Friday, November 21, 2008
We wanted to see a show but couldn't decide on which one. Ray wanted to see the X-rated show Zumanity while I wanted to see KA. We ended up watching Criss Angel's Believe at the Luxor. I was excited to see it because of the performance they did on "So You Think You Can Dance", but honestly, the show was very disappointing. After the show, all I could hear were bad comments coming from the other audience members.
Being in Vegas really made me miss Cali. For instance, we had to make sure to stop in to eat at In-N-Out. Texas is great, but no In-N-Out. Yummy!!
I left Vegas early while Ray stayed 2 more days. To wrap up my trip, guess who I bump into? While checking through security at the airport, I see Mike Tyson. Hello...I wanted to get a picture of him, but was a bit intimidated. I called Ray and he urged me to go up and ask for a picture with him. Well, here's the proof. He was actually a pretty nice guy...very quiet and mellow. He even thanked me after the picture. Totally awesome!!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Today, Ray and I decided to go kayaking on Town Lake in downtown Austin. We brought the dogs with us and they had a blast. It was rather warm today...in the mid-90s. Teddy wanted to jump in the water several times to try and catch some turtles that we saw along the way. All in all, we had a fun time. We rented the kayaks for an hour and saw some of the beautiful sights that Austin has to offer. We will definitely do it again.
After a hard workout and our stomachs growling, we went to the famous Guero's... for some tex mex food. Guero's is located on South Congress....or SoCo, as the locals call it. SoCo is now a lively street with lots of little shops, boutiques, and local eateries. It's got it's own cool vibe. Back to Guero's...I personally do NOT like tex mex food and miss and crave the real Mexican food back home in Cali, but this place is not bad. They have some awesome margaritas that do not taste very strong but hit you like a ton of bricks. Having the dogs with us, we sat outside. Tonight, they had a live band playing jazz music in their patio area and we were able to listen to it while dining. This restaurant is ALWAYS crowded and there is always a long wait. But I think it's worth it.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Last night, Ray took me to a Lifehouse concert in San Antonio for my birthday. On the way there, we stopped by Cracker Barrel. I must say that I like that place less and less everytime we go. We got lost on the way there but somehow made it on time.
The concert was at a small bar, Scout Bar, which was in the middle of no where. Of course, we found out soon enough that it was standing room only. So, we were standing for about 3+ hours. Was it worth it? Heck yeah!! Lifehouse was in one word...AWESOME!! They definitely rocked out and did stuff that was not on their cd. For a minute there, we thought we were at a Seether concert. Excuse the blurry pics...my iphone camera sucks in the dark.
On the way home, the GPS took us on a rural road back and straight face to face with a deer in the middle of the road. Luckily Ray's swerving helped us avoid hitting the dumb deer. The deer didn't even care that he was going to die. Of course from then on, the ride home had us on edge. Tryng not to fall asleep in the middle of the night...that was the longest 1 1/2 hour drive ever.
Friday, June 6, 2008
The meal ended with a chocolate lava cake...on the house. So, overall, we were happy with the meal. It was very good, however, definitely a bit pricey for our taste. Being Chinese, we would still be happier going to a good Chinese restaurant and ordering the typical crab cooked with green onion and ginger.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Ever since we have been here in Austin, we have yet to discover a sushi restaurant that we had the guts to try. We sort of gave up on the idea of getting authentic sushi that is fresh and tasty here in Texas. Well, we found that place tonight. When I was back in LA, I craved sushi EVERYDAY. Once I moved here, that strong desire left me completely. It's finally back. Today, I started thinking about places for Ray and I to try. Being Friday and our usual night to eat out, I thought Japanese would be something different to try. So, I started looking up places on Citysearch and Yelp. I found 2 places that received many good reviews. On the top of my list was Musashino Sushi Dokoro.
