first half 2013 photo dump

With half the year behind me, it’s about that time for a photo dump! I know that’s what Instagram is for but most of the time I don’t think about sharing pics right away so… here they are now, heh.

After we went to Portland and had the fish sauce wings at Pok Pok, I asked Rob to try making them one night and he obliged.

They don’t look pretty but they were OHSOGOOD. Recipe here.

I also made mango sticky rice for dessert a few times — it’s one of my favorite desserts and so easy to make too. Recipe here.

I’ve never been a huge burger fan (though I do LOVE Shake Shack) but on a business trip to San Francisco, I got the chance to try Super Duper Burger. YUMMY!

At our local mall, a new pizza place opened called Pieology. For only $7.50, you get an oversized personal thin crust pizza that you can customize with as many toppings as you like. They also have this amazing herb butter that they spread over the dough before it bakes. WOW. IT’S AWESOME.

Finally tried the shaved ice/frozen yogurt combo at Milk & Honey. Gawd, I love dessert.

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NY/DC Trip Report: FOOD!

Final post on our trip to NY/DC! If you don’t like pictures of food, I suggest skipping this entry. Or if pictures of food make you hungry, maybe come back later. :) Here’s a random pic of us at Times Square while you decide…



You still here? OK!

So in planning, there were specific food experiences we wanted to have. Like a classic NY bagel. A NY pizza. Street meat. One great table service dinner. And so on.

We had a couple of misses — for us anyway — Norma’s and Burger Joint (both at our hotel Le Parker Meridien). But for the most part everything we tried was memorable if not AMAZING. Interestingly enough, our best meals in DC happened to be quintessential NY. I guess we’ll have to go back to DC to get a taste for their local cuisine someday. :)

Beware lots of food pics…

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good eats + photo dump

I love randomly taking photos when I’m out and about. Mostly of my food. I’m weird like that. But then I end up with all these photos that I don’t know what to do with. So they’re going here on my blog…



When I traveled to San Francisco for work back in May, I took the opportunity to order room service at my hotel. It was a Kobe beef burger and fries from the hotel’s restaurant, Grand Cafe. There’s something about room service that makes me feel so indulgent.



Since BFF’s wedding was up in Santa Monica, Rob & I decided to take a few extra days off from work and stay in the area. We’ve been wanting to check out Umami Burger (saw a feature about it on the Food Network)… so we did! AND IT WAS SO YUM. We went with some friends so we got to sample the Umami, Manly, and SoCal burgers. My favorite was the SoCal. It had some sort of spread or dressing that was DELICIOUS. Guh. I want to go baaaack.



For brunch, my LA expert (Carms) recommended Huckleberry. We tried the fried egg sandwich and the Niman Ranch brisket hash. So good! Seriously, I think I need to plan a staycation/foodie weekend in LA someday.



The last foodie-ish thing we did in Santa Monica was go to Happy Hour at a bar (the name of it escapes me) that serves chicken and waffle SLIDERS. Sadly, they were average at best but I’ve never seen them in slider form before so they get points for that I guess.



Rob & I are food truck fans. We’re also fans of hot dogs with Japanese toppings like the ones we had at Japadog in Vancouver. So when we heard about Dogzilla, a food truck with similar hot dogs roaming around Orange County, we decided to check it out. Luckily there was a stop in Irvine a few weeks back and off we went. The BEST part is that it was at an elementary school open house. LOLARIOUS. And no, we were not the only people there without kids. Heh. All that said, it was AMAZING.



On Memorial Day, we had some friends over for a little barbecue. Hot links and sliders, oh my!



Last week we went to see The Hangover 2 (not as funny as the first) and before the movie we stopped at Bruxie in Old Towne Orange to try their waffle sandwiches. I wanted to save room for movie popcorn so we split a chicken and waffle sandwich (can you tell we really like chicken and waffles?!). SO GOOD. Only bad thing is that they don’t offer gravy. What’s that about?



So to temper all these foodie pics, Diesel wants to show you all his haircut. Above is before when he was all shaggy.



And here he is after!

I think that’s enough pictures for now. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :)

kogi bbq on cinco de mayo

First up… Happy Birthday Jimmy (aka roomie)!

Yesterday Rob and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo by checking out the famous LA Kogi BBQ truck. Seriously, it’s famous — even the NY Times has written about it! The heart of Kogi are their Korean-style tacos and burritos served with your choice of short ribs, spicy pork, chicken, or even tofu. The meat is covered with shredded cabbage and a chili salsa and cilantro-lime relish. Mmmm.

