Jinxi

Jul 282014
 

S and I were recently in Encinitas and decided to check out Kealani’s Cafe for lunch – we’re not too experienced with Hawaiian food (our most frequently-visited place is L&L in UTC… not the greatest). I was pretty excited to try out a new place!

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We arrived right as it opened, 11AM on a Saturday. The place was pretty much empty, with just a couple of other customers.

The whole place had very cute decor, with the booths resembling little straw huts! Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of our booth :(

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One corner of the restaurant was actually a little Hawaiian-themed shop, with clothing and souvenirs. It made me feel like a tourist…

Kalua Pig Plate - Mini [$5.50]

Kalua Pig Plate – Mini [$5.99]

S of course, chose the Kalua Pig plate. The plate lunches come in two sizes, regular and mini. I believe the price difference is about $1.50? Anyway, we weren’t feeling particularly hungry that day, so mini sizes it was for both of us. The pork was quite flavorful – slightly smoky, not overly salty, with hints of sweetness. It was quite juicy and tender, and we liked it a lot! Continue reading »

Jul 252014
 

It’s Boba Time is a milk tea/drinks franchise shop that recently opened up on Convoy, replacing the old Yoshinoya spot. Due to S’s deep and undying love for all things milk tea, we had to go check it out.

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The interior was quite cute – one of the walls was a painted mural, and there were pictures and decorations hanging everywhere.

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There’s also an explanatory banner for those who aren’t familiar with boba!

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Jul 232014
 

Today’s post is a little more than a recipe – I am partnering with my blogger buddies in a San Diego Food Bloggers Lemonade Challenge, in support of a wonderful cause – Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a fundraiser for childhood cancer, and is the biggest fundraiser in California! Since its inception 9 years ago, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $80 million and funded more than 450 research projects at 94 institutions! They also help families struggling with childhood cancer by providing a Travel Fund and an annual Educational Symposium.

The 9th annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand will be held this Saturday, July 26 from 10AM-6PM in Normal Heights: 3366 Adams Avenue, 92116 at the Masonic Parking Lot. There will be lemonade, a silent auction, prize drawings, kids’ activities, and live music – it is bound to be a super fun event, supporting an amazing fundraiser.

Alex's Lemonade Stand, 2013

Alex’s Lemonade Stand, 2013

Even if you can’t attend, you can donate online here. A $50 donation funds an hour of research – the biomedical research funding climate is not so great right now (I can personally attest to this, as a grad student in this field), and every little bit will help! Let’s help our hosts, the Miller Tribe, reach their goal of $15,000 this year – which would bring their total to $100,000 for the nine years that they’ve been running!

This week, I join my fellow food bloggers in creating a lemon-based recipe, sponsored by Melissa’s Produce. More than a dozen bloggers will be cooking with lemons in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Be sure to check out the recipes on their blogs!

A Purpose Driven Wife
BakeLoveGive
Becky Charms
Confessions of a Foodie
Deleting the Adjectives
Family Spice
Frugal Nutrition
Golden State Mom
Jinxi Eats
Kirbie’s Cravings
Making It Sweet
Recipe Renovator
Sweet Sueshine
The H Blog
This Tasty Life
The Seaside Baker
Three Dog Kitchen

Melissa’s Produce generously provided both regular and Meyer lemons (as well as a bunch of other amazing fruits!) for me to create my recipe. I remembered something that I had seen on Pinterest, a Greek yogurt lemon coffee cake, and decided to make a Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

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It’s basically a coffee cake, but with a layer of lemon cream cheese in between the cake and crumble part.

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I really enjoyed the textural contrast between the crumble topping and custard-like cream cheese layer! The Meyer lemons gave it a wonderfully sweet yet bright flavor – it was my first time baking with Meyer lemon, and now I’m addicted. I’m already planning to make a batch of Meyer lemon curd this weekend!

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S loved the cake, too, and was quite reluctant when I said I wanted to share some with our friends… haha. That’s when I knew that I made something yummy!

