Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A little bit of everything

This post is going to be a little bit of everything that has happen recently since I was too busy to blog about each event. Lots of birthdays! Lots of eating. I'm back on track with my eating this week but sheesh the feasting that went on! Good thing there was also lots of running. After a failed attempt at a 20 miler 2 weekends ago (I ended up completing 15/20 miles), I managed to run an 8:30 pace for 16 miles this past weekend. I missed track last week because they moved their practice location and I got lost finding it. But I'll be there today. They are doing time trials again. I am not happy about this! I have a 20-miler this coming weekend that I hope will go well. Overall, I feel that I am on track with the training. 

So it was my Daddy's birthday recently. I got him this card.
Dad's birthday cake. I'm not a fan of this cake as it has these pastry layers in the center that I am not a fan of. Just weird to have crispy pastry in the middle of soft moist cake.
A lot of birthdays to go to lately. I went here to look for a gift for our friends who have triplet girls. I am clueless when it comes to shopping for some kids. I think it's been so long since I was a kid that I no longer know what kids like.
Wandering the aisles for a bit unsure of what one year olds would be into.
This was made from Legos. Pretty cool!
Finally managed to pick some stuff out and got it all wrapped up. I impress myself sometimes...just kidding.
Look how cute the triplets' cake was. So adorable. Triplets' mom is so creative. Had a nice time at birthday party. Craziness with so many people and kids there...screaming and yelling about cake..good grief!

 So Sister K has returned from Spain! She brought back some thoughtful and lovely souvenirs that I will blog about in another post. I've missed hanging out with Sister K. Sister K liked Spain and wants to go back soon.

 Sister S and I took Sister K out to lunch the day after she got back from Spain. Actually, it was more like they took me to lunch because this was my first time eating here at Julienne's in Pasadena. It is a really cute place for a nice meal. Look, they even use heirloom tomatoes in their sandwiches. That was a really good sandwich by the way.

We shared this really good almond cake drizzled with berry sauce. It was a nice finish to our meal. I am really looking forward to coming here for breakfast one of these days. 

 And I baked more vegan cupcakes. These were chocolate. I'm not really a big chocolate fan but people who like chocolate may like these. I think they would have been better with more of a mocha taste. I think I might try these again with the Cookies and Cream frosting. I am going to attempt to make a vegan tiramisu one and then a regular cupcake with vegan frosting. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Break of Dawn Restaurant Review - Lake Forest, CA

Sister K came for visit last weekend to spend some time with me before she went off to study in Spain for a month. We decided to try some place new for breakfast. So we headed to the Break of Dawn, that is the name of the restaurant, we actually got up quite late that day. Teehee! It is a Vietnamese breakfast fusion type of place. Yes, it is as weird as it sounds. They had your usual breakfast items but with a little twist.

Sister K ordered some sort of squash soup that came with Vietnamese cha gio (spring rolls). Yeah, weird to have soup for breakfast but like I said, I guess we didn't exactly get out of bed early that day. She said it was tasty and I took her word for it because this soup looks like it was made with some sort of dairy. The spring rolls were good but Sister K said that the ones our mom makes is way better. Of course, no one cooks like my mom so we are biased. :D

This is a cinnamon bun baked in a cast iron pan that I ordered. It was good, not anything amazing but it was cute that it came in a tiny cast iron skillet. I have lukewarm feelings about this place so not sure if I will be returning there anytime soon because there are just way too many other breakfast places out there I have yet to try.

Break of Dawn
24351 Avenida De La Carlota #N-6
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Open Wed-Sun, 8-2pm

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plate by Plate - Project by Project's 8th Annual Tasting Benefit

Last Saturday I attended the Plate-by-Place Tasting Benefit at the California Science Center (Wallis Annenberg Building) near the USC campus and the Natural Science Museum in Los Angeles. It was a fun star-studded evening with some of the most extraordinary food I've ever eaten. Truly a foodie's paradise.

