what a damn year

  1. What a scam of a year.

A year where so much happened, yet our days were filled with endless nothingness.

Somehow we’ve made it to the end. And that in itself is an accomplishment. While we may not be going anywhere anytime soon, a new year still makes for a socially constructed opportunity for a mindset reset.

But for now, a look back:

Moments of good in a year of general bad

Even in a very grey year, there were moments that moved me to tears, in a good way, and established a sense of hope in humanity.

source: The Associated Press

Essential workers stepping up. From healthcare workers coming in to the frontlines when NYC was the epicenter of the pandemic. To the grocery store cashiers, delivery people and USPS ensuring the rest of us could stay safe at home.

source: LA Times

BLM: The fact that people were so desperate that they risked their lives to protest amid a pandemic. Change is never comfortable. And it’s incredibly humbling to see culture and society pushed to the point where even multinational corporations were pressured to post #BlackLivesMatter and make Juneteenth a paid holiday. It’s a small step in the right direction. 

source: The New York Times

The moment Biden won. I hope for the sake of all of us, that was the longest election of our lives. But the moment when they finally called it for Biden, that was a euphoria that almost healed the trauma from election night in 2016. 

- to all the places I ever loved -

Honestly f**k COVID for killing some of my favorite places. And even the ones who have managed to survive all these months… who knows whether they’ll be able to weather a winter. In memory of some of my favorites: 

Mh Zh | I am in denial that I'll never be able to stuff my face with the heavenly bling bling hummus in this nondescript corner of Silver Lake. Please reincarnate in 2021.
Here's Looking At You | You were one of my last brunches in LA, one of my last dine-in experiences of 2020. And for that I'm thankful. But I hope you come back. All Day Baby is great too but I like options.
Kao Chi | Ok you literally had no excuse. Taiwan is thriving compared to the rest of the world. Come back, I need those shenjianbaos.

Cafe Vita | You were my reliable working cafe in Silver Lake. Also such a perfect corner spot. I have a feeling it’ll house another coffee shop soon. 

Beverly Soon | UGH this one hits hard. The first soondubu place in LA. A legacy K-town spot. Mom and pop. Immigrant owned. Even within my time in LA it went from being a Koreans only place to having people of all colors lined up in the mini parking lot. You will be dearly missed. 

The Wallace | Culver City is now one less a reliable brunch, drinks, dinner spot. And even though downtown Culver changes like the weather, it’s still sad to see one of the original gems gone for good.

Ma’am Sir | Literally right around the corner from my former apartment… except you opened the month after I moved to the west side. I was looking forward to brunching there someday. But I guess we were never meant to be.

Cafe Marie-Jeanne | I am high key upset I won't be able to brunch here next time I'm allowed to visit Chicago again.
Din Tai Fung | Ok I know you are still here. And I know the OG Arcadia location wasn't going to last forever. But I still mourn all those memories. Strip malls over glam malls any day.
Stan's Donuts | Even though I had only gone a handful of times during my Westwood days, it still feels like the end of an era. Good thing Chicago is keeping up the legacy.

what we watched

I spent 80% of 2020 in front of the TV. And in a year where everything was canceled, tgod for production studios stepping up. The true winners of the streaming wars are really us couch potatoes. 

thank you, Netflix

Cheer - The strangely wholesome content that also, like so many other things in 2020, ended up bad.
Tiger King - The perfect amount of weirdness that got us through the early days of quarantine. Honestly, who knew this was the exact medication we'd need?
The Crown - Just the right kind of slow burn and beautifully produced nuanced drama that whisks you away from the general sadness on your couch. Thankful I had a season to catch up on to begin with. And thankful for another drop.
Outer Banks - And then on the other end of the spectrum we had Outer Banks. Just the right kind of bad to get us through another month of staying at home. Also, those Word Art title treatments. What a beaut.
Queen's Gambit - Ok this one was objectively good, would have been appreciated in any year. But anyways, we loved it. We used it as an escape during a very very stressful week.
And then there were all my comforts: food documentary series that whisked me away to my favorite places. Chef Show (I almost cried watching this while stuck in NYC), Somebody Feed Phil (tbh I just made a beeline for the SF episode), Ugly Delicious (honestly any of those tables feel comforting to me). And of course, Bake Off because we all need some wholesome brits baking sometimes, and they managed to pull off a COVID bake off, so truly there is good in the world.

thank you, HBO

The Watchmen - I mean, watching this during COVID is a truly surreal experience. If you know, you know.
Euphoria - Literally do not even need to say anything here.

thank you, DISNEY

Marvel Marathon - Because when you have all the time in the world, you can watch them all in order. And why not?
Hamilton - Never disappoints. Even with the spit. It's a refreshing renewal of the obsession.
Also shout out to the random Disney channel movies that take you right back to the early 2000s.

thank you, HULU

The Great - One of those things that totally isn't the kind of show I like, but somehow was still addicting? Whatever, we'll take it.
Taste the Nation - This one was low hanging fruit for me.
Little Fires Everywhere - Again, late to the game on this one. But should have known it was good. Celeste Ng's other book (Everything I Never Told You) is literally the only novel I've read in the past 5 years.

Oh and special shout out to Tiktok for filling in the hours where we didn’t have the energy to put something on the big(ger) screen. 

a year in food

The other 20% was spent cooking and eating. Food was pretty much my only hobby this year. But it worked out. Two zines, so many inspiring stories and people. One step further into the food world.

Let’s hope 2021 let’s us go places farther than the fridge.

see also