Thanks so much, once again, to Melissa’s Produce for providing the lemons for this post, as well as the produce box! Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers’ lemon recipes in the links above! And finally, I hope you’ll support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, whether by attending the event or making an online donation. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Melissa’s Produce to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand: Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Event Partners:
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Adams Avenue Business Association
Blind Lady Ale House
FM 94.9, broadcasting live all day
Melissa’s Produce

Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

A few weeks ago, I visited Common Theory Public House for their grand opening - I had a really great time there, but I did not get to experience the full menu since they had a limited special menu for the grand opening weekend. S and I went back for another visit recently with some of our friends to check out their other offerings!

I’ve already shared photos of the restaurant in my first post, so I skipped those and went straight for the food this time. 

Daily Special: Ahi & Scallop Poke [$13]

Daily Special: Ahi & Scallop Poke [$13]

The Ahi & Scallop Poke on the daily specials board attracted my friend’s attention immediately. She was pretty surprised when this dish came out, though – it was more of an appetizer than an entrée. She said that although it tasted pretty good – she especially liked the scallops – it wasn’t worth $13, and definitely wasn’t filling enough for her as a meal.

Pork Belly Katsu, served with a candied jalapeño and hoisin molasses sauce [$9.5]

Pork Belly Katsu, with candied jalapeño and hoisin molasses sauces [$9.5]

One of our friends has tried this before and decided to order it again.

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Continue reading »

Jul 202014
 

Today’s post is on something non-food-related! I was contacted by a PR company to share about a ticket-vending site, ScoreBig.com.

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It works basically like Priceline’s bidding for hotels – except with event tickets! You select the event that you’d like to attend, your preferred seating area, and submit a bid for tickets. You’ll be notified instantly if your bid is accepted, but if it’s rejected, then you’ll have to wait 24 hours before putting in a new bid. There’s a useful little meter underneath the bid input box, to show your chances of success. 

The site is very intuitive and user-friendly. I was excited to see that Chargers and Padres tickets were being offered – I love NFL and have been wanting to watch a Chargers game, so I’ll definitely bidding for tickets soon!

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One of the best things about ScoreBig.com is that there are no convenience or processing fees, which can normally get pretty expensive. One of the downsides, however, is that there aren’t too many San Diego event tickets being offered yet. They are in the process of expanding, though, and there are a lot of events available in Los Angeles. (The company is headquartered in LA, so that’s probably the reason.) I’m looking forward to seeing new events being added on in the future!

Check it out here! ScoreBig.com

Disclaimer: I received a $100-off discount for my next purchase through ScoreBig.com, which I plan to apply toward my Chargers tickets. All the writing in this post is my own!

Link Love!
Mary from This Tasty Life also recently tried out ScoreBig.com. Check out her review here!

Jul 182014
 

Recently, S and I had a nice weekend getaway in Las Vegas with a few friends – Vegas is our favorite place for a mini-vacation, actually… it’s close enough to drive there, but it’s just far enough away that I can really take a break from the stresses of life, haha. We’ve had several “fine-dining” meals in Las Vegas, including Fleur and Lawry’s Prime Rib. On this recent trip, we made reservations at Bouchon Bistro, one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time and was really looking forward to the meal!

We stayed at the Palazzo hotel, so it was an easy walk over to Venetian, where Bouchon was located. I felt shy about taking photos of the restaurant, for some reason. It was pretty crowded and lively.

Complimentary Bread, Butter, Pistachios

Complimentary Bread, Butter, Pistachios

We started off with some complimentary bread and butter, and… pistachios? Interesting, but pretty neat. I was a little disappointed that the bread wasn’t warm – I had pretty high hopes for it since my friend raved about his visit – but it was still a nice bread.

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I love pistachios and couldn’t help eating them! In Chinese, pistachios is called “Happiness Nut” – the word “happiness” is composed of the characters for “open” and “heart” – which is kind of like a pistachio, with their cracked shell. Makes sense, no? I always thought that the Chinese name for pistachio was really cute.

