Tuesday, September 30, 2008

int'l Tuesday nights

So there's Awesome Pizza Fridays, and Wednesday night dinners when I'm within city limits of The Boy. Now, there's International Tuesdays -- where a group of us from my Transnational Litigation class go out to have dinner right after class. This class meets once a week on Tuesdays, from 3:15 to 5:05, so by the time class is over, I'm starving because on Tuesdays I eat lunch at 11:00 and don't eat anything else until dinnertime. So one day, I said to CC "Let's go eat, I'm starving" and then AM overheard and said he was starving too, so then we grabbed CSC and all headed out to dinner. And that's how this group came up with International Tuesdays.
We've only been to three restaurants so far. First, it was Vietnam Cafe (really yummy Vietnamese food); then last week we had sushi at Kona Grill. Today, it was Thai at Lulu's.

Above: Panang Curry; Below: Shrimp Pad Thai, Hot.

At Lulu's, you get your choice of spice level -- mild, medium, hot or blazing. The last time I ate here with CC, I asked "how hot is blazing hot?" and the waiter said that he could handle blazing with no problem at all. And because the waiter was white, I mistakenly assumed that if he could eat that much spice, then I should be okay. Was I burned for that assumption - no pun intended. I ordered my pad thai "blazing hot" and I was paying for it--I was crying after eating half the dish and even stopped eating because it was literally burning my tongue.
I learned my lesson. This time around, I ordered "hot" and it was just the right amount of spicy that I like. And now I'm stuffed because I probably should have stopped eating halfway through the meal (we also had appetizers of crab rangoon and steamed veggie dumplings).

happy hour favorites

It was a beautiful day this past Saturday, and after sleeping in until noon, I decided to meet up with CC on the Plaza to "study" at Starbucks for a little bit before walking around the Plaza some more. Since CC was already there before I made it, she was able to get in a lot more reading than I did. Then I got hungry, so we decided to go one of our favorite places for happy hour (it was 4pm on a Saturday, and M&S Grill has weekend happy hours from 3-5).
I was being good on this particular day so I just had a strawberry lemonade minus the alcohol. It was still pretty good. I like that they use fresh strawberries in their strawberry lemonades.

$1.95 cheese quesadillas; $3.95 buffalo wings (the price increased from $1.95, but the portion also doubled in size)

something new we tried out: $1.95 fried artichoke hearts, and $4.95 "Asian barbeque with kim chi"
And for dessert, Boston Creme Pie -- YUMMY.
Apparently, there is a happy hour rule at this restuarant that you can't doggy bag leftovers if you order happy hour food. Obviously, this was A LOT of food for two people with a healthy appetite. We tried our best, and finished everything but the buffalo wings. We probably left half of the buffalo wings behind because we couldn't stuff anymore in. Plus, I wanted dessert, and even though we shared the pie, there was still about a quarter of it left on the plate.
Still, it was all gooooood.

Monday, September 29, 2008

last of the M5 music videos

It took a while but I finished uploading all the videos I took at the Maroon 5 concert!

This one is another of my favorites -- Wake up Call.

This last one is the closing song of the night, appropriately titled Sweetest Goodbye. There is about a minute that got cut off at the end because the memory ran out on my 2GB sd card. I guess videos take up a lot more memory than pictures.

Yay! Now I have to decide whether or not to go to the Janet Jackson concert in a month...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

music videos

Apparently, I can only upload videos in the middle of the night (as in after 1am), so I got two done while I was in and out of sleep last night.

Maroon 5 started off their set with one of my favorite songs -- This Love. Yes, it's a little shaky because on top of trying to keep my hand really steady, it was really hard not to dance along to hte music.

This second song is I Won't Go Home Without You, and at one point he asked everyone to hold out their cell phones in lieu of cigarette lighters, so I tried to pan out and get that image. Again, a bit shaky on the filming.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Maroon 5 & Counting Crows

Maroon 5 & the Counting Crows were in town on Friday for a stop on their tour. Augustana (up and coming new group?) opened up the show and they were pretty cool. Here are some pictures of the concert:
Counting Crows above and below. I must admit that I have not heard many of their songs, and they only played songs from their new album. So, while it was cool and all, I was not familiar with the music. Everyone else around me enjoyed them though. I did figure out from this concert that the majority of Counting Crows band mates originated from northern California.

