Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday (out)

It was a long day today, but we ended the night just right
with Southern fried chicken.
Yes. I really am ALL about food.

First stop of the day: 4th St. in Berkeley for Mexican
(Warned you didn't I?)

Chorizo w/ eggs and Taco Pescado (fish)
I realized today how I suck at ordering Mexican food.
Gimme a French menu & I'm cool, but Mexican?
I'm sorry, but I meant to get that other cheesy stuff
The bf had to correct my order 2x

The rest of the day was spent outlet shopping to get "golf stuff"
We went to REI/Northface/Vacaville
and I ended up with 4 J.Crew tank tops in diff colors

The total number of ribbed tanks a bumblebee needs:
this + 6 more in the laundry + the 1 I was wearing
Diff colors, same colors, with ribbons, without, embellished, striped
I'm a tank whore

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday night (in)

The night's warm in SF, so we stayed home and grilled some Niman Ranch pork fillets. What comes after dinner? Dessert of course. It's obvious I'm still stuck in my cupcake mode. Livie was the one who first inspired me with her lovely green tea and lemon meringue cupcakes. Then we had to go to Sprinkles, which I still think is so-so, but that pretty much got me going. Somehow it created an insatiable urge to find the most fabulous cupcake recipe. To one-up Sprinkles Cupcakes??! I'm crazy. I know. But this phase shall past, like all others.

I adapted this recipe from the Weekly Dish's Lemon Sunshine Cupcakes (by Jennifer). The only thing I did different was make my own buttermilk icing and replace lemon zest with lemon oil (just didn't feel like bits of stuff in my cupcakes today). They turned out perfect with lemon curd seeped into the center part making it sticky and surprising just as Jennifer described. The buttermilk icing dripped around the sides adding an extra (gooey) touch. Yum. This is by far my next fav cupcake recipe.

Fresh out of the oven (OOTO)

The bf did all the work here
I helped eat
(and make dessert of course)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Spreading the love

As a result of my recent baking frenzy, we now have batches of goodies we simply can’t eat (anymore) lined with parchment paper and gently stored in stackable tupperwares. So what do I do about this? I spread the love.

Last night I dropped off some green tea cupcakes at my neighbor’s and being the generous Napa wine seller she is, Candice gave me 2 bottles of Californian wine. Mmm! As we gossiped about our landlord, her best friend (my other neighbor) sprung me an offer albeit tipsy with wine, to bake batches of goodies for her wedding in August! Double mmm! This would be my first gig if it does indeed happen. Surprised and slightly taken aback, I (sensibly) said “Why don’t you try this first and we’ll talk about it later?”

This morning, I shared more cakes and cookies with a few homeless dudes on the street. I may be stingy with my change (I'm saving it for laundry man!) but if you’re hungry I have dessert. At work, I handed out cupcakes like Santa-gone-nuts but inevitably got the usual suspicious “Are you trying to make me fat??!” sneer. Sigh. Love can be so misunderstood.

So I held off on passing out goodies at work, and let the bf play Santa on his turf. Btw, his coworkers are the best people to bake for. They’re appreciative, give GREAT feedback (“Maybe sweeter’s better,” “How bout adding cinnamon?” “Will you bake me a chicken?”) and love eating in general. After all where's the fun in sharing goodies with people who pick at their food right?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Green tea delicacies

I’ve been in a baking frenzy. My last few credit card charges were baking-related. Pastry flour, vanilla pods, almond extract, spatulas, tart pans. Great thing is, it’s worth every penny.

