Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm going to do these tomorrow.

The Kelly Osbourne Weight Loss Workout

Okay, so I'm doing my love a favor.

Last time I went to visit my friend Drew, I was a complete jerk because I was not really feeling up to partying. I just worked out a lot instead so tomorrow, I'm going to get high-proof liquor, liquor myself up, and drink lots of water.

Before that though, I'll be on a plane for several hours eating apples and a ham & cheese roll then working out quite a bit. I'll get home, go to the hip hop class, do some cardio, get in some foam rolling, do some weights, do my nails...

Yeah, this one's for you Drew. Then back to the grind.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chasing food trucks

I never got to get into the food truck obsession over in North Carolina so here goes. I was super excited about going to the OC Fair's Food Truck Fare Thursdays, but I found out about the OC Din-Din A-Go-Go at Irvine Lanes tonight. I forget how many trucks were there, but here's a list of those that I do remember:
  • Dos Chinos - longest line, most interesting menu, love the name of the Asian-Mexican food, took the longest to get my food
  • Chomp Chomp Nation - Singaporean with an American twist, a tad more expensive but lots of sweet + salty mixtures, awesome crew and lots of people inside
  • Piaggio on Wheels - Argentinean food part 2 after I ate at a poorly serviced Argentinean restaurant, nice people
  • Rolling Sushi Van - sushi but no yogurt tonight, I can't eat sushi from a van because I don't even eat pre-prepared sushi
  • Taco Dawg - late to arrive but quick to set-up, good choices of hot dogs and tacos with lots of toppings
  • Chunk n Chip - blasted good music (to me that means Maroon 5 who have a new album out soon too!), too cold for ice cream sandwiches though
  • Lomo Arigato - opened late, limited menu, not interested
  • The Lime Truck - good solid menu with interesting combinations, good not too sweet limeades made fresh and quite popular
I was so happy with the service, the atmosphere, and the food. This isn't like the last time I saw so many food trucks (at the OC Fair when I was working there). It's clean and fun.

For someone who says she doesn't like the food I make her eat, my mom grabs food pretty fast. I picked Piaggio on Wheels for her. They had specials tonight including an angus burger with bleu cheese with chimichurri fries and a champagne chicken mac and cheese. Both sounded good and we've had tons of both dishes lately so I let the guy choose and surprise me when it came out. He gave me the burger.

Everyone waited in front of Dos Chinos. I love that name by the way. It's Asian fusion food and I definitely wanted a Hollywood chicken taco even though I just ate the chicken. I just don't like corn tortillas.

From Dos Chinos, I couldn't resist the strange Sriracha-Tapatio tamarind cheesecake.

This is crack. Better than the French toast creme brulee from Break of Dawn. It's a kaya coconut stuffed French toast for $5.50 from Chomp Chomp Nation, much cheaper than most. It's two slice of bread filled with something and exotic dragon fruit, peaches, mango, etcetera on the side. Yum yum.

The spicy cheesecake was too much for mom. She made me go get her a drink so I ordered what everyone else ordered, the Chilean cherry limeade from The Lime Truck. They had some good things on their menu, but well, everything else won my heart tonight.

Where should you move to?

Click to enlarge.

Palm Springs gawking (Part III)

I took pictures of some of my favorite finds in Palm Springs whether it be furniture or outdoor art.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Palm Springs about town (Part II)

I just snapped lots of pictures of pretty places and things.

Astroturf lawn chair

I dream about a place like this. (Part I)

I was super excited about Palm Springs. I stayed up planning the trip and of course, I never made it hiking or to the Parker Palm Springs. We spent too much time downtown to fit in hiking before dark and stores close pretty early in the desert. Secondly, mom was 45 minutes late so we couldn't have breakfast at Norma's. I decided to go there so I could see the Parker because you can only valet your car and I found it strange to not be checking in. I did get to see the front and chat with a pink pants-clad and a pink jacket-clad employee. It's pretty hidden otherwise.

Anyhow, for the trip. Lots of freeways to get on and off. Easy to navigate. There are two main drags. You pass by the Palm Springs Visitor Center that used to be a gas station. I was in love at first sight. I wowed at everything.

We headed to Koffi first and stumbled upon their courtyard. Everyone kind of stared probably because I looked confused. They were all just having coffee and breakfast.

I loved Just Fabulous next door. They sold tons of books and paper goods, but I'm over buying all of that for the most part. I used to buy lots of it and they never got used. I'm just not good at sending cards.

