Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quarter of a Century Old Celebrations!

I'm turning 25 on Tuesday! Since it's a weekday, I had pre-celebrations on Saturday night at home. I prepared some appetizers and ordered pizza, and of course - drinks!

Easy to prepare party food for groups of 10-15 people:
So I made little tomato with mozzarella balls sprinkled with salt, pepper, and basil flakes (no fresh basil).

Then I made this little puff pastry rolls with ham and another kind with pesto sauce. Easy to do - buy frozen puff pastry and thaw flat, spread some mustard+honey, and lay ham to cover pastry, roll from both sides so you get a heart shape stacked together, place in fridge if it's too soft to cut, cut into 1cm thick slices, egg yolk wash and parmesan cheese sprinkles on top and bake around 10-12 mins. This can be made the day before and reheat in oven before serving.

I also bought some party size meatballs and hummus dip with bagel chips.

I catered from Porto's Bakery - Potato Balls (50 count) and Chicken Empanadas (25 count). Also I got the Parisian Cake there.

Heating up pre-made and porto's food plus set up took around 45 minutes.

I ordered Pizza Hut ($10 large pizza deal) 20 minutes before the party starts.

For drinks: the specialty was "Fallen Angel" - Gin, creme de menthe, bitters, lemon juice, and a cherry garnish. I also put out Coke, 7Up, ginger ale, tonic, OJ, Jack Daniels, and Coconut Malibu.
Combos: Jack+Coke, OJ+Malibu+cherry, Gin+Tonic, Gin+OJ+7Up

We had a total of 16 people and there were still some drinks and pizza left over! I was a little worried about the drinks and food but luckily there were enough !!!

So thankful for my honey who helped clean up and entertain! Also, thankful for everyone who came and gave me lovely lovely presents!! 25th birthday is not so bad afterall!!

I'm really blessed!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cafe 18

Cafe 18 is a Taiwanese cuisine restaurant that serves "railroad" lunches. It's a tradition to serve pork chop or chicken drumstick rice in a round 2 compartment tin container. So, Cafe 18 uses these traditional serve ware to serve you lunch. However, since the portion would be far too little for the average American stomach, they serve the meat on a separate plate, leaving the side dishes on the top compartment and the rice on the bottom.  Still, I must admit, the portion is not as much as you would expect for $6.99.

Now, on to the food, the chicken is better than the pork. The side dishes change without notice - one time it was tofu, and the other time it was egg. Sausage is good but they slice the garlic awfully thick. I heard their drinks are a no no.

Presentation is a little .. meh

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stonefire Grill

I've always wanted to try Stonefire Grill, ever since I was living in Irvine. Somehow it just never happened until last night. We were meeting friends for dinner and there were factors to decide... no chinese food, no waiting, no expensive stuff... etc. SF Grill popped into my head because I was recently reminded of it by a flyer (those things do work!). So, we decided to try it since it satisfy all categories... no wait, not too expensive (family restaurant), not chinese food, has salad. Yes, so off we went to the one in Pasadena. 

So, first you order your food at the counter and then you get a number and pick your table. Drinks, plates, cutlery, and BBQ sauce are self served. Here's what we ordered: Ribs+lemon chicken combo, ribs+tri-tip combo, a medium Spinach salad, and a small tomesto pasta. The meat combos come with a salad and bread sticks. The medium salad came in a medium mixing bowl that serves 2-3 but I think it can serve up to 4-5 people if this is just an appetizer salad. The small pasta can serve 2-3 people. We loved everything, ribs, chicken, tri tip were really tasty and well cooked. The salad was fantastic - plenty of chicken and avocado in it (mix well). The pasta was great too - large penne with a tomato pesto sauce - very rich and creamy, so a little goes a long way! We definitely ordered far too much for the four of us. 

This is a great spot for BBQ, salad, pasta, and more! Compared with Wood Ranch, I will definitely go to SF Grill for its price and laid back setting. Wood Ranch is more for atmosphere and service... but for a good old weekend meal, SF Grill is perfect. 

Next time I'm definitely going to try their pizza and maybe even the pulled pork sandwich!! 

