I had the avocado, chickpeas, cucumber, and spicy tahini tartine at Le Pain Quotidian for the first time and absolutely loved it. I’m going to so make this at home. This was Tiffany, Shannon, and my last outing to Le Pain together as a threesome, at least for a while, as Tiffany is moving next week. We shared many memories at this place so we had to go for the last time to celebrate all the good breakfast and lunch we enjoyed here!

The hot chocolate was great. I just wished I ordered it with soy milk!

I went out to sushi dinner with the family last night. I thought it would be difficult for me to pass up all the sashimi but I was surprised that it was really easy. I had agedashi tofu (fried tofu in broth), side salad, cucumber roll, and vegetable roll. Delicious.

Tofu Smoothie

Today was the 12th day of the 15-day cleanse … and it’s still going strong! I haven’t posted much in the last week because I got tired of taking pictures of the same broccoli salad day in and day outlolalthough I don’t mind eating it at all. I actually still crave the salad on a daily basis, and my body gets really happy when it’s time to eat.

I started this plant-based “diet” for detoxification purpose, but I like the way I feel after eating fresh vegetables and fruits so much that I’ve decided to take it longer than 15 days. I think I’m going adopt this as my regular lifestyle! I’m not ready to give up fish and dairy altogether just yet, and I’m sure I’ll have an occasional beef and pork, but it probably won’t be in my regular repertoire going forward. If eating mostly plant-based food for a little over a week has this much positive affect on my body, I wonder what it can do if I continue … and I’m excited to find out.

I really like what Michael Pollen said about eating: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plant.

I had a banana that was about to go bad, so I made a smoothie with it. Instead of milk or even soy milk, I added tofu … and it was amazing (I used about ½ of the pack for one serving)! I picked up this super soft tofu at a local Korean market. I’m sure the regular soft tofu in a container works too, but pick these super soft ones if you have a chance. When mixed with fruits (I used both fresh and frozen strawberries, kiwi, and banana), tofu gives out the texture very much like ice cream or frozen yogurt.  It’s seriously super delicious.

I love you, The Magic Bullet blender.

So Far So Good

Day 6 of a 15-day cleanse

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): After my monthly knitting class, I stopped by Trader Joe’s and stocked up on veggies. Kevin came over and we had lunch together. He ate the broccoli salad with me and he liked it! The Mediterranean hummus from Trader Joe’s is the bomb.

Dinner (7:00 p.m.): I ate the rest of the broccoli salad, with a tall glass of juice (celery, carrots, romaine lettuce, yellow paprika, ginger roots, pear, and apples), while Kevin ate Chinese takeout.  I enjoyed the smell of the egg rolls but didn’t crave them!

So far so good!

I Should Change My Blog Name to “Ode to Broccoli”

Day 4 of a 15-day cleanse

Breakfast (10:00 a.m.): I had a tall glass of water with lemon and cayenne pepper as soon as I woke up. There is no sweetener in this drink but it tastes pretty good. I love the cayenne pepper in it. I drank three glasses of this concoction total and I felt great throughout the day. I think it even helped curve my appetite because this was the first time since I started the detox that I wasn’t always hungry.

Today juice: kale, celery, carrots, cucumber, yellow paprika, apples, and ginger root. I really like this drink. My goal is to reduce apples to just one. I’ll be trying Joe and Phil from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead’s Mean Green soon, now that my fear of cucumber juice is gone.

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): The lovely broccoli salad (same as yesterday), with broccoli, red onion, red cabbage, kiwi, avocado, and carrots, with rice vinegar, oil (2 tablespoon olive oil and ½ tablespoon truffle oil, for indulgence), and salt and pepper.

Dinner (8:30 p.m.): I took a nap from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. I must have been either tired or severely sleep deprived (I went to sleep around 2:00 a.m. last night after finishing a work project … eek) or both, because I was out cold for two hours!

I made another broccoli salad for dinner. I crave this salad and nothing else. This time, I added some fresh mango chunks (1/4 of a large mango) instead of kiwi.

Snack (9:45 p.m.): A bowl of strawberries and blueberries.

Great news! I am about three pounds lighter since I began the cleanse three days ago. I’m not too concerned about the number on the scale and care more about how my clothes fit, but I couldn’t resist jumping on the scale.

I haven’t seen any other major changes to my body yet but I think my skin feels a little clearer. Not by much, but a little.  My hands and feet are still colder than usual, but it’s not anything that can’t be cured by my favorite pair of Life is Good fluffy socks.

No Culinary Blossoms Here: Seed

seed storefrontI wanted to fall in love with Seed in Venice Beach so badly … I really did.