The latest: green tea cupcakes

Frosting cupcake's really fun
Of course, I couldn't resist eating 1 as I did

The raspberry topping was inspired
by Joycelyn from Kuidaore's matcha tart

Light cream cheese frosting
completes this treat

Next stop: Bristol Farms for shredded coconut. More frosted cupcakes coming up!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dinner at Hyde St Bistro

Dinner out on a Monday night = fun

Dinner out on a Monday night + Hyde St Bistro = fun and yummy

Dinner out on a Monday night + Hyde St Bistro + the ladies = SUPER fun and yummy

It was lovely catching up with Rachel, Laura and Melissa over dinner last night. Bubbly with champagne cocktails and rustic French food, we talked about everything that happened over the past few (lost) months. It was then that I realized how we all live in the same city, do a lot of the same stuff, go to the same places and yet hardly see one other. Somehow it's (too) easy to get lost in your own life forgetting the people around you. I’m just glad we caught up, and can’t wait for the next time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Scary going-ons

Last night, the 80th episode of Soprano’s The Final Episodes aired. As I watched the scene where the enraged teenage Asian guy beat the crap out of Junior, I freaked. Maybe it’s because of the recent shootings at Virginia Tech. Somehow the usual act (no pun intended) of violence seemed - elevated. Coming from a country where corruption and crime rate is fairly high (I can’t deny it until the day something’s done about it) I shouldn’t be as shocked by what happened, but of course like many others, I was. My first thought was of the victims. What lives did they leave behind? What have they yet to achieve? Were they much younger/older than I am? What were they thinking right before it happened?

Contrary to the emotions that filled my mind, the more practical bf made a powerful point illustrating the gargantuan spillover of this unfortunate event:

What’s going to happen to the college? Why will kids want to go to school there anymore? Why would PARENTS want their kids to go to school there anymore? No professor’s going to want to teach there. The campus will be vacant forever and ALL the money donated to the school for its buildings over they years; it's all gone to waste. The school name is tainted. Just like that.

How painfully true.

I don’t watch the news anymore. Years at BU’s College of Communications has taught me that the spin on news is too immeasurable to ignore. As I get older, I notice how the same things get shown over and over again with the intent of, to put it bluntly, brainwashing viewers. Like with advertising, as much as we think we’re not influenced by it, we are. You can deny it all you want but you picked Citizens of Humanity for a reason, and I can tell you it’s not the quality of the denim. With good intent to sell or inform, advertising is harmless compared to the news. People need information to make choices.

Conversely when it comes to broadcasting news of death, accidents, outbreaks, natural disasters and politics, these catastrophes (latter mention included) can be pieced together to come off a certain way. And these “news” are not of designer jeans, detergent or cell phone services. They’re real going-ons.

Point made here is that there are disasters everywhere. Some worse than others. Some we get to see and some we don’t. So it’s time to turn off the tube and give your head a rest. The shooter guy is gone, and his horrible doings stay with us. There’s nothing we can do about it but learn and go on with our lives.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rainy day cookin'

This past rainy weekend was spent at home watching Food Network, cooking, cooking and cooking.

Saturday menu:
Herb garlic bread
Chicken ragu with spaghetti

Sunday menu:
Rotisserie chicken tomato-based vegetable soup with Orzo
Lemon bars

Lemon curd

These were sooo good straight out of the oven
8 cloves of garlic, 1 stick of butter,
& large handfuls of Italian parsley/chives

Chicken ragu the bf helped make
A dash of parmesan
& rosemary adds a nice touch

Didn't know what to do with leftover rotisserie chicken
so I made broth from the bones
& ended up with a tomato-based soup with orzo (pasta)

Liv gave me a bagful of lemons from her backyard
They were so sweet I had to resist
eating them just like that
In the end, I did the right thing & made lemon bars instead

Leftover lemons prompted the idea of
lemon curd

Now who said staying in wasn't fun?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Gym mania

With our recent indulgences, there’s really no excuse to skimp on exercise. Today we went to the gym at 8PM expecting to leave by 10. By 9PM, having done some sit-ups and weights, I noticed the gym lights dimming. Tickled by the thought that no one was around (it was after all a Saturday night) I danced by myself in the weight room humming loudly to Sinatra.

As I reached the shower, which I LOVE btw (no gym has a bathroom as warm and inviting as the Bay Club’s), I heard a chiding voice, “HEY! We close at 9!” To which I responded with an “Oops.” Then softly and almost scared, I muttered, “I think the bf’s still here.”

