Celebrating Baby Yang’s baby shower was much more blissful than I expected; I first thought of hosting a baby shower but was concerned with 1) how friends and family would respond to me having an in-person baby shower during this pandemic 2) the cost 3) the effort having to host one 4) my guy friends being too awkward about joining in something traditionally “for women only”
As I was closing in on my last month “the final stretch” I decided to invite and host family and friends over to our home for an in-person baby shower because 1) I’ve been really, really missing hosting gatherings 2) I’ve been missing my family and friends throughout the pandemic (I am still disgusted that it’s been 2 years and there’s a lot to go) and 3) I was and still am bummed that I just had 1 family member, 5 friends join our own wedding after all of that anticipation growing up and planning for the big day. My coach also reminded me that this day of memories could “replace” those memories – and fast forward, it has fulfilled all of those holes.
It was a total relief that the weather was sweet and dreamy, not too cold nor too hot for friends and family to easily hang out in our patio and/or freely into our home (while also seeing and sharing advice on our baby room set up). I wanted to make sure everyone felt safe and welcomed, so I had a mix of activities, food, and refreshments outside and inside our home from 9AM-5PM. I get that wedding food and baby shower food don’t need to be spectacular, but it was important for me to support some local businesses without having to make anything myself that could be appropriate for brunch/snacks/sweet tooths depending whenever our guests dropped by.
Thank you so much again Capri and Hangry Bakery for the delectable treats (and Tammy for doing my hair and makeup!) Instax worked really well because as much of a sucker I am for memory keepsakes, I didn’t want to be walking around snapping photos with everyone and worry about getting perfect shots but legitimately catch up with friends and family I haven’t seen in years.
As I’ve been reading more about labor and epidurals and Oly and I’ve been also watching more parenting educational videos, my belly has also protruded more to a point that it’s been much more difficult to move (yes, I feel more like a penguin than a pregnant woman sometimes and waddling is real) As I’ve been struggling to fit into my own clothes, I decided to rent a few RTR outfits including this Rachel Pally dress to save some closet space and not have to commit to buying maternity clothes.
My mother in law being a yacht enthusiast really worked out for party supplies; she has a gorgeous tiny boat model, a classy life ring, and various other nautical props. Facebook marketplace also proved to be wonderful in snagging hand-me-down server trays and being 1/4 mi away from Trader Joes proved to be wonderful for bundling a few of my favorite plants (Eucalyptus and pampa grass) and finding a new favorite like these Eryngium blue flowers.
Since my dad left for a more senior-appropriate home, we’ve turned his bedroom into our baby room – which has been an enjoyable work in progress that we like to work on a little every day. Although I was super enthusiastic about creating this Eames inspired mobile, Oly came to my rescue in finishing it up for me (I guess pregnancy hormones colliding with the anxiety of getting closer to my 3.22 (or the physical labor of delivery) colliding with more physical discomfort is catching up more and more)
By the end of the day (Thank you Weiyi/Vivien for coming at 5:30PM and asking about where everyone was), Oly and I were particularly relieved and exhausted. Opening up our home to our coworkers, family, and friends to celebrate baby Yang (a 2 in 1 housewarming and baby shower) was so pleasantly perfect that I think it made me happier to celebrate this milestone with Oly than our own wedding celebration. It also helps that Oly and I are such morning people and would much rather have friends and family trickle in than a dense crowd of friends and family at night. Was it worth it? Hell yeah.
Some of you may have known that I’ve been looking for a dog for 1+ years (basically as soon as we moved back to LA and found an apartment) Although my family bought Teddy online when I was 16 years old and I love him, I realized that adopting a short-haired dog was probably a better idea than just getting another shih tzu or some other type of long-haired dog. I’ve realized over the years especially after dating O, that there are so many dogs out there – in shelters and apparently adoption centers. While I thought all the “good dogs” were taken into owners from COVID, I spent more of the half year more seriously looking through petfinder.com. Which is where back in October, I found Bagel.
