Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My daughter flew back for the Thanksgiving holiday on Tuesday night.  She had been away for college and missed the Chinese food terribly.  The first thing she asked for was a nice Chinese dinner.  That's where we had our dinner after picking her up from the SFO airport.  There are many restaurants in the area close to the airport.   We usually go to Broadway Bistro since they have a big selection on the menu.

Broad Bistro
349 Broadway
Millbrae, CA 94030
(650) 692 - 3378

We have been to this restaurant many times.  We usually order the Hong Kong style milk tea and drinks here.  We wanted to try the One Man Hot Pot since the weather was so cold that night.  It was $16.98 per person but the portion was big enough for two people.

The raw ingredients selection was quite filling.  There were shrimp, oyster, fish fillet, meatballs, chicken, pork liver, egg, tofu and plenty of lettuce and cilantro.  I believed the meat marinated with salt since I could taste them without dipping them in the soy sauce.

The waiter poured in the soup and vegetable firsts, then let it boil so we could cook the raw ingredients ourselves.  The ingredients were fresh and we enjoyed it very much.

The kids always liked to order baked pork with pasta. It was average in my opinon.

This is my older daughter's favorite,  Portugese baked chicken, but it was a dissapointment at this place.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday full of food, laughter with your family.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Japanese Sesame Salad Dressing

Every time we went to a Japanese restaurant, the salad that came with the meal was always our favorite.  It was the salad dressing that made it taste so good.  I can never find that dressing in supermarkets.  I have tried several bottles of salad dressing that looked like that dressing, but it never tasted the same as what we had from the restaurant.  I also tried a few recipes I found online, but the results were not the same.  I didn't know you can buy the salad dressing from the restaurant until my neighbor told me so.  So then I bought it at the restaurant whenever I craved it.  However, the price is not cheap for small container of that dressing and thought I should try to mix the dressing myself.  After several tries with the mixing of different ingredients, I finally came up with a recipe that's very close to the dressing from the restaurant. 

I found that it's important to get the Japanese mayonnaise and not use the American mayonnaise.  The taste is different.  I made the mistake by using the red miso; that's why the color didn't look as creamy.  Adjust your own sugar and mayonnaise amounts to your liking,  but if you are counting your calories, you can omit the mayonaise and it will still taste great without it.  It took me awhile to figure out what the Japanese mayonaise looked like since I don't read Japanese.  That's why I will always try to put the pictures of the ingredients whenever possible for those of you not familiar with the ingredients.

Miso paste (left) and Japanese Mayonaise (right)

Other ingredients


1 tsp white miso paste
2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
1 tsp salad vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame seed
1 tsp sesame sesame oil
1 tsp soysauce
1 tsp olive oil

Slowly mix in one ingredient at a time and mix well.  For best taste, use after refrigeration for at least 30 mniutes.


You can add a little Vietnamese Srirachi sauce if you like it a little spicy for different variation. Use this mayonnaise as you would with the American mayonnaise.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Amazing Konapun--Fake Food

I was looking for interesting collections people have, and I stumbled upon this amazing YouTube video.  These are Japanese creations of play food.  They cooked like real food.  Watch how the rice is prepared and listen to the sizzling sound:

Aren't these cool?   You can also find other Konapun videos ranging from fried food to desserts.  It seems people are collecting these in Japan.  This is what I read from the video description:

(1) It's a Japanese toy named Konapun.
(2) It's not edible.
(3) It's not for children under 8 years old. And must do play under the adult. ( Under adult supervising)
(4) The fake food made of Konapun will rot soon.
(5) It doesn't cook with actual heat. It is just powder and waterwith sound effects.

 Here's another cool one:

When I searched online, I found that there is a big range of prices and I thought many of you might be interested to give these out as Christmas presents.  They are available on Ebay and some other sites.  Here is a video where you can find more answers about them.  Be sure to read the comment below this video to get into the website "rakuten dot com" if you are interested to get some.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Carlsbad Premium Outlets

We visited the Carlsbad premium outlets while we were down in Southern California.   The weather was a bit warm, as usual, but it was nice to walk around the outdoor mall.  The outlet mall was not big but there were a few stores that you generally do not find in other outlet malls such as Barney New York, Salvatore Ferragamo, Crate and Barrel,etc. (Check the link above for stores).  I was really surprised to find Barney New York there.  The store was small but I was glad that I found a bag that has several compartments in it.  It is lightweight and useful and convenient to travel with.