Maroon 5
Maroon 5's light show during their set was awesome. The only bad part was that their set lasted only an hour! Such a disappointment. BUT they did make it up, I suppose. The lead singer, Mickey, actually gave his guitar away to some lucky member of the audience in the front row. I kid you not. I don't know how to play a guitar but when I saw him handing his guitar to some lucky person in the audience, I wanted to be that person. WOW. What a story that would be. How many people can go around saying, "The lead singer of Maroon 5 gave me his guitar!"
Here's a video of the Counting Crows closing up their set and telling everyone that nobody is lip synching on the stage that night:

I also have some videos of Maroon 5, but YouTube is giving me problems with uploading and Blogger is not any better. Will post as I as soon as technology cooperates with me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

craving a sandwich

I don't have any exciting new restuarant food to show here, or even any new food creations of my own.

I was looking through my photos and found some food pics I forgot to post about over the summer.

I love Vietnamese sandwiches. I've been on the hunt to find the perfect sandwich that is similar too (or even better) than the ones I grew up eating in Boston. So far, I haven't found anything remotely close. But, this sandwich here, however, is very good on a completely different level. It's a barbeque chicken sandwich with all the fillings, and if I can recall the exact name of the little cafe that serves it, I'd tell you. If you're in SF, I can tell you exactly where it's located. =)

Anyway, this sandwich is good because it uses the traditional french roll (although I think the rolls are on the skinny side, which makes it kinda better) and is super spicy, just the way I like it. The barbeque chicken has a little spice to it, but it's marinated so well that the chicken is just full of flavor. There's also the light spread of the Vietnamese homemade butter/mayo spread (can't really explain, you just have to taste it) and a decent heaping of pickled daikon and carrots. Cilantro and cucumber on top, plus extra jalepenos (optional).

*Sigh* I want a Vietnamese sandwich now. Beats the Smart Ones I'm currently eating.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

comfort food goodness

What do you get when you...
...combine Kraft Mac & Cheese with turkey hot dogs?
"Macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dogs" of course!
If you're not a Friends fanatic, then you probably didn't catch the reference to "cut up hot dogs." Monica was trying to make up to Chandler for being an insensitive girlfriend when she forgot about making a Valentine's Day present and gave him a sock bunny. Chandler forgot about making the present too, but he found a mixed tape in his closet and Monica was really touched by the idea. So she decided to make his favorite meal - macaroni and cheese with cut up hot dog. Then she listened to the mixed tape and Janice's voice broke the romantic mood...
Anyway, I was not trying to butter up anyone, let alone The Boy, but all I had in my fridge were some turkey dogs that I needed to eat quick or get rid of. I found a box of mac & cheese in the cupboard and voila! There was my dinner.
A personal note about mac & cheese -- I hate the kind of mac & cheese that comes with the powdered package of cheese (the kind where you have to add milk and/or water to turn the powder into cheese). The powdered cheese never tasted good to me and I had never liked it when I had to make it for the kids I used to babysit.
Then I discovered the box of mac & cheese that comes with real cheese in the packet and have started to love this kind of mac & cheese ever since. The Velvetta brand "shells and cheese" is pretty good too because it also comes with real cheese. No more powdered cheese for me!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

more art fair food

Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and marinara sauce, from Figlios. Cost = $5.
Braised barbeque beef with brown rice, from PF Changs. Cost = $5
Fortune cookies = free.
Music from Ethiopians = jammin.

Friday, September 19, 2008

art fair food

The Plaza Art Fair kicked off its 3-day weekend event tonight, so I headed on over to see some art and of course, eat some food. The art fair started at 5pm, so by the time I walked over there and did some quick window shopping, I was ravenous. After walking up and down the street to see what each food vendor was selling, I finally settled on one of my favorites: M&S Grill. Why is it my favorite?

A 10 oz Angus Cheeseburger for $1.95! That burger was HUGE! Unfortunately, there was no ketchup in sight and I like to drown my burgers in ketchup. Other than that, it was pretty tasty. I also had my favorite mixed drink of all time, a So-Cal Strawberry Lemonade ($7 but so worth it and the bartender made my day by asking for my ID).