Bagel isn’t necessarily the corgi dachshund mix I was obsessively searching for; he’s probably more like a corgi dachshund beagle. (I think?) but he completely fulfilled our criteria: calm, quiet, and actually not just good, but great with kids. While he isn’t totally quiet- he grunts and softly snores while cuddling with us that it’s adorable. While O and I were concerned with how he’d adapt to our home (we have several stairs, while he has bilateral osteoarthritis, a tumor removed from his forehead, and continuous gunk in his eyes due to eye surgery that didn’t give enough of his eyelid back) With that, the adoption center I went to told me that he had to have 2 eyedrops inserted twice a day for the rest of his life unless a vet stated otherwise. With my elderly dad living with us, my pregnancy, we were concerned us if we were compatible and the right fit for Bagel.
Out of all the dogs I’ve scrolled through and inquired about, Bagel was the only one that I went out to meet in person (and a mere 8 min. drive away) When I walked in, I was blown away by how clean, professional, and fancy the center was: huge, interactive digital boards with dog/cat portraits and bios by their private rooms. Here’s how the process and everything went:
I visited Bagel at the Wallis Annenberg Petspace as soon as I could and for the first time by myself. Since some shelters/adoption centers varied with COVID rules and were closed, I emailed them days in advance to make sure I could come in – and emailed again the morning of for me to come by around 2-3PM. To control the traffic + visitors, they made sure I was there to adopt and not just play with their adoptable pets.
I can’t speak for parents who visit adoption centers to adopt children, but I felt a sweet sense of awe when other girls were admiring him from his window, saying they wish they could have him. I admired him from his glass window for how he was cuter and more lovable in person and became giddier as an Annenberg staff member walked Bagel out on a leash for me to meet him by the benches. I sat across from her while watching how she was feeding him snacks (and staff repeatedly saying he needed cream cheese) and learned that he didn’t have any particular traumas or serious injuries, was hand-selected from a shelter, and that he visited the boys/girls club while remaining calm when children played with him. As an added bonus, she told me that the adoption process was quick and straightforward all felt too good to be true to me. When I finished meeting Bagel, there was a rush of excitement to just immediately adopt him but also a sense of responsibility as a wife/partner/caretaker that my husband should meet him as well before we adopt a family addition.
One week later O and I decided that he and our family dog, Ebo, meet Bagel in person to at least see how compatible he was to make sure we could all get along. We all met together in the meet and greet yard and were happy that while they weren’t necessarily playing with each other so much, they were at least amicable (Ebo is one of the least playful/sociable dogs) As if it were too good to be true and we were just going to adopt Bagel, the on-site trainer noticed that Bagel was limping on his left front leg as we walked back inside – and with that, held him from adoption to get it scanned and reviewed. I was crying more inside after reading their update later that he was diagnosed with chronic bilateral osteoarthritis and I was also thrown off that we had to wait until we come back from our baby honeymoon to make any decision, but I figured some of the best decisions were to be taken with a lot more logical reason than just impulse. (Like, what about the dog himself?) I figured that I had to leave it up to fate for us to see if Bagel was still available for us to adopt right after we returned from our baby honeymoon in November.
Two days after we returned from our baby honeymoon, we attempted to reunite with Bagel again to see how he was doing in real life (and adopt him if he was) I was horrified with selfishness (secretly heartbroken + jealous) to learn that he was actually meeting with another potential adopter. I was so sure that we were the “only” prospective adopters (naive and greedy, I know) Fortunately, although the potential adopters were seriously going to adopt him, the staff encouraged us to talk it through and the couple told us that they’d be happy to take him in if Bagel doesn’t work out with us and that he had to go to Stanford. I was heavily relieved and thankful. Within a few minutes, I listened to the Vet explain his medical conditions, exchanged more questions and answers, paid the $100 adoption fee (much better for our pocket compared to a puppy or some purebred dog), signed all the paperwork under my name, and left with Bagel’s leash within half an hour.
Coincidentally, we made it in time for Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Although Bagel was fine walking with us out of the adoption center, he was understandably trembling in fear in our car ride back to our home (think of being taken by complete strangers) ..yet with some more rubs, trust, patience, all of our lives were changed. This marked our newest family tradition: Bagel’s Bagel Day, where we celebrate Bagel and enjoy bagels together.
Later that evening, we also had Johnny + Josefina over to spend a few nights at our home – who we decided to take out for a quick taco street run. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this as one of my first photos of Bagel.
And, we learned that he was fine with water and showers and a little shy but curious in the kitchen.
