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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner, Paris On My Mind, and the Last Harry Potter

Breakfast for Dinner

On February 3, 2009, at 11:40 p.m., I made breakfast for dinner. I really have no idea why I took this photo except that I'm so used to taking photos of everything that I just do it out of habit. It's not like this picture included anything that I was going to blog.

Well, I long ago already blogged Banh Mi Op La (Vietnamese French Bread with Sunny Side Up Eggs). So the few squirts of Maggi Seasoning Sauce on the eggs and the rather craptastic photo wouldn't have had anything to do with updating that recipe's photos. I'm not even sure what recipe I used for that pancake. Singular. I hope I hadn't finish all this because that's a lot of food to eat in one sitting.

Breakfast for breakfast is just too much food too early in the day for me. Such is what I remember from someone I dated in college who was fond of breakfast for late night. Or perhaps that was more because we'd study until the library closed at midnight, and there weren't too many food options at that hour. So IHOP it was. I wonder if I had some deeper thoughts about breakfast for dinner that I wanted to impart way back when and that's why I took the photo?

Not that my eating habits in college have much to do with anything except that July was a busy month. And on busy days, sometimes all I have time to make for dinner are a couple of eggs. But these days, they tend to be quickly scrambled and eaten with rice.

I've been thinking about my undergrad experience a lot lately. That and some of the places I've been. Partly because of the loss of a former student this month and thinking about everything that I experienced that she'll never get to. And partly because I miss Chicago. And traveling. I miss traveling a lot.

I'm halfway through a year of chronicling every day of my life now. Well, between Day 182 and Day 183 is the halfway point anyway. And all I have to show for it is what I already know. I like food, books, and naps.

On the first day of July, it was a Red Box rental night with some sewing. "No Strings Attached" was actually quite cute. Way, way better than "Just Go With It." I lead an exciting life I tell you!


My thrift store haul this day was a plate and candlestick that will be used for my cousin D's bridal shower gifts. A few books. Can you believe that giant biography on George Washington, with wonderful illustrations, was only $1? A gingerbread man cookie cutter. And a tricycle for my niece. Only $5! I love the little basket in front. The Chinese doll was from an earlier thrift store trip. New in box for only $7!


I got a $488 ticket (Ouch!) for turning right on a red light on Foothill Blvd. I came to a full and complete stop. The coast was clear. So I turned right. That's a completely legitimate turn! Grr! So I had to go back to the intersection and snap a picture of the fact that there was no sign that said I couldn't turn right on a red light. I totally have a case, but it's still annoying that I'm out that money until the judge looks at my claim and decides to refund my money. They better refund my money!


I went to my brother's house for a barbecue, but he neglected to say that when he invited me over, that he meant to his in-laws' house. WTF? Who invites you over and doesn't tell you that it's not actually at their house but at someone else's? And considering that I don't even have his in-laws' address, that invitation didn't even make any sense. A few weeks before, there was also another similar miscommunication.

I was so annoyed at having to drive half an hour to his house, only to turn back again (Twice!), that I really wasn't in a festive mood this Fourth of July. So when he called asking if I wanted to join him to watch fireworks, I said no. I made Strawberry Jam Coca Cola Ribs since I felt like I needed to barbeque. It being Independence Day and all, but when the ribs were done, I snapped pictures and put them away. Really, I got despondent thinking about the previous year and how we lit up fireworks in front of the house. And the photograph I snapped of baby A looking up in adoration at my oldest uncle. And how much he would have liked that photo, but I forgot to email it to him and now he's gone.


I thought it'd be clever to make a red, white, and blue cobbler for the Fourth of July. But I didn't get around to slicing up the apples and strawberries until the day after.


Wednesday 99 cents fish taco run at Tacos Baja Ensenada - East Los Angeles. My samples of ELIXiR Floral Infusions came in the mail. I was really excited at the thought of lavender infused liquor, but the samples were tiny. I was expecting bigger bottles or else I wouldn't have accepted the freebie. They smell great, with a lightly floral and not overpowering scent, but not much I can do with such small samples, except add them to a few drinks? Oh well. Lesson learned. Clarify what to expect in the future.

My friend DP was in the area so, even though I was already full from the fish tacos, I sat with her for a late night snack at Z Sushi - Alhambra.


My Kyochon Chicken - Los Angeles (Koreatown) Groupon was expiring. Even though my brother was coming over for dinner (I wasn't going over to his house or meeting him anywhere. Ha!) and I was roasting a chicken, I still bought 20 wings. Last time, I only got 19 wings and mentioned that to the cashier. This time, I got 22 wings. Yay! Paying attention to customer service means I'll come back. And right before dinner, my free bottle of d'Alessandro wine got delivered. A full bottle of wine. Thank you very much. Quite nicely paired with the Italian Roast Chicken with Basil, Rosemary, and Thyme that I made for dinner. And my niece got to ride her new (old) tricycle.


