Monday, October 29, 2007

Japan town. Always the charm

With every painful discussion comes comfort food. This time, brand new seats and bottled sodas were all it took to feel cheery. Despite the dreadfully long morning, t
he bf and I kissed and made up at the newly renovated Sundance Kabuki over Lars and The Real Girl.

Nice and empty (for the first few minutes anyway) with walls lined in cork and fresh turquoise paint

Dinner in boxes from Nijiya

Every bite was comforting. All except that little tofu package on the right - it was filled with mochi. How weird is that?

Individually-wrapped pineapple ice for dessert

Couldn't resist these scarves from Kinokuniya

I love you hon. Sorry I can be a pain sometimes.


I was talking to a coworker the other day when she told me she lived in France for a few years. Intrigued because that has always been a dream of mine, I asked her why she did it. Her response although not unusual, struck me as to how foreign it is to my life:

"It was right after I graduated from college. I had no commitments, no strings attached, and wanted to be a paralegal. So I researched the French visa, and headed straight to France."

As simple as that.

When I think back on my twenty-something years, I can't help but realize how everything was pretty much planned out. In high school, I knew the goal was to get good grades and be an all-rounder to get into college, and so I did. In college, it was pretty much the same thing in addition to spending off-school hours networking with the right people for the right things. Post graduation, getting a job in relation to your major, which you've worked so hard to streamline and clarify seemed the most sensible thing to do. And so, here I am.

With relationships, things weren't so much as planned but they followed a similar path. I went to college accepting the fact that I was to have a long-distance relationship. Even in my freshman and sophomore years, Suen quoted me as being the one "who walked around with a sandwich board saying
F*** off, I'm not available!" And she was right. Sure there were times in between, when we strayed. But even so, the commitment was always there. I always said, "I'm sorry, I have a bf" despite the fact that he was miles away and unreachable. 3 years into college, we broke it off questioning, "How much have we grown without the other being around to witness anything?" and that was 1 of the smartest moves we ever made.

Mere months after that breakup, I fell into another relationship and was committed, once again.

A few full years followed: years of blissful and sometimes painful moments of being together, learning about each other, accepting faults, making compromises and developing plans for the future. All these seem part of "the plan." But you know you're doing something wrong when the time spent with someone becomes unbearable. When the both of you can't stand each other's company and yet feel the need to be "together."

What do you do when you're committed?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited, and what came with it

No surprise, I loved The Darjeeling Limited. More so, I looooved the wardrobe and luggage featured in the movie. Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton - I mean come on!

1 day I'm going to get my hands on these. Sure it hasn't happened with Steve Zissou's powder blue and yellow adidas sneakers. This however, is going to happen

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Last year, the bf and I got into
Munchiefood - the food blog that didn't last. Funny how it's been a full year since those ghostly lollipops. I'm 1 year older, and none the wiser.

A girly Jack-o-lantern

The must-have smiley

Message for the kids
It's dark chocolate after all

Some angry frowns to add to the mix

And sad frowns too

These were great fun to make

Friday, October 26, 2007

Recent Macarune orders

Before I start with the pictures, I just want to share Catherine's article on Macarune chocolate soufflé cupcakes. It's so witty and descriptive, it made me crave chocolate.

Another exciting link is to a write-up on macaroons by Serious Eats. In this detailed article, Macarune was listed as 1 of the many places to get macaroons in the SF Bay Area. Wee... Free PR!

My most recent order were some chocolate
soufflé cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream and Halloween decor. Will post pictures of those soon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Terry & Borina's Thanksgiving party

Terry and Borina had a Thanksgiving potluck and we were there long enough to have a good drink or 2, and met up with some old friends (and some pretty cool people!).