Medium Spinach Salad with chicken and avocado

Ribs and Tri Tip

Ribs and Chicken

Small Tomesto Pasta 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Duck House/LuDingJi/鹿鼎記

My lovely friend treated us dinner tonight at Duck House in Monterey Park! We ordered their famous Peking Duck and some other dishes. Peking Duck is my favorite dish. It's roasted duck where they slice crispy skin into pieces and the meat also. Then you get a chinese "tortilla" and you place a piece of skin, a piece of meat, some scallions, shredded cucumber, and top it off with hoisin sauce. Wrap it up like a mini burrito and munch away! I can eat a ton of these but usually 2-3 can fill me up pretty well.
I've never really like Peking Duck in L.A. Most of the restaurants get it wrong and makes the wrong kind of flour wrap or they provide little bread pockets. Big time fail. Duck House is not 100% close to the real thing either but it's close enough...

I guess I really have to trek up to S.F or Vancouver for some authentic chinese food without having to fly over the pacific ocean.

Back to Duck House, it's a good restaurant as they serve clean and well cooked meals. I shall return!

and I forgot to take the last dish... "Ants on Trees" - no ants involved... just vermicelli and meat.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tory Burch Japan Relief T-shirt

Somehow the media has died down about Japan's devastating earthquake in March, but we must not forget people there are still suffering and need help. I just wanted to point that out quickly before I jump into the topic of this post - the Tory Burch Japan Relief T-shirt.

T.B created a T-shrit to help promote aid to Red Cross for Japan's earthquake. It is a white shirt with a simple design of Japan's flag and hearts. It's still available online for $29. Net proceeds will be donated to Red Cross.

I ordered mine when it first came out end of March and only received it yesterday. I was really excited because it was nicely packaged with Tory Burch logos and stuff... but the tshirt was a major disappointment.

The t-shirt itself says 100% cotton and it feels more like raw cotton that's so coarse and thin it's see through when you put it on. If you've seen the model on her website wearing the t-shirt, what I received is definitely not the same. They should have the decency to at least use the same fabric. Unless they are skimping on material fees to boost the donation to Red Cross, then they should at least inform us. When I popped on the t-shirt (in medium) it clung to my body because it was the stretchy thin material causing it looked see through. I don't even need to fall in the pool...

I don't think a large would have made much difference here...

I've never had such bad quality t-shirts, even the free promotional ones were better!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eyes Lips Face

I did a mini order from eyeslipsface - e.l.f a couple of weeks ago and it arrived on friday. I was excited because I waited for awhile. It's a mini order because I used the spend $15 for free shipping instead of $25 for free shipping. If you are familiar with the ELF you'll know how CHEAP their stuff are. So for me to accumulate $15 was a bit of a mission.

Well, my package came in one of those large envelopes. Inside, the 32 color palette was wrapped in a bubble wrap. I saw some specks on the palette but I didn't open it right away until at night. Well, what do you say, one of the shadows broke completely and scattered all over the rest of the colors including the outside of the case! So, the light colors are now tainted with this dark blue green color. E.L.F really has to fix the way they package products, especially dealing with palettes! Perhaps bubble wraps, polyester balls, and a proper shipping box.

Well, the other stuff I got in case you are curious...
A studio eyeshadow C Brush - feels nicely packed and soft.
A studio Lip Balm in peaceful pink. SPF 15/
A studio tinted moisturizer - SPF 20.
A e.l.f shimmering facial whip in lilac petal.

All these for $15 ! and free shipping! I'd been a happier camper if the palette didn't break like that :(

**P.S - I emailed ELF abt my broken palette and they mailed me a new one :D

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Aoyama Cafe

On the same day after Stinking Rose, we somehow made our way to Rowland Height's Aoyama Cafe with our garlic stuffed stomachs...

Well, I ordered a nice UCC Coffee and a Strawberry French Toast. Interesting... but apart from the coffee, it was not authentic.

Obviously, and most likely Taiwanese owned (nothing wrong with that), therefore, the food lacks a little oomph. Just a touch of that magical sprinkle.