“Was he swimming??!”
“I already told him to get out. We close at 9”
“Ok” – obediently
“Hey Paolo, go upstairs and tell him we’re closing!!!”
“Can I just rinse off in the shower? I promise it won’t take more than 2 minutes”
“NO!! I wanna get outta here man”
“Ok. Ok.”

So I spent the next 15 mins waiting for the bf, sweaty and feeling slightly like a reprimanded school girl. Despite this experience I can’t help but think how much I like this gym. I’ve been enticed by others due to super-nice trainers (ask for Laura if you go to Equinox) and merely location (downtown close to work). But here, I just love how I can lay in the eucalyptus-misted steam room, watch the tube as I do cardio, do yoga at my own pace in the “Mind and Body” rooms, use as many towels as I want not having to think about laundry and MOST importantly frolic around naked in the bathroom with mirrors left and right. I admit. I’m a nudist at heart.

The only problem is, with every trip I make to the gym I end up eating more and more each time. It’s ridiculous. People at work say “You’re burning fat, so you need to eat to refuel energy.” I refuse! There’s got to be a way to control my uncontrollable appetite cause unlike Livie, my tum tum can’t get any bigger.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

1 ½ days and 8 eateries in LA: Part II

Driving down the Highway 5 to LA somewhere between
Bakersfield and Pasadena, the bf and I had to endure 2 whole minutes of unspeakable stench. Throughout the dark merciless journey, we did the following:

- Went at 110mph

- Held our breaths

- Failed miserably

- Played a game of “Guess what this smell is”

A. Garlic farm

B. Sewage farm

C. Endless junkyard

Not surprisingly, we found out on our drive back that it was none other than…

…a COW farm!

Continued from previous LA entry - I'm still digesting:

Dinner at Gypsy Café in Westwood, a Bruins-infested area
Lana, I kid. Confession: I loved Westwood while living in ghetto LBC

The Dexter crew

Dessert anyone?

Diddy Riese raised their cookie
ice cream sandwich prices from $1 to $1.25!!!
Rip off. Hmmph

Liv digging her teeth into a
White chocolate macadamia cookie
+ strawberry cheesecake ice cream
+ chocolate pecan cookie

Sharing's caring - we strongly advise

Liv and I picking at the sandwich cookie while
waiting for Dan in the carpark

Supper at Tea Station
How could anyone resist?

The highlight of my trip to LA
before I discovered Pink Berry:
Brick Toast!

Been waiting for this day since last July

The bf ordered "Pork Pacman"

Pacman's eating pacman

Dimsum for brunch

The boys:
Uncle Kwang & the bf

The bf struggling with a
"Golden sand bun"

So long. Farewell.
Until we meet again in May!

Driving in the sun leaves him thirsty

My snack all the way back

Until we found this

I know I haven’t been sticking to my diet. You don’t need to remind me. I’ve been binging on icy foods, sour stuff and everything (bad) imaginable. For my insolence towards Mrs C, I am now suffering from major allergies. Imagine sneezing 15x every morning, 20x after each shower, and EVERY time someone touches your nose. Yes that happens often enough. I promise I'll be good - starting tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sweater for rainy day snuggles

Got myself a treat for having to walk home in the rain this week. After all, everyone needs a hoodie to keep warm and snug right?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I'm Frustry Krusty... Edwin would say.

I'm frustrated at Blogspot for screwing up text-formatting and disappearing pictures all the time. I'm packing up my entries with a checkered cloth, knotting them to a stick and slinging everything over my shoulder. This calls for a domain move.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

1 ½ days and 8 eateries in LA: Part I

Hungry me eating fork
Dinner at Thai Sticks - pre roadtrip

Our day and a half trip to LA was none other than memorable. It’s been 10 months since we last saw Livie so we were psyched. It didn’t hurt that the bf scored an ‘07 Mercedes C280 at the car rental place making our ride smooth and comfy all the way. Snicker*

