adventures


The more times I see Avatar, the more I seem to like it.  This second time watching it, this time in IMAX, opened my eyes to all the subtleties of the music-visual pairings, the Na’vi language, and the tiny, tiny details of the amazing CGI work.  The only quip I have wasn’t even within the movie itself—it’s that the screen was too small (I could see the edges in my peripheral vision!), so it was impossible to become completely immersed into the movie’s world. 

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I also adore the soundtrack.  Just pure love… makes me feel like I’m flying :)  Though I don’t think “pretty” is the right word to describe the soundtrack album art.  Some things just look better in (CGI) motion, haha…

I won’t be falsely optimistic here… school was a hellhole this week after that (wonderful?) huge snow break, and next week will probably be just as bad.  Piling up missed assessments, which I still happen to be in the middle of finishing up, is NOT cool nor fun.  I think I got ~3.5 hours of sleep for the past 3 days.  I’m freaking exhausted.  I think I’ve been running on adrenaline lately or something… it’s that weird feeling where you know you’re tired, but you don’t “feel” tired until you go somewhere ideal for sleeping.  Such as a dark movie theater.  But of course, Avatar was just that good—I was unable to fall asleep while it played.  ;P

Before our Avatar adventure #2 ver. IMAX, we picked up a quick dinner in the mall’s food court.  This was my first time at this particular mall, and the food court was “strange” in that it wasn’t really fast food except for the actual fast food places… you placed an order and actually waited for them to cook it for you.  :)  I ordered from a multi-ethnic cuisine-serving place called Sakura Grill, and when I saw Caribbean and American-Chinese food on the menu along with sushi and hibachi stuff, you can bet that I was more than a little skeptical on the quality of the food. 

Can you say “pleasantly awed”?  This is the first time I’ve had legitimately tasty mall food court food!

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My dad said that this oxtail meat reminded him of Chinese soy sauce-braised beef (hongshao niurou).  Well, there’s a question of authenticity… I’ve never eaten Caribbean food before, so I can’t exactly judge.  All I can say is that it was fairly yummy—warm, not overly-spiced, and fall-off-the-bone meat.  Rice + veggies = look typical, taste typical. 

The brown crispy things were deep-fried plantainsI liked these more than the oxtail, haha!  They were freshly fried, so they weren’t soggy in the least—perfectly crispy, crunchy battered exterior with a subtly sweet, banana-like creaminess on the inside.  And hot.  :) 

I’ve got looots to accomplish tomorrow.  The plan is to get a ton of stuff done in the morning, go out to eat lunch and buy a gift for my friend’s birthday gathering, do some more homework, and then go out to eat @ The Cheesecake Factory with the b-day girl and some old friends.  :)  Should be fun.  I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my friends, whom I haven’t seen for a year or so now, I think.

I hope you all had great weeks, and I hope your weekends are even more exciting!  :)

Lovelovelove,
c a n d i c e

… because the grass isn’t less green on your side.

After all that whining about having cabin fever, I was completely blessed to be able to get out of the house and into the slushy, sunshiny real world yesterday.  And better yet, I was able to spend an entire day away from home.  Curse snow days?  Hmmm, maybe not.  Still not happy about having to make them up somehow, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed today 100%.  No worries.  Schoolwork, midterm stress = pushed alllll the way to the crevices behind the back burner (if that makes sense at all).  I am slightly excited, and yet slightly worried, that I did not do an ounce of homework yesterday.  Nada.

Whenever I start to relax and get into this “don’t worry, be happy” mindset, my first instinct is to panic.  Why?  Well, I’m dead scared at the prospect of become a slacker for life.  If I get into this mindset, I believe that I will become eternally lazy and not be able to get into my college of choice and end up as a bum on the streets.  No homework done for one day = bum for life… how ridiculous do I sound right now?

Still, I think I better start working tomorrow, lest school hit my like a brick bomb on Tuesday.  :P

Come lunchtime, cheerful “Annyeong-haseyo!”’s greeted our little Chinese trio as we stepped into Lighthouse TofuVit Goel Tofu according to the letters on the concrete outside.  It’s a Korean restaurant that had recently opened near my dad’s house, located just short of the Korean grocery store, no less.  Not surprisingly, it was filled with Koreans.  Good. That’s a sure sign of authenticity, no?  ;]

Sadly, I was too chicken to whip out my huge SLR and snap photos of the huge spread of food we ordered.  For the record, I was also too chicken to say “thank you” in Korean to the waitress, something that I amazingly picked up from the hundreds of “kamsahamnida”s that must frequent the Korean dramas I’ve been watching lately.  We were seated smack-dab in the middle of the tiny restaurant surrounded by a sea of chit-chatting Koreans, and I felt kind of awkward and out-of-place.  For some reason, I always feel more self-conscious when surrounded by Asians.  I’m not sure why… point being, no pics of awesome food.  Boo.