So the trucks are finally making their way down to Orange County and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out. I found out from their Twitter that one of the trucks was scheduled to be in Fullerton from 7pm – 10pm so armed with the knowledge that the line starts early and gets looooong, we left Irvine at 5:30. !!! We got there at 6:15 and there were 3 people in line. We killed about 20 minutes at the nearby Sports Authority then headed back. In that short amount of time, an actual line had started to form and we were about 20th in line. Not so bad. The truck arrived 10 minutes early and proceeded to park in the back parking lot. Uhhh… at first there was some confusion. Do we turn around? What about our places in line?! But everyone was feeling the Kogi love — and once we all turned around to walk to the truck, we got right back into the same order we started in.

It took longer than normal for the truck to get prepped and the grill to get going (the truck manager came out a few times to apologize and thank everyone for coming out) so they started taking orders at about 7:15 and the food started coming out about 5 minutes after that. We finally got our hands on all our grub at 7:45. Mmmm. A few pics…



Rob took this pic of me standing in line. You can BARELY see me. I’m wearing a black hoodie.



THE MENU.



Rob placing our order. !!! We ordered the following:

7 short rib tacos
3 spicy pork tacos
2 chicken tacos
1 short rib burrito
1 kimchi quesadilla

NO, all that food was NOT just for the two of us. Though that would be really funny if it was. We were ordering for 5 and bringing it all to a friend’s place.



And finally Rob posing with the Kogi truck. Hee.

I AM LAME and totally forgot to take pictures of the food before we devoured it. ARGH. Sorry. If you’re curious, the yumminess can be seen here on Kogi’s site and here on Yelp. Beware — don’t look at the pics on an empty stomach!

For the record, my favorites were the short rib taco and kimchi quesadilla. I had a couple of bites of the short rib burrito (which has scrambled eggs and hash browns in addition to the salsa and relish) and I’m totally getting that next time. YUMMERS.

moving update

Moving day is coming up so FAST! We still have so much packing to do! ACK. The movers are set to pick up our stuff on Wednesday and we’re going to drive down to Orange County on Thursday morning. CRAZY. I really can’t believe it’s almost here. It doesn’t seem real somehow. A lot of people are asking if I’m more excited or sad. Definitely both. In equal amounts. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for almost 12 years — since I was 17. So my “adult” life is rooted here but Southern CA will always be “home.”

So I haven’t mentioned it here because I was waiting for official confirmation and I got it on Friday… my company is letting me keep my job and work remotely from home! YAY. When I gave notice back in December, I mentioned to my boss that I would be interested in working from home if she was willing to try it out. She sent a recommendation to corporate weeks ago and they finally approved it. :D Right in the nick of time since my last day in the office is tomorrow (Tuesday). I’m so relieved I don’t have to look for a job! Phew. Plus, I can wear jeans every day. WOOT. It’s always the little things that make me so happy.

Anyway, Rob and I have been plugging away at our “To Do” list and as expected, we have hit all the foodie items. :D OINK OINK. Here’s what we managed to do:

1. Have the BEST RAMEN EVER at Santa Ramen. CHECK!
2. Have 1 really nice (but not necessarily expensive) dinner in San Francisco. CHECK!
We went to Michael Mina this past Saturday night and it was amazing. I was too chicken to take pictures (hee!) so here’s a rundown of our meal (we both got the 3 course dinner):
Appetizers – Ahi Tuna Tartare (mmm, melt in your mouth good) and the Trio of Dungeness Crab
Entrees – Maine Lobster Pot Pie (this was mine and it was so good I wanted to lick the plate) and the Trio of Brandt Farm Beef
Desserts – I opted for the Trio of Chocolate (the white chocolate panna cotta was the only memorable item) and Rob picked the Root Beer Float (awww)
3. Have ice cream at Sketch. CHECK!
4. Walk around 4th Street in Berkeley. CHECK!
5. Have the most AMAZING chicken and waffles breakfast at 900 Grayson. CHECK!
6. Visit the UC Berkeley campus, look at the view of the Bay from the top of the Campanile, and purchase as much school paraphernalia as possible. CHECK! And I have pictures too!


The Campanile!

It was pretty hazy so we couldn’t really see across the Bay but we could see the “Big C!”

