• Travels

    Portland Food Scene

    We had lots of places on our list before heading up to Portland, but were only able to visit a couple due to being too full to eat, or too far to get to without a car at the moment. We initially thought of going to Pok Pok, but just couldn’t convince ourselves to spending a lot of money on Thai food. This is my list of my favorite places that we got to eat at.


    Nuvrei Patisserie & Café


    Joy’s favorite place for breakfast each morning was at Nuvrei in the Pearl District. I really like their Bacon & Cheddar Biscuit sandwich with eggs, and bacon, and should’ve gotten another one both days. Their plain croissants were also very flakey, and the almond croissants were full of flavor.

    Blue Star Donut


    We started off with 4 donuts, and after eating two, we had to get four more when we saw that they brought out even more types of donuts. I realy liked the Blueberry, Bourbon & Basil donut, and the Passionfruit, Cocoa nib donut. They’ve got their own version of a maple bacon donut which i appreciate that it was bits of bacon vs. a strip of bacon on top of the donut.


    Nong’s Khao Man Gai


    The very tasty Thai style Chicken and Rice served with some soup. Its a bit difficult to eat while standing up so you have to make sure you have a place to sit down and eat.

    The People’s Pig


    You can never go wrong with some porky action, and The People’s Pig does the Porchetta right. Its really flavorful that sits in between  arugula and a bread that holds up well to the juices that comes out of the pork.




    Andina is a Peruivan restaurant that came recommended by a friend and is highly rated on TripAdvisor so I made rsvp on Open Table for a Sunday night dinner. The place was packed and we actually got seated at a poor place because it was close to the entrance, and the kitchen ventilation needs some work. The food for the most part was delicious, particularly the shrimp and mango ceviche, scallop with fried onions, and the stuffed piquillos peppers. Probably wouldn’t get the lomo saltado as it was good, but didn’t necessarily much different from the versions i get close to home.

    Park Kitchen


    Park Kitchen was a restaurant that i wanted to try since it seemed to have a more unique menu, but sadly it just couldn’t pull it together in my opinion. The best dish we had was the fried green beans, with bits of fried bacon mixed in.

    Good Taste Noodle House


    Saturday night i left dinner plans open, and had some thoughts of going to Apizza Scholls or Tasty N Sons but ended up getting some of our comfort food, of wonton soup, and pan fried noodles in Chinatown. Not quite located at the best area, and has a pretty sad looking store, but at least the food was tasty enough.


    Cool Moon Ice Cream Co.


    Cool Moon was the first ice cream shop we found in Portland while wandering around the Pearl District, and left the most impressionable flavor to our memories. We got a Lemon Lavender flavor which i don’t know because of just eating lunch was very refreshing. It also seemed to be the most down home place that we visited.

    Salt & Straw


    Salt & Straw was another recommendation from multiple friends and looks like everyone has friends because the line was out the door and around the corner. Salt & Straw goes a little farther with their flavors and here i tried out their beer flavored ice cream, getting a half scoop of Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout and Hopped Farmhouse Ale in a fresh waffle cone. Both were really good.

    Ruby Jewel


    Ruby Jewel was probably the least memorable ice cream we had. It happen to be National Ice Cream Sandwich day, so they were offering up ice cream sandwiches for half off. I got a strawberry ice cream between some lemon cookie, but nothing wrong with it,  i just didn’t want to finish it.

    Pine State Biscuits


    I really wanted to try more biscuits, but most of places were beyond walking distance or took too long via public transportation. We made it out to the Alberta area of Portland our final night out there, and even though i was full from dinner i wanted to try a biscuit at Pine State Biscuits, and they had a Fruit and Whip version which i thought could be a good dessert, but sadly not. I really should’ve just gotten it with jam, or honey. Next time for sure i’ll make it out for breakfast, so i can get some gravy.


    Departure Restaurant + Lounge


    We decided against going to a traditional bar so that i could try some local brews and went to the Departure which is at the top of the Nines Hotel. They’ve got a relatively peaceful patio compared to the loud bar inside, and the views are pretty amazing from the bridges and rivers on the east to the hills to the west.

    Rogue Ales Public House

    rogue-Shakespeare-Oatmeal-StoutWe got to the airport a little early so i had time to grab one last Portland beer before heading back to California.  I wanted a Guiness type beer and got a Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout which was very good. The food didn’t look that appetizing so i was find sticking to my beer.


