A Year In Review

I have been looking forward to writing this post since the day I decided to start blogging. Is that crazy?

Although I am not quite at the one year mark yet (my first post was somewhere in mid-Jan), it is amazing how fast time flies and it has been such a treat to re-read (literally) every single post that I have written so I can compile this post. Now that I have went through all of them, I am amazed at how much more comfortable my writing has become, how much has changed in my personal life and how (dare I say) awesome this blog is now.

A ton of my friends came up to San Francisco to bring in the new year and a few in particular told me that they really enjoyed reading this teeny-tiny blog. It then hit me that people actually take time of their day to see what is going on with my life. I am so appreciative of these people.

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It is really hard for a blog writer to find the fine-line between what is appropriate to post on the internet for everyone in the world to see. This may seem a little bat-shit crazy, but I am really shy in real life and very protective over my privacy. I have went through periods where I felt that overexploiting my life will only be detrimental to my future education and career plans. However, while doing my yearly re-read, I like to think that I did a good job at sharing enough where it is still very light and I still have a thin veil that allows me to keep some things a mystery.

Without further ado, I would like to recap something awesome that happened each month this year. The first few months are kind of rough, but I promise that they get better the more you read down, trust me. 🙂

JANUARY

What would this recap be without my very first post? It might not have been the best, but I only had three to choose from so here you go! Toma had just opened and it was a very exciting time in our circle of friends. This year started off really slow and did not really pick up until June or July.

Runner-up: An eco-friendly day around town with one of my good friends, Jacque.

FEBRUARY

Lunch at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants ever. Can you just imagine eating all that hot oil? Before my Asia trip, I would eat here at least once a month because it reminded me when my mom and I would have mid-day lunches here whenever she was in town. Spices is not a place I would bring guests who are looking for a ‘San Francisco dining experience’, but it is one that feels like home.

Runner-up: My grandpa seeing his younger brother for the first time in years. There is nothing more amazing then seeing your grandparents genuinely happy.

MARCH

Visiting the Asian Art museum to see the : Warriors was very special to me. The first time I saw them was in Xi’an, China in 2010 and it was absolutely breath-taking to stand at the excavation site and see them lined up in all their glory. Being able to see them in my hometown made me realize how privileged I am and very humble to be able to do half the things I have done/will done.

Runner-up: A Farmer’s Market kind of day with Abby. I remember that I was highly stressed in school during this time and just having a day to unwind with one of my best friends, surrounded by food, really helped me recharged.

APRIL

I do not post very often about these two special girls, but they have been my best friends for over 10 years now. It is one of those friendships where we can not talk for months and pick things up like we just saw each other the day before.

April is also the month that I found out I got accepted to every school (but one) that I applied too!

Runner-up: The first and only time I have ever completed a a week of meal-planning. I felt so accomplished at the end and will have to do it again the week before school starts. Also as a nice plus is my delicious turkey stuffed bell peppers in the link above.

MAY

My very first steak tartare. Absolutely magical. Phenomenal, even. I do not know how I lived without trying it before. Now that I am a seasoned tartare diner, I notice that a lot of places add horseradish. Perhaps the reason I thoroughly enjoyed Marlowe’s version is because there was not any.

May was also a great month because I was finished with school and had a chance to enjoy my summer for the first time since I started college.

Runner-up: A write-up on Toma restaurant, one of the best in the city! A lot has changed since then, but I still support it 100% and think it is a necessity to go and eat some delicious and non-greasy Mexican food.

JUNE

Mexican breakfast burritos will always be one of my favorite breakfast foods. There is something about the chorizo, potatoes mixed with the taste of fresh cilantro and raw onion. I order this version many times out but they always have to add salsa or the ratio of egg to potatoes never is perfect. Mine is.

Runner-up: Making potstickers with my grandparents! They had such a blast and it was such a generational thing I really wanted to do with them. I have tried recipes around the web and they never taste the same like these.

JULY

I think this is unanimous, but my Asia trip was one of the best things that happened to me this year. My mom and I, while close, do not see each other very often and both know without saying that this was one of the last big traveling we will do where it is just us two. In the future is serious boyfriends, husbands and kids added to the mix, which leaves me feeling bittersweet. I love her so much and am so thankful while reviewing all these pictures again.

