Food Travel Videos

Desert Diary | RiSE Festival 2015

I wanted to celebrate my birthday a little differently this year, so Cheuk and I booked tickets to the RiSE Festival held in the middle of the Mojave desert. We spent most of our short weekend together exploring through downtown Las Vegas, a different side of the city I haven’t seen before. It reminded me of Austin, where the streets are lined with color murals and so much personality. 

We landed in Las Vegas pretty late in the evening on Friday so after picking up our rental car, we drove straight to the nearest Vietnamese restaurant and called it a night. On Saturday, we met up with our friend Ana and Trevor for brunch at eat. as Las Vegas was their last stop of a week-long southwest adventure. I ordered the corned beef hash (pictured below) which was just delicious, served in the perfect portion and a freshly brewed hibiscus iced tea.

After brunch, Cheuk and I drove a short distance to check out Gold & Silver Pawn Shop; you may recognize this if you’re a fan of History channel’s Pawn Stars. Then we made our way to downtown Las Vegas which was a miniature version of The Strip minus the luxury but still extravagant complete with a zip-line ride stretching across multiple streets. 

rise-festival-1 rise-festival-2

That evening, we headed over to the Moapa Indian Reservation for the RiSE Festival. We spent an ungodly amount of time waiting in line for our hotdogs topped with BBQ pulled pork and nachos. Finally, we a hotdog in one hand and a cold cup of beer in the other, we made our way to Section D to watch a performance by Magic Giant and chow down.

All 14,000 people at the festival released our first lanterns in unison and it was such a beautiful experience, I don’t think I’ll ever forget how I felt in that moment. We were encouraged to write a message on our lanterns of our hopes, dreams and wishes. My favorite part of the experience was seeing all the lanterns make their way up to the sky, strangers banded together without hesitation to help each other. Even the burnt lanterns with holes eventually made its way up to the rest of the flickering lights with a little extra push. It was a beautiful metaphor for life that I realized at the moment. 

Sometimes we give up so easily when things get hard or forsake our dreams because the road to achieving it becomes muddy. However, with perseverance, positivity and hard-work we can reaching our goals even if it doesn’t seem possible in the moment.

rise-festival-3 rise-festival-4 rise-festival-5 rise-festival-7 rise-festival-8 rise-festival-9 rise-festival-10 rise-festival-11 rise-festival-12 rise-festival-13

Our short and sweet weekend came to an end on Sunday, we stopped by Makers & Finders for some latin comfort food and specialty lattes. I ordered the iced lavender latte crafted with house-made lavender syrup and an omelette with kale and chorizo with  a side of plantain chips. Cheuk ordered his usual iced chai latte which tasted a lot like horchata and the latin hash served on a small skillet, we topped off the order with a latin poutine to share!

rise-festival-14 rise-festival-15 rise-festival-16 rise-festival-17

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    October 19, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    AHHH it all looks so beautiful! I hope to go someday too!

    • Reply
      October 25, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      The tickets went on sale mid-June last year, I’ll be keeping an eye out ;)

  • Reply
    My Linh
    October 20, 2015 at 3:02 PM

    OMyGah – so jealous! It’s been on my bucket list! Your pictures capture it so beautifully. :)

    • Reply
      October 25, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      Thank you My-Linh!

    Leave a Reply