  • Family

    Kaylee’s Birthday Weekend

    I can’t believe that my sister’s kid is already 1 year old. Feels like yesterday that Kaylee was still just a fat ball of a human, and now she’s a babbling, walking machine. The whole family came down from SF to celebrate with family this weekend and we had much fun.

    kaylee-2 kaylee-3

    We ditched the baby on Friday night and went out to dinner at M.B. Post in Manhattan Beach which i’ve been meaning to go to for over a year, and randomly made RSVP for that night so it was perfect timing. It was a fun and tasty evening of just adults.


    Saturday was the big day that was a luau theme, with lots of hawaiian food, and a Nemo themed cake. It was funny how many people were so excited when they learned it was a Paradise Cake from King’s Hawaiian.


    Sunday morning Nina met up with Joy and I back at Manhattan Beach to enjoy some ice cream for breakfast, and enjoy the sun on the sand. We also went to the Aquarium at the end of the pier to check out the fishies. After some fun time we went back to Cerritos for some Dim Sum with our parents.



  • Restaurants

    West LA Date Night

    Saturday afternoon was spent at Joy’s family’s house to celebrate Chinese New Years, and afterwards we went home to do some cooking and cleaning because we were told not to do any cleaning on Sunday. Something about sweeping your fortune away or something like that.

    Saturday night we were getting really lazy, but we forced our butts out of the house and went out to Next Door by Josie, which happens to be next door to Josie. We were looking for something light to eat, and we’ve been to the parent restaurant Josie a few years ago for my birthday and thought we should give it a shot.

    beer-bacon-popcorn deviled-eggs meat-cheese

    We focused on half glasses of European wines and little bites and was very happy about everything we ordered. The Beer and Bacon popcorn were sweet and crunchy, the deviled eggs were savory, and the meat and cheese plate were a fun plate of different tastes on the palette.

    Full Yelp Review

    titos-tacoAfterwards we wanted to enjoy the westside a little longer and got some what i coined that night, Fancy Jack in the Box tacos at Tito’s Tacos. Its a icon of fried tacos that can get stupid busy during the day, and in reality they’re not super good, but its basically a place to go when you need some greasy food.



  • Family

    Silent Night


    Joy and I spent Christmas Day by ourselves after the long day before at Disneyland. We reached out to friends about getting dim sum but without anyone able to meet up with drove out to Arcadia for some Xiao Long Baos at Din Tai Fung. We weren’t the only ones thinking that as we were faced with an hour and half wait for a table and we braved out the hunger until we got seated. We feasted on a bunch of soup dumplings, fried rice and chicken soup and it was well worth it.


    After lunch i needed to walk off some of the food and decided to check out the Santee Alley to hang out with the Mexicans. Not many places are open on Christmas and itt was pretty busy. Ireally got tempted on bringing home a bunny, but of course we didn’t. It felt like any other back alley shopping area around the world with lots of fake movies, purses, and street vendors selling fruits and corn.



    In the evening we enjoyed a quiet night at home watching Bourne Legacy and enjoy a home made short-rib stew with some stove-top stuffing. I really made up the recipe in my head and happy it came out really well, especially the next day when it had time to develop more flavor.


  • Friends

    Let the Holiday Parties Begin!

    December weekends get filled up so fast with various holiday parties i had to book my very own the first weekend of December. Its one of those sad realizations during the year when you notice that you haven’t seen certain people for an entire year and so it was time to get together with the old Costa Mesa Roommates for a feast.

    With a few new additions and another on its way we had to have it at Robin’s spacious recently completed house. I asked everyone to bring something to eat and i’m so proud that everyone actually cooked something and the only thing store bought were the crescent rolls. (which i found out not many people have had before!)

    For the main course Robin cooked a beautiful 10lb coffee crusted prime rib, along with pecan tartlets, . Joy and i made corn chowder, mashed sweet potatoes and macarons. Ben and Tiffany made cornish game hens, a lemon tart, chocolate pudding. Shane and Joann made bbq riblets and cheesy potato hash. Jon and Janelle made fried rice. Andy and Jennifer made baked fried chicken and veggies.

    The kids even had a table to themselves and were pretty good (and quiet) while they ate. I think Noah has a new found love of Crescent Rolls along with Milo Milk.

    Lots of wine was consumed and stories shared and its always makes me thankful for December get togethers as a reason to see everyone again. Weekends throughout the year seem never free with endless birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and kid things that we’re having to plan fake holidays as a reason to get together now.