After reading all the rave reviews and browsing their website, I was even more excited to try this place. From their website,
"Operating in the heart of Texas, we proudly present EDOMAE ZUSHI – Tokyo style sushi. Thousands of miles away from our homeland, you may ask, “How close is this to the real thing?” For you to taste the historical significance and essence of EDOMAE ZUSHI, we air freight our selection of seafood, not only from the USA, but from around the world from places such as Norway, New Zealand, Hawaii, and now we are getting seafood directly from Tsukiji, Japan’s biggest fluton. We set our standards higher than most Japanese establishments. By pursuing and respecting the traditional EDOMAE ZUSHI style, we may seem hardheaded at times in preserving the tradition and authenticity, but we do not cut corners. Such an act is often a euphemism for cost cutting, and mediocre quality is the result. Only the best and freshest ingredients are used when serving you, and with each bit, you are enveloped in our tradition. Enjoy!"
Another plus? The pictures on their website show Japanese sushi chefs.
So...Ray and I went and it completely exceeded our expectations. I guess this is the closest you can get to authentic and fresh next to Japan. Do not be surprised if you don't find all the typical Americanized sushi items. They pride themselves on the real deal Japanese sushi. And the fish is beyond fresh. But be warned that if you're looking for 1/2 price sushi, you won't find it here. Again, quality is what you're paying for and you can see it in the way the sushi chef prepares each piece of nigiri...with a delicate finesse and finishes it off with a brush of different sauces on each piece. It all looked like art.
Needless to say, we will be back. We give this place 2 BIG thumbs up!!
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
We found a wing restaurant here called Pluckers and the first time was pretty good. The wings were very large in size which is always a plus. But recently, we went back and not so good anymore. The wings were tiny and over-seasoned. I guess the first time, they were trying to impress us since we had told them it was our first time. Anyways, here are some pics from our most recent trip there.
Ray with his XL Shiner Bock
Me and my Ginormous Pluckers Lemonade...
needless to say I did not finish this drink.
Deep Fried Pickles
Spicy Ranch Wings and Waffle Fries
Friday, April 11, 2008
BASKET OF CATFISH TOES
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
What have I done in the past few months besides move to Texas and eat everything that Anna's been blogging? Well, I've dropped about 10 lbs, because I've been more active and Anna has been packing my lunch every day. No more breakfast burritos for breakfast or George Lopez specials for lunch.
I have also been playing more sports...
Been playing tennis a couple times a week with Anna mostly, a friend from work (Pingili) sometimes, and some guy (Randolf) once (He kicked my a$$).
I started playing flag football on Sundays for the past 5 weeks and I joined a flag football league in Round Rock. We had our first game last night and kicked a$$. Final score: 32 -0. I ended the game with a 50 yard touchdown catch, 2 sacks and 1 pass deflection. If we were counting fantasy points, that would be 17.5 fantasy points(6pts(td) + 2.5pts(50yds) + 6pts(2sacks) + 2pts(2tkls) + 1pt(1pd) = 17.5pts). Not bad, eh? I'd draft me in any fantasy football league.
I am also starting to play in a volleyball league at our apartment. I signed up and have 5 other people on my team. Hopefully, it will be fun, but I tend to hate playing jungle ball when people don't know how to play. Our first game is this comming Monday, so I will keep you posted. I did try to play a pick-up game this past Saturday with a few people from my team and found that they were not as bad as i thought they were going to be, but not as good as I had hoped either. They were just average. I do have to say that I stole the show with some nice digs and a few perfect sets.
I'm still waiting on someone from work to set up a softball team. I'd love to play softball too (if my schedule allows).
Oh yea, I also tried playing cricket with a friend from work (Satish). It was very interesting. You "bowl" the ball after running from a mile away trying to knock down the "wickets", but the batter that stands in the middle of the field gets to hit the ball anywhere. It's a good workout when you are bowling though. lol
That's pretty much it. I will keep you posted on my league play and pick-up games from time to time, so check back in...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In celebration of Easter, I baked these yummy carrot cupcakes. I did alter the recipe a bit by adding cinnamon and nutmeg to make it taste more like a traditional carrot cake. Enjoy!! I guarantee you will love them. They are quite addicting.
