Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snapshots from the Weekend






This past weekend was a whirl of big social events for us. Oh wait, isn't that every weekend in Spring? All kidding aside, we celebrated some special birthdays and bridal showers this weekend. Here are some photos.
 

 
[We took Parker to the park after work on Friday. Nothing like a really happy baby to help you unwind from a long work week. I love these two.]
 
 
[My SIL did a great job throwing a super fun birthday party for Parker's cousin Kaden. The theme was suit and tie. More photos to follow!]
 
 
[I missed my very good friend Thuy's bridal shower on Saturday we got together Sunday morning and celebrated with some delicious donuts and breakfast burritos instead. When you've been friends for more than a decade eating breakfast burritos, fries and donuts to celebrate a wedding is totally ok. I can't wait for the wedding!!]
 
 
[A few snapshots from my sister Karen's beautiful bridal shower on Sunday. Her bridesmaid did a pinterest-perfect job of decorating! It was also her birthday.]
 
 
 
[With my little sisters Tania and Yvonne. It was a girly good time.]
 
 
 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Matcha Love Review




 
A couple of weeks ago at the Ramen Yokocho Fest I saw an ad for Matcha Love and knew I had to go check it out. Matcha Love is a new tea spot that has opened in the bookstore at Mitsuwa. I say spot because it is not large enough to be called anything else. It's a small counter where they sell hot tea, ice cream, hot lattes and other tea based drinks. Unlike Tapioca Express or Tea Station, they do not offer any fruity tea drinks. This place is for those of us who love the taste of matcha, hoji-cha (roasted green tea) and black sesame tea. I visited the counter on my lunch break with a co worker and we had the chance to taste all of their ice cream flavors and order some tea shakes. The flavors were beautiful and my hoji-cha shake was very refreshing. The prices are significantly lower than most other tea shops that I've been to which was a pleasant surprise. If you decide to try it out, don't forget to bring cash. They are a cash only operation at this point.
 
Matcha Love (inside Mitsuwa)
4240 Kearny Mesa Road
San Diego, CA 92111
 

 

 
[Menu board]
 
 
[Beautifully packaged Matcha Love tea for sale]
 
 
 
[My hoji-cha shake]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New - Cotton On Kids Homegoods

I'm really loving everything in the new Cotton On Kids home collection especially the cushions. It looks like they were "inspired" by some popular etsy shops for the cloud and star pillows. I can't wait to hear feedback on the quality of the materials. To see more visit cottonon.com.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Snapshots from the Weekend

Last week I went to Santa Barbara for a marketing conference and came back very late Thursday night. Being away from Parker and Tuan was hard but all of us survived and then enjoyed a 3 day weekend together. Here are some snapshots from our mellow weekend.
 
Side note: my in laws are in town! We are so excited to have home cooked Vietnamese food and are planning to sneak out for a date night.

 
[The Goleta train depot. It's a 6 hour train ride from SB to SD. Look at that sky!]
 
 
[Friday, we had lunch at Boudin at Fashion Valley. Clam chowder and a grilled cheese sandwich since it's still lent for us and turtle bread for Parks.]

 
[We were suppose to go to my niece Audrey's birthday party at Adventure City on Saturday but Parker contracted roseola. Not fun. So we stayed home most of the day instead.]
 

[We went to Rockin' Jenny's in Esco for dinner. I had their parmesan chicken sub which was ok. I wouldn't order it again.]

 
[Parker was exceptionally hungry this weekend and has now doubled his food intake. I'm pretty sure he is going through a growth spurt. Stop growing, baby!]

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Review of Cafe Chloe

We decided to be adventurous and tried a new breakfast/brunch place on Saturday. After getting ready and packing up the car, we headed downtown to Cafe Chloe. Street parking was surprisingly easy to find and, despite some initial confusion over seating with the hostess, we were seated within 15 minutes of arriving. The cafe itself was crowded and loud with conversation. It felt like they tried to pack as many tables and chairs in the dining room as possible. The hard working table busser actually bumped into Parker's high chair while she was clearing a table next to ours because there was so little space in between tables. Our table was located by a large window which looked out onto the street, a great thing for Parker who is a serial people creeper in restuarants. We were served our coffee and tea pretty quickly but had to wait almost an hour for our meals to arrive. Slowest service ever. Mind you, we did not order anything complicated. You can see from the photos below that our meals were pretty basic breakfast fare. The food was disappointing considering how much we spent (a little over $50). I was hoping the preparation or ingredients would justify the cost but Tuan and I were both disappointed by my unexciting breakfast. What a shame! We probably won't be back again. 
 
 
[The brunch menu]
 
 
[Pomme frites with trio of dips]
 
 
[Enjoying his pomme frites]

 
[Tuan's mocha. I'm pretty sure he's tried every mocha in the county!]
 
 
[Croque madam]
 
 
[Parker just loves feeding his daddy. Btw, how crazy do the stripes on Tuan's shirt look in this photo? They are making me dizzy.]

 
[Hot green tea for me]


 
[Two eggs over-easy, applewood bacon, baguette with herbed butter]
 
 
[Walking around outside of Cafe Chloe]
 



 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Snapshots from the weekend

 
[Our first time having brunch at Cafe Chloe - Review to follow.]

 
[I ran in the San Diego Hot Chocolate Run and Tuan made these amazing shirts to support me.]

 
[Big boy was offered crayons for the first time at Snooze. Crayon eating ensued.]

 
[Went to OC to celebrates my sisters' birthdays. Ended the day at the Garden Grove Park with the whole family. More photos to follow.]

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Winning Mapo Tofu Recipe

In an effort to cut back on my meat consumption, I have been trying to make more things using tofu. My friend Susan sent me this recipe from Rasa Malaysia and I tried it out last night. It was a big hit with everyone in the house and I will definitely be making it again. Once you have all the sauces, this dish becomes something that would probably cost less than $10 to feed a family of 6. It's also very fast to throw together and you can play with the ingredients to make it more or less spicy.

[This is where a photo would normally be inserted but we ate everything before I could take a photo. I'll update this post when I make mapo tofu again!]


Recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Ma Po Tofu

Ingredients:
1 block organic tofu (14 oz box)
1/2 lb ground pork
3 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Sichuan spicy bean paste
2 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Mapo sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons chili oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (roasted and ground to powder)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 stalks scallions (chopped into 1 or 2-inch length)
2 gloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste

Directions:
1. Cut the tofu into small pieces, drain the water from the tofu and set aside.
2. Heat up a wok and pour in the cooking oil and chili oil. Add the chopped garlic, ground pork, spicy bean paste and stir-fry until the pork is half-done.
3. Add in chili powder, soy sauce and stir-fry until aromatic.
4. Add in the tofu and water; stir gently to blend the tofu (don’t break them) well with the sauce.
5. Lower the heat and simmer for about 3-5 mins or until the sauce thickens. Add in the roasted Sichuan peppercorn powder and chopped scallions. Gently stir and blend well.

Dish out and serve hot.

Special notes:
1. All of these ingredients can be (not) easily found at Ranch 99. I'm pretty sure it took me longer to locate all the sauces on the shelf than it did to actually make this meal.
2. Don't be afraid of the amount of chillies that is required for this recipe. It actually wasn't even that spicy.
3. I served this with rice and a side of garlic baby bok choy. You can find the recipe for that here. It helped cut the spiciness of the mapo.

Good luck!