Happy Mother’s Day

Early Mother’s Day celebration at Ichibankan, our favorite sushi joint. I love its Chirashi, with piles of sashimi on top of sushi rice. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in the Universe.

Dessert from Porto’s – fruit tart on a bed of chocolate!

My latest obsessions: Heating curler and Anastasia Brow Pen.

Cheers to all the wonderful mothers out there! Thanks for all that you do!

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!

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

Kevin, Raf, Shannon and I got together for a shabu shabu dinner at home, to celebrate Shannon’s birthday. We ate, laughed, and talked the night away, over good food and Shannon’s favorite wine, Beaujolais! It was a blast!

I love that the at-home shabu shabu dinner is quickly becoming one of the rituals for us. It’s so much more economical than eating this Japanese hot pot dish out at a restaurant, which can easily go up to $25 a plate. I also love that we can collapse onto a couch after eating just a little too much!

I sewed up a handmade bag using the lovely Etsuko Furuya’s Eshino collections for the b-day gift. It has an adjustable strap (so it can be used as a messenger bag or a tote), with easy-to-open magnetic snaps inside. I wanted to make something in her favorite color but this was the closest to red I can find in my fabric inventory.

You know you had fun when you see an aftermath like this! Happy birthday, Shannon!

Say Yes to the Dress

Lunch (11:00 a.m.): Early lunch at Fat Spoon in Little Tokyo with Tiffany and Shannon, before wedding dress shopping. We started out with an order of Fat Spoon Salad, followed by its famous corn dogs. I had beef curry for the main dish.

Dress Shopping: We visited the Simple Bridal showroom in Downtown. Simple Bridal is an online bridal dress shop that has a several by-appointments-only showrooms around the country. We visited the LA showroom near Staple Center, in a building overlooking the entire Downtown LA.  It was breathtaking!

The experience was absolutely amazing. The showroom staff was knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and made me feel so comfortable. I was really dreading this process before arriving here but they made it completely pain-free for me. I actually ended up having a wonderful time playing dress up.

We even got to enjoy a few glasses of complimentary mimosas!biggrin

I was bummed that Saori (she wasn’t feeling well) and Maya (she lives out of town) couldn’t join in, but big thanks to Tiffany and Shannon for the much-needed moral support and honest feedback. Saori gave me her comments and feedback virtually via our iPhones after I sent her photos with options!

I’m happy to report that I found the perfect dress. And what people say is true – when you find the one, you just know. I knew immediately when I put on it on that this was the dress that I was going to walk down the aisle in!

I tried on a few more, just in case, but nothing came close to the feeling I had when I put on the winning dress.

Dinner (4:30 p.m.): After dressing shopping, we headed over to Daikokuya for an early dinner. I ordered Tsukemen, a deconstructed version of a regular ramen bowl.  We walked over to the nearby Pinkberry for a small pomegranate- and original-flavor frozen yogurt with strawberries, kiwis, and chocolate crisps, for dessert.

Late-Night Snack (8:40 p.m.): Imagawayaki from Mitsuru Cafe in Little Tokyo.  I ate way too much today.  Juice detox to commence next week.

This was a wonderful productive Sunday! Thank you, girls, for everything!

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).

Salad.

Amazing Kamado rice (I had seconds).

Assorted fries (shrimp and pork tenderloins).

Grilled cod and a side of seaweed tukudani.

Sashimi.

Sashimi in ponzu sauce.

Homemade tofu.

It Ain’t a Fishing Bait …

Lunch (12:00 p.m.): Work has been stressing me out a bit lately … although I can’t pinpoint exactly where this gloomy feeling is coming from. It’s been non-stop since January and I think I need a vacation. I’m so excited that we have a Monday off next week. (Updated 2/16/12: OMG, I just realized that Monday is a regular work day for me! Whaaaaaat?)

When I’m busy, I purposely make the time to cook myself nice lunch. Here’s today’s menu.

A bowl of rice.

Natto.

Renkon.

Grilled Japanese mackerel (saba) with grated daikon raddish (daikon oroshi).  Kevin calls it a bait, but I love saba!  It’s one of my favorite fish!

Snack (3:00 p.m.): Freshly-brewed Dunkin Donuts French vanilla coffee with chocolates.

Dinner (9:00 p.m.): Mushroom, onion, and garlic pasta (whole wheat), flavored with soy sauce.  I put in a little butter for extra flavor.  I don’t usually like butter (I don’t put it on bread) but the combination of soy sauce and butter is out of this world.

