Category Archive for Food + Theme Restaurants

Puerto Vallarta quirky, offbeat travel guide! Day of the Dead skeletons, LGBTQ Zona Romantica, Mezcal & Sal restaurant.

asian goth bikini model swimsuit chinese japanese girl

Ready for round two of my Puerto Vallarta travels? Read on for my offbeat, alternative guide to Zona Romantica — the LGBTQ district and best place to stay — including molecular mezcal cocktails, Day of the Dead skeletons, and a xenomorph alien!

puerto vallarta zona romantica beach sunset waves

I recommend staying in Zona Romantica as it’s within walking distance of the beach and hippest restaurants, as well as LGBTQ clubs and bars. My daily protocols were a dream: get ice coffee, walk the Malecon (boardwalk) and dip my feet in the foam, eat 20 peso tacos, and watch the sunset. (You can see my fav Puerto Vallarta attractions at a glance in my @LaCarmina Instagram Guide.)

 long purple blue curled wavy hair color hairstyle gothic

I took some photos to showcase my updated hair color — it has blue streaks in it now, along with dark purple and my natural black underneath. My stylist is Katya at Kore Salon in Vancouver.

 sporty goth swimsuit gothic swimwear bikinis

Living the jungle life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Wearing a halter bikini top by UK Swimwear — they have lots of chic swim styles, and I like how I can wear this as a crop top as well. My comfy animal print pants are from Medellin, Colombia.

 90s goth makeup hair styling 1990s gothic girl style

I’m forever living in the 90s — that era is my makeup inspiration these days.

fashion blogger puerto vallarta instagrammer beach resort style outfits

Digging the foreground blur. These images were shot on my Sony a7 IV mirrorless camera.

 puerto vallarta best sunset beach olas altas

I also take images on the iPhone, as it brings out landscape and sky details nicely. I made it a habit to catch the sunset over the ocean every day.

punk bikini alternative goth swimsuits bikinis bra

Here’s another beachwear look. My red bikini and long resort dress are by UK Swimwear.

I took these photos at the only uncrowded spot on Los Muertos beach, under the palapas. If you’re looking for a quiet, deserted beach experience, go to Playa Conchas Chinas instead (all info and pics in my first PV post).

 steve madden slinky flip flop sandals 90s shoes

Speaking of living in the 1990s… I got these reissued Steve Madden Slinky sandals (I had the same ones in the late 90s!) The slight platform and “fwap fwap” noise bring me back. Get a pair below, in various colors:

zoma romantica lgbtq district gay clubs puerto vallarta

Zona Romantica is Puerto Vallarta’s rainbow district, as you can see from the pride flags and Tom of Finland murals. The streets are filled with LGBTQ clubs, bars, and shops with friendly vibes.

puerto vallarta drag queens gay nightlife clubs parties

Always a fabulous time traveling with Trevor. (We met this local who was obsessed with my hair’s realness!)

 zona romantica  drag shows queens club

Long live the Queen in Puerto Vallarta (or the Queen Mother)…

 puerto vallarta zona romantica mexican airbnb apartment

I recommend getting a local Airbnb or booking a boutique hotel in the Romantic Zone, rather than staying in the distant resorts. Mine had a cute patio area. I’m wearing an Abysm Internal kimono that matches my hair and the turquoise door.

devil demon kimono satanic robe bathrobe japanese coverup

Abysm Internal has a wide selection of original, dark and fantastical designs — I was drawn to this Japanese horned hannya with a pentagram on its forehead. I chose it in the sheer fabric, and purple/blue color variation.

 day of the dead skeleton art statues figurines puerto vallarta

Leave it to us to find the most Gothic parts of Puerto Vallarta. We saw Day of the Dead skeleton figurines in a store near the Malecon.

day of the dead skeleton couple art mexico balcony

This Mexican skeleton couple was looking out at the ocean from a patio by the boardwalk.

Plaza Lázaro Cárdenas skeleton day of the dead chairs puerto vallarta goths

At Plaza Lázaro Cárdenas in Zona Romantica, there are a variety of colorful seats… including this Dia de los Muerto themed one. We had to take a photo here at Golden Hour.

Find my Steeeveee Maddennnn shoeesss below (if you’ve seen Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll know what I mean).

gothic mexico puerto vallarta zona romantica heavy metal

Puerto Vallarta has quite the party scene, and would be a thrilling spot for Day of the Dead. (You can see how I celebrated Dia de los Muertos and Halloween in Mexico City and Merida, in my past Mexico posts here.)

 day of the dead chair halloween goth puerto vallarta

Although there weren’t any Goth clubs or events in Puerto Vallarta when we were there, I loved visiting El Colibri bar, which serves mezcal craft cocktails and has an alt / Gothic atmosphere.

satanic fashion clothing hannya japan folk demon kimonos

As The Collapse accelerates… Abysm Internal’s Gothic / devilish kimonos are a stylish way to keep cool and covered from the sun.

