Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Years!

Well, the last day of 2009 has been outrageous. Too many things happened at once today, which seems fitting. I don't want to go into all the craziness, but let's just say it was stressful and too busy for my liking. I can't wait for this weekend though! ;)



2009 has been the year of many changes and intense things happening in my life. I really feel like I have grown and matured as a woman.



I received my camera for my 19th birthday in January, and then in April I started this blog. I met Andrew in January and we fell in love in Febuary. :) Best thing that ever happened to me! (Apart from going to college in the first place lol ) I am excited to see what this year holds in store for us! Hopefully a trip to Japan! :D



There have been many hard times and obstacles this year. Yet, the wonderful things outnumber all the difficult ones. I've proved to myself that I am strong and can get through a lot! :)



I am grateful for all that I have in my life and all that I have been given this year. It has truly been a year of new experiences and change! I've met amazing people, became closer to others, fallen in love, and ate great food!



Cheers to another year full of love, happiness, laughter, and good food! :)

Le Cheval Revisited!

When I was in elementary school, I had a special group of friends. We stayed friends all through middle school, all through high school, and now we are separated and navigating the choppy seas of adulthood and college. Two of those friends are still very important to me, and on Tuesday I was able to see both, albeit for a short while. Over the summer, we were all dealing with separate things and I was worried about them. Luckily, seeing them on Tuesday and hearing about their experiences this past semester has assuaged my worries. We are all growing and learning. :)

I was having serious Vietnamese food cravings because my sister refuses to go out and eat it with me. Thus, my friend Andi and I went for Vietnamese food at Le Cheval. This restaurant is the third of three, owned and run by friends of my grandmother! The food is a bit pricey, but it's good Vietnamese food. I went over the summer with my grandmother, so I was excited to follow up on it. We got there a little before noon, but as our lunch went on, more and more people came in! It seems to be a very popular spot for lunch for business people and other workers.

We were each given a cup of complimentary potato soup. It was creamy and smooth, but wasn't exploding with flavor. Nonetheless, it was comforting on a cold, grey day. :) There were bits of vegetables floating around, and they were cooked perfectly soft.


Andi ordered the orange chicken lunch special, which comes with a side of rice. She chose steamed rice. There were tons of peppers in the dish, which were intensely spicey! I tried a piece of the chicken, and it was dry yet tasty.

I wasn't feeling like pho (I know, shocking right? xD) and I didn't feel like spending $7 dollars for only THREE imperial rolls!!! So, I ordered the imperial roll vermicelli bowl. Yum! Very tasty and huge! I don't think it was worth $9.50, but it was a lot of food. I couldn't even finish the bowl. The imperial rolls were good, but didn't taste very fresh.

This was the fish sauce I was given to accompany the bowl. It was.......alright, I suppose. Not as tart or sprightly as the fish sauce at Pho Saigon Bay or Le Kims. I poured most of it over the rolls, salad, and vermicelli noodles and it did the trick.
Afterwards, we met up with two of my other close friends! It was so fun! :) I was so happy to see everyone! Sadly, I had to leave early to visit my mom, but we still had time to get some gelato! I got nutella gelato and chocolate marzipan gelato on a waffle cone, yummmm~~~~ XD Scrumptious!
Le Cheval
1375 N Broadway
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Momofraise says: Not a bad lunch spot, but a bit pricey for Vietnamese food. Good-sized portions for lunch though! And free creamy potato soup is always a plus! ;)

Friday, December 25, 2009

PORK BELLY

I know Christmas is done, but here is how I spent my Christmas eve! My father had to go to San Jose to say hello to a dear client of his, and so my sister and I tagged along. I was dying to check out the Kinokuniya Bookstore and Mitsuwa Marketplace there, so I was looking forward to it! :)
After shopping at Kinokuniya for a bit, my sister and I went over to a cute little bakery called Clover Cake Shop. It was very Japanese in style and food, so it was fun to check out! All the pastries and breads were cheap, and I was so tempted to buy a lot, but I didn't.

