Monday, September 27, 2010

how's this for a root beer

The Boy and I were shopping at The Nugget where we picked up a couple of colorfully named non-alcoholic drinks.

non-alcoholic beverages

He picked out the Rat Bastard root beer and I chose the Cock & Bull ginger beer, mostly because I just wanted to go up and down the aisles saying "I'm going to enjoy my cock & bull tonight!"  Yes, very juvenile, I know.
beer brands

So, the Rat Bastard root beer tastes just like root beer.  Nothing spectacular about it.  I betcha it would have tasted pretty good with a couple of scoops of ice-cream.

The Cock & Bull ginger beer was quite spicy.  The Boy did not like it all because he doesn't handle the taste of ginger very well.  His roommates and I once did a shot of ginger juice, straight from their juicer.  A shot of ginger juice gives you a burn in the tummy for about half an hour.  But I definitely felt a surge of energy shortly thereafter.  The ginger beer has a similar effect, although no burning of the stomach for half an hour -more like just a thirty second burning.  I think ginger beer would be great for digestion.

Now I wonder if there really is such a thing as Butter Beer outside the wizarding world.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

brain freeze

The last time I was shopping at Safeway, I bought two pints of Haagen-Dazs ice-cream - one of mint chocolate chip and one of mango sorbet.  Note that it was over a month ago when I bought the ice-cream.  I'm surprised at myself that they have lasted this long in the freezer because I usually go through a pint in about half an hour.  I think I just forgot about having ice-cream in the fridge.  Anyway, I've been eating the mango sorbet every now and then because I was craving mango.  There's still half a pint left.  The mint chocolate chip has never been opened.

Last night, I was actually craving something chocolate.  I remembered the mint chocolate chip ice-cream so I went to the freezer to get it out.  What I found in the freezer, however, was the half pint of mango sorbet and an unopened pint of vanilla chocolate chip.  The following is the conversation I was having with myself:

"Vanilla chocolate chip?  I thought I had a pint of mint chocolate chip in here."

"Is this even mine?"

"I don't see any other ice-cream."

"Did I already eat the mint chip and forgot about eating it?"

"Did I really buy vanilla chocolate chip instead of mint chocolate chip?"

"I was very tired that day when I bought the ice-cream."

"Maybe I mistakenly thought the label said mint chocolate chip."

"But why would I ever buy vanilla chocolate chip?  I would have chosen rocky road or banana split if there was no mint chocolate chip."

"I guess I thought it was mint chocolate chip.  The labels do look similar."

"Wow, my memory is going."

"Perhaps I did just make a mistake and bought vanilla chocolate chip thinking it was mint chocolate chip."

"Wow, I should read the labels more carefully next time."

"I guess I did buy vanilla chocolate chip."

"Oh well."

So, after I convinced myself that I bought vanilla chocolate chip because I mistakenly thought it was mint chocolate chip, I opened it up and had a couple of scoops, thus satisfying my chocolate craving.

Today, while I was making dinner with the roomies sitting around, one (Roommie #1) of them asked, "Who's Haagen-Dazs is in the freezer?"  The other roommie (Roomie #2) replied that the ice-cream were mine.  And I also claimed possession of them.

Roomie #1 then confessed: "I ate all of your mint chocolate chip ice-cream last Friday.  I went to Safeway to buy you a replacement so that you wouldn't figure it out, but they didn't have anymore mint chocolate chip ice-cream.  So I hope you're happy with vanilla chocolate chip for the time being."

I laughed and loudly exclaimed: "So I'm not crazy!"

She didn't know what I was referring to, so I had to tell her how I had convinced myself that I bought the vanilla chocolate chip and not mint chocolate chip ice-cream.  She concurred that I was not losing my mind.

I knew my memory doesn't fail me when it comes to food!

b bar happy hour

No, I'm not ranking the happy hour a B, it's actually the name of the restaurant - B Restaurant & Bar.  The restaurant kinda sits on top of the Yerba Buena Gardens, providing a stunning view of the downtown financial district.  I met up with YW for happy hour to celebrate a job offer at the time and she wanted to go to this place to try out the happy hour oyster bar because she loves oysters, especially more so when the oysters are $1 a piece at happy hour.