Photos shall follow shortly... (still in iPhone)

What stinks but tastes so good?

What stinks but tastes good?

Garlic! Of course.

Yes, we went to Garlic Joe before, but our love for garlic has not been fulfilled. So we searched some more.
Alas, what's this?
Stinking Rose? Strange name...
All about Garlic? Oh, we are so going.

Yes, I know Stinking Rose has been around for ages and we've been meaning to go since ages ago too. Well, we've finally went.

One advice, skip that Garlic pot appertizer - Just eat the bread and that free jar of garlic heaven.
One more advice - order that PRIME RIB - it's not just heavenly, it's beyond heavenly divine.

Sorry, FINAL advice - do not eat a ton of raw/cooked garlic, and then order a ice cold COKE. BIG BIG BIG mistake. I've never been so sorry in my life.

The... Boneless Rib Entree... it has a proper name...

Star of the post! 

It was nothing extraordinary.

I can make the same thing...

Sinbala - Taiwanese Food

There's plenty of posts to write, so I'll be keeping most of them short!
Sinbala is a Taiwanese cuisine restaurant located in Arcadia, and one in Rowland Heights. They serve the typical pork chop rice, chicken leg rice, chicken popcorn, and some other "night market" foods you find in Taiwan.

So we visited with some friends who came from Taiwan and were starting to feel homesick from eating burgers and vegas buffet (I really don't understand)... but they wanted Taiwanese food from LA. We ordered a range of food for everyone (6) to share. The photo shows everything. It's quite a lot and surprising filled us all. Well you know, everything in the U.S is supersized somehow...

Most notable for me is their chicken popcorn, chicken poppers, what ever you call them. The tastes resembles the real deal!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nom nom nom

I've been pigging out a lot lately so I do have a lot of things to write about! But procrastination has taken over my blog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This is my first pair of wedges. I've never been a fan of wedges because I remember when I was around 13 I used to wear platforms and thought they were the coolest thing ever. Then I got older and I decided that people who are heavy/big on top should not wear platforms or wedges because it just looks ridiculously funny. Well who knew I'd buy a pair of wedges... but I did... they do look cute don't you think so?
Oh and thanks to tax return and DSW double points!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Too Faced - Why be pretty when you can be gorgeous?

Shopping online is a dangerous thing to do. I was just "browsing" Too Faced's website looking at their kabuki brush and the next thing I know, there was a very tempting promo going on! Buy $50 and get a flatbuki brush free! Well I had to browse some more to reach $50. I was going to get the concealer (the one in the pot) but they ran out of my shade. So I chose the Shadow Insurance in Candlelight (I already use the original one).

The package arrived today and it was just so adorable! It's a pink box with Too Faced designed on it. I would've tore it open but it was just too cute. Wait till you see the inside - the products are laid perfectly on top of pink crinkled paper and it's just perfect (as shown in the photo).

I can't wait to try out the kabuki brush because it's so soft! The best part is it's retractable and ready to take on the go. I think the shadow insurance is nice on its own not just as a primer because it has some shimmer to it. So that's a good everyday thing to use.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Peaches 'n' Cream Muffin

This is a childhood favorite muffin! I remember my mom had a friend who used to own a coffee shop back in NZ and she would bring us some muffins and sandwiches. My favorites were the Peach and Cream cheese muffin and the smoked salmon bagel sandwich. Those were the days where I can savor a snack and read some Baby Sitter Club books (yes I loved those books).

So, now that I have an oven, I decided to recreate something like the Peach and cream cheese muffin. Basically I used my blueberry muffin recipe as a basic muffin. So, beat one and one quarter sticks of butter with 1 cup of sugar until fluffy. Beat in two eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Now grate in the peels of one lemon. In a separate bowl have 3 cups of flour, one tablespoons of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of baking soda sifted and ready. Also, measure out one and a half cups of plain no flavor yogurt. Now mix half the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and fold with a spatula, add in one third of the yogurt and fold, now add in half of the dry and fold, and one third of the yogurt, etc so end with the dry ingredients (4 parts dry and 3 parts yogurt). Sorry if that was confusing.
Now instead of using blueberry... I used can peach slices and also sliced my own cream cheese (about 1/4 inch thick and 1 inch long).