After lunch, we stopped by the aforementioned Korean grocery store and Trader Joe’s per my request on our way to the Build-A-Bear Workshop at the mall for my dad’s birthday present for my sis.  I brought five lovely bags of food back home with me today.  Roasted black sesame seeds are back, baby Tat.  ;]

Dinner was at a different Clyde’s than the one I usually go to, since we were all a-starvin’ after stuffing and dressing the new Hello Kitty plushie.  :]  I loved the decor, even though the route the bathroom seemed like a scene out of a horror movie.  Think dark wooden stairs, practically nonexistent lighting, and mirrors on all sides… creepy.as.hell. 

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Our server was super-friendly, and the mood was fantastic, but with that awesome mood came lighting was too dim for good food pictures.  Shutter speed slowed majorly = more chances to take blurry pictures.  :/

We were started with some sad sourdough.  Sad because it was cold.  :(

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Won’t lie; it took more than a few shots to get a “good” (aka not blurry) pic of my order:

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Maple-glazed acorn squash with wild rice, wild mushrooms, toasted walnuts, and spinach and cranberry vinaigrette.  I had eaten acorn squash only once in my life, and it being the first squash I ever tried to prepare on my own, it… failed.  It was horribly undercooked and tasted really gross.  i wanted to try a “properly” prepared one before I blew it off completely… but it turns out that I will blow it off anyway.  It was meh.  The flavor was too weak even with maple-glazing.  I much prefer starchy squashes like butternut or kabocha.

I struggled to identify what was what for the accompaniments because of the awful lighting.  “Wild rice” consisted of a few grains of rice over the other ingredients.  It seemed to be chicken broth-flavored—I like.  :D  The wild mushrooms were richly flavored and incredibly juicy, and the spinach and cranberry vinaigrette tied everything together into a sweet package. 

Highlight of the meal = toasted walnuts.  They were hands-down the tastiest walnuts I have ever eaten, and I am not a walnut girl at all.  I’ve always thought they were eh, but I was jabbing around in the darkness with my fork searching for those little morsels of yum!  :9

There were, as expected with dim lighting, little white-brown bits that I just could not descry.  Sweet garlic?  Parsnips?  Not sure.  Oh well, they were good anyway.  :)  In fact, I liked the accompaniments so much that I actually boxed the leftovers, even though there were only two or three bites left!  :P

I leave you with extra-fortuitous wishes for the New Year and a delicious Valentine’s Day, whether it be with your love, your friends, your family, or yourself.  You can count on being loved by me, anyhow.  ;)

ox ~ c a n d i c e ♥

Hello everyone!  I’m still alive here after my Week-from-Hell #2.  Done with three midterms, two tests, and three quizzes—score. I only have 1 midterm next week and another the week after, and then it’s back to the regular testing routines.  … Hurray?!  :) (:

My brain has been fried for about two weeks now, and my short-term memory has basically shut down entirely (past cramming biology into my head).  I actually had to think for awhile before I could remember what I wanted to recap for this post.  -_-;

Breakfast on a date that has been shoved out of my brain was this lovely bowl of cereal with my first pouring of original Pacific almond milk.

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It was eh. I forgot to buy the unsweetened kind (if there is such thing), so this tasted really watery and well, unpleasantly sweet.  :/  I think I’ll just stick with Almond Breeze from here on out.

This is a lunch prepped on another random day was a random mixture of leftovers that I was trying to use up.  This had leftover spicy tofu, shredded Mexican cheese from TJ’s, and leftover salad. Obligatory toasted sesame seeds and wakame-rice ball furikake are obligatory.

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Annnd another date stuffed with grainy peanut butter and sea salt.

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Dee-lee-cious.  :)

As for this, there is only one lonely square of this milk chocolate bacon bar left now…

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It wasn’t as good as I expected.  The bacon bit-chocolate flavors don’t really meld together—when I eat it, I just taste bacon, salt, and then chocolate.  Muuuch prefer the goji bar. You can never go wrong with a pink bar of chocolate.  :)

On Friday afternoon after school, I went to a Great Harvest Bread Co. bakery for the first time.  I had actually wanted to go last week, but it closes pretty early (around 5-ish), so we were too late.  :(  This week, we arrived ten minutes from closing time, in which I tried three different types of bread and bought two of ‘em.  I call it my “reward” for getting out of this week alive.  :)  I’ll save that for another post, though, since this one’s picture-heavy enough as it is!  It was really exciting though, since I’ve never bought “real” bread from a bakery before.