Have I mentioned I want a plastic flamingo outside my future home?

Gnome bank!

Next door is Cafe Chocolat with lunch and coffee as well as chocolates. The best thing is that they serve Blackmarket Bakery Cabernet brownies! The shops are 2 hours away... insane how I see those baked goods everywhere (also at milk + honey).

Because Norma's was closed for breakfast at this time, I decided to go to Cheeky's. They're closed until tomorrow. Instead, we headed past downtown, uptown, and whatever else to Palm Greens Cafe. It's a small joint. We ordered the spinach-nut burger that was delicious, but the spinach parmesan bun was not as good as it sounded. Too overcooked. However, I was less happy with the burrito of egg, black beans, and brown rice. I found myself wishing I had ordered the wet burritio with tomatillo and sour cream to fatten up the bland burrito.

Thankfully, the vegan date shake saved them. They put a bit of cocoa powder in there that kind of covered up the taste of dates, but I just love shakes and rarely get them so I didn't mind too much. I really wanted to love this place because they were so friendly. I probably should have had their vegan blueberry pancakes that everyone raves about instead.

I can say Brussels but not Liege.

The day before I read in OC Weekly about a waffle joint. It was perfect because I was at Haven Gastropub and they no longer serve their cafe y cigaro dessert. I need dessert. I just have to have it for a meal to be over so I walked over there. Yes, I made a pit stop at The Perfect Circle Cupcakery, but my aim was to hit up Bruxie.

Super friendly waitress. Slow service; the kitchen didn't seem in sync.

I ordered the Liege waffle served with Nutella. Big waffle not like what I expected from reviews. I thought I'd get something thin but this looked like all other Belgian waffles I've encountered. I hoped for something more unique. Should I have ordered the Brussels waffle instead?

Good and warm for a hot night, but maybe a sandwich would've been a better choice on another day.

Not much seating, but they have Wi-Fi.

Cold, hot, and smelling good

A few years ago, I ordered so much shaved ice that we had to take it home. Shaved ice isn't meant to be taken home. It melts a little and becomes big blocks of ice. Really, shaved ice are glorified snow cones. The good thing about them is the fruit and toppings, which I think we ate through back then so I don't even know why we attempted to take the shaved ice home.

There are tons of shaved ice spots, but milk + honey is at The Camp, an eco-community. It's not where it should be and I'm all for anomalies.

The shaved ice was fancy. I had the green tea delux which had green tea shaved ice, red beans, kiwi, and coconut shavings. It was okay though, but what was better was the gingerbread latte. The smell was intoxicating and I couldn't resist drinking it. Mmm.

Cute decor and nice dark place to relax with a latte. They serve Blackmarket Bakery goodies, bagels, sandwiches, and muffins. Being a PB&J connoisseur, I want to try their PB and fresh fruit sandwich.

Too expensive even for me.

Vietnamese bakeries aren't my favorite. This is why: they're not very clean. I grew up around them and never enjoyed the flavors.

Pacific Bakery was like one of those traditional bakeries I grew up around. It wasn't what I expected from a bakery that sells macaroons. Also, I found $1.75 pretty expensive for ONE macaroon especially in the Little Saigon area. I'm too used to dirt cheap food there.

Pistachio was good, but passion fruit was too sweet. I love passion fruit but didn't even eat the filling. The cookies were good and chewy not crunchy which I preferred. So I have to say, for a typical bakery, they had good macarons.

Wait, this is a cupcakery?

The Perfect Circle Cupcakery shop is adorable. It didn't feel like a cupcake shop as much as it did a design shop. Not particularly an accessible place to hang out, but you're eating cupcakes not having coffee so no biggie. I just love to stare at all the decor.

I came late after dinner and had to stop by when I saw its beauty as well as the advertisement saying that they were on Cupcake Wars. I inquired, but sadly, being late, the only cupcakes left were peppermint cupcakes. Still good and very much so even after I put it in the fridge overnight.

A late holiday wish.

I thought our internet was broken. Not the case. Only the wireless is broken so finally, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I know; it's backwards. Oops.

My uncle, aunts, and I. This is why I don't wear shirts that don't fit properly. I just look fat. I mean, I am fatter now but still, my belly isn't as big as it appears. :(

2010 wasn't too bad

Hm, I started reading tons of lists about trends and such in 2010. I've decided to highlight my personal life instead.