How could I not? This place received an impressive review from the Los Angeles Times, and many patrons also seemed to adore this little join that specializes in organic, vegan macrobiotics choices, with colorful array of dessert selections crafted masterfully by former M Chaya patisserie, Eric Lechasseur, now the owner of Seed. Paired with raves from celebrity fans like Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio, the place had the pedigree of an ultimate knockout in the culinary rink. Everything was going toward its favor.

seed bowlI would first acknowledge that Saisai Donburi Marco Bowl, a culinary playground of kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), shiitake, kale, sauerkraut, canellini beans and other healthy seasonal vegetables imaginable on the bed of brown rice, that my sister and I ate did live up to all the hype. No doubt. Seitan, a meat substitute made out of wheat gluten, was incredibly juicy and flavorful, it got me, the carnivore, asking, “beef what?” The mixture of seasonable veggies, creamy beans and other pickled vegetables, sprinkled with tangy and aromatic shiso powder and aonori condiments, danced in my mouth, taking me to a happy, gastronomical place. 🙂

With that out of the way, let me begin my rants:

① This place has no restroom in the premise. Seriously, that’s awful. And in front of the join is a small, 1-hour parking … one more thing to worry about when dining here.

② Food comes in plastic container, which cheapened the entire dining experience, especially after dishing out $15 for a rice bowl. Even the desserts are pre-packaged in the clear, plastic box as they sit in the glass case. I saw a threesome that came in to the place, looked at the dessert options, and left. It’s kinda unappetizing, to tell you the truth. This seemed like a strange decision, knowing that the owner is a pastry chef.  And how about the amount of trash that accumulate?

③ I feel like this place belongs in places like Montana Avenue or Abbot Kinney, not in the smelly Venice Beach. It’s just me, but I’m not really a fan of this part of Venice.

④ Bad service. Maybe it was just that day when I was there, but the guy at the counter just stood there even when the food came out of the kitchen. I also had to go up to the counter to get the desserts because he forgot. Granted, my sister and I were the only ones in the restaurant at that time of the day, but we still, we were totally forgotten while staff stood around and talked.

seed cupcake⑤ And the cupcake … let me tell you about the Chocolate Cupcake with Green Tea Frosting that I ordered … disgusting. I know that the cupcakes here are made out of maple syrup and / or brown rice sweeter instead of regular sugar and they use all the vegan ingredients but that’s no excuse. I’ve had plenty of wonderful, non-sugar, non-dairy sweets elsewhere. This cupcake was flavorless and dense (not in a good way), and I had to put it down after the first bite. This was disappointing to say the least because I love cupcakes and I was really looking forward to the much talked-about pastry by Chef Eric who even wrote a book on this topic. 😕 I will say, however, that the Chocolate Mousse Terrine wasn’t bad.  It had a nice combination of sweet and tangy (sounds strange on a chocolate but it works) and aside from being a little too rich, I thought it was very tasty.

seed boardIf this were a dating world, Seed would be someone who’s a really nice guy but other factors, such as his loser friends, are just too much of a liability to take the relationship to the next level. I would definitely like to try its donburi and other delicious food on the menu like Blackened Tempeh Burger with Sauerkraut and Seitan Pepper Steak, but that’s only if someone is willing to pick it up for me, on the to-go order.

I really thought Seed and I would have a wonderful future together but I guess I just have to file away this experience in my culinary “been there, done that” box and put it away. Until I find my macrobiotic and vegan Gastro Mr. Right, you can find me at M Chaya and Real Food Daily, respectively.

1604 Pacific Avenue, Venice, CA 90291

If There’s a Will, There’s an “A”: Young Dong Tofu

young-dong-1I must have been in sixth grade, when I got my book report I had written back from my English teacher. The paper had a big “C” written in red ink but was later crossed out, and replaced by an “A.” Next to it, she had left a comment that read, “I changed the grade because I wanted to reward you for what you know, instead of penalizing you for what you haven’t yet learned.” The English language was still very new to me then and I could not structure a sentence worth a damn, but she decided to focus on my potential instead of dwelling on the limitation. I frankly don’t remember much from my junior high days (thank goodness … can you say, “neon”?) but I’ll never forget my English teacher and the way she approached life. That’s how I now approach my life as well — or at least I try to look at a glass half full (as much as I can). And the way I approach my new vegetarian lifestyle is no exception.

When I tell people that I have given up eating meat, the first reaction is usually, “then what the f#%# do you eat?” I would have probably asked the same question a few months ago but now that I’m aware of all the possibilities that’s out there in the culinary world that doesn’t necessary involve meat, I can smile and answer, “everything.”

One thing I didn’t want to become was one of those annoying vegetarians who refuse to eat anything, or someone who always complains that there’s nothing on the menu that they can eat. Sure, it may be a little difficult to find something to eat at a steakhouse, but I’m telling you, if there’s a will (and a little creativity), there’s a way. Just because I gave up meat, that doesn’t stop me from frequenting, say, Korean restaurants to enjoy the delicious food I’ve always loved and enjoyed.


Speaking of Korean restaurants, Young-Dong Tofu in Arcadia that is famous for dundubu Jigae (tofu hot pot) deserves an “A” in my book. I ordered the tofu soup with seasonal mushroom and vegetable bibimbap, and enjoyed the endless plates of banchan.  And everything was delicious, satisfying and simply heavenly.


Instead of focusing on things I cannot eat, I look at all the wonderful ingredients that are available – wonderful selection of mushrooms; fresh, seasonal root vegetables; pickled everything – and savor them. Once you open up your eyes to the possibilities, you’ll quickly realize that the sky is the limit.