This was an almond danish. I ate it on Christmas morning, and it was pretty good. It seemed more bready than I would have thought a danish to be, but the almond flavor was strong and tasty. :)

This doughnut was a hit! It was lightly coated in sugar and inside it there was smooth azuki red bean paste....yummm! This was still warm and really hit the spot! :) The flavors of the bean paste and the sugary doughnut outside complemented each other; it was a rich and sweet treat! :D

For lunch, I was DYING to try Santouka Ramen, the ramen place inside Mitsuwa. Their ramen is supposedly extremely authentic and delicious. I told my dad about it and he was all for trying it! Above is what I ordered, the #83: miso ramen, pork chashu bowl, and an egg. SO GOOOD! :D

Close-ups please......
This was heaven in a bowl. I devoured the whole bowl, and tried to eat slowly so I could savor it as long as I could. Bits of pork belly doused in some sort of soy sauce?? Only it didn't totally taste like soy sauce? I am not really sure about what was in here.....I would love to know though! The pork belly was rich and succulent; I can eat the fatty pieces much better when it is cut up into smaller pieces. Now, I am a devout follower of pork belly awesomeness! Andrew started it of course! ;)
Here is a close-up shot of my ramen, which was rich and thick. Amazing, in other words! The noodles were chewy and tasted so good with the almost milky miso broth. The broth wasn't very overpowering, which is a great sign. Instead, it was satisfying and had that lovely taste of miso that isn't fishy haha. Thumbs up from me and my dad! (He ordered the miso too; he was the one who got me into miso ramen)

Last of all was an egg that had been hard-boiled and soaked in a soy sauce-like sauce....again, I don't know what they soaked this in. I wish I did, since it was very tasty. Ramen and eggs go so well together!
This ramen set was $10.45 each, which I think is a good deal, considering how much food we got and the quality of it. Eating there was fun too; it felt very Japanese since we were sitting in a grocery store that was full of Asians! It is not exactly a restaurant....more like a storefront where you order and then pick up your tray(s). The kitchen in behind it and sure looked busy.

Here's me, looking forward to my delicious meal! I really enjoyed hanging in the San Jose Japan center; there are lots of good places to eat and shop. Also, it isn't a very touristy place, so it feels more real. I most certainly think Andrew would love to try this place, especially the pork belly! YUM! :D

Santouka
Mitsuwa Marketplace
675 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129
(408) 255-6699
Clovery Bakery
4342 Moorpark Ave # A
San Jose, CA 95129
(408) 257-3412

Momofraise says: Delicious ramen and pastries are to be found in San Jose! Be sure to get the pork chashu bowl as well for fabulous pork belly! :D

Joyeux Noel!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Here is what I ate in between the celebrating!

Christmas Eve dinner was just about comfort food--breakfast for dinner! :) I had a cheese omelette with sausage, challah bread and butter, and peas! It was yummy and rich!

Christmas came and we had a nice morning opening gifts. Then, we had to get ready to go to French mass in San Francisco, which was very cool! I loved hearing it in French and I understood it, which was special. The church was lovely as well. It was called Notre Dame de Victoires, which means Our Lady of Victory. There was a funny tiny old French man talking to everyone in his gravelly French voice. :D It was quite the experience! The last time I had gone to church was with Andrew over the summer, and being in a church again made me miss him so miuch. I was nostalgic for the summer days he spent at my place with me~
Our tradition is going to Gourmet Carousel, a cheap Chinese place in SF, for Christmas lunch. The food is good, quick, and cheap. :) We had the beef won ton soup. It was pretty good, but salty! I was rather surprised! And there were only a few pieces of bok choy, which was too bad. The beef was tender and tasty though, even if the soup was salty.
Potstickers, which were a disappointment, to me at least. The filling wasn't as tasty as I remembered it......it was bland and almost bitter with too much cabbage.
Ahhhh~ The best dish! Beef chow fun with black beans! The black beans are salty and add a lot of flavor to the dish! The chow fun was chewy and delicious with the tender beef. I loved this dish! The first time I ordered it had been when Andrew came~ (Yeah, if you can't already tell, I miss him a lot!)

My dad is crazy about Chinese green bean dishes.....I am not a fan. My sister and dad loved this, so I am sure it was good. :)


Fiona wanted some chicken fried rice, which was harmless. Yet, rather bland.
All in all, it was an enjoyable meal. However, I am just worried that the quality of food might be slipping a bit...but maybe it was an off day. We still love the place!
After lunch, we came home and plopped down, relaxing a bit before going to my grandmother's house for more presents and dinner.