Let's make a list so it'll be easier.
  • I went from a flabby 130 to a svelte 115 or so.
  • I got down to 111-113.
  • I baked too much and gained a lot of weight.
  • Working out A LOT like 5 hours a day or more is possible.
  • Enjoyed working out then stopped enjoying it when I got a 9-5 job.
  • I reached an all-time romantic low with a pothead, druggie, thief, etcetera.

I learned a lot this year.
  • I can lose weight! Even though I gained some back, it isn't in the same form as it was before. It's no longer skinny fat.
  • I can work out and not be skinny fat.
  • I'm worth it. Guys kind of suck nowadays. Girls are so much better.
  • Anything I think I'm addicted to can be overcome.
  • I love to eat too much and should have gone to school to become a chef. Oh well.
  • Small children are dangerous. Give me my high schoolers.

For next year:
  • Enjoy working out and lose the weight again. This time 115 is enough.
  • Try eating a mostly gluten-free, mostly vegetarian diet.
  • Eat enough.
  • Figure out what I'm going to do next fall.
  • Save money for my iPhone. Hey, this is a priority...
  • Travel over spring break. Where? No idea yet. Suggestions?
  • Stop baking so much. Cook real meals.

Easy food at True Food

I dragged mom to another restaurant in ritzy Newport Beach. True Food Kitchen serves gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and regular fare. I expected the place to resemble Native Foods, but I was definitely wrong.

I felt like I entered a TV show restaurant. Why? Lots of waiter service here. On their off-time, they all rolled silverware. Gorgeous and modern space and lots of it. The bathrooms were quite fancy and everyone shared sinks.

Pricey, but I was tempted by their salads. I don't usually go for salads at restaurants. I feel like they're rip-offs, but they have yummy add-ins like butternut squash, jicama, walnuts, etcetera. I tried the harvest chopped with butternut squash, apples, pomegranate seeds, walnut, and goat cheese. It was a very hearty salad.

Mom got the ahi sliders. Well, actually they split it up for us. The bread was healthy with all the grains in it and delicious. Just enough for us. The sliders were okay.

I want to go back and try their pizzas. As one of the waitresses finished serving a pizza, she told another server she wanted one later. That's a sign it must be good right?

Their cocktails all sounded delicious and I kept the menu to stare, but I didn't end up getting any. Sadly their desserts weren't as tempting.

Stollens everywhere.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

I went with tropical fruits because I wanted a twist. Instead of marzipan, I found almond paste and decided on that instead.

It's a tedious process that involved rising, kneading, more rising, and finally some baking. I would leave it to rise while I ran errands.

I might have messed up with portions because I only used half the recipe, but nonetheless, the stollen came out gloriously. I loved it and ate lots of it myself. When did I start enjoying dried fruit and nuts so much? I never did before all this Christmas baking.

Now I see stollens everywhere: in cookie recipes, at the farmer's markets... If you don't know about it, you never realize that it's all around you. Like Christmas/love is all around you.

Now here's a song:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Satisfy my mid-century modern tooth.

I have a sweet tooth, but tomorrow I'm celebrating my mid-century modern tooth with an awesome day trip to Palm Springs!

Here are the stops:

And I will try a date shake, preferably from Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolate. I would drive out to Indio and go to Shield's, but that's just too far out for the day.

I hate to say it: good food, bad service.

I said a few blogs ago that there are tiny pockets that serve non-Vietnamese, non-Chinese, non-Asian food. I've tried Middle Eastern and South Asian foods for the most part, but I found out about an Argentinian restaurant. Regina's a family restaurant that shows soccer games so don't go there on game nights.

Their adjacent store isn't so much a store but a pantry. They have lots of wine, dulce de leche, and quince. I had quince once and would like more of it, but if it's only fresh.

When I came in, they only had two other patrons. They all stared at me. Everyone else seemed like they fit into this family restaurant. The proprietor even sat down with one of the families. They didn't even serve us bread and chimichurri like they're supposed to from what I read.

We waited over 30 minutes not acceptable for being just one of a few customers. I was passed hungry. Good food. Unlike my Middle Eastern pizza, my Argentine pizza was big and fluffy with sausage. I ate one slice and felt like I was going to die... only because I had passed my hunger point and that happens to me. If I eat one bite, I'm stuffed beyond recognition and my belly bloats big time.

Anyways, if you need a hearty dish fit for a giant man, here it is.

Mom took the pizza home and my cousins devoured it.

I would love to try the $2 empanadas, but I was so uncomfortable I wouldn't go back.

I forgot the cupcake.