After we walked off dinner, we were in search of dessert. We saw this sign below, so we decided to get one to see what the heck is a Chocolate Bag Cone.
And this is what we got. I still don't understand the "bag" part.
Okay, since this is about the art fair, I suppose I should put up some pictures of the art. I'm pretty sure most artists are very sensitive about having people take picture of their art, so I was really only able to take pictures of art pieces where I couldn't see it's artist anywhere in sight.
No, this lady was not giving me a hard time about taking the pictures. This lady isn't even a real lady. Pinky is a piece of art. From far away, I thought Pinky was actually the artist. Then we got up close and realized she's not even human. Doesn't she look so real? You should see how life-like her skin looked. The sign said that Pinky is made out of resin (sp?) and covered in 15 layers of oil paint. Impressive.

This collection is one of my favorites this year. It's just so cool that someone can make art out of ordinary things you can find around a Home Depot (or maybe your garage).

My favorite is this turtle -- so cute!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

cooking creation

Not wanting to nuke a frozen meal today, I concocted this dish for lunch/dinner:

1. Boiling soba noodles as a replacement for steamed rice (and also because I was too hungry to wait for the rice to cook and soba noodles don't take as long to cook).

2. Sautee slices of beef together with garlic and greenbeans. Add some fish sauce and sweet soy sauce for taste. I added some crushed red peppers for some kick.

3. Optional ingredient: Pickled radish (typically a Korean side item). Put soba in bowl, beef with green beans on top of the soba, pickled radish on top of that, and voila! Lunch, or in my case, also dinner later on because I can't cook just a serving of one. The red is Rooster sauce, which I added for some additional kick.
4. Commence eating and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

u pick fruit

Like clockwork, my mom calls me around this time to ask me the same question year after year: "When are the Asian pears ready for picking?" You'd think after half a decade of answering the same question that I would remember the schedule by heart. But I don't, and I end up having to go online to google for the name of the farm with Asian pears for picking.

For those of you in the Boston area, the Lookout Farm in South Natick/Wellesley, MA is a great place to spend a day if you want to enjoy fresh air and gorge on fruit fresh off the tree. All trees are as tall as an average adult human so no ladder required for picking! There's an admission price, but then you're allowed to each as much fruit while you're in the orchards (just don't waste fruit). And if you want to leave the premises with fruit, it's $2.50 a pound. Here's the picking schedule:
The last time I visited the farm was my senior year in college (which was like eons ago). Since then, I've moved away from good ole Boston and the only times I pay a visit to my family is during Thanksgiving and Lunar New Year, both of which fall on months that the farm has no fruit for picking.

I kinda miss the experience. We found an orchard in the KC area last year, but due to the frost, there were no apples to pick. Which now makes me wonder: more often than not, Boston is usually pretty cold in April and sometimes it even snows, so why does the Lookout Farm always have crop every single year?

The fruit pictures I have here are not fruits from the Lookout Farm, because obviously, I am no where near Boston. These are fruits that were from the Mooncake Festivity I took part in the past weekend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

mooncakes galore

This past weekend was the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (learn all about here), and it's mostly all about the mooncakes. In years past, I had always purchased pre-made mooncakes from the market and never really thought about how to actually make a mooncake. Well, my friends and I learned how to make mooncakes this year and we had a great time making them.

I don't know the exact ingredients that go into the mooncake dough, but below are just pictures of what the process consists of.

mooncake dough

mooncake filling - mixture of nuts

mooncake filling -- ground meat

mooncake filling - red bean

First, you have to shape the filling into a small round ball.

Then, you put the ball of filling into a flat piece of dough. Shape the dough to completely cover the filling, forming a larger size ball of dough.

Then you put the dough (with filling inside) into this yellow contraption that makes the shape of the mooncake, and out pops the mooncake and seen below.

This is me patting down the dough inside the yellow contraption.

I was at the end of the mooncake making line so I was in charge of popping out the mooncakes onto the baking sheets.
I'm not sure how long you bake the mooncakes for, but below is a picture of the mooncakes after it's done baking. Each mooncake is cut into fours here because we were about ready to serve it to a group of about 75 people.

Now, if I only knew the exact recipe and where to get that yellow mooncake contraption, I can make my own from now on!