Links for Guangzhou (where my family is from), Chengdu & Jiuzhaigou (one of the wonders of the world), Leshan & Mount Emei (biggest Buddha in the world) and Japan (one of the most badass countries I have ever visited).

No runner-up to cloud the epicness of Eastern Asia.

AUGUST

August left me in a bit of a daze. There was a rough transition for me from a change in July, but I met great people and it holds the best thing that happened to me all year. The Nespresso: Grand Chef Rendezvous event is one of the fanciest, delicious and astonishing event I have ever been invited to and I got to meet Thomas Keller. If that is not big news, then I do not know what is.

Runner-up: The celebration of Jacq and Michael having to spend the rest of their lives together. This would have won if it was any other month, so I will call this an extra honorable mention.

SEPTEMBER

Receiving my Nespresso Gran Maestria made me feel like I have ‘made it’ as a blogger. (I know I have a long way to go, but having fresh espressos does not hurt the journey either). It was so humbling to receive this token of appreciation. Blogging started as a hobby to document my dining escapades and now it has turned to much more than that.

Runner-up: Labor Day Weekend was really fun with all the friends in town. I love days where I can just lay at Dolores Park all day and not have a care in the world.

OCTOBER

Sriracha broccoli wins the prize for October because it is my most viewed post, by far. Somehow it caught the Pinterest bug and I am just riding it for as long as I can. Other than the cruciferous veggie, I really started setting into my new school and this is when I was confident that I can pull in all As for the semester.

Runner-up: The day I found out that the Creme Brûlée Cart opened a brick and mortar store. If I had a top 10 happy moments list, this would be on there for sure.

NOVEMBER

Um, would it be weird if I chose a post that did not recap my birthday? I spent it at the LACMA, which is a great museum and there was nothing else I wanted to do that day besides look at famous paintings and hidden gems.

Runner-up: Eating at Park Tavern with Abby for my birthday. I think I would be really disappointed in myself if caviar-topped, soft boiled egg was not on this list. (Yes, that really happened).

DECEMBER

December was a little slow on the blog, I regret not focusing on it but I would not change a thing because every second I was not on the blog means I was working hard during school. The month came and went a little too quickly than I wanted, but what are you going to do?

I think we can all agree on breathing the same air as Beyonce aka Queen B aka Bow Down was another top 10 moment of the year. She is so perfect I just can not even.

Runner-up: My cheesy smile and brand new Kitchenaid sitting on my lap. Do not ask me if I opened it yet, or I will have to lie to you. Still waiting until the perfect moment.

And that is it! I hope you enjoyed hanging out with me all year as much as I was fond of checking in and writing this blog. 2014 is going to be a great year, I know it.

TL;DR me the highlight reel of your year in the comments, please!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! I am not the most religious person, but I like to think of it as a joyful day where good karma gets passed around. Plus, it is a great excuse to listen to croony old Christmas carols. Will you judge me if my Pandora is still churning out the holiday tunes after the New Year?

School is done until the end of next month! I am happy with my progress and can not wait for final grades to be released. Although…there is an A- that is hanging over my shoulders and I need to see the end result as soon as possible.

Without further ado, I just wanted to show off some big and little things received for Christmas/happy really late birthday/good job in school.

Could not find a Christmas hat in time, so the 49ers beanie had to make do! This picture was actually taken on Saturday right before Taylor and I did last minute Christmas shopping (more about that on Friday).

You probably saw this picture on my Instagram already, but if you do not have me added, here it is!

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Can we talk abut my new KitchenAid?! I am the most excited girl in the whole world. I still have not taken it out of the box due to how perfect and beautiful it is. If possible, please link up your favorite recipes that need a stand mixer so I can feel like a 50s housewife. My new kitchenaid matches my Urban Kitchen perfectly.

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My sister is the sneakiest snake and surprised me with this complete collection of all of Thomas Keller’s Napa creations. The books are heavier than the KitchenAid! Friends, you are in for a real recipe treat when I get the courage to take the books out of the plastic.

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Anyone that knows me in real life knows that I have been talking non-stop about this food grinder attachment. I even obsessed over it on my Holiday Gift Guide for Food Lovers, which looking back might have been a subconscious wish list of my own thoughts. I think it is pretty funny how I wanted this before I even found out I was getting a KitchenAid.

Ground meat and from-scratch pizzas from here on out, mark my words.