Life is definitely a glass half full. Or in this case, my stomach completely full.

Young Dong Tofu Restaurant
1311 S. Baldwin Avenue, #B, Arcadia, CA 91066

Vegetarian Feast for My Sister’s Birthday!


I’ve been meat-free for more than a month now and I’m happy to report that I haven’t cheated yet. I thought I wouldn’t last a week on this new diet but it seems like semi-vegetarian lifestyle actually suites well with me (I call it “semi” because I still eat fish. Come on, I can’t be that good!).

I hosted a birthday party for my sister the other day and presented a meat-free dinner to a skeptical crowd. Although we had a couple of meat-and-potato guys, dishes were a hit. Even the manly men enjoyed a fresh Nicoise Salad …


Insalata Caprese …


Crimini Mushroom with Gorgonzola Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes …


Baked pasta with cream sauce and Greek Salad.


Happy birthday, Saori!

Who Knew?!? Delicious Vegan Lunch at Real Food Daily

lovely-tableI never thought I would put words like “vegan” and “love” in a same sentence — being the hard-core carnivore that I am. But I’ll say it.  I love vegan food!  And I’ll say it again and again.  I also love Ann Gentry’s Real Food Daily restaurant in West Hollywood for opening my cow-obsessed eyes to the infinite possibilities of fresh, organic, natural ingredients that make vegan dishes one of a kind.

My sister took me to this vegan joint she frequents, located a few blocks from the Beverly Center on restaurant-packed La Cienega.  It was a Super Bowl Sunday and although neither of us are girly girls, we just don’t have much appreciation for football, so it was a perfect day for us to get out for a “healthy” day out — while the entire nation sat home and indulged in beer and junk food.

I love all kinds of vegetable and incorporate plenty of them in my daily meals but there was something very foreign and frightening about “vegan” food that completely omitted everything that once had a mother or a head. I was definitely intimidated to try non-dairy cheese and a tofu molded in a shape of a turkey (and mysteriously tasted like one).  I wondered — how tasty can these creations be?

But may I just say … WOW. Everything I had was a touchdown – one of the best food I’ve had in months. My sister and I started out with a tall glass of spinach/celery/carrots/apple/ginger juice. At first, I wasn’t sure about the combination of putting vegetable in a drink. Yes, I’ve seen Jack LaLanne rave about how delicious these juices are (at 2:00 in a morning), but the idea of putting stinky celery and spinach in a juice sort of grossed me out. Well, I guess the good old Jack knew what he was talking about because the juice was smooth, refreshing and delicious. Sweet apples and spicy ginger mellowed out the strong scent and the aftertaste of celery.  It was a pleasant surprise.

I ordered a Portobello Sandwich and although this was no different from a vegetarian sandwich you would order at regular restaurants as far as ingredients (Portobello mushroom, tomato, leafy greens and red onion), it was fresher, more flavorful and satisfying than anything I’ve tasted. The pesto spread made the sandwich out of this world.


My sister ordered a bowl of Fettuccini Alfredo with (non) meatballs. Believe it or not, the vegan version of the meatball was more dense and juicy than any of the ones I’ve had at Italian joints, and I absolutely could not believe they contained no meat products! She also ordered a side of kale, which was very simple but delicious nonetheless.



We ate so much but we didn’t feel gross at all. Because everything was made out of fresh, organic ingredients, we felt great for the rest of the day. I highly recommend this place to anyone who’s curious about vegan cooking, or anyone who just wants to experience an unbelievably delicious food that makes your body jump in joy.

Real Food Daily
414 N. La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

P.S. We headed to Korean Spa after lunch and got our entire body scrubbed. We soaked in hot baths and sweated all the toxins out in steam rooms. Talk about a healthy day, I tell you … well, so we thought … until we went to Korean BBQ for dinner that night and put all the gunk back into our body!

My New Love: Portobello Panini with Goat Cheese

portabello-paniniI’ve got a total girl crush on Ellie Krieger. Seriously. She’s got some serious poise, class, and a great sense of style in all the dishes she creates. It’s only been a few weeks since my acquisition of her newest cookbook but it’s climbing up to be one of my favorite cookbooks in my small but nutrient-packed collection. My undisputed Domestic Goddess is, and always will be, Nigella Lawson (I worship her) but Ellie is not far behind.

My latest recreation from her cookbook, The Food You Crave, is this Portobello Panini with Gorgonzola and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. My version is slightly different because I used goat cheese I already had in a refrigerator instead of Gorgonzola, and I added a handful of spinach to make this panini a slightly more nutritious and colorful one. I also reconstituted and sandwiched more sun-dried tomatoes than the recipe called for because I love the tangy flavor of the tomatoes. The leftover baby spinach turned into a smoked salmon and capers salad that I added on the side. A sprinkle of lemon juice on the Portobello panini brought all the flavors together and gave it a refreshing final touch. Boy, with meaty and satisfying dish like this, who needs meat?

Next up on my “recreation list,” is White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip. Maybe I’ll try it out this weekend when we celebrate my father’s birthday!  Will keep you posted.