2014 Recap

What a year it has been! I’ve been thinking about this recap post for quite some time, and to be honest, I’m not sure how to quite capture it all in one manageable blog entry. 

S and I started 2014 in Taiwan – we were in the beautiful city of Kenting, the southern-most tip of the island. Here was the first sunset of 2014:

Sunset in Taiwan 

I wrote a series of posts about this Taiwan trip – check them out here: parts one, two, three, four, and five.

After returning to San Diego, we had one of the best meals of our year, at George’s California Modern. My favorite dish from that meal was actually a salad, with chanterelle mushrooms and a perfectly-cooked soft egg:

George's California Modern 

Earlier this year, S and I were ecstatic to discover that one of our favorite sandwich chains, Firehouse Subs, has come to the West Coast! Firehouse was basically one of our college staples, and we really love this restaurant’s dedication to high quality ingredients, as well as the Southern flair in their flavor profiles. We were so excited to meet one of the founders of the restaurant, Robin, and we’ve been regular customers at Firehouse for the past year!

Firehouse Subs 

Firehouse Subs 

Speaking of sandwiches, Supernatural Sandwiches opened up a shop on Miramar Road – it’s also quickly become one of our favorites!

Supernatural Sandwiches

Throughout the year, we’ve also made several trips up to LA/Orange County. Just a few of the yummy things that we ate there included…

…this yummy marinated beef sandwich at Four Sea Restaurant in Irvine…

Four Sea Restaurant 

…the famous Iced Milk Drink at Half & Half Tea House

Half & Half Tea House 

…and this delicious bowl featuring four types of uni from Maruhide Uni Club.

Maruhide Uni Club 

Our big trip this year was to Chicago, which quickly became one of my favorite cities (yes, I’ve only been there in the summer). I had so many amazing meals there, but the highlight was definitely Topolobampo, by Rick Bayless. S and I still reminisce about that mole negro:

Topolobampo 

You can read about my Chicago trip recaps here: part one, two, three, four. I’m still not done posting, by the way! 

Over the summer, a snow-shaved ice pop-up shop called Iceskimo opened up on Convoy St, and we became frequent customers!

Iceskimo 

They now have a brick-and-mortar shop, which I actually haven’t had a chance to visit yet (I blame it on the cold weather). Hopefully it will warm up soon enough for me to crave some ice!

One recurring theme on this blog is S and my love for Korean BBQ. This year, we decided to venture out of the all-you-can-eat realm a little bit and checked out a couple of non-AYCE KBBQ places around town.

First up, Dae Jang Keum, which actually uses a charcoal grill instead of gas. I loved that you can order an entire ribeye steak!

Dae Jang Keum 

We also paid a few visits to Buga Korean BBQ, which had the best brisket in my opinion, out of all the KBBQ places that I’ve visited so far.

Buga Korean BBQ 

We also checked out Gyu-Kaku, which is a Japanese BBQ place, for my birthday!

Gyu-Kaku  

We also had a few fancy meals in addition to our Restaurant Week outings, which included an anniversary celebration at Juniper & Ivy:

Juniper & Ivy 

And also a spur-of-the-moment, super fun date night at Table No. 10!

Table No. 10 

In addition to dining out, I also tried to expand my cooking and baking repertoire this year. Looking through my posts, I realized that lemon was featured in several recipes. My favorite was this Meyer lemon cream cheese coffee cake that I made as part of a campaign for Alex’s Lemonade Stand:

Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake 

I also finally got a mini donut pan! The first thing that I made with them were these mini cinnamon sugar donuts:

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Donuts 

I also finally acquired some high quality matcha powder and made these cute little matcha shortbread cookies

Matcha Shortbread Cookies 

In addition to baking sweets, I also shared a few simple dinner recipes, including a round-up of some of my favorite slow-cooker dinners:

Braised pork belly with takenoko 

Another simple recipe that I shared was spaghetti with meat sauce – my personal version of it.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce 

And, I’m also quite proud of the Valentine’s Day dinner that I put together for S and me!

Valentine's Day Dinner 

You know we’re carnivores… so of course I was particularly happy with the steak that I made. 

There are so, so many more moments that I wanted to include in this round-up, but I think I’ll end with one of my year’s highlights, the South Bay Food Crawl hosted by CC of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High!

South Bay Food Crawl 

South Bay Food Crawl

S and I loved getting to know a little more about this city which we now called ‘home’. The food and culture in the South Bay is often overlooked when thinking about San Diego, but we truly loved how simple yet rich and vibrant it is! We are definitely planning to do another food crawl there soon.

Imperial Beach Pier 

So with that, I will leave you with the best wishes for the new year! May your 2015 be filled with happiness, success, and of course, lots of good eats!

 

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Year of the Horse is upon us. May the new year bring prosperity, success, and of course, many delicious eats!

Wish I were still in Taiwan to celebrate CNY!

Wish I were still in Taiwan to celebrate CNY!

A Look Back at 2013

It’s almost 2014 in Taiwan already – just a couple of hours away! I’m really excited to be spending it here, but talking about San Diego makes me miss it a bit already, too. This past year has been full of yummy meals – S and I have settled on a few favorites, which I’ll recap here.