"After years of success in hosting its signature event, in both New York City and in Los Angeles, Project by Project is thrilled to host its Eighth Annual Tasting Benefit on August 14, 2010. This year, Project by Project's partner is the Health Justice Network, a non-profit, community-based organization who serves as a collaborative voice for the API community to advance a pro-active agenda around health disparities and the right to quality health services, while growing community leadership and developing advocacy potential in individuals and organizations." ---Taken from website

Check out this amazing spread of dessert. This was one of many dessert stations there.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Taiwanese Shaved Ice Dessert - Kang Kang Food Court

Taiwanese shaved ice is good stuff! Let me explain. You take some red bean, lychee, mochi, mung bean, boba, barley, hmm...I actually cannot remember all the toppings for Taiwanese shaved ice, but you get the idea. I called them toppings but at the Kang Kang Food Court in Alhambra they actually put all that stuff on the bottom of the plate and then cover it in shaved ice and top with condense milk. Look at the plate below, you will notice that it is only covered in condense milk on one side. Hahaha, that was because I was sharing this with my sisters and it really isn't all that tasty without the milk part. Sorry, once again I am not a good blogger and failed to take a photo of what the inside of this thing looks like. Well, I like mine with barley, boba, lychee and red bean but the topping options are limitless.

For the longest time, I was trying to find a place that served this stuff but was clean. Let me explain this also. In LA, restaurants and anywhere they sell food gets a letter grade (like in school). A=excellent, D=bad, number rating=eat with caution. If you've ever eaten in LA, you know what I am talking about. These letter grades are normally posted near the entrance to the restaurant. Now, in my experience, which may not be so wide and varied but most places that serve Taiwanese shaved ice tend to also serve chinese fast food kept warmed under heat lamps. The problem lies in the fact that for some reason the owners have a difficult time keeping the place clean. What happens next is that they get slapped with either a bad letter rating or worse, a number rating. So when I found Kang Kang's by doing a quick internet search and they had an "A", plus they served Taiwanese shaved ice, I was so happy! I look sleepy in the photo below, mainly because it was nighttime but I was indeed a happy girl. Plus they are opened late. I think they said midnight!

Kang Kang Food Court

27 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Evening At the OC Fair

Before Sister K left for Europe, we decided to hit up the OC Fair. It is your typical run-of-the-mill fair. Including large Ferris wheel...which I actually took a ride on...I have deep fear of fair rides. I'm afraid to get on something that can be assembled and disassemble so easily. :s

I saw this large cow statue and decided on this lovely pose. Weird because I don't eat dairy!

More silly-ness!

Yeah, what will they come up with next? This was even gross to me. Fried butter? Bleh!

And finally, the petting zoo. I always feel terrible for these animals having to be a part of this. It's loud there at the fair, the kids are nuts and also loud and it is just not natural for these poor animals to be some entertainment piece.

The one thing I didn't get a photo of that I did like about the fair was the garden show competition. There were lots of veggies on display competing for ribbons. I saw some amazingly large and beautiful home grown fruits and veggies. Most interesting!

In running related updates, this is a 45 mile week for me...and so far it is going swimmingly well. I ran 4 yesterday and 6 this morning and will be headed back to track this evening for another 3 or 4. I have a scheduled 19 miler this weekend that I have to fit in. A couple more during the week and hopefully I will make my milages this week.

And because I'm famous for days and days of non-blogging and then lumping everything together...I made more cupcakes. The unvegan kind because it was for someone's birthday. These are funfettis! The full fat processed ones! :D As I mentioned before, these are super quick to wipe up and almost everyone likes 'em.

I somehow also ended up doing this....

(that little boy in the photo with me climbed all the way to the top. He was trying to encourage me by saying that we would race...hahaha...I failed terribly!)

Let me tell you that I've wanted to climb up a rock wall for as long as I can remember but for some reason, I've never had the opportunity. Let me also say that this particular incident did not end well. I got strapped in and started climbing and about 3 feet later, I realized that I could not go up anymore because I happened to turn around and looked down and my fear of heights kicked in. It reminded me of this one episode of The Big Bang Theory where one of the character would pass out everytime he went indoor rock climbing and I remembered laughing so hard at that and wondered how anyone could be afraid of falling even though they were strapped in. Well, I take it all back. I was really scared and disappointed in myself that I had wanted to do this for so long and only went up about 3 feet. Good grief man! I went up 2 more times but never passing that 3 feet mark. I will try again until I get up to the top one day...soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More Eating Than Running

I think I can safely say that I suck at this blogging thing. I have a ton of things I could blog about but I just never seem to get it done. I decided that I am just going to start backwards and catch up from there. So yesterday, I finally made it to the Irvine Food Truck Brigade (Teller/Campus). This is the second Wednesday I think that they have gathered at this location. This time there were 8 trucks. I think last week only 4 showed up. Don't quote me on that. I missed it last week so I decided to make it a point to go this week to check it out. They were all parked in this large empty lot, which was nice and it was close to my workplace. The lines themselves were not that bad but the order taking process and the actual preparing of the food was painfully slow. I thought food trucks were suppose to be quick. Here are some photos from yesterday.