While I’ve read and heard of several stories of older pets having trouble transitioning into new homes and new owners, within one night Bagel was receptive and cuddled with us in front of the TV and slept with us in our bed; Yes, I sleep better, walk more, and am overall in a better mood during my first pregnancy during this neverending pandemic. I have so many reasons to be comfortable at home – resting, working, stretching, preparing food like Thanksgiving and Christmas together. He has cuddled with me in times of abdominal pregnancy pain + fatigue, comforted me in times of any stress, allowed even babies/children to practically corner him and bite his ears, encouraged me to walk more even with his bilateral osteoarthritis. He’s been enthusiastically climbing up and down the stairs and his eye issues have practically healed (no meds-Thank you Wallis Annenberg Petspace for taking such good care of him) O and I haven’t been happier and more pleased to have Bagel within our family.
I’m relieved to see how the years have progressed so much more care for animals in general – and especially dog adoptions rather than puppy mills. I also didn’t realize how many people would just seek out puppies over the old dogs; according to ASPCA, about 390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats are euthanized every year. Adoption clearly is a reason why it’s been declining (and microchips/pets being successfully returned to their owners) Although I thought I’d just want a puppy or young dog to grow up with our upcoming son, there were so many reasons for why a senior was a great idea: 1) they’re “potty trained”, 2) calmer 3) more easily trainable 4) won’t chew up our furniture in our home. It’s been a wonderful adopt a senior pet month + end of the year – and I hope more prospective dog owners consider fostering and adopting the elder dogs as well.
Although COVID screwed our first wedding over and our plans to check out Europe for our intended honeymoon + swing over to a friend’s wedding in Hamburg, we somehow, still managed to check out Europe for 8 days.. and 25 weeks in pregnancy, I’m calling this a baby honeymoon. While I’m a planner enthusiast, I’ve been so scarred from wedding planning for 2020 that we didn’t purchase our round trip flight to Venice until mid/end October for our early November trip.
Surprisingly, it’s O’s first time to Europe. I’d think a TCK has “definitely” been to Europe, but I was ecstatic to be a part of his first visit to Europe. Aside from going to my favorite European store, Merci, I was really keen in checking out Italy for the first time as well with him. Aside from my dad assuming we’d go to Hawaii for our honeymoon *laugh* we enjoyed its stunning beaches and views already; honestly, O and I are much more of a city/island/artsy/culinary adventurer. (that’s a mouthful)
I had no idea how my pregnancy would pan out, which is partially why this was kind of whipped together last minute: 7 flights in 7 1/2 days.
Definitely not on my Euro priority list, but part of our long layover to Italy. All I remember about Frankfurt was it having heavy doors, generally pretty bleak architecture that somehow reminded me of Disneyland, and a sausage/bratwurst + beer galore – all things that I was kind of feeling meh about. While I was honestly kind of dreading it, I was relieved and happy for O since he told me he’s actually wanted to visit Frankfurt and I was happy to knock this out of his bucket list. I asked him to come up with a list of things for us to do within 7 hours, which mainly included visiting this castle via a pricey taxi, walking through a market to eat some bratwurst and sauerkraut, and more bratwurst and sauerkraut (+ ales for O)
We finally then arrived Venice, which seems like an obvious place for us to start our honeymoon at; it’s a beautiful Italian capital that is built on 100+ small islands in a lagoon within the Adriatic sea, there are no roads – only canals, and is lined with these historical, gorgeous Renaissance and Gothic palaces. However, based off of my very little research and hearing about this about a week before we departed LA, did I realize that while it’s so small and one of the most expensive areas crowded with tourists (tons of tourist traps + overpriced goods + food) it wasn’t the best choice for our Euro trip, but one of the best choices to start and leave Europe with. The fish platter by the way down there, was the best fish / sardine platter we’ve ever consumed. And we’re keeping that as our secret.
P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Doge’s palace AKA Palazzo Ducale was hands down, one of the finest pieces of architecture we’ve ever seen and visited. I had no idea what to expect when approaching it, but it was obvious we were approaching it and entering it. Just like every other magnificent royal landmark, the ornate interior and artwork are so intricate and every time I visit places like this – I am blown away that it was built in its time (1340) and am awed by its beauty.
P.za San Marco, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
I’m very embarrassed that I told O going up this was going to be a “waste” of our time/money since it was clearly the shot that I have 0 regrets on and we ascended it around sunset and I even put it in our Google sheet schedule for sunset. It was …beautiful at every side.
