Friday, October 29, 2010

Ask Wandering Chopsticks 14

Busy, busy month! My Octobers are always like that though. A while back, lil' sis told me to save October 6 for my birthday surprise. But that's not my birthday, doesn't she know me at all? :(

She wouldn't tell me what it was, but told me to dress nice, ie. no flip-flops. That Wednesday, she drove up right after work and surprised me with tickets to "Phantom of the Opera" at the Pantages Theatre. Aww, how nice!

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 Not so nice, she forbade me from singing along during the show. Hmph!

"All I ask of you..."

I liked the art deco lights.

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The darling niece has started eating. Don't be fooled by that angelic face.

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She hates eating. Or maybe she hates me trying to feed her. :(

She also likes riding her "horsey."

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And evidently has learned to wave on command.

That night my friend Vanly, who works for the East Meets West Foundation in Vietnam, stopped off at the tail-end of her business trip in the U.S. Yay! And she brought me presents. A lovely fuchsia silk scarf and mochi from her layover in Japan.

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The softest mochi ever!

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But even better was catching up with my friend. I hadn't seen her in more than four years. Miss you woman!

And as it turned out, the friend who dropped her off, who jokingly refers to me as his archnemesis because we've commented on mutual friends' Facebook posts for years, reads my blog too. Or well, he's tried a few recipes he says and had no idea I was me. It's nice to know I still managed to stay incognito to some people.

I took her to Lunasia Chinese Cuisine - Alhambra for dim sum before taking her to the airport. Pretty! They now have blue transferware plates in the restaurant! Seriously, on decor alone, Lunasia gets top marks from me.

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But I lost my purse hook there. :(

In the mad rush to gather up my things to take my friend to the airport, I must not have put in inside my purse afterward. So if anyone finds a nice pearl-enameled flower on a black circle purse hook, it's mine! :(

On my birthday, my third cousin came up from Orange County to give me this lovely strawberry cake from Paris Baguette. So pretty!

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And the younger '88, who has the same birthday as me, shared some of her chocolate-covered strawberries and orange slice, and a passionfruit cake.

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My birthday present to myself was a weekend visiting Lan of Angry Asian Creations, who made this fabulous pumpkin chocolate tart. It was all mine since neither she, nor her roommate, like pumpkin! How can anyone hate pumpkin? Yet she made it for me anyway. Awww.

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Do I feel so loved this month or what?

To come, all the restaurant birthday dinners I still need to blog. Umm, I haven't blogged the 2008 and 2009 birthday meals either. :P

You know I only like the first half of October up until my birthday. I hate Halloween and all assorted scary things, but with all the new babies in the family, seeing them in costume is just the cutest thing.

So happy Halloween from this little lamb!

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Photo courtesy of cousin Phong

I've now caught up on June 2009 posts, in case you like to read them in the order in which they were intended. As usual, still trying to clear my inbox and trying to catch up to this year.

Anyway, got a recipe question? Restaurant question? Just want to say, "Hi?" Did you miss Ask Wandering Chopsticks 1? Or click on the "Ask Wandering Chopsticks" tag below for previous editions. Otherwise, what's on your mind? You have until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, October 31.

1 year ago today, Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir-Fried Udon Noodles).
2 years ago today, Tuong Ot Toi (Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce).
3 years ago today, old photos of the dragonfruit flowers from when my family first started growing them.
4 years ago today, my fuschia cosmos were on their last legs. Also, strawberry guava and Iceberg roses.


  1. Oooh, let me see - all right, what is a good substitute for mam ruoc, given I couldn't find it in Hanoi? I saw mam tom, but didn't know if it was the same. I have seen a Thai shrimp paste that is the same colour as mam ruoc in stores here but didn't know if that was a proper substitute either!

  2. I love phantom of the opera and the pantages theater! :D Have you seen Wicked? That's a good show too. Happy belated bday!

    As for your nieces, they're both adorable! <3

  3. Shuku,
    Belacan! Seriously, it's pretty similar in taste to me. Some mam tom is the same as mam ruoc, but I'd have to see it to know. Because mam tom just means shrimp sauce so it could also be pickled shrimp, or another type of shrimp paste, but usually it's the same thing as mam ruoc. Different names in different regions. But just use belacan, that's much more readily available for you anyway. I haven't tasted the Thai version to say if it's similar, but belacan tastes similar enough to me.


    I haven't seen "Wicked," although lil' sis will see it soon in NY and she's way excited for that.

  4. Happy belated birthday WC! :) I'm sure you had a fabulous time!

  5. Oh, a purse hook! Actually, that *is* a great idea! It's always so annoying having no place to put one's bag when dining out!

    (I know, I know. I've only thought of this now?! I don't exactly know what a purse hook looks like, though. I'm pretty sure I've seen them before, but their actual look escapes me at the moment.)

    There's a sequel to Phantom playing in London (_Love Never Dies_, I believe). I don't know how good it is, though.

    Belated Happy Birthday!

  6. CC,


    A purse hook has a somewhat heavy padded end to put on the table and a big hook on the other to dangle the straps. Mine was really pretty so I'm sad I lost it. :(

    I had no idea Phantom had a sequel! Although, I'm not sure I'd see it anyway...