And a side of onion, avocado, and shrimp salad.  I had a few more pieces of chocolate for dessert.

Kevin and I celebrated our non-Valentine’s Day supper at home a day early. We don’t like the Hallmark holiday so we avoid 14th like a plague … so this is our “we don’t celebrate that silly holiday” dinner.

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.

Uneventfully Delicious

I had okonomiyaki for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today. I made a batch of the dough mixture in the morning and made pancakes whenever I got hungry throughout the day. I think I ate about five today.

The dough batch included the following ingredients: ¼ head of cabbage; 2 medium carrots; 1 medium onion; 3 green onions, about a tablespoon graded yamaimo; 2 medium eggs; 5 tablespoons flour; and 7 thin pork slices.  I ate about half a batch so nutritionally, it was pretty balanced. The only downside is that I used a lot of mayonnaise and ketchup.redface

I munched on a handful or two of Pucca (chocolate pretzel snack) throughout the day. I may have had a little too much.  I feel pretty heavy today, despite not eating super heavy or greasy food.

Today was a very uneventful (but delicious and satisfying) culinary day. Okay, off to roll around the floor with a foam roller for my 30-minute daily workout.

P.S.  Happy birthday, Dad!  May this year be filled with great health and happiness! I love you!

Birthday Dinner

The day started out with a run / walk around Rose Bowl with Shannon, Tiffany, and Jesse. Jesse and Tiffany ran, while Shannon and I did a 2:1 (two-minute run, followed by one-minute walk) for a total of 3.1 miles. We also ran up a very steep hill during our 5k run, which felt incredible. Believe it or not, I’m beginning to really enjoy going up hills.  I’m serious about this.  I like how my body feels when I reach the top!

Breakfast (9:30 a.m.): I ate a chocolate brownie bar in the car for breakfast.

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): We went to our usual, Le Pain Quotidien, for lunch. I started out with a cup of coffee with cream and sugar (I was craving a cup of good coffee badly this morning)  …

followed by two pieces of freshly-baked bread, accompanied by Blondie, a white chocolate spread that I’d like to call crack. Blondie was out of season but the staff (probably the store manager) opened one of the merchandises for us, which was incredibly generous. It’s this kind of gesture that makes us come back here again and again.biggrin

For lunch, I ordered my favorite dish, Tuscan bean salad with prosciutto and arugula. I forgot to take a photo of the actual plate but it’s not anything that you haven’t seen here (check out this and this). I’m so in love with this place.  I really look forward to coming here after our weekend Rose Bowl runs.

Dinner (7:00 p.m.): The family went to Ichibankan to celebrate my father’s birthday over good sushi (YAY, happy birthday, dad).surprisedTo start, I ordered a glass of Merlot, and we shared an order of Crunchy Roll. We each had two pieces.

Instead of ordering sushi a la carte, my sister, my mother, and I ordered chirashi bowl, that came with assortment of sashimi on a bed of sushi rice.

The osuimono that came with the meal was amazing.

I had two bites of complimentary green tea ice cream.

Dessert (9:00 p.m.): We sang my father happy birthday over a cup of wonderfully brewed coffee (my mother makes the best coffee) and a homemade chiffon cake (my mother also bakes the best chiffon cake) at home! I had a small piece and she packed me a piece for me to enjoy tomorrow!

What a wonderful Saturday this was! I’m looking forward to a fabulous Sunday!

I Must Be A Rice Addict …

Breakfast (10:30 a.m.): I ate kimbap, Korean-style sushi, that Kevin brought over last night for breakfast. I had a side of kimchi.

Lunch (1:30 p.m.): Made a rice bowl with the leftover broth from last night’s chicken hot pot. I had a second serving because it was so good (but half the portion of the pictured one).

Snack (3:30 p.m.): Special K with almond milk.

Pre-Dinner, not pictured (5:30 p.m.): I don’t know what came over me but I had another rice bowl. It was a small portion but I feel like I really didn’t need to eat this.

Dinner (8:30 p.m.): Leftover gyoza that my mother packed for me a few weeks ago, with some leftover pork cutlet, with shredded cabbage and a side of white rice. Yes, that’s a dollop of mayonnaise you see on the vegetable.

What’s going on?  I’m eating WAY too much food lately! mad