We decided to share three entrées, a cheese plate, and an order of foie gras, which you can’t get in California. 

Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard [$49/5 oz]

Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard [$49/5 oz]

The foie gras was served with toasted baguette and sea salt – I didn’t feel like it needed the salt, since it was plenty flavorful already. The foie was so rich and creamy; I absolutely loved it and savored every bite. I did feel like sharing a 5 oz portion between four people was a bit too much, though – we didn’t want any of it to go to waste, but it was so rich that it actually filled us up before our entrées even arrived.

Fromage du Jour - 3 pc tasting portion [$15.25]

Fromage du Jour – 3 pc tasting portion [$15.25]

Continue reading »

Jul 162014
 

I have done a couple of posts on Greek yogurts lately – and don’t worry, there are more coming – but I thought I’d take a break from Greek. Lately, I’ve noticed a variety of yogurts in all sorts of “international” styles, so with my yogurt obsession, I wanted to try all of them, haha. Here’s a round-up of what I’ve tried so far!

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Siggi’s Icelandic Style Skyr – Vanilla

Starting off with Siggi’s Icelandic style skyr, one of my favorite yogurts! Skyr is a cultured and strained dairy product, with a production process pretty similar to strained yogurt. I love how creamy it is – it’s even thicker than some Greek yogurts that I’ve had. I’ve only had Siggi’s brand, and their vanilla flavor is subtle and quite tart – too tart for S’s liking. Unfortunately, skyr is also quite expensive so it’s a rare treat for me… I usually only buy it if it’s on sale, and that’s not too often. In the Wikipedia article, it is mentioned that skyr can be eaten with milk and a topping of sugar – I’ve never tried this, but it sounds good!

Moving on from Iceland to Asian-style yogurts…

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Beijing Yogurt – Plain

Beijing Yogurt - Plain (no sugar added)

Beijing Yogurt – Plain (no sugar added)

I’ve always thought that the yogurt I’ve had in the US tastes quite different from the yogurt I had in China as a kid… there’s a distinct flavor that I can’t quite place (actually, the best description would be to think of it as a cross between Western yogurt and Yakult or Calpico). The consistency is also different – the yogurt in China was supposed to be drinkable through a straw. Well, when I heard about Beijing Yogurt, I bought a couple of them for nostalgia’s sake. It really does taste just like the yogurt I used to have as a kid – that distinct tart flavor is there – although it was a little too thick, probably not meant for drinking. 

Tarté Asian Yogurt - Green Tea & Honey

Tarté Asian Yogurt – Green Tea & Honey

Continue reading »

Jul 142014
 

Iceskimo is a summer pop-up store in San Diego, serving snow-shaved ice! I was ultra-excited because I love snow-shaved ice, and my friend said that she visited during the soft opening and really liked it. I saw that there was a grand opening event two Saturdays ago, with free snow ice in the afternoon, so of course I had to go check it out!

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True to the pop-up concept, Iceskimo is located inside Pangea Bakery. It is open for the summer (July-September), Fridays through Sundays only.

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The shop is set up to the right of the cake display case. Pangea actually had quite a bit of space there, I wasn’t sure what was there before they opened up Iceskimo.

Here’s their menu of all the shaved snow flavors:

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I was really intrigued by their “Bubble Tea Deconstructed” snow, which had oolong milk tea snow with honey boba and condensed milk. But, the two free snows being offered that day for the grand opening special were the Fresh Strawberry and the Cookie Monster.

Fresh Strawberry Snow

Strawberry Shortcake: strawberry snow, fresh strawberries, house-made shortcake

Continue reading »

Jul 112014
 

The World Cup finals are right around the corner, and I’ve got a fun snack to share with you today – The Better Chip! I was recently sent samples of The Better Chip, along with some cool recipe ideas for having a “chip party” for World Cup viewings!

