Black Friday came and went and even when i tried to shop the world was against me. I went to Target 3 times, Walmart, Cerritos Mall, Manhattan Beach Mall, and walked away with some tupperware that my mother bought me. I did try to buy a couple pieces of clothing but every time i went to check out, the items that i picked weren’t even on sale, just sadly misplaced in the store.
So i turned to where i know i could buy everything, Amazon.com. I finally bought a few items that i’ve had in my Amazon Wish List and realized my only interests are now Sports, Food, and Zombies. I ended up buying NBA JAM, Anthony Bordain: Medium Raw, Day by Day Armageddon, Zombieland, and the Hangover in blu-ray (my first blu-rays disks). I did help that i went to Coinstar to exchange some change, and by getting a giftcard instead of cash, they don’t take a cut out of it.
Its already been a year at our home, and our second Thanksgivings dinner with the parents, minus my dad who’s in Thailand for the month. I’m so happy that everyone is still healthy and sarcastic as ever, and that we have time to spend with each other before Joy’s parents retire to Thailand next year.
I took some time to do some IT stuff at work, upgrading the server, and organizing things for the upcoming week. The funny thing is that everyone went to work in the morning so there’s wasn’t anything special about the morning, but thankfully the dinner menu didn’t have anything that required lots of cooking time.
The menu in its entirety was:
This year we tried out a bunch of new recipes and the results were mixed. This was the first time cooking a pork loin whole, and it came out wonderfully moist, but i didn’t really care for the mustard/rosemary combo. I really like how the bacon kept the insides juicy, and of course who doesn’t like bacon wrapped anything.
The pie was the exciting part as we found an old Betty Crocker cookbook at a flea market a few months ago and had all the classic recipes. Joy had a lot of fun at first making and rolling out the dough, but it became apparent that we’ll need some practice before it gets perfect. I had the fun task of peeling and cutting 8 apples, but the results were good. The crust came out ok, but i think it might have been worked too much, but the filling was delicious.
After dinner Joy and I went to the Southbay Galleria to watch Harry Potter which was a great way to finish off the day of food, family and fun.
With every trip up to the bay, there’s always some food to write home about. The first tasty morsel was what i’m dubbing the “Adult McRib.” The Porchetta Sandwich from Roli Roti which is a pork loin wrapped with pork belly and crispy pork skin too. The first bite with all the different pork, grilled onions, and arugula make for a delicious bite.
To accompany our first lunch in the city we also ordered a bowl of ramen from Hapa Ramen who was station right next to Roli Roti outside the Ferry Building. A very delicious bowl of pork ramen soup to go along with our sandwich.
Friday morning we wanted pancakes and went to Mama’s in Northbeach. We got there around 10am and there was a line out the door and down the street. Thankfully we were on vacation so we didn’t mind the eventual 45 minute wait outside. We went all out for the French Toast sampler, dollar pancakes, cornbeef hash and lots of eggs.
Saturday afternoon before heading home we drove across the water into Oakland for a tasty fried chicken sandwich from Bakesale Betty’s. The sandwich was large and in charge with a juicy piece of fried chicken and a mound of slaw one top.
There is one more meal that i need to talk about that Jesse and i had at One Market which we had the pork tasting menu, but so much was going on (alcohol) that the meal happened in a flash and all came crashing down with a crunchy peanut butter crust hidden below the vanilla ice cream with a piece of bacon.
Since my sister wasn’t coming down for Thanksgiving we went up to see her. My mom, Joy and I went up to the bay on Wednesday night for a few days of hanging out with Nina, and exploring the city.
The first day Nina had to work so we played tourist for the first day visiting Alcatraz and getting on a boat to check out the old prison. The prison was actually much smaller than i imagined, and was pretty cold and foreboding even if it was sunny on the outside.
Friday Nina had already planned to take the day off to visit the de Young museum for a van gogh exhibit, while we planned to go to the California Academy of Sciences to see their rain forest, aquarium, and even penguins. If you’re planning to go i would suggest buying the tickets from costco, or using public transportation to get a few bucks off admission.
At night we planned to meet up with friends for a tree lighting at the Hyatt. We got there early and enjoyed a few happy hour drinks beforehand, and we probably had one too many before the night was over. Some of us had a more difficult time getting back but all got back. Saturday was less eventful and was more just a day of recovery before heading back home to socal.
Small Gift LA
Friday November 12, 2010 – Sunday November 21, 2010
Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 9040
Hello Kitty and friends are 50 years old and you can take part in the celebrations too. For the next two weeks there is a special event being held at the Santa Monica Airport where you can check out some Hello Kitty arts and crafts, games, shopping, and best of all art. Many artists from Simone Legno (tokidoki) to Buff Moster have contributed work for sale to the public.
The admission is free except for a few special night events, but parking is $10. Its a great place to take the kids, and i know Janelle and Noah spent 3 hours there just by themselves, Joy and I got through it in about 20 minutes, but we weren’t going to play any games or do any shopping. The line to get into the store can get pretty long. There is also a few food trucks parked in the back, along with Yogurtland and Bear Papas selling some food.
View all the photos here.
People have noted that Joy and I seem to eat a lot. I personally don’t think we eat that much, but its just we tend to go to lots of different places when we do go out. It is fun exploring and trying out new places, but in reality there are only a few that are worth going back to over and over again. I like to think back and try to remember the memorable dishes that make a place stand out, and surprisingly there aren’t very many places that call out to me that i have to go back to.
