Saturday, February 28, 2009

snow snow go away

I went to bed around midnight last night, and didn't see any snow yet. But, there's plenty of snow outside my window this morning!
This is the balcony floor, all covered in snow. And the picture below is the view from my balcony in the living room.

Here's the view from the kitchen. Yeah, I was up making something to eat for brunch.
From what I see on the ground, I estimate there's about 4 inches of snow on the ground right now. It looks like it's still snowing, but it could be just snow blowing off the roof.

With the weird weather going on the last two months, maybe tomorrow will be 70 and sunny and all the snow will melt away. Yeah, wishful thinking.

Monday, February 23, 2009

st. marys

No, I'm not converting my religion (or lack thereof). This is the place where I'll be trying not to fall asleep while attending BarBri classes from 9am to 1pm everyday for six to eight weeks (need to get that schedule confirmed). At least it's close to Chinatown where I can go grab a quick and cheap bite to eat after class!

larry the lobster

The Boy took me out to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Koi Palace, and let me ordered lobster! So all night, he was saying that I was heartless in my enjoyment of "Larry the lobster." I don't know why he came up with the name of Larry for the lobster, but he was ready to call the crab Charlie had I decided to order a crab instead!
Anyway, we also ordered our usual Honey Walnut Prawns and Chicken Chow Fun. I looooovvveee the honey walnut prawns, and oh how I miss this dish every time I'm in KC. I have not found a place that makes it better than Koi Palace.

The Boy also wanted an order of Potstickers, which he ate five out of the six served - a surprise even to him. I was saving my stomach space for Larry the lobster because The Boy doesn't eat lobster.
And here's Larry, ginger and scallion style. I estimate that it was about a little less than a one pound lobster. It was soooooo finger licking good. I can't remember the last time I had lobster, so I was trying to savour every bite. I think it took me about a half hour to finish the dish. I was making a pile of the empty shells, but the waiter switched out my plate for a clean one when the pile of shells started to topple over. They have really attentive wait staff at Koi Palace.

weekend eats

Here are some food pics from my last few days of Spring Break in San Francisco. This was actually at a Chili's in Vacaville, which is still NorCal area.

Anywhoo, as I said, this is lunch at Chili's Grill & Bar.
The Boy wanted variety so he ordered two appetizers: Classic Nachos and Big Mouth Bites. Of course, he shared his variety with me and I did the same with my chicken tenders below. I like to eat a ton of jalapenos so it was a bit disappointing that there was only one jalapeno per nacho chip. The Big Mouth Bites were really good, minus the onion rings of course.

The Boy's sister had the turkey sandwich and soup combo (shown above). She helped eat the onion rings on The Boy's plate.

I had the chicken tenders which came with fries and corn on the cob. The chicken tenders were disappointing to me because I was expecting something that was a little more breaded. The honey mustard sauce wasn't that exciting either. So I ate most of the fries and the entire corn on the cob (and managed not to get too much stuff stuck to my teeth!). Good thing I was able to supplement with The Boy's appetizers. Otherwise, I would have still been hungry.
Now, here is a good plate of chicken tenders and fries, from BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse. This is the kind of breaded chicken tenders that I like, and the skinny fries were super crispy. And whatever they put into their honey mustard sauce is to die for. I would probably enjoy swimming around in that honey mustard sauce. Mmm-mmm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

haystack pizza

We had to take a detour back into SF today, and had linner at Haystack Pizza. This combo here is The Alexander plus olives (because I love olives on pizza). The Alexander has pepperoni, salami, sausage and mushrooms. Best pizza place in SF, hands down.

anti-valentine's dinner

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm an anti-Valentine person, and I don't celebrate the holiday because I think it's a just a stupid made up holiday for the greeting card companies to make more money. Plus, I've always been disappointed by past boyfriends, so when I met The Boy so many years ago, I told him that I don't believe in Valentine's Day and he doesn't have to go out of his way to plan anything for me. If I don't acknowledge the holiday, then I won't get disappointed because I won't have anything to look forward to. This methodology has worked out well because even though I give The Boy the holiday off, he still sends me a card or a little flower pot just to say "Happy Valentines".
Anyway, this Valentine's Day, we spent the weekend at The Boy's mother's house. The Boy's mother wanted to go all gung ho in celebrating Valentines (she works for Hallmark), even though she knew that I was anti-Valentine and her daughter was not in the mood to celebrate (broken heart drama). But his mother still wanted to make a special dinner for Valentine's Day.
So she prepared steak tenderloins, steamed green beans and asparagus, baked potatoes, and biscuits. Everything was sooo good. I even ate all of my steak (especially since G made sure it was burnt and not bleeding on the inside), which is rare because I don't like to eat red meat.