The weekly Friday night dinner out was at Bazin’s on Church, which had (mostly) rave reviews on Yelp!.  Though it was a little noisy—it’s a small place, and the bar was just a few feet away from us—the food was très delicieux. :)  I think this was one of the only three-course meals I’ve ever had?!

I loved the decor.  I felt so warm inside!  :)

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The location was pretty awesome, too, with lots of big windows and pretty holiday lights.  Even if the candles were fake.  ;)

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The feast began with a bit of warm bread and butter and the butternut squash agnolotti, which was basically butternut squash ravioli with sage sauce and crumbled amaretti cookies.  It reminded me of the first meal out I photographed (and wrote about), pumpkin ravioli.  Creamy, buttery outside with a surprisingly sweet, fluffy filling.  “Special,” said my father.  :)  But, um, where are the cookie crumbs?

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Maybe they drowned in the sauce.

For my main course, I made a historic decision in the course of eating out [in my life]—I ordered red meat for the first time!!!  I usually go for seafood, salads, or carbalicious dishes, but I’ve never ordered red meat at a restaurant before (not a DE thing—I was like this before all that jazz, too).  I’m not much of a steak person, and I find BBQ ribs annoyingly messy—you could say I’m picky with red meat.  But this… this was amazing.

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The toughness of red meat is the one thing that puts me off about it, so I was surprised and excited by the super, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of this.  I guess there’s a reason it’s called tender pecan pork?  The pecans added a whole other dimension to the meat with their prevailing, deeply toasted and nutty flavor, and the vanilla sweet potatoes had a real, pronounced vanilla flavor, and they weren’t cloyingly sweet, thank goodness.  :)  Perfectly balanced out the umami of the meat.  The roasted baby spinach was a bit too salty, but I loved the roastyness that roasted foods have (oh yeah, I’m specific), and the fact that it wasn’t a complete pile of mush.  And, as much as I was excited for it, the bourbon-bacon sauce was just average.  Is bourbon sour?  The sauce certainly was…

For a little sweetness to end the meal, my sis picked a key lime pie with coconut-macaroon crust and chantilly cream for the three of us to share:

The coconut-macaroon crust was amazing, even though I’ve never had a macaroon in my life.  Totally stuffed with coconut, and huge shreds of it at that.  The pie itself, on the other hand, was not nearly as sour as the ones I ate by the busload in Florida.  In fact, it was a bit too sweet.  I needed periodic dips into the fluffy and perfectly sweet chantilly cream to cleanse my palate.  ;)

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I was originally planning to post all of this on Friday night, but spontaneously made the decision to see Avatar.  It was a 9:40 PM showing, and being the wonderful three hours that it is, ended at 12:30-ish… thus, I got home around 1:15 the next morning.  o_o  Being the goody-goody that I am, I’ve never stayed out that late before.  I beat my record by more than an hour… whew.

But OMG… it was completely worth it. To see this?

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original image from
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Heck yes.  I loved, loved, loved this movie.  The fantasy world totally drew me in with the lush CGI and brilliantly imagined flora and fauna.  The whole thing was just explosive with its color and life—immersive and completely believable once you’re drawn in.  I mean, bioluminescent organisms?!  All of them?!  Synapses and exposed nerve endings?!  <3  This was a feast for the eyes (and the mind!) and a thousand times better than Twilight. I think I’m going to become an Avatar geek or something.  Gosh, I’d kill to see this in IMAX 3D!

Q1: What do you look for in a restaurant setting? I like quiet restaurants… can’t stand bars :/  (But I’d go back to Bazin’s on Church for the food!!!)
Q2: What do you usually order at restaurants?
Q3: What’s the latest you’ve stayed out?
Q4: Have you watched Avatar?  Do you love it?!  If not, what’s your favorite movie genre? I normally dislike sci-fi, but this was a whole different story, obviously.  ;)

Alright, I’m out.  :D  Have a happy week, everybody!  Yay food!  And, for Avatar, yay nature and phosphorescent organisms.  :)

I’m taking a break from finishing my lab report to blog because I seriously feel like I’m going to punch a squirrel right now.  Microsoft Word is being totally uncooperative and just… just… stupid.

Shapes can go die.  Online graphs without Excel can go die.  Oh, and parts of a .pdf pasted in Word that make it run ridiculously slow will die. now.

