Food

These are the things I eat and cook.

Twas Memorial Day Weekend…

Twas Memorial Day weekend and all was calm. All was quiet and all was relaxed.

Honestly, it was! And first, I understand Memorial Day is about so much more than relaxing and I am thankful for having people sacrifice their lives for our country. But as a busy, stressed out, trying to figure out life woman, it was nice to have a few days off.

My guy and I spent Saturday in Capitola, CA. What a lovely little beach town! It is super cute, very family-friendly, and doesn’t have as many tourists as Southern California beach towns.

We found a great Mexican restaurant called Taqueria Agave, where I had some of the best chile verde and carne asada I have ever had. It looks small, but it’s a hidden gem that all the locals seem to love.

Then we headed closer to the water for some drinks. Margartiaville was the place of choice and… I sorta regretted it. Though we only got drinks, the place was pretty janky, our waitress was barely attentive, and though you got a nice view of some water and the cute hotel villas across the way, it was filled with garbage.

It was nice to have a drink, but we left once we finished our drinks–which was hella quick.

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Him and Her drinks at Margaritaville in Capitola. At least the drinks were decent…

We did a bit of walking around their pier, close to the beach, and by the cliff side. It was lovely! After that, we left and headed toward the South Bay, where we had some of the best sushi ever– Gokaku: Japanese Tapas and Sushi.

A few quick things about this place:
1) Do not be deceived by it’s quiet, unflattering exterior. It is busy with locals inside and is quite a cute little sushi place.

2) ZIG ZAG ROLL! Order it there and you will thank me later

3) The servers are absolutely the nicest! They told us their recommendations, their most popular dishes, and were very attentive.

4) A lot of what they serve is fusion food done well, as well as Japanese street food–which was cool to learn and try!

5) Zig Zag Roll!!!!!!  Soooo Goooodd!

I highly recommend people try this place. It was a really great experience, a little pricey, but worth it. Did I mention the Zig Zag roll?

Sunday, I celebrated my friends birthday with her at Homeroom and some other friends. It’s in Oakland, it’s the best thing ever, great great great mac and cheese. If you’re in the area, just stop what you’re doing and go to this place. Everything on the menu is amazing, including their greens and dessert.  It’s just… this amazing…  I can’t even… IT’S SO GOOD!

Below is their cookbook, which I will get one day! I mean, I have my own mac and cheese recipe, but it’s always good to have a reference–especially something that is this glorious.

Homeroom Cookbook. I will get my hands on this!!

Monday I just sat around. A relaxing weekend with good company, good food, and exciting places. Travel and food really go together. Now I just need to visit more places that have food and music combined and I’d be set!

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One Row Down…

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My hair from this weekend in Santana Row.

Super cute, right? I loved it and I loved getting pampered. 🙂

Santana Row was great this weekend! The weather was great, the area was nice and fancy, and the company was fabulous. Hehehe. We went to 2 places at Santana Row: El Jardin Tequila Bar and Restaurant and Sino.

El Jardin was in the middle of the actual Santana Row and was an open restaurant– it wasn’t in a building, just outside. I liked that, since the day was so nice. You could people watch, check around the area for stores that might be interesting, while listening to their Latin inspired music. There were also some TVs showing basketball games and a random movie that I couldn’t recognize.

El Jardin’s outside restaurant in Santana Row.

We got to sit at the bar area, which were basically just high tables around the place. The Bottomless chips and salsa were our snack of choice. We would have gotten the guacamole, but it was $11. Yes, this is Santana Row, where everything is expensive and fabulous! I guess we weren’t down to have fabulously expensive guacamole that I could have made just as easily for a lot cheaper.

None the less, I got a lovely Chambord Margarita- a take on sweet and salty flavors and the boy had Negra Modelo beer. The margarita was interesting and I really enjoyed the salty-sweet flavors, much different than any other margarita I’ve tried before. I’m not a huge sweet person, so it was nice to get a drink that wasn’t too sweet but still captured all the flavors.

My last comment about El Jardin, the salsa’s were not very spicy, a little disappointing, but not unexpected.

Sino

For dinner, we went to Sino, a Chinese fusion restaurant that turns into a night club in the evening. We made reservations online and they had all our information. The ambiance of the place was of a typical Asian Fusion restaurant: intimate lighting, wooden tables that looked ancient (in a classy way), and red being the dominant color. The chopsticks were red, the curtains were red, and lots of other red accents around the place.

Our first table we were seated at was close to the bar and a little lower than most restaurant tables. We decided to ask to be moved to a booth, though the hostess wasn’t as keen to our move. It ended up working out a lot better because it was toward the back of the restaurant and away from the bar. It was playing loud music and the boy and I wanted to be able to hear ourselves talk without yelling.

Our waiter was great and very attentive, checking up on us numerous times and always giving advice when we had questions. One of his best advice was the White Lychee Sangria. We got a carafe of that, which had apples, pineapples, oranges, lemons, and lychee with white wine. Tons of fruit, tons of sweet, tons of flavor, and dangerous if you drank too much–my favorite!