Since O and I have been (Neapolitan) pizza enthusiasts from living in NYC and O’s been making pizza at our home, this was a personal must for me (and us, I believed) What’s better than enjoying Neapolitan pizzas, trying to make pizzas at our home, than to literally visit the origin of pizza…? That’s right, nothing. A friend of mine thought I’d get “sick” of pizza, which I laughed at – because out of all the food out there, I will certainly not get sick of some solid Neapolitan style pizza. The pizzas in Naples if you hadn’t heard are practically all made with some of the best crust (thin and crispy on the outside with an incredibly fluffy and airy inside), slathered with some of the freshest tomato sauce, and topped with the best cheese I’ve ever had. With a list of pizzerias in my Google sheet, the one we loved most was hands down, L’antica. (The pictures of this pizza don’t show at all its justice of how amazing it tasted) and was certainly the pizzeria/meal we were happy to repeat. Other than that, we did stop by Pizzeria da Atillo for that Ricotta star pizza. Honestly, I’m not a huge flan of ricotta pizza and shouldn’t be eating so much ricotta-so while it was good, it was probably one of my less favorable pizzas I had. As for sweets, I thought I’d go running around like a child. While the gelato was amazing, the tiramisu, most of the cannoli, and babà I had was too sweet, and the tiramisu was usually so intensely drenched with rum that it felt like I was drinking alcohol.
Did I mention that flying with a bunch of beautiful clouds and being revealed Naples was probably the most epic arrival I’ve ever viewed? (The 1-hour flight from Venice through the morning was so gorgeous that O and I couldn’t stop staring outside the window instead of the quick nap we intended)
via Cesare Sersale 1/7, Naples, 80139, Italy
L’antica Pizzeria Da Michele is so good that we went there twice for just $5 a pie and it deserves its own section. If you’ve ever traveled with me, you know I never go to the same place twice unless it’s really that damn amazing. While we did half plain and half Margherita, the Margherita was so heavenly that I’m pretty sure I could have inhaled two of them. When people ask how one could consume pizza like this, it’s because if it’s Neapolitan style and made well, the ingredients are of such high quality + so fresh that it doesn’t really make you feel gross.
Via Chiaia, 1/2, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
Espresso game in Italy was very intense activity to me but certainly shook off our jet lag and any moment of sleepiness. If you hadn’t seen Jordan Schlansky take Conan to the same Cafe Gambrinus we went to, you must. We were blessed that it was literally down the street from our AirBnb so practically every morning ritual started off with espressos at the bar that you get in, you get out and you go about your day” experience Jordan Schlansky refers to. I tried a few other drinks like the Neapolitan Cappuccino, but espresso was the drink to consume here in front of these Godfather-like baristas.
I had no idea Pompeii was so close to Naples, but it was a quick ~40 min bus ride and while we were kind of bummed that it was raining (and cold as hell) – it was a surreal architectural site. When O asked me what I wanted to see, I vividly recall reading the Eyewitness book about Pompeii being completely covered from a volcano eruption and being shocked to see images of the excavations (I never read when I was a kid) – to see the casts of these remains in real life in the general area where they were found was quite chilling. 18 hours of a volcano destroying an entire civilization into ruins.
While we love our neighborhood cafe called Capri coffee & gelato, this was a fun, dreamy island hop. After a quick 1 1/2 hr ride around the island, I learned that:
1) I’d feel nervous hopping onto a ski / gondola like lift until I got on it (practically begged O to not have me go on it but swallowed it all up + told myself to not overthink that a bar holding me from falling over ~50′ would be fine)
2) Italians really give zero shit about operating hours; no matter how “organized” we were with restaurants/planning, we had to accept whatever food was available even with this sports game that they were watching from their restaurant TV’s.
After especially learning that second lesson + it poured rain, I figured it was a perfect time to go to our next destination: Paris.
is always a good idea. Really. Even the simple buttery ham sandwich they served on the airplane was really impressive to me. I’m relieved that O and I still pushed this through even though we thought it was something we could overlook. While I originally thought of Paris as the internationally renowned hub of arts, impressionism, black noir film, high fashion, french onion soup, buttery pastries, and some overrated romantic getaway infested with trash + smoke + baguettes, it felt like the perfect, romantic getaway. While I also only came here twice previously for a day trip, I booked this sweet Airbnb that was in a truly magical location with high ceilings that captured the gorgeous streetscape.