*deep breath*  Okay, I feel slightly better now.  Urgh, doesn’t technology just piss you off sometimes?  :(

As to why I’m doing this at almost 12 PM on a Sunday night preceding a holiday… You see, it was part of the ultimate plan.  I failed to get it done during the day, so I had to work to meet my “deadline,” and that incidentally meant staying up until this hour.  I have a whole ‘nother list of things I need to get done tomorrow and I really don’t want too much of “today’s” task mixing with “tomorrow’s” (aka the “something will explode if this doesn’t get done” stuff).

Today’s tasks also included photo uploading. For me, this is by far the most time-consuming aspect of blogging.  Copying the photos to the computer, resizing and reformatting as a PNG to preserve quality, deleting the old huge files… * 100.  How many photos do you take in a day, on average? I gravitate towards perfectionism, so I’m always trying to shoot the “perfect” angle for a food… and somehow, I end up with like, thirty different photos of the same thing.  Go figure.

Breakfast yesterday was something I’ve been missing due to the cold weather: a yogurt mess!

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With the best canned pumpkin ever. This has so much more flavor than Libby’s and actually tastes like real pumpkin!

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It’s topped with Trader Joe’s country pumpkin spice granola, which I first set my eyes on on Allie’s blog.  It’s awesome.  :)  I can’t resist picking out the pieces of popcorn!

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Of course, studying wasn’t the only thing I did today!  Lunch out was a blessing, honestly.  My mom had company over and, well, having a valid excuse to be out of the house saved me from being bombarded with those adult-to-child questions: “What school do you go to?” “Have you grown taller?” “How old are you?” “Do you speak Chinese?” etc… it becomes quite tiring after you’ve answered the same question five times to five “curious” adults.  Needless to say, I was more than eager to get out…

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This was so much better than Wegman’s party food.

We went to an amazingly cute restaurant called Magnolias at the Mill today.  It is, as the name implies, a mill-turned-restaurant.  There’s a big plaque about the history of the mill (built in 1905!) just outside the entrance.  It was quite an interesting read—even my insouciant dad was impressed.  :)

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Lots of rustic charm, as you can see.  :)  I believe the upstairs was reserved for dinner, but I wish we could’ve gone up there…

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I ordered the Thai-inspired steamed mussels with lime & sesame scented jasmine rice, snow peas, and green curry coconut sauce. This was my first time ordering mussels—er, well, any kind of mollusk, at a restaurant!  It did not disappoint, even though there were less snow peas than I would have preferred.  The curry-coconut sauce was a bit salty, but it was perfect for sopping up with with the sticky, fragrant jasmine rice.  I ended up giving about four of the mussels to my dad since he liked them so much, and given how rarely he says he likes something, I just had to.  :)  I got a bit of his dish in exchange, the mahi-mahi with lemon-parsley orzo and sautéed watercress. With some blackberry-based sauce, I believe?

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Besides being absolutely gorgeously presented, it was super delish.  I normally dislike mahi-mahi because it tends to be served tough and dry, but this was an exception!  Very succulent and well-seasoned.  :)

I had an “eating race” with my dad.  Okay, the thing is, my dad eats very, very slooooowly. His style of chewing is comparable to a camel’s (minus the spitting) and apparently, mine is more like a rabbit’s or a squirrel’s.  … Okay, that’s fine with me, but not when I’m eating with him!  I literally finish twenty minutes before he does, and it’s not that fun just sitting around, trying to converse (and conversing just draws it out longer…).  So I’ve decided to learn how to chew slowly like a camel so I can pace myself and not end up waiting for him to finish.  I’ll let you know how that goes… xD

My sister ate an entire (kid’s) cheese pizza, but she was still hungry… so she ordered some dessert that she kindly shared with us.  :)  I love how innate children’s senses are, especially with food—they eat when they’re hungry, stop when they aren’t, and they aren’t afraid to treat themselves to delicious, fancy-sounding desserts!

This is the rustic apple-blackberry pie with cinnamon crème anglais, blackberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream~

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Wholesome and delicious.  The crème anglais was amazing, and I loved the huge chunks of apple and berry in the puff pastry, which, by the way, was fluffy and just light enough to balance out the rich ice cream and crème anglais.

I was lazy about dinner, so I just looked around for some fridge leftovers, mixed ‘em up, and voilà. Asian again, Tat. ;)  There’s white rice, broccoli, and mushrooms down there underneath the huge mound of tofu and furikake

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PLUS a very muddy-looking after-dinner treat.  For once, I was craving chocolate?!  This was the last of my plain yogurt with canned pumpkin, Hershey’s dark cocoa powder, cinnamon, Trader Joe’s kettle corn, and maple syrup.