Carrot Cupcakes with Mascarpone Icing courtesy of Williams Sonoma
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. maple syrup or honey
1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
7 Tbs. fresh orange juice, warmed
1 tsp. baking soda
For the mascarpone icing:
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
4 oz. cold mascarpone or low-fat cream cheese
Strips of dried mango for garnish (optional)
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 10 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, maple syrup and orange zest until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the carrot.
In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. In another small bowl, stir together the orange juice and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture in two additions, alternating with the orange juice mixture in two additions until smooth. Do not overbeat or the cupcakes will be tough.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake until the cupcakes are risen and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a baking sheet and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
To make the mascarpone icing, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest and mascarpone until blended.
When the cupcakes are cool, frost them and garnish with strips of dried mango. Cupcakes may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Makes 10 cupcakes.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa:
1 pound tomatillos, husked
1 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered or whole
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock, storebought
Chopped cilantro leaves
1 deli roasted chicken (about 3 pounds), boned, meat shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 large flour tortillas
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups sour cream
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, for garnish
Spicy Black Beans, recipe follows
Yellow Rice, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the salsa: On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.
Enchiladas: Meanwhile heat a 2 count of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized - this should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn't burn then gradually add the chicken stock to make a veloute. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo chile salsa, some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F and begin assembling the dish. Take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Now take the flour tortillas and briefly flash them over the stove-top flame (or put them briefly under the broiler if using an electric stove). Using a shallow bowl, coat each tortilla lightly with the reserved salsa mix. Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix on top of the tortilla followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll like a cigar to enclose it. Using a spatula place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Finally pour over some more of the salsa and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish, cilantro and tomato.
Meyer Lemon Drop Cocktail:
1 shot of Triple Sec
1 shot of Vodka
1/2 a Meyer Lemon, juiced
1/2 shot of simple syrup (boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar and let cool)
Wet the rim of the cocktail glass and coat with sugar.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Well, many ingredients later...this was the end result. It turned out pretty good, except it was VERY spicy.
Here's the recipe that I used, courtesy of Williams Sonoma:
Spicy Seafood and Sausage Gumbo
(*The recipe doesn't require crawfish since it is not readily available everywhere. I had leftovers so I was able to add it in place of the crab meat.)
1 large yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1/2 lb. okra (frozen works fine)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
5 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 Tbs. Creole seasoning blend
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over
to remove any shell fragments
1 tsp. filé powder
Cooked white rice for serving
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Dice the onion and the green and red bell peppers. Set aside. Trim the stems from the okra pods, then cut the pods crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick. In a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the canola oil. Add the okra and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 6 Tbs. oil for 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour until incorporated. Cook the mixture, or roux, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until dark brown, about 4 minutes. Do not let the roux turn black. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the reserved okra, the tomatoes with their juices, stock, bay leaves, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
Stir in the sausage, shrimp and crabmeat and cook until the sausage is heated through and the shrimp are pink, 3 minutes more. Sprinkle in the filé powder and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves.
To serve, spoon white rice into warmed bowls, ladle the gumbo on top and garnish with the parsley. Serves 6.
We bought 4 pounds and this is the final result. It looks like a lot, but at the end of it all, most of the crawfish is just shell. The meat of the crawfish is really small. You usually finish the meal feeling pissed off because it's not worth all the work.
Needless to say, Ray had the runs after this meal. Not a pretty sight.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Our trip started out Saturday morning with both doggies in tow. Here is Teddy riding in his car seat. Half way there, Ray and I switched seats and he got bored so he started messing around with Teddy.It was pouring rain the day we left. When we got to Houston, it was windy, rainy, and disgustingly muggy. The air was so humid, I felt like I was being suffocated. It left your skin feeling sticky and gross. I don't know how people can live there. Oh, and Ray got pretty darn irritated by the drivers there too. I swear we almost got into several accidents because damn Texans...especially in Houston, don't know how to drive. It's worse than LA if you can imagine.
