I Heart Pasadena

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It may have topped the America’s Snobbiest City list, but Pasadena is still a gem of a place, filled with some of my favorite things, like Urth Caffe and its beautiful latte art. I think this Twitter logo-like bird is my favorite art to date.

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And how about the Oxtail Chili Cheese Fries from Bachi Burger?  Just pour a glass of wine and order this and you got yourself an amazing dinner.

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Oh, and these mouth-watering spreads from Le Pain Quotidien. My favorites are Noir (Belgian dark chocolate) and Blondie (white chocolate).

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And of course, Color Me Mine.

All these establishments are a chain and you can find them in other, less “snooty” areas, but it’s nice to know that I can find all my favorite places in one corner of this quaint little Old Town.

A Perfect Day

Breakfast (9:30 a.m.): A quick, natto and okra rice for breakfast before heading out the door to go running with Tiffany and Shannon. We ran the streets of Pasadena for a total of six miles, to prepare for the upcoming Pasadena Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. We stopped by Starbucks to get a bottled water and got a sample of its new Blonde roast. I personally like the darker roast, Sumatra being my favorite, but this one was not bad at all! I would have ordered a cup if we didn’t have to keep on running!

Lunch (1:30 p.m.): We went to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch. I inhaled a piece of bread with the heavenly, almost crack-like white chocolate Blondie spread (can this thing be any more delicious?), and downed the Mint Lemonade.

I finally got to try the Tuscan Bean Salad that Tiffany got last time (and wished I had). It really hit the spot, after the run.

There was a guy with a sketchbook sitting near us at a communal table. When I got up to use the restroom, I got the glimpse of what he was drawing. On a paper, I saw a picture of a beautiful woman. When I looked closely, the woman looked very much like Tiffany. Are women supposed to feel flattered by this or be freaked out?  We say it’s creepy.eek

Afterward, we stopped at Paper Source and Sur La Table, two of my favorite shops on Colorado Blvd. I picked up a small vegetable slicer. I already have a large mandoline with all the bells and whistles but I’ve never used it because I’m completely intimidated … but I think I can manage this smaller version. Cucumber sunomono, here I come!

Dinner (7:30 p.m.): I finally got to partake on the birthday celebration that my parents planned for me! I wasn’t able to attend last week because I ended up spending that Saturday in bed (darn cough attack!) so I was happy that I got to finally celebrate it with my family. We had okomomiyaki!  Going to a nice restaurant is wonderful but there is nothing better  than a dinner party at home with the family.

My mother baked an amazing, chiffon cake with strawberries and whipped cream that was out of this world.

(Please excuse my naked face. I came to my parents’ house directly from the workout / lunch and didn’t have the time to do my hair and put on my eyebrows.)

Today was an absolute perfect day, full of so much love. I’m the luckiest person in the world.biggrin Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Saori, for such beautiful celebration.

First Run of the Year!

Breakfast (9:00 a.m.): Special K cereal with almond milk.  The chocolate chips in here are so good!  I wish they sell them separately for me to snack on!

Lunch (12:30 p.m.): I had hiyamugi (Japanese noodle, a little thicker than somen) with pre-made dipping sauce, and vegetable and shrimp pancake (onion, garlic chives, carrot, and shrimp).

I really wanted to eat tempura soba but realized that I didn’t have any buckwheat noodle left midway through cooking cry so I settled for hiyamugi that my fiance apparently purchased and hid in the pantry when I wasn’t watching.  I ended up eating two pancakes.

Dinner (5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.): Tiffany, Shannon, and I went for a run after work. We ran around Rose Bowl only once, for a total of 3.1 miles, but they were quality three miles. We walked a little but dashed the last quarter mile like our lives depended up it!  I was out of breath at the end and my lungs and heart were pumping but it felt really, really great. YAY to the first workout of 2012!

I had a small bowl of spaghetti with bolognese sauce before the run to make sure that I had enough energy for the workout (which helped tremendously), but we ended up having real dinner at Pita Jungle in Old Town Pasadena afterward. I was actually pretty surprised how clean Colorado Boulevard was, considering that this was the heart of yesterday’s Rose Parade.

We shared a few appetizers (hummus, pita, sliced cucumbers, scallops, and shrimp) and shared the plate of grilled vegetable salad and black bean burger.  Oh, and two glasses of red wine.

I’ve gained a few pounds in the last several days, which is not too surprising … but I have to get back on track now.  I’m so happy that I’ll be working out with my sister tomorrow!

This is usually how I feel …

biggrin When I  see my sister … very happy to see her!
eek When I find out what she is going to put me through for the next 60 minutes
mad When I have to start
cry When I can’t do some of the moves (burpies!) because I’m so out of shape
razz When I’m DONE!
twisted And this is my sister, with her tough love!