All Night Long

I'm pulling my first all-nighter in forever - we are currently in Middletown, CT where Abe and I just attended our college reunion. We have a flight we need to leave the hotel by 4:30am for, so I'm deciding not to sleep. It's been an amazing trip. We got in early 2 days ago before anything opened and hit O'Rourke's Diner for breakfast.

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You may have seen this place featured during the early years of Diner's, Drive-ins, and Dives. It's still as wonderful and charming as it was long before it was famous, while we were undergrads at Wesleyan.

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Recreating our first kiss on Foss Hill AWWWWW

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There are actually a lot of gluten-free options at my alma mater but nothing incredibly exciting. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to eating the leftover Buffalo Quinoa Salad I made before we left - which is, essentially just sauce (from the Slow Cooker Buffalo Tofu) with quinoa and stir fried veggies.

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Also worth noting - I got a French Manicure Gel with black nail polish instead of white and am obsessed.

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Big Buddha (Hong Kong)

During my last day in Hong Kong, the cast/crew of Go Back to China took a little day trip to Big Buddha. We took a glass-bottom cable car up...

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...which takes about 25 minutes each way. You get to know one another pretty well.

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That's a BIG BUDDHA.

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You walk up/down a lot of stairs - there is a nature trail you can explore. And a mall, with lots of food (I could only eat gelato) and gift shops. Also, livestock?

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It was raining the day we went, so there weren't too many people. It seems like April is the perfect time to be a tourist in Hong Kong - not too hot or crowded!

Last Day in Shenzhen

Back in Shenzhen from my Hong Kong weekend getaway to film the last day of "Go Back to China."

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I will miss working with this cast...

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...this crew...

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...and our fearless, bilingual leader, Emily Ting.

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When I was a little girl I used to do puppet shows for my Dad with stuffed monkey toys. It's funny how life turns out.

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Hong Kong Weekend

I've had a couple days off from filming Go Back to China, so production was kind enough to arrange for me to hang out in Hong Kong. Even though it takes a few hours and crossing the border is a bit of a pain, I jumped at the opportunity to explore this city a little more.

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Friday

I was a bit tired from working all week, and traveling down from Shenzhen, so I decided to just hop on the Hong Kong Tram (nicknamed Ding Ding) and explore from the top of a moving vehicle. Starting at Western Market was a good idea, since it's the first/last stop and you're guaranteed a seat.

After an hour of street/people watching, I just hopped off the tram and took a subway over to Sheung Wan/Central. Abe was in Hong Kong earlier this year and stayed in this neighborhood. I got lost looking for the places he suggested, but stumbled upon Jenny Bakery, famous for their cookies. Apparently there's usually a long line and the workers are kind of rude, but at 5pm they were very pleasant and I walked out with two large tins (not gluten-free - a treat for the cast/crew) within 5 minutes.

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Saturday

This was my only full day in Hong Kong and I originally planned to go to Disneyland, since I'm a fanatic. But ultimately I decided it would be too crowded and went for something more local - Ocean Park - mainly because they have giant pandas. And I can never resist a panda. Sadly, the pandas were breeding so their exhibit was closed, but I still had a great time. If you go right when they open at 10am, you'll have the entire park to yourself. See my vlog at the bottom of this post!

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Later that same day I was disappointed to find that the Yuen Po Bird Garden is also temporarily closed (until May) but it is close to the Flower Market, which was also on my to-see list.

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Sunday

I've never really adjusted to the time change and have been waking up at 5am every day for the last 3 weeks, no matter how early/late I go to bed. So this morning I went back to Sheung Wan/Central and tried not to get lost again. This time I found Man Mo Temple!

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Finally, I took the Star Ferry back to my hotel in Kowloon. Now I'm going back to China to finish this movie - follow along on my Instagram Stories for the final few days.

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Filming in China

Hello from Shenzhen, China! I've never been to this city before (I actually haven't been back to China in over two decades) - unfortunately I haven't really had the time to explore because we've been working, but I've been having a ton o' fun.

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Filming food scenes is a lot more challenging now that I'm gluten-free, but I am loving this cast and crew...

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...also, the Go Back to China production team has been taking incredible care of my celiac needs with homemade meals and snacks. Anna Akana, the star of the movie, is vegan - so between the two of us these Chinese chefs are learning a lot about cooking for dietary restrictions.

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When I'm on my own, I've been making do with snacks that I packed (oatmeal, miso soup, energy bars/protein powder) plus REALLY plain stuff like steamed veggies/meat/rice and fresh fruit that have low risk of cross-contamination. As long as there isn't soy sauce in it, I've been pretty safe.

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Of course, I've been missing home like crazy!

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Here's a quick vlog I was able to put together while we were staying at The Mission Hills Resort. We're off to another city soon - follow along on my Instagram stories, where I have the entire trip saved in the highlights.


Filming in Hong Kong

This city is marvelous.

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We got a great view of Hong Kong Island from a cast dinner our first night at Hutong in Kowloon. This restaurant was not only gorgeous, but knew how to handle my gluten allergy with a multi-course tasting menu.

