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Friday, July 29, 2011

Dragon Fruit Buds

After snapping photos of my desert rose and fledgling porch garden, I wandered onto the side and saw that my dragon fruit were finally budding.

7.29 Dragon Fruit Buds 1

It doesn't appear to be quite as bumper a crop as last year's, but perhaps I'll get a good harvest.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Desert Rose and Blueberries

7.28 Desert Rose and Blueberries 1

After noticing that the desert rose that I brought back as a cutting from Vietnam was wilting in the sunny spot on my porch, I moved it to a shadier area. Months and months later, the leaves are glossy again and the flowers are all abloom.

Monday, July 25, 2011

On Zucchini Bread and the Summer After Graduation

Zucchini Bread 1

During my senior year of college, one of my friends finished her classes early so she just worked that spring until graduation. She lived in my apartment building and, with a little more time on her hands, spent an afternoon baking.

Would I like a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis?

What about zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting?

Yes and yes!

Actually, my memory insists that she showed up at my door with a plate of three or four goodies, but I can't remember what the others were now. The zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting though? I kinda remember asking for an additional slice.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Brocade Slippers and Spaces

June started off with a visit from one of my very favorite people.


Lan of Angry Asian Creations was in town for several days to visit me! Well, and her grandparents too. :P After picking her up from the airport, we had lunch at Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant & Market - Los Angeles. Then I took her to the J. Paul Getty Center & Museum - Los Angeles where the bougainvillea were vividly in bloom. The garden is my favorite part of the Getty. We went to Santa Monica afterward and then got stuck in traffic for two hours before getting home. Dinner was wonton noodle soup and sizzling udon at Garden Cafe - Alhambra.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to Bind a Quilt Tutorial

How to Bind a Quilt Tutorial 1

I've blogged how to bind a quilt before, but this is a slightly different method so I figured it deserved a separate post. The binding, that strip of dark blue fabric all along the edges of the quilt, help keep the ends from fraying and gives it a nice finished look.

Or so thought lil' sis who marveled at how nice it made her Favorite Things quilt look.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lil' Sis's Favorite Things Quilt

Lil' Sis's Favorite Things Quilt 1

Last month, lil' sis helped clear a large space in my library/office/spare room. I tossed out mounds of receipts and credit card bills that dated to the late 1990s. On June 13th, I woke up and marveled at the bare space leading to the bathroom. Boxes had blocked part of the entrance for way too long.

So that night, I decided to get started on a quilt for lil' sis, a combo thank you and birthday present. Disney princesses! Hello Kitty! Penguins! Polar bears! Oh my!

It's a quilt of all her favorite things.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Salju Dessert - Alhambra

After the Indonesian grocery store Tip Top Mart - San Gabriel, Gourmet Pigs and I went to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." At the movie theater, the people in front of us were speaking Indonesian. And of course, I was hanging out with an Indonesian. So then I mentioned that I saw an Indonesian shaved ice place under renovation and we could check it out after the movie to see if it had opened yet.

Salju Dessert - Alhambra 1

Sure enough, it was.

And what we found was even better than shaved ice. Sure there was regular shaved ice, but Salju Dessert also had shaved snow.

And not just regular shaved snow, flavored shaved snow. Matcha green tea, mango, taro, strawberry, and chocolate ice that gets shaved.

Plus three toppings.

Plus condensed milk.

I've been telling all my shaved ice buddies and the excitement was palpable. Hey, I'm not kidding. Flavored shaved snow is the best thing to happen to shaved ice since, well, since shaved snow. :P

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tip Top Mart - San Gabriel

Gourmet Pigs and I made plans to watch the last Harry Potter film together. So sad. *Sniffle.* She bought the tickets; I paid for dinner. She had recently tried some of my leftover potstickers from Luscious Dumplings Inc. - San Gabriel and really liked them, even cold. And when I found out she had not been before, I had to to take her. Mmm. Beef brisket noodles and potstickers.

 After dinner, we went next door to Tip Top Mart so she could grab some Indonesian ramen.

Tip Top Mart - San Gabriel 1

Tip Top Mart opened some time last year? I remember noticing when it had replaced the previous business and telling GP since I always tell her when I come across a new Indonesian place. But I didn't really have a reason to stop in until now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fennel, Blood Orange, and Vinegared Onion Salad

Fennel, Orange, and Pickled Onion Salad 1

To pair with my Italian Roast Chicken with Basil, Rosemary, and Thyme, I made few simple salads. I've made an Orange and Fennel Salad before, but I remembered that Corey of Tongue in Cheek had an Orange Onion Salad in which she marinated the onions with a bit of vinegar. Oh! Like Hanh Dam (Vietnamese Vinegared Onions)! I can definitely do that.

