True Food Kitchen


After spending Saturday morning stocking up on the week’s worth of fresh produce from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, we enjoyed lunch at True Food Kitchen inside Santa Monica Place.


I think this was Bright Eye that Kevin ordered …

IMG_7181Mediterranean Chop

IMG_7178Grilled Eggplant and Wild Mushroom pizza.
I couldn’t decide between the two so I had half and half.  Mushroom turned out to be my favorite.

IMG_7177Kevin’s Breakfast Burrito

I have to admit that a place like this makes me feel a little, uh, uneasy.  I’m certainly not blaming the food or the ambiance here – they are both equally organic and delicious (and the service is also wonderful).

I know this is a personal issue and nothing else, but this type of organic, sustainable, farm-to-table establishment feels so designer and exclusive, that it makes me feel a bit out of place.  I feel like I don’t belong here, unless I’m a size one yogi hipster wearing Lululemon on a gluten free diet (and a vegan, of course) drinking Intelligentsia coffee and having fresh vegetables delivered in a box weekly … or be like the gals from Shit People in LA Say.

I must be going through a mid-life crisis.  mad

Twenty-Five Years Later


I had lunch this week with a friend who I haven’t seen since sixth grade.  We reunited after 25 years (wow, that’s a quarter century eek! ).  We went to Japanese school together and even though she lived in LA for only six months, I remembered her vividly.  We reconnected over Facebook (of course!) and exchanged comments and “likes” over the last few years, and she contacted me when she was in town visiting her old stomping ground with her husband and lovely daughter from Hong Kong.

It was so wonderful to catch up and learn about her life journey of the past two decades!  She was exactly how I remembered — sweet and kind, with a youthful smile!

On the walk back from the restaurant to the car, I stopped at Hashimoto Nursery on Sawtelle and picked up a few herbs (spearmint, parsley OMG, it was cilantro, dill, and lavender).  Summer is here and there’s no better time than now to cook up simple and refreshing meals using these fresh herbs!

I Heart Curious Palate


I must have been living under a rock for a few years because I had no idea that an old, outdated Santa Monica mall is now a fancy Santa Monica Place!

And bravo to the Market at Santa Monica Place on the third floor! This place felt like a mini version of Eataly, with collection of gourmet shops, including The Curious Cheese Shoppe, The Curious Baker, and The Curious Palate, where Kevin, Daichi, my sister, Pon Pon and I had lunch the other day.


The Brooklyner:  Smoked salmon, goat cheese, roasted tomato aioli, red onion,tomato and sliced house pickle on sourdough


Quinoa Salad (accompanied the sandwich)


Mac ‘n’ Cheese:  Gruyère, cheddar, goat, and blue cheeses, topped w/breadcrumbs


French Fries


Brooklyner Salad:  Smoked salmon, goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, red
onion, balsamic vinaigrette, mixed greens

Dine LA: The Palm Restaurant


I think I’m enjoying Dine LA Restaurant Week way too much this year. After overdosing on Brazilian-style, all you can eat meat feast at Fogo de Chao on Friday night with Kevin and his wonderful friends (and swearing off meat after suffering a major food hangover for the next two days), I found myself at the Palm Restaurant in West Hollywood today for my lunch date with friends Abbie and Sydne for some more meat!  I guess it’s an absolute blessing that we human have the ability to forget.

Today’s lunch at this top-rated steakhouse was one of the best deals I’ve seen in a long time. I thought $45 for dinner at Fogo was amazing but this one was definitely up there as the best bang for the buck! For $25, we got a choice of salad, entrée, and dessert from a pretty impressive list of selections. Steaks at this place usually cost over $50 but we were able to experience all the goodness, and much more, for a fraction of the price. The portion may be smaller but it was still very satisfying!

Thank you, Dine LA!


First course: Mixed Green Salad


Second Course: I selected New York Steak Au Poivre. Abbie had Filet Mignon Medallions and Sydne had Nova Scotia Lobster BLT Sandwich.