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Isn’t this teapot a beauty? She is made from cast-iron and will come out only on special occasions. I was just telling my friend the other day that I wanted to start drinking more tea, this could not of come at a more perfect time.

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And finally, the award for the most thoughtful gift goes to my patient, Bob! He goes to NYC once every two months because he loves the jazz clubs and the vibe of the concrete jungle. We have gotten to know each other for over five years now, so he feels more like family than just a patient. He just came back from another trip and dropped off a little care package on Saturday for me because I told him that I was going in mid-Jan. He included his favorite jazz clubs, a subway map “that always works even when cellphone don’t”, a Metrocard with the cutest little cardholder, t-shirt and a magazine of fun things to do.

Although it was all small things, I almost teared up because of the sincerity; thinking about it again makes me happy.

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Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you got everything you wanted plus more. I am just relaxing with family for the day and will see you on Friday. 🙂

What cool things did you get?

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what are your NYE plans?

First World Problems

We all go through phases.

My exercise phases are basically just one phase: off. I am planning to hit the gym (our garage) the Monday after finals because we all know I do not even have one hour to do something healthy. 😉

My eating phases, however, have been a real problem lately and I think it is a reflection that can be seen on the blog.

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I have been eating out a lot lately. I know I say that every post, but this time it is in a negative note. At first it was really fun to wine and dine every night and now it is becoming a drag. I have always eaten well my whole life and luckily never had any mental problems with food. Cooking has been a real challenge for me. I am not inspired by anything, despite all the fabulous recipes I come across reading your blogs. I have been putting off a grocery store trip for two weeks now. I never knew what it felt like to have my body seriously crave vegetables and fruit because it was deficient of vitamins and overwhelmed with refined carbohydrates and oil.

Two days ago I felt like that. I felt so gross and I just wanted a plate of chicken, broccoli and sweet potatoes.

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My body is craving home cook meals.

It wants green, leafy vegetables and winter squash.

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Persimmons, apples and grapes.

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Taylor cooked me dinner last night, I can not believe how much of a difference it made and how fast I felt the change.

I am honestly so excited to start making delicious food again. I just ordered a bunch of small Pyrex glass containers so I can bring my leftovers for lunch.

Sorry for the random post but sometimes we just need to take a break from the day-to-day and talk about our feelings. I can not wait to show you all my creations in the next few months. 🙂

What is your first world problem?

Queen B

This happened last night.

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I got to breathe the same air as Beyonce. Before I start showing off, lets back track to the beginning of the day.

A few weeks ago, Taylor and I were jamming out to music videos in the living room when a Beyonce song came on. While dancing our tails off, we made a joke and said we should buy tickets to the upcoming Mrs. Carter World Tour. After locking eyes, it became decided that we were going to the tour. It might have been my most impulsive big purchase, because five minutes later we were down almost $200 each.

I kind of regretted it a few days later, but after last night, I decided that it was one of the best decisions I made this year.

After Thanksgiving week passed, it was time for the concert of the life time.

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I had school in the morning, but rushed home to start getting ready. We left around three o’clock to eat a late lunch in San Jose (about an hour away from SF) at The Yard House. It is not the best restaurant in the world, but it is in Santana Row and gets the job done. I got the same thing as last time, this epic Grilled Cheese sandwich with Tomato Basil Soup.

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Mmm..I added avocado and bacon. Does it not look picture perfect?

Taylor and I overestimated our time and we had about an hour to kill in the car. Trying to get a picture of both of us looking good, while smiling at the camera, is almost impossible in a compact car with a self-timer. With that note, I will leave you of one of our bloopers.

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It looks like we just fell in love. I do not think I laughed that hard (after reviewing all the pictures) in a long time.

Around 6:00p, we started lining up in front of the pavilion. Since our tickets are general admission, it was pretty much a first come first serve basis. We were number 200 and worried that we would not be able to see her but we ended up being so freakin’ close!

Is it possible for this woman to be more beautiful in person then her prints and videos? She is so perfect, I do not think anyone could find one single flaw about her.

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She is so fierce. She sang almost all of my favorite songs.

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Besides a couple standing close to us that were dancing like crazy maniacs at a rock concert, the night was perfect.

Okay loves, now I am off to finish my comparison paper on processed versus wholesome foods.

What is the best concert you went to?