The girls


Stuffed mushrooms straight OOTO

Look who's sneaking a mushroom

Terry the Iron Chef

Look how beautiful

Happy chef
It was really nice seeing Terry in action

Borina looking hot

The bf and Nate looking hot

Nate the chief Sangria maker

Glorious ham

Glorious turkey we didn't get to eat cause we had to leave. Boohoo

Always a backup plan

Pretty flowers I picked on our way there

They made a good decor for the rose macaroons I brought to share

Sorry we couldn't stay guys! I can only imagine how great the turkey must've been.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Honey orange bee(t) cupcake

Even though I wasn't born in the U.S. the usual Thanksgiving treats are not unbeknown to me. Be it here or anywhere else, I too have had my fair share of binging when it comes to roast turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pies and stuffing. Of course the dishes varied depending on where I was, but in the end they all shared the same pattern. Even more so, they all shared the same outcome: overeating to a point of nausea. Mmm... Livie can relate.

So a few years ago, a friend and I decided that if we were going to stuff ourselves with food, 10% of it had better be super healthy. With that, we came up with an orange beet side dish. This dish doubles up as a sweet sauce/gravy and is absolutely yummy.

When Cheryl from Cupcake Bakeshop and Garrett from Vanilla Garlic offered to do a 2nd cupcake roundup, I couldn't resist turning this dish into a cupcake.

The sweetness of the beets counters the whole "vegetable in my cupcake" feel
The bf thought it was surprising how sweet they were and mentioned that they "tasted somewhat like raisins"

So if you're having problems sneaking vegetables into your child's diet, this might work out as an alternative solution. With a touch of sprinkles, kids won't even suspect

The final outcome works perfect as a breakfast cake without the cream cheese frosting or with (if you're like me)

Makes 12

1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour and more for coating
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
2 beets, cooked, peeled, chopped and patted dry

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.

Whisk flours, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Put the sugar and the zest in a bowl of a mixer and rub together until sugar is moist and fragrant. Then beat in butter until creamy. With mixer still on, add the eggs 1 by 1 until mixture is incorporated. It is important that all the ingredients are at room temperature when you use them. Mix in the honey and vanilla extract. Then slowly add the dry ingredients until mixture is just incorporated.

Toss about 1 tsp of flour with the beets to coat. This is a trick I learned from Martha Stewart. It is done so that the beets don't stick together when mixed into the batter. I also get a certain kind of assurance knowing that the wetness of the beets is somewhat taken care of. Add beets into batter and gently fold with a spatula.

Scoop about a little more than 1/4 cup of batter each into cupcake case. This should cover you for 12 regular-sized cupcakes. If you have a little more, just ration them throughout. Bake cupcakes in middle rack of oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when testing the cupcakes. Once baked, let sit to cool.

Cream cheese frosting:
grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsps beet juice

Toss 1st 3 ingredients into a mixer and mix until incorporated. Slowly add confectioner's sugar and then beet juice. Scrape down sides as necessary. If frosting is too liquid or soft to work with, place into a piping bag fitted with a tip, and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

I made the beet juice by processing beets and putting it through a tamis cloth so that the liquids drip leaving the solids behind. This 1 tsp quantity won't do much for color, but I liked the slight sweetness of beets it leaves behind in the frosting. If you want a stronger color, I suggest upping the juice another tsp and you may just get a slight pink sheen. But there is a chance you'll have to add more confectioner's sugar to balance the liquids.

The cupcake toppers are sliced beets cut out into stars - patted very dry. When I do this again, I will definitely coat the stars with gelatin. This way, the juices are contained within the gelatin coating, and the beet juices will not seep through.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can switch in other sweet vegetables with the beets and create a variety. Some variations I've tried are: peas, sweet corn and carrots (my original intention for this cupcake roundup was to create a trio of vege cupcakes). Just eliminate the orange zest in the latter versions, and use regular honey instead of orange blossom. I personally prefer the beet and orange combination. Also because it reminds me that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Goodies for a good cause

The bf came home and nonchalantly mentioned that his company was having a bake sale the day after to generate funds for homeless children and adults in SF. Being the good gf (and Samaritan), I scrapped my gym plans and spent all night baking for the cause. The outcome? Mini chocolate soufflé cupcakes with 2 different kinds of French buttercream and dark chocolate sables.

Mini and not regular cupcakes so there'd be more to sell!