We were excited to get our grub on in Houston since we had heard they actually have a Chinatown and large population of Vietnamese. Well, not knowing the good places to go to, we found online that Ocean Palace was the place to go for good, cheap, authentic Chinese food. Saturday night, we headed there for dinner and were not disappointed. Sorry that we don't have any pics of the food, but we were really hungry and ate everything before we could take pics. I will tell you that we did have 1 Dungeoness Crab for only $9.99 cooked Ginger and Green Onion style, Clams with Black Bean Sauce, Snow Pea Shoots, Salt and Pepper Squid, and Ray's fav Hot and Sour Soup that was soooooooooooo spicy even Ray couldn't drink much of it.
So, the next morning, we went back to Ocean Palace for Dim Sum. If you check out before 11:30am, you get 10% off. The trend here in Texas with Dim Sum is really odd. They have people pushing carts AND at the front of the restaurant, they have a station for self-serve items. I think it defeats the purpose, but I guess in a way it's good because you can get your food right away.
By the way...doggies were at doggie day camp at PetSmart both days. Casper hated it and tried to escape by climbing over the gate. Teddy loved it because he got to bully the other dogs.
After dim sum on Sunday, we stopped by Kemah on our way to Galveston. Some locals in Houston recommended it. It was ok...a small boardwalk by the water and not much else to see. We did see a billboard advertising that a free boat was being given away for anyone who buys a home there. Interesting...
Next stop was Galveston Island. Island? I didn't know Galveston was an island. I thought it was just a seaside town, but upon closer look of a map that's zoomed in, you can clearly see that it IS and island. Again, not much there. We stopped by Moody Gardens. There are 3 glass pyramids of which consist of an aquarium, a planetarium, and a rainforest. We ended up going to the Titanic exhibit. I thought it was pretty cool seeing the old remains that were salvaged from the site of the sunken Titanic. Ray was bored out of his mind. He couldn't understand why anyone would want to look at old junk. No sentiment at all.
That night, we went to eat dinner at Gaido's Seafood Restaurant in Galveston. It was supposed to be all the rage, but we were sorely disappointed. I mean seriously...there was nothing special about it. All the fried seafood tasted bland. And what kind of seafood restaurant doesn't serve calamari? Definitely not worth the 30 minute wait. We will not be back. We drove all the way to Galveston and all I got was a damn picture with a giant blue crab.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
2 cups butter (1 pound)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
1 tsp almond extract
2-3 drops red food coloring
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
50-60 Hershey's chocolate kisses
Add flour 1 cup at a time. Scrape bowl.
Add cherries and mix only enough to blend. Dough should be stiff.
Using a small cookie scoop, place dough on greased cookie sheets leaving a little room between them to spread.
Bake at 350F degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately place an unwrapped Hershey's chocolate kiss on the top of each cookie, pressing down slightly, not too much.
Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 50-60 cookies.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Flour's Famous Banana Bread
Recipe courtesy Chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Cherry Kisses Cookies coming tomorrow! I will be trying this recipe for Valentine's Day.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Speaking of dogs, we've also already got our first complaint about the dogs barking all day. The village manager sent me this email:
Just wanted to let you know we received a complaint from your neighbors about the dogs barking all throughout the day. Please go home for lunch to address this as it is disturbing your neighbors.
I called her back and told her that my dogs are jacked up with seperation anxiety and that the only thing that is going to shut them up at this point was to cut out their vocal chords. I also mentioned that when we originally came to see the apartment, we told them that our dogs were "yappy" and we were reassured that it wouldn't be a problem as long as we pay the pet deposit. After that, she compromised and said let's put them in the living room so they aren't on top of the complainer's bedroom.
I'm sure this is the first of many complaints and this dude below us will be moving out very soon!
I will keep you posted!