After the vacation, I have to admit it is hard to get back to the routine. Bryan and I still haven’t gone back to the gym. We should do that tomorrow. I am also catching up with my recipe testing. It should be almost there. At least, we finally got the Hong Kong trip pictures ready. Woo hoo!
Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Chinese Lantern Festival! Traditionally, Chinese Lantern Festival is to celebrate the first full moon of the lunar new year. Children play with their lanterns and solve riddles on lanterns in park. People would eat glutinous rice balls and enjoy the family time together. In modern days, it is considered to be the Chinese Valentine’s Day, but people don’t do much to celebrate. Anyhow, enjoy a sweet day with your loved one. Bryan and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, so we didn’t have any plan. We are more looking forward to the long weekend. 🙂
And yes, I have been back in town for a week. Sadly, Bryan and I are still recovering from our jet lag. We have been feeling sleepy in the morning, afternoon and night-time. Every time when I almost fall asleep on the couch, Bryan would poke my arm with his finger to keep me awake. By now, I think there are many bruises on my arm. Haha! I think we will be back to normal early next week.
Before arriving in Hong Kong, we also stayed in Tokyo for 5 days. The main goal to Hong Kong was to visit family and friends, and check out Chinese New Year. On the other side, going to Japan was all for sightseeing. We had amazing times in both Hong Kong and Tokyo. With two thousand pictures, Bryan can only go through the Japan ones for now. I will update you all about the Hong Kong trip next time.
Let’s talk about Tokyo. This was Bryan’s first time to Japan. I have only been to Japan when I was a kid, so I didn’t remember anything. Japan is a very beautiful place with very nice and polite people. We felt welcomed. Tokyo is crowded, but everyone follows rules and we always feel safe. It is no doubt a great place for tourists. As a foodie, Tokyo is heaven. There are so many different kinds of food, like sushi, tonkatsu, kaiseki, and teppanyaki. There are always something new every meal. No repeat. And for snacks, wow….. They are really everywhere, especially in train/subway stations. You will never go hungry!
No matter you are the Victoria’s Secret’s dog or Homer Simpson or a regular guinea pig or Hoops & Yoyo (& Piddle), we all celebrate the season together.
Happy Holidays everyone! Wish you a joyful holiday with your loved ones!
Tomorrow is Mid-Autumn Festival! To celebrate, mooncakes are must-have. I have bought some traditional and snowskin mooncakes a few weeks ago. Bryan and I love the snowskin mooncakes so much that we finished 12 within 2 weeks. To learn more about mooncakes, watch this video. It is very informative. It is amazing how many kinds of mooncakes are out there. I have never heard or seen some of them before.
I have been a bit busy recently. Doing some travel planning, going to dentists, helping my sister move… etc. So, no new recipe this week. I promise that I will have one next week.
Meanwhile, enjoy your mooncakes and have a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
Want to get some mooncakes? It is not too late.
Snowskin Mooncakes: 99 Ranch Market (140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776)
Traditional Mooncakes: Kee Wah Bakery (150 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776)
Bryan and I went to Santa Barbara in late May to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. It has been so busy, so I haven’t posted anything about it. It was a very special and fulfilling trip. Wine tour, ostriches/emus feeding and blueberries picking.
The first night, we had dinner near the marina. We enjoyed the beautiful waterfront and ocean view. Some delicious garlic baked clams ended a good day.
The next day, we had a wine tour with Cloud Climbers Jeep and Wine Tours. I am not a drinker. It is not that I don’t want to drink or have anything against it. I just get a flush and a bit dizzy after half a bottle of beer. Yup! Just half! Therefore, I don’t really drink much. If I do, two or three sips will do it. Bryan drinks mostly beer, and his recent favorite is gin and tonic. But he wasn’t that into wine. Then, you may ask why the hell we would think about joining a wine tour. To me, I have always wanted to see what a wine tour experience is. For Bryan, he would like to try different wines to see if there is something that he likes.
So there we went and we loved it! The jeep was fun. It was windy, but very fun. The guide was friendly and informative. We got to see the vineyards and area around. We went to 4 tasting rooms and 1 bar that day. Bryan probably had 4 glasses of wine and I had at least 3 glasses too. The part that helped me was the pause in between. We were either driving around or having lunch, so I had enough time to recover and not be drunk. Both of Bryan’s and my favorite tasting room has to be the Saarloos and Sons. They paired wines with Enjoy Cupcakes. Yes! Wine and cupcakes!!! The wine was excellent and the cupcakes were the best cupcakes I have ever eaten! Simply irresistible! We ended up buying 2 bottles of wine from there. It was an amazing experience. I think we will definitely do that again.