AltaMed's East LA Meets Napa is seriously my favorite food and wine event. This year, my favorite was Loteria Grill for the scallop crudo and agua frescas.


I swung by Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra to check out the line for the Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition. Insane! The gallery is around the far left corner and the line snaked down the block and through the parking lot. So I grabbed sandwiches from Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park and met my cousin's new baby, Johannes, instead.


I finally checked out the Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition the next day. Totally amazing pieces.


Currently on play in my car is Peter Cetera's "World Falling Down" CD that I picked up at the thrift store for $1. Favorite songs are "Restless Heart" and "Feels like Heaven," but I listen to the entire CD.


I've been rewatching the Harry Potter movies in preparation for seeing the final movie.


Piecing together smaller fabrics for the binding on lil' sis's quilt. I like to use up things. End of shampoo bottles, last squeeze of toothpaste, every last bit of fabric. When other people get to the end of things, I feel like they don't eek out every last bit as much as I do.


I finished lil' sis's quilt. And went over to play with Johannes while he's still tiny and lets me hold him.


Washed and fluffed dry. So here's Lil' Sis's Favorite Things Quilt that I started on Day 164.


I didn't want to cook for the blog this day. I just wanted to watch "Amelie" in peace while eating a boring lunch of steak with steak sauce, tomato salad, and mango juice. Actually, I really just wanted to see scenes of Paris.


Shortly after midnight, one of my students told me about my former student getting into a car accident. She was in a coma, although the high school rumor mill pegged her as already gone. The next morning when I looked out at my aunts trimming the pomegranate tree outside my window, I was struck by the bookend and the globe. It's incredibly heavy-handed, but entirely apropos. A college friend had bought me the bookend one Valentine's Day so that I would always have a "man" to hold up my books for me. Without coordinating, but along the same lines, I gave her a huge gingerbread man so that she would have a "man" who would never talk back and always listen to her. I thought of other silly memories from college and a world to explore that my former student will never get to experience. After work, I was a little aimless. Stopped off at Half and Half Tea House - Monterey Park. Then grabbed a dinner of short ribs and chicken katsu combo to-go at Ono Hawaiian BBQ - Alhambra.


Still thinking about my student and the summer before college. College was so great. Which made me miss Chicago. So I watched "The Lake House." My favorite part is when Keanu Reeves devises a walking tour for Sandra Bullock to show off the city's architecture.

They talk about their favorite things. She likes to read the classics to her dog, Jack.

Keanu asks, "Who's his favorite?"


Keanu says, "For me, this city, on a day when the light is so clear that I can touch every detail, every brick and window in the buildings I love."


Lil' sis told me to stop brooding and to go play with the babies to make myself feel better. So I grabbed some food from Banh Mi My Tho - Alhambra and went to hold Johannes. Cracks me up that his facial expressions are just like my cousin's.


Dinner at Luscious Dumplings, Inc. - San Gabriel with Gourmet Pigs. Saw the last Harry Potter movie. Enjoyable enough, but a bit anti-climatic considering it was the big finale. Shaved snow at Salju Dessert - Alhambra afterward.


It was so good that I repeated the Luscious Dumplings and Salju Dessert combo again the next night with WeezerMonkey, who was nice enough to order a different flavor so I'd have multiple pictures to blog. You can tell we both preferred mango over taro shaved snow.


My brother's birthday celebration at Chuck E. Cheese's.


Started on a quilt for my college friend's baby. My desert rose bloomed. Had lunch at Young Dong Tofu - San Gabriel with Pink Candles at Ridgemont High and her family. She nicely made me this cake plate, and brought thrifted Disney plates for lil' sis, a candy bar from Canada, and the sweetest tomatoes from her garden. Thanks lady! Lil' sis was touched that my blog friend remembered she loves all things Disney and brought her a present.


Stayed up until 5 a.m. watching "Before Sunset" while working on college friend's quilt for her son. I loved the scenes around Paris and thought the conversation wasn't nearly as annoying as in "Before Sunrise."


Of course, that then made me want to rewatch "Before Sunrise" since it had been a while. Late night at work. I always need some down time before I can go to bed. So I was up until 1 a.m. rewatching "Before Sunrise" and found it better the second time around. Still working on the quilt.


Nothing really happened on Day 207. Such is what often happens and I end up just taking pictures of my food for wont of anything else to photograph. Youngest aunt stopped by with a banh it la gai (Vietnamese nettle leaf dumpling) that she made fresh. Maybe it's because it was still warm, or maybe it's because there was just one, but I really enjoyed this.


I was Gourmet Pigs' +1 at a Farm to Table Heirloom Tomato Dinner at The Terrace at the Langham Huntington - Pasadena. We got to take home jars of the best tomato tapenade. I got the recipe from the chef and really need to recreate this before tomato season is over.


My oldest uncle's wife dropped off cousin D's wedding invitation. Which reminded me that I had to RSVP for her bridal shower.


