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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

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

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!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Feeding Ducks in Scripps Ranch

[Free fun! Feeding ducks in the pond by the Scripps Ranch library. Thanks for the tip San Diego Family Magazine!]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UPPAbaby G-Luxe Umbrella Stroller Review

Look who has a new ride!

Check out our new red (they call it "Denny") UPPAbaby G-luxe Stroller. We love our UPPAbaby Vista but sometimes you just need something a little more compact. After researching online and checking out a number of other umbrella strollers in store, we settled on the G-luxe. The biggest selling points for us were
1. it reclines pretty far back and the reclining mechanism isn't cheesy like the Maxi Cosi Kaia.
2. it has a big sunshade + extended shade
3. it maneuvers like a dream
4. last but not last it's only 11 lbs.

We took the stroller on a full day of errands on Sunday and the only  two things I missed about the Vista were the big storage basket underneath and my stroller clips. This is a great little stroller and I can't wait to take it on our first out of town trip!

Available everwhere but we purchased ours at BuyBuyBaby.

Here are some specs from the maufacturer.

  • Reclining seat gives your child the most comfort for napping or when sitting upright admiring the view

  • G-Luxe also features an extended SPF 50 pop-out sun canopy for protecting baby against harmful UV rays, tall ergonomic handles for easier pushing, lockable front swivel wheels for extra stability, a no-foot-action required 4-wheel, shock absorbing suspension, rear brakes and 5.5" diameter wheels

  • There's also an easy access basket and a removable cup holder that can be positioned on the right or left hand side

  • Lightweight, aluminum frame is elevated in the rear to avoid toe-stubs

  • Stroller has hand-level folding triggers, folds easily with one hand and stands when folded

  • Wipe clean

  • From 6 months up to 50 lbs.

  • Two-year warranty

  • Imported

  • For a comprehensive list of umbrella strollers, check out this great article from Lucie's List.

    [Parker chillin' in his new Uppababy G Lux stroller. We were out and about this weekend looking for head phones that won't fall out while I run.]

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Parker's First Visit to Disneyland

    Last Saturday we took Parker to Disneyland for the first time and it was so much fun. In preparation for the trip, I planned our itinerary using, read a bunch of blogs with advice on how to survive Disneyland with a toddler and did research on all the rides he could go on. We tried to stick as close to his normal feeding and napping schedule as we could so he wouldn't be too out of wack. The result? A happy day at Disneyland for us and Parker. Success!
    What I learned:
    1. Take advantage of the baby center. We were there at least 4 times during our visit to heat bottles, nurse and change diapers/outfits. They even carry nursing pads and have tiny potties for kids who are potty training.
    2. Be patient. We took things nice and slow as to not overwhelm Parker with rushing around. Don't feel like you have to go on every ride.
    3. Make sure to pack a lot of snacks and water. Snacks are a great distraction while you are waiting in ride lines.
    4. Get cash before going to the park. The balloon vendors only take cash. We totally failed at this.  
    5. Plan ahead and make sure you know which rides your little one can go on.
    6. Ride in the first or last car of the tram that takes you to the park so you don't have to collapse your stroller.
    7. A lot of the kiddie rides are still kind of scary i.e Pinocchio, Mr. Toads. We skipped those.
    8. Bring PJs so you can change your little one before they get to the car. I guarantee that they will fall asleep pretty quickly after a fun filled day. We also brought along Parker's current favorite book Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

    [Enjoying some of the scenery. It's not all about the rides.]
    [How cute are his Mickey ears? I love it!]

    [A family photo with Jessie! Also, I need to stop wearing clothes that are too big for me.]

    [We had lunch at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. For about $25/person we ate all the ribs and bbq chicken we could fit in our bellies. It was a really satisfying lunch and we were so full we skipped dinner.]

    [Messing around in Toon Town]
    [The highlight of Tuan's day: seeing all the Iron Man suits on display at Innoventions]

    [Waiting in line for Astroblasters. Parker is really tired.]

    [The highlight of Parker's day: following this duck around for 30 mins.]

    [We had to buy him a new shirt because the other one was totally soiled after lunch.]

    [2nd highlight of Parker's day: eating a Disney churro for the first time while we waited for the parade.]

    [Mamas tired feet.]

    [I really wanted to get him a balloon but we failed to pull out cash before we got to the park. DOH!]

    [He loved the parade.]

    [A baby carrier is a MUST. He was getting squirmy in his stroller because he didn't want to miss any of the action.]


    [I know this is blurry but this is one of my favorite moments of the day. Parker discovered that he could mimic the steamboat noise and was cracking up.]

    [Don't mess with these guns!!]

    [In his pajamas and reading while we wait for the fireworks.]

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    Parker's One Year Check Up

    Who is this toddler and what happened to my baby? When did he get so...grown up? Last week we took Parker to his 1 year check up (about a month late because this mama forgot to make an appointment!) and everything went really well except that he hasn't grown in 3 months. How is that possible?? He was 18 lbs 4 oz at his last appointment and 18 lbs 11 oz at this one. We've been told that we need to add more calories to his diet and to come back in a month. Has anyone else had this problem? I would love any high caloric baby food suggestions.
    So homeboy has been eating a lot of cheese and I am planning to add smoothies to his diet. We've also upped the calories in the snacks he consumes throughout the day. On the up side, he's doing amazing developmentally and has hit all the milestones, and then some, for his age.

    [This looks like a loving embrace but Tuan is really just trying to keep him from jumping off the table.]
    [Anyone want tickets to the GUN SHOW?]
    [Killing time while we wait for Dr. H]

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Snapshots From The Weekend


    [This was my hearty veggie omelette at Opera Cafe. It was POURING outside Saturday morning. We dashed in and about in between the down pours. ]
    [Parker hanging out on the floor in his Old Navy pea coat and Gap jeans.]
    [My co worker introduced me to Koon Thai Kitchen last week and I loved it so much I made everyone go there for lunch/dinner on Saturday. So good! Consider yourself warned that this place makes everything pretty spicy. Loan and Minh didn't listen to me and they had spicy bellies all night. Ha!]
    [Parker keeping an eye on Frank and Beans.]
    [MMMmmmocha from Bino's Bistro & Creperie. I'm really glad they have a location in Hillcrest now. Their Coronado location was a bit far of a drive.]
    [Bread basket at Bino's. Their fresh baguettes are the best!]

    [After breakfast at Bino's, we stopped by Toys R Us to buy Parker a new toy. He did not enjoy riding in this space shuttle while Tuan paid.]

    [Parker and his new baby dyson! So cute. He loves it.]