Happy Hour Food

Ginger Rickys - happy hour drink of gin, lime and gingerale. It was a light drink packed with just enough alcohol to give you a buzz. That, or I was drinking on an empty stomach and the alcohol went straight to my head. Tasted a little like ginger lemonade.
Ginger Rickey

Dollar Oysters - YW ordered different varieties of the oysters, but I can't recall exactly what kind they were. However, I do remember that she ordered a dozen, but there seems to be only none on the platter. I don't even think we noticed at the time that there were only nine on the platter. Oh well.
Dollar Oysters

I don't like raw food, so I really don't like raw oysters, especially these big ones. YW convinced me to try just one so that I can tell people I actually tried a raw oyster. So I picked out the smallest one, poured a ton of hot sauce on top, and then just kinda slurped it up in my mouth, chewed about three times so as not to choke when I finally swallowed. Surprisingly, raw oysters are not that bad to the taste. It was not fishy tasting at all. And YW even said they were really really fresh. She wanted me to eat more but I declined. I tried it and that's enough. The idea of eating raw food still grosses me out.

Truffle Fries - really crispy fries with sea salt and herbs. You all know how much I love fries and these did not disappoint. I was really close to ordering a second serving...
Truffle Fries

Mussels cooked in white wine, tomatoes and basil. Unlike YW, I like to eat the smaller sized bivalves - mussels, rather than the oysters. The white wine sauce was sweet and the mussels themselves were very fresh. No fishy flavor at all.

Chicken Glazed Wings & Buffalo Mozzerella - I liked the salami; the mozzerella - not so much. Of course, I loved the wings. If we weren't sitting outside in the cold breeze, these wings might have tasted a lot better warmer. But the chili glaze was more sweet than spicy, and it was yummy to the taste.
Buffalo Mozzarella

If you haven't guessed, we sat outside, and it was gorgeous. We watched the sun set as we were eating.

Happy Hour with a view

Happy Hour with a view

Then we had to hurry up and finish because it got cold when the sun disappeared behind the buildings. To get some warmth, we spent the next three hours shopping at Macys. =)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

peanut butter nutella swirl

The Boy and his siblings threw a surprise 60th birthday party for their mother and requested that I contribute homemade cookies for the party. Of course, I obliged. I asked how many people were expected and his oldest brother said 50 people. I went "holy sh*t, that's a lot of cookies I'll have to make!" I prepared four types of cookie dough, drove to the party super early and baked all morning before the birthday girl arrived. I estimated that each batch yielded three dozen cookies, so that would be about twelve dozen cookies total. Yes, that's a lot of cookies. Yes, there were a lot left over, but none left for me. The cookies were such a hit that every there took a goodie bag with them when they left. By the time I finished helping with cleaning up after the party, there were no more cookies for me to take home. =(

ANYWAYS...I made the usual chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles because those were the mom's favorites. I decided to debut the Andes mint chocolate cookies to this crowd and they were a hit. I also did a newbie - the peanut butter nutella swirl - almost by accident because I had initially intended to make these peanut butter nutella cookies but realized I didn't have any cake flour when it came time to making cookie dough. So I had to improvise and this is what I came up with for the peanut butter nutella swirl cookies.

Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy depending on your mood)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Nutella (or more)

Baking Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Blend together very well.

2. Add flour, baking soda and salt with mixer. Add Nutella by slightly melting it in the microwave and drizzling it over the dough, running a butter knife to slightly mix the nutella into the peanut butter cookie dough. Or, if you don't want to melt the nutella in the microwave, just scoop out the nutella with a butter knife and mix it into the dough (I probably did two scoops of nutella with the butter knife, which was probably a little more than 1/4 cup). You don't want to mix too much because you want to see the "swirls" of nutella in the cookie dough.

3. Chill dough overnight or at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator.  Roll into balls or scoop out with handy dandy cookie scooper.  Place on greased cookie sheet.