Pre-mix:

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Post-mix and with trail mix and honey-roasted peanuts (both were party food leftovers).  I was a little scared that it would look like poop, but it doesn’t look THAT bad, does it?

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And a divine Medjool date with crunchy PB:

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Oh, I’ve missed crunchy PB.  <3

Last, but not least, I have a gift for Chocolate-Covered Katie and her awesome giveaway.  ;)  Here’s a real, whole banana hammock—no deconstruction involved!

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On the left, we have a slice with a sprinkling of grain-sweetened chocolate chips.  The contender on the right is topped with cinnamon, kettle corn, pumpkin spice granola, and dried guava slices.  ‘Twas de-li-cious.  ;)

Q1: When does technology make you angry?
Q2: Your favorite dessert?  x)

Have a lovely evening… errr, morning, m’ladies!

EDIT: Did anyone notice the “12 PM on a Sunday night”?!  That’s what I get for staying up late… xD

Good evening, loves!  :)  I hope you had a Sunday that was the complete opposite of mine.  By that, I mean totally relaxing.  ^_^  Oh, and I’m only half-kidding here…

I went grocery shopping (happiness-inducing!) at my favorite Korean grocery store last night after dinner.  I was honestly planning on only buying one or two items, but I ended up buying three bagfuls.  Yes, I am a compulsive buyer… but that doesn’t automatically make me a stupid one, hm?  ;)  Cheapness 4eva!

Goodies galore!  :)  Such as…

fresh persimmons

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orange blossom honey

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pickled plums, though it says apricots in the ingredients list?…

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PANEER!!!  Gosh, I just love this stuff.  :]

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And parts of an old Whole Foods haul…

Awesome-smelling cheese <3

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and dried turkish apricots (to replace my beloved calimyrna figs)

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Breakfast was around 7 AM.  I even had to turn on the light to take the photo… on a weekend?!  O_O

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Peanut Butter Puffins with cherry vanilla granola, dried banana slices, black sesame seeds, and coarse sea salt.  Made delicious with unsweetened almond milk.  :)

My mom just keeps buying PB Puffins.  Okay, I love them and all, but honestly, I’d like to branch out into other cereals…

Lunch was another adventure in my quest to taste different ethnic foods.  Today, we went to a Persian restaurant called Shamshiry.  No pictures of the decor, since the waiters were already staring at us, and I was already pretty uncomfortable, but it is a really tiny place that looks ten times bigger because of a single, completely-mirrored wall.  It was a little strange watching myself eat from my peripheral vision, but who cares about how messy/weird I look when I chew when there’s food to photograph?!

My dad ordered the house salad to start.  Nothing special—just some iceberg lettuce, tomato, olives (blech), red beans (kidney?), and goat cheese, which I stole with some of the greens.  It came with a runny, sour lemon-yogurt dressing.

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I was pretty intimidated when I saw the portion for my dish, the shirin polo, which was “sweet rice” with spices, sugared orange peel, pistachios, and almonds.

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It’s impossible to tell from the photos, but trust me—this was enough to feed a family of four, at least. The sad thing is, the description on the menu made it sound so amazing, but it really wasn’t that good.  The rice was nice and fluffy, but it just wasn’t very well seasoned at all (I expected a TON more spices), and the flavors just didn’t mix well.  Instead of a heavenly combination of flavors, I tasted each one individually, one after another, as I ate it.  The candied orange peels were also much less fragrant and citrus-y than I expected.  :(  At least it looked good…

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Oh, but the crusty rice cracker-like thing (tah digue) was pretty awesome.  :)  So darn crunchy!  I should cook rice in a pot just for this.  ;)  I was eating it in quite a barbaric way (with my hands), and my dad scolded me for it.  Then, he proceeded to do the same and munch and crunch on it just like a cracker.  Mmhmm, I’m just that brilliant!  Also, I can’t believe they actually sell this stuff.  I saw it at the Korean grocery as “scorched rice,” lol.

Perhaps the size of these meals is better reflected in this picture?  Possibly?…

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My dad ordered the mahi kabob (salmon), which came with baghali polo, dill rice with fava beans.  There was salmon there before, I promise.  ;)

I also ordered the a pot of “Persian tea,” which was basically nice, piping-hot, bitter black tea in a jug that came with a cute teacup and tiny straw.  Oh, and sugar cubes.  :)  I never knew such a small amount of tea could be drunk so slowly until today…

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Dinner was a bit of a different story.  We went to a local chain restaurant called Clyde’s, and my dad immediately proclaimed that he was craving junk food.