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I haven't been here since I was a teenager. Maybe that's why I'm still drawn to stuff like this.

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Sadly, I haven't had too much free time explore, but it's not like being on set with Anna Akana isn't fun.

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I have the morning off so I'm going to get my tarot cards read and walk around the city a little before we head to Shenzhen for the China part of "Go Back to China." Follow along on social media @mslynnchen!

by CHLOE. (Silver Lake)

by CHLOE. opened a while ago in Silver Lake - I've actually been a whole bunch of times but this is my first time blogging about it. The food is fast, 100% vegan, certified kosher, and committed to organic ingredients.

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Ojai Love

Abe and I love Ojai.  After the January fires took its toll on the community, we've been looking for an excuse to come back and put money into the tourist economy. It's Abe's birthday weekend and a month away from our 15th wedding anniversary, so we took a 2-day trip to the area using the Ojai Love Package - and I have to say this is our favorite stay so far.

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We arrived late on Friday, but beat traffic. We woke up before the sun both days and headed straight to the new-to-us Beacon Coffee, where they have lots of gluten-free options. This morning we played Chinese Checkers next to a movie star and her emotional support dog. The cafe is also next door to the adorable - and fun to say - Cattywampus Crafts, filled with yarn and gifts and things that make me want to knit. Sidebar - I've tried 4x to learn how and failed every single time.

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Saturday afternoon we stood on line with the rest of the town lunch at Ojai Tortilla House (104 N. Signal Street) where they quickly serve tacos, burritos, and quesadillas on homemade corn and flour tortillas.

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I got a gluten-free burrito bowl with chicken, while Abe went to town on his vegetarian wrapped version. Glorious and filling.

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After a free tour + tasting at Ojai Olive Oil, we stopped by Bart's Books for some requisite outdoor book browsing. I wish we had time to visit Meditation Mount but it was a little too chilly...

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...plus all I really wanted to do was cozy up in the most comfortable bed ever at The Emerald Iguana Inn. We've stayed at The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa + Ojai Rancho Inn in the past, but we definitely preferred this place. I feel like it's worth every penny.

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We ordered takeout from Farmer and the Cook (Abe loves their veggie burger), I took a terrific hot bath, and just like that our weekend was over. We're already missing Ojai like crazy.

Roasted Cauliflower Sauce

I was on a panel this past weekend talking about social media and how our lives feel so curated. Remember the days when I would just post a photo of an apple and be like, "I feel like crap today so I just ate this apple because if I ate what I really wanted - APPLE PIE - I know I would binge and I hate that I'm not over bingeing yet because I'm supposed to be a body image activist but the truth is life is so complicated and hard?"

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Life feels hard again. I haven't been struggling with depression for a long time but lately I've been feeling it. I always get this way around pilot/Oscar season because it's a reminder I'm nowhere near where I have always dreamed I'd be at this point. I have been doing this long enough that I know I "shouldn't" care and I know what's really important (certainly not auditions and bookings). And I know happiness isn't about validation or even a paycheck. But I'm still hurting. And I see my sadness manifesting in old ways - the nagging hunger of fill-my-belly-even-though-it's-already-full. So I'm acknowledging it.

Tonight I made this meal to compensate for my feelings - I just wanted to make something delicious and hearty that wouldn't cause my stomach and skin to erupt in defiance after eating it.

Surprisingly, it's awesome. I basically dry-roasted a bunch of veggies (seasonings only, no oil) and then made a sauce out of some of the roasted cauliflower.

It was so good, and so nurturing. I feel like I made a new best friend.


Roasted Vegetables with Cauliflower Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 Zucchinis, Chopped

  • 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1 Head of Broccoli, Chopped

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, Chopped

  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Whole

  • Taco Seasoning

  • Onion Salt

  • 1/3-1/2 cup Dairy-Free Milk (I used Cashew)

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 9x11 nonstick pans.

  2. In one pan, toss the zucchini, tomato, and broccoli with a tablespoon of taco seasoning, plus salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower and garlic cloves to the other pan and sprinkle onion salt on top.

  3. Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.

  4. In a high speed blender, combine half the roasted cauliflower, the garlic cloves, and the cashew milk, salt, nutritional yeast, olive oil. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides and adding more milk if necessary.

  5. Serve the roasted vegetables with the cauliflower sauce on top. Add more nutritional yeast if desired.


Marciano Art Foundation

The Marciano Art Foundation has been open for almost a year. I've been meaning to go for a while, especially because it's so close, I could walk there. Also, it's free (you have to reserve timed tickets). And it's awesome.

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When I was a kid I was obsessed with Guess jeans - little did I know the Marcianos were such art buffs.

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The building is massive - it used to be a Masonic Temple. You can visit a small museum dedicated to the freemasons, something I did not think I'd be doing on International Women's Day.

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I loved all the architectural details - even this water fountain.

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Marciano Art Foundation: 4357 Wilshire Boulveard