Christmas events and activities in Los Angeles

Though Christmas is at the end of December, the holiday season starts as early as November in Los Angeles. As one of the top fashion capitals, L.A. has already dressed up in gorgeous decorations to welcome this fancy time of the year. These are some of our favorites spots.   RODEO DRIVE AND BEVERLY HILLS If you love fashion, you must know the world-famous shopping street. “Luxurious” is a word made for this place, but it is good enough of an experience to just walk around the fabulous stores – you may even run into celebrities who live in Beverly Hills! If you haven’t been there, Christmas is a perfect time to visit. Last week some of our students really enjoy our free walking tour around Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. LA ZOO LIGHTS Enjoy a wild wonderland of light attending to this ticketed event at Los Angeles Zoo. Millions of colorful lights decorate a huge area surrounded by nature: Giant glittering snowflakes, Christmas trees, and the world’s largest illuminated pop-up storybook. A must-do Christmas attraction in California.   DISNEYLAND RESORT Can you imagine how the Happiest Place on Earth looks like in the happiest time of the year? If not, how do “300 Christmas trees”, “400,000 twinkling lights”, and “36 cast members decorating for 35 days” sound like? Amazing, right? You can always visit Disneyland in regular days, but this time, Mickey Mouse and his friends will be greeting you under mistletoes – that makes Christmas more magically beautiful! UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD This famous theme park is not only the place where you can ride Transformers, The Mummy or Jurassic World attractions but also a place where you can create new Holiday traditions with friends and other students. With thousands of Christmas lights and many characters meet & greets, Universal Studios Hollywood offers … Read more

Menu Etiquette—or lack thereof

Have you ever gone out with friends, chatted up the table and realized that the waiter is taking their sweet time to get to you? You must be thinking, “Man, this server stinks!” Little do you know, that just like bad breath wards out potential suitors, your menu etiquette, or lack thereof may be to blame. It’s funny, even as an American, I too have to learn certain acceptable behaviors. I remember being at a restaurant with one of my best friends. We sat there, took our time randomly glancing at the menu and kept swapping stories about the horrors of high school. As I kept yapping about a cute guy named Conor May, I saw my friend giving me the stink eye. I quickly quipped, “Oh my gosh, this waiter is taking forever, right?” As I was looking for a signal of approval, she asks, “Are you ready?” I quickly responded, “yeah?!” then she annoyingly says, “then close your menu!” Baffled by her odd request I asked, “why?” Well, with that question I opened the door for a very unwelcome lecture on how for the most part, waiters will not approach a table until all menus are closed. Apparently, this is the universal signal in the food world for “Hey, I’m hungry and I’m sooo ready to order.” Much to my dismay—but proving her point—the waiter rushed to our table and said, “Well, it looks like you’re ready to order!” See? We can all learn something about this little anecdote, are you hungry and want to be waited on? Then close your menu and stop hating on the poor server! Your friends and tummy will thank you!

ECLA Teacher Feature: Claudia Aragon!

I was born 110 miles outside of Los Angeles in an almost country/almost desert city called Bakersfield. However, I was quick to leave it to start up a life in Los Angeles via UCLA. After graduating in 2009 with a BA in Psychology, I chose to celebrate with a two-month long vacation to Italy, one that ultimately ended up lasting two years. In my time there, I explored the Amalfi coast, a coastline that I had been traveling to and loving since I was a child, improved upon my Italian, and dabbled in teaching English to Italians.   Now back in LA, to which I have become practically a native, I am also back studying at UCLA, however business this time.  Alongside, I am fortunate to be here at EC teaching English to International students.   EC’s methodology is distinct from other competing schools. Here, the students are taught more than just the knowledge of grammar structures and vocabulary but also, American humor, colloquial expressions that cannot necessarily be translated, and the means by which to navigate across linguistic boundaries. The result is that EC students do not graduate simply feeling more confident in their English abilities; they graduate feeling more fluent in American culture. And in my opinion, what more could ESL students want from a traveling experience abroad in Los Angeles?

Food Blog: Bay Cities Deli

Bay Cities (http://www.baycitiesitaliandeli.com/door/) makes some of the best Italian sandwiches in town! I didn’t discover it until recently and I am still mourning all the years that I lived without this deli in my life. Plus, you can eat there for under $10! How can you beat that? Read below some great advice by Elina Shatkin from the LA Weekly Blogs about what and how to order. “Bay Cities Deli makes two dozen sandwiches but the one for which they’re most famous, and justifiably so, is The Godmother. Stacked with no less than five kinds of cold cuts — that’d be Genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham and prosciutto — and a slice of Provolone, the sandwich comes on dense, chewy, wonderful Italian bread. Should you get mustard and mayo on your sub? Purists will tell you — and we agree — NO! All it really needs is a dash of oil and vinegar. At Bay Cities, that means: order it with the works but ask for them to leave off the mayostard. You can get it small ($6.25) or large ($8.15), but even the “small” Godmother is a mother. It’s cool and salty, dense and filling, and definitely one of the better Italian subs in town.” (Psst… The Godmother is my favorite too!)

Salsa Salsa Salsa!!

Salsa Mondays at Zanzibar are great! For only $5, people can get up to two 1-hour dance lessons from three-time world champion salsa dancer, Christian Oviedo. On the first Monday of every month, admission is $10, but that includes music from a live salsa band. Students can practise their listening comprehension and meet locals at this trendy nightclub in the middle of downtown Santa Monica.