4.  Bake in oven for about 7 to 10 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned. Don't overbake.

My cookie scooper (2 tbsp?) yielded exactly 3 dozen cookies. You can't see the nutella swirls in the picture above because of the bad lighting, but you can definitely taste it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I just recently learned how to make guacamole, and I didn't know it was so simple! The Boy loves guacamole so I took upon myself to figure out how to do it. I guess I could have looked for a recipe online, but I just watched his roommie make it one day and now it's ingrained in my memory - and on these blog pages - forever! *insert evil laugh here*

Guacamole Prep

Ingredients for Q's version of Guacamole (aka the-way-The-Boy-likes-it-guacamole)
-two ripe avocados
-two jalapenos (or serrano peppers if you want more heat)
-one small tomato
-half a lime
-salt and pepper

Directions -- Cut the avocados in half, score and remove the avocado from the skin and put avocado into a bowl.  (If you don't know how cut and peel an avocado, click here for detailed instructions.)   Mash avocado with a fork or masher. Remove the seeds from the jalapenos, chop and add to the mashed avocado (start with one jalapeno and add more to your desired spiciness). Chop the tomato (remove the insides) and add to the mix. Grab a handful of cilantro, chop it up and add that to the mix. Squeeze the juice out of the half of a lime (add more if needed for your desired taste). Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill if needed and serve with tortilla chips.

Yes, I realize this is a lot of "add to your taste" instructions and not really a lot of exact measurements, but that's the beauty of this recipe. You don't have to stick to any exact measurement, so you can add more of less of your favorite ingredients.

I would have included a picture of the finished product, but my mashing wasn't too pretty and I didn't feel like transferring the guacamole to a new bowl just for picture purposes.  Yes, yes, I was lazy, but I also wanted to start eating the chips and guacamole!

fair food fodder

Here are pictures of  some of the food stands from the LA County Fair.  I wanted to try all of the fair food, but alas, my tummy is not that big, and plus I don't want to stretch it out any further than it already is!

First time that I have seen chocolate covered bacon being offered at a county fair. The only other time I've seen chocolate covered bacon (and also tasted) was at Co Co Sala.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!

Lots of Deep Fried Food

I have to admit that I was a bit tempted to try the deep fried White Castle hamburger.

I really did want to try out some BBQ, but since this is Cali and not North Carolina, I wasn't that disappointed in passing it up.

As you can see, King Taco was very popular.

Moo Market

The Moo Market, where all they sold was milk, and I think ice-cream too but I didn't venture too close. It was a walk-by picture moment.

Is this better than the Pork Parfait?

BBQ Steak Sundae - yum or eww? I know at least two people who would like to taste this concoction (neither of whom includes me).

Missed the pig races this year. =(

Sadly, I missed the pig races this year. It was the one thing I looked forward to the most, and we missed it by a longshot (mostly because they didn't have signs or announcements as to when the races were to start).

And this was just too funny not to take a picture of. And yes, the stuff was pretty crappy.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

LA County Fair

What's a summer without a county fair? A bad one!

I missed out on the California State Fair, but fortunately, I found out about the LA County Fair and that it was opening the same weekend we were going to be in LA for a wedding. SCORE!!! So, as soon as we landed in LA, dealt with some car rental issues, and checked into our hotel, we headed straight for the fair. I hadn't eaten anything but two donuts for breakfast, so by the time we entered the gates of the fairgrounds at 7:30pm, I was famished and about ready to eat a horse.

First food stand we saw:
turkey legs and giant sausages

A Ginormous Sausage Hot Dog
This sausage hot dog was larger than the plate

It was the size of my arm! The kicker was that The Boy and I EACH this giant sausage. We were just that hungry. We ate most of it - The Boy threw away the bun and I had a couple of bites of the bun.

My first deep fried twinkie, which I thought just tasted like fried dough.
Deep Fried Twinkie

My last fair food of the night - Grilled Corn on the Cob. MY MOST FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD!!!
BBQ Corn on the Cob

Don't I look just lovely with this corn in my mouth?

