Bargain L.A. weekend

Get ideas for your next trip from this three-day weekend filled with shopping, a star, and a (brief) TV appearance

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Chinatown and Pasadena

Jen and I head to Chinatown: Along brightly decorated Gin Ling Way, Munky King has anime figures and digital devices, Realm has nice inexpensive dishware, and K&A has deals on jewelry, bags, and art.

Day 3: Chinatown and Pasadena's Craftsman landmark

For dim sum at the Empress Pavilion, Jen flags down women zipping by with carts, and our table fills with steamed ginger-chicken buns, sesame rolls, and broccoli with oyster sauce.

My flight's in a few hours, but there's one last place calling. Since buying a modest Craftsman bungalow two years ago, I've wanted to see the Gamble House, a gorgeous Greene and Greene landmark in Pasadena.

A one-hour guided tour reveals its many artful features, from a glowing leaded-glass front door to an elaborate teak staircase to tiny carved details on custom furniture.

I begin to leave, looking forward to our delicious and well-priced lunch at Father Nature's Lavash Wraps, when Jen cries out, shocked: "What are you doing?! We still have to check out the gift shop!"

I sigh and turn around. After all, she is, and always will be, my big sister.

The tab: Day 3

Two nights at Farmer's Daughter Hotel, including tax and $5 housekeeping tip $248.62

Chinatown browsing FREE

Dim sum at Empress Pavilion $34.85

Gamble House tour $16

Wraps and Greek salad at Father Nature's Lavash Wraps $15.80

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