Oops, I forgot to take a picture, but really, it's not worth it. I was in the area after brunch nearby at Break of Dawn.

I tried the Frostings' birthday cake cupcake and wasn't impressed. Maybe I should have gone with red velvet, but I've had too many of those. Every cupcakery does a good one. Their other popular one was Night & Day, but I wasn't in a chocolate mood.

Verdict: Not particularly moist. The cupcake top was crunchy and the best part. I read reviews about the frosting but wasn't swayed. Also, I like Sprinkles' dots to distinguish flavors but I just don't like little flowers as much.

What Asian fusion food should be.

Mom has been commenting that all the places I want to eat are in Southern Orange County, the ritzy part of the county. I thought she'd be a little upset by the fact that I wanted to go to Laguna Beach for Asian fusion food. Though she likes it, anything Asian should never cost so much. Break of Dawn is expensive, but it's also delectable.

I felt like I had to order their French toast creme brulee and mac & cheese from the reviews. I've eaten a lot of French toast; it's my favorite and I'm always trying to avoid it. I couldn't avoid this one. A few days ago I had creme brulee French toast from Whole Foods. Big mistake. Break of Dawn's French toast creme brulee involves delicious French toast in a bed of chocolate creme brulee.

Mac and cheese simmering in sauce with an egg on top. Also good. The actual mac and cheese was fancy; not as much cheese. Maybe I just prefer my mac and cheese more traditional.

Big portions that you want to finish. Pricey but pretty worth the unique tastes. Oh yes, they're only open from 8-2. Very limited hours, but I think it's a smart idea to keep the demand high.

The Middle East, part 2

Looking around the Asian strips where I grew up near, I realized that every once in awhile, I would see a strangely placed restaurant whereby it be a Pakistini or Sri Lankan joint. I didn't seem Jack's Bakery out like I did with Al-Amir. Instead, it was nearby. With its American name, it's unassuming. The window signs advertise kebobs which tell of more to come than your usual bakery.

They have platters of baklava ready and $1 each. I chose a cylinder version sprinkled with pistachios. It was flaky but doused with honey on the inside. Very sweet.

They also have spinach triangles and kebobs on their food menu.

Not your typical doughnut.

There are lots of Asian-styled bakeries. 85 Degrees in Irvine is one of the more popular with a large selection, but I'm fascinated by all of them. I like to look at all the choices. Bakeries like Tous Les Jours are different. While 85 Degrees comes from Taiwan, Tous Les Jours leans towards Japanese and Korean tastes, or so I think. They have Asian-style doughnuts and croquettes for one.

I tried a red bean filled doughnut, which was sweet like an American sugar doughnut. It was brimming with red bean paste that still had tiny pieces of bean.

The pumpkin doughnut was round and was less American. Circular and made with some type of grainy dough, there wasn't much filling at all. I may have liked it more if there was a more prevalent pumpkin taste.

Selection is smaller but not bad and a more unique variety of donuts and croquettes.

More of my non-traditional Christmas

A lot of places opened on Christmas out here in Southern California. We were graced with a sunny day after many rainy ones. I chose to go for pizza. I hear lots of people elsewhere eat pizza or Chinese food on Christmas Day. Since I'm not a fan of Chinese food much less Americanized Chinese food, I decided on pizza. Not just any pizza but Middle Eastern pizza from Al-Amir Bakery.

I started off with a Zaatar pizza with olive oil, sesame seeds, sumac, and other goodness. Warm spinach triangles with onions weren't like similar ones from Indian restaurants.

I usually order something classic and just glance at the rest of the menu. While waiting, I saw the Sfeefa with its beef, molasses, and pomegranate. Thankfully I had my mom with me and she was getting hungry.

Both were so good, mom and I finished them off. I loved the unique flavors and it must be authentic if the patrons come from Middle Eastern countries too. Right?

Southern food in California

A little strange, in the middle of Santa Ana, next door to the Gypsy Den which I went to the day previously... Southern food at a place called Memphis at Santorra. They have three locations, but I'm not sure what makes each different or rather what Santorra means. The thing I liked most were the chairs.

So I'm not a fan of this Helvetica font separated so far away.

Mom enjoyed the pulled pork with spinach. I thought it tasted okay, like beef jerky almost. The spinach salad and burger toppings made this burger.

They didn't advertise the price of their specials. I paid $16 for a bison burger and sweet potato fries. The fries reminded me of the best food of the South. The sandwich was best with its toppings like the pulled pork.