 beach sunset ocean puerto vallarta malecon

Mexico’s west coast has a dry heat and no mosquitoes (unlike in Riviera Maya / Tulum). It’s easy and inexpensive to get here from the North American west coast, making it a perfect winter getaway.

puerto vallarta offbeat alternative weird punk

Golden Hour at the beach by Zona Romantica. Take off your shoes, and have a “Gaywatch” moment.

looking out at sunset puerto vallarta mexico vacation

My Japanese demon kimono is the perfect Goth summer beach coverup.

puerto vallarta travel bloggers influencers creators tiktok

Been making it a habit to walk 10k steps a day and spend more time outdoors.

 goth gold jewelry snake ring bangle bracelets stack

Here is a video of my jewelry at sunset. Wearing a gold and diamond ouroboros ring by Ingrid Valou (stacked with my mom’s ruby/diamonds/gold1970s ring). The topaz and gold paper clip bracelet is from Anzie Jewelry (stacked with my mom’s 70s gold chain bracelet, and a Colombian emerald and blue diamond gold bangle I got in Medellin.)

 mezcal y sal restaurant puerto vallarta creative cocktails flowers molecular

We were all about the witchy molecular cocktails at Mezcal & Sal, in Zona. The drinks came with magical presentations like bubbles, slides, and drops.

puerto vallarta most creative restaurant hip menu mezcal and sal

Mezcal y Sal also puts a creative take on Mexican dishes — such as watermelon tiradito (that tastes like marinated tuna), and cactus mousse for dessert.

agave liquors craft artisan mezcal bottles puerto vallarta store

I’m on a mezcal kick, as it’s a pure alcohol. Visit Agave Liquors in Zona Romantica for a wide selection of artisanal mezcals. and also check out Vinos America (I got the Alipus San Andres there for 999 pesos). Stay out of the tourist stores, and make sure you purchase mezcal that is over 40% alcohol with no additives. I recommend getting a small-batch handcrafted Mexican mezcal for around 1000-1500 pesos.

strange funny art sculptures malecon puerto vallarta

Ran into a Dorito-faced cult leader on the Malecon. While Puerto Vallarta is a popular tourist destination, it doesn’t feel overly commercial or Americanized, especially if you avoid spring break and peak times.

 puerto vallarta seawall sculptures artwork

As you walk the seawall, you’ll come across weird sculptures, performance artists, and other inspiration.

 alien street performer scary halloween puerto vallarta

We dared to approach this Alien xenomorph… What a costume! I passed by an Edward Scissorhands as well.

puerto vallarta beaches views scenery

Loved being close to the water and birds in Mexico.

girl silhouette beach at night malecon mexico

The skies turn dramatic after sunset. (See my first Puerto Vallarta post for more recommendations.)

miffy mural puerto vallarta cute kawaii mexico

Leave it to me to find Miffy wherever I go… next to a UFO!

travel fashion influencers mexico styling travel outfits makeup hair

The Tarzan life in Puerto Vallarta suited me well, and I’d jump at the chance to go back (especially in the coldest months)!

For more of my food / beach / attraction tips, see my Instagram Guide to Puerto Vallarta here. And if you’d like anything from my personal wardrobe, take a look at my Depop @LaCarmina (I ship worldwide, and can do bundle discounts).

Finally, a reminder that I’ve been ramping up my social media content… Add @LaCarmina on Instagram and other social networks (YouTube, X as it’s now called) to see the latest updates, and learn where in the world I’ll be next!

Miffy cafe in Tokyo, Japan! Anpanman museum Yokohama, Shibuya Sky observation deck & Scramble street crossing.

Carmen Wong, real name La Carmina, pen name pseudonym what is lacarmina born birth legal name

Although I’ve been going to Japan since I was a child, there’s so much I have yet to explore. Case in point: I haven’t spent much time in Yohohama, the city located about 50 minutes south of Tokyo.

On my most recent trip with photographer Joey Wong, we went to investigate Yohohama’s cutest attractions — including the Miffy cafe (Dick Bruna Table)…

yokohama anpanman children's museum statue

and an Anpanman museum! Read on for the kawaii story, as well as a visit to Shibuya Sky (the relatively new observation deck) and evocative night-time shots of the famous Scramble crosswalk.

mr maria miffy cloud lamp japanese cafe design

The Miffy Cafe in Yokohama is called Dick Bruna Table, and it’s difficult to find even after asking around and using Google Maps… so give yourself plenty of time.

