at required two nights. Next time I'd like to get a house with friends and stay a little longer. We woke up early in the morning and headed to the Heart Rock Trail for a morning hike.


Take your GPS to 250 N Highway 138 Crestline, CA - when you see the "Camp Seely" sign, drive up the one-way dirt road to a small parking area. Follow the trail past the pool and make your way (about 20 minutes) to the rock with the heart in it! For the most part this was an easy hike, though I did need to find a large stick to help get me up the steep parts near the end.