The streets were surprisingly way cleaner than I remembered from my last 2 trips, and people seemed kinder. O and I also observed that everyone was good-looking (I think it’s because they just dress so much better than us Americans)
This was also the first time I visited Paris with a partner. After I made my mandatory swing by Merci and picked up all the plates for our home (my “gifts” to myself) – Europe was complete (ugh, I love that store and if I could, I’d fly over there to just go shopping every year and I’m not even a shopping type of person)
While I loved walking through the Louvre + laying on the grass by the Eiffel Tower with happy people picnicking with platters of cheese/sandwiches and bottles of wine, something about spontaneously walking through the Louvre + rushing over to the Eiffel Tower on our first night and watching it twinkle was so much sweeter + stunning.
1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
For the next morning, I gave it all to O to figure out whatever he wanted to do and check out, which included the Catacombs of Paris: a 1,500m underground ossuary containing remains of millions of Parisians dating back from the late 18th century. While I thought descending the staircase was never-ending and made me feel a bit nauseous, this labyrinth was never-ending and apparently, “and clearly” not recommended for sensitive individuals or pregnant people like me with the few opportunities to rest. However, it was quite remarkable seeing how they so neatly organized and preserved all these skeletal remains.
After ascending back up into life, O and I continued to just walk through different streets and parks. The architecture was stunning at every angle + perspective + I had the best crepe with sardines. While I was feeling a bit defeated that we didn’t get anything for our baby boy (isn’t that what you’d do as well for a babymoon?) it was as if it was a happenstance to find ourselves right by the Little Prince, where we bought some gifts.
44-47 Passage des Panoramas 75002 Paris France
O had such a huge smile for me when although we were trying to focus on gettin some grub, we spot Arabica. Back for our first international trip (to Japan in 2017) I made it such a trek for us to go to the one in Arashiyama, Kyoto; the line was the longest line O had ever waited for – but he didn’t complain about it after he sipped. I was relieved to see that this didn’t even have a line (the barista probably thought I was overreacting in delight), and it was as delicious (I didn’t even care that it was almost 6PM) Because of how sensitive I am to coffee, O was able to enjoy it while I “almost” enjoyed the croissant.
We had so much fun that by the time we flew back to Venice, we realize that we forgot to get our COVID tests to return to LAX (sigh, look up your traveling regulations since rules have been changing on a daily basis) So while it sucked to pay ~1,000 USD to rebook another flight/AirBnb with hours of being stuck at Venice’s only airport, we did get to spend another “last” day in Venice (mainly enjoying more espresso’s and taking turns of napping in their waterbus)
7 flights in 7 days honestly wasn’t as bad as I was fearing (except for the layovers + traveling between US + Europe) but hey, at least we made it through the adventure before Omicron + Germany’s shutdown.
Growing up, I thought birthdays were the best day of the year until you were 18, then 21, then 30… and that anything after that was just an awful sad reminder that you’re old. I also thought that birthdays were the day of when you have a justifiable reason to be selfish, the day of when you could really do whatever the hell you wanted, the day you hopefully get the presents you wanted but didn’t get for Christmas…(and the day you could tell that those who didn’t say happy birthday weren’t your friends)
But I now believe that a birthday is ultimately a date to celebrate another year of survival and hopefully accomplishment preferably with loved ones; we all go through incredible experiences earlier or later, and grow older faster or slower – mentally and physically in years.
When I was a kid with my very active parents and “asian genes”, I believed that my parents could live forever.
I truthfully have done a terrible job in keeping track of my parents’ age (partially in denial that they are aging) and honestly forgot their birthdays a handful of years. It wasn’t until a few months ago that my older brother reminded me that our dad’s 80th birthday was approaching…and that we should probably buy tickets to LA and celebrate with him altogether.
Because of COVID, we cancelled our flight from NYC to LA. But O and I drove over cross country and were just 50 miles away; I certainly couldn’t let COVID deter my dad’s birthday into anything less than awesome.
So like any other overenthusiastic woman planning for her nonexistent child’s birthday…I coordinated as best as I could the best birthday possible.
Stumbling into his old closet in Orange County, I found photo albums stashed away, neglected and gathered them.
In 8 damn decades: photographs changed from classy black and whites to ..sepias resembling an Instagram filter… to vibrant colors and smiles of my childhood with my dad.