Although I didn't get to spend 10 hours at the fair as I would have liked to, it was a good time overall.  The best part was that the sun wasn't out anymore so it was a beautiful cool night.  We got to see the OUR BODY exhibit - really interesting but a bit creepy nonetheless.  It's amazing how meticulous the surgery skills were to prep those bodies for display.

I'll have to try extra hard to make the state fair next year!

anatomy of a Chinese wedding reception

Yes, it's been a long time since I last posted. Been kinda busy catching up with non-legal, fiction reading. As I am now waiting for the next book to arrive, I have some spare time to do some blogging. So here it goes.


The Boy and I spent Labor Day weekend in sunny LA. Part of the reason we were down there was to attend KW's wedding. It was a very packed weekend for us, as we had to squeeze in two of The Boy's fantasy football drafts (one while we were en route from SF to LA, and one on Sunday morning before the wedding ceremony), the LA County Fair and the wedding festivities. Well, The Boy got what he wanted, mostly, with his fantasy football drafts while I did enjoyed some in-room dining while watching TV.

What did I title this post again? Right, the wedding reception. I just want to quickly note that this was one of the quickest church ceremonies I have ever been too. Well done! And the reception was awesome too. Here's a photo lineup of most of the food:

Cold Appetizer Plate - contained seaweed, salad, soy sauce chicken, bbq pork, fried tofu, honey walnuts, and I think that's it. The Boy did not take well to the fried tofu nor the cold bbq pork (which he still doesn't believe is bbq pork).
Cold Appetizers

Egg Drop Soup with Ground Pork
Egg Drop Soup with Ground Pork

Crispy Duck in Steamed Bun - The duck skin was extra crispy!  The Boy never had Peking Duck before, and he usually doesn't like duck meat either, but he said he really enjoyed this combination.
Crispy Duck with scallions and hoisin sauce in a fluffy, white, steamed bun

Chinese Broccoli and Shitake Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce - one of my favorites!
Chinese Broccoli & Shitake Mushrooms

Spicy Beef - This was DELICIOUS! Tender and quite spicy, just the way I like my beef.  I believe this was the favorite at the table.
Spicy Beef

Steamed Flounder - Fish is not my favorite, but I tried some and it wasn't so bad.
Steamed Flounder

This is also the point where half the people at our table left, so there was quite a bit of food left over.

Fried Rice - Let me just point out that not every table at the reception was served equally. We were sitting at table No. 31.
Fried Rice

There were numbers in front of us that had Pineapple Fried Rice that was served in an actual pineapple. We were wondering when we would get that dish at our table. Lo and behold, by the time the fried rice came out, it was just plain old fried rice for Table No. 31. If it wasn't for the fact that this was the 8th dish that came out and I was already stuffed, I might have enjoyed the fried rice.

What I think is Bird's Nest without the bird's nest
Birds' Nest without the nest

Like I said above, other tables were getting the Bird's Nest dish while we just got a plate of veggies. I love the sauce and the mushrooms, so I was quite content anyhow.

The last dish served was the Red Bean Dessert, which I didn't take a picture of because I was in red bean dessert heaven and chowing down on it.  We had been waiting for the dish all night, as the other tables around us had already been served the dish and we just had to sit and watch other people enjoy it.  So by the time the server ladled the dessert into each individual bowl, I quickly slurped up my first bowl.  And since half the people at our table was gone, I quickly slurped up a second bowl. =)

The Wedding Cake - Classic Chinese Sponge Cake with Custard Filling
Wedding Cake

Hands down, my favorite dish of the night. =)

So, if anyone was keeping track, there were nine dishes served at the reception.  It was a very good night of eating.  The only thing I didn't like about the reception was that there were so many people there (about 400 guests) that I couldn't quite see KW pull off his bride's garter (he's a very reserved and conservative guy, so I wanted to see if he would actually do this.  They kinda cheated in that she had the garter on her ankle...) or KW and his buddies doing some manly dance to the tunes of Michael Jackson.  But, as long as the Bride and Groom are happy with their day, who cares if I can see, right?

CONGRATS to KW and his new wife, MW!