The best part of the whole dinner was the apple pie. OHMYGOSH that pie was so delicious! The filling came from a friend of The Boy's mother. I liked that the apples in the filling were so crisp and it was just the right kind of sweetness. I had a giant slice with some vanilla ice-cream.

All in all, it was a yummy dinner. And just for kicks, I toasted a Happy Valentine's Day to The Boy's mother since she worked so hard to make it a special holiday.

valentine in the sky

I'm currently on "spring break" in not-so-sunny SF (it's been pouring raining ever since I got here) and here is a picture of my view from the window seat on Southwest.
I was flying on Friday the 13th (dum dum dum) and Valentine's Day, of course, was the next day. Southwest Airline's logo is "Luv is in the Air," so it shouldn't have been a surprise that they decorated the entire cabin with Valentine hearts.
Still, it was a bit much for me, the anti-Valentine's-Day girl, to see so many pink hearts in one location and it wasn't even a greeting card store.
For the record, the flight attendants were also giving out Valentine's Day greeting cards to anyone who wanted one.
And upon arriving at SFO, there were these new welcome signs that I haven't seen before. I wonder if they'll change the signs once Newsom is termed out at the end of this year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

smoky burnt beans

In my attempt to make the red bean dessert last night, I got sidetracked and forgot to check on the beans that I left boiling in the pot.

Let's just say it got quite smoky in the kitchen by the time I remembered I had something on the stove. I had to open all windows and doors and start fanning the smoke away from the smoke detector. I think the worse is that I just ruined a very nice wok.

First, I need to see if I can scrub the burnt remnants off the wok and still make use of the wok. Then if wok can be cleaned, I will make a second attempt tonight, while I read in the dining room so that I won't forget about the stove.

Monday, February 09, 2009

sweet cravings

Mom (in Vietnamese): Did you call me?

Me: Yes. I want to know how to make that sweet red bean dessert.

Mom: What kind of beans do you have?

Me: Um, red beans...

Mom: No no...are they from a can or hard beans?

Me: The beans are in a bag, and they're hard, so I'm assuming the beans need to be soaked first?

Mom: That's right, soak the beans overnight...

Me: OVERNIGHT?! I can't even cook it until tomorrow? It takes that long to soak?

Mom: ...and then cook it until....of course you have to soak it overnight, they're fresh beans. If you had red beans out of the can, you could cook it right away and have dessert tonight.

Me: Fine, soak overnight. And then how long do I need to cook it in water?

Mom: Until the beans are soft. And make sure you rinse it a couple of times because red beans have a dirty film on them.

Me: ugh.

Mom: Why are you even making red bean dessert? You don't make things like that.

Me: Because I'm craving something sweet, and the only thing in my fridge that I could possibly make sweet was the bag of red beans. But I didn't realize that I have to soak the beans overnight.

Mom: Well, you can have dessert tomorrow.

Me: Too much waiting. Maybe I'll just walk to CVS and buy some chocolate chip cookies.

Mom: Aiya!

Turns out I was also too lazy to walk the three blocks to CVS for the chocolate chip cookies. So I munched on some almonds, but the sweet tooth is not satisfied. This is what I get for trying to cut out chocolate/sweets out of my diet.

I do have a bowl of red beans currently being soaked in water. Let's see if I remember to cook them tomorrow.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Baby Cakes

Where could this sign possibly lead to?

Well, if you must know, it leads to Baby Cakes, a gourmet cupcake store in KC!!!!! I'm so excited to know I can find overpriced cupcakes in KC too! Only it's about 75 cents cheaper a cupcake here, than it is at Teacake Bake Shop in Emeryville and Kara's Cupcakes in SF (because some people would say you're insane for paying $3.50 a cupcake).