There was also a Cosmetics Company Store and a Lancome- the Company Outlet which you can find brand name products.  The cosmetics and skin care products were offered at great discounted price.  The selections were limited since they still are outlet stores.  I was in the Company Outlet for a short time since I don't use Lancome product and their other brands product were very limited.  I was more intested to go the Comestic Company Store since they have brand names like Prescriptive, Estee Lauder and M.A.C. and Clinique products.

MAC is well known and has a good reputation among the makeup industries.  It was loved and used by a lot of professional artists. I wanted a M.A.C. eye gel liner and was lucky to find it came with a small brush, eye shadow and  mascara.  I am loving these after using them for several days now.  The gel eyeliner did not smear and lasted all day.  I love the shimmering of the eye shadow powder and a little on the eye lids really brightens up the eyes.  The mascara was a dissapointment.  It was so flaky that I had to remove it right away. 
MAC Eye Gel liner set, $29
I love this very neutral palette of blush which is great to wear in the day time. 

 MAC Blush. $26

After trying many lipglosses that were available, I finally decided to get one that is darker than what I would usually have picked.  I like the look better by applying the lip pencil first then the lipglass.

 MAC Lipglass, $10

I wanted to buy the Prescriptive Anywear makeup stick with SPF 15 ( Y/O Gold 07) but it came with a set of two for $22.50.  I didn't really want to get two.  I found a similar color; the Flirt Stick Concealer provides good coverage on my age spots after dabbing it on top of my BB cream foundation.  I am really happy to have finally found a concealer that works and blends well on coverage and doesn't give me a cakey look.  Both of these will be on my must-have make up products.

 Flirt stick concealer $8.50

I found it was very useful that there were cotton balls and Q-tips available to the customers and that you could test them on your skin.  I spent a long time there testing the products I was interested in.  The sales ladies were really friendly and pleasant.  I had a good experience and will definitely shop there again the next time I visit San Diego.

Carlsbad Premium Outlets
5620 Paseo del Norte, Suite 100
Carlsbad, CA  92008
(760) 804-9000

Monday, November 8, 2010

San Diego, CA

Last week we traveled to Southern California again and stayed at the Country Inn & Suites San Diego North.  We had reserved a standard room for the night.  It was nice that the front desk upgraded us to a suite with no extra charge when we checked in.. 
Country Inn & Suites By Carlson
5875 Lusk Blvd.
San Diego North, CA 92121

The suite was comfortable, except the A/C in the suite was really noisy.  This was the bedroom.  The living room was very nice with sofas, tv, refrigerator and a desk.  

There was a complimentary breakfast buffet in the morning.

There were omelets,bacons, hash brown, oatmeal,cereal, orange and apple juice, coffee, tea and milk on this side of the station.

A self-serve waffle and toast station where you can have toast, bagel and waffle with serveral kinds of syrup to choose from.

After breakfast, we visited the Premium Outlets mall in Carlsbad, which I will describe in another post later.  We had a late lunch at the ocean view cafe in UCSD.  It has a spectacular view.  There were many selections on the menu, from sandwiches to other hot food.  They also had an impressive array of pastries and smoothies.  All were made fresh.

Ocean view cafe
 Overlooking the ocean

Later that evening ,we went to 99 ranch market to get some fruits and drinks before heading to dinner.  I heard so much about this one restaurant and decided to go there for dinner.  The place is located inside a Chinese grocery center.  The food was really good and the portions were huge.  We ordered a plate of rice with roasted duck.  It was so delicious that we ordered an extra half of a duck afterwards.

 The congee we ordered tasted average, but the amount of preserved duck eggs was generous in the congee.
 We loved the beef chow fun which was not greasy and was stir-fried well.
We also ordered a red bean cold drink, and to my surprise, it was really good.  We couldn't finish the congee, so we packed it to go. The place is open until very late in the evening.  It is certainly a place worth to visit at anytime for good food at an affordable price.

San Woo restaurant (inside the 99 Ranch Market)
5975 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 95211