I’m going to start listing restaurants or other eateries that have that one killer dish that i base all other dishes on. From Hawaii to New York i’m going to just do my best to list out all the places that just make my mouth water when thinking about it. A funny thing about thinking about this stuff is how rarely i have pictures of these dishes because i tend to just eat it up before being able to snap a picture of it. I’m going to try to update this new category better than the other ones that i’ve tried, so check back often to see whats up.
If you haven’t already you need to set your DVR to record The Walking Dead on AMC Sundays at 7pm. Based on a graphic novel of the same name, this Zombie drama is everything that you want from a TV show. Its got a theme, and it sticks to it. There are plenty of likable characters and drama already between them. The story lines give way to plenty of conversations you’ll have with other watchers of what worked and didn’t and what you would do in the same situation. Even if you’re not into the zombie thing, what else are you going to be watching at 7pm on a sunday?
With the poor showing of the fall schedule, the Walking Dead got picked up for the rest of the season.
Also if you haven’t heard of We’re Alive, you should really download it and listen to it when you’re driving or working out. But be careful because sometimes it’ll make you jump and i don’t want you to get into an accident on the road or on the treadmill.
Jonathan and Janelle’s boy Noah is turning 3 along with all the other fire pigs out there. So the threw him a part out in Torrance at Wilson Park where they have miniature trains that adults and children get to ride for free. Thats where the fun begins and where my terror begins. Joy and I were the only ones there without kids, and while everyone went for their fun ride, i some how volunteered my services to watch over Naomie, by myself. In all honesty i thought someone else was going to be there with me, but alas it was just me and the girl.
Everything started out fine with her sleeping in the stroller and me playing on my phone. She started to stir and making funny faces and panic started to rise and i think instantly my back got sweaty. She calmed down and kept on sleeping. Emergency diverted. Not 5 minutes after telling my sister she started getting really fussy and the cries began. I quickly texted janelle, but she was on the ride already so i rolled up my sleeves and went in. I don’t think i’ve even picked up a baby from the lying position but i got her up and held her until she calmed down. My arm was getting pretty tired but everytime i adjusted to get more comfortable she started to cry again. Janelle texts back that the train in making an additional brithday loop so i continued holding my own.
Finally when they got back i got relieved of my duties and Jonathan seemed pretty proud of me. Me on the other hand realized that i’m going to need to work out even more. My arm was literally strained 10 minutes later and i couldn’t even pick up my cake to eat it.
The rest of the party consisted of a Cars cake, and lots of running around of the kids and the parents quickly following behind them. This experience will really make me appreciate the “single” life even more. Can’t wait til Joy and i go on our trip to Thailand and Europe.
See the rest of the photos.
Its been quite a while since Joy and I have gone on a road trip, and with nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon we had a choice of heading south to San Diego or north to Santa Barbara. Since i calculated SB being about a 30/45 minute shorter drive we headed north up the 101. On the drive up Joy and her handy dandy iPhone came up with an itinerary of visiting a couple wineries and getting a burger afterwards.
The first stop was Carr Winery which has a $10 tasting of six different wines. The place has ample area inside to enjoy your wine and a friendly dog that wanders around too. The server was pretty much all business with a pour, and moving along and didn’t really go into explaining the wines themselves. The wines ranged from $20-$60 and were nice but didn’t really tempt us into buying one.The actual building is located in a warehouse district so if you’re looking for it in an area of car repair shops and lighting stores then you’re right about there.
The second winery was Whitcraft Winery which is just down the street from Carr. The “tasting room” was much more of a cashier’s table with boxes of wines all around. Thankfully their wines were explained by the owner, and had a very nice range of flavors. We ended up picking a bottle there to take home for another night.
To help sober up we ended up at Silvergreens near State St. because i was in the mood for a classic juicy bacon cheeseburger. Too bad i didn’t get one. We waited until 3pm for their burger and beer for $6 special which seemed like a good deal but maybe they have a secret why. The burger came out really fast, which surprised us, but the meat seem really cooked through for being made so fast. I have to wonder if these were burgers that missed the lunch crowd so they just pass them off with the beers hoping no one will notice.
On the way home we stopped by the Camarillo outlets where i picked up some Nike hiking shoes and walked around a bit to see that they are going to have a midnight black friday sale if anyone is interested.
My first friend that i met when i worked at Disneyland Esme recently got engaged so she invited everyone to a Taco, Tequila, and Donkey party. Well originally it was only a Taco and Tequila party but someone threw out the idea of a donkey on the evite and managed to bring one to the party.
We all met up in Pasadena for a really cheap and tasty real mexican taco truck where i personally ate 4 in a second. I had an al pastor, carnitas, asada and chirraron all topped with onions, cilantro, radish, and a spicy red sauce and all for $5. I have been thrown off by all those fusion trucks i forgot how cheap they’re suppose to be.
Once we were done eating we all moved down the street to El Cholo for some drinks, and drink we did. There were pitchers of margaritas flowing and a bottle of tequila showed up to the table. The whole back patio was throwing back shots and having a good time. I can’t wait for their wedding, its going to be nuts.
The other day Joy and I were at the West LA Best Buy dropping off electronic recyclables and there were some boy scouts out there selling popcorn. We felt a bit generous so we checked out their goods and they had some caramel corn, butter corn and poppable corn all for sale. We ended up spending $10 on a bag of caramel corn, while the other stuff were selling for much more. I guess the Boy Scouts have finally caught on to the amount of sales that the Girl Scouts do during their cookie sales, but popcorn? It was a good popcorn but i can never see anyone buying more than 1 bag at a time compared to seeing people buying cases of cookies at a time. They should go for selling pocket knives or first aid kits rather than trying to compete with other snack foods.