So in your buttered muffin pan, fill half with the batter and then place one slice of peach and one slice of cream cheese on top, then put another dollop of batter on top for each muffin. You can also do this by dicing the peaches and cream cheese and gently fold into batter instead.

Bake at 375F for 30 - 40 minutes or until ready by testing with a fork.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SUPER by Perricone MD

I got the SUPER by Perricone lunchbox set from Sephora last friday. Today, I finally opened it up. The set comes with the acai face wash, detox elixir, and super hydrator. All full size products for $65 (before tax). Before I got this set I tried the hydrator sample and thought it was pretty good so I decided to try the set. The sales at Sephora tried the face wash on my hand and it made my skin so soft and moisturized even without lotion afterwards! Yet today after I washed my face with it, my skin felt taunt and dry... so I sprayed on the toner and put on the moisturizer. Now my skin feels soft but not so moisturized. I don't like the smell anymore! At the store, the face wash smelled so sweet and yummy but on my face it was like two day old wine. I'll give it couple more days and see whether I should return or keep.

It's a value set for sure but still debating on the quality. I could spend that money on just one good moisturizer or have all three... 

P.S - the face wash was so full that when I put in the pump, products spilled out so becareful ! 

The cover 
The Lunchbox

The products

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Red Velvet Truffles Recipe

Last year I was in Big Bear with a few friends and we went to Sugar Pine Bakery.  I got this box of white chocolate truffles with red velvet cake inside. I swear I was in heaven until I finished that box. Since I recently moved and have a working oven, I decided to give these a try.

The cake must be very moist so I used store bought cake mix - Red Velvet of course. Just follow the instructions on that. Also buy a tub of cream cheese frosting. Cool the cake completely and then crumble into a large mixing bowl. Use about 12oz frosting for one box of cake. Mix in the frosting and make sure there are no whites showing. Roll little balls or scoop with melon roller and place onto wax paper lined trays. Put into fridge for a few hours to harden. Buy easy melt chocolates (white, milk, or dark) I bought Trader Joe's unsweetened dark chocolate rounds and also some semisweet chips. Melt in microwave or over stove. Dip cake balls in and let dry on wax paper trays. When hardened, they can be place in little cupcake papers and in pretty little boxes.

I gave some to a friend and put them in a little cellophane bag with a twisty.

I have much room for improvements but at least they taste alright.

White truffles from Sugar Pine Bakery in a cute Heart Box 

Gift bag for Judy :D 

Completed chocolates drying on wax paper! 
P.S definitely a tedious thing to make... a lot of time spent on waiting, dipping, and drying... but for personal presents or yummy treats, all is worth it !

Renu Nakorn

Ok, the first time I saw this name I thought of the contact lense solution RENU. But this is actually a Thai Restaurant located in Norwalk, CA.

Came here for my friend's bday dinner. I found this on yelp and it was highly rated. They serve northern and southern Thai food. I think northern is much more interesting, sometimes influenced by Burmese. Southern thai is what we usually find at local thai restaurants - pad thai, yellow curry, etc.

So we each ordered a dish and my favorite were the Roasted Duck Curry and Khao Soi (northern).

The only con is the rice costs $1. It's only rice !!! A curry entree should come with some rice with no extra cost. Maybe that's why most of their entrees are between $7 - $10
Our bill came out to be $65 for 6 people and the gratuity was added by the restaurant.

Oh, one more con, we had a birthday cake and when we asked for it. They just bought it out with the cake still in the box and gave us a lighter and plates. Um... that totally ruined our surprise for our two friends. Basic service dudes.

Spicy Fried Rice with Beef

Khao Soi with Beef (I asked for Chicken...)

Something Angel Wings (My friend said these were not authentic)

Roasted Duck Curry with Pineapples :D

Name unknown - Spicy shrimp salad

Mango Pudding Cake from 85 Degrees for Birthday girl and boy