We got Shanghai Dumplings as an appetizer, which were dumplings in a silver cupcake holder of sorts. Inside was pork, garlic, black vinegar and ginger, with the sauce being soy sauce with ginger slices. I loved the flavor, though with them being cooked in the silver cupcake holders, they were a bit soggy, making it messy to eat. Lucky for me, I never mind a little mess when eating. And it didn’t get on my dress! 🙂

We then shared Hong Kong Crispy noodles (scallops, shrimp, crab, shiitake mushrooms, and bok choy) and Szechuan chicken (chicken, golden peas, squash, and a chili garlic sauce). Both were very tasty and the portions were perfect for us not to get too full. Again the chili garlic sauce was not as spicy as we would have liked, but everything had good flavor and was cooked perfectly. Nothing dry and nothing undercooked.

Over all, it was a good weekend. We walked around the row a bit more before we headed out, which was nice. Santana Row may be a bit too pricy for me right now, but it still had a nice laid-back feel to it. And there is never anything wrong to splurge a little and celebrate life (or a belated birthday. :p)

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Fascinated By My Fascination with Food

Food helps me so much.  Not just for nutrients, but whenever I am sad or happy, food either fuels the happiness or comforts the sadness.  It’s not news that many people eat when they’re sad and upset (or happy I guess.  But I only crave a galleon of ice cream when I’m super sad. Usually, I just crave a pint.).  I’m jut another person in the world who finds comfort in food when something bad or sad happens.  Although I don’t want to get into details about why I’m sad (I’m learning not to dwell on things and just move forward), I do find it fascinating how much I’m fascinated by food.

Cooking, eating, and even watching other people cook is so comforting and soothing to me.  I love all the colors in food, crave the flavors whenever I hear people talk about them (ESPECIALLY Nigella Lawson.  She has such a way with words regarding food.Nigella Cooks Caramel Croissant Pudding), and feel excitement when I’m cooking.  Since I’m getting a little better at cooking, I’m becoming more confident and feel very much in control while in the kitchen. Cooking and food just takes me to a different place in my life.   I’m not an expert in the culinary world or anything, but I am so eager to learn and actually cook.  It’s one of the few things in life that catches my attention and usually keeps it (unless it’s watching Ina Garden. She might have good recipes, but I think she’s odd and never gets me excited about cooking).

I look at this Duck Confit and drool.

Eating food is a whole different thing for me, too! When I try delicious food (which is just about anything), I fall in love with it.  My mouth starts popping with so many flavors and textures, I love all the different colors and presentations and trying new things gets me excited! I watch all these food/ cooking shows and just imagine eating everything they present–whether it’s a double bacon cheeseburger or duck confit, I want to taste it all!

Naturally, when I am upset and I just need to stop crying, food is the obvious solution.  Today, luckily, I had planned on making Lime Bars for a small party at work. In the middle of everything, I found comfort in focusing on zesting limes, squeezing the juice, and mixing the rest of the ingredients.  I basically had no problems (except for the zester being a little difficult) while I was in the kitchen and just focused on the task at hand.  Then, while those were baking, I had a rather large turkey, pesto mayo sandwich, that I had intended to have half of and save the rest for later.  But since I was already in a not-so-great place, I ate the whole thing. My mouth sometimes doesn’t like to listen to my stomach or my head and just keep eating.

I have such a love for food and hate when I take advantage of it. I knew that the sandwich was tasty and I knew I could eat it all. (Many refer to me as, “bottomless pit,” or, “garbage disposal.”) I also knew how much it would make me feel better.  And it did. Eating the turkey, with the delicious pesto mayo, on nice focaccia bread hit the spot for me. But I realized after I ate the sandwich, I shouldn’t have let that happen. Although I pride myself on not being a picky eater (hence the nicknames), I think now is the time to be picky about how I eat food and the kinds of food I eat.  I do attempt to find healthier options to have in my apartment, but with a low budget like mine, it gets a bit difficult.

My relationship with food is a great one, but sometimes I use it to get me out of a funk I’m in.  I realize that’s not always a bad thing, but I know I need to be careful when it comes to that. I’ve considered various “diet” plans, where I don’t cut anything out, but decrease the amount I eat of a certain food. Because I think diets are silly and it’s all about moderation.  But I really need to think about how to make this relationship satisfying and beneficial for myself. We’ll see what happens.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Traveling for a few days…then baking for a few days.

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Historic Portland Sign

Although I haven’t posted in quite sometime, there were still lots of traveling, cooking, eating, and listening to music done.  Last month I actually visited Portland, OR.  It wasn’t my first time, but it was a first on fully exploring different parts of the city.  Ever since my boyfriend moved there in January, I’ve been dying to see why he loves it so much up there.  And I honestly say I understand why he does now.