I'm going to start out with the best, which was the red velvet cupcake I got from Oh For Sweets Sake cupcake and dessert truck. It was really good. Not sure that it was $3 good, but the frosting was just the way I like it, not too much or too sweet. I didn't eat the other cupcake (chocolate mint) so I cannot comment to the taste.

This was from The Lime Truck, Cold Asian veggie noodles. This is where it all kinda goes down hill. This was not very good in my opinion. It looks pretty but just not great.

Finally, these chicken empanadas were not that great. Nothing as good as the ones I get in El Monte...not even close. These came from Barcelona On The Go truck. I only decided to buy something from this truck in honor of Sister K who is currently in Spain. I really miss her. She was kinda like my partner in food crime. What a pain it was to get these too. I stood in line in the sun for 20 mins and then another 30 mins for them to hand me the food. To add insults to injuries, it wasn't good! Gah! Frankly, I think I am done with this whole food truck thing. I was actually going to buy tickets to a large food truck gathering at the end of the month at the Honda Center but so far, nothing I've eaten from a truck has really wowed or impressed me. Again, I think I mentioned this but I continue to patron these trucks because I like the hunt. But I am starting to get over it.

With all this eating, I thought I should at least mention something about my running. I completed my first longish run this past weekend of 17 miles. I've forgotten how much running that really is. But I wasn't out to break any records that day so I just enjoyed my long run. Next week is going to be a heavy milage week for me, so going to brace for that with an easier week this week.

Up next: An Evening at the Fair

Note: I signed up for RunToTheFinish's PR Race Challenge. Thought it would be a fun way to keep motivated during my marathon training. I will be using the Chicago Marathon (10/10/10) final time for this challenge. Go and have a look and sign up. It doesn't cost anything.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vegan Cupcakes - Take Over the World - One At a Time!

Remember this post when I first received this book from Sister K?

Sister K came to visit me so I decided to finally crack the book open and pick out something to bake. I decided to go with the first recipe in the book, Golden Vanilla Cupcakes. It appears to be the simplest one. So I gathered up a couple of items and went to work.

After some curdling, sifting, blending, and a trip to the market because I forgot an ingredient for the frosting...

Cupcakes fresh out of the oven. Then they were frosted.

Here they are all dressed up with no where to go but in my mouth...muhahaha!

Cupcake group photo before they were devoured.

Verdict? Well, they were delicious but I have a huge sweet tooth so maybe I am biased. I gave some out to some family members and this is what they had to say about them. First, almost everyone said they were really moist compared to the ones I use to make out of the box. They were still moist 2 days after I made them. I've never made non-vegan cupcakes from scratch before so maybe this comparison really isn't all that fair. But they are moist!

Secondly, I didn't make the frosting too overly sweet as many cupcakes seem to be and that was met with mixed reviews. Some family members liked that it was not too sweet and others didn't. I may increase the sugar a bit on my next recipe.

Overall, they were a lot of work but only compared to the ones you make out of the box but you know everything that goes into them unlike the stuff that comes out of the box. You can also customized them anyway you want, like replacing the oil with applesauce for less fat but I think they were extra moist because of the oil in it. Also, I liked them because for once these did not upset my stomach because they did not contain dairy and they were yummy. They are worth the time because the ingredients used to make these are inexpensive and vegan cupcakes are expensive to buy at stores.

I am playing around with the idea of making every single recipe in this book but it will all depend on how much time I can find to do so. Next up...Cookies 'n' Cream Cupcakes! Or a vegan cookie recipe from my other book. Yum!

Note: Thank you to Sister K (who is currently studying abroad in Spain - lucky!) for taking all these fabulous photos because I had flour and frosting covered hands. ;)