Where we eat for late-night dinners, or when we crave Taiwanese food/milk tea drinks:

Infini Tea

Iced Milk Drink with Pudding & Honey Boba ($3.85)
Infini Tea’s Iced Milk Drink with Pudding & Honey Boba

Infini Tea opened in the Spring and has quickly risen in popularity. Their most ordered item is the Iced Milk Drink – a copycat of LA’s Half & Half Tea House’s famous drink (post coming soon). It’s basically milk blended with ice to make a slushie, and sweetened with brown sugar syrup and served with typical milk tea toppings. We usually choose pudding and boba, or pudding and coffee jelly. I really enjoy this drink, and we also like most of the food items here, such as the Braised Pork or Five-Spice Beef.

Tea Garden

Tea Garden's Pork Chop over Rice

Tea Garden’s Pork Chop over Rice

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Tea Garden’s Black Tea Latte

Tea Garden has been our go-to place for a couple of years now, actually. This spring, they moved to a new location just a couple of blocks from the old place, and have expanded their food and drinks menu. Above are two popular items: the Fried Pork Chop over Rice, and the Tea Latte, which is my favorite drink. It’s basically sweetened tea with a layer of foamed cream on top, sprinkled with sea salt. It’s recommended that you drink it from the rim without a straw, and taste the tea “through” the foam. Tea Garden makes the best version of this tea drink, compared with others that I’ve had. 

Both Tea Garden and Infini Tea open until late – at least 12AM on weeknights – so we visit for late-night or post-badminton dinner quite often. They are both great places to grab quick, cheap meals.

Tajima Ramen House

Tajima's Spicy Miso Ramen

Tajima’s Spicy Miso Ramen

The ramen here isn’t the most authentic, but I like the spicy miso here because it isn’t too salty like spicy miso tends to be. I like the soft-boiled egg, and the kakuni pork belly that you can add to the ramen. It’s fatty and delicious.

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Happy Holidays!

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Christmas trees in 75°F San Diego

 

Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you all have a joyous and delicious day!

[Baking] Nutella Sandwich Cookies

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve been doing a bit more baking these days as part of my “getting into the holiday spirit”! Haha. I decorated our apartment a bit – a tabletop-sized Christmas tree from Trader Joe’s, stockings on our wall (no fireplace though), snowflake-shaped lights on our porch… it’s been quite fun! Here’s a photo that I stitched together of some our the decor:

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Anyway, I was in the baking mood and decided to try making holiday cookies. I bought a set of holiday-shaped cookie cutters and really wanted to try them out. Previously, the only type of cookies I have ever made were drop cookies – for example, the basic chocolate chip cookie, where you just “drop” rounds of batter onto the baking sheet, and the cookie will spread into a circle. However, these usually can’t be used with cookie cutters to make fun shapes – for that, you’d need a more solid dough that can be cut. And being my ambitious self, I decided to try making Nutella sandwich cookies on my first attempt.

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Happy New Year! (Favorites from 2012)

Wow, 2012 just flew right by. Last year on New Year’s Eve, S and I were sick – booooo! For our first meal of the New Year, we cooked frozen dumplings. Haha.

First meal of 2012

First meal of 2012

I moved from Berkeley to San Diego in March, and spent my last two months in the Bay Area eating as much as I could. Some of my favorite Berkeley/ Bay Area restaurants are:

The Brick Pig’s House

 

The Brick Pig's House

La Note

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Gary Danko

 

Bakesale Betty’s

 

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After moving to San Diego, S and I ate a lot of good food, discovering new restaurants and revisiting old favorites. It was difficult to compile a manageable list of our favorites from 2012, but here I’ve managed to round up some of the clear winners:

Carnitas’ Snack Shack

Pork sandwich (schnitzel, pulled pork, bacon, pepperoni, pickle relish, Shack aioli on a poppy seed bun), $9

Coop’s West Texas BBQ

Gelato Bus Stop

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Manna BBQ

Camera 360

 

Ramen Yamadaya

 

 

Class 302 snowflake ice

I also did a bit of traveling, and ate a lot during my trips to Seattle and Texas.

Finally, I did a bit of baking and cooking:

BBQ chicken mac-n-cheese

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Jam Kolaches

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Salted caramel chocolate cupcakes

Vanilla mousse cheesecake

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White chocolate macadamia nut cookies

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It was definitely a delicious and memorable year, and I’m looking forward to another year of eating and learning in 2013! Thanks to everyone for reading and following, and happy new year!!

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear readers! I hope that you are enjoying a break from school or work and enjoying some delicious food – even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. I love holidays of all sorts, and this year for Christmas, I went to visit my family in Texas.

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My aunt from Hong Kong is spending the holidays with us as well, and she is one hell of a cook. She can whip up delicious and healthy meals for the whole family in under an hour. I’ve had homecooked food for the past week and enjoyed every bit of it.

Chopped bean sprouts with pork

Chopped bean sprouts with pork

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Braised fish tail with tofu skin, mushrooms, and peanuts

Roast pork, fresh bamboo shoots, and mushrooms

Roast pork, fresh bamboo shoots, and mushrooms

Cucumber and parsley salad

Cucumber, mushroom, and parsley salad

Have you figured out yet that we like mushrooms? Haha.

Mochi with peanuts, sesame, and coconut filling

Mochi with peanuts, sesame, and coconut filling

My aunt also makes homemade mochi! They were so deliciously soft and chewy. We stuffed them with a mixture of ground peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, and chopped coconut flakes. I watched the whole process and will be trying to make them myself when I return to San Diego.

Finally, THIS happened today:

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Happy New Year!

WordPress sent me my blog stats for 2010 this morning.. and just wanted to thank all of you dear readers for making this blog possible! I look forward sharing a delicious 2011 with you!