US. :D

Finally, last weekend Rob and I were treated to our very own farewell BBQ. Thanks to Jimmy, Eleen (happy anniversary to you two!), Victor and Susie for organizing and hosting! We will miss all of you very much! *sniff*

christmas meme 2008

Hope all who celebrate had a fabulous Thanksgiving! I know I did. We had a low key day in the city — first lunch at Victor and Susie’s (Rob’s brother and sister-in-law) and then for dinner we all headed over to the Laos for a huge FEAST. Turkey, corn pudding, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin pie… OMG. ITWASSOGOOD.

Some other good things I did this weekend:
— Went to the Social Security office to officially change my name. CRAZINESS. But now I get to practice my new signature! It’s the little things…
— Hit the Black Friday sales. Wasn’t looking for anything in particular. Just wanted to check out the deals. Bought a bunch of DVDs for Christmas presents. And for myself too. Couldn’t help it!
— Went to Bakesale Betty’s in Oakland and picked up a chicken pot pie and strawberry shortcake for Friday dinner. SOYUMMY. The fried chicken sandwich (you can get it in salad form too) is awesome too. Check it out. Seriously.
— Walked Diesel around Fourth Street in Berkeley. Had the most amazing Meyer Lemon sorbet at Sketch. And visited my little slice of paper heaven, Paper Source.
— Made holiday sugar cookies with Rob.
— Bought and decorated our Christmas tree. Pictures to come.

Since I’m in the holiday spirit, I’m going to do this Christmas meme I found…
Welcome to the Christmas Edition of getting to know your friends!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
WRAPPING PAPER! By far. Part of the fun is actually wrapping the presents and then embellishing them with bows, ribbons, tags, etc.
2. Real tree or Artificial?
Real. I just love the smell of a real tree. Plus, the whole process of going out and picking the perfect tree is one of my favorite things to do.
3. When do you put up the tree?
The day after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take your tree down?
I try to take it down the first weekend in January… but sometimes it’s later because I’m lazy.
5. Do you like egg nog?
No, although I am a little intrigued by the eggnog latte at Starbucks.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I feel like I always have a different answer for these types of questions because I have a terrible memory. I think it would probably be the Barbie dream house I got from my aunt when I was really young. Maybe 6?
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
No. We don’t have anywhere to put it even if we had one. My dad has one, though, and he always waits for me to come home on Christmas Eve so I can set it up for him.
8. Hardest person to buy for?
My dad. He’s one of those people who has everything he needs. And is super picky.
9. Easiest person to buy for?
My friends Robyn and Carmen because we send each other wishlists every year. So easy! I don’t have to guess and I know they’ll like anything I get.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail! I love getting letters in the mail and I love passing that feeling on to others.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Nothing really comes to mind… maybe clothes that weren’t my style or didn’t fit?
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
ELF! It’s the best!
13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No.
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Arrozcaldo. Basically rice porridge. YUM. My family has it every year on Christmas Eve. We eat it a few hours after dinner while we’re waiting to open presents.
15. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Clear/white.
16. Favorite Christmas song?
Classic – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (pretty much any version). Pop – *NSync’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” Hee.
17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
My dad and Rob’s parents all live in Southern CA so we always drive down there to spend the holidays with them.
18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Nope, probably not. :P
19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Both! My family opens presents on Christmas Eve (we’re not a very patient bunch) and Rob’s family opens presents on Christmas morning.
20. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The (rude) crowds. Too many people out and about grumbling about buying presents.
21. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I have a gold theme on the tree as I do every year.
22. What do you want for Christmas this year?
For Rob to take me to Disneyland! :D
23. Who is most likely to post?
Sarah probably. I think she just might love Christmas more than I do!

That was fun. :) Happy December everyone!

yay bday

YAY Birthday!

Too bad I’m sick. I have a cold. And a runny nose. Not the greatest way to spend my birthday. Oh well.

At least I have lots of CUPCAKES to make me feel better. :D



One of my managers made chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting for me. They were so yummy. We enjoyed these at work yesterday after an unexpected birthday lunch at One Market Restaurant.