The phrase “junk food” means different things to different people.  To my friends, it would probably be McDonald’s, Burger King, deep-fried foods—the obviously not-too-healthy foods.  But for a DE-ravaged mind like mine?  I’ve gotten my definitions confused and/or mixed up.

Junk food, to me, once meant carbs.  It once meant dessert and sugar; even my beloved nut butters were stuck under that label!  It meant eggs and creamy sauces and butter and red meat—basically anything that wasn’t a vegetable or fruit.  Actually, if DE deemed a fruit too high in sugar/calories (WTF), it was also considered “junk food.”  Maybe I didn’t call it junk food in my mind, but from the way I was treating those foods, they might as well be as nutritious as a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

I asked my dad what he meant by “junk food.”

Burgers.  Fast food.  Soda.  Deep fried foods… like french fries. I really need french fries today.”

His reply was so simple and damn obvious, and yet somehow, it cleared my mind of the DE fog and pulled me closer to normalcy.  I asked myself, Is this bread “junk food” because it’s white and has “no” nutritional value?

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No.  Nonetheless, I didn’t eat it.  It was cold and tough.  :(

Am I only allowed to drink water and calorie-free drinks?

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No, but I needed a hot drink that night, and peppermint tea sounded good.  *shivers*  Plus, unless they are at room temperature and flat, sodas/sparkling fizzy drinks make my stomach hurt like hell.  They don’t really taste that good in that state either…

Should I order the winter vegetable platter or the jumbo lump crab cake dish?  Did I eat too much meat during the day?  What if the sweet potato gratin it comes with is too cheesy and delicious and I finish the whole thing?  What if there are too many carbs in the veggie platter?

What if what if what if I just ordered what I wanted?

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Don’t get me wrong, the winter vegetable platter sounded delicious (and I could taste acorn squash that was maybe done the right way), but everything about the jumbo lump crab cake dish just sounded perfect.  And it was.  :)

1. Jumbo lump crab cake. Biiig clumps of delicious crabmeat, little to no breading, definitely no mayo, and perfectly seasoned.  Oh, and no food poisoning is a plus!

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2. Chipotle sweet potato gratin. This was coated with a cheesy sauce rather than being smothered in real cheese, but it was certainly better than my first time having “sweet potato” gratin.  100% sweet potatoes, yay!  They were really sweet.  :)

3. Brussels sprouts + blood orange vinaigrette. This was my first time trying brussels sprouts, and they were yummy. I don’t understand why it has the reputation it does?!  I think these were steamed or boiled, and boiled is apparently the yuckiest way of preparing them, but they were good!  The blood orange vinaigrette was a little less citrus-y than I would have liked, but it wasn’t overly sweet, which was nice.  (Still need to buy blood oranges!)

All this while my dad chowed down a giant bacon cheeseburger with fries and a coke.  Is there anyone who thinks that “bacon cheeseburger” means a burger made out of bacon with cheese?

… Didn’t think so.  -_-

The moral of the story is: Not every food is “junk food,” and no junk food is off limits. I will say it: Life is a balancing act.  What if what if what if I just did that?

2010 Goal #3: BALANCE.  BALANCE.  BALANCE. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but so much easier said than done…

Q1: What’s your favorite type of cereal?
Q2: What do you consider “junk food”?
Q3: Do you like brussels sprouts?

Off to… finish my homework!  :D

… with my aunt’s family.  :(  At least it was a memorable one—for them, at least!

We went to Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House for dinner yesterday, one of those places where they cook the food right in front of you with fancy tapping and flipping.  Oh, and huge fires.  I was almost afraid to whip my camera out in fear that it would get burned or something!  But when I saw my cousin begin to record the procedure with his digital, I couldn’t resist…


I split a hibachi scallop dish with my sister.  It came with soup, salad, stir-fried vegetables, and steamed/fried rice.  We agreed on steamed, but it was still fun to watch the cook flip the fried rice around.  :]

I was expecting miso soup, but this turned out to be ramen noodle soup (as in, the stuff that comes in the instant noodle bowls) flecked with mushroom slices.  This was the first time in a looong time that I’ve had instant noodle soup, so it was a pleasant-ish surprise.  ;)

The salad had a peanut dressing that wasn’t very Japanese, but was pretty darn tasty.  Otherwise, it was quite uneventful—my share consisted entirely of iceberg lettuce swimming in watery peanut sauce at the b0ttom of the bowl.  Oh, the sacrifices an older sibling must make…


I ordered a hot tea, which turned out to be genmaicha, my favorite type of green tea.  The toasted brown rice adds such wonderful depth of flavor to the plain green tea.