Without many dates nor recollection of who is who / where is where, I placed the images from top to bottom, left to right based off of the photo quality and how my dad had matured (just hoping that the baby photo I found was of him – and to my amazement- was)
What I love about my dad is that while he’s been extremely wise, he has always been particularly young at heart – encouraging me to make friends with whoever, hang out with whoever until whenever, play video games like Star War’s Episode 1: Podracer , watch MTV’s Daria, welcome any of my friends over for a slumber party, go out for McDonald’s fries – Full Moon Sushi – and then probably Wendy’s for frosty shakes on our way back home.
While my dad’s memory has been declining, there’s something incredible about the power of photographs and how they trigger memories. While my dad has been living with strangers, I assembled these photographs to remind him how incredible of a life he’s been leading and that his family and friends were always with him in some form – and to my relief, he soaked it all in and explained to me who they were in smiles.
While my dad’s an absolute genius, he’s never instilled the “helicopter parent” or “crazy tiger parent” demands to be #1 at math, science, tennis, or piano at all throughout my childhood. While I was particularly a rebellious prick watching some MTV crap, he was totally faithful in me, patiently helping me with homework everyday. While waiting in lines or in elevators, he’d almost always compliment someone or strike up a happy convo, constantly reminding me to smile and be happy and love others. I was embarrassed, but I get it now. I get why his #1 values were to be happy and always love.
As for celebrating, I thought that it was silly to shower people with gifts and plan accordingly to a theme… but I finally also understand why women, particularly moms go “all out” for their child’s birthday – especially his/her first birthday. This was the closest for me to experience preparing for a nonexistent child’s birthday – one meal and/or present wasn’t enough. Aside from the shadowbox of photos and a Japanese dinner, I prepared a watercolor painting of our dog, big/little dipper card in watercolor, ice wine from Niagara Falls, a telescope since my dad’s been heavily studying Einstein’s theory of relativity, and the celestial cake.
I get why photographers want to capture every single moment of intimacy and laughter (and why you designate a photographer while you host/spend time with family/try to Facetime other family/get music) My parents threw me lovely birthdays where I was “the princess”, and on the flip side- this was my opportunity to be treat him like a king.
Days later and coincidentally Star Wars Day…May the fourth be with you and still – Happy birthday dad. I love you to the moon and back x 17.
Thank you so much to all the support and vendors during this time:
Japanese dinner – Sushi Koshu
Cake – Pufffect Bakery Cafe
Crafts – Michaels
Groceries – Gelson’s
I began my first day in LA in one of LA’s hottest new restaurants-the Otium. Situated adjacent to the Broad Museum, the restaurant makes a perfect choice for a break before/after looking at the Broad’s contemporary artwork. Otium is yet distinctive for its casual, warm-modern, industrial-chic interior, designed by South Pasadena based interior designer House of Honey and creative, electic menu by Chef Timothy Hollingworth- previous chef de cuisine of French Laundry.
R and I enjoyed their pork belly kimchi fried rice and an off-menu item: smoked french toast cubes with bacon bits, served over coal with a side of fruit sauce for dipping. Killer presentation that fulfilled both sweet and savory taste buds. (Thank you again R for reserving well in advance.)
During my adventures dining through LA, my (first and only DSLR) NikonD3100 unfortunately broke. With even more tragic iPhone/technical difficulties, I couldn’t shoot the colossal carnitas sandwich I devoured at R+D Kitchen, Abricott’s spicy pork belly sandwich (my local favorite), nor Bacao Mercat’s Toron/oxtail hash sandwich and Mussels soaked in Sriracha and Feta for NYE. Yet, I’m thankful that I was able to borrow my brother’s SonyRx1 to shoot my last brunch at Bottega Louie.
If you’re living in Los Angeles, you know that Bottega Louie doesn’t need any introduction. Yet if you’re like me – a sucker for clean, crisp white interiors, high ceilings, sharp packaging, Italian food and French pastries, then Bottega will probably fulfill all your fantasies and cravings. Surely the cost of poor acoustic design + high ceilings + long queues on weekends = people yelling over the table and across the room. Although this makes it a poor choice for a quality first date, my last brunch here with some fine company on Saturday afternoon with stellar food made it all worthwhile- a fine brunch for a double date. (Sorry, I ate the portobello fries and burrata pizza so fast that it was too late to shoot photos.)