Portland is weird and awesome and full of life! The cloudy days didn’t really get to me (even though I was there for only 4 days) since I grew up near San Francisco, CA and am custom to it.  It was just a beautiful area.  I even got to see Mount Hood, a dormant but potentially active volcano according to Wikipedia–which means I was there on a nice day! I knew Portland was weird through the show Portlandia, but I needed to see it for myself.  I mean, Portland can’t be that weird, right?

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Basically the view of Mount Hood from the Area my boyfriend lives in.

It’s pretty weird, but totally a place I could live in.  I mean, it’s a big city version of Davis, CA, and I’ve lived here for roughly 5 years! But besides all that, Portland really surprised me with all the great food it has to offer.  There are SO MANY FOOD TRUCKS, it’s insane and marvelous all at the same time.  I honestly wish every city was jammed packed with food trucks like Portland is.  And it’s not just the typical taco trucks or hot dog stands like on the East Coast– it’s legit food! Yes, food trucks are totally trending right now (which I am all for), but I’m pretty sure these places have been in Portland for a long time.  My boyfriend and I just found a random block in the downtown area and took way too long to decide what we wanted.  I ended up getting a great deal on Indian food (hella food for just 6 bucks! My kind of place.) and he got a korean/ vietnamese burrito–super spices, but also fresh flavors.  Omgosh, so good!! We were forcing ourselves to finish to eat as much since we were so full.

Of course we went to Voodoo donuts and tried the favorites: the Voodoo jelly filled donut, maple bar with bacon donut, chocolate oreo peanut butter donut, and the captain crunch donut.  Amazing, duh. We also had Deschutes brewery, which had absolutely spectacular pork belly and great beer, as well as ventured to the Portland City Grill for our V-Day dinner (which, no surprise here, was really really really good!).

Portland was amazing and had a great city feel… I may consider moving there one day…

And lastly, here are some pictures from when I made Blueberry Muffins because I had WAYY too many of them:

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Uncooked Muffins

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Cooked Muffins!

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First Restaurant Review

Blogging has been a bit difficulty for me.  To be honest, I had great ideas for a couple blog entries. I went to the Highland Games in Pleasanton, Ca and the Greek Festival in Sacramento, Ca for a weekend and I tried a ton of dishes and heard so much music.  But I couldn’t find time or energy to document anything.

But yesterday, I went to a restaurant that reminded me of my blog and made me want to write about it.  de’Vere’s in Davis, Ca recently opened this past Monday and I decided to head there yesterday with some friends.  I was excited because it’s an Irish pub that came from Sacramento.  I had been to the one in Sac, but I was excited for the Davis one– figured I’d do my own kind of review.

We got to the restaurant and you could instantly feel the vibe of the place.  It was relaxed, laid-back, and Irish (of course) There was a 35 minute wait, since the whole place was packed.  Luckily, there were enough stools at the bar that we decided to have a drink while we wait.  I had a Harp beer, along with my other friend, and my boyfriend had a Lauganitas IPA.  The Harp was a great light beer, not as light as other beers, but it was just right.

While at the bar, we talked to the very friendly and informative bartenders, while admiring the detailed woodwork.  Since we figured we’re waiting for a bit, we order chips and dip– fries with an assortment of dips.  It was a rather small plate of chips with three dips: cheese dip (closer to blue cheese), ketchup, and curry ketchup.  Of course there was brown sauce on the table, which you have to put on the chips, but the curry ketchup was the next best dip! If you love that spicy, curry flavor, this dip would be perfect for you.  Split between the three of us, these chips and dips appetizer was not too filling, but definitely kept our stomachs from growling too much.

When we were told our table was ready, we got to see the lovely library room (with games, books, and comfy-looking couches) and were sent to the back room.  Luckily, even with all the tables full, there was still a lot of space.  There was a flat screened TV showing the Oregon vs. USC football game.  Unfortunately the program kept going in and out, so we missed some of the good parts.

Our waitress was alright, she wasn’t very attentive to us, but it could have been cause of the busy night.  Since we were at the bar first, we knew our orders.  I got the shepherd’s pie with a pub salad, my boyfriend got the Rueben with chips, and our friend got the bangers and hash.  I got the pub salad first and though the balsamic dressing was delicious, the greens were a little over dressed.  The menu mentioned there were caramelized onions, but I didn’t taste them until my last three bites– which would have been amazing if it were more intertwined in the salad. The shepherd’s pie was absolutely delicious. The gravy was so flavorful and the potato’s on top were amazingly creamy.

Though we didn’t have room for dessert, or even asked if we were interested in the dessert menu, the whole atmosphere of the place was great! The bartenders were friendly and the bus boys were always asking about game and cheering with us.  I’m happy to have gone to de Vere’s and had a blast exploring the world of Irish cuisine and pub!

*phew* I did a restaurant review.  It may not be the best, but it was my experience.  I’m thinking the more restaurants I visit, recipes I try, concerts I see, places I travel to and review/ critic them, maybe it’ll help me understand different worlds and understand myself.

Maybe this will be a new beginning of exploring new experiences.

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