Surprisingly, blood oranges were still at the farmers' market even into summer, so I had to use them, but regular oranges should be just fine. The fennel though were really quite small, so I couldn't get nice big slices to make this salad look as pretty as I wanted. It still tasted great though so I'll have to do this again next year when fennel and blood oranges come into season again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Italian Roast Chicken with Basil, Rosemary, and Thyme

Italian Roast Chicken with Basil, Rosemary, and Thyme 1

I've made my Basic Salt Pepper Lemon Baked Chicken so many times that I can't believe I haven't blogged before the variation of adding Italian herbs such as basil, rosemary, and thyme.

I've made baked chicken often enough that it's beginning to be, well, not that special anymore. But on this evening, my darling niece was joining me for dinner, well, and my brother too. And you know I only make my roast chicken for those I love.

While I was prepping the salads I was serving with dinner, a freebie bottle of wine from d'Alessandro Winery was delivered. A nice bottle of wine to go with my roast chicken? Could the timing be any better?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nature of Water: An Art Exhibition Inspired by the Philosophies of Bruce Lee - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra

Nature of Water An Art Exhibition Inspired by the Philosophies of Bruce Lee - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra 1

The Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition reminded me that I had these old photos from January 2008 of the Nature of Water: An Art Exhibition Inspired by the Philosophies of Bruce Lee. This was at Nucleus Art Gallery and Store's former location, just up the street from where it is now.

If you're a serious Bruce Lee fan (and who isn't?), there were some really great pieces and some so-so pieces. With a brother who's a lifelong Bruce Lee fan (we even visited his and Brandon's grave), the Nature of Water exhibition was a nice interlude.

At the time, I thought these photos didn't really have a place on the blog, but as I've started including more and more of my interests, it's as good a time as any to share them. Besides, don't you want to read about my two degrees of separation from Bruce Lee?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra

Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra 1

I swung by Nucleus Art Gallery and Store in Alhambra to check out the opening night of its Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition but the line wrapped around the corner and far, far into the parking lot to the other end of the block. So I decided to visit my cousin and meet his new baby instead.

The next day I returned to check out the exhibit. I asked the clerk how many people showed up on opening night and he said they estimated 1,300! As it was, the last person in line didn't get through the door until nearly 11 p.m. Guess it's a good thing I didn't go because I don't have the patience to wait 4 hours in line. Bummed I missed out on the house-brewed butterbeer though. :(

I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the artwork. I think it truly shows how much people love Harry Potter and the whole universe that J.K. Rowling created. I took so many photos and even after paring them down, still ended up with 50 so be forewarned.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park

Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park 1

On my way to meet my cousin's new baby, I decided to grab some sandwiches from Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park to bring to the new parents. I had first visited the restaurant last summer with oldest nephew and lil' sis before we went to see Casablanca at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I don't know what possessed us to order the sandwich we did because it was so spicy that the three of us couldn't finish it, nor did we enjoy it very much. So Cook's Tortas stayed on the periphery as a place I should revisit at least one more time before I could blog it, but not as a restaurant that I had to eat at again right away.

So a year went by and I decided to try their food booth at AltaMed's 6th Annual East LA Meets Napa event. I liked my sandwich bite and agua fresca (Mexican fresh beverages) so much that I figured it was worth revisiting.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Introducing "Johannes"

Wanna meet the newest grandbaby in the family?

Introducing Johannes 1

"Johannes" was born to cousin Q's older brother and his wife at 10:18 p.m., weighing in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Was he named for the astronomer Johannes Kepler? Or perhaps for the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg? Maybe they're hoping he'll be a composer like Johannes Brahms? What about the painter Johannes Vermeer? Actually, if you were really good at Cockney, you might be able to figure out his real name. :)

Have you been reading long enough to remember when I blogged his parents' wedding reception at Pearl Chinese Cuisine - San Diego several years ago?

And when older brother "Pablo" was born almost two years ago?

Gosh, this is turning into a family blog.

Friday, July 08, 2011

AltaMed's 6th Annual East LA Meets Napa (Union Station) - Los Angeles (Downtown)

AltaMed's 6th Annual East LA Meets Napa (Union Station) - Los Angeles (Downtown) 1

After the fun I had during the 4th and the 5th Annual AltaMed East LA Meets Napa event, I was excited to be invited back again by Nerissa of NRS Public Relations. No +1 this time though so I was on my own. Not that that mattered too much since I ran into a dozen LA food bloggers. I told ya, it's a popular event!

And not just with food bloggers as you can tell by the crowd.