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I had originally made tons of grand plans to experiment with some of these recipes and share them with you, but then, I got sick… and there was no way I was going to cook or prepare anything. I get ultra paranoid when I’m sick and try to stay as far from the kitchen as possible, to avoid contaminating our food and utensils…

So, I just ended up eating most of these chips, and this will be a product review post instead! I’ll be sharing a couple of World Cup-themed recipes from The Better Chip company at the end of the post, and I am still planning on trying those when I’m feeling like getting back in the kitchen again.

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Continue reading »

Jul 092014
 

Five years ago, I started this little blog to document all the restaurants that I was trying out in the summer before my last year of college. Since then, I’ve moved from Durham, NC to Berkeley, CA and now San Diego. I’ve moved up from using the camera on my Sony Ericsson non-smartphone to a real camera with interchangeable lenses. I’ve experienced all sorts of new cuisines, tried all sorts of new recipes (with a lot of failures, haha), and learned a lot about different cultures. Through it all, though, I’ve tried hard to stay true to the original “intention” of this blog, which is simply to write about the food that I’ve eaten and meals that I’ve enjoyed.

I realized that I’ve never done a blogiversary post, but I really wanted to write this one because, well, five years is a milestone of some sorts, right? Plus, I’ve been really sick and haven’t gotten around to uploading all my photos from recent food outings. Oops…

Anyway, for this post, I wanted to do a round-up of some of my favorite posts/meals from the past five years – it was hard to pick just one for each year, but here goes:

Year 1 - Contest & Tiramisu

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I did quite a bit of baking in college, even though I had limited space and equipment. It was a great way to procrastinate, and living on campus made giving away all the goodies really convenient! In my senior year, there was a baking contest on campus, and I chose to make tiramisu. It was a challenge, and I didn’t win the contest, but the tiramisu was one of the first desserts to run out, so I do take some pride in that, hehe. Tiramisu also holds a special place in my heart because it was the first dessert that S and I made together (this was before we started dating). We didn’t know much about baking back then, and we didn’t even know how to make heavy whipping cream into whipped cream, but every time I have tiramisu, I remember how much fun that experience was, and how we gobbled up the tiramisu even though it probably wasn’t all that great.

Year 2 - Tacos el Gordo in Chula Vista

Tacos el Gordo was one of the places that I insisted on having every time I came to visit S in San Diego (this was still during our long-distance, Berkeley-San Diego days). I instantly fell in love with the tacos here, and now that I’ve moved to San Diego, I actually haven’t gone as often. I remember that this was one of the things I looked forward to the most every visit (other than seeing S, of course!), and even now, Tacos el Gordo remains one of my favorite restaurants here.

Year 3 – The Brick Pig’s House

After moving to California, S and I craved for good old Southern food, in particular, barbecue. After trying out various places around Berkeley, we finally found a good place – The Brick Pig’s House, in Oakland. The place was tiny, but the food was spectacular, and the owners made us feel right at home with their Southern hospitality. I loved their cornbread, and of course their brisket and ribs, too. After discovering this place, S and I would always go when he was in Berkeley to visit me! I still miss this place sometimes, even though we’ve found really good Texas BBQ at Coop’s in Lemon Grove.

Year 4 – White Chocolate M&M Cookies (and SDFB Bake Sale round-up)

There are some nice perks to having a blog, but nothing beats the friendships that I’ve made through it. Since moving to San Diego, I’ve connected with many other bloggers here, and it has been amazing. I’ve received so much kindness and generosity and knowledge from them, and I’m so grateful to these awesome blogger buddies! The San Diego Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale was one of the events that I participated in, as part of a fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry charity. It was a lot of fun to sell my cookies alongside other bloggers, getting to know them, and buying goodies from each other. 

Year 5 – Sushi Tadokoro

Oh yes, you knew this one was coming. My birthday meal at Sushi Tadokoro last year was the best meal of my life so far, and it really was an eye-opener in terms of sushi. I’m really thankful to Chef Soichi at Tadokoro, for preparing this amazing omakase meal for S and me, and of course, to S, for being my willing companion on this, and all of our other food adventures. 

Whew, that list actually took way longer to come up with than I had originally anticipated. Thanks to all of you for reading my little blog! <3