Cooking the veggies + scallops—look at the onion volcano!


My veggie portion was pretty lame after I split it with my sister… and perhaps munched on a few pieces before the camera.  ^_^;


This isn’t the most appetizing picture, but it’s the only one I took of the scallops.  :/  I actually ended up getting a piece of shrimp as well :D  Lucky lucky~ x)  These were, again, amazing scallops—really juicy and tender, and of course, extremely aromatic.  *drool*  Maybe I really don’t hate scallops after all!  <3


I loved that the steamed rice was actually a wee bit sticky instead of the hardened, loose stuff they serve at Chinese-American places.  It smelled really good, too—I adore the smell of fresh rice.  :)  (Yes, I’m a weirdo who sniffs rice.)  Also on my plate are random fried noodles that I honestly have no idea where they come from/who ordered them…  Lucky again?  They were pretty greasy and not too different from your average fried noodles.

Perhaps the weirdest part of dinner was watching the cook carve off pieces of shortening from a giant ball of the stuff.  I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture of it—at first I seriously had no idea what it was.  My cousin had suggested they were mashed potatoes.  o__o

For some reason, I honestly was not very hungry tonight.  I just could not finish my rice and mustered only about half of the noodles before I felt bloated.  Now, seeing as that I only had half an entrée in the first place, I did not eat very much.  My family began to voice their concerns, and I tried to tell them that I was honestly full, but the more I talked, the more it sounded like I was lying.  Begin freak-out on the inside.  What do I do?  How do I tell them that I’m truly full?  How do I make them believe me? etc.

Pft.  And to think that my disordered voice thought that they thought I was a fatty for finishing my food the other night—what a load of BS.  My sole question today is: What would you do in this situation?

Good morning!  Yesterday was just *boom boom boom*, going everywhere with my aunt’s family before they leave tomorrow morning.  :/  Then it’s back to the grind for me, really—aka finishing up all the homework due after break.  Boooooooo.

I’ve been going to a hell lot of restaurants lately, even eating two meals out in one day.  o_o  Lunch yesterday was at the Eiffel Tower Café (again).  My dad suggested it—he wanted to bring his friend from China to a “European-style” restaurant.  And me?  I’m all for it, man.  They even put us in a little corner this time!  It was super cozy and awesome.  :]

After a few “issues” (“I couldn’t understand a word he said”) with the French waiter’s pronunciation and fast-paced run through the specials, my dad and his friend started off with a special arugula and endive salad with gruyère cheese and anchovies.  I had a taste—pretty tasty sans olives, which I despise, though everyone else in the world seems to love them.


This was the first time in a looong time that I had anchovies, and I forgot how salty they were!  Solution?  Stuff mouth with warm, crunchy-on-the-outside-doughy-on-the-inside baguette.  Never fails.


I told my dad’s friend that he had to try the baguette, and though he didn’t give me his opinion on it, he kept going back for more pieces throughout the meal… so I’m guessing he liked it.  ;)

I snapped a picture of the baguette, and then the nice British waitress commented on my camera.  I was completely thrown off guard—actually, I expected people to eye me weirdly for bringing a big camera into a teeny-tiny restaurant and snapping tons of photos of my food.  We had a little discussion about cameras, mostly lamenting the quality of most digital cameras, and she eventually asked me for the model.  Of course, I happily told her :]

(They recognize us probably because it’s our third time going, and we’re probably one of their few, if not their only, Asian customers.  lol.)

For the main course, I was originally going to have la crêpe du jour, chicken and vegetables, but I decided I had to get the chicken chausson with couscous after hearing the waiter’s description (i.e. finally understanding what a chausson was).  I’ve never had a savory puff pastry dish, so I knew I had to try it.  :D

Voilà.



Hmmm, not bad.  Salad = good—not too oily, and a little sour from vinegar.  Couscous = fluffy and fantabulous—I think this was cooked with chicken broth or something, because it was delish.  Puff pastry = omnomnom, flaky and buttery and amazing.  The chicken inside was yummy, but a wee bit too salty.  I drank about 5 wine glasses of water throughout the meal, building up quite a tankload without realizing it.  ^_^;   The orange sauce was a fruit-based (citrus?) sauce, I believe, to go with the chausson. The combo of sweet and savory was fantastic, and the sweetness of the sauce helped tone down the saltiness of the chicken.