Then I got home to find that Rob went to SPRINKLES! in Palo Alto to get my favorite red velvet cupcake along with some other flavors to try. SO YUM YUM YUMMY. Their Red Velvet is the BEST light chocolate cake with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. Black and White (dark chocolate cake with vanilla frosting) is a solid classic, Chocolate Marshmallow is a unique treat (dark chocolate cake with marshmallow cream topped with chocolate ganache), and the Strawberry (strawberry cake with strawberry frosting) just might be a new favorite. MMMM. (Don’t worry — Rob and I split these cupcakes. I admit I’m a piggy but I do exercise restraint sometimes).



Rob even picked up a couple of doggie cupcakes for Diesel — carob and yogurt flavored. He totally went crazy over these.



Rob *also* surprised me with the metallic rose Nintendo DS. (Please excuse my crazy face and the laundry behind me — how embarassing). The only game I have right now is Mario Kart and it’s THE BEST.



Didn’t do anything at all today since I wasn’t feeling up to it but I managed to get myself together to have a low key birthday dinner at Santa Ramen, my favorite Japanese ramen house across the bay. Soup was a good choice for this little sicky.



Then we headed to San Carlos and the newest Bay Area Red Mango location. I know it’s a trend but I seriously LOVE LOVE LOVE tart frozen yogurt. And Red Mango’s yogurt is pretty awesome. It’s nice and creamy with a really subtle tart flavor. I do wish it was slightly more tart than it was (like Pinkberry) but overall, it was excellent. Rob and I got our usual Original flavor yogurt with strawberries, captain crunch, and mochi toppings.

It was a good day. Despire being sick and all. :)

Random. I cannot send or receive text messages on my cell phone. UGH. I think it stopped working about 4 weeks ago when I went into the AT&T store and had my SIM card replaced. GREAT. I cannot wait to get on the phone and deal with AT&T on this. They are SO HELPFUL. Umm, NOT.

ramen and movies

Again I wrote a post that I forgot to publish… oy vey.

I am *so* not a Monday person. I just LOATHE waking up knowing the weekend is over and I have to go back to work. UGH.

Had a good weekend… on Saturday morning, Rob and I had THE BEST ramen EVER. We went over to Santa Ramen in San Mateo. Yes, all the way on the other side of the Bay. It was SO worth it. The portion size was ginormous and I ate every last bit of it. I wish I had pictures to share so you could all see the size of the bowl I consumed. Unfortunately, we were sitting at a cramped 2-person table with 2 other couples sitting on either side of us so I did not feel comfortable whipping out the camera, hehe.

We also watched a few movies…
21
We actually went to the theatre! :D But only because we had free passes and a gift card so we totally splurged on Coke and popcorn. Awesome. As for the movie, I really enjoyed it! It established the characters and motivations at the start, got to the “action” quickly, and was entertaining all at the same time. Kevin Spacey was amazing as he always is but I wasn’t that impressed with either Jim Sturgess or Kate Bosworth as the main characters. Aaron Yoo as Choi was hilarious, though. Gotta love those Asian sidekicks. I also loved the contrast between Las Vegas and Boston — Vegas was all bright lights and glamour while Boston was gray and drab. It’s kind of an obvious distinction but it created a feel of heightened excitement every time they were in Vegas. The story did get a little complicated towards the end and I do not understand how to count cards but I’d still recommend it. :)

I Am Legend
Good movie but I got a little bored. :/ And I like Will Smith! One thing I want to mention — it felt like the movie got to the present without really explaining what happened to Robert Neville in the time since the quarantine. I didn’t realize this until just now, though, so it obviously didn’t affect my viewing at the time. Recommended.

The Game Plan
Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy movie. :D But then I’m a HUGE fan of Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. (Rob used to watch wrestling religiously — that’s when I discovered the greatness that is The Rock). It was the typical “guy discovers daughter he never knew he had and his whole life changes” story. But I liked it (I think Rob rolled his eyes throughout most of the movie and proceeded to fall asleep at the end) and recommend it.

back from vegas

I meant to post this days ago. OOPS.

I got back from Las Vegas on Sunday. And I totally sat at work on Monday doing nothing. Shhh. Don’t tell on me. I was TIRED.