For our last day, we had a quick stop at Ostrich land in the Solvang. We fed some “cute” ostriches and emus. These animals can get a bit aggressive, especially when food is present. Haha… It was very cool to see them in person. They are a lot bigger than I thought.
We also stopped at Solvang. I thought we would enjoy that little town. However it was packed with tourists and most of the stores are mainly focused on tourists. Nothing was too unique. That was a disappointment.
On the way back driving to Los Angeles, we saw a blueberry farm. We went there and picked some blueberries. Oh yummy and sweet blueberries! They were very fresh and ripe. While we were picking, we had eaten so many too. What a great ending to our trip!
I highly recommend doing the wine tour if you are going to Santa Barbara. We had been to Santa Barbara two times before, so we didn’t do anything in town this time. If you are going there for the first time, you should check out the Courthouse and Stearns Wharf. It is a beautiful town.
List of places that we went:
Brophy Bros (119 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109)
Gainey Vineyard (3950 E Hwy 246, Santa Ynez, CA 93460)
Saarloon & Sons Tasting Room (2971 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441)
Carhartt Vineyard Tasting Room (2990A Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441)
Lincourts Vineyard (1711 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463)
Cold Spring Tavern (5995 Stagecoach Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105)
Ostrichland USA (610 E Hwy 246, Solvang, CA 93463)
Santa Barbara Blueberries (1980 US Hwy 101, Gaviota, CA 93117)
Have you ever won anything from giveaway, sweepstake or lottery? I haven’t until recent month. Thanks to Homemade Delish giveaway, I won a Wusthof 4.5-inch knife! WOO HOO! I was jumping up and down when I received the email. For a moment, I even thought it was a scam. But I quickly realized that I actually won something. That felt really good!
Last week, I received my knife. It was awesome! Sharp and perfect for cutting small things, like vegetables and sandwiches. I am very happy to get an extra knife, especially I used to only have a chef knife.
This week, I am not posting a recipe. I am actually exploring recipes with tons of Meyer lemons. And yes, Bryan is getting sick of hearing or tasting Meyer lemons. Hahaha… But after this package of Meyer lemons, he won’t have to see them ever again until next year. 🙂
Be sure to check back next week, I have an amazing braised chicken recipe.
I love animals and I love zoo! I think zoo is a great way to introduce and educate people about animals. And of course, the animals are always cute and funny to watch. Bryan and I went to San Diego Zoo last Saturday.
We have been watching panda cam online and witnessing the growth of Xiao Liwu (7-month old baby panda). We really wanted to see him in person. That was the main reason for visiting the zoo. But animals are always unpredictable. When we finally walked in the exhibit after waiting in line for a while, this little Xiao Liwu just rolled down to the moat along with his ball. The moat is deep and it is next to the viewing area. Once he is in there, it is almost impossible to see him. And he doesn’t climb out by himself really. That was it. We couldn’t really get a good glimpse of Xiao Liwu. As a good photographer, Bryan reached his camera over the fence and got a few pictures of Xiao Liwu. We were a bit disappointed, but this is just how animals are. We know this may happen.
Since we have been in this zoo for a few times, we wanted to do something more. We booked the backstage pass. It was very cool. We got to feed rhinos, touch zebra, see a bunch of cats (like cheetah, clouded leopards, and serval), and take pictures with a few animals. That was a great experience. I would recommend for people who really like animals and are willing to pay extra. If not, walking around the zoo is still just as awesome.
After the backstage pass, we continued to walk around. We saw two babies capybara. They were so cute. I really like them. I always think that they are like giant guinea pigs. Also, we were scared by a male gorilla. The gorilla exhibit is fenced by glasses, so people can view gorilla very clearly without any wires. Bryan and I were standing close to the glass next to a family. All the sudden, a male gorilla ran towards the family and pound the glass real hard. Everyone was shocked and frightened at the moment. Nothing happened and the gorilla went away. Animals are animals. On the other hand, the orangutans were relax and playful. They were much more adorable.