We arrived at 3 in the morning having driven for 6 hours right after work. Mind you, I was ready to eat then but resisted the urge knowing that dawn was near. Once morning did come, we were woken up by Bo’s furious licking. Our first stop: Simbala café, a Taiwanese chain famous for its shaved ice. As usual, we over-indulged ordering pumpkin rice noodle, pork chop over rice, minced meat over vermicelli, spicy Taiwanese sausages and popcorn chicken. One word: YUM! Of course we couldn’t do without the shaved ice. Choice of toppings? Peaches, grass jelly, coconut jelly, and condensed milk. I could hardly walk to the car when we decided to proceed to the Hills for some good ol’ afternoon shopping. Needless to say, we bought nothing and headed to our next food stop: Sprinkles Cupcakes.

There was a queue when we arrived, which was great because it gave us time to decide on flavors. A nice lady in front of us overheard our cupcake banter and recommended the “Red Velvet.” And that’s just what I ordered. Liv had a strawberry one and the bf, a chocolate vanilla one. They were ok. Mine was the best. Thanks lady!

Overall, the cupcakes were slightly dry in texture and probably couldn't have been eaten alone without the too-sweet frosting which all started to taste the same after awhile. In the end, we didn’t see what all the hype was about but loved how everything was decorated anyways. Note to self: sprinkles and little sugared buttons add a fancy touch to little delicacies. I probably won’t go back for more, but am glad I got Sprinkles off my chest (not so much on my thighs. Ugh).

After Sprinkles, we went to Santa Monica and hung out on the Promenade. Earth day (4/22) made the stretch super busy with booths selling organic clothing and promoting hybrid cars. The bf bumped into a golf professional and I stumbled upon L’occitane. It was the perfect afternoon.

By the time we were done, it was 5:30. And that was when I met true love (and our friend Lana). Pinkberry is my next long distance BFF. Yes Liv! It’s just as good for me as you are, and I enjoy it immensely (as I do your company). Too bad they don’t have it in NorCal. Such a pity cause it’s sooo good. Liv ordered green tea yoghurt with 3 toppings: mochi, yoghurt chips, and fresh raspberries. The first spoonful melted slowly on my tongue leaving a hint of perfume-like green tea flavor following the milky tartness of fresh yoghurt. It was pure bliss. As I dug my spoon deeper into the cup, I discovered bits of chewy mochi, sweet raspberries, and vanilla yoghurt chips. Just when I thought that was it, Liv made me try the shaved ice over mixed fruit. Pinkberry please come to my fair city. I promise I will eat you for breakfast, lunch and dinner 5 days a week if you do.

Next stop: dinner. Considering how much we ate in half a day, dinner/dessert/supper/breakfast-the-day-after merits another entry.

Ninja prepping for the long drive

Roadtrip stash in the glove compartment
There's more in the back seat (too embarassing to reveal)

We passed 6 Flags on the way
The last time I was here I ate 2 candy apples and
scared the crap out of my cousin Fay

Care package from Livie upon arrival: Homemade lemon meringue cupcakes
with lemon curd filling (they are sooo gourmet!)
And a Red Sox cap! Plus chocolate from Dylan's Candy Bar.
Ahh you do spoil me Liv

Bo gave up trying to wake the bf

Liv and I getting ready to go out

Hello from Bo

Morning sunshine!

The bf (who usually scorns at the camera) got
excited cause Livie was around

A very Asian breakfast at Simbala café

I couldn't help the cheesy road sign bit

Finally we're here

"We don't allow pictures m'aam"
Take this girl-in-brown-apron!

From left (clockwise): Chocolate vanilla cupcake, strawberry
cupcake, and the ever-so-popular Red Velvet.
The dotted sheet is a weekly cupcake calendar!

Taking my first bite

Liv picking on the Red Velvet
Stop! You're allergic

Naughty and nice just got naughtier

Ladies on the Promenade

Lone bike on the Promenade

The new love of my life
Green tea yoghurt with yoghurt chips,
raspberries and mini mochis

Best pre-dinner snack ever
Even better than the shaved ice we had for breakfast