I had a good time. And I’m not even that big of a Vegas person. :D Here’s a quick rundown of the weekend…

So my friend (and bridesmaid!) Ruby wanted to surprise her boyfriend Jason (also my good friend and colleague — I used to be his assistant and now he’s my sales rep) with a birthday trip to Vegas with friends. Rob and I arrived on Friday night (after a short delay in Oakland, of course) and after a quick change of clothes, we headed off to the Mandalay Bay to meet up with our friends to surprise the birthday boy. We were supposed to meet outside of the Orchid Lounge, which is where Ruby and Jason were having drinks. As we approached, Ruby happened to be looking in our direction and what did I do — I WAVED. OMG. I’m such a moron. Luckily, Jason was looking down and didn’t see me. Phew. Once all of us were gathered, we walked in and practically jumped all over the poor guy. :D After a few hours of talking and drinking (only half an Amaretto Sour for me), we went over to the Rum Jungle for more drinking (not me) and dancing (yay).

Here I am with Ruby and Jason…



And here’s the group taking shots…



Sadly, the DJ at Rum Jungle was terrible. So there was not much dancing. We finally dispersed at 3am. EEEK. It was rough getting up the next day. I am too old to be staying out that late. :/

Didn’t do much on Saturday (poor Jason had a *little* too much to drink so he was out of commission for most of the day) but I did get to check out the Wynn. I haven’t been to Vegas since it opened a few years back and wow, the lobby and the shopping esplanade are gorgeous. The casino, though, looks just like every other casino on the strip. While we were there, I dragged Rob to the Manolo Blahnik store (later I even dragged Ruby into the Jimmy Choo store at Caesar’s Palace) — all in the name of “research” for my wedding shoes. A girl can dream, right? :D

We went to Aquanox at the Venetian for dinner. YUM-O. I had the filet mignon at a seafood restaurant. Hee. Afterwards, the guys headed off to the blackjack tables and Ruby and I took advantage of the free drink service (just cokes for me). Aaannnd that was our weekend. We hopped on a flight back to Oakland early on Sunday morning and took a nap as soon as we got home.

Good times. :)

In fandom news, has anyone heard/read the casting news for Prison Break season 4? WHAT THE HELL. TV Guide’s Ausiello has an interview with the executive producer if you want to read all about it. I think I might start watching again.

5 months to go

So… the wedding is in 5 months. !!! I’m not freaking out. Yet. :D We’ve actually been making some good progress in the past month. Let’s see, we’ve…

— Booked the videographer
— Reserved a suite at the Fairmont for “getting ready” with my bridesmaids (squee, girly fun!) and for the night of the wedding
— Booked my hair and makeup artist
— Ordered bridesmaids dresses from Jenny Yoo. They’re a lovely pink color in silk shantung fabric. My Maid of Honor and I narrowed the choices down to 3 styles and each girl chose their own dress. See how pretty!



 

— Ordered and mailed out our Save the Date postcards!



— And lastly, we’ve ordered our invitations… they’re set to arrive in a month. I don’t think I can wait. I loooove staring at them… all metallic and shiny. Is it possible to be in love with stationery? Cause I totally am. :D

In non-wedding news, I totally failed at my Lenten sacrifice this weekend because I ate ice cream both days. OOPS. It was totally worth it, though. :/ Just LOOK!



Yesterday, Rob, Diesel and I went to 4th Street in Berkeley. I wanted to go over to my little slice of heaven, aka Paper Source, to get some inspiration for miscellaneous paper projects I have planned for the wedding. Weelll, no trip to 4th Street is complete without a stop at Sketch. The owners, Ruthie and Eric, were former pastry chefs at Aqua. They use produce/fruits that are in season so everything is packed with flavor but never too heavy or too rich. It’s just perfect. I had the Strauss plain yogurt with cocoa nib topping (on the left) and Rob had the Cocoa Nib. Mmmm. I’m drooling right now thinking about it. We’ve also tried Earl Grey (sounds weird but it’s incredible), Raspberry sorbet (a bit tart but yummy), and Burnt Caramel (*drool*).



Today’s stop on the East Bay ice cream tour was Ici, also in Berkeley. This store was opened by Mary, a former pastry chef from Chez Panisse… I think I like this trend of pastry chefs leaving top restaurants if it means MORE ICE CREAM STORES! Rob and I waited a little over half an hour to get our ice cream but boy, was it WORTH IT. YUM-O. My treat (pictured above) was the Meyer Lemon (so light, so refreshing) and Chocolate Chip with a hand-rolled cone (the cone was so good and it had a chocolate tip!). Rob had the Chocolate Chip and Milk Chocolate Almond, which was also pretty spectacular. I can’t wait to go back and try some of the other flavors, like Ginger, Honey Lemon, Coconut Sorbet, etc.

Diet? What diet? Heh. OOPS.