Look at their selection of cupcakes!! I wanted to buy one of each and stuff it all into my mouth.
It was really hard to choose, but I succeeded at being disciplined enough not to buy the store out of their cupcakes, so I chose only two - a chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting and a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream frosting.

It was my roomie's birthday this past Wednesday, so I saved the chocolate buttercream cupcake for the roomie. She's not home at the moment, so I hope I have enough will power to leave her cupcake alone until she gets home.

I ate the chocolate peanut butter buttercream cupcake. OH MY GOSH THIS IS WHAT HEAVEN MUST BE LIKE! The chocolate cake was not overly sweet but just enough of chocolate flavor, and the cake itself was nice and moist. The peanut butter frosting was smooth with its peanut buttery taste. I think it only took me two bites to finish the cupcake.

And as I sit here reflecting upon the sumptuousness of that chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream frosting, I remember the peanut butter recall in effect and think to myself: "Oh shit, did I just poison myself?"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Blue Koi

With a new semester comes new classes and thus new schedules. In other words, no more International Tuesdays (a bunch of us would go to dinner after our transnational litigation and arbitration class).

We had a little reunion of sorts tonight with the same group of peeps who took part in International Tuesdays. The dinner spot tonight was Blue Koi, a modern noodle and dumpling place in Kansas City. I say "modern" because the place was decorated nicely with modern art and the layout of the restaurant was also on the modern side.
My selection for the night was the Braised Tofu and Shitake with rice. I haven't been eating a lot of rice at home because I'm just too lazy to cook rice, and most of the time I'm too hungry to wait for the rice to cook. So I've been having major cravings for rice.

The dish sounded like it would be good. The actual taste of it was "eh". It was okay, wasn't the best. It was a bit on the greasy side, but I got my fill of rice and the shitake mushrooms were really good. I think I added a bit too much rooster sauce on top, so it was a little on the spicy side for me. Other than the spiciness that I created, the actual sauce (braise sauce?) tasted more like oyster sauce to me, which is a little saltier than what I expected (sweet). I ate most of the dish anyway.

The other dish I was able to take a picture of was AM's Seafood Noodle Soup. It looks yummy. AM ate it all. So all I can assume is that it was yummy. After I took this picture, A discovered more seafood buried under the noodles.

CSC (too many friends with names starting with C) ordered the Shanghai Wonton Noodle Soup, and it looked even yummier than the Seafood Noodle Soup. I should have taken a picture of his dish, but he was sitting far away from me and also near a "guest" who is not accustomed to me taking pictures of all the food, so I didn't want to say "YOU CAN'T EAT UNTIL I TAKE A PICTURE" like I usually do. I'm so thankful my friends still like me after knowing how picture crazy I get for this blog.

Overall, Blue Koi is okay, even if it was a bit on the pricey side for a meal that was not family style. I think I will definitely try one of thier soups next time.

And if you're wondering if there are still Awesome Pizza Fridays, yes we still have that day but now it's entitled Awesome Pizza Fridays on Thursdays (due to it being a new semester that comes with new schedules).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

best-ever blueberry muffins

I have a recipe for blueberry muffins (appropriately titled "Best-Ever Blueberry Muffins") but never had a chance to make it because fresh blueberries are so damn expensive. Well, as luck would have it, my local grocery store had a sale on fresh blueberries - a pint of blueberries for $1.99! The receipt even said I saved $7 on the blueberry purchase.
And just looky how fresh the blueberries are -- yummy! I ate a cupful like it was grapes.
And here's the blueberry muffin baking process:
Ingredients: (makes 10 muffins):
-- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-- 1 tbsp baking powder
-- 1/2 tsp salt
-- 1/4 cup sugar
-- 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
-- 1 large egg, beaten
-- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
-- 1 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Line muffin pan with 10 paper muffin cups or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Fill empty cups halfway with water.

2. Sift the flour, bakign powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg and milk. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended (mixture should be slightly lumpy).
3. Add the blueberries to bowl and stir them in just enough to combine.

4. Divide the better evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins until golden, 18-24 minutes.
Remove muffins from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool.
Muffins are best served warm.
And I have already eaten three out of the ten muffins...(yep, it's the three not pictured here).

Variation to the recipe: Replace the blueberries with the same quantity of fresh cranberries, or try chopped bananas or apricots.