We had mashed potatoes (made by me!), broccoli, spiced pork lion, and rolls. It was comforting and a nice way to spend Christmas dinner. We all gave lovely gifts to each other too! :)


Dessert was a ginger snap and a chocolate chip cookie that was very sweet. I had eaten a lot of chocolate earlier because I had gotten some in my stocking, hehehe. :)

Christmas is a special time of year, and while I enjoyed spending it with my family, I really miss Andrew and his family. Hopefully next year we can figure out a way to balance everything out. He's been having lots of fun eating good food and running around with cute kids at family parties! ^.^ I just wish for everyone's happiness at this time of year. I am also eager to get back to Stockton and UOP; I miss it so much. I keep thinking about driving down Pacific Avenue at night, with bright lights beckoning people and the colorful Christmas decorations everyone had put up. Stockton, even though people say bad things about it, is a wonderful place to me. It is where I am blossoming and am becoming someone I am proud of. I miss driving around with Andrew, looking out the window at all the random places I had never heard of, such as Jollibees. I have grown to love the long streets that lay flat on the ground, and the people who are down-to-earth and friendly. One day I vow to write a novel about Stockton that will hopefully show people all over that it is a city full of good things. For a city can't be a true center of life without good and bad.

And with thoughts of my new home and my love in my mind, I bid you all good night and Merry Christmas. I hope you are all with your loved ones tonight. :)

And to my love: I miss you honey, and I am glad you are spending time with your family! Relax, eat good food, and be happy. You deserve all that and more!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!! :)

I adore Christmas lights.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas or other holiday you celebrate! :)
Lots of love,
Momofraise

A Wonderful Night~

Yep, it's December now! :) It's been quite a while since I last posted, but I was busy with finals, essays, and just life in general. I am at home for winter break but I miss Andrew and Stockton tremendously. Andrew will hopefully be coming over next weekend to see me and I am so excited! I will bake lots of goodies for him~! The above picture was taken a few days after he returned from the trip to the Philippines. I was ecstatic to see him again! It's been so wonderful having him back!

The night after he arrived from the Philippines three weeks ago, he took me out to dinner. We couldn't stop talking and there was so much to say! We went to Dave Wong's Restaurant, a lovely Chinese place in Stockton. It is a gorgeous restaurant, oozing comfy yet upscale ambiance. The lighting is dim and golden, which makes for a romantic setting. They also have curtained booths for privacy; Andrew had put our names down for us to get one. After a while, one of the nice men working there put us into a private room! :) We were very lucky!

It was a cold night and I was feeling like soup, so we ordered their Wah Won Ton Soup. Many goodies were in it, such as chikcen, bok choy, won tons, and shrimp. The won tons were pretty tasty as was the bok choy. It wasn't anything special, but it was a nice start to our meal.


A close-up of my firt bowl. I gave the shrimp to Andrew after. ;)

Now this dish, my friends, is AMAZING. This is Egg Foo Yung with pork and I loooooove it! It's like a big fried omelette with bean sprouts, pork, and other things swimming in a tasty gravy. We always order it and it's very tasty. The texture is crispy and crunchy, and very satisfying. One might be put off by the bean sprouts, but they soak up the flavors of the pork, gravy, and egg. I am still dreaming of it!

This was the steak and mushroom fried rice, which was delicious, especially when mixed with the egg foo yung! The steak was tender and rich, and the mushrooms complemented everything so well. It was an interesting idea for fried rice, and since we love steak and mushrooms, it worked for us! :)

It was an inexpensive meal for two, considering all that we ate! We finished everything; it was all so good! However, the servings might be small for larger parties, so be prepared to order more dishes. Having the private room felt so cozy and nice~ It was a very special evening for us and I won't ever forget it! I can't wait to go back to Stockton and have those kinds of adventures with him again!
Dave Wong's Restaurant
2828 W March Ln
Stockton, CA 95219
(209) 951-4152
Momofraise says: Great Chinese food in a lovely setting! Everything was tasty, service was accomadating and kind, and I was with the best dining companion ever! ;) A wonderful restaurant in Stockton!