Sadly, the zoo closed at 5pm. We were there for more than 6 hours, but we still couldn’t finished seeing everything. I always wish I could be there for more days. I am looking forward to going back soon.
Want to visit San Diego Zoo? Read
Check out panda cam: Read
Want to visit Southern California? I have a SoCal guide too. Read
Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Lunar New Year! In this Snake year, wish you all good health, good fortune and happiness!
I will be posting a Chinese New Year recipe later this week.
Last week, I followed Bryan to Las Vegas for CES (Consumer Electronics Show). That’s why I was unable to update the blog.
CES is always an interesting experience. The convention center is just gigantic. There are tons and tons of booths and vendors. It always feels like the show is endless. At first, it was very exciting. But soon, your eyes went kind of blind and tired after all that looking around after a while. Your feet were hurting like crazy. All you wanted to do is sit or sleep.
Even though it sounds not so fun and Bryan has to work, I still look forward to CES every year. Because Bryan and I got to try out some delicious food at some fancy restaurants. I think Vegas is definitely the place to try out different restaurants. Not only there are tons of choices. Most importantly, many of the restaurants are opened by famous chefs, like Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, and Gordon Ramsay. Just too many to count. If you love food, Las Vegas is the heaven for you.
This year, we went to Mon Ami Gabi, Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina, Jean Philippe Patisserie, and Table 10. Mon Ami Gabi is our Vegas tradition. We love their French onion soup and the steak. And I love the view and the Bellagio fountain show. It is just so romantic. Wolfgang’s dinner was good too. The most memorable was the Prime Beef Crudo. Oh so delicious!!! The pizza was tasty if only the crust was not too thick and hard. Jean Philippe Patisserie was purely amazing. Bryan got the key lime tart. It was tart and sweet. I love the strawberry filling in the middle. Perfect dessert! Table 10 by Emeril was a pleasant surprise. Everything was delicious. My Creole duck breast was cooked perfectly. Crispy and juicy. The side dishes were wonderful too. That sweet potato puree was my favorite. I got to learn how to make that. The banana cream pie was also not overrated at all. It was tasty!
And of course, we can’t miss out the buffets. Buffet has a very special place in my heart. My parents used to bring my sister and I to buffet for special occasions. Buffet is always the special treat for me. This time, I went to the new buffet (Bacchanal Buffet) at Caesars Palace for dinner. The amount of choices was impressive. Everything is in a little plate, bowl or basket. The food was pretty good. Just don’t get the slider. The meat was dry and overcooked. Also, Bryan and I went to Wicked Spoon Buffet for brunch. Food was great too. Other than breakfast items, there were a good amount of savory dishes. Of course it was never too early for desserts. We had 3 different gelato, raspberry, tiramisu and Thai tea. After all those buffets, I was so stuffed. Maybe all that CES walking will help to balance out!
I had a wonderful trip in Vegas! I can’t wait for next year, except for those walking! Stay tuned! I will be posting a recipe later this week.
Happy New Year!!! Wish you all to have a wonderful year ahead! I am just dropping by for a quick post about my Christmas day.
Two days before Christmas, Bryan and I went to my in-laws’ house to help out with making tamales. We ended up making 99 of them! Woo! Tamale is made with masa. Every families may have a slightly different version. My mother-in-law’s tamale has potato, chicken, capers, and olives. That was what we had for Christmas day lunch. They were delicious!
After lunch, Bryan and I went back home. I made prime rib roast, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and raspberry pavlova for dinner. The menu was totally inspired by Lawry’s. Haha… A few weeks ago, Bryan and I went to Lawry’s for the first time. We absolutely love the food, so I was trying to recreate some of those tasty dishes for Christmas. The end result was not disappointing. The rib roast was pretty juicy and tender. The creamed corn was sweet and creamy. And of course, the dessert came out beautifully. Even though I was so full, I really wanted to eat the whole pavlova! The gooey center was so irresistible I am going to make them again very soon!
My presents from Bryan this year: Bread cookbook, Converse watch, Egg waffle pan, and The Sound of Music Blu-ray 🙂
Overall, I had a great holiday! We did a bunch of things. We went to Santa Monica Pier and LA River. We also spent some time catching up with season 2 Homeland! And we hanged out at home a lot to stay warm. I hope you had a great one too!