The day before leaving for Las Vegas I was too tired to cook. So I grabbed a quick dinner at Banh Mi My Tho - Alhambra and saw these little baggies of frozen yogurt. Just like how they do it in Vietnam. And how my mom used to do it when I was a kid.


Drove out to Vegas after work and got in just in time to get ready for cousin D's bachelorette party and dinner at Jaleo by Jose Andres - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The oldest '87 did my makeup. She used a lot more makeup than I normally wear, and I kept complaining each time she put something on, but in the end it turned out so nice.


Day 212, I work up hungover.


Pho Kim Long Vietnamese Restaurant - Las Vegas saved me.


I wish I had some pithy words to summarize this month, but when I wasn't busy working, I either was mostly morose or caught up in nostalgia. And really, what I had to say about July was best expressed in my "On Zucchini Bread and the Summer After Graduation" post.

My Project 365 posts:
January: Minutiae
February: On Tactile Pleasures, a Plethora of Plaid, and Souvenir Socks
March: Bridges, Literal and Figurative, and Reuben Obsessions
April: Quotidian
May: On Lifelong Friendships, Napping with Babies, and Thank Yous
June: On Brocade Slippers and Spaces
July: Breakfast for Dinner, Paris On My Mind, and the Last Harry Potter
August: Blueberries, Long Days, and Vacillating Victuals
September: A Reunion, a Wedding, a Birthday, and a Michael Jackson Impersonator
October: North, South, and East
November: Sentimental

1 year ago today,
2 years ago today, White Wine Sangria.
3 years ago today, Noodle World - Alhambra.
4 years ago today, Hibiscus Leaf and Pomegranate Mixed Greens Salad.


  1. hi wc - we had such a great time with you - loved the cold noodle salad we shared for lunch. i'm glad your sis liked the plates (i think one might have been an ashtray). :)

    'before sunrise' and 'before sunset' are two of my favorite movies. the 2nd movie was kind of poignant in that it was filmed either after or during the destruction of ethan hawke's marriage to uma thurman (the dialogue between his character and Delpy's about his marriage and his child seems too close to home).i also liked linklater's tracking shots of the paris scenery...

  2. As always, nice catching up with you. Love that self portrait at the end. The makeup looks very nice. Sorry about that ticket. There's only a few places where I think it's warranted. Otherwise, seems like a just a source of revenue for the city. I don't watch a lot of movies, but the Lake House is one I enjoy for its laid back pace and pretty scenery.

  3. CC,
    I recreated that cold noodle salad with pretty good results so I'll have to blog it soon. You know, I liked the second movie more because I thought the conversation was less "precious." I felt like they were talking just to hear themselves talk in the first movie. And maybe because I could see where Julie Delpy's character was coming from in the second movie. You just think some of these experiences are just for the moment and let it go, only to realize later that you wish you could recapture that feeling again. Of feeling young with less worries again. Both of them ad libbed for the first movie too, even though they didn't get writing credits. They did for the second one. And yeah, I could hear echoes of reality in Ethan Hawke's character. And considering the rumor was that he cheated on Uma, I think it's fairly obvious what his character is going to do at the end of the movie when it fades out.

    And thanks again for the presents. Lil' sis was so touched that someone she's never met thought of her.

    I think you two are the only ones reading these posts. :P Well, along with my trial by declaration paperwork, I managed to find an LA Times article specifically quoting Pasadena's senior traffic engineer saying that right turn on red tickets don't pose a safety risk and were a revenue-generating thing for the city. Ha! So hopefully I'll get my refund soon.

    I love "The Lake House" so much. The scenes of Chicago. The getting to know each other through letters. The gentle way they fall in love. And of course, I Keanu and Sandra Bullock. I rewatched the original Korean version and I much prefer this one.

  4. i love your project365 round up.

    i'm sorry July wasn't that great of a month for you, Chi WC.

  5. hi wc - actually i did meet your sis (the first time we visited you). it was really brief. i remember my husband chatting with her about ucsd (she hadn't graduated yet).

    please tell me what kind of noodles you used for that salad, or shall i wait for the post? they weren't buckwheat were they? they seemed too chewy/springy to be buckwheat.

    i liked ethan hawke in the movie but in real life - no. what a $%$@ DOG for him to cheat on uma! yes, the dialogue is much better in the 2nd one, i agree.

  6. Hi there,

    I do read your post, but not write back often, because you are such a good writer, I feel so intimidated by my lack of articulation and eloquent in speech. Anyway, thanks for taking time to write. I just had to laugh out loud when looking at the picture of your nephew. He certainly "cracks me up" too with his expression. Jeez, I hope you get your money back from that ticket. They are short of money so they take from us, that's what I believe. Keep up the good work!

  7. Lan,
    I think summer is just hard in general if I'm not off vacationing somewhere. :P

    I forgot about that! They were buckwheat noodles. I used regular green tea buckwheat noodles, although regular buckwheat noodles would be fine.

    Co Toan,
    No, no! I love hearing from you. And you write just fine, I don't know what you're worried about.


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