Access / Directions: You have to purchase a ticket to the subway or use your Suica pass, and beep to go inside the JR gates of Ekyutoedishon Yokohama, in order to access the Miffy theme cafe. In other words, it’s within the inner gates of Yokohama Station.

dick bruna table yokohama miffy theme cafe

Look who is here to greet visitors: my favorite cute character, Miffy the Dutch bunny! She’s the brainchild of Utrecht artist Dick Bruna, hence the name of the restaurant.

tokyo japan miffy themed restaurant store

Inside, you can shop for special items found only in Japan, and decorated with Dick Bruna’s minimalist bunny rabbit.

miffy dick bruna table cafe themed food

Miffy peers out from all over the themed cafe — including from the top shelf, next to the wine bottles. (Miffy is not only for kids — you can get buzzed at her theme restaurant in Japan.)

miffy restaurant cafe tokyo japan interior menu

The attention to detail is impeccable — check out the napkin and the peeking Miffy on the wall. I wore a black purse from the Miffy store for the occasion. (I got it at the Miffy Style boutique at Tokyo Character Street, see the post here.)

miffy themed food popsicles cake desserts

Love the presentation of the cheesecake popsicle! It comes with dabs of fruit sauces, and fresh whipped cream with mint.

miffy the bunny nijntje cafes kawaii

The other cute-faced character is Dick Bruna’s black bear.

japan kawaii mascot themed restaurants cafes miffy

This chocolate cake pop was as scrumptious as it looks — moist, and perfectly paired with raspberry sauce.

miffy lamps japan kawaii characters cafes

I’m happy to see that Miffy has conquered Japan (she has several shops and the Dick Bruna Table cafe). This cloud lamp is by my friends Mr Maria in the Netherlands (remember when I visited their studio?)

Yokohama Anpanman Children's Museum statues

Miffy isn’t the only round and kawaii mascot to dominate Yohohama, Kanagawa… Look at the height difference between me and this massive Anpanman statue!

kawaii instagram instagrammable tokyo locations characters

The red bean pastry superhero stands in front of Yohohama’s Anpanman Children’s Museum — a huge space to get immersed in the anime character’s world.

tokyo children museums kids anpanman mascot

The rainbow staircase and kawaii design are on point.

smiling anpanman face weird japan tokyo statues kawaii character

There are many other J-pop culture attractions in Yokohama such as Gundam Factory, Peanuts Diner and Snoopy Town shop, Cup Noodles museum, Red Brick Warehouse, Marui and Sogo department stores…

miffy purse bag clothing line japanese yohohama sky walk

It’s also fun to walk around the harbour area (there are various skywalks), stop for sushi, and take photos.

shibuya station busy pedestrians

From Yokohama, you can take the rapid express Tokyu Toyoko Line — and arrive in Shibuya in under an hour. Here’s the scene at the iconic Shibuya subway station, where Hachiko the dog statue sits.

shibuya sky observation deck carmen wong

Photographer Joey Wong and I went up to Shibuya Sky, the360° open-air observation deck located about 230 meters above the ground.

shibuya sky visiting instagram girl traveler

Shibuya Sky lets you look out from the roof of the Shibuya Scramble Square skyscraper. It was raining that day, so we looked out from the big windows that circle around indoors.

tickets shibuya sky fast pass

Joey Wong took these remarkable long exposure photos from up above, showcasing the energy and neon lights of Shibuya.

shibuya street scenes life photography

We then walked around Shibuya — one of our favorite Tokyo districts for fashion, pop culture, food, and fun.

tokyo japan vendor booth

On his Nikon mirrorless camera, Joey Wong captured slices of life in Shibuya.

shibuya 109 boys street style fashion men

Quite a few Shibuya boys in punky street style gathered around the Shibuya station entrance, handing out flyers.

shibuya tokyo dslr night photography

The noises, lights…. you have to be there yourself to experience Shibuya!

shibuya street style couples fashion

Many young people come here to dine and shop (I’ll take you inside the newly renovated Parco Department Store in an upcoming post).

new shibuya 109 logo sign department store

I always stop by Shibuya 109, the youth / street style department store. The building features the new 109 logo design.

shibuya 109 youth trend mall japanese schoolgirls uniforms

One thing has not changed since Shibuya 109 opened in 1979.. Japanese schoolgirls love hanging out here! The mall is full of fashion boutiques blasting music, and there are purikura booths on the top floor.

shibuya observation points decks

Shibuya never sleeps — many place are open 24 hours.

japan cosplayers maids fashion shibuya

You’ll still see Lolita-ish style in Shibuya. These ladies gathered by Toho Cinemas.

shibuya jr train subway lines carmen wong real name la carmina

Joey Wong’s long exposure turns the trains into zip of lights.

tokyo stylish chic school uniforms plaid skirts girls

The award for most stylish school uniforms goes to Japanese schoolgirls, of course.

shibuya scramble famous busy crossing walk

A lens flare at the famous Shibuya Crossing, which is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. The lights stop entirely, and hundreds of people walk across in every direction.

japan busiest crosswalk shibuya station

No wonder it’s called Shibuya Scramble Crossing… the feeling is one of controlled chaos!

rilakkuma netflix show japan billboard sign

Above the cross-walk, you’ll be bombarded by flickering billboards and colorful signs — like one advertising the Rilakkuma bear streaming show!

shibuya scramble crossing bird's eye view street cross walk

Shibuya scramble / crossing features in many TV shows and films, such as Alice in Borderland on Netflix.

shibuya neon signs buildings billboards view city skyscrapers

Have you been to Shibuya or Yohohama? I hope these images convey the magic of being here — and I can’t wait to go back!