We shared the sides: Creamed Spinach


String Beans and French Fries (picture on top)


Third Course: Flourless Chocolate Cake

Okay, no more meat for a while … unless I completely forget about it again … lol

Not So Celebratory: Sawtelle Kitchen

This is the first meal Kevin and I enjoyed as husband and wife! YAY! After we turned in our paperwork at a court house, we headed over to Sawtelle Kitchen for a celebratory lunch.

It’s not that we particularly like Sawtelle Kitchen but it was the most convenient place for us to dine. This is one of those restaurants that I really, really want to love, but something always holds me back. I can never pin point what it is … but there’s something that’s just … off. But anyway, it was a celebratory lunch, and we went all out with wine (just me), appetizers (clams steamed in sake, pictured above), and more!

Sweet potato fries with plum mayonnaise.  Cute idea but was pretty ordinary.

I had grilled pork chop, with garlic-chive ginger sauce. I wish the meat was cooked a little more rare.

Kevin ordered Six-hour braised lamb shank, demi-glace sauce. It was good but tasted a bit gamey.

I think I’m already starting to sound like a nagging wife so I’ll stop here.  Good news is that lunch might have just been okay but the married life has been fantastic so far!

Bar Hayama

Great dinner with Saori at Bar Hayama on Sawtelle — thank you!

We both ordered Chef’s Special Bento Box, with miso soup, otsukemono, brown rice, assorted tempura (vegetables and shrimp), assorted sashimi, assorted sushi, skewered meats (beef, lamb, and chicken), salmon and mushroom dynamite, meatball wrapped in fried wonton, and berries for dessert.

Lovely space inside, although the outside fireplace is much more wicked.

LOVE the mug design.

Kings came out victorious tonight over Vancouver, in the first round of NHL playoffs. We are now leading the series 3-0! One more game, boys! Go Kings go! Pride. Passion. Power!

I Eat, Therefore I Run

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): Lunch with Tiffany, Shannon, and Roya, at Le Pain Quotidien, after we picked up the race packet for tomorrow’s Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Cob salad with grilled chicken (no blue cheese). Cup of coffee with cream and sugar.

Dinner (6:00 p.m.): Carb-load dinner at Torafuku with Tiffany, Shannon, and Saori.  Torafuku Omakase ($27).


Amazing Kamado rice (I had seconds).

Assorted fries (shrimp and pork tenderloins).

Grilled cod and a side of seaweed tukudani.


Sashimi in ponzu sauce.

Homemade tofu.

Whitney …

Lunch (12:30 p.m.): I ate two pieces of mochi wrapped in seaweed for lunch. I had no energy to cook anything, after spending the last two days in bed from what felt like a cold, so I just heated up mochi blocks I had in the freezer from the new year. I’m so glad that I’m feeling much better now.

Dinner (6:00 p.m.): Galbi and soon dobu for dinner at Tofu-Ya on Sawtelle Blvd. I had a bowl of rice, plates of banchan, and a few slices of spicy pork that Kevin ordered.

We wanted to go to Lawry’s for dinner (we had a $25 gift certificate that was about to expire) but was told that it would be a 3 hour wait (this is why I don’t like Valentine’s Day)  … so we just drove to Sawtelle. Our first choice was Sawtelle Kitchen but it was closed so we went across the street to Tofu-Ya.

We stopped by Yogurtland for some swirly dessert.

Greatest Love of All” was the first English song that I memorized and sang at my 5th grade graduation (not solo, of course), and always held a special place in my heart.  And I remember crying hearing this song for the first time.  I hope Whitney is in better place now.

Recovery Food: California Chicken Cafe

Currently recovering from the two days of pure Christmas dinner gluttony (first night at home and the second night with my fiancé’s family) with simpler meals.  The dinners were fabulous but it’s time for me to go back to my regular eating routine. Here’s today lunch, enjoyed after working out with my sister: a side salad, a bowl of vegetable soup, and chicken pasta salad from California Chicken Cafe.

By the way, there’s a saying in Japan that goes something like this: Women are like Christmas cakes – they go stale after 25.  This is completely ridiculous. evil On a contrary, I think we women are like fine wine and we get better and better with age.  So, all the ladies out there — forget the backward thinking and keep on shining!