My dad’s friend was a newspaper photographer at one point, so he gave me some helpful photography tips.  :]

Dessert could have been the only-at-Christmas bûche de noël, but I was stuffed, probably from the buttery puff pastry.  Ah, well—there’s always next year, right?  ;)

Dinner was at a local restaurant, Willow Creek Farm.



It was, no doubt, warm and toasty inside.  :]  The decor is apparently supposed to emulate an “American-style inn” from colonial times?  It has a really earthy, rustic feel to it.  It’s a good reminder that I’m technically in the countryside, haha.

We started off with some bread with two kinds of butter, regular and strawberry.  I’ve had strawberry butter before—it’s pretty damn tasty!  I LOVE flavored butters, almost as much as I love flavored (sweet, not savory) cream cheese.  :D  I didn’t have a slice, though, because I was still kind of full from lunch!  :|


No offense, but I don’t think this can beat baguette.

Everything on the menu looked tantalizing.  *_*  I wanted to get everything!


There was actually a big sign in the front advertising the filet mignon, but I didn’t take a picture of it.  :(  It was amusing in a weird way…

Drinks:

That water jug was so heavy! o_o

After much contemplation between gnocchi, butternut squash ravioli (MUST TRY NEXT TIME), and pulled duck salad (!!!), and other goodies, I chose the seared sea scallops.


I’ll be perfectly honest here—I didn’t choose this dish for the scallops originally.  I was intrigued by the various sides (besides spinach, lol), which included pancetta, parsnip purée, and sweet potato gaufrettes.


I consulted with my cousin about gaufrettes, and he described it as some sort of “little cake”?  Anyway, I wasn’t expecting sweet potato crisps.  But they were delicious anyway, and I ate all of ‘em.  :D


Oh, and I just looked up pancetta on Wikipedia, and am delighted to know that it’s cured pork belly.  That stuff is incredible, seriously.  Actually, everything about this dish was incredible, sans the spinach, which was just… spinach.  To tell you the truth, I never really liked scallops before.  I always found them tough, rubbery, and virtually flavorless, but now I realize that they must’ve just been prepared in an unappealing way!  The waitress told me that the chef recommended the meat to be medium-rare, so I went with that, and boy am I glad I did!  These babies were juicy, savory, tender, and transformed my outlook on scallops entirely.  I’ll still be wary of them because of the tendency to overcook them, but OMG… I was totally not expecting to adore them.

The parsnip purée was surprisingly delicious, too.  I don’t know what they put in it (I should’ve asked…), but it was freaking amazing—buttery (well, I wonder what one ingredient was) and just a tad sweet.  I’ve never even eaten a real parsnip before, but if this is what they taste like, then I need to go buy some.  Like, now.  And purée them to a pulp with my new blender.  :]

Good things aside, I can’t deny that this dinner threw some disordered thoughts into my head post-meal.  I finished everything on my plate, and my mom and aunt commented that I could eat a lot, that I finished my whole meal, etc.  That old voice started to talk to me:

Look, you finished the WHOLE THING, you fatty!  You’re going to get so fat from this.  Even your mom and your aunt noticed!  FATSO!  Why didn’t you leave a few bites on your plate?  We should have a three-bite rule—at LEAST three bites must be left on your plate when you finish eating!

I thought about that last bit twice, and then I told the voice to f-off.  It can’t pull me down anymore.  Just going over those ridiculous thoughts makes me realize how truly stupid they are.  I encourage all of those who are struggling with these same thoughts to try to replay them in your mind and really try to listen to what ED/DE is telling you.  For example, leave three bites on my plate for every meal I eat?  WTF?  What if I’m hungry?  What if the portion is small, like tonight’s?  Why the hell should I institute such arbitrary rules?  Why should I take away my own freedom?

So I ate three damn scallops.  So I ate some spinach and a thin layer of parsnip purée and three 1-centimeter cubes of pancetta.  So what? It’s not like I’m stuffing myself till my ribcage explodes or eating so fast that my stomach hurts (poor cousin).  I’m treating my body well.  I can eat out during the holidays—I can eat out, period, and not worry about calories and fat and weight.  As long as I trust my body, I can do anything.

Sorry for the little speech there—I’ll get off my soapbox now.  ^_^;  Alright, ladies, I’m off—I hope you guys have an amazing day!

Q1: Do you like olives?  If so, is there a food that most people seem to like, but you don’t?
Q